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biggin69
02-23-2007, 06:48 PM
This will be my second year in the bussiness and I want to become make this year legit be getting licensed, Insured, ect., or I will not continue this year. I live in Ohio about thirty miles north of Cincinnati.

Is there anyone from this area that knows what I need as far as license and insurance (I only cut residential)? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

KimKriel
02-23-2007, 07:19 PM
WE are located in MI, but some universal things you need to have. First have you got a DBA (doing business as), if you are using any pesticide you will need to get a commercial applicator license, and as for insurance you will need at least limited liability. As for insurance doing residential you can get 500,000 but if doing commercial you will need more (we have clients wanting 2.000.000 coverage). Also a tax id number. Hope this helps you some.

biggin69
02-23-2007, 07:31 PM
DBA...???

Steve
02-23-2007, 08:41 PM
Hi biggin69,

Have you gone to your local county court house and registered your business name yet? When you do this, you create a business name (DBA) = doing business as.

It's like John Smith 'doing business as' John's Lawn Care.

Once you register your business name, which is nothing more than filling out a piece of paper and paying a fee of like $25 or so you get a paper from the county where you can then open a commercial bank account. You will need that if you want to deposit checks made to your business name.

Have you done this part yet? I just want to know where you are at in this process so we can help you further.

PremierLand
02-24-2007, 12:22 AM
Forget the DBA, for $40 more you can become Incorporated if you do it yourself, the right way. Atleast in michigan. Also, get commercial auto insurance (it is better and wayyyy cheaper, I pay $100 per month per truck for full coverage and the oldest truck I have is a 2000 f350 dump), also get atleast a 2mil liability, workers comp, and insurance on all your equipment like mowers, trailers, etc. Hopefully you will never have to make a claim, but if you do, you will be glad you have it. Trust me, I know from expierence.

I go through Allied insurance, and I think they go through Nation Wide, which i think might be nationwide (hence the name).

I think I pay around 7 grand a year for 2mil liability, my trucks, workers comp, snow plowing insurance, street sweeping insurance, and all my equipment. It is well worth it IMO.

biggin69
02-24-2007, 06:26 AM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 23 2007,9:41)]Have you done this part yet? I just want to know where you are at in this process so we can help you further.
No I have not done this. That is why i am asking as I do not know where o start.

KimKriel
02-24-2007, 11:21 AM
Okay have a few things that I think might help you.:

If you havent already registed your business name below is the web address to check the avaliablity of the business name you want:(sorry its so long but had to include everything or it would not get you to the final site)

http://www1.sos.state.oh.us/portal....=PORTAL (http://www1.sos.state.oh.us/portal/page?_pageid=93,58490,93_58504&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)

Also if you are going to use pesticides go to:

www.ohioagriculture.gov

They will give you info on how to obtain (what tests and fees you will need)

Hope this helps!

Steve
02-24-2007, 04:23 PM
I think a reason why many lawn care operators when they get started go with the dba versus the incorporation is because it's a little easier to file for.

But those lcos who don't go the incorporation route intially tend to incorporate a few years later when they get really rolling.

What's the benefit? Well I am sure others can jump in but one of the biggies is that a corporation is it's own legal entity. That means if something happens while you are working and you seriously injury someone, your business might be sued but because it is it's own legal entity, ideally it protects your assests becuase you are a separate legal entity.

DBA (doing business as) is just you doing business under a fictitious business name. So when your business is sued, it is you being sued.

biggin69, do you have any preference which you would choose?

biggin69
02-24-2007, 05:01 PM
I had planned on DBA (Sole Pro???somthing here in my town) but now you have me thinking.

Note: I will be doing all of the work myself. I will have no employees but me.

Steve
02-24-2007, 05:09 PM
I am glad we have you considing all this. Another issue is filing taxes. PremierLand probably would agree, filing them for an llc is a little more difficult than doing it as a dba and you may need an accountant. However if you already have an accountant, no big deal then.

As Kim said, here are all the forms

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOSApps/SOS/FormRefbs.aspx

Let us know what you decide to do.

biggin69
02-24-2007, 06:25 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 24 2007,5:23)]DBA (doing business as) is just you doing business under a fictitious business name. So when your business is sued, it is you being sued.
This is what concerns me. I want to stick with residential only. I only had 7 accounts last year and only 2 of them are a sure thing this year.

As far as taxes go, I am sure that I will have someone do them but I am afraid that I will not bring in enough $$$ to support a Corporation so I will probably go with the DBA.

What forms are you guys talking about on that link?

Steve
02-24-2007, 06:35 PM
What county do you live in? I want to check to see if your county offices have forms online too.

Steve
02-24-2007, 06:38 PM
This looks like the state form to fill out.

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOSApps....ode=534 (http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOSApps/Forms/Form.aspx?return=%2fSOSApps%2fSOS%2fFormRefBS.aspx&type=BusinessServices&code=534)

But I think it might be easier to register your dba in your local county.

biggin69
02-24-2007, 06:44 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 24 2007,7:35)]What county do you live in? I want to check to see if your county offices have forms online too.
I live in Butler County Ohio.

I found this http://www.odod.state.oh.us/edd....n=step2 (http://www.odod.state.oh.us/edd/1ststop/OneStop/login/newuser/index.cfm?fuseaction=step2)

Would I benefit from an LLC? Can a business with only one person get this?

Steve
02-24-2007, 07:15 PM
Oh yes thats a good link.

Quote[/b] ]Would I benefit from an LLC? Can a business with only one person get this?

Yes you can start an LLC with only one person. I do think you would benefit from it too. It would really get you started with a firm foundation.

Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

from that site you posted.
Limited Liability Company
Can be organized by one or more person(s). Then, company interests are sold (like shares in a corporation). The people who buy the interests are called members. Unless the members agree otherwise, control of the business is distributed according to how much money each member has invested.
Cost to register with the Secretary of State: $125

biggin69
02-24-2007, 07:17 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 24 2007,8:15)]Then, company interests are sold (like shares in a corporation). The people who buy the interests are called members. Unless the members agree otherwise, control of the business is distributed according to how much money each member has invested.
Ths is the part that I do not understand.

Steve
02-24-2007, 07:32 PM
See one of the benefits of being a corporation is that you can have shareholders and sell shares. If you are doing this all on your own, you would own all the shares and be the sole shareholder.

Quote[/b] ]Unless the members agree otherwise, control of the business is distributed according to how much money each member has invested.
This means control of the business (unless you create another way to handle things) is done based on how much each person invested.

So for instance, say you and I start this LLC. I put in $6000 and you put in $4000, I would own 60% of the company.

Does that help?


If you are the sole investor, you are then the sole owner and control 100% of the company.

biggin69
02-24-2007, 07:35 PM
That makes sense but what about the tax requirements?

Steve
02-24-2007, 07:44 PM
Well see one of the reasons why a lot of new lawn care operators go the route of dba is because they use their social security number as their tax i.d. They file their taxes as they always do but add the income from their business and show their expenses etc.

When you go the route of llc or s-corp you get a tax id for that new legal entity you have created which is your business corp.

You have to file additional taxes for that entity. It's a little more time consuming and expensive. Taxes as you know are complicated and each state is different. These are just some basics so what you could do is talk to your accountant and ask what they advise as far as this goes.

But at least this gives you some basics.

biggin69
02-25-2007, 07:16 AM
Thanks!

Steve
02-25-2007, 06:20 PM
Keep us posted as to how everything is going. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

S.P.Martin Lawn Care
02-25-2007, 06:38 PM
You will not go wrong by having all necessary licenses, permits, and insurance for all aspects of your enterprise. Murphy's law will hunt you down if you don't....

Its all money well spent in the long run. Makes you legitimate in the eyes of the customer and gives you peace of mind knowing you are doing everything the right way.

Not sure if sole proprietor or LLC, or INC is right for you. Good rule of thumb is once you reach a point when you think you have alot to lose, tangible and intangible, look into incorporation in its various incarnations.

Steve
02-25-2007, 06:48 PM
Quote[/b] ]Not sure if sole proprietor or LLC, or INC is right for you. Good rule of thumb is once you reach a point when you think you have alot to lose, tangible and intangible, look into incorporation in its various incarnations.

I think that was very well said and a great way to look at it.

biggin69
02-26-2007, 04:41 PM
Do I need to charge sales tax on the jobs?

I believe that I will go with sole proprietor this year and maybe change in the future.

If I go this route, will I still need to apply for a federal employer ID #?

Steve
02-26-2007, 07:48 PM
Quote[/b] ]I believe that I will go with sole proprietor this year and maybe change in the future.

If I go this route, will I still need to apply for a federal employer ID #?
As far as I know, I you don't have any employees then no you don't need a fed employer id #.

Quote[/b] ]Do I need to charge sales tax on the jobs?

You may or may not depending on the type of job or service you offer. Here is information on how to get your sales tax license. This isn't a big deal either.

http://tax.ohio.gov/divisions/sales_and_use/index.stm

A local tax professional should be able to tell you what you will need or not need to charge sales tax on. This differs by state and by city even!

biggin69
02-27-2007, 07:59 PM
Well I have yet to decide with DBS or LLC but I did go out and purchase a brand new Exmark 36" WB today.

Steve
02-27-2007, 08:39 PM
Any thoughts on what made you choose that one? What other equipment are you using now?

Did you take any pics of your new mower you could share with us?

biggin69
02-28-2007, 03:59 PM
Price & reputation. I also have a 44" Cub Cadet ZTR, 6.5' x 12' trailer, 99 Chevy Silverado Ext Cab Z71, misc. trimmers, blower, ect.. No I do not have any pics but I will try and get some up.

Steve
02-28-2007, 08:31 PM
I think this is going to be a big year for you http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I would love to see your equipment pics when you get them.

bigboiron777
04-25-2007, 02:06 AM
This is helpful info for me I have been doing my Lawn care service for a couple of years..Nothing big, but now I'm really looking to go BIG glad I found this forum Thanks for all U'r help.. I have been doing my pricing by the job and not by the hour..Question to anyone out there whats the best way to charge and how do U come to a Price that don't kill the customer but provides enough pay for labor,fuel,milage,ect.

Steve
04-25-2007, 12:26 PM
Hi bigboiron777,

Welcome to our forum! What are your plans for this year? How many customers are you looking to add?

We have seen a lot of debate on what is better, charge by the hour or the job.

What most lco's seem to agree with is you should charge by the hour but don't let your customer know this. Let them think you are charging by the job. You want to be able to get the job done faster and then move on to the next job without having the customer watching you through the window with a stop watch.

Things to think about are, what are your expenses? Divide that by the amount of your working hours and then add a profit to come to your final amount.

Ask around and see what the going competitive rates are. That will help you too come up with a pricing model.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Bugboy
05-16-2007, 09:19 AM
Hi, new to forum and semi-new to lawn care. *I have been running a pest-control company in Utah for several years though and am adding a significant amount of yard maintenance services this years. *Great forum and I would echo that I am glad to have found it recently. *I simply wanted to add a thought in response to bigboiron777's question posted here.

That's good advice in my opinion offered by Team Gopher on setting your pricing. *In my experience it is good to ask around and get the pricing of your competitors so you are in the ball park. *One caution I would offer is to not try to undercut everyones price though. *Especially the little tiny start up companies that often under-charge and will probably not last very long anyway. *

Come up with with your price based on your time/costs + profit margin which should be in the neighborhood of competitors prices. I find that a good benchmark for pricing are to look at a few of the bigger more established companies prices in the area because they are not going to be too low on price which seems to be a common mistake with new companies try to get started. *Because your business model will most likely be more efficient and streamlined compared to bigger, longstanding business you may be able to price a little bit less than them assuming you are provide the same service, apples to apples.

If you find**and you most likely will**that this price is higher than what some of the small businesses are charging; then, the issue becomes marketing yourself and helping the client understand why they want to use your service over a fly-by-night, low-ball start-up. *Oft times this is simply looking them in the eye letting them you will get it done right and they won't have to shop a new company 4-6 months later when the start-up realizes that they aren't really making any money undercutting everyone like they have been doing.

I have simply found that until I have enough experience to accurate price, this helps to avoid some of the pitfalls. Hope this helps.