A business plan fee is charged when an entrepreneur seeks the help of a professional when starting their business. There are different types of help available, but the most common is a business consultant. Many business owners might not hire a consultant, but will hire a business lawyer to help make sure their company is well-protected and properly registered.

Hiring a Consultant to Help Start Your Business

Typically, you don't want to hire a business consultant until you're sure you want to start a business and you have a clear plan to do so. Business consultants will help you flesh out and fully formulate your business plan, but you should give them something to start with or it could be a waste of time and money.

Business consultants offer different services when it comes to starting a business, so it's important to know exactly what you need help with. You may be a strong writer, but weak in areas of financial planning. So, you might want to hire a consultant to help you figure out the finances of your startup while you handle drafting all of the necessary documents.

You'll need to spell out exactly what you're paying the consultant to do in your consultant contract. This will make sure that you are on the same page and responsibilities and expectations are clear. Good business consultants are out there, but they are in high demand and they can be expensive to hire. It's best to spend your money on a quality consultant to help you with what you need specifically rather than pay for someone with less experience to potentially waste your time.

Be careful not to step out of the picture when you hire a consultant. A good business consultant can write your business plan for you and handle much of the process, but you need to still be involved. If you check out while the consultant takes over, you could easily lose sight of your business and your original vision. Make sure you're a part of every decision and you understand everything well.

Benefits of Hiring a Business Consultant

Entrepreneurs who are new to the process of starting a business will benefit greatly from hiring a business consultant. Consultants can help with all kinds of startup tasks, including those you may not have even thought of, including:

  • Market research.
  • Financial projections.
  • Sizing up the competition.
  • Finding office space.

Consultants can also point you in the right direction when you require additional services like legal, accounting, insurance, or real estate help. Hiring a business consultant may cost you some money in the beginning, but this decision can make a big difference in the long run. Getting things started on the right footing can mean avoiding big problems down the road and saving your business money and headaches.

Hiring a Good Consultant

When hiring a business consultant, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they professional?
  • Is their website credible?
  • Do they run a registered business?
  • Is their consulting a business or a hobby?
  • Do they understand your plan and vision for your company?
  • Are their previous clients satisfied and reachable for reference?

If you've found a good consultant, you'll be able to answer "yes" to each of these questions.

Typical Cost of a Business Consultant

Usually, business consultants will charge anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 to help you form a complete plan for your business. In some cases, depending on the scale of the plan and size of the business, consultants are justified in charging as much as $50,000. Typically, if you're starting a small business like a barber shop or retail store, you'll pay in the lower range for consulting services.

Companies that require the use and understanding of complicated technology, multiple streams of revenue, or large-scale investment capital, will end up paying more for consulting services. Sometimes, business owners will think that their ideas and plans are simple, but they are, in fact, quite complicated. A good business consultant will be able to point out possible complications and get your business off to a solid start.

Keep in mind that business owners will pay more for consulting services the longer they require them. If you plan to use a business consultant for a week or two to get things up and running, you probably won't pay much. But, some companies will hire a consultant for a year's worth of planning.

If you need help with a business plan fee, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.