How to Start a Business in Durham, NC – Useful Durham Facts 2023

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Start a Business in Durham, NC: When it comes to starting a business, entrepreneurs must look for the place with the most potential. Whether a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, having a business in Durham, NC, is a plus for any entrepreneur. In general, setting up any form of business in North Carolina, US, is the initial step to building an international brand.

Entrepreneurs across the globe are interested in starting and expanding their businesses in Durham, NC. With an urban population of 391371 (estimate), the city has a lot to offer to all emerging entrepreneurs. The main reason for this is the economic environment and flexibility of the business structure in North Carolina. Like most places in the US, Durham, NC also offers business structures for all types of entrepreneurs; no matter what business you want to do, there’s a perfect solution for you. If you want to start limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, or a sole proprietorship, Durham, NC has a proper business environment for all.

How to Start a Business in Durham, NC

In this article, you will read about how to start a business in Durham and why you should choose Durham to start and run your business. We recommend you check below the important facts about Durham, NC; these might help you.

Durham, NC Household Income Statistics

Durham Median household income61962 USD
Durham households with dual income earners56.4 %
Durham households $150K+ Income14.3 %
Durham households $100K+ Income29.4 %
Durham households $100-150K Income15.1 %
Durham households $75-100K+ Income12.7 %
Durham households $50-75K+ Income17.7 %
Durham households $35-50K+ Income13 %
Durham households $25-35K+ Income10 %

Durham, NC Education & Labor force Facts

Durham residents with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)26.7 %
Durham residents with at least a 4-year degree51.2 %
Durham residents with a graduate degree24.5 %
Durham residents with a high school diploma but no more16.3 %
Durham residents with less than high school education10.3 %
Durham residents with some college but no more22.2 %
Durham residents with a Bachelor’s degree or higher (STEM fields)53.6 %
Durham households that own (rather than rent) their residence51.6 %
Durham residents 16 and older in the labor force69 %
Durham residents unemployed4.7 %

Durham, NC Demographics

Durham residents aged 0-912.4 %
Durham residents aged 10-1912.2 %
Durham residents aged 20-2917.6 %
Durham residents aged 30-3916.9 %
Durham residents aged 40-4912.5 %
Durham residents aged 50-5911.2 %
Durham residents aged 60-699.9 %
Durham residents aged 70-794.6 %
Durham residents aged over 802.7 %
The average size of resident families in Durham, NC3.04
Estimated population per square kilometer in Durham, NC945
Durham, NC urban population (estimate)391371
Durham, NC municipal population (estimate)276341

Now that you know what makes Durham of North Carolina good for business, let’s get started with the exact steps on how to start a business in Durham.

How to Start a Business in Durham, NC

Starting a business in Durham, NC, needs planning, financial decisions, legal procedures, and a handful of other things. Be it a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC in North Carolina, you must go through the following steps. These steps are general steps. They are subject to change depending on the structure of your business.Generally, starting a Limited Liability Company is easy to form. Read our guide on how to start an LLC before you start your own business. Here are the steps to set up your business in Durham.

Step 0: Decide on What Business to Start

Decide on What Business to Start

This is the first thing you work on, the type of business you want to start in Durham. Depending on that, you need to make your business plan. Apart from the legal documentation and process, you must include the following points in your business plan,

  1. Through market research on demand trend
  2. Complete Budget plan – funding your business. If you’re planning to start an LLC, then take a look at the cost of LLC
  3. What competitors are doing
  4. SWOT Analysis – check what your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are
  5. Your targeted buyers

Once you have the entire plan with you, you can continue working on the legal structure of your business. LLCBuddy will guide you through the legal process of forming an LLC for your business. It’s very likely that you have already done this step 0, so that we won’t go deep into this step, let’s move to step 1.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure

Choose Your Business Structure

The very first step after you decide on what type of business you want to start is to choose what type of business structure you want to form. You can form an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or a partnership. Each type of structure has different rules and regulations. For example, if you want to start a North Carolina LLC, there are different types of tax and fee structures. An LLC formation is similar to forming a sole proprietorship. On the other hand, forming a corporation is much more complicated. The tax and fee structure is completely different in corporation formation.

Step 2: Name Your Business

Name Your Business

The next step in forming a business is to give it an appropriate name. Having a business name is not so easy task. You cannot pick a random name for your company. One has to follow proper naming guidelines before they name their company. Besides, before you settle a name, you must check if the name you are looking for is available to use. You can visit the official government site of North Carolina to do the North Carolina LLC name search before you pick the available name. Below are some of the naming rules you need to follow,

  1. You cannot name your business that has words or phrases like Bank, University, Government, or anything that can confuse people with a government sector. 
  2. If you are forming an LLC in North Carolina, then you must include words like “LLC,” “LC,” “LLC,” “Liability Company,” and “L.L.C.” If it is an LLP, then you must include “LLP” in your business name.
  3. The name should reflect the nature of your business. Any name that can confuse people should not be picked.
  4. You can check if the name of your company is available. Through the business name search process, you can search if the desired name is available for use or not.
  5. You can reserve your business name for a certain time before you form your business in Durham, NC by filing a name reservation application.

The above-mentioned points are basic naming rules that all businesses have to follow while naming their company. As mentioned above, these rules are subjected to change depending on the structure of the business.

Step 3: Get a Registered Agent

Get a Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is a person who receives all types of legal and official documents on behalf of the business. Whether a suit against your company or formation-related documents from the state, a North Carolina LLC Registered Agent is responsible for receiving these documents at his/her official address. In general, anyone who has the right to conduct business in Durham can be a registered agent. However, there are some requirements to becoming a registered agent.

  1. The person has to be 18+ years of age.
  2. Must be a citizen of the North Carolina
  3. Must have a physical street address in the North Carolina
  4. Must have legal rights to conduct business in the North Carolina

Anyone who fulfills the requirements can be a registered agent. Also, anyone from the company, your spouse, any relative, or yourself can be a registered agent. But, it is recommended that you hire a professional registered agent to look after your documentation. You can choose from the best LLC services that also offer registered agent for LLCs.

Step 4: Register Your Business

Register Your Business

The next step is to register your business under the Secretary of State, North Carolina. The Articles of Organization (or certificate of incorporation) of your company should be submitted online, by mail, in person, or by fax to the North Carolina SOS. You need to pay the state filing fee either by Credit Card or by check to the SOS while registering your business in the Durham, NC. Your North Carolina LLC articles of organization should have the following details about your business

  1. Company/Business name, address
  2. Registered Agent Name, address
  3. Member-managed or manager-managed (in case of LLC)
  4. Type of business

Depending on the type of business structure, you may have to add some more information to the formation document.

Step 5: Write the Operating Agreement

Write the Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that has all the structural information of your business. In most states, it is not mandatory to create an operating agreement. However, it is highly recommended to have one as an internal document. This document records information such as,

  1. About Business
  2. Members and management
  3. Capital contribution
  4. Profit Distribution
  5. Change of membership
  6. Dissolution

In future, if any member wants to leave the company or you want to dissolve the business, then the North Carolina operating agreement has everything recorded, from clauses to contributions.

Step 6: Obtain EIN

Obtain EIN

EIN or Employer Identification Number is required to file taxes, open a business bank account, and if your business has employees. EIN can be obtained from IRS. It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. However, EIN is different from SSN. It is solely used for business purposes, especially for general tax filing. You have to fill out the form and submit it to the IRS website. It does not cost you anything to obtain EIN.

Step 7: Get Business Bank Accounts

Get Business Bank Accounts

Once you obtain the EIN for your business, you are free to open a business account in the US. Having a US business bank account can ease your business transactions in Durham, NC. It increases your business credibility and liquidity. It will also be helpful for business loans.

Step 8: Create Your Business Website

Create Your Business Website

Business websites are as important as your business structure. It is necessary to have a catchy business website with all the information regarding your company. Along with the website, you need some more things. Things such as logos, business cards, business emails, domain names, and social media accounts are needed to promote your business. You can hire a professional business service to get all of these services under one roof.

Other Things to do After Starting Your Business

  1. Once your company is set in the Durham, North Carolina, you need to file your taxes and apply for licenses (if needed).
  2. Apart from the license and permits, you need to get insurance for your business. Such as General Liability Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation Insurance are some of the insurances you need to get if you are about to start an LLC.

Important Durham Stats for Starting a Business

Before you start a business in Durham, it is required that you know some facts about the city. Following are some of the stats to consider before starting a business.

Education & Employment

Durham has a diverse population that comes from various educational backgrounds. There are students who haven’t finished their high-school education, whereas there are people who are more than just college graduates. Check the table (Education & Labor Force) for detailed data. From the data, it is clear that the city has enough educated and skilled people who can contribute to the labor force.


As we talk about the urban population density, the young population percentage in the city is approximately 17.6 (people in their 20s) and 16.9 (people in their 30s). This means that having any business that is new and tech-based might be profitable. The median age of the population in the city is 34.1. On the contrary, if anyone wants to start a business that is related to any old-age service, such as caregiver, primary old-age support, or something of a similar sort, then Durham has approximately 2.7 (people in their 80s and above) percent of old people. Check out the table (Demography) above for more information.

Real Estate

Another important factor to mention about Durham is the home value of owned properties. The average value of owned houses is 242669. Also, the percentage of people living in their own houses is 51.6. This reflects the real estate market of the city. For a metropolitan city, this is a considerable number.


It is inevitable that living in a big city is different from living in a town or a comparatively smaller city. It directly affects lifestyle and health. It is obvious that having health insurance is important, no matter which city or region you are residing in. But there are people in Durham who still do not have health insurance. The rate of people not having health insurance is 12.3. This depicts the lifestyle and overall health demography of Durham. As you plan to start your business in this city, you must consider this stat as well.

Income & Lifestyle

The income pattern of the people in this city is given in the table (Income) above. In Durham, a part of the population has a dual family income that reflects a better standard of living. As in, people have more than one source of income. The table above shows the income percentage of various slabs.

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Reasons to Start a Business in Durham

Durham offers a bunch of business-friendly services for entrepreneurs. A proper business environment, skilled labor, tax advances, deductions, and much more are awaiting if you are interested in starting your business in Durham. Here are some of the reasons,

Stable Economic Growth

Durham or any other city in North Carolina has stable economic growth and an environment that helps any business to grow successfully. The economic structure of North Carolina shows not only balanced but also a sustainable condition of economic growth, which in turn triggers the businesses to flourish in the state.

Minimize Personal Liabilities of the Entrepreneur

If you’re considering starting an LLC in Durham, then it will be your best choice. An LLC protects your personal assets and minimizes your personal liabilities. This is one of the many reasons why having an LLC in Durham is a wise choice. Also, if you are opting for an LLC, the tax deductions will be more than having a corporation.

Federal and State Tax Relaxation

There is a series of federal taxes that an entrepreneur has to pay when operating a business in the US. Depending on the state your company is located in, the state taxes are being imposed. For an LLC, both of these taxes are much lower compared to other business structures. Along with tax impositions, some tax deductions (state-wise) lower the filing fees and other government charges. Check out the North Carolina LLC tax structure to know more about the tax structures for LLCs in the state.

Government Incentives for Entrepreneurs

Federal and state governments in the US ensure that entrepreneurs get a proper business environment in the state or city they are operating their business. The government provides a few incentives to the business holders in North Carolina or any other state. That means if you are operating any business in Durham, then North Carolina State will provide an incentive for creating jobs, contributing to the state’s GDP, and/or balancing the state’s tax structure.

Low Corporate and Other Business Taxes

Corporations and other business structures (except for an LLC) are liable to pay a corporate tax in North Carolina. Also, there is a Sales Tax that all businesses, including LLCs, have to pay. However, the rate of taxes is very low. Besides, as the businesses receive incentives, the tax burden gets lower.

Skilled Labour & Quality Manpower

In Durham, it is easy to hire employees for your business. They are not only skilled but also well-educated to help your business grow. As mentioned above, the 69 is the percentage of labour participation. Hence, it is clear that having a business in Durham will make a lot of difference to the existing labor force.

Demand for New Market and Industry

In Durham, North Carolina, there is an uprising demand for new industries and new markets. Entrepreneurs who are willing to start a business in any of the cities of any state are given enough opportunities to stay in business. Business licensing, tax deductions, incentives, and relaxation of business taxes are some of the benefits that encourage start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in Durham.

If we follow the US Data, the median value of commute time for the residents to their work is approximately 22.8. If you are starting a business here, you must keep in mind that commutation can be a point to consider.

Intellectual Property Protection

The US government receives roughly more than 1 million applications for IPR every year. The federal government makes sure that there is no infringement of any patent or property rights. It does not matter which city in which state you are running your business. The rule of Intellectual Property Protection is the same for all. If you have a foreign business in the US, then you might get more benefits under the IPR act.

Other Benefits

Durham (aka ) is ranked at 2 in terms of importance. Apart from the above mentioned reasons, there are some other benefits that businesses enjoy in Durham. For example, technological advancement, a stable political environment, renewable resources, sustainable non-renewable resources, and some more benefits make things easier for entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses. According to US Data, the percentage of young people in Durham is 16.9. Hence, it would be great to start a business that is related to tech here as you might get a good number of clients.

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Best Time To Start Business In Durham North Carolina

WalletHub recently published a list of the best cities to start a business in the U.S., and North Carolina made the top ten. WalletHub’s researchers surveyed the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas and ranked them based on a variety of factors that will help a new business to succeed. These factors included startup costs, business environment, and investor opportunities.

WalletHub ranked Raleigh, North Carolina as the seventh best city to start a business. It also ranked Durham as the fourth best. Raleigh fell in the rankings from last year, but Durham matched the feat.

In addition to affordability, Durham ranked high in the study’s analysis of higher education assets and access to resources. The city is home to the Durham School of the Arts, which is a secondary magnet school located in downtown Durham. The school houses 1,890 students and offers a variety of programs and services to help students grow and succeed. In addition, the city is home to Duke University, one of the top research universities in the country.

The study also found that Durham ranks well in the study’s number of startups per capita. Durham also finished high in the WalletHub’s study of business environment. Durham ranked fifth for the number of angel investors per capita. Those angels, who are wealthy individuals, typically invest in startups in their early stages. They are also willing to put up large amounts of capital.

WalletHub’s list of the top ten largest cities for starting a business also includes Charlotte, NC. Charlotte ranks sixth in the study’s analysis of business environment. Charlotte also ranked ninth for growth of small businesses. This is an impressive feat given the number of startup businesses in the Charlotte metro area. It also makes Charlotte one of the best places to start a business in the country.

Raleigh and Durham also tied for the number of startups per capita. Raleigh also ranked high in the study’s analysis of higher education assets and access to resources. The city’s population is a good mix of young people and retirees, with 54.8% of the population between the ages of 25 and 54. Raleigh also finished in the top ten for the best tax climate. This factor combines property taxes, sales taxes, and unemployment insurance taxes.

In addition to Raleigh and Durham’s rankings, WalletHub found that North Carolina was ranked the ninth best state to start a business in July 2021. This is based on a variety of factors, including a low cost of living, attractive taxation, and a competitive labor market. Despite the fact that North Carolina’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average, it is still well below the national average.

Although WalletHub did not mention it in its ranking, North Carolina is also one of the top five states in the country in terms of innovation. The state ranks eighth in the study’s analysis of startup costs, and seventh for the number of startups per capita.

FAQ About Durham, NC

How do I get funding for a business idea in Durham, NC?

To get capital for a company proposal in Durham, NC, one must first investigate the available options. A list of financing sources has been produced by the Durham Chamber of Commerce. These resources include loans, crowdsourcing, and grants, among others. A technique to raise money for a business concept is via crowdfunding.

What business can I start with $1000 in Durham, NC?

In Durham, NC, $1000 might be used to launch a service-based firm that provides information about current events to customers. A daily email with the top five events taking place in the city may be a service you give.

What business can make you rich in Durham, NC?

A well-known city is Durham, NC. Its population is expanding, and its economy is thriving. In light of this, launching a firm would ultimately be lucrative. Start a food or restaurant company on any of Durham, NC’s congested roadways if you want to become a wealthy entrepreneur.

How long does an LLC last in Durham, NC?

An LLC in Durham, NC is effective for as long as you keep it up and keep it running. To avoid having their Durham, NC LLC terminated, they must renew it on time.

Is Durham, NC a good place to start a business?

Durham is a fantastic location to launch a company. Durham, NC is a fantastic city to launch a company because of its inexpensive cost of living and excellent standard of living. This is particularly true if you wish to be a part of Durham, NC’s vibrant and expanding community.

Is Durham, NC good for startups?

Durham, NC, is a fantastic location if you’re trying to launch a business. Not to mention the tax advantages, there are a ton of resources available for entrepreneurs. Additionally, there are several excellent networking chances for business owners.

How much does it cost to license a business in Durham, NC?

You must get a business license if you want to open a business in Durham, NC. The price to license a company in Durham, NC varies according on the kind of business you’re beginning and how big it is.

How many small businesses are in Durham, NC?

One of the well-known cities in North Carolina is Durham. Small enterprises and creative individuals abound in this area. Although Durham is home to many different kinds of small enterprises, food trucks are by far the most well-liked.

How do I start a LLC in Durham, NC?

It is simple to form an LLC in Durham, NC, by visiting the website of the North Carolina Secretary of State. Prior to applying for your tax ID number and opening a bank account, you must first register your business name with the state.

How do you make money with an LLC in Durham, NC?

An LLC in Durham, NC, may generate income. Selling products to other companies is one option. Offering services to other companies is an additional strategy. For instance, you may create a website for them if you own a website-building service. A consultation service is another option.

Is moving to Durham, NC a good idea?

It’s not a terrible idea to relocate to Durham, NC. Durham offers tremendous startup potential and a decent level of life. Durham, NC is a business-friendly city with a lot to offer. Moving to Durham is therefore not a terrible decision.

What requirements does Durham, NC require to start a business?

To start a business in Durham, NC you need to meet some requirements. First, you must have a right to conduct business in Durham, NC. Besides, you need to obtain a general business license to conduct business in Durham, NC.

How much does it cost to create an LLC in Durham, NC?

The price of forming an LLC in Durham, NC depends on a number of variables. The quantity of members, the nature of the company, and the yearly fees may all have a role. In Durham, NC, an LLC typically costs $125.

What is the first thing you should do when starting a business in Durham, NC?

Creating a business strategy need to be your first priority when establishing a new company in Durham, NC. The process of starting a company is much simpler if you have a business plan. You should start by taking care of it before starting a company.

Can I start my own business with no money in Durham, NC?

The kind of company you wish to launch will determine this. You may have to pay government fees, licensing fees, and other state taxes in Durham, NC before you can open your company there.

Do you have to renew LLC Every year in Durham, NC?

In Durham, NC, it is wise to timely renew your LLC. Check the status of your LLC and learn when it has to be renewed by visiting the website of the North Carolina Secretary of State. You may renew your LLC on the internet if it needs to be updated.

Is LLC free in Durham, NC?

Unfortunately, in Durham, NC, LLCs cannot be created for nothing. To the North Carolina Secretary of State, you must pay a state filing fee. As a result, you may save money by acting as your own registered agent.

What is required to run a business in Durham, NC?

You need a few things in Durham, NC, if you want to operate a company. Develop a strong business strategy first. Then, find out who your customers are and what your rivals are doing. After finishing your research, register your firm with the state and launch it.

Is Durham, NC LLC friendly?

Yes, Durham, NC is a city that welcomes LLCs. There are several advantages to forming an LLC in Durham, NC. In Durham, NC, for instance, aspiring business owners may take advantage of tax breaks, loans, and other incentives.

How do you set up an LLC in Durham, NC yourself?

Choosing the right sort of LLC to form is the first step if you want to create an LLC on your own in Durham, NC. The Formation paperwork must be submitted to the Secretary of State if you wish to create a single-member LLC.

Does Durham, NC have income tax?

In Durham, NC, you won’t have to worry about company income taxes if you establish an LLC. On your LLC revenue, you only need to pay federal income tax and, if applicable, state income tax.

Do businesses pay taxes in Durham, NC?

Yes, some companies in Durham, NC, must pay taxes. You may be required to pay taxes to both the state and the federal government, depending on the nature of your firm. Depending on the kind of company you run.

What are the benefits of a LLC in Durham, NC?

In Durham, NC, pass-through taxes is the main benefit of owning an LLC. LLCs do not pay any corporate income tax. The income of the members is subject to personal income tax. Taxes for the members won’t be due if the LLC doesn’t generate any money.

What can I do with an LLC in Durham, NC?

You are able to launch any company in Durham, NC, if you have an LLC. Create a solid marketing strategy, secure funding for your startup, and manage your business in Durham, NC.

What is Durham, NC most known for?

Saying what Durham, NC is most known for is a little tricky. Durham is a well-known city that provides a variety of amenities, including tourist attractions, natural beauty, art, culture, diversity, and, of course, a thriving economy. This city offers a lot to explore.

How much does it cost to start a small business in Durham, NC?

The cost to start a small business in Durham, NC varies depending on the type of business and the specific needs. If you’re forming an LLC, the most typical startup expense for a small company in Durham, NC, is $125.

How many unicorns are in Durham, NC?

There are now more than a thousand unicorn enterprises in existence. Unicorns may be seen in Durham, NC as well. However, in comparison to other cities, the figure is mediocrely excellent.

How long does it take to register a business in Durham, NC?

Durham, NC is a great place to start a business. You can register a business in Durham in about a day. You’ll need to provide your business name, address, and contact information. You’ll also need to provide information about the company’s officers, directors, and members.

How can I make money from home in Durham, NC?

In Durham, NC, there are several opportunities to earn money online. Freelance writing, graphic design, and web development are all options for you. As a transcriber, interpreter, or virtual assistant, you may also work from home. You may also work from home baking or teach online.

What is needed to sell in Durham, NC?

You need to have a few things if you wish to sell your goods in Durham, NC. Select the item you wish to sell first. Second, understand who your target customers are. Promote your goods to enhance sales in Durham, NC.

What is a livable salary in Durham, NC?

An amount of $40,000-$70,000 would be a livable salary in Durham, NC. The standard of living in this city is not as high as people think. So, if you want to survive in this city, then at least $40,000 should be your income.

What are 3 disadvantages of an LLC in Durham, NC?

There are many benefits to having an LLC in Durham, NC, but there are also drawbacks. First, LLC owners must pay both self-employment tax and income tax. Second, in certain states, the termination of an LLC occurs upon the death of any member. Last but not least, LLCs are more complicated than sole proprietorships.

How much is business insurance in Durham, NC?

The sort of business you have, the size of your organization, and the nature of the business all affect how much business insurance in Durham, NC will cost you. A small business with less than 10 workers, for instance, can spend as low as $1,000 year for general insurance.

What does a registered agent do for a new company in Durham, NC?

All of your paperwork will be received on your behalf by a registered agent for your business in Durham, NC. The registered agent must receive all official, legal, and other papers at their office in Durham, NC. You are permitted to act as your own registered agent.

What legal documents do I need to start a business in Durham, NC?

A general business license is required to start a business in Durham, NC. Durham may have various standards and regulations, depending on the kind of company. To find out the requirements for business licenses in Durham, NC, contact the local authorities.

In Conclusion

Starting a business in Durham is not only easy but also profitable. A large portion of the US and even people from other countries are registering their business in the US for intercontinental brand building. Besides, North Carolina has a sustainable economic atmosphere that is enough to encourage newbies to start and run their businesses in Durham, NC.

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