Help!! how to become legit.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by birdturd9726, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. birdturd9726

    birdturd9726 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    i saw it once before on here but i cannot find it again. What do i need to do to become legit. What licenses do i need and where do i get them. i live in Suffolk county, long island, new york. i want to get this done within thee next month. can someone please give me guidance. thanks
  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    You don't have to have a license to be legit. You need different licenses depending on what you do. If you work in most city limits you need a city license to operate (Most cities have a business license division, look in the phone book or google it for your city). If you apply pesticides you need a license in most states. If you are going to have employees you need a Federal EIN (Employee identification number), and one for the state.
    Being legit means being honest. You should be legit as soon as you start your business. That means reporting your income and paying taxes on your earnings. It also means if you hire employees you pay them properly and take out taxes on them. A good CPA should be able to help you with most of these issues. Hope this helps some.
  3. birdturd9726

    birdturd9726 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    there was a thread on here in a list for exactly where to go and what you need.

    i do not work in the city and with on employees. Should i file as a DBA or LLC or something else. What are the licenses needed for NY and whatever else i need.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I think I'd agree, you can have a license and not be legit.

    But to answer the question, my first step would be down around the suffolk county courthouse (or is it Long Island), anyhow you want to ask a clerk working there some of these questions, likely they'll lead you in the direction of obtaining a business license.

    Before you make the drive thou you'll want to have a name for your business, and 1-2 alternates in case yours is taken.
    Take a day, do that.

    Then you'll want to check into getting a FEIN, that's a Federal Tax ID number.
    While you're there get a State Tax reg # as well.

    When you get your business license, ask THAT clerk about these two things.
    There's more, but start with that and you'll be fine for a bit.

    btw you can get a FEIN online, not sure about the NYTAX reg #
  5. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    1. Go to your county offices and register your business name. $12 bucks in Va.

    2. Call your car insurance man and tell him you need business insurance. I have liability insurance....don't need workmans comp unless you have 3 employees. $200 - $300 year. (My coverage is lawnmowing only....landscaping would be higher)

    3. Go to the bank and open a checking account in your business name. Use SSN# as business ID.

    4. Get trucks lettered or mag signs on vehicles.

    5. Go to office store and get receipts, envelopes, address labels

    5. Buy Gopher software for $99. I did this year....looks more professional, less writing. Cost about the same as office supplies over 2 seasons.

    6. Get plastic road signs w/ business name, phone number.

    7. A separate phone line is expensive, but it gets you in the yellow pages. It does cost me $60 a month and I only really use it Mar - Nov. But I think it's more professional when my number/name comes up on caller ID and when they call it's not a family answering machine. BUT...this is not needed at all.

    8. Wait for March.

    Less than $300 to be is billed quarterly if you want so only $50 - $100 down.

  6. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    Might I add...

    Some companies will let you have a "ringmaster" number. I have one number that rings differently for incoming faxes, for no extra charge.

    DONT wait until march! Residentials might not be thinking about their yards, but buisnesses will soon be making budgets for the whole year and may want to start taking bids as early as January. It may not be a bad idea to start taking to managers and find out what the jobs will entail and if they will be taking bids and when. Some of them may even be interested in parking lot clean up through winter, if that is something you plan to offer in the off season. Remember--stay in the front of their minds!

    Good luck!
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I'll add a couple things, being from next door in Nassau county:

    Yes, you need a FEIN with or without employees.

    The become a certified applicator in Sufflok, after you get your buisness license # (which should even be on you business card) -you can obtain this from the Suffolk county clerk's office- it's $35 in Nassau- you must take a DEC state recognized 30 hour course. one place to get this is on line, a CD based learn at your own pace program: ($300)

    Or call: 631-665-2250 which is a Nassua-Suffolk landscapers assoc. They have a class starting in early Jan for $275. That is a 4 day thing, 8:30 to 5pm. Then, you file for the state test $45, then you pay another $100 for your photo ID applicators card. I think this is right.... if you are solo, and not DBA (doing business under an assumed business name other than your own name) you will need to get a business applicator's license for another stinkin $450. BUT... if you are solo, and just call your self by your own name, like John Doe landscaping, you wont need to spend the 450.

    Lastly... go here:

    Over on the right, click on "business type". They will ask you about 12questions. If you say yes to doing hardscaping, that's one license. If you say you will rip out plants and do planting installations, you need a nursery license for that. They will put together a package of forms for you to complete based on what work you will be doing.

    I will enroll in that course out in Suffolk for Jan. I aint getting no nursery license, but I'm dern sure gonna continue to do plantings... that will be for next year. The truth is, go as legit as you can afford to, but don't let the stinkin govt put you out of business.

    My suggested priorities:
    Business license
    Insurance (start with you auto ins broker, but get several quites)
    Cert App license (violating this one is a huge fine and maybe the loss of your B License)
    FEIN-It's free and easy. Info at that last "OPAL" site I linked to.

    After that, get whatever permits and licenses you can right now... and keep yer head down when doing plantings. When I do plantings, I leave the trailer at home, no signs on the truck, and park in the driveway if possible. I have a cap on my P/U, for additional stealth. Keep your signs on your trailer.

    I'm not usually this forthcoming, but in NYS they make it almost impossible to be 100% legal until about year 3. I mean they want college credits for me to be legal to install a one foot slate garden border!

    Good luck.... maybe see you in that class in Jan.
  8. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    PS: I found a good insurance guy in Suffolk... Farm Family, it's a big outfit, but this guy knows our business... PM me for info if you want.
  9. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    to mow grass??? That's nuts....I'd check in to that.

    You probably won't need a cert right away. I've only had a few, very few, people ask for landscaping. Everything else is mowing, aeration, and over seeding.

  10. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    If you want to seed, or even rip out a bush, and be legal you need a nursery lic -cost $100. If you want to fertilize or put down herbicides or pesticides, in NY, yes, you need to get certified if you want to be legal. The big thing around here is you DO NOT want to get caught fertilizing unless you are a certified applicator... that one is important. You will get a HUGE fine and maybe lose your business license.

    Aside from that, the required course is actually a good thing to take. It includes things like how to identify both turf and shrub diseases and infestations, as well as some other good stuff.

    BTW... that link to OPAL.... it's the FEIN page... hit home, then click on the right under business type.

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