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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old April 13th, 2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Need biz advice

I'm creating a very small start up business where I am creating short 2-3 minute spots for certain websites. I need to get a business ID and such. With our kind of work, what type of business license would you recommend. Sole P., LLC or Incorporated? My biggest concern is liability but that might be an over reaction. All the material I am using will be my own or royalty free. I got on legal zoom and options seem confusing for what we do.

Any thoughts?

Bryan
(Soon to be listen to the wind productions)
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Old April 13th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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First keep in mind that a business license is different than being a Sole Prop, LLC, S corp, etc.

The business license would come from your local municpality if it were even needed, some don't but that depends a lot on whether the business is a store front or not. The type of INC. that you decide on depends on many things none of which can be or should be brought to light here since no one here is a lawyer or account with access to your business and personal needs.

The first thing I would do is find an accountant and a lawyer that you feel comfortable with and talk to them to figure out what type of buisness incorporation would best suit your business then once you done that and gotten the appropriate paperwork go to your local municpality and talk to them to find out about the business license.

While Legal Zoom is fine it can't tell you exactly what you need to do for YOUR situation and trust me, I know hiring a lawyer and account can cost some bucks upfront but if you're serious about it, the cost in the long run will be money well spent and can be a write off.

Just my opinion that our clients hire us as professionals so we should hire professionals for our business.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #3
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Personally I would start out as a sole proprietorship. Simple and easy. As you grow your needs may change, but if you're starting small I'd start with that.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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Don of course if completely right. I would add that in MY SPECIFIC SITUATION, my accountant informed me that BASED ON MY business practices, a LLC would not ultimately provide me with any further liability protection so YES, talk to someone that can advise YOU. My accountant SAVES me FAR more than she charges me every year, year after year.

Remember you can always rent GEAR instead of buying when starting out but you can't "rent" legal and accounting advice - pay it and smile and thank us all later.

PS. 12 years in and I'm STILL a sole proprietor.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #5
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As has been mentioned, a lot of what you will need to do is based on your state, county and city laws and regulations. You may or may not be required to register - in my state I am not. However, if you want to do business as "Listen to the Wind Productions" you may be required to register a fictitious name, whereas operating as "Bryan Cady Production" would not require that.

If you are operating as a individual with no partners or employees, then an LLC or corporation would offer you virtually no liability protection. Yes, it's a good idea to seek professional advice, but be sure you're not asking someone who stands to profit from your decision (i.e. of course LegalZoom will tell you to form an LLC, that's how they make money.)
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Old April 19th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #6
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As mentioned above, you will want to recruit the services of a good accountant. Be prepared to spend more money on their services, as well as filing a few more forms than you are used to.

One thing that I have is what they call an "umbrella policy", a further safe guard in case of a lawsuit from accident or injury. This is on the insurance side though, but DEFINITELY talk to your agent about this. They are a couple of hundred dollars, but it may save your house, cars, etc.

Jonathan
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:04 PM   #7
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Another aspect of registering your business is protecting the name from being used by another person or business in your area. This can be important if your business is successful and might vary with the different filing types..
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Old April 21st, 2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Another aspect of registering your business is protecting the name from being used by another person or business in your area.
As well, if you even CONSIDER moving at any point in the future, look at National registration - My production company in Winnipeg was Gearhead Visual Productions. After a recent move to Canada's West Coast, I discovered there was already a similarly named business entity out here doing video business so I'm back to operating as a freelancer at least out here. My Winnipeg based business still operates with me in-absentia so at least I get to keep the name...
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