How to Start a Business in Vermont: Tips and Resources

Starting a business in Vermont may seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategy and motivation, anyone can make it happen. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned professional looking to diversify your portfolio, Vermont offers a wealth of opportunities for those who want to start their own business. From its picturesque scenery to its thriving local communities, Vermont boasts a unique charm that makes it an ideal place to set up shop.

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of starting a business in Vermont is the state’s business-friendly climate. With low taxes, minimal regulation, and a pro-business mindset, Vermont is a great place to grow your company and take your career to the next level. Whether you are looking to start a small local business or a larger national enterprise, Vermont has the resources and support networks needed to help you succeed.

Another key advantage of starting a business in Vermont is the state’s strong emphasis on innovation and creativity. Thanks to its thriving arts and culture scene, Vermont is a hotbed of creativity and inspiration, making it an ideal place to launch your next big idea. With a wide range of resources available, such as mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and startup incubators, Vermont is the perfect place for entrepreneurs who want to turn their dreams into reality. So why wait? If you are ready to take the leap and start your own business in Vermont, now is the perfect time to get started.

Legal requirements for starting a business in Vermont

When it comes to starting a business in Vermont, it’s important to be aware of the legal requirements you must meet. Here are some of the key legal considerations:

  • Register your business: You will need to register your business with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office. This can be done online or by mail. You’ll need to choose a legal structure for your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.) and file the appropriate paperwork.
  • Obtain licenses and permits: Depending on your industry and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits. For example, if you’re starting a restaurant, you’ll need to obtain a food service permit. Check with your local and state government to determine what permits and licenses you need.
  • Get tax ID numbers: You’ll need to obtain a federal tax ID number (also known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN) from the IRS. This is required for most businesses and is used to identify your business for tax purposes. You may also need to obtain a Vermont tax ID number from the Vermont Department of Taxes.

It’s important to note that the legal requirements for starting a business can vary depending on your industry, location, and business structure. It’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney or accountant to ensure that you’re meeting all necessary legal requirements.

Registering a Business Name in Vermont

One of the first steps in starting a business in Vermont is registering your business name. This is important because it will set the foundation for your brand identity, and it will also protect your business name from being used by other businesses in the state.

  • The first step is to check if your desired business name is available. You can do this by searching the Vermont Secretary of State’s online database of registered business names. If your desired name is already taken, you will have to choose a different one.
  • If your desired name is available, the next step is to reserve it. You can do this by filing a Name Reservation application with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. The reservation will remain valid for up to 120 days, giving you time to complete the registration process.
  • Once you have reserved your business name, you can complete the registration process by filing a Business Registration application with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. The application can be filed online or by mail, and you will need to provide basic information about your business, such as its legal structure (e.g., LLC, corporation), its registered agent, and its principal address.

It’s important to note that registering your business name in Vermont does not give you exclusive rights to use it. To protect your brand, you may want to consider registering your business name as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Fee Description
$50 Business Name Reservation
$125 LLC Registration
$100 Corporation Registration

Registering a business name in Vermont is a relatively straightforward process, and it’s an essential step in launching a successful business in the state. By taking the time to choose a unique and memorable name, and by completing the necessary registration steps, you’ll be on your way to establishing a strong brand identity and building a successful business.

Business licenses and permits in Vermont

Starting a business in Vermont can be a rewarding venture, but it requires careful planning and preparation. In order to operate legally, businesses must obtain certain licenses and permits from the state and local government.

  • Business License: All businesses that operate in Vermont are required to obtain a business license from the Secretary of State’s office. The license fee ranges from $30 to $200 depending on the type of business.
  • Tax Registration: Businesses may be required to register for certain taxes depending on the type of business. This includes sales tax, use tax, room and meals tax, and withholding tax.
  • Local Permits: Depending on the location and type of business, additional permits may be required from local municipalities. This could include zoning permits, building permits, and health permits.

It is important to research and understand all the necessary licenses and permits required for your specific business before starting operations.

In addition to the above licenses and permits, certain industries may require specialized licenses. For example, if you plan to sell alcohol, a liquor license must be obtained from the Vermont Department of Liquor Control.

License/Permit Issuing Authority Cost
Business License Secretary of State $30-$200
Sales and Use Tax Vermont Department of Taxes N/A
Room and Meals Tax Vermont Department of Taxes N/A
Withholding Tax Vermont Department of Taxes N/A
Zoning Permit Local municipality Varies
Building Permit Local municipality Varies
Health Permit Local municipality/State of Vermont Varies
Liquor License Vermont Department of Liquor Control Varies

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits can be a complex process, but it is essential to ensure that your business is operating legally and in compliance with all state and local regulations. It may be helpful to contact the Vermont Small Business Development Center for assistance and guidance in the process.

Hiring Employees in Vermont

Starting a business and growing it can be quite challenging, and as such, at some point, you will need to bring more people into it to expand your reach. If you are starting a business in Vermont, one of the most important things you need to consider is hiring employees. Hiring the right employees for your business can be a daunting task, and you need to be aware of the state-specific laws and regulations to ensure that you follow them to the letter. In this article, we will explore some key things you need to consider when hiring employees in Vermont.

  • Minimum Wage: The state of Vermont has a minimum wage requirement of $11.75 per hour. Employers are expected to pay their employees this rate or higher than it. If you are hiring employees for the first time, you should be aware of this and plan your finances accordingly.
  • Meal and Rest Breaks: Employers in Vermont are expected to provide their employees with meal breaks and rest periods, depending on the number of hours worked. For example, if an employee works for more than five hours, they are entitled to a 30-minute meal break. Ensure that you provide your employees with these breaks to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Employers in Vermont are required to provide Unemployment Insurance to their employees. This insurance provides temporary financial assistance to employees who lose their employment for reasons that are beyond their control. As an employer, you are expected to contribute to this insurance program and ensure that you provide accurate and complete information to state agencies about your employees.

Additionally, as an employer, you should also consider the following:

  • Verifying work eligibility by using the E-Verify system
  • Creating an Employee Handbook that outlines your business’s policies and standards
  • Providing workers’ compensation insurance to your employees
  • Understanding and following Equal Employment Opportunity laws to avoid discrimination in your hiring practices

Overall, hiring employees in Vermont requires you to follow state-specific laws and regulations. Your employees are the backbone of your business, and hiring the right ones can help you take your business to the next level.

Topic Description
Minimum Wage The state of Vermont requires employers to pay their employees at least $11.75 per hour.
Meal and Rest Breaks Employers in Vermont are expected to provide their employees with meal breaks and rest periods, depending on the number of hours worked.
Unemployment Insurance Employers in Vermont are required to provide Unemployment Insurance to their employees to ensure they have temporary financial assistance in the event of job loss.

Make sure to follow these laws and also consider other factors when hiring employees in Vermont

Taxation for Small Businesses in Vermont

Vermont offers a unique mix of tax incentives and challenges for small businesses. Understanding the state’s tax policies can help entrepreneurs avoid legal and financial complications and plan their business strategies with more confidence.

Tax Rates and Deductions

  • Vermont has a flat corporate income tax rate of 7.0%.
  • Personal income tax rates range from 3.35% to 8.75%, depending on income level.
  • There is no sales tax on clothing or footwear under $110.
  • Vermont’s property tax rates are among the highest in the nation, but vary widely by county and municipality.

Nexus and Sales Tax Collection

Out-of-state businesses with nexus in Vermont must register with the Department of Taxes and collect and remit Vermont sales tax on any taxable sales made in the state. Nexus can be established by various activities, such as maintaining an office, warehouse, or employees in Vermont.

Small businesses with annual taxable sales under $100,000 are exempt from collecting and remitting the state’s meals and rooms tax.

Business Incentives

Vermont offers several tax incentives to encourage small business growth and development, such as:

  • The Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI), which rewards businesses that create new jobs or make significant capital investments in the state by giving them cash payments or tax credits.
  • The Vermont Small Business Tax Credit, which provides a nonrefundable tax credit to qualified small businesses that pay state taxes and invest in capital assets or Research and Development.
  • The Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit, which supports the revitalization of downtown and village centers by offering tax credits for eligible expenses incurred by businesses and property owners.

Small Business Tax Guide

The Vermont Department of Taxes offers a Small Business Tax Guide that provides valuable information to help small business owners understand their obligations and opportunities, including:

Topic Description
Becoming a Business in Vermont Information on business types, registration, and licensing requirements.
Filing and Paying Taxes Guidance on tax forms, payment methods, and deadlines.
Record Keeping Requirements Lists of required records and retention periods.
Tax Credits and Incentives Descriptions of available tax credits and incentive programs.

Small businesses are strongly encouraged to consult the guide, as well as a tax professional, to ensure compliance and to take advantage of all available tax opportunities.

Small Business Financing Options in Vermont

Starting a small business in Vermont has never been easier, but financing remains one of the biggest challenges. Fortunately, there are various financing options available that entrepreneurs can consider, depending on their needs. Here are six small business financing options in Vermont:

  • Traditional bank loans: These are the most common financing options for small businesses. Banks provide loans that an entrepreneur can use to establish or expand their business, purchase equipment, or refinance existing debt. As with any loan, you will need to have good credit to qualify.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: SBA loans provide financing to small businesses that are unable to secure a traditional bank loan. SBA guarantees a portion of the loan repayment, which lowers the risk for lenders and make it easier for businesses to qualify.
  • Alternative lenders: Alternative lenders are investors or lending companies that provide loans to small businesses outside of traditional banking processes. These lenders have less restrictive requirements, making it easier for entrepreneurs with poor credit ratings. However, alternative lenders often charge higher interest rates and fees.
  • Equipment leasing or financing: This option allows businesses to lease or purchase equipment without having to pay for it upfront and may come with tax benefits. This is a good option, especially if the equipment is expensive and the business cannot afford to purchase it outright.
  • Invoice financing: With invoice financing, a lender buys outstanding invoices from a business and advances up to 90% of the value of the invoice. This financing option is ideal if your business has outstanding invoices and needs immediate cash flow.
  • Grants: A grant is financial assistance given to businesses that do not have to be repaid. There are many grants available to small businesses in Vermont, both locally and federally. However, the application process can be lengthy and competitive.

It’s important to evaluate your business needs and find the financing option that suits you best. Consider the interest rates, repayment terms, and the fees associated with each financing option before deciding. With proper planning and research, you’ll find the financing that’s right for your small business in Vermont.

Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Vermont Businesses

Marketing and advertising are essential for any business to thrive. It is important to have a clear understanding of your target market and utilize different marketing and advertising strategies to reach them. Vermont, a small state with a population of around 620,000, offers unique opportunities and challenges for businesses looking to market themselves. Here are some effective marketing and advertising strategies for Vermont businesses:

  • Utilize Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great tools for reaching your target audience. Create business pages on these platforms and regularly post engaging content to keep your audience interested. You can also use social media advertising to target specific demographics in Vermont.
  • Create a Website: Having a professional and user-friendly website is crucial for promoting your business online. Make sure your website is optimized for search engines and provides all the necessary information about your business, including your products and services.
  • Attend Local Events: Vermont is known for its fairs, festivals, and other community events. Utilize these opportunities to network with potential customers and promote your business. You can also set up a booth and offer samples or demonstrations to attract more people.

Aside from these strategies, it is important to consider the unique aspects of Vermont when developing your marketing and advertising plan. Vermont is known for its craft beer, cheese, and maple syrup, so if your business is in these industries, highlighting this in your marketing efforts can help differentiate you from competitors. Additionally, Vermont has a strong environmental ethos, so promoting your business’s sustainability efforts may also resonate with locals.

Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Vermont Businesses Pros Cons
Social Media Advertising Target specific demographics, cost-effective Saturated market, can be difficult to stand out
Community Events Opportunities to network and promote business Can be costly to participate, unpredictable weather for outdoor events
Highlighting Vermont Specialties Differentiates business, appeals to local pride May not be applicable to all businesses, may limit potential customer base outside of Vermont

Ultimately, the key to successful marketing and advertising in Vermont is to understand your target market and utilize strategies that resonate with them. Stay creative, put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and remember that the Vermont community values authenticity and a commitment to sustainability.

Business networking opportunities in Vermont

Starting a business requires a great deal of effort and resources, and one of the ways to ensure your business thrives is by networking with like-minded individuals. Vermont offers a plethora of business networking opportunities, including:

  • The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce: This is one of the most active and influential chambers of commerce in Vermont. It provides networking opportunities through networking events, mixers, and workshops. The chamber boasts of over 2,500 businesses as members, so joining this chamber would guarantee access to a wide range of business networks.
  • Vermont Business Roundtable: This is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose primary focus is to ensure Vermont’s economy thrives. They do this by holding meetings, events, and forums that provide Vermont businesses the opportunity to meet with other businesses and discuss issues and opportunities affecting them.
  • Vermont Women’s Business Center: This center offers business resources and training for women entrepreneurs. They offer networking opportunities relevant to women in business, including meetings, training, and mentoring programs.

Other relevant business networking opportunities in Vermont include:

  • The Vermont Small Business Development Center
  • The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
  • The Vermont Technology Alliance

If you look beyond these networking events and organizations, you’ll find a vast network of entrepreneurs and business owners willing to collaborate and help one another thrive.

StartupVT Technology Startups Monthly
HYPE Connection Young Professionals Monthly
Association of African American Business Owners African American Business Owners Quarterly
Environmental Business Council of New England Environmental Businesses Varying

Joining one or more of these networks will keep you up to date on the latest industry trends, help you create connections with potential clients and collaborators, and provide opportunities to share information about your business.

Resources for Women-Owned and Minority-Owned Businesses in Vermont

If you are a woman or minority looking to start a business in Vermont, there are resources available to help you succeed. Here are some of the top resources you should consider:

  • The Vermont Women’s Business Center: This organization provides resources and training for women entrepreneurs in Vermont. They offer workshops, coaching, and networking opportunities to provide women business owners the skills and support necessary to succeed.
  • The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development: This agency provides resources for all types of businesses, but they also offer support and resources specifically for women and minority-owned businesses. They provide business development assistance, grants, and a variety of other resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their business.
  • The Vermont Community Loan Fund: This organization provides loans and other financial resources to small businesses in Vermont, with a specific focus on underserved communities. They have provided millions of dollars in loans to entrepreneurs in Vermont, including women and minority business owners.

Networking Opportunities

An essential component of any entrepreneur’s success is networking. As a woman or minority-owned business owner in Vermont, it is important to connect with other entrepreneurs and resources in the state. There are many organizations that provide networking opportunities, including:

  • Vermont Womenpreneurs: This organization provides a supportive community for businesswomen to connect, learn, and grow. They offer networking opportunities, educational events, and resources for women entrepreneurs in Vermont.
  • The Vermont Small Business Association: This organization provides resources and support for all types of small businesses, including women and minority-owned businesses. They also offer networking opportunities, such as business expos and events, to help small business owners connect with other entrepreneurs and resources in the state.
  • The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce: This organization provides networking opportunities for businesses in the Lake Champlain region of Vermont. They offer events and workshops to connect business owners and provide resources for entrepreneurs.

Diversity and Inclusion Programs

Many organizations in Vermont are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the business community. As a woman or minority-owned business owner, you may be eligible for programs that promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Here are a few resources to consider:

  • Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility: This organization is committed to promoting social responsibility and sustainability in Vermont’s business community. They offer programs and resources to promote diversity and inclusion, including Anti-Racism and Equity workshops.
  • The Vermont Department of Labor: This agency provides resources and support for employers looking to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They offer training, workshops, and other resources to help employers create a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive for all employees.

Grants and Financial Assistance

Starting a business can be expensive, and many women and minority-owned businesses face unique financial challenges. There are resources available in Vermont to help you secure the funding you need to get your business off the ground. Here are a few resources to consider:

Organization Services Offered
The Vermont Community Loan Fund Provides loans for small businesses in Vermont.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority Offers a variety of financial assistance programs for businesses in Vermont, including loans and grants.
The Vermont Small Business Development Center Provides funding resources, including grants, loans, and crowdfunding resources, for small businesses in Vermont.

No matter what stage you are in your journey as a woman or minority-owned business owner, there are resources available to help you succeed. Take advantage of these resources, get involved in the Vermont business community, and never stop learning. With hard work and determination, you can turn your dream of owning a successful business into a reality.

Incorporating a Business in Vermont

Starting a business in Vermont requires many steps to be followed, including incorporating your business. Incorporation is the process of legally establishing your business entity, separating it from the owner. Here are ten steps to follow if you want to incorporate your business in Vermont.

  • Choose a Name: First, you need to choose your company name. The name should be unique, easy to remember, and not violating any existing trademarks.
  • Choose a Business Entity: You can choose from various business entities, including Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation (S-Corp or C-Corp), Partnership, and Sole Proprietorship. Choose the one that fits your business needs and legal structure.
  • Registered Agent: A registered agent is an individual or a company that accepts legal documents on your behalf, such as court summonses, tax forms, and other official documents. The registered agent must be located in Vermont.
  • File Articles of Incorporation: After completing the above steps, you need to fill the Articles of Incorporation form and submit it to the Vermont Secretary of State.
  • Obtain EIN: Any business with employees requires an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Get Necessary Licenses: Check with the Vermont Secretary of State to determine which licenses and permits you need to operate your business. Also, you need to register for state taxes and get federal licenses if required.
  • Register for Taxes: You need to register your business with the Vermont Department of Taxes for sales tax, withholding tax, and other business taxes.
  • Create Bylaws: Bylaws are internal guidelines that your company should follow. They include procedures, rules, and regulations on how your company operates.
  • Issue Shares: Corporations must issue shares to their shareholders. You need to decide how many shares you want to issue, what classes of stock you want to give, and the value of each share.
  • Keep Records: Finally, keep all your legal documents safe and secure. You need to maintain records for at least three years after the corporation’s dissolution.


Starting a business can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. However, incorporating your business in Vermont can make your business journey smoother by establishing your business’s legal identity. Follow the above steps to incorporate your business and make it official. Remember to consult with legal and financial experts while incorporating your business to make sure you are doing everything correctly.

FAQs About How to Start a Business in Vermont

1. How do I register my business in Vermont?

To register your business in Vermont, you need to file a business registration with the Secretary of State’s office. You can do this online or by mail.

2. What is the cost of registering a business in Vermont?

The cost of registering a business in Vermont varies depending on the type of business structure. The starting fee is $125.

3. Do I need a business license to operate in Vermont?

The requirement for business license to operate in Vermont varies on the business type, avoid operating without proper licensing.

4. How can I find funding for my business in Vermont?

Vermont has a variety of resources available for funding startup businesses, including the Vermont Small Business Development Center and the Vermont Economic Development Authority.

5. What are the tax implications of starting a business in Vermont?

Vermont has a business tax called the Business Income Tax, and if you have any employees, you will also need to withhold and pay unemployment taxes.

6. What are the regulations and compliance requirements for businesses in Vermont?

Vermont has compliance regulations based on the industry of your business. Look into the different regulations that your business should comply with.

7. Is Vermont a good place to start a business?

Vermont is a great place to start a business. Vermont is a good place to start a business and has been acknowledged by many for its favorable climate for entrepreneurs.

Closing Thoughts on How to Start a Business in Vermont

We hope that these FAQs have been helpful to you in starting a business in Vermont. If you have any other concerns or questions, please feel free to contact the Department of Economic Development. Thanks for reading and good luck with your business endeavor!