First Step: Create a Foundation
One of your very first steps in starting a landscaping business will be to determine the legal structure of your business. Many states have business resource guides on their websites to help you with this decision. You may want to find a lawyer, CPA, or business consultant to get help in determining which legal structure is best for you.
There are basic structures that you can choose from: Sole Proprietorship, Corporation (S or C), Partnership, Limited Liability, or Non-Profit. Depending on the state you live in, these may vary slightly. Making the decision depends on a variety of factors. Are you going into business by yourself or with partners? Who will have the controlling interest in the business? How much do you expect to earn? How much liability are you exposed to? How do you want to be taxed? Each legal structure has characteristics that affect your financial and legal risks.
Next Step: License Yourself
Once you've determined the appropriate legal structure, you will need to file the proper incorporation paperwork.
In addition, you will want to determine whether your state requires a license for this type of business and follow the steps to become properly licensed. You will also need to decide if you need a sales tax license. Will you be selling any products to your clients? Or just providing a service? If you're selling products, follow the steps provided by your state to obtain your sales license.
Final Step: Protect Yourself
Prior to starting your business, you may have simply had a verbal agreement with your neighbors to mow their lawn every Wednesday for a certain amount of money. But now that you're starting a real business, you may want to invest in the protection of a Service Contract. We offer a Landscaping Contract, which is an easy online tool you can use to create your own customized contract. You may want to have a lawyer review this to make sure it conforms to your state laws and your personal business needs.
Once you've completed all the steps above, it may be time to start revving up the engine to your lawn mower. Happy mowing!
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.