Business Overview


A CBD oil business will sell and/or manufacture CBD oil for a variety of purposes. This may happen either online or in stores, though most people won’t open up a specific retail location selling CBD. Most businesses will sell the oil for general purposes (e.g., garden-variety anxiety, chronic back pain, etc.), though some will concentrate purely on cosmetic uses.

Who is this business right for?

This business is great for people who have a genuine interest in how cannabis can be used to bring relief to users. Owners should understand the complexities of the plant and how different strains can help treat certain ailments.

What happens during a typical day at a cbd oil business?

It’s rare there will be a 'typical' day in the CBD oil business because this business is so new and there are few established business models. An owner may be doing anything from managing inventory to dealing with new regulations to running lab reports for their product. Owners should also be devoting time on a regular basis to keep up with changing trends in their industry (as they can change extremely quickly.)

What is the target market?

Practically anyone can use this product. CBD oil is used to relieve anxiety, soften skin, and reduce chronic pain. Most famously, it's given to kids who have severe seizures to reduce their frequency and severity. It can even be taken by people for general relaxation at any time. CBD oil is derived from cannabis, but it does not cause a psychoactive effect like THC will.

How does a cbd oil business make money?

CBD oil businesses will create their own profit margin for their products, based on the scope of their operation, quality of their product, and demand for CBD oil among their target demographic.

What is the growth potential for a cbd oil business?

Because of its versatility and rapid rise in popularity, CBD oil is predicted to hit $1 billion by 2020 in the US alone (some say even closer to $2 billion.)

Getting Started


What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful cbd oil business?

People should have some experience with the cannabis market. Owners should understand the basic public demands as well as the public fears and residual stigma of cannabis. There’s a lot to learn about cannabis due to the variety of the product. Understanding the different terpenes and strains can make it easier for your company to stay ahead.

What are the costs involved in opening a cbd oil business?

If you grow your own hemp and turn it into CBD oil, then your costs to start will be low. You can begin selling your product online with little more than a website made for a few hundred bucks with Squarespace and commercial liability insurance in case a customer sues you after using your product. You can also consider partnering with an established farmer to grow their business and your own.

What are the steps to start a cbd oil business?

Once you're ready to start your cbd oil business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:

  1. Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
  2. Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your cbd oil business is sued.
  3. Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
  4. Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your cbd oil business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
  5. Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
  7. Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
  8. Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
  9. Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Recommended: Fizzle.co offers video courses and a supportive online community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Try one month membership for for free.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a cbd oil business?

Understanding the industry is going to be key to getting started. CBD oil is a legal gray area — no matter how you manufacture it. You’re far less likely to run into authorities if you extract your CBD from pure hemp instead of marijuana, but cannabis can be confusing to people who have no experience with it. This can lead to being taken off the shelves or being shut down until local authorities figure it out — which could be a while.

Hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis plant, but they’re used for very different purposes. CBD oil has enough legal implications that there hasn’t been a lot of official research on it. While this appears to be changing now that the FDA has recently approved a CBD oil drug, it’s unclear how quickly widespread acceptance will happen. In states like California and Washington, your pushback is likely to be low. But in states like Indiana and Kansas, you may have a very difficult time meeting the official regulations of the state.

You should also be extremely honest with your customers whenever possible. Because there isn’t a lot of research on CBD oil, it’s impossible to really say that CBD oil can ‘cure’ anything. While the evidence may be extremely compelling, you want to present both sides of the story whenever possible. The good news is that side effects are extremely mild and it's impossible to overdose on CBD oil.

One good way to show people that your business is legitimate from right off the bat is to become Clean Green Certified. This certification is essentially the equivalent of the organic label in grocery stores. You’ll need to go through some rigorous testing in order to pass, but these tests help assure people that they’re getting pure CBD oil and not the synthetic, illegal products that may make them ill.

Growing Your Business


How to promote & market a cbd oil business

CBD oil is popular enough that you’re going to have some stiff competition. Most people are going to be looking for CBD oil online — especially if they’re looking for the more concentrated, medicinal products. Paid online ads, organic blog content, and social media can help attract people to your product. If you’re selling general, lower-intensity sprays, then you can develop relationships with general health stores or even grocery stores to stock your products.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

Customers are going to need to feel relief after taking your products. While research is few and far between, you can do your own analysis of which products are working for different demographics by asking for feedback. This can help you suggest the right product so that there’s less experimentation (and frustration) on the part of your customers.

How and when to build a team

You don’t necessarily need to build a team right away if you’re growing the hemp yourself. However, if you’re partnering with other people, you should consider hiring someone to help you decipher the legal puzzles and marketing strategies of the CBD oil business.

Legal Considerations


Federal Business Licensing Requirements

Although CBD oil does not produce psychoactive effects like the THC found in marijuana, the two products are associated closely enought that the production and sales of CBD are currently in a legal grey area. Before starting your CBD oil business, it is important that you make sure to read up on both state and federal laws regarding CBD products. This will help ensure your business functions smoothly and avoids legal trouble. 

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a CBD oil business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

 

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Certificate of Occupancy

A CBD oil business is generally run out of a place where the oil is manufactured. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a CBD oil business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your CBD oil business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Reduce Personal Liability

Structuring your business as a limited liability company (LLC) ensures your personal assets are protected in the event your business is sued.

What is an LLC?

Form an LLC in 5 easy steps

Earning Potential


How much can you charge customers?

It’s not unusual to see CBD oil sold for $60 for just 30 mL. 100 mg in a 2 oz bottle of skin lotion can be sold for $85.

What are the ongoing expenses for a cbd oil business?

Owners need to account for the cost of farming, insurance, and staff salaries. They may also want to hire a lawyer to keep up on the rapidly changing laws.

How much profit can a cbd oil business make?

CBD oil businesses can make a good deal of profit once their customer base is established. If you charge an average of $60 per product at a 50% mark-up, you’ll need to sell 200 products every month to make $6,000 in profit. This goal can be easier to meet than you may think given the exceptional demand.

How can you make your business more profitable?

CBD oil owners can branch out to different types of products to boost their profits. From skin care to make-up to tinctures to vaping to edibles, there are a lot of different options available.

Next Steps

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