The costs of business can be roughly categorised into one-off and ongoing costs. For instance, a freelancer setting up for the first time is likely to have many more one-off costs than someone in their sixth year of business.
You know this already, but it’s worth saying: many one-off costs are not truly one-offs – laptops need replacing periodically, office equipment might need to be upgraded, etc.
It’s worth knowing that average
sole trader expenses are around £5,000 and 70% declare expenses under £10,000. It’s safe to say these things add up.
The below lists are incomplete and not sector-specific, so your mileway will vary.
- Stationary (pens, journals, notebooks, paper)
- Office equipment (e.g. printer)
- Desk (< £1,000 for a standing desk)
- Chair (< £1,000 for a top-level ergonomic chair)
- Work phone (pro tip: use an old one)
- Website (if hiring a professional)
- Branding (if hiring a professional)
- Office rent
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance (£10–15/month, North America cover might add £50/month)
- Contents insurance
- Subscriptions to professional groups (likely to be inexpensive individually, but they add up)
- Website domain name + hosting (probably £100-ish per year)
- Website subscription (e.g. Squarespace, might be £10–30/month)
- Other marketing: business cards, ads, other subscriptions
- Mailing list provider (many are free until 1,000 subscribers)
- Software subscriptions: will vary but could total anything between £50–£250/month depending on what you do and need
- Accountant: starts at about £150 per year
The Freelance Pricing Guide
The Work Notes Freelance Pricing Guide has helped 400 freelancers set rates than work for them.