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legalities covered

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mikesjumpingin, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Okay, I ran a search and got lots of info, but I want to confirm the following things plus ask a question or two:

    I'm starting up for this season, so far I am getting fed EIN (in case I hire help at some point) state license/tax collecting forms, and insurance.

    I am in Pennsylvania, PennDOT said on phone that I don't need a commercial plate with my light truck & trailer, unless Hazardous Materials come into the picture.

    Question: is there anything I need in my truck (paperwork, etc.) while driving around to indicate or display that I am a legitimate lawncare or landscape business?

    Question 2: (should be in landscapers forum, I know) I may be taking test for applicator's license, do the pesticides like grub control and weed control count as hazardous materials? Just curious.

  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    here, in nj, u need a pesticide "unit" identification. u must have the numbers, and business name on 2 sides of the truck. i dont think pesticides fall under the category"hazardous materials"
  3. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 541

    You will need a license to collect state sales tax.
  4. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Okay. Sounds like I'm good to go.

    I guess I'll find out any more requirements as I get this off the ground. Or on the ground.


  5. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    The truck should have commercial liabilty insurance now rather than just auto insurance.
  6. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    should have commercial vehicle insurance, I'll look into it. PennDOT didn't mention it, but that's why I posted the question.


  7. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I've been a litigation paralegal for the past 10 years, for what that's worth. I'm also getting a lawn care business off the ground. Although I'm not giving legal advice (there, that's my disclaimer), my .02:

    Haz mats is a separate category from transporting herbicides, etc., so you won't have to mark your vehicle. I'm just having lettering put on my truck for advertising.

    The insurance issue. You'll need liability coverage for your truck and trailer; general liability for your buiness (e.g. if you're an LLC, Inc., whatever) - you'll probably need 500K or more to land commercial jobs; you can get property damage coverage for your equipment dirt cheap if you want to add that on. You should get all of it from the same Ins. carrier to save $.

    Pitfalls: Ask your agent to explain all of the coverage to you specifically, becaue a lot of times they look at it from a sales perspective and not as your advocate. For example, the agent could misunderstand what you are looking for and/or if a guy looking for insurance has credit problems it is conceivable that the agent takes your money and says "okay we'll get the ball rolling", then the insurance underwriter denies coverage. In this scenario it might take two months for you to get your money back.

    Workers comp. First off, always talk to a CPA first. They can tell you what best suits your situation in about 1 minute. I don't know how things work in PA, but here in NC after you get your LLC or Inc., etc. from the Secretary of State's office you can switch from one to the other very easily. Just submit a form & fee.

    If you're not sure what amount of help you might need this year you might want to consider a temp agency because you pay one price & they provide the labor plus workers comp coverage. The risk though is will your guys show up for work!
  8. bzaspel

    bzaspel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    OK, insurance is one of the things I've had trouble with in past operations. It would seem reasonable to me that this industry would have a "specialist" who knows what the business is about, like this web site represents the industry as a source of information. Just look at the ad banner at the top of this screen and you can see that the vendors are hanging around like a flock of vultures waiting for their next meal. And I am thankful that they are! That is another good part of this place. However, I don't see any insurance companies represented who know the business and the liability issues and who can better protect me as an operator, using their knowledge of the industry as a tool.

    An example would be like motorcycle insurance. Lots of agencies can write an insurance policy for my motorcycle, but they don't know about the little things like helmets and riding gear and chrome I've added to my bike that affect it's value. So, if I ever need to make a claim because someone stole my helmet with my microphone system hard-mounted to the shell, they don't cover that because they don't cover helmets, much less intercom systems, "and by the way why would someone need an intercom on a motorcycle anyway." Just an example of how ignorance can hurt my business, albiet unintentionally.

    Any recommendations? Sean, any body ever contact you as web site host about becoming a vendor/sponsor?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Talk about doing a search, Holy Cow- I started to read and the second post way Bobby, I thought "he's back" than I see the date. over 3 years:dizzy:

    bzaspel- to answer you question. An agent is the expert, just as you are about cutting grass, but if I say to you -"cut my grass tomorrow" I bet you will not do it. Because you do not know where I live. Just as a agent does not know what is in your helmet. It is up to you to tell them what you want insured. My agents have a list of every tool on every trailer that is over $500.00 + 2K of small stuff coverage. If it is out of the realm of standard coverage you may need a rider. Tell all to the agent
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Depends on your carrier, but you need to make sure whoever insures you is aware what the truck is being used for.
    Some will let you carry it under your personal, mine does.

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