Startup founders have a host of issues to work out throughout the life of their startup. In the early days, when the budget is tight, one of the first questions they may ask is, “what are common legal expenses for startups?” The answer to this question will vary.
What Are Common Legal Expenses For Startups?
– Entity Incorporation & Qualification. Pricing varies by state and legal entity choice. The fee to incorporate in Delaware (typically the most popular choice for startups) is $90. Registered Agent Services if you incorporate in a state other than your home state; ranges from $50-$120 per year. Applying to do business in other states; varies by state.
– Corporate Entity Maintenence. Drafting the internal corporate documents that establish how the entity works, including by-laws/operating agreements, equity plans, and director/member resolutions. Many attorneys bill by the hour; some offer flat fee startup packages which include these documents.
– Business Contracts. International and external business contracts, including employment/independent contractor agreements, works made for hire, NDAs, technology contracts, other B2B, or B2C agreements. Pricing typically depends on the complexity of the agreements; some may be included in the aforementioned flat fee packages. This common legal expense for startups probably fluctuates the most depending on need.
– IP Protection. Applying for the proper intellectual property protections, including trademarks for your brand/products/services, copyrighting your creative works, and patenting inventions.
Many trademark practitioners will offer a flat fee trademark package to help you start and protect your brand.
In sum, the common legal expenses for startups will vary depending on a host of items including the state of incorporation, the entity they choose, the types of business contracts they need, and the type of intellectual property protection that protects their brand/goods/services best.