Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Subscription box startup costs (Bootcamp is open!)

August 23, 2021 Julie Ball Episode 88
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Subscription box startup costs (Bootcamp is open!)
Show Notes Transcript

#088 - You're probably wondering how much does it cost to start your own subscription box business. In this episode,  Julie talks about subscription box startup costs. She walks you through this handy dandy calculator to help you figure out an estimate of what you're going to need when you launch your subscription box business. 


(00:01): So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun!

(00:20): Hey, I am so glad you're here today. Welcome to Subscription Box Basics! I'm Julie Ball, your podcast host, and your subscription box business coach. Today, I'm going to talk about subscription box startup costs. You're probably wondering like how much does it even cost to start this type of business? Before I dive into that, I want to let you know that Subscription Box Bootcamp opens later this week, we will open for enrollment with a $300 discount on Thursday, August 26th. And we close enrollment on Wednesday, September 1st. So this is your chance to start your subscription box business with the support you need with a $300 discount and over $750 worth of bonuses. You can check out all that information at Now we're going to talk about subscription box startup costs, as I mentioned.

(01:19): So what I'm doing here is previously I recorded a little tutorial video that you can find on YouTube and you can find it at forward slash calculator, where I have this handy dandy calculator to help you figure out an estimate of what you're going to need when you launch your subscription box business. And so you can go to forward slash calculator adjust all of the fields, and it will spit out an estimated launch startup cost, estimated monthly costs and your estimated first year startup costs.

(01:57): Guys, I'm trying to make this as easy as possible. It has a handful of things that are optional. It has things that are the bare necessity. So you can kind of play around with those numbers and see what works for you. Then you can either even enter your email address and it'll email it to you so that you can print it out, put it in your business plan and have it for future reference. Now, as I mentioned, I recorded a tutorial video. So in the spirit of work smarter, not harder, I have grabbed the audio from that, tweaked it a little bit, you know, edit it down and I'm replaying it for today's episode. It's going to make sense just listening to it, but it's going to make even more sense if you go to forward slash calculator so that you can follow along and figure out your estimated launch startup costs. So call me lazy. Fine. I call it efficient. Here is the audio from my tutorial video on figuring out the estimated launch startup costs for your new subscription box business.

(03:02): If you've been thinking about starting a subscription box business, I know your mind is probably racing, thinking about all the things that you need to do, and I'm here to help. My name is Julie Ball. I am the head coach at Subscription Box Bootcamp. And today we're talking about the costs involved in starting a subscription box business. Now keep in mind, this is not a conversation today about all the things you need in the backend to start your business. This is not about, you know, a brilliant business idea. This is not about having a pain point that you solve. This is not about having an audience built up that you can launch to today. We're talking about like the tactical things that you actually need to pull out your credit card for. Now I want to I'll let you know that I started Sparkle Hustle Grow my subscription box business with a credit card and a $0 budget.

(03:52): And I used a pre-sale to earn some of the money that I needed upfront. So if you're worried about not having enough money, put those worries behind you and I'll walk through the startup calculator with you. So you can kind of see where you might need to be spending some money to get this business started. Remember, this is a business, not a hobby, so let's treat it that way. So you'll find this forward slash calculator. And I want to remind you that this is an estimate. This could change based off of so many different factors, but this just gives you that starting point. Let's walk through this together.

(04:29): So you see all these different fields that you can fill in. They are pre-populated with some basic numbers. If you aren't sure where to start, you at least have these numbers to start with. Each of these fields has information.

(04:42): If you hover over the 'i' and it will pop up that information so that you have a little bit more background on, okay, what is this really? So let's walk through all of the fields together. The domain and URL is your web address. For example,, which is the URL for my own subscription box business. Those on, you know, GoDaddy or SiteGround. You can get them in so many different places, only costs about 10 to $15 per year. Now I highly recommend that you get one because it makes you look much more professional. It can be maybe your brand name, but don't freak out if you cannot get your number one URL, if you can't get your first choice, you can get creative. You do not have to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on your URL. This next field is the incorporation or business filing.

(05:34): Your city, state or local small business association, might require you, not the small business association, the just the local government might require you to have some sort of registration. Very likely it does. It's different by state. So if you hover over here, you can have some information where you can go for looking your state. You can check with the small business association online, or just go to They always have great information when it comes to things like that, you'll see a few optional fields, and that means you can put a zero if you're not going to use that. But a launch service is just something like software that you can use. For example, we use KingSumo for a lot of our launches and a lot of our Subscription Box Bootcamp students do the same. It helps you grow your audience. So if you already have an audience, great, maybe this will be zero.

(06:27): If you are starting from scratch, you may want to consider adding on a launch service software to help you grow that audience. The next one that also is optional. If you are looking to do custom boxes, then you're going to want to make sure that you budget for that. If you might be doing DIY boxes, which is maybe a plain colored or craft colored box, and you put a sticker on there, or you put a stamp on there either way is fine. Here, you want to budget about a dollar for DIY or $3 each for custom. Now the more custom boxes you buy that $3 figure can absolutely go down. But for now I have this kind of figured out where if you're only trying to buy a hundred at a time and because maybe 100 might be your first month scope. So you'll want to adjust that based off of what you're planning to do with your boxes.

(07:22): Now, this can also be an optional, but I highly recommend that you get yourself a designer to at least create a logo for you. You want to have a professional logo so that you can build that brand and create trust and likeability in it. You may be able to, based off of whatever software you're using, you may be able to create your own website. There's a lot of easy to use drag and drop websites. Here's what I did. I had a professional logo done and I created my website on Cratejoy's website builder a few months in when I had more revenue. I hired someone to professionally do that for me. You may want to do it from the start. You may want to budget for it later. In any case, it's something to think about. You can put a zero there. Cart software is the software you're going to use to actually process your orders.

(08:19): So there's a lot of different options out there you can use Cratejoy you can use Subly. You can use Shopify and so many more. I recommend Cratejoy personally. That's what I've used for the past five years is since October, 2016 when I launched my own subscription box business. So I have $39 listed in there for you. Email marketing, you can use the email marketing that is built into your cart software for your transactional emails, things like receipts, renewal emails, cancellation emails, that type of thing. However, you will likely want an email marketing software so that you can communicate with your customers in a more personal way. You'll use this to nurture them. You'll use this to share information and especially to bring them along with you on the journey when you're in pre-launch and preparing for launch, I use and recommend Flodesk. It is, we have a special offer for you that you can get it at half price currently at the time of this recording, that half price is $19 per month.

(09:27): So it will not break the bank. You can also add Google workspace, formerly known as G suite. This allows you to have a professional email address and manage all your email, not your marketing emails, but your support emails, for example, or other emails working with vendors. You can manage that right in Gmail. It starts at $6 per user per month. At the time of this recording, if you anticipate having more users, you can adjust this to reflect that. The next thing is optional. It's help desk software. To be honest with you, I managed my help desk in my regular inbox with just a support email. So for example, I manage that in my inbox for the first, I think it was about nine months in my business. Then I invested in software called Helpscout, and we have a referral link where you can try it for free for 15 days, and then you'll get a credit when you sign up. But again, you can zero this out, if you want to. And then accounting software is something like QuickBooks. So we have a link for you as well.

(10:35): You can get all the links that I mentioned for all your discounts. If you enter your email address and email your results to yourself. When you submit this email, you'll get an email with all of this information, all of the numbers that you typed in, and it's going to have all of those referral links that you can get discounts on some of that software. So the last part of the calculator has added all of this up. It's basically taken your launch startup costs and then your estimated monthly costs. So you can see what you need from the get-go. Now don't let this number scare you. You do not need this out of the gate course. There are going to be things that are going to impact it. This does not take into account the cost of your products. This does not take into account if you plan to run Facebook ads. This is just the bare bottoms number. And it's a great starting point.

(11:23): If you are putting together a business plan, or if you were trying to get an investor or just trying to get your head straight around what this is going to cost you over the long-term. So again, use this calculator to find your starting point for starting up the subscription box business of your dreams.

(11:46): As a reminder, friends, the audio from this podcast was taken from a video on forward slash calculator. That's the calculator to help you figure out your startup costs. Go check it out. Now, plug in your numbers and email it to yourself. I cannot wait to hear what you think of it.

(12:03): Thank you as always for listening. I hope this has been a really helpful episode. I hope that you take action head to that calculator right now to figure out your startup costs. I hope to be able to support you in Subscription Box Bootcamp in the future, depending on when you're listening to this, you may be able to join Subscription Box Bootcamp right now. If you're listening to this the week it dropped, you are in luck. Subscription Box Bootcamp enrollment starts on August 26th and closes on September 1st. So what are you waiting for? Make sure you get enrolled. I can't wait to support you and I'll see you in the next episode.