How to Start a Business in Maine


Operating a small business in Maine is an exciting and rewarding experience. You can take advantage of the state’s low-cost and business-friendly environment to start, run, or expand your own company. If you’re considering starting a small business in Maine, you might be wondering how to get started. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps for opening any type of small business here in Pine Tree State!

Find a Business Idea

In order to start a business in Maine, you need to find an idea and then develop a plan for making money with it. There are many factors that go into this process. You’ll need to think about what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, as well as whether or not there’s a demand for the service/product that you want to offer. It will also help if your product or service has some element of uniqueness or scalability.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a detailed account of your company and how it will operate. It’s an essential part of starting a new business because it guides every step you take, from finding funding to hiring employees, as well as making sure you hit all the right milestones along the way.

While there are many elements to consider when writing your plan, we’ll focus on the most important parts—including:

  • Describing your business products or services.
  • Outlining your market and competition.
  • Explaining how you’ll generate revenue through sales or another means (such as advertising).
  • Outlining financial projections over time to show potential investors that they can expect returns on their investments in a timely fashion.

Form a Business Entity

It’s important to choose an entity (or business structure) that is right for your needs. Most businesses are operated as sole proprietorships or partnerships, but you may also consider starting a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation.

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The EIN is a business’s social security number, and you need to have one before you can open a bank account for your new company. However, obtaining an EIN online is fairly easy. You can also get an EIN over the phone or by mail.

If you’re starting a new business with employees, however, things get more complicated. Your company will need to pay federal unemployment insurance tax (FUTA) if:

  • You paid wages totaling $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter during 2018
  • You paid wages totaling $1,000 or more in any year beginning after December 31, 2017

Open a Business Bank Account

A business bank account is an account that you open with a bank or credit union and use to deposit funds from your business. Business bank accounts offer several advantages over personal checking accounts, including:

  • Lower fees and lower minimum balance requirements
  • Higher interest rates
  • Easier access to cash

Get Tax Identifications and Permits

  • Sales tax permit: If your business will be selling products or services in Maine, you’ll need to apply for a sales tax permit. You can do this online at the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services website.
  • Business license: Every business operating in Maine must have a license to operate legally. Your city or town may issue this type of license, so check with them first before applying online via the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Resale certificate: If you’re reselling goods purchased from another retailer, such as eBay or Amazon Marketplace, you’ll need to get a resale certificate from the state’s Bureau of Revenue Services (BRS). They require that you provide some paperwork but it’s not too difficult; just contact them via email for more information about filling out the form and submitting it along with payment for your $15 fee.
  • Food handler’s permit: One final piece of paperwork that all food service workers in Maine need is their Food Handler Certificate from the BRS-Food Protection Program (FPP). This certifies that they understand safe handling practices when preparing food for others and may be required by certain employers such as restaurants or schools where students prepare their own meals

Understand Your Operating Requirements

Before you begin to establish your business, it’s important to understand the laws that govern it. You may need to register with the state or federal government and/or meet certain regulations to ensure that your business operates in an ethical manner.

For example, if your business involves selling food products, you will need to follow local health codes as well as any applicable state and federal laws regarding sanitation standards. If you are providing a service rather than tangible goods (such as accounting), then there may be additional regulations regarding licensing or certification requirements for employees who provide said services.


The rules and regulations that apply to your business will vary depending on its legal status. If you are just starting out, it’s important to understand what requirements must be met in order for your business to be considered legitimate by state or federal governments.


Starting a business in Maine is a great way to make extra money and support your family. You can start by finding an idea for a product or service that people will want, then write a plan for how you’ll run it. Once you have all of these pieces together, you can open up shop as soon as possible!

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