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Article: How Much Does It Cost To Start A Graphic Design Business

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Graphic Design Business

The cost to build a graphic design business could vary in a mixture of circumstances.
Check our guide to learn about all the notable expenses!

The overall cost of a graphic design business is starting from $1500 to $15,000. That cost includes the expense of hardware(s), software(s), office rental, utility, and the salaries of any employee(s) that assist you with this business. Some expenses are not necessary if you are on circumstances that do not require you to spend.

In some cases, the costs can be much less than the average of $1500. You can quickly start up by just purchasing a computer and particular software. If you know how to acquire clients and what are essential components to start in this industry, you can easily cover your expenses and scale up your business.

This article will guide you on how much does it cost to start a graphic design business in general cases and the minimum budget you should have for particular purposes.

Let's dive straight in and see what's a catch!


Marketing Costs

As a new player, and if you want quicker results for people to recognize your business, you will have to put a decent marketing budget. Because this is a saturated niche, and you have to work your way out for exposure. Consider planning unique marketing ideas to make some serious impact. You should know that all companies are competing in creating unique marketing. If you don't put enough effort into marketing, potential customers will hardly know you.

You should know that marketing costs vary greatly, and you can choose from very low to very high marketing techniques. A lot of professional marketers and agencies are providing premium marketing services to start-up companies. If you have a budget, you might want to check how they can help you get more visibility and exposure by trying their cheapest plans. Otherwise, you can always put your own self-effort in the market of your business. It's far cheaper when you're doing it yourself. But it's harder because you might not know-how as it's might be the first time you do it on your own.

You can also adjust your graphic design business marketing budget. You can decrease some budget for some strategies or tools that are not working or necessary. And you can increase the budget if some strategies are making profits. Always experiment with strategies and measure the effectiveness. This way, you can easily scale up your business.

You also might want to try automation marketing with social media. I would recommend you consider Pinterest marketing, which costs much lower than other platforms such as Facebook. If you don't understand how to use online automation marketing, you should consider hiring a digital marketer. Digital marketers will charge you a bit more, but they will cover all the aspects of marketing to some extent.

How much marketing budget should I prepare for my graphic design business?

The marketing budget for a graphic design business is varied, starting from $10 to $1000 or more. The amount of budget will depend on what kind of marketing target you want to achieve, and there are two circumstances that will affect the amount of expense and the results. If you do it yourself, it could cost much less, and you have more control over your expense. If you're hiring digital marketers or marketing agencies, it could cost more, but their expertise might produce better marketing results to grow your business.


Computer Equipment

Many graphic designers use Mac and other high-tech design tools to help with their graphic design works. This is perhaps the biggest investment they usually make to proceed with this business productively. It is no secret that the right device, a fast working technology, a strong internet connection, one or two premium software tools, and the quick supply of electricity are the few things you shall need in a graphic design business.

But choosing what is necessary and unnecessary is very important to maintain your business budget. You don't want to spend high-tech equipment but not allowing the business to spend on marketing budget. That equipment will be useless if you can't drive new projects to cover the expense.

A computer could cost around in the $800 to $1500 price range. Some higher-tech computers could cost way more, but I think it's unnecessary to invest in a new business. If you already have a healthy running business cash flow, then maybe you should consider a higher specs tool or buying additional tools that can help to upscale your business' service.


Professional Business License Costs

These costs are often variable. In some areas of the world, the business licensing costs can be less than $100, while in other parts of countries, they can be fairly high. It will depend on the types of licensing that you apply for. But it doesn't matter how high or low the rates are, this is the essential cost you have to pay to register your company as the legal one.


Software License

Software license usually doesn't cost much. But it's an essential expense that you have to pay in order to run a graphic design business. The prices can vary from $12 to more than $50 per month per user's license, and it depends on the package you chose. If you check Adobe's website, you can purchase a single software license or a packaged software license. However, when you're just starting up the business, I recommend choosing only the essential software you will often use. In my opinion, it's Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. But once your company has grown with a better business cash flow, then maybe you should consider investing in other software licenses to expand your services.


Online Portfolio

Some sites such as Wix provide you a free portfolio option, but mostly the free plan has the logo watermark on it, and it doesn't look appealing for a new business profile. Try to consider pay for a yearly domain; it usually costs less than $15 per year. However, you will also need to pay monthly for the platform's plan, for example, Wix. Mostly the cheapest plan on these platforms costs less than $10 per month. Consider browsing for more information or reviews of what you will get once you sign up with these particular platforms. Choose a platform that has better customer service. The better customer service they have, the least headache you will get if there are issues that occur in times.


Home-based Costs

If you want to start as a freelance, you can obviously work from home. The biggest comfort of starting as a freelance graphic designer is that you can easily do it as either a part-time or full-time business. However, if you want to create maximum productivity, you should invest in a few things, such as a chair, a table, or maybe a lamp. But remember, always starts with the only necessary equipment, and don't waste your budget too much on home equipment.

If the business has already been doing great and has a good cash flow, you should consider hiring employees to help you expand. In this case, you should move from home-based to office-based business.


Office-Based Costs

Office-based businesses cost much more than home-based businesses. You have to pay for office property rentals, and the prices usually vary depending on the locations. It will cost much more if it's located near an area with much business traffic. But if you were starting up online, then you shouldn't worry about finding a place. Your traffic is usually made online. Most graphic design businesses are more dependant on online traffic rather than real environment traffic. As long as the area is comfortable and doesn't cost much for a start-up business, it is alright. You can always upgrade or move to a better location once you have better business cash flow.


Utility Expense

Electricity bills and internet bills are some expenses that you will have to do regularly. The more employees you hired, the more technologies are being used, and those will gradually increase your monthly expenses. But when you earn money regularly, paying for these minor expenses will no longer be a problem.


Freelance Marketplaces

Most freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr will not cost you even a single penny. However, some marketplaces require you to buy some credits to interact with the clients, such as Upwork. But it usually costs cheap, about less than $15 for about 100 credits. Thus, we can say that freelance marketplaces often require negligible or no investment cost, and it can help boost your exposure and find new clients with low marketing costs.


Drawing Tablet (Optional)

A drawing tablet is the latest technology that can help you much easier with graphic design. Professional designers use a drawing tablet to illustrate or create graphics more effectively than using a mouse.
The cost of a drawing tablet ranges from $50 – $1,499. From this wide variety of pricing, you can realize that the qualities of drawing tablets can differ greatly, depending upon the functionality and features.

However, a drawing tablet is optional, and you might not want to waste money on this product when you are really tight on budget. This could be considered as secondary equipment to invest in if you're looking for a tech that can make your working process easier.


Is it possible to start a graphic designing business with zero investment?

It depends on your circumstances. In normal circumstances, every one of us has smartphones, desktop computers, chairs, tables, and internet supplies. Initially, you can also start with free designing tools such as Canva, but it's not recommended compare to professionals' design tools. So if someone asks if they can start a graphic designing business without a zero investment, it's a definite yes. But the business and tools will not be as effective and professionals as the one who invest more into their business. So yes, you could start from less investment; but the less investment you made, the longer the journey is for you to grow your business. However, if you have the drive and passion, anything's possible.



The cost of the graphic design business is greatly varied depends on the circumstances. This article covers some of the key circumstances that should be considered when starting a graphic design business. If you operate your graphic design business at home, it could cost less than those who operate in offices. But the larger the scale of your business, the higher the income you will also receive to cover your expenses.

However, whatever plans you made ahead in your business journey, we always encourage everyone to start from a small investment or a comfortable amount for you to pay in front. You can always upscale your business if you have more cash flow in times your business grows. Knowing your current circumstances is the key to know which steps you should decide ahead of.

I hope you can enjoy the exciting journey ahead, and please leave your comments or questions in the sections below. Cheers!

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