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Taking Care of Business
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 07:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Montreal
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Question about video jobs...

Pretty much, I want to get in the business as well. Doing things like events, performances, recording plays, just basic freelance stuff. Maybe weddings once I get some more experience. I plan to rent my equipment until I can afford to buy some stuff on my own.

My question is, do I need to register a business to do this sort of stuff? My guess is yes, and does my age prevent me from starting a business? I am 16 years old, but with lots of experience and I believe if I get organized enough I might be able to make some money.

I know the steps to register, it's a few trips to Access Nova Scotia. They might answer this question there but, besides doing all the video work, what paperwork is involved to make my business legal? Is there a certain way to pay the taxes? What if I wanted to hire a friend to help shoot video on a certain day?

Thanks everyone, this community is very helpful.
Justin Tomchuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 23rd, 2006, 07:40 AM   #2
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Justin, I don't know all the answers to your questions as they pertain to Canadian law, however the following is generally true: To establish a business you need a business license. The bank will want to see that in order to open your bank checking account. The government tax entities won't like to see you mixing up your personal and business expenditures in the same bank account else they will assume you are trying to write off your hobby. All your legitimate business expenses are deductible from taxable income, and you should be able to carry your losses over year to year until you start turning a profit. There may be employment laws that you need to follow and taxes to pay if you hire a friend to help you on a shoot, but there may be certain exceptions for contractors vs. employees. It may be beneficial to form a partnership. Choice of business entity can make a difference (e.g. in the USA, if I pay an LLC over a certain amount of money I have an added expense of sending a tax form to the LLC, making it slightly more advantageous to do business with a corporation, all other things being equal).

Your age should not be an impediment; I was photographing weddings when I was 11 and made pretty good money doing it. There might be age restrictions pertaining to the entering of legal agreements, in which case a parent or guardian might have to sign.

You might also consider helping out an established business in order to learn more about the running of a business. Don't be too focussed only on the shooting aspect, but learn how they get business, deal with employees, etc. Learn everything you can about the business. Do this with the most successful operation in your area.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim for the great advice. You're right about the alternate bank account, it could get messy if I mixed both. I hadn't even though of that. I'll be sure to find out information on hiring my friends as you mentioned there may be some rules I have to follow.

As for running under another company to learn more of the ropes, it sounds like it would be a good way to learn everything but it would be difficult setting my schedule around the shifts, let alone I even find a company willing to do so.

Thanks again,
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Old September 26th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #4
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Location: DFW area, TX
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The laws can vary from state to state but there are generally 3 types of businesses, Sole Proprietor, Limited Liability Corporation, Incorporation.

Here in Texas, you don't have to register to do business under your OWN NAME.

If you want to have a company name, you must file with the county clerk a 'dba certificate.' It essentially gives a record of the individual who is 'doing business as' so and so company.

But if I wanted to, I could just do business as Greg A. Boston, Videographer and that's perfectly legal.

In the sole proprietorship, you and your company are one and the same entity in terms of assets and liabilities, however, the rules for this type of business are the least complex.

You can form a Limited Liability Corporation, which brings with it more filing requirements and protects your personal assets from those of the company. This was formed to bridge the gap between being a sole proprietor and an all out corporation.

Finally, if you incorporate, you have to have a unique business name, must have officers, issue stock, hold regular board meetings and document them, etc. You basically pay yourself a salary from the corporation so that your personal tax liablility is only based on your salary, not how much the corporation makes. However, your personal assets are fully protected from those of the corporation.

Again, this is generalized information based on the laws in the state of Texas but it's pretty much the same throughout the US. I can't help you with Canadian law.

In any case, good luck with your endeavors!

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