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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:04 AM   #1
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Small time business question!

small time meaning that i'm a one man show with very few clients. A good year for me would probably be 5 to 6 weddings a year. I know, not impressive at all :-)
I'm sure that there are others in my situation...
Does anyone know if a license is needed to operate? I work out of my house, usually meet people at a coffee shop, and have a very generic contract.
This might be a stupid question, but if someone knows the legality behind the "one man show" type of business... Please share it with me.
Thanks
Steve
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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I'm curious myself. Sorry that wasn't an answer, but I'll see that I replied to this thread to be able to come back to it easier.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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You should register your business as a sole proprietorship. It always helps that your business is legit and you pay your taxes. I only paid $ 65 for a 5 year business license, it's not much and your legit. I don't know how it works in the States but here in Canada you can claim a certain percentage of your electric bills, etc as operating expenses coz you operate from home, I usually have my accountant take care of that.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:34 AM   #4
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frankly you should cjheck with the local authorities meaning the local chamber of commerce and your towns office of government. You should also talk to an attorney who is conversant with the local and state requirements. Check with the bar association for the name(s) of lawyers in your area that do this type of work. Many times they will give you a special deal because you located them thru the bar association and can answer your questions quickly and inexpesively.
Much of has to do with the type of company you are IE Sole Prop, S or sub S etc. Since you are working from home and NOT necessairly bring client there to sell to them you MAY not need to do anything but then again you might.
Even municipality is different even in the same state. Again check with an attorney.

Don
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
small time meaning that i'm a one man show with very few clients. A good year for me would probably be 5 to 6 weddings a year. I know, not impressive at all :-)
I'm sure that there are others in my situation...
Does anyone know if a license is needed to operate? I work out of my house, usually meet people at a coffee shop, and have a very generic contract.
This might be a stupid question, but if someone knows the legality behind the "one man show" type of business... Please share it with me.
Thanks
Steve
The laws vary wildly depending on your specific jurisdictions, state, county, city. Taxes, licenses, zoning ordinances, and more can all come into play and what's true in your town may be totally different a few miles away in the next county over. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce as a good starting point for your research.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:37 AM   #6
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Wow, I'm even more confused ...
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Old December 31st, 2008, 12:26 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for the input... Sound like my best bet is to move to Canada, things seem easier up there :-)
I'll check with my chamber of commerce and hopefully not much is needed. Right now I spend more money then I make.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 01:32 PM   #8
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Right now I spend more money then I make.
I've been at this (documentary & educational) for almost ten years full time and my accountant is pretty sure I spend more than I make as well... But MAN you should see all the pretty toys with lights and switches and...
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Old December 31st, 2008, 02:26 PM   #9
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Steve,

There is a world of information available online. Might I suggest to anyone thinking of starting a business to use a search engine like google (or another) and type in what you're looking for. Simple thing to do and delivers results fast.

I went to google.com and typed in "how to start a business in New Jersey". Here's one of the returns I got.

NJ Business Portal | Taking Care of Business | Starting A Business

I hope this helps point you in the right direction.

Jeff
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Old December 31st, 2008, 03:38 PM   #10
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I was a licensed ceramic tile contractor (a "one man show") for several years, ending in 1992. I found that talking to a lawyer to find out if I needed a business license was far more expensive than just going and getting the license, which was very cheap (I had to estimate my income and they charge on a percentage). Call your city's licensing department, explain the situation to them and ask them if you need a license and what the cost is. In my city, they say that "all businesses need a license", but there is no fee for that license for some businesses. You don't have to give them any personal information for such an inquiry, and they may even have such information available online. In the end, if you need a license, you should get one if just to maintain your integrity.

I occasionally did one or two tile jobs a year after I entered my current line of work and because of the low dollar amounts involved, it was not considered a business and could fall under "hobby" and I paid taxes on that amount. Your tax man can help you with that.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 03:38 PM   #11
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Stephen - I also live in NJ and did some research last year when I opened my business. I went the route of an LLC which supposedly gives me a little more protection of my personal assets. It was pretty easy to set up. Make sure you also file your quarterly sales tax form with the state - even if you have no income for that period. There's a stiff penalty if you don't.

Art
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Old December 31st, 2008, 04:46 PM   #12
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Any details that apply to NJ alone aside, one thing is for sure. If you have income from a business you need to be filing a schedule C with your federal income tax return.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:49 PM   #13
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Hey guys, thanks for all of the help... My situation is a little different being that I'm not a resident of NJ. But a resident of FL, serving in the military in NJ. I guess it'll be a little confusing when tax time rolls around.
I'll be contacting the chamber of commerce where I currently live and go from there.

Jeff- Thanks for the leg work on google. I will admit to jumping the gun and posting a thread before doing the research my self. I figured that if I was wondering, there has to be someone else out there in my shoes wanting to know as well.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:13 PM   #14
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Years ago I started a yacht business. In the beginning I got a business license because it would get me a good discount at a national marine supply chain. It also ended up garnering some discounts in other areas, plus I needed it to get into the local marinas. That and insurance.

That was in a big city. In a small town, it can get you some local clout. This makes you a tax paying business owner bringing revenue into the local community. As has been mentioned, things can vary wildly depending upon locale. It might get you some good stuff or it might get you nothing more than an extra napkin at your local diner.

You might want to talk to some local business owners for their thoughts.
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