Guide To Starting Your Company In Singapore & The Expected Costs


If you’re planning to set up a company in Singapore, you’ll need to be prepared with a budget. You don’t want any surprise expense sneaking up on you and messing with your plans.

Because here’s the thing:

You’ll probably need a business loan to cover your start company’s costs. To increase your approval chances, you need to show your future financial partner that you have the discipline and motivation required from the head of any company.

You can start on the right foot by drafting a thorough plan.

There is a difference between good and bad business debt. Good business debts will add value to your entity in the long run.

And as any entrepreneur knows, you can’t have a plan without the financial details. Luckily you’re on the right page; the guide below breaks down all the steps of starting a company in Singapore and the associated costs, from ACRA to your first-year expenses.

1. Start Company Registration


The first step of creating a company in Singapore – or anywhere in the world – is registering that business. For Singapore, the entity handling all of these company registrations is called ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority).

The items you’ll need to consider are, according to data from EDB:

Name registration: $15

Business entity registration: $100

Agency package: $300 – $1,000

Licenses: depends on your sector


You can opt for self-registration, which is very easy to do because the Singapore government has an intuitive platform you can access here. The first step is selecting the type of company you want to register:

– Sole proprietorship

– Partnership

– Private limited

– Limited Liability Partnership

– And so forth

Next, you’ll need to fill in the company’s name and address, plus the address where you, the owner, are staying. As you’ve probably noticed, registering your start company with ACRA online by yourself is very affordable. Up till now, you only have to pay $115 total for self-registration.

But that brings us to the next point:


Applying for a business license is easy because the government’s GoBusiness licensing website is also very intuitive. All you have to do is fill in the right keyword to obtain your license.

Let’s say your start company is in the food processing business. After selecting the license(s) that fit this industry, the portal will take you through the following steps:

– Add general information

– Provide application details

– Upload the needed documents

– Review and submit (payment may apply)

– Acknowledgement

The costs depend on the industry and the type of license you need. For our example above, the current prices are:

Other Processed Food Small (total floor area < 200m2)$180.00
Other Processed Food Medium (total floor area >= 200m2 and < 750m2)$360.00
Other Processed Food Large (total floor area >= 750m2)$600.00


Of course, if you don’t want to deal with all the paperwork by yourself, you can always hire an agency to handle the bureaucracy. Besides, agencies will help you with extra services, like creating a virtual address.

Warning: Prepare your budget accordingly. Agencies in Singapore charge anywhere from $300 to $1,000 and more for start company registration. For companies who need extra financing, they can apply for a business loan here.

Alternatively, you can read more about the businesses we have financed. Some are dermatology clinics, eCommerce / blogshops, tuition centres, pubs / cafes and more.


2. Business Financing


Now comes the exciting part: getting money to fund your business. There are three main ways to do that, which we’ll discuss below:


Bootstrapping means using your own money to fund that business, such as:

– Your savings

Getting a credit

– Your company’s revenues

The advantage of bootstrapping is that you don’t depend on anyone and keep all the profits.


If you don’t have enough savings or can’t count on your startup’s future revenues, you can partner with an investor. This option works much like a loan, but instead of repaying the investor in installments, you’ll repay them with company shares or dividends.

So on the upside, you won’t have to cut those installments from your revenue, but the downside is you’ll have to trade part of your company.

Business Loans

Business loans ensure you’re keeping your company’s reins so that you won’t have to answer to anyone. You can apply for a:

– Government loan: you want to access more funds and with the best conditions. On the downside, you may not qualify.

– Bank loan: low-interest rates and convenient installments. However, start companies that haven’t yet proven to be low-risk may not be accepted.

– MPM Capital: MPM Capital is a business consultancy firm that is based in Singapore. Made up of a group of experienced professionals, we aim to assist SMEs achieve their business goals. We offer fast business loans to get out of tricky situations. Apply now or read more about us here.


3. Set Up Your Company


Setting up your company includes the following costs:

Rent Advance Payment

Renting your business premises will cost you:

– 1-2 months’ deposit

– The first month’s rest

Let’s say your rent is $4,000/month. In this case, you’ll have to prepare at least $12,000 for the advance payment when signing the lease.


Regular renovation for a start company includes furbishing, wall painting, building partitions and purchasing necessary office equipment.

The renovation costs depend on how much work you need to do. If you’re only painting a small 4-people office, you can get away with a four-figure sum. Conversely, renovating a themed bar will require a five or even six-figure sum.

Business Insurance

Getting business insurance is an excellent idea for any start company. You need to think about protecting your company and your employees well ahead of anything terrible happening.

Even if you don’t think you need insurance now, your landlord may require it to approve your lease.

Luckily, business insurance doesn’t cost that much. If you’re getting a standard general liability package, you’ll only pay a three-figure sum per year.

Recruitment Costs

Recruiting the right employees isn’t cheap. If you’re getting people for senior positions, you’ll have to budget about 20% of their yearly salary. Luckily, recruitment costs for junior and entry-level staff cost much less.


4. Start Company Operation Costs



“Overheads” is a general term that includes all costs that keep your business running, such as:

– Paying your employees’ salaries

– Rent

– Utility bills

– Renting any equipment

These costs depend on factors like:

– The size of the space you’re renting

– Location

Number of employees

– Industry

So, if your company is located in the far-east and you’re only renting a small office for a few people working on their laptops, you can expect to pay a five-figure sum. Conversely, a central-located company with more employees will require a 6-7-figure sum just for monthly overheads.

To cover rental costs urgently, business owners can consider MPM Capital’s business financing solution.

Marketing Costs

Marketing is the engine that keeps your business afloat. Other than having a good product, you will need good marketing campaigns to introduce them to the public. These costs depend on the type of business you’re running and the marketing campaigns you’re executing.

For example, an user-generated content campaign usually costs six times less than a traditional advertising campaign. However, most companies will choose a blend of conventional advertising, social media marketing, and influencer marketing.

In this case, your marketing campaign will cost 8-10% of the expected revenues.


A good accountant is priceless. Not only do they spare you the hard work of doing taxes, but they also help you see how well your company is faring. As such, you can take charge and adjust your business strategy at the right time.

Basically, an expert accountant will help save your company from failing. However, be prepared with a four-figure sum depending on your company’s size and needs.

However, business owners can adopt an asset light business model. They can outsource the accounting works or transfer the jobs to those who are more experienced, generating cost savings. 


Practical Example: How Much Is The Annual Cost Of Running Your Business?


Here’s a practical simulation using the Business Cost Calculator by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Your Company’s Details:
Industry:Health Care Equipment
Type of business:Start-up
Number of employees:4
Total first year expenses:$561,300 – $862,500
Talent:$446,300 – $657,100/year (cost of staff with 8 to 10 years of relevant experience)
Office space:$24,000 – $67,200/year (cost of renting a flexible office space in the central business district)
Services:$1,400 – $5,800/year
One-time expense:$89,600 – $132,400 (cost of incorporation, company secretarial, accounting and taxation, and recruitment services)

You can also get a more precise breakdown of these expenses. For instance, you can select the job category, title, and years of experience for each of the four staff members. You can also choose the type of office and location, as well as the services offered.

So, let’s say you hire staff with less experience and you’re getting a co-working space in the city fringe. At this point, your first year’s operation costs would be at least:

– $160,000 for the four employees’ salaries

– $30,000 for the space

– $5,800 annual services

– $8,300 initial one-off expenses

That sum can seem like too much to handle, but don’t despair. MPM Capital is here to help with the most proactive solutions, affordable business fundings, and expert agents. We have worked with various industries over the years.

Click here for a loan of up to $2 million so that your start company can flourish unhindered.



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