I’ve spoken with a number of CBD brands to get an idea of their initial costs when starting up. So many are looking to this gold rush of an industry and are pondering whether to put themselves forward and setup their own brand, so I hope this helps in regards to workout out how much to save initially.

Business Setup

You need to go through all the legal processes of setting up a business. For anyone that has done this before, they may be able to do this for free, but otherwise you can use sites like 1st Formations, which covers all the basics for setting up a LTD company, albeit it is a bit pricey for what it delivers.

Cost = £100

Business License

This will vary depending on where you are based and how they treat the type of business. If you plan on directly growing the hemp then you should look into the government guidance on this subject.

Cost = £580

Facility

You need to be based somewhere to push your business forward. Some might opt for the free version of doing this out of their own home, but for most they will need some sort of facility. You may need to pay for several months upfront or for a small deposit, therefore the cost can be relatively high.

Cost = £500

Sellers License

There are various other licenses that apparently they had to pay, such as the public space surveillance license and the notification of personal data.

Cost = £100

Business Bank Account

All banks will offer varying rates, while some you can actually get for free, but if you feel you might need to take a loan or have a good overdraft to cover you during times of poor cashflow, which will certainly happen in the first few months of launching. Just the same, you might need to deposit a certain amount into the account to secure it.

Cost = £30pm

Logo Design

This can be done for free if you have the design capabilities, but I know this isn’t within my comfort zone, so I paid for the CBD Sloth logo to be designed by a designer friend I have.

Cost = £100

E-Commerce Payment Gateway

These are necessary to integrate with your e-commerce platform so you can handle transactions. This will also allow you to take payments from all over the world, allowing your brand to grow sufficiently. They’re normally free to setup, but they will come with a monthly cost, not to mention the charge per transaction.

Cost = £20pm

Insurance

If you’re launching any business, you will need business insurance, but even more so if you’re launching a company in the CBD industry. Have a read of this story to see the damage that can happen without insurance. You will need to arrange product liability coverage and general liability coverage, both equally important to your business.

Cost = £150

Trademark

You should register your trademark name with your countries government, which will protect your brand from other businesses taking the name or logo design. This will protect you against any counterfeits. If you’re in the UK, then you can register here, while in the USA it can be done at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Cost = £200

White Label Or Create Your Own

You might want to start from scratch if you have the budget and you have a particular idea in mind about a relatively unique product, however most will opt for a white label option. This is a product (e.g. CBD oil) that already exists, then they provide the clear packaging and you just add your own branding. Your cost (white label in mind), will depend on how many products you plan on introducing, such as CBD oil, gummies, balm, CBD coffee and plenty more. Having said that, I’m presuming most people looking at this article are planning on making it from scratch, therefore you won’t have a white label cost.

Cost = 0

Packaging

Don’t underestimate the value of good packaging! I’ve seen so many CBD brands and they generally have very nice packaging, often quite simplistic but very professional and trustworthy. They should inspire confidence in the product and the brand, as they’re a relatively high cost item and the competition is fierce with not many differentiators.

Cost = £1,000

CBD

You will have to make an order for your CBD to be made up, which will be a key cost for your business. I’m going to assume most will start off small, introducing your product to market, as not many will know of your brand until you’ve introduced some marketing efforts (and got it reviewed on CBD Sloth of course). When ordering in larger bulk sizes you will benefit from economies of scale, but for now you’ll be paying a higher price per gram.

Cost = £2,000

Other Ingredients

You’ll need some form of carrier oil for your CBD, such as MCT oil, while you might also want to include something to make you stand out, whether that’s turmeric, lychee or vitamins.

Cost = £700

3rd Party Lab Test Results

One of the key steps in proving to customers that the product has what it says on the tin (even though it could be for a different batch than what they receive and sometimes doesn’t match what they actually purchase). When you get the 3rd party lab to test your CBD products, they will provide you with a certificate of analysis, which is what you will upload to your website. I’m based in the UK, so I’d say you need one that is at an accredited ISO 17025 lab, such as this. It should be stated that the price I’ve put in is an estimate, as it will depend on the method used, equipment, accreditation, the number of technicians required and any extra services.

Cost = £500

Website Creation

You can have a crack at this yourself, but unless you’re skilled at this area, you might want to pay a developer to build one out. You will probably be paying a freelance developer (much cheaper than an agency, but they can be unreliable at times) £40ph (that’s about $50ph), while the length of time will depend on how much you want on your website. I’ll be honest, you can build one quickly in a day and it will function properly, however this will be based on a theme (which will be an additional cost) and there will be limitations. Nowadays you don’t need to build one from scratch. In fact, if you like some of your competitors’ websites, you can visit their site and look into the source to see what theme they used and what platform they are running it on.

I’m a fan of WordPress, but it isn’t so great for selling in comparison to some of the other options, so many people opt for Shopify or Magento (much easier to setup as a shop, but some other issues with it). You will also need to pay your developer over time for any future issues that pop up or for building anything out on the site.

For my price estimate, I’m going to assume you don’t want something ridiculously detailed, you just want a basic website as a platform to push potential customers towards, using an existing theme. Don’t forget that developers might have a much higher price in mind if they’re thinking of something much more detailed or they’re thinking of building from a plain theme.

Cost = £700

SEO / Digital PR

Outside of being a CBD blogger, I’m also a marketing consultant, where I predominantly work in SEO and digital PR. I cannot express the value of this to your business enough. You cannot run PPC ads currently, while CBD isn’t sold on Amazon or eBay, so one of your only avenues to customers is via organic search.

You need to ensure your site structure is in place, do some keyword optimisation, build out a content strategy, add plenty of keyword rich internal links to critical pages and add schema to your site. Once everything is in place and your shop is all sorted, you can then start looking at CBD link building.

If you have the skills and knowledge to do this yourself then brilliant! But for everyone else, you might need to find a freelancer. Make sure they only link build to powerful sites, nothing spammy, you want to think of it as a PR campaign, so targeting national publications and relevant sites to your industry.

Another factor to be aware of is the medic update, which hit many brands in the CBD industry, where they were quoting medical recommendations despite not being medically qualified to do so, but I’ll cover this in more detail in a moment.

To give you an idea of costs, I charge £400 per day, while you might want to pay someone for 5 days of work, but that could be covered over a couple of months (you should also put them on a retainer after this, focusing on link building and on-site optimisation).

Cost = £2,000

Content Creation

As previously mentioned, the Google medic update hit YMYL businesses, meaning ‘your money your life’, such as medical or legal. As you can imagine, this includes you. If you’re not qualified to offer health recommendations then Google will smash you for doing so. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your product, but imagine you start writing some blog posts and building out your content plan, you will inevitably be giving some medical opinions due to the relation of your product. This is where you will want to pay for a content writer, but there are two tricks here. 1) You could pay a writer who has worked in the medical industry or who has a form of qualification. 2) You could write it yourself or get a content writer to do it, but then get it ‘medically reviewed’ by a qualified individual. I’ve done this in the past for a client, to great success. You show the qualifications on the website and build out a page for the person who is medically reviewing your content. If you want to learn more about this, read up on the Medic Update and EAT signals.

Cost = £1,500

Video Creation

A great video ad will help you significantly in multiple ways. You can use video in social ads, you can have it on the website or use it in email marketing. It can be talking about the product, talking about reasons to purchase it, discussing subjects around CBD or talking through how you use it, there are multiple angles you could take.

You can do this yourself, but there is a lot of value to be gained from hiring some professionals for a proper shoot, which you can use on your social ads for years to come.

Cost = £1,000

Social Media

Building out social profiles is free, you can update them all for free and schedule plenty of posts, but your voice will largely be falling on death ears unless you’re willing to put some money into paid social. As I previously mentioned, a great video ad on Instagram running every day could gain you a huge mass following of people hyper targeted based on their interests.

Cost = £200

Influencers

To start off with, I’d recommend looking through my list of the best CBD bloggers and influencers. Once you’ve got a target list in place, it’s worth reaching out to them and seeing whether they would like to try your product for a post. The main aim will be to get a blog post out of it, as this should provide you with a link, helping you to rank better on Google. However, social posts can also be valuable if they have a highly relevant target audience.

Just make sure not to get loose with your targeting. Getting a social post from a z list celebrity might sound like a good idea, but I can promise you there is zero return on investment. I’ve worked with multiple reality TV stars and gained nothing from it, then worked with micro influencers and gained much more as their audience are closer connected. But the true value will be with an account all around CBD, as their audience is only following for one reason.

Cost = £50

Affiliate Program

I’ve previously spoken about the best CBD affiliate programs, however they all have one thing in common, they are paying for either a affiliate system or a plugin on a monthly or annual basis to run the program. The price is based on a couple I’ve looked through, but they do vary drastically on price

Cost = £100 (per annum)

Total Cost

Well, I hope I haven’t put you off yet! Yes, there are a lot of costs, but I’ve listed these on the basis that you can’t cover any of these yourself or know anyone that will give you a discounted price. The cost of starting a business is hefty, while you should always start it knowing you have enough money to cover yourself for 3 months if you were to gain no money at all.

The total cost was £11,530.

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