Setting Up Shop: 10 Cheapest Cities to Start Your Business
Updated: 5.3.16 Entertainment

Setting Up Shop: 10 Cheapest Cities to Start Your Business

By: Lindsey Carman

Opening a business takes a lot of hard work, like finding the right location, eyeing your competition, and crunching some numbers. With this in mind, launching your business in an affordable city is a great way to avoid swimming in debt until your company starts becoming profitable.

We searched near and far to find the 10 cheapest cities to start your business in the U.S. After comparing cheap utility bills, low costs of goods and service fees, and unique business opportunities, we’ve found that these cities are some of the most cost-effective places to launch your business.

Notes on the data used: The statistics below are based on a simple numerical scale that shows how relatively expensive or affordable a city is compared to others in the U.S. The number ‘100’ represents the average cost of each expense. For example, an average utilities expense higher than 100 is considered more expensive, whereas any number below is considered more affordable.

10. Dothan, Alabama

Dothan, a progressive city in Alabama, is a cost-effective town to start your business. With affordable housing, low property taxes, and a quaint location, Dothan serves as a great place for your business to thrive.

Dothan Opera House

Applying for a business license in Dothan is relatively easy, too. This sleepy little town is always seeking new businesses to plant their roots, so you should consider opening up shop in Dothan.

UtilitiesCosts of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
79.797.9Affordable Housing and Low Property Taxes

With opportunities for growth and low operational costs, discover how Dothan’s affordability and easy application process will boost your business.

9. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Once the capital of Tennessee, Murfreesboro is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., making this place great for launching your business. From affordable housing to a booming economy, this city is one of the cheapest cities to set up shop.

Street in Murfreesboro

To get your business off the ground, the City of Murfreesboro provides free resources to learn more about business location services, permits, and other getting-started requirements. You’ll find many helpful tips on how to launch your business from this site.

UtilitiesCosts of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
8196.2Quality Housing and Employment Opportunities

With a growing number of residents and tourists alike, Murfreesboro is a great option for opening your new business. You’ll quickly find the right audience in this city.

8. Martinsburg, West Virginia

This cozy town, situated in West Virginia, offers potential opportunities for new businesses. With its neighborly atmosphere and charm, businesses seeking a local audience will flourish in Martinsburg.

Street in Martinsburg

Martinsburg City Council works closely with businesses and industries to foster economic growth and new development, which makes the process of opening a business flow more smoothly.

UtilitiesCosts of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
85.990.6Economic Re-Development & Revitalization Projects

With Martinsburg’s small-town charm and booming economy, launching your business here is a smart decision. See why Martinsburg is one of the cheapest cities to launch your business when you visit.

7. Waco, Texas

Waco, a popular Texan city, offers venturing business owners a fresh start for a relatively low price. With many economic opportunities at hand, as well as having a vibrant community, Waco is a great city for starting a business.

Skyview of Waco, Texas

Like other cities on this list, the City of Waco Texas provides helpful resources and information packets that lay out all the requirements of opening a business in this city. New companies are welcome in this city, especially ones that fill a niche in a specific industry.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
85.590.9Diverse Cultures & Economic Opportunities

Moving to Waco is a smart move for opening your business because of the city’s unique diversity and cultural background. Get ready to love this Texan city and attract a variety of customers.

6. Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, a prosperous and underestimated city in North Dakota, offers new businesses an affordable place to start their companies in the northern part of the U.S. Don’t let this deceptively small town fool you — there’s a lively community here that’s waiting to try out your business.

city street in Fargo, North Dakota

If you’re new to the area and interested in setting up shop, check out the City of Fargo’s helpful resources and forms before you get started. The Chamber of Commerce is happy to get your new business off the ground.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
78.796.2Diverse Community & Booming Economy

With a steady economic rise and new opportunities, Fargo welcomes businesses that’ll fill a niche in the community and grow its unique culture.

5. Ardmore, Oklahoma

With a strong vision for its community, Ardmore is dedicated to expanding its economy with new businesses. This growing city is one of the most prosperous towns in Oklahoma and is a great place to launch your business.

building in Ardmore

The City of Ardmore offers a plethora of resources for new and older businesses alike to learn more about the laws, permits, and inspections. Almost all the business information you need is right at your fingertips on this site.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
84.889.8Booming Tourism & Economic Growth

If you’re seeking a charming, close-knit town, then consider opening your business in Ardmore. The city is always seeking more economic growth, and your business might be a great fit for this town.

4. Thomasville, North Carolina

Thomasville, a small yet thriving town in North Carolina, is one of the cheapest cities to start your business. From affordable housing to steady business development, this city offers new owners the opportunity to launch their businesses at a cost-effective price.

civic center in Thomasville

If you’re seeking a southern city with a laidback atmosphere, Thomasville is a great place to consider. Mom-and-pop shops and big-box retailers both thrive from loyal customers, and your business can benefit from this local audience.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
80.793.5Business Development & Affordable Housing

Once you’ve visited this town, you’ll see why there are so many opportunities here. Thomasville may be small, but this town’s economic development is slowly picking up steam, which will benefit your business.

3. Lubbock, Texas

Home to the slogan “This is West Texas,” Lubbock is one of the most charming and affordable cities in Texas. With a diverse community, Lubbock gives business owners the chance to establish their roots here and gain a loyal audience.

city overview of Lubbock, Texas

Visiting the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance website will give you a better idea of the city’s industry strengths, economic data charts, and local workforce news. Looking over the laws and permits will help you get started, too.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
74.898.3Booming Economy & Thriving Community

Unlike bigger cities in this state, Lubbock gives you the best of both worlds: having a local audience and that authentic Texan culture. Feel free to visit Lubbock to see if this is the right city for your business.

2. Amarillo, Texas

Known as the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is a city filled with a thriving economy, tight-knit community, and diverse heritage. From the skyline to local shops, there’s room for new businesses to grow in this city.

city overview of Amarillo

If you’re looking for Amarillo’s business codes and laws, check out the City of Amarillo’s construction resources to see what you need. You’ll have access to all the permits and laws you should know about before starting your business.

UtilitiesCosts of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
80.490.8Diverse Heritage & Business Opportunities

From different industries to growth opportunities, Amarillo is one of the cheapest cities to launch your business in the U.S. Visit this town to see if it’s the right place for you.

1. Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, is another underestimated city filled with business opportunities. From a steady economy to bustling community, Bismarck is one of the best and cheapest cities to start your business.

capitol building in Bismarck

For business owners interested in opening up shop here, the City of Bismarck offers resources for building permits, licenses, and other essential information online. You’ll be pretty informed about what is and isn’t required for opening a business.

UtilitiesCost of Goods & Service FeesOther Low-Cost Perks
70.199.4Booming Tourism & Business Development

In this northern city, Bismarck has become an affordable and great place to plant a business. With a rising growth of residents and tourists, you’ll see why your business will succeed in this hometown-like atmosphere.

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