Discover the 5 tips to legally prepare your business in this article.
What is required
You need to have a business license, a home occupation license, if running your business from home, a city or county license, (depending on what state you live) plus you need to register your business as fictitious if you are not using your name as a business. For instance, if John Doe has a business name as John Doe’s Grooming Parlor, a fictitious name isn’t necessary.
When opening a business in your residence, additional information is required. Some businesses require more than a city license to be fully licensed. Please check with your local city & state office for detailed information.
If you are just interested in selling a few things out of your home, don’t worry about this section, as you should not have any form of tax liability for selling your own belongings. However, if you start a business to make some money, you need to look at the legal aspects of running a business.
What are the 5 tips to legally prepare your business
1. Determine the type of home business you want to start, Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation.
* A Sole Proprietorship
It is the least costly and least complicated way to set up your business. Remember that a Sole Proprietorship is totally dependent upon your ability to work and have good ideas for growth. There is no other person in the business to rely on but yourself.
* A Partnership
Happens when two or more entrepreneurs form a company. Legal fees for setting up such an arrangement are usually more costly than those required for a Sole Proprietorship and less costly than a Corporation. The up side of a Partnership is more capital for growth and more ideas for how to grow the business. The downside is getting rid of a bad partner.
* A Corporation
It is the most complicated and most costly of the three options. The ongoing accounting, legal, and tax reporting obligations of a Corporation are much more complicated than for the other two options above. Corporations have boards, shareholders, and shared responsibility for the business. It is necessary to keep everyone informed of decisions, the company’s financial status, and a host of other actions.
2. If using a fictitious name for the business, it must be registered first with your state. Call your city & state office. Usually, you can do this online. Visit their site and fill out a fictitious name form. A fee may or may not apply.
3. Is your home located in the city? Some states like Florida require a county license if your business isn’t located in the city. If not sure, contact your local jurisdiction office for licensing information.
4. Complete the home occupation application and the business license application. You may download the forms from your city hall website. This can also be done online. Call your city hall office to find out their website address and fees.
5. Forward your applications and fees to your city hall office either by mail or by visiting their office. They will usually accept cash, checks, debit cards, VISA, MasterCard or American Express credit cards. Again, check with your local city hall office regarding the method of payment.
Often times, if you visit in person with your applications and appropriate fees, you will get your business licenses the same day. However, if you do all of this by mail, you would need to wait at least 2 to 3 weeks to receive your licenses. Either way, you are on the right track.
Remember, it is wise to seek the advice of an attorney in the beginning of your work-from-home situation to avoid serious problems later on. An attorney will guide your decision about what legal form your company should take.
How are you using the above 5 Tips to Legally Prepare Your Business? Let us know in the comments below.
About the author: Sonia Colon is writer/publisher of My Fashion E-Mall Blog & The Biz Buzz of A Latina Mom Blog. She is also owner at Books About Me. Sign up for the newsletter and never miss a powerful business marketing article plus receive a FREE eBook on ‘How to Rock Your Business with A Blog’.
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