Starting a business as a minor: a checklist

Even minors can start their own business, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. With this checklist, you can make sure that you are fully prepared, and do not miss anything.

1. Share your plans at home and at school

You can run a business while you are still in secondary school or studying for a degree. You can even have another job on the side while you run your own business. The number of young people with their own business has skyrocketed in recent years. On 1 January 2017, there were only 669 entrepreneurs aged 12 to 17 registered with KVK, but this number has risen to 2,939 by 1 January 2022. Starting a business is not a decision you should take lightly. Make sure to discuss it with your parents first.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 18 are not subject to compulsory education any more. They do have an obligation to get a basic qualification (kwalificatieplicht). In other words, you have to be in a full-time teaching programme and may not have a full-time job or business. Some teaching programmes have special arrangements for young entrepreneurs. So, discuss your plans with your school as well.

Here is how JKC Media’s Justin van Dongen (17) makes it work: "I schedule my business appointments before and after school. Travelling to Eindhoven or Rotterdam after school for an appointment can be tough at times. Thanks to the student public transport card, I get to travel for free for work."

Tip: Are you reading this article because your child is looking to start a business? Check out our tips for parents of young entrepreneurs.

Een eigen bedrijf starten? Phine (11 jaar) geeft slimme tips

2. Explore if there is demand for your idea

In 2020, most entrepreneurs (59%) under the age of 18 started a retail business. A shop, market stall, online shop, or online platform. In 2019 it was 48%. Other popular sectors include business services, ICT, and media. Market research is a great way to find out if people actually want what you have to offer. This research should be part of your business plan. Creating a business plan is a great way to go over every detail when preparing for running a business. You will not overlook anything crucial.

3. Take the free entrepreneurship test

Do you often have new ideas, are you a real go-getter and does talking to new people come easy to you? With the tool KVK Showdown (in Dutch) for entrepreneurs, you will discover if starting a business is right for you.

Tip: If you do not understand every word you come across, check out our glossary for young entrepreneurs.

4. Explore who can lend you money

In the business plan, you wrote down how much money you need to start your own business. Maybe you have enough savings yourself or have a relative who is willing to help. If you need another way to find money, Qredits has a special scheme for young people. You could also apply for a loan from a bank. Or have you considered crowdfunding? If you have a good pitch and a convincing business plan, it can be a great way to get financing.

5. Find out how to do business as a minor

There is no minimum age for starting a business. You do need permission from your parents or guardian for certain actions. For example, ordering supplies, opening a shop on, or entering into a contract with a payment service. Your parents or guardian are liable. They have the power to reverse your purchase or contract if they do not agree with your actions. What if your parents are not together? Most parents have joint custody and must come to a decision together. In some cases, a parenting plan determines which of them gets to make decisions about certain things.
A PayPal spokesperson: "We do not let minors to open accounts, because they are not legally permitted to enter into contracts." If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can overcome this obstacle by petitioning the court for limited legal capacity. This means the court considers you an adult for legal purposes.

Did you know? In 2021, 17 minors were granted limited legal capacity by a court (source:

6. Check the implications for child benefits and student loans

What you earn from your own business does not affect how much child benefits your parents receive.

Are you studying at a university or university of applied sciences and fall under the student loan system? It does not matter how much you earn on the side. Do you fall under the old student finance system? Or do you have a grant, loan, or travel product for an MBO programme? The limit on extra earnings in 2022 is €15,828.77. This is the limit for your total income or taxable income.
In the calendar year of your graduation, profits from your own business do not count. You must also get your degree in the same year.
Read all about it on

7. How to calculate your sales price

Make a list of everything you have to pay to make your product or perform your service. Include fixed costs like a telephone plan for your business, online accounting software, and ads on social media. Next, research what your customers would be willing to pay. Then you can estimate if your idea will make you any money.

8. Find out what rules you have to follow

In some cases, you will have to meet certain legal requirements when you start your business. 3 examples:

  1. If you want to start selling products door to door, you will need a permit from the municipality.
  2. If you sell food or drinks, you have to meet food safety rules.
  3. Looking to start an online shop? Take a close look at the rules and regulations for e-retailers.

Tip: Get to know all the rules on Or click here for the latest news on rules and regulations.

9. Come up with a name for your business

A good company name sticks in people's minds and communicates clearly what you have to offer. So, sit down with friends and family and take the time to come up with a great one. Check here (in Dutch, in step 3) if your chosen name is still available end complies with the rules.

10. Register with Chamber of Commerce KVK

Research if you can register your business with KVK. If it is time to make your business official, it will need a legal structure. Most new entrepreneurs start as a sole proprietor. The legal structure is a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak). If you are starting the business along with a fellow student, friend, or relative, opt for a general partnership (vof).

To register with KVK, you have to make an appointment online. You get to choose the date, time, and place. Registering your business costs €75. Do not forget your ID . Also, bring one of your parents or your guardian with you or bring a letter of consent. After registering, you will get a KVK number right away.

Note: you need DigiD for the online registration of a sole proprietorship at KVK.

11. Open a bank account

A business account is an account specifically for your business. This is the account that your customers pay money into and your business expenses come out of. Opening a business account can be difficult if you are a minor, but it is not impossible. 

12. Limit your risks

With general terms and conditions you make clear agreements with your customers. Then you avoid arguments and disputes later. For example, about things like your delivery time, damaged goods, or payment.

Entrepreneurs run risks. Here is just one example: you work for a customer and accidentally break something. Consider taking out business liability insurance for such situations. Check the insurance conditions before you decide and reach out to the insurer or insurance broker. Ask if they offer insurance to minors. And if the insurer will pay out to a minor in the event of damage.

Running your own business makes you a target for online scammers. They want to take advantage of you or make money from you. Talk about it with your parents and take precautions to protect yourself.

13. Set up financial records for your business

Anyone who runs a business also has to keep detailed records. Try to do everything yourself. This is a great way to monitor how your company is doing. For more difficult jobs, ask your parents or guardian to assist you. For more help, check out our book of finance.

Tim Lafeber (17) owns Tim's rental company and he does a lot himself, but: "When it comes to accounting and tax returns, my parents help out. I sit next to them, to watch and learn. Without their support, I would never have managed."

You can also choose to buy online accounting software and seek advice from an accountant or tax specialist.
Tip: An invoice has to meet certain rules.  Discover how to make a good invoice in this video (English sub titles via settings).

14. Investigate how much tax you have to pay

Entrepreneurs pay tax on what they earn. This is called income tax. You have to file your tax returns yourself, even though you are not yet 18. You pay taxes in Box 1. Find out if you are entitled to tax relief, as this can save you a lot of money. You will also receive an annual assessment of the income-related healthcare insurance contribution.

You usually have to file a VAT return every quarter. Check with the tax administration if this also applies to you. In some cases, the Small Businesses Scheme (Kleineondernemersregeling, KOR) may be a smart choice. Under this scheme, you do not have to keep VAT records and file VAT returns.

15. Think about how you will find customers

Tell as many people as possible about your business. Especially on social media. You can even call the newspaper! Enter competitions for entrepreneurs or start-up events. If you are doing something good for people, animals, or the world, tell everyone about it. Customers care about that. You can also team up with other entrepreneurs. And come up with great promos and offers, because people love a bargain.