Introduction and legality questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by M&SLawnCare, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 304

    Hello guys. First off I found this site pretty recently, but have already learned quite a bit. Very nice site and some great info :)

    Now a bit about me. I'm 22 and have had a mowing business since I was 13. I've expanded and reduced the size of the business several times since then (to a high point of 20-25 yards a week down to about 3 yards a week during college/work for an employer after graduating). During college and for a year after, I pretty much got out of the business to "start a career". However working 9 to 5 for someone else just doesn't appeal to me, and i missed the freedom of owning your own business. So last year I started up the business again and got a client base of about 20 weekly jobs. This year I'm hoping to expand to 30-40 weekly clients.

    Previously I looked at the business as a temporary thing that I'd get out of when i finished high school, so i kept it small and under the table. No insurance, registration, license and so forth. Now that I want to expand and make this something that i can really support myself with more long term, I want to make it completely legal as it grows. That is where i have some questions and was hoping to get some feedback from people that have recently been there, and preferably even someone from New Jersey that is familiar with the state laws. What should i expect to pay to have an accountant/lawyer get things set up and what should i know before calling them? I know how to handle the customers, pricing, equipment, and actual work involved. Its just the licensing and taxes I'm in the dark about.

    Tnx :)

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    I have an accountant for my income taxes. You have to register with the state and the fed. Just look in the phone book for the state number to call or you might be able to download the forms. Once you get the ball rolling you'll figure it out. It takes a couple of months to get it all set up so start as soon as possible. AND DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE ALREADY DOING WORK, that will complicate the hell out of it, especially sales tax. Just say you're going to start a new company in the Spring. If you don't have employees, this process will probably be immensely easier than I remember it.
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Decide on what type of business you want to be too.

    Most pep's just go with Sole Proprietor with a DBA. You can then either get an EIN or use your SSN. Other options are S Corps which are cool for small and family type business and LLC's.

    Learn the states laws regarding sales tax but believe me, I finally decided the only people I don't charge or include sales tax are ones with an exemption certificate. So you need a resale certifcate.

    Next is the fert and pest control laws. Either you do it or you sub it out.

    Keep in mind self employed has to pay the empolyer match of the SSN.

    You don't get workers comp on owners and managers. You may buy some AD&D for yourself.

    GL you don't need much unless you do a lot of commercial.
  4. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 304

    I was planning to just go with Sole Proprietor and use my SSN since its only me atm (no employees) to make things simple. As far as i can tell theirs no licensing needed for simply mowing grass (i have no plans to do any fert, which i know requires a license). About the accountant. Do i need to pre set anything up? Or do i just set up an appointment come tax time and bring my data from quick books to him. Do i need to file for taxes just once a year, like when i was working for an employer, or do i need to do it quarterly (I've heard both answers before :dizzy: ). How does write offs work (i would like to upgrade a few hand helds this year), simply record all expenses and schedule the accountant handles it? Lastly any idea what to roughly expect the accountant to charge me (as i mentioned only 20 jobs to start and will probably only pick up 10 or 20 new jobs this year. All income and expenses will be tracked with quick books to make it quick and easy to read)?

    Thanks for the help :drinkup:

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    You may not need a license specifically to mow grass, but you might need a general business license to 'officially' have a business. First step, call or stop by the county or city you operate in and ask about what is required.

    I'm not in Jersey but what I did here initially was...

    -apply for business license
    -register my company name (a separate thing from the license)
    -set up a business checking account
    -rent a PO Box (not required obviously...)

    Definitely check on that license...especially since you're probably running this out of your house, want to make sure you are not violating any zoning laws concerning home-based businesses...all it takes is one neighbor to call and get the zoning officials on your back.
  6. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

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