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Starting a Manufacturing Business


Site consultants and corporate executives rank proximity to interstate highways and regional airports as important factors in deciding where to locate a manufacturing business.

New Hampshire is an ideal state in New England from a transportation logistics viewpoint:

  • New Hampshire offers three interstate highways—93, 95, and 89—that provide easy access to major markets including Boston, New York and Montreal.
  • New Hampshire also has one of the busiest regional airports, Greater Manchester/Boston Regional Airport. In addition, the state has many full-service local airports such as Nashua, Concord, Laconia, and Lebanon, as well as smaller regional airports. You can download a map and overview of NH's more than two dozen public use airports.
  • For international flights, Boston Logan is only one hour from southern New Hampshire and Pease International Airport has limited charter service.
  • New Hampshire has rail service that follows the Merrimack River from the Nashua, New Hampshire border to Concord. A rail line runs from Plaistow up through Durham and Dover, up to Ossipee, as well as into Maine. A small branch of Amtrak crosses over into Claremont from Vermont and there is also rail service from Berlin, Whitefield and up to Colebrook, which begins in Portland, Maine and ends up in Quebec with connections back to the rest of the United States.
  • The Downeaster commuter rail, also part of Amtrak, runs from Portland, Maine to Boston, with stations in Dover, Durham-UNH and Exeter.

Registering Your Business

All companies that want to do business in New Hampshire must register with the Secretary of State's Corporation Division. You can download the required forms to register your business.

All questions about registering your business may only be answered by the Secretary of State's office at Corporation Division, Department of State, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301-4989. General Information: (603) 271-3244. Corporate Information Line: (603) 271-3246. Corporation Division Email Address: corporate@sos.state.nh.us

You can also find information on the Secretary of State's website:

  • Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to many questions you may have on how and why to register your business.
  • Visit the Business Name Lookup page to check on the availability of a business name. (This is an informational check and final determination of the availability of a name is made by the Secretary of State's office at the time the completed paperwork is finalized.)
  • Visit the Corporation Division, Home Page to learn more about the division's responsibilities and to view its links.
  • Visit the Contact Information page to find out how to write, call, or email the Corporation Division.
  • If you have additional questions about starting a a business, contact Michael Bergeron at the New Hampshire Business Resource Center: call (603) 271-2591 or 1-800-417-4110.

Types of Business Entities

The structure your business assumes is important in determining your limitations and liabilities. Depending on the type of structure you choose, additional paperwork may be necessary to establish the business in New Hampshire. Your accountant or attorney can help you decide what type of business structure best fits your needs.

  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is the form of business entity with the least amount of legal formalities. In a proprietorship, the owner assumes sole responsibility for the operations and finances of the business, including profit and loss. In the proprietorship form of business entity, the owner's personal property is tied directly to the business; therefore, the owner assumes unlimited risk of his personal assets.
  • 'C' Corporation: Corporations are a separate entity from its owners. Corporations provide the shareholders with the most protection from liability and responsibility from debts and contracts. Profits for a corporation are taxed at the corporate level when the income is earned and is also taxed at the individual shareholder level.
  • 'S' Corporation: A 'S' Corporation is similar to a corporation in that it provides its shareholders with protection from liability. However, unlike a corporation, an "S" corporation is exempt from federal income tax. Instead the taxes are paid solely by the individual shareholders.
  • General Partnership: General Partnerships require an agreement between two or more individuals or entities to jointly own and operate a business. Profit, loss and managerial duties are shared among the partners, and each partner is personally liable for partnership debts. Partnerships do not pay tax, but must file an informational return, while individual partners report their share of profits and losses on their personal return. Short term partnerships are also known as joint ventures.
  • Limited Partnership: A limited partnership is a form of business organization that offers some of the partner's limited liability. It consists of a general partner who organizes and manages the partnership and its operations, and limited partners who contribute capital but have limited liability and assume no active role in day-to-day business affairs.
  • Limited Liability Partnership: LLPs are organized to protect individual partners from personal liability for the negligent acts of other partners or employees not under their direct control. LLPs are not recognized by every state and those that do, sometimes limit LLPs to organizations that provide a professional service, such as medicine or law, for which each partner is licensed. Partners report their share of profits and losses on their personal tax returns. Check with your Secretary of State's office to see if your state recognizes LLPs and if so, which occupations qualify.
  • Limited Liability Company: A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a combination of the corporate and partnership forms of business. In a LLC, parties control shares of the company and like corporations, and their liability for the operations of the company is determined by their level of investment. However, like partnerships, income tax is not paid at the LLC level, but rather it is "passed through" and taxed at the shareholder level. This somewhat complicated form of business entity should be discussed further with an attorney or accountant to determine if it will fit your needs.

Each of the above has legal, tax, and practical consequences that may require the advice of an attorney and/or CPA. You may contact the NH Bar Association website or call them at 603-224-6942 for a listing of attorneys.

Licenses & Permits

  • For information on licensed, certified and registered occupations in NH, see the NH Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau website.
  • Online professional licensing is available for architects, CPAs/Pas, engineers (renewal), engineers NCEES, geologists, engineering businesses, land surveyor businesses and others.
  • For a license to manufacture alcoholic beverages, visit the NH Liquor Commission website.
  • Food manufacturing licensing is handled by the NH Division of Health & Human Services.
  • Oversize/overweight vehicle permitting is handled by the NH Department of Transportation.
  • If you need assistance with environmental permits, contact the Department of Environmental Services at (603) 271-3503, TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964. You can review their online guidebook. If your business is planning new projects for which multiple environmental permits are required, you can request a pre-application meeting by filling out the online form.

Creating A Business Plan

Starting a business off on the right foot is an important step to achieving your dreams. Planning and organizing your strategy is the first of many steps to making the dream a reality.

Please visit the following websites for information on creating business plans and more:

New Hampshire State & Federal Business Tax Information

If your company has a business presence in New Hampshire, you need to contact the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration. Their website provides an overview of New Hampshire taxes, tax forms, and FAQs.

Information is also available on:

For information on federal taxes and tax information for retirement plans, visit the Internal Revenue Service website.

Hiring Employees

Contact New Hampshire Employment Security and the New Hampshire Department of Labor.

  • You must register with New Hampshire Employment Security to cover unemployment benefits. We recommend that you review their Employer Handbook and read about the rights and responsibilities of employers who are subject to the New Hampshire Unemployment Compensation Law (RSA 282-A).
  • NH Department of Labor: Visit its Business Section to learn the labor laws that you must know as a business in the state of New Hampshire, including information on the state's safety laws, youth employment, boiler and elevator laws, apprenticeships and more. You may also obtain free mandatory posters and free training for your staff on the New Hampshire labor laws and rules.
  • NHWorks' Job Match System matches job seekers and employers, and also offers information on Labor Markets by area, industry and occupation.

Information on Small Business Programs

New Hampshire offers a wide range of public assistance resources that provide access to experienced individuals who can assist you based on your type of need. Visit the New Hampshire Business Utility Zone Gateway to find out more.

Selling to the Government

The New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program (NH-PTAP) is a cooperative program of the State of New Hampshire Business Resource Center and the US Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency.

This national program provides specialized and professional assistance to businesses seeking assistance with contracting and subcontracting opportunities with Department of Defense (DOD), other federal agencies, or state and local governments.

NH-PTAP serves any New Hampshire business; services are free and confidential. NH-PTAP's experienced team can help you cut through the red tape, navigate government channels and connect with prime contractors and subcontractors.

Current bidding opportunities for the State of New Hampshire can be found in Administrative Services' Vendor Resource Center.

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