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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

Being a legit company


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #1  
Old 07-30-2012, 07:50 AM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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Default Being a legit company

Heys guys, I want to get my business off on the right foot and be a legit company. I have some good questions I hope you guys can answer.

First off I was going to go straight for an LLC, but I read you should just start with a sole proprietorship. From what I understand you would have to go to all the cities you plan on working in and register your name, which could be a couple hundred dollars a year when all said and done.

With an LLC from what I understand you pay a fee to become an LLC and that's it(about $300 for me) Is there any certain advantages to a sole proprietorship that it would be worth paying the couple $100 a year? I know with sole Proprietorship you can be sued for everything you have. What would be a better choice?


Second, Licensing. I did a little looking and I think all I need is a business license, I'm not getting into any landscaping other than mulching and installing edging, small stuff like that, so I shouldn't need a contracts license.

Third, Quarterly taxes. With my LLC they will also apply for my tax identification number and everything else needed. My question is, i'm small right now and I don't have much income for my business, since I don't make very much, will my quarterly taxes be a small amount I could easily pay until I can grow my business.

Registering as a LLC, I have 2 other options for my name if my primary one is taken. I already have everything made up as Peck's Lawn Care. I want my llc to be Peck's Lawn Care LLC, so should I just do a doing business as and make it Peck's Lawn Care so I will have that name no matter what?


I really want to start my business the right way, and my goal is to be completely legit by next year.
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2012, 10:57 AM
dpld dpld is offline
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if you are just starting out you should just do the sole proprietor that way you will only have to do your taxes yearly and it will give you more flexabillity if you do not make much money.

there is nothing wrong with llc, s-corp or straight up inc. but it all really depends on how much money you make and what services you are performing.
if you are doing construction work your liabillity goes up drasticly but if you are just doing maintenance the risks are minimal.

there are obvious protections from being incorporated but you are cutting grass for a living and outside of yourself or a employee getting injured what would you expect to happen where you lose everything without that protection.

if you have commercial liabillity and commercial auto the only way someone is gonna get everything you own is if it were proven that your actions were the sole cause of said problem fully knowing the consequences and choosing to do so with no regard to said consequences or you had real crappy insurance and the law suit exceeded your coverage.

plus when you get further along in business after a few years you may find that there really is no money in this business and if you have a change in heart it will be harder and more costly to disolve your business if you are incorporated.

i have been in business for 23 years and i am well established as well as i am a llc but if i were starting out today i probably would choose a different career path because the landscape business is not what it used to be.

hourly rates are not much better now then when i started and everything today cost 10 times what it did when i started like machines, insurance, gas and vehicles to name a few and if anything compareing inflation we get less today then when i started.

all you need to do to be a legitimate business is have a registered business name, pay taxes, have the proper insurance, look professional and if you hire employees, pay them on the books.
being incorporated will not make you anymore legitimate and if anything it will make you a slave to the government and it's ever growing complicated tax codes.
plus being a election year and our current admin having a vendetta against corps and businesses in general with his class warfare you might want to hold off on that because according to the libs, if you own a business you must be making millions.

a lawer will suggest to you to incorporate so he can charge you and a accountant will recommend you to incorporate so he too can charge you as well as most accountants charge more money to do your taxes as a corporation then a individual or SP so without even talking to a lawyer or accountant you already know what their answer is gonna be.

lastly, if you are starting a business soley to be your own boss and call the shots and that is your sole driving purpose and you will gladly take not much more money then if you worked for someone just so you can say you are your own boss then anyone with that mindset has bigger issues that they need to work out and no business is gonna solve those problems.

i am not saying that is the case with you, i am just saying in general.
i myself worked for a big company for several years and learned the biz from the bottom up and i went from the bottom of the pay scale to the top level pay scale and i realized i wanted to make more and the only way to do so was taking it to the next level.
to this day i never really cared much about being my own boss because in reality i went from having a boss to having hundreds of bosses by way of customers.

as i said if you are starting out i suggest you go for the easiest and cheapest route that will make you a legitimate business until you actually start making real money and by real money i mean 4 to 5 times what you would make as a high level employee for a big company because you can always incorporate and change things if and when you become more successful.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:05 PM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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Thank you, I really appreciate your insight. I am going into business for myself because lawn care is something I always loved doing. Sure I could go work for a company that already established, but I would much rather build a reputation of high quality work myself. I work for my parents business, so they are pretty lenient with the rules, so me going into business myself isn't to be my own boss.

I don't want to be a millionaire, I just would like to make more than what I make now, and live a comfortable life which i'm sure is possible.

I'm not sure how to go about registering my business and obtaining a tax id. So your saying as a sole proprietor you only have to pay taxes once a year vs quarterly?
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:28 PM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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Has anyone used legal zoom to register their business? It can register it as a sole proprietorship and obtain a tax id number for me, pretty much everything I would need. Is this a good way to go?
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:58 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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To be a sole proprietor you just go to the town hall and its like $10-$25. Google getting a tax id. I dont feel like looking for the link. The IRS gives it to you for free.

The tax question was already answered.

A LLC wont protect all your assets like people claim.

You need a HIC license to install mulch or do anything that is permanent. You dont need it for lawn mowing.

In general you really need to get better at finding information for yourself. The majority figure this out on their own.

I havent been in business as long as DPLD but I seen the industry take a turn for the worst in a short time. I chose going the HIC route rather then going into excavation or expanding more crews. In the past you could make a good living just cutting grass or just pressure washing.
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xandrew245x View Post
Thank you, I really appreciate your insight. I am going into business for myself because lawn care is something I always loved doing. Sure I could go work for a company that already established, but I would much rather build a reputation of high quality work myself. I work for my parents business, so they are pretty lenient with the rules, so me going into business myself isn't to be my own boss.

I don't want to be a millionaire, I just would like to make more than what I make now, and live a comfortable life which i'm sure is possible.

I'm not sure how to go about registering my business and obtaining a tax id. So your saying as a sole proprietor you only have to pay taxes once a year vs quarterly?
in my state all you have to do is go to the county hall of records and register and while you are there the person who runs that department will not only tell you what you need to do they will show you how to search the registry to make sure no one else is already registered under that name.

my memory is a little foggy but i don't recall it costing anything significant and it might be anywhere from twenty to thirty bucks in my county.
you don't need a tax payer ID as a SP you can use your ss # and you can file quarterly taxes as a SP but if you are not making much money and don't anticipate oweing too much money you can just file your taxes yearly like you currently do.
if you are hireing employees you will need a tax ID# as far as payroll taxes are concerned and if you pay on the books but be forewarned that once you register as a employer and recieve a employer identifacation number you will need to provide proof of workers comp coverage.
so if you are starting out you may want to avoid that for now to prevent yourself from having to incur the added cost because in my state once you have the number the system responds automaticaly by computer and sends out a red flag if there is no workers comp policy on file with the employer ID.
and once that wheel gets put in motion it is a lot of red tape and crap you got to go through to clear that up even if you have no employee's.

in my state i have to charge sales tax and that you can go online to the state web site and register for that and if you are useing your ss# the number will be the same with a couple of digits added to it because i believe it is a 10 digit number off the top of my head without digging through my files.

most of what you need to do is pretty cheap and painless and is not too dificult to deal with but of course that varies from state to state.
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:35 PM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpld View Post
in my state all you have to do is go to the county hall of records and register and while you are there the person who runs that department will not only tell you what you need to do they will show you how to search the registry to make sure no one else is already registered under that name.

my memory is a little foggy but i don't recall it costing anything significant and it might be anywhere from twenty to thirty bucks in my county.
you don't need a tax payer ID as a SP you can use your ss # and you can file quarterly taxes as a SP but if you are not making much money and don't anticipate oweing too much money you can just file your taxes yearly like you currently do.
if you are hireing employees you will need a tax ID# as far as payroll taxes are concerned and if you pay on the books but be forewarned that once you register as a employer and recieve a employer identifacation number you will need to provide proof of workers comp coverage.
so if you are starting out you may want to avoid that for now to prevent yourself from having to incur the added cost because in my state once you have the number the system responds automaticaly by computer and sends out a red flag if there is no workers comp policy on file with the employer ID.
and once that wheel gets put in motion it is a lot of red tape and crap you got to go through to clear that up even if you have no employee's.

in my state i have to charge sales tax and that you can go online to the state web site and register for that and if you are useing your ss# the number will be the same with a couple of digits added to it because i believe it is a 10 digit number off the top of my head without digging through my files.

most of what you need to do is pretty cheap and painless and is not too dificult to deal with but of course that varies from state to state.
Thanks, I'll look into it and see what I can find out. It's sad that this industry has gone downhill, I see a lot of lawn care companies around here that don't even have a name on their truck or trailer.

I will inherit my parents business someday, but that's honestly not what I want to do for the rest of my life, I would rather do something I enjoy.
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:47 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xandrew245x View Post
It's sad that this industry has gone downhill, I see a lot of lawn care companies around here that don't even have a name on their truck or trailer.
These are start ups and part timers. They come and go. These are the people that drive down prices. Then they go out of business or get a good paying job.
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:39 PM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wat5150 View Post
Just because your name isnt on your truck means your part of the decline???? Well thats just a bunch of stupid bullsh!t! Dont make assumptions based on someone not having a logo or a flashy name on their truck. Thats judgemental and plain ignorant. For all you know that guy with no name or logo on his truck could be as legit as anyone and doing quite well. I know several people in my area that are legit and dont have their name splashed all over and are doing well. Just a stupid comment....Sounds like high school.
Actually wat, my two comments had nothing to do with each other, maybe I should have made it more clear. I was saying its sad that the industry is declining. Then that was the end of that statement. Then I was just making a general statement that I see a lot of companies around here without any kind of logo or name on their vehicles or trailers, if I was them I would take advantage of prime advertising space. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:15 PM
xandrew245x xandrew245x is offline
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I know it does, but thats honestly not how I meant it at all.
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