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Hedgemaster
09-27-2010, 09:06 PM
I just attended a Small Business Basics Workshop.

It cost $45 for 4 hours of info ranging from fictitious names, to the importance of business plans for getting bank loans, to tax info, and more. Enough info to make your head spin, but they also offer free personal counseling service which I signed up for.

I had a pretty good grasp on much of what was presented, but I'm still confused on what order I need to do things in. (naming, tax ID #, insurance, etc.)

Unfortunately, it seems there are no direct answers to some of my questions other than "talk to an accountant", and "talk to an attorney." Sigh. I guess there's no getting around that.

The attorney that spoke mentioned that her firm has a fee of $800 (plus fees for misc. items such as LLC formation) to set up a new business. They submit ALL paperwork for you. I don't know if that's worthwhile, or even if it's anywhere near average as far as cost is concerned, but I think I'll do this myself. That said, I think I'll need an accountant and/or attorney - or at least meet with them at a minimum.

Anyway, wish me luck, as I'm still a bit uneasy about starting a business of this nature at the "end" of the season.

luvgreen
09-27-2010, 09:33 PM
I feel your angst. Same boat here. So far, only three calls on properties way too large for my limited equipment. Wanted small yards for time being until the biz pays for bigger/better equipment. So far it's been calls on 1 1/2 acres to 2 1/4. Prices I quoted, having to either use a push 22" or renting a riding mower apparently scared them off.

I'm more interested in leaf removal right now for money and to get the leaves for our garden. But I suspect this is poor time of year to start that too because that biz will probably go to their regular lawn care people or their neighborhood teen.

Maybe we'll both get off on the right foot come spring, though I'll keep trying. I need the money.

Connie

MountainViewGreenskeeper
09-27-2010, 09:51 PM
check out legal zoom .com I think its 300 maybe a little more to create an LLC. They do everything but sumitt it to a news paper. witch is the last part. then you get all the great business calls and mail because its public info now :(. Anyways hope that helps.

P.S. I would get the business name asap btw. I was told that most commercial insurance compainies want 3 yrs. maybe that was just crap the guy was saying but thats what i was told.

Steve
09-28-2010, 08:07 PM
I had a pretty good grasp on much of what was presented, but I'm still confused on what order I need to do things in. (naming, tax ID #, insurance, etc.)

My view is keep it simple in the beginning. Who knows if you will like this. Who knows if you will want to continue to do it after you get started so why invest too much until you get your feet wet a little.

Name: If your name is Joe Smith, Why not go with Joe's Lawn Care or Smith Lawn Care. Keep it simple and keep it personal. Play to your strength of being an owner operator and play to your competitor's weakness. Advertise 'Hi I am Joe of Joe Smith's Lawn Care and I will personally make sure the job is done right the first time and you are more than satisfied.' People love to know the owner of the business, so use this to your advantage and let them know you own it.

tax ID #: Why not just start as a sole proprietor. That way, your social security number is your tax ID. You are paying tax on money you make, just have you have been doing all your life. Sure you have to do things a little different from being an employee somewhere, but the difference is pretty slight.

Insurance: It depends on your needs. Just starting out, you don't need too much insurance. Maybe a million dollar liability? Maybe less for residential, depending on how much you have to protect in the way of assets.

Commercial customers may require you to have $2 million dollar liability insurance, but why bother with them early on. Focus on residential customers and focus on bonding with your customers.

Don't know who to buy from? Do a search on here for insurance. There are plenty of posts that will tell you where others buy insurance from.

Let me know if this helps.

Hedgemaster
09-29-2010, 11:53 PM
One more reason to go legit... (actually applies to anyone)

I called a customer to give a price on cutting a jungle of forsythia bushes that have grown to 12'-14' high. She didn't balk at the quoted price, but since I'm not insured, she wanted to wait to have the work done. Fortunately, she told me she isn't going to have someone else do it - that she wants me to have the job, and she's willing to wait a few weeks until I get things in order.

She apologized, but I explained that I understood fully, and that I'd be happy to keep her updated on my progress as I get my business up and running, and reschedule her job for another time.

In addition to that, I've been in contact with a customer in a rather upscale neighborhood who has mentioned my services to some neighbors - they are interested in hiring me, but the lack of insurance is preventing me from a very good opportunity to get some steady work there.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
09-30-2010, 12:23 AM
One more reason to go legit... (actually applies to anyone)

I called a customer to give a price on cutting a jungle of forsythia bushes that have grown to 12'-14' high. She didn't balk at the quoted price, but since I'm not insured, she wanted to wait to have the work done. Fortunately, she told me she isn't going to have someone else do it - that she wants me to have the job, and she's willing to wait a few weeks until I get things in order.

She apologized, but I explained that I understood fully, and that I'd be happy to keep her updated on my progress as I get my business up and running, and reschedule her job for another time.

In addition to that, I've been in contact with a customer in a rather upscale neighborhood who has mentioned my services to some neighbors - they are interested in hiring me, but the lack of insurance is preventing me from a very good opportunity to get some steady work there.

Ya i lost out on a few jobs as well in the beginning not being insured and guess what now that I am havent been asked lol.... Anyways ya keep it simple. You only need the EIN if you have employees. If you use a guy make sure you just use them in such a way that you can call them contractors.

But ya Keep It Simple Stupid(KISS) always helps.

Steve
09-30-2010, 04:07 AM
Keep us posted on your process of going legit. You are blazing a path that others would be very interested in knowing what steps you took.

Hedgemaster
11-01-2010, 05:58 PM
Keep us posted on your process of going legit. You are blazing a path that others would be very interested in knowing what steps you took.

Heh. I don't know about "blazing", considering how long it takes just to get things started, but I did just get my letter from the state today, confirming my entity number for the fictitious name I submitted. :)

Now I need to advertise my name in two papers (yay, more money I don't have to spend), get insurance (about $400 it seems), send $50 to the state for my Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor registration... and THEN I can finally advertise as a legitimate business! Woo-hoo!!!

Oh, and I have to pay approximately $75 (one-time fee) to my municipality to operate a home based business.


I think the only thing "blazing" here is the money leaving my wallet! :eek:

;)

Steve
11-02-2010, 07:55 PM
Oh, and I have to pay approximately $75 (one-time fee) to my municipality to operate a home based business.

WOW! I wonder if they require this for everyone that has a home based business or only for certain types of businesses.

In another post recently we saw how one community wouldn't allow a business license unless you had a place to park your commercial equipment in a garage.

Let us know if you run into any issues with this.

Hedgemaster
11-02-2010, 09:39 PM
WOW! I wonder if they require this for everyone that has a home based business or only for certain types of businesses.

In another post recently we saw how one community wouldn't allow a business license unless you had a place to park your commercial equipment in a garage.

Let us know if you run into any issues with this.

Nope - that's for any type of business. Overall, it's one of the more reasonable "fees" I've run into thus far, as it only needs to be paid once.

I saw and posted in that thread. My municipality seems pretty reasonable - I don't foresee any real issues, but if I run into something, I'll let you know.

No work scheduled tomorrow, so I'll be calling for insurance quotes... see if I can beat the $400/1 million general liability coverage that two places quoted me. (one was Allstate - my auto ins. co., the other was an independent agent)

Steve
11-03-2010, 10:15 PM
Nope - that's for any type of business. Overall, it's one of the more reasonable "fees" I've run into thus far, as it only needs to be paid once.

With the current state the economy is in, the town should be paying YOU to start a business there along with a tax credit for every new employee you are able to add!

How did the insurance situation go?

Hedgemaster
12-05-2010, 12:33 AM
With the current state the economy is in, the town should be paying YOU to start a business there along with a tax credit for every new employee you are able to add!

How did the insurance situation go?


Insurance? I (finally) got my policy yesterday actually!

One MEEEELION DOLLARS worth.

http://startswithabang.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/dr-evil.jpg

LOL



I ended up going with Erie Insurance.
I got 5 estimates, and while Erie was the second highest in price, they weren't higher by that much, and the coverage appears better. For example, when I asked for quotes, I had them all add on $5,000 worth of "tools/equipment" coverage. Erie's add-on for that coverage was slightly higher ($175), but it covers $10,000 for "tools/equipment". plus it covers a handful of other things as well that were not included in any of the other company's policies.

In addition, my Erie agent was very helpful, and answered all of my "stupid" questions, while the others didn't seem interested in telling me much more than what the insurance would cost me. She knew her product, knew what questions she needed to ask me in regards to my specific needs, and knew the answers to all of my questions. Sometimes it's worth paying a little more for good service.



I ALSO applied for and received my Home Improvement Contractor registration number today. (PA requirement for anyone making over $5,000/yr - if you recall, I am also doing small, home repairs at the moment)
That was $50 for 2 years.
Without it, you may not legally advertise - period. No business cards, no flyers, no signs on your vehicle. The number the state assigns you must be included on all of those things.

Now that I've got THAT out of the way, I'm good to go. Well, I do still need to file my local papers as mentioned before - I wanted to get this other stuff done first.

Overall though, I'm finally "legit".

Woo-Hoo!!!


Great timing. Finally in business and no work because it's winter now. LOL

Steve
12-05-2010, 05:30 PM
Well congratulations!

In addition, my Erie agent was very helpful, and answered all of my "stupid" questions

What kind of questions did you have for them and what did they say about them? I bet if you had such questions, others have them to but are afraid to ask.

Hedgemaster
01-20-2011, 01:27 AM
I can't remember which thread we were actively discussing the "Home Occupation" registration in, but here's a pic of the sign that they have placed on my street...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Misc%20Lawn/HomeOccBlurred.jpg


Meeting is next week!

I guess the purpose of the sign is to alert the neighbors as to what's going on in the neighborhood. That way, if anyone has "concerns", they can address them at the meeting.

Steve
01-20-2011, 02:36 AM
Holy crap! This is freaking amazing!

I can't wait to hear how this meeting goes.

Jeeze, when a sign like that is put up, it basically is a welcome mat for every unhappy person on your block to go and complain. People are mad about everything and if they are given a chance to pounce on someone else's dream the usually do!

Are you concerned about that sign at all or no?

What we need in this country is a warm welcome anytime a citizen wants to start their own business. A thank you letter from the governor! Not a bureaucratic maze!

Growing Green
01-20-2011, 10:39 AM
I agree with you on that one Steve. Usually when you see something like that it is a BAD thing. My goodness. You would think that you are openning up a nuclear plant or something.

Matt

Hedgemaster
01-20-2011, 11:19 AM
Holy crap! This is freaking amazing!

I can't wait to hear how this meeting goes.

Jeeze, when a sign like that is put up, it basically is a welcome mat for every unhappy person on your block to go and complain. People are mad about everything and if they are given a chance to pounce on someone else's dream the usually do!

Are you concerned about that sign at all or no?

What we need in this country is a warm welcome anytime a citizen wants to start their own business. A thank you letter from the governor! Not a bureaucratic maze!

I can see your point, but I'm glad they do this. (see next post)

I'm not concerned. They only put up two signs - both within two homes from mine, so it's not likely that a whole lot of people will even see them. All the neighbors around me are like family, so I'm not concerned. Well... the renters across the street are a-holes, but I don't think they would bother to get off the sofa to come to a meeting. ;)

Hedgemaster
01-20-2011, 11:25 AM
I agree with you on that one Steve. Usually when you see something like that it is a BAD thing. My goodness. You would think that you are openning up a nuclear plant or something.

Matt

No, I'm not going to be the cause of three eyed fish, but if my neighbor was planning on running a business within a few feet of MY home, I'd surely like to know about it before it was too late to address any potential issues.

Here, I found the other post from my "business card" thread, so I'll copy/paste it here...


...If you want to run a home based business (legally) in my municipality, you must apply for a home occupancy "permit" (forget the actual term), and be approved. Since these meetings are only held once a month, I have to wait because I submitted mine right after the last one was held. (ugh.)

Yes, I'm going - I believe attendance is required. All I need to do is listen to them explain the "restrictions" that apply to me, and answer any questions they may have for me pertaining to my business and how it may impact my property and those around me. The guy who took my application said, "No need to wear a tie, and no need for a lawyer to come with you - very informal setting."

I was told that for a business like mine, it's pretty much a done deal - "they approve them all the time", and that this is mostly a formality, but they want to be sure I understand what I am/am not permitted to do in regards to my property.

For example, I'm not permitted to "stockpile materials" on my property.
Here, I'll copy/paste the pertinent section of the application info for you to read.



HOME OCCUPATION - An occupation conducted in a dwelling unit. Home occupations shall be special exceptions, subject to the approval of the Zoning Hearing Board. In reviewing applications for home occupations, the Board may impose appropriate and reasonable conditions necessary to protect the surrounding properties. The following conditions shall apply to all home occupations unless expressly waived by the Board after a demonstration of good cause:

A. No Person other than members of the family residing on the premises shall be engaged in such occupation.

B. The use of the dwelling unit for the home occupation shall be clearly incidental to, and subordinate to, its use for residential purposes by its occupants, and not more than 25 percent (25%) of the floor area of the dwelling unit shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation.

C. There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the building or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation, other than one sign, non-illuminated, and non-animated not exceeding one square foot in area.

D. No home occupation shall be conducted in any accessory building.

E. There shall be no stocking of goods or keeping of an inventory or finished goods in connection with such home occupation. Retail goods must be made to order or selected from catalogues and/or samples, and delivered to customers. There shall be no “over-the-counter” sales of retail or wholesale goods.

F. No traffic shall be generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood, and any need for parking generated by the conduct of such home occupation shall be met off the street and in other than a required front yard.

G. No equipment or process shall be used in such home occupation, which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference detectable to the normal senses off the lot if the occupation is conducted in a single-family residence, or outside the dwelling unit if conducted in other than a single-family residence. In the case of electrical interference, no equipment or process shall be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises, or causes fluctuations in line voltage off the premises.

H. No home occupation shall involve the use of toxic materials or any materials, which present a deleterious effect on adjacent properties.

(snip)...

While some may grumble about anyone restricting what you can do with your own property, I don't have a big issue with this. I live in the suburbs - I would be highly upset if my neighbor started a motorcycle repair shop in the shed in his yard and was constantly revving up dirt bikes and piling up engine parts and tires all over the place.

In talking to the folks who took my application, what they seem most concerned with is that you aren't going to become a nuisance to your neighbors. Beyond that, I doubt they would even care if you violated some of the "terms".

Growing Green
01-20-2011, 11:36 AM
No, I'm not going to be the cause of three eyed fish, but if my neighbor was planning on running a business within a few feet of MY home, I'd surely like to know about it before it was too late to address any potential issues.

Here, I found the other post from my "business card" thread, so I'll copy/paste it here...


...If you want to run a home based business (legally) in my municipality, you must apply for a home occupancy "permit" (forget the actual term), and be approved. Since these meetings are only held once a month, I have to wait because I submitted mine right after the last one was held. (ugh.)

Yes, I'm going - I believe attendance is required. All I need to do is listen to them explain the "restrictions" that apply to me, and answer any questions they may have for me pertaining to my business and how it may impact my property and those around me. The guy who took my application said, "No need to wear a tie, and no need for a lawyer to come with you - very informal setting."

I was told that for a business like mine, it's pretty much a done deal - "they approve them all the time", and that this is mostly a formality, but they want to be sure I understand what I am/am not permitted to do in regards to my property.

For example, I'm not permitted to "stockpile materials" on my property.
Here, I'll copy/paste the pertinent section of the application info for you to read.





While some may grumble about anyone restricting what you can do with your own property, I don't have a big issue with this. I live in the suburbs - I would be highly upset if my neighbor started a motorcycle repair shop in the shed in his yard and was constantly revving up dirt bikes and piling up engine parts and tires all over the place.

In talking to the folks who took my application, what they seem most concerned with is that you aren't going to become a nuisance to your neighbors. Beyond that, I doubt they would even care if you violated some of the "terms".

LOL yes you are right. I agree. I don't want my neighbor having all types of trash and making noise all day and night either. What I'm saying is bad is the way they present it. Instead of showing some other sign saying that someone is wanting to start a business and to come to next meeting, instead of some negative looking red sign. Unfortunately, I guess that is what they have to do to get people's attention. It just looks like an eviction notice instead of something positive.

Matt

bruces
01-20-2011, 11:37 AM
where I live,the city sends out notices to every property owner around for a block or two about the meeting ,the notices will have your name on it and would list the type of business you are operating ,and often enough people dont get the approval .You hopefully get along with your neighbours well enough ,and hopefully there are no direct competitors in your "hood" either ,as they will often show up to work against you .It only takes one person against you,then your ship is sunk ,at least where I live .

Steve
01-21-2011, 02:39 AM
I do look forwards to hearing your feedback from attending that meeting.

950thomas
01-21-2011, 01:20 PM
thats awsome where i live u cant do that u have to be in a commercial property they give u hell if u run a biz out of your house

Hedgemaster
01-21-2011, 10:15 PM
where I live,the city sends out notices to every property owner around for a block or two about the meeting ,the notices will have your name on it and would list the type of business you are operating ,and often enough people dont get the approval .You hopefully get along with your neighbours well enough ,and hopefully there are no direct competitors in your "hood" either ,as they will often show up to work against you .It only takes one person against you,then your ship is sunk ,at least where I live .


I hear that it used to be done that way in the past. I got a letter from the municipality in the mail today noting the meeting time/date/etc, so I called two neighbors to see if any sort of notice had been sent to them by mail. Neither had received anything, and the meeting is next Wed, so I think it's safe to say that the only "notice" is the two signs on the phone poles.

Two neighbors offered to attend the meeting to speak on my behalf should I need them to.

Hedgemaster
01-21-2011, 10:48 PM
In regards to the letter received from my municipality, I'll post the pertinent info for those who are interested in such things.

To:
The Zoning Hearing Board

From:
The Planning Dept.

Request:
The applicant is requesting a home occupation in order to permit the operation of an office for his business.

Ordinance:
Sections blah blah blah of ordinance blah blah apply

Recommendation:
Approval with conditions

Conditions:
1. no employees or customers are permitted at the home
2. The storage of commercial vehicles, commercial landscaping equipment
and commercial landscape materials and supplies shall be prohibited at the home.

Hedgemaster resides at Blah blah blah, lot & block # Blah Blah Blah and the subject property is situated in the R-2, Single Family Residential Zoning District. The applicant is requesting a home occupation in order to permit the operation of an office for his business. This business involves a general lawn care service that includes (the following are items I listed when I completed the application) mowing, trimming, pruning and general lawn clean ups. The business also involves general snow removal and general minor home repairs. Approximately 20% of the home is used for the operation of the business. The home will be used as an office for the record keeping purposes and for the payment of bills. The business has no employees and customers will not be present at the home. If in the future the business grows and Mr. Hedgemaster hires employees, they will be required to report directly to the job site.

Presently there is no commercial equipment, materials or vehicles involved in the operation of the business. If in the future the business grows, Mr. Hedgemaster will be required to store these items at a commercial location. The equipment used to operate the business consists of (also a list I provided on the application) a lawn mower, trimmers, a lawn edger, a leaf blower, small hand tools, and a snow thrower. These items are also used for his home maintenance and are stored at the home. The vehicle used to operate the business is a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck which is not considered a commercial vehicle and is permitted at the home.

The Planning Department supports this request for a home occupation and has advised the applicant of the conditions that the Planning Department will be recommending. Mr. Hedgemaster is in agreement with the proposed conditions. The Planning Department therefore recommends approval with the following conditions: 1) no employees or customers are permitted at the home. 2) The storage of commercial vehicles, commercial landscaping equipment
and commercial landscape materials and supplies shall be prohibited at the home.

Steve
01-22-2011, 04:42 AM
The storage of commercial vehicles, commercial landscaping equipment
and commercial landscape materials and supplies shall be prohibited at the home.
Does this mean you will have to park your truck / trailer somewhere else? Ultimately by the way it reads, it seems like they are only allowing you to have an office within your home or did I misread it?

Hedgemaster
01-22-2011, 10:37 AM
The storage of commercial vehicles, commercial landscaping equipment
and commercial landscape materials and supplies shall be prohibited at the home.Does this mean you will have to park your truck / trailer somewhere else? Ultimately by the way it reads, it seems like they are only allowing you to have an office within your home or did I misread it?

Honestly, I'm not sure about the trailer, but if you read the rest, it clearly states that my truck is "OK".
The vehicle used to operate the business is a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck which is not considered a commercial vehicle and is permitted at the home.

I THINK what they mean is that you can't have dump trucks/heavy equipment kept on your property. Keep in mind that this is mainly a suburban setting with many of the homes no further apart than the width of a driveway.

I didn't mention the trailer on my application. I don't see it as being an issue.
Oddly enough, according to code enforcement, I'm permitted to park/store a travel trailer on my property. So no "commercial equipment" allowed, but I can park a camping trailer in my back yard - no questions asked.

Steve
01-24-2011, 02:57 AM
Do you register your truck as a commercial truck? The town could mean any vehicle registered as a commercial vehicle. Even a car can be registered as a commercial vehicle depending on who owns it.

It would take only one pain in the butt neighbor to make a complaint call and have a cop run the registration to create all sorts of problems.

Another thing to consider is you may need to register your truck as commercial depending on your insurance requirements.

In the past on the forum, we had talked about how if you use a private party vehicle that is insured for personal use, as a commercial vehicle and an accident occurs with it, the insurance company might not insure you.

jerreber
01-24-2011, 12:45 PM
I just attended a Small Business Basics Workshop.

It cost $45 for 4 hours of info ranging from fictitious names, to the importance of business plans for getting bank loans, to tax info, and more. Enough info to make your head spin, but they also offer free personal counseling service which I signed up for.

I had a pretty good grasp on much of what was presented, but I'm still confused on what order I need to do things in. (naming, tax ID #, insurance, etc.)

Unfortunately, it seems there are no direct answers to some of my questions other than "talk to an accountant", and "talk to an attorney." Sigh. I guess there's no getting around that.

The attorney that spoke mentioned that her firm has a fee of $800 (plus fees for misc. items such as LLC formation) to set up a new business. They submit ALL paperwork for you. I don't know if that's worthwhile, or even if it's anywhere near average as far as cost is concerned, but I think I'll do this myself. That said, I think I'll need an accountant and/or attorney - or at least meet with them at a minimum.

Anyway, wish me luck, as I'm still a bit uneasy about starting a business of this nature at the "end" of the season.

Not sure where you are located but in my state all it cost me was $50 to file papers for an LLC and it was only one form. Registering with the IRS is just as easy too. I think lawyers may be necessary if you have a partner and need to decide on how things are split, who invests what and what happens if the business fails? I would invest in a good accountant instead

Hedgemaster
01-24-2011, 04:35 PM
Do you register your truck as a commercial truck? The town could mean any vehicle registered as a commercial vehicle. Even a car can be registered as a commercial vehicle depending on who owns it.

It would take only one pain in the butt neighbor to make a complaint call and have a cop run the registration to create all sorts of problems.

Another thing to consider is you may need to register your truck as commercial depending on your insurance requirements.

In the past on the forum, we had talked about how if you use a private party vehicle that is insured for personal use, as a commercial vehicle and an accident occurs with it, the insurance company might not insure you.

No. Truck is titled in my name. I don't need to title it as a commercial vehicle UNLESS, I title it under my business name/have employees who will drive it.

As for the "coverage", I've mentioned this before - I verified with two insurance companies that I can operate my business using my truck "as is", with it titled in my name (personal vehicle) for business purposes without any change in my policy OR coverage. This is because I am not a "company", or an LLC. I'm currently set up as a sole proprietorship. If I change that, then I would need to title my "work vehicle" in the business name.




Speaking of "pain in the butt neighbors", I called the Planning Department today to see if they would want/allow any neighbors to speak on my behalf at the upcoming "hearing". I was told that it would be fine for them to attend and speak, but that a signed letter would be acceptable as well. I'll have at least three "letters of recommendation" from my immediate neighbors to take with me.

SpokaneSRC
01-24-2011, 07:14 PM
Be sure to bring some business cards to the meeting to hand out to everyone after you are approved.

Steve
01-25-2011, 03:40 AM
This is because I am not a "company", or an LLC. I'm currently set up as a sole proprietorship. If I change that, then I would need to title my "work vehicle" in the business name.

Oh that is very interesting! Excellent point for everyone to keep in mind. This could be pointed out as another benefit for not incorporating your business right away and instead, getting started as a sole proprietor.

I was told that it would be fine for them to attend and speak, but that a signed letter would be acceptable as well. I'll have at least three "letters of recommendation" from my immediate neighbors to take with me.

Very good thinking!

Hedgemaster
01-26-2011, 09:14 PM
Just got back from the zoning board hearing meeting a while ago.

APPROVED.

:)

It was interesting. All 15 minutes of it. LOL!
Pretty much an empty house. My wife and I were there, and the other gentleman scheduled to be heard was not in attendance. Aside from the stenographer's children, there was one other person seated for the meeting.
Two members of the Planning Department and three members of the Zoning Board were present.

I presented the four letters of recommendation (from my neighbors) and noted that they each reviewed them before the meeting began.

I was sworn in and asked to step up to the podium and state my name, address, and reason for my request. They asked if anyone else in attendance would like to step forward in support of my request, and as my wife was really the only other person there, they gestured to her to feel free to step forward. I don't think anyone was surprised when she stated that she was in support of them approving my request. ;)

Each of the three members of the Zoning Board then asked me some specific questions.
"Will you have any employees?" (the concern is that employees report to the job site and not to your home)
"Will you need to store supplies, such as fertilizer at your home?" I knew where they were headed with the question, so I informed them that I had read and understood the restrictions, and reasons for such restrictions. I told them that I have wonderful neighbors and would not want to do anything that would offend them (like piling up supplies/equipment), and that "this lady right here" (gesturing to my wife) would not permit that to happen anyway. This received a few chuckles.
"If you do need to store something short-term, do you have a place to do so?" I informed them that I have a two car garage - they seemed satisfied with that reply.
"Do you have a truck you will be using for your mowing business?" I indicated that I have a Chevy Silverado, as noted on the application, and was then asked if I have space in my driveway to park it. I indicated that I do. (I believe that they do not want work vehicles parked on the street)
"Will you be doing any landscaping - building walls...?" Again, I believe they were looking to see if I would be stocking wall stones on my property. I clarified that I was not doing "landscaping", but rather "lawn care".
"If you were to do say a "sodding" job, would you plan on having those materials (sod) in the bed of your truck ahead of time, and parked at your home?" As I started to think about my reply, everyone started laughing, and I was confused for a split second until I turned to my left and saw that my wife was doing that slow, and deliberate "no freaking way" motion with her head. LOL!
The last gentleman then asked about snow removal, and when I told him I would be doing shoveling, and snowblowing - no plowing, he said, "great, I was just about to ask if you would be using a plow. (I think they are OK with plowing, so long as the plow itself isn't left outside when it's not in use.)

There was then a request for a motion to approve, motion made, three "yes" votes, and it was stated that I was approved, and that official papers would be coming by mail.


Unfortunately, I didn't get to shake hands or give out any business cards, as we were told that we could leave after my approval. They still had to take care of some official business of their own, so they each verbally thanked me for coming , and wished me success in my venture.

This was my first time in a setting of this nature. It was mostly a formality and was pretty laid back. Although I was previously told that there was "no need to wear a suit, or bring a lawyer", I brought my wife for support, and I wore black dress pants, a green shirt, and a styin' green tie. (get it? Lawn service - green shirt? ;) ) Although it isn't always necessary, I feel there are times when you should "dress for success".

Succeed I did.
:)


I owe my neighbors. They said some really nice things in support of me and judging by the looks on the faces as the board members read them, I think they were very helpful to have with me.



Woo-hoo! I am now officially 100% LEGIT!

Growing Green
01-26-2011, 10:12 PM
Just got back from the zoning board hearing meeting a while ago.

APPROVED.

:)

It was interesting. All 15 minutes of it. LOL!
Pretty much an empty house. My wife and I were there, and the other gentleman scheduled to be heard was not in attendance. Aside from the stenographer's children, there was one other person seated for the meeting.
Two members of the Planning Department and three members of the Zoning Board were present.

I presented the four letters of recommendation (from my neighbors) and noted that they each reviewed them before the meeting began.

I was sworn in and asked to step up to the podium and state my name, address, and reason for my request. They asked if anyone else in attendance would like to step forward in support of my request, and as my wife was really the only other person there, they gestured to her to feel free to step forward. I don't think anyone was surprised when she stated that she was in support of them approving my request. ;)

Each of the three members of the Zoning Board then asked me some specific questions.
"Will you have any employees?" (the concern is that employees report to the job site and not to your home)
"Will you need to store supplies, such as fertilizer at your home?" I knew where they were headed with the question, so I informed them that I had read and understood the restrictions, and reasons for such restrictions. I told them that I have wonderful neighbors and would not want to do anything that would offend them (like piling up supplies/equipment), and that "this lady right here" (gesturing to my wife) would not permit that to happen anyway. This received a few chuckles.
"If you do need to store something short-term, do you have a place to do so?" I informed them that I have a two car garage - they seemed satisfied with that reply.
"Do you have a truck you will be using for your mowing business?" I indicated that I have a Chevy Silverado, as noted on the application, and was then asked if I have space in my driveway to park it. I indicated that I do. (I believe that they do not want work vehicles parked on the street)
"Will you be doing any landscaping - building walls...?" Again, I believe they were looking to see if I would be stocking wall stones on my property. I clarified that I was not doing "landscaping", but rather "lawn care".
"If you were to do say a "sodding" job, would you plan on having those materials (sod) in the bed of your truck ahead of time, and parked at your home?" As I started to think about my reply, everyone started laughing, and I was confused for a split second until I turned to my left and saw that my wife was doing that slow, and deliberate "no freaking way" motion with her head. LOL!
The last gentleman then asked about snow removal, and when I told him I would be doing shoveling, and snowblowing - no plowing, he said, "great, I was just about to ask if you would be using a plow. (I think they are OK with plowing, so long as the plow itself isn't left outside when it's not in use.)

There was then a request for a motion to approve, motion made, three "yes" votes, and it was stated that I was approved, and that official papers would be coming by mail.


Unfortunately, I didn't get to shake hands or give out any business cards, as we were told that we could leave after my approval. They still had to take care of some official business of their own, so they each verbally thanked me for coming , and wished me success in my venture.

This was my first time in a setting of this nature. It was mostly a formality and was pretty laid back. Although I was previously told that there was "no need to wear a suit, or bring a lawyer", I brought my wife for support, and I wore black dress pants, a green shirt, and a styin' green tie. (get it? Lawn service - green shirt? ;) ) Although it isn't always necessary, I feel there are times when you should "dress for success".

Succeed I did.
:)


I owe my neighbors. They said some really nice things in support of me and judging by the looks on the faces as the board members read them, I think they were very helpful to have with me.



Woo-hoo! I am now officially 100% LEGIT!

Congratulations Hedgemaster! That is awesome!

Matt

SpokaneSRC
01-26-2011, 10:35 PM
Congratulations. Wish you the best with your business.

Steve
01-27-2011, 03:11 AM
Congratulations!

Now you should fill your yard up with a ton of heavy equipment, sod and dirt lol