New Business Venture - Advice Please

Discussion in 'Community' started by Cooknn, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #1
    I've spent most of my adult life working for someone else. Recently I have decided to branch out a bit - in my spare time at first - and start up a new business. I'm going to be doing 360° Virtual Tour/Panoramic photography for real estate agents here in Fort Myers, FL. I've been doing marketing and advertising as well as general IT for a real estate broker for about 5 years in the evenings as a part time gig. I have 10 agents in my immediate sphere of influence, including the MLS Board President. I have enough work to get a portfolio together before the end of the year at which point I'll launch my website at listing360.com and start looking outside my office for more business.

    I suppose I’ll keep track of clients and accounting with QuickBooks on my G5. The lens and software I’ll use to create the virtual tours gen's Quicktime VR and a number of other formats for distribution on-line and off. Check out the tools at http://www.kaidan.com/Detail.bok?no=101.

    Just not sure if I should set up a company with a Tax ID or if I should just get a DBA account at the bank and do everything in my name. What are the advantages/disadvantages of either of those scenarios? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    #2
  3. Cooknn thread starter macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #3
    Thanks for the link. Being a photographer is one thing - being one that represents million dollar listings is another. I can imagine some crazed real estate agent coming after me because he lost a listing. BTW, you meant LLC, correct?
     
  4. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #4
    Get a lawyer as fast as you can. I've owned businesses, and they know just how you can protect yourself.
    In "your name"? Scratch THAT idea yesterday. Incorporate. The lawyer will know.Your up-front costs will seem rather high, but you HAVE to do it right or you could destroy your life.
     
  5. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    #5
    Oops LLP would be UK, LLC yes ... Les Kern is right!
     
  6. quackattack macrumors 6502a

    quackattack

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #6
    Well, kinda. There are actually two different forms of organization, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and Limited Liability Company (LLC). I would consider how much you want to grow the company when you consider organization. If you want to keep it small or do it by yourself I see no problem with filing out a DBA and running it in your name. This type of business should be fairly low as far as potential liability. If you want to have several employees or grow the company, then definitely incorporate. The hassle and cost upfront will pay off in the long run.
     
  7. Cooknn thread starter macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #7
    Well, it's only $325 to set up an LLC and I expect that at some point - maybe sooner rather than later - I'm going to have to bring someone on to assist with jobs I can't get to.

    Les, you make me nervous man. Can you elaborate on your experiences a bit? I will most likely go with www.corporate.com to get set up if I go the LLC route...
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #8
    In the US an LLP would still leave one partner responsible for the corporate debts -- but an LLP generally requires two or more partners.

    It's a decent structure for some businesses which by state law could not be run as corporations (at one time or currently), and adds additional protection to the limited partners -- without the huge tax hit inherent in changing the tax structure of old Partnerships.

    Most of the rest of us would end up using LLCs...

    Using an LLC and resisting the urge to use it as a piggy bank -- meaning take the money as pay and profit and never pay any personal items out of the company accout -- should protect you as long as you don't need to sign a personal guarantee for anything, and they will ask you.

    Though it will protect you if somebody decides to sue the company more so that a DBA account.
     
  9. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #9
    Good Luck with your business, I wish you the best of luck with it. But, for the love of god, do it the right way. Set up an LLC, it's cheap in the long run to do. Protect yourself!

    BEN
     
  10. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #10
    personally i dont have much experience myself with this stuff but i have always worked for rather small businesses

    i would definitely talk to a lawyer, and Incorporated is the way to go for sure, there are costs and benefits to it, but it will pay out in the long run

    the reason i say lawyer is because they can help you to be sure that you are covering all of your bases, so you know what you are facing as well
     
  11. Cooknn thread starter macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #11
    I appreciate your assistance guys. I knew this would be a good place to get info. I could have posted anywhere, but I dig my Mac friends :D BTW - I'm going to set up an LLC. Can't wait to start making some bank!
     
  12. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #12
    I am sure that the lawyers will chime in, but I have a question. Even when you set things up to shield yourself from Liability, you are still liable correct? Aren't there a hundred ways around most of those shields? The fact that there is only the one person, I thought that the lawyers could easily get to him/her.

    Fl law would obviouly be the kicker.

    The higher the stakes, the more the insurance would be important than the paper shields, I would think.

    You sound very smart, part time first is VERY smart.

    Good luck. I run a small business but have not bothered with the LLC/LLP or INC, the admin costs made it unprofitable and I did not really gain a liability shield anyway, or at least not one that would protect me on an actual claim. But I have High Dollar insurance!
     
  13. Cooknn thread starter macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #13
    Quote from Scott Cook of Intuit

    I bought QuickBooks Pro 2005 for Mac today. Thought you all would appreciate an excerpt from the letter on the inside of the box from Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit. You gotta dig their commitment to our platform :D

     
  14. aus_dave macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #14
    In the US maybe :rolleyes:. In Australia they no longer supply a Mac version. I imagine it is because of the limited market size and the increasing complexity of the tax system and GST.
    As far as I understand it you can be personally liable if you are a director of the company (not sure what the term is for an LLC, in Australia a limited company has directors).

    It is common practice for company directors to place major personal assets like houses in their wife's or husband's name. If the company goes bankrupt, the family home is then 'out of reach' of creditors. The company assets can be liquidated and I guess any personal assets of the directors can be as well if it gets nasty ;).

    I'm no lawyer though and my outlook is Australian only, so do your research :D.

    Good luck with the business :).
     

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