MA Business Facts
Massachusetts small businesses employed 1.4 million people, or 46.8% of the private workforce, in 2014. Firms with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment. During the year ending November 2016, private-sector employment increased 3.2%. This was above the previous year’s decrease of 0.1%.
Small businesses created 34,568 net jobs in 2014. Among the seven BDS size-classes, firms employing 20 to 49 employees experienced the largest gains, adding 7,717 net jobs. The smallest gains were in firms employing 5 to 9 employees, which added 2,517 net jobs.
Major Companies in Massachusetts
Major Massachusetts companies include General Electric, TJX Companies, National Amusements, The Enterprise, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Staples.
Massachusetts Startup Environment
While most entrepreneurs report that state regulations and taxes aren’t prohibitive or overwhelming, several small business owners said complying with regulations can be an unnecessary headache. Many have called for reform, but most added that the tax rates aren’t exorbitant, and the state and local governments are generally willing to work with entrepreneurs to help them navigate the legal framework.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Massachusetts, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Massachusetts state databases:
Tip: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
Restrictions on Massachusetts Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Massachusetts.
How to form an LLC in Massachusetts
How to Incorporate in Massachusetts
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Massachusetts is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Massachusetts
A Massachusetts DBA is filed with your city clerk’s office. You’ll want to contact your local City Clerk to find out exactly what forms to submit and what their submission process is. You can find the local county recorder’s office by searching “YOURCITY city clerk”.
Optional considerations when registering a Massachusetts business
Hire a professional Registered Agent. Many business owners list their home or business address on the Certificate or Articles of Organization. This can cause issues because it becomes public record (you’ll get lots of junk mail). A professional Registered Agent will provide their address and forward any important documents to you, this is also convenient if you have to move (you don’t have to file forms or pay fees, just update your address with your agent).
Ready to register a business in Massachusetts?
We specialize in registering businesses in Massachusetts.
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you may need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county depending on the type of service you offer. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We can help you identify the necessary forms to obtain your business license.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection. Click here to view our preferred provider of business insurance online.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Business Certificate is valid for 4 years at which point you’ll need to renew it with your town or city clerk.
LLC: Massachusetts LLCs are required to file an annual report every year on or before the anniversary date of the filing of the original Certificate of Organization. The filing fee is $520.
Corporation: Corporations in Massachusetts must file an annual report each year within two and a half months of the close of the corporation’s fiscal year end. The filing fee is $125 by mail and $100 for online filing.
Ready to start a business in Massachusetts?
Corporations Division (for Corporation and LLC filings)
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108
Massachusetts Taxation Department
Massachusetts Labor and Employment Department
Massachusetts Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA)
2. SCORE Massachusetts
3. Massachusetts Legal Statutes
4. Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce
6. Angel.co Massachusetts Startups
7. Massachusetts Business News
10. Massachusetts Green Business
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