Staying Legal

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Kasfeldt7, May 4, 2005.

  1. Kasfeldt7

    Kasfeldt7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Hello lawn gurus!

    Im a full time minister making a poverty line salary. I worked out a deal with my congregation to get the afternoons free in the summer to cut grass to supplement my income. I've done a few lawns last year on the side, but I don't have insurance, a liscense and whatever else may be needed to stay legal. I suppose these things very from state to state (Im in IL).

    Could you fill me in on the basics of what I need to do this properly and legally? What permits do I need (where do I get them?) and what insurance do I need (and who provides it)? Do I need to get a seperate Tax ID or anything like that?

    Thanks and blessings,
    Pastor BK
  2. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,775

    being legal is a pain in the rear. do you really think the irs is going to audit a minister making 25,000 i don't think so!!

    as far as a license, who is ever going to check you??? that's right NO ONE!!

    the insurance might be a good idea, but a guy can go "insurance broke" i'd skip it if i were you.

    take some of your money and put it towards the common good and be content with yourself. cherish every moment :angel:
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,943

    The IRS usually goes after those without the means to defend themselves. Cheaper and faster. Audits are now performed at random too.

    Insurance? Throw a rock and knock somebodies eye out etc. Hit a car with a rock and cause an accident. Hit a expensive paint job. Knock holes on somebodies vinyl siding( I once went under a tree with some kind of acorns and knocked hole in vinyl siding of a house). YOur equipment gets stolen and on and on

    License? YOur city may require a license and the fines are big for those not having them. I was checked 3 times last year because the city did not send me a sticker to post on my windshield. They did this year. The licence is just a tax and required even if you only have one yard here
  4. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    Pastor FORGET everything that this clown Grassmaster just told you because it is wrong and very bad advice! I will assume that at his young age of 24 he has decided to take the scrub path.

    You will need General Commercial Liability Insurance ($1M is the standard normally) that you can get from just about any Insurance Agent. The rate will avry but you can probably figure on around $500 a year, and YES you will want the security of having it.

    Business License you just contact your local City/County Tax Office that you will be doing work in and they will assist your needs.

    Tax ID Number, ONLY if you INC or add employees. I would suggest at this point you keep it simple and just do a Sole Prop using your SSN. You WILL want a separate business checking acct, like John Doe d/b/a Pastors Lawn Care.

    Good luck.
  5. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    I'm not sure about Il, but here in MI you don't need a license to cut grass. You only need one if you're doing Landscape construction....but not for maintenance.
    As far as liability insurance, Safeco, Frankenmuth, and even some of the auto insurers have commercial liability. For part time, its not too expensive, I pay $164/Quarter. It's not "required" in order to be legal, and you can risk your entire savings......but its not advised. Back in College I was cutting lawns on the side, and one day I ran over a water access pipe in a new lawn I was cutitng. My mower cut right through the 1" pipe an sent it flying into the street. 2 houses down was a little girl riding her bike on the sidwalk. I bought insurance the next day for that very reason. I've never had to make a claim against it, but its good to know its there.
    As for acquiring a tax ID number, it isn't necessary. I think its already been mentioned that you can set up a D.B.A. (Doing Business As). To get one you go to your county clerk's office, and apply for a business name you would like to use. It cost me $10. They give you a certificate, which you can then use to open a bank account. Now you can have people write check payable to your business name, instead of your personal name. But, this DBA uses your Social Security number for tax purposes, and therefore any income you make doing lawns becomes personal income, and you just claim it (minus expenses) on your tax return. You technically don't even need a DBA or a business name, you can always have them write checks to you personally, or cash. It's just a matter of preference as to if you want a "company name."

    This is a great forum for questions.....I've learned more on here than anywhere else!

    Best of luck to you.
  6. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    /\ Well said.
  7. Todd's lawncare

    Todd's lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    from P.A
    Messages: 548

    I bet you run a good setup . Get a life and stop living on my hard earned and hard paid tax dollars
  8. Kasfeldt7

    Kasfeldt7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for the information guys!

    Blesings! :waving:

    Pastor BK
  9. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,775

    for all you smart asses...

    i do everything by the books. in fact i probably pay more in taxes than you make all year.

    i'm just saying that, for someone that is only doing a few lawns a week it can be kind of a hassle to go through all the rigmarole of being "legal".

    in a coulpe of days i hope to get some pics of my stuff. for being part time i'm going to put you all to shame!!!
  10. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    I'LL Take that bet. As a matter of fact, I'LL RAISE it. I bet I wait, I bet my PROFIT in one month is more than you make all year..... ;)

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