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  1. #1
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    hark's Avatar

    Photography Business Questions

    Pretty soon I will be entering the world of paid photography (part-time) and want to review everything required for a business. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding any of the following - or any other topics I may have missed - I'd appreciate your input. At this time, I won't be using our home for a studio so no need to address home owners policy for that. For now I'd be doing on location photography.

    1. Website - this is vital. The problem for me is I might change the name from All About The Light to perhaps something shorter. This will probably be one of the first things I address. Hosting info will also be appreciated.

    2. Business and/or Gear Insurance - I looked at the PPA web site, and going through them is a consideration. Unfortunately they don't offer business insurance. So any recommendations or suggestions on both business and gear insurance will be appreciated. I DON'T want to go through my Home Owner's policy with a rider. State Farm really isn't the best insurance out there so it isn't even a consideration. Looking for other companies.

    3. Licensing - in the past I went to our local Chamber of Commerce trying to get info on starting a business. The man wanted to write down my info and asked for my business name. I didn't have one yet so he wouldn't give me any info or help. He could have at least offered pricing info for licensing but....

    4. Payment Options - any and all suggestions for this will be appreciated! This would be both for paying through a web site and/or paying in person.

    5. Vehicle Insurance - I know I will need to update this to include using my vehicle for a business.

    6. Business Cards - first I need to decide on a business name, and if I get a business license number from the county, that would be included.

    So what else have I missed? Any comments or suggestions on the things I've mentioned?


    › See More: Photography Business Questions
    Last edited by hark; 11-09-2019 at 07:19 PM.
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2019 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci





  2. #2
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hark View Post
    Pretty soon I will be entering the world of paid photography (part-time) and want to review everything required for a business. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding any of the following - or any other topics I may have missed - I'd appreciate your input. At this time, I won't be using our home for a studio so no need to address home owners policy for that. For now I'd be doing on location photography.
    1. Website - this is vital. The problem for me is I might change the name from All About The Light to perhaps something shorter. This will probably be one of the first things I address. Hosting info will also be appreciated.

    2. Business and/or Gear Insurance - I looked at the PPA web site, and going through them is a consideration. Unfortunately they don't offer business insurance. So any recommendations or suggestions on both business and gear insurance will be appreciated. I DON'T want to go through my Home Owner's policy with a rider. State Farm really isn't the best insurance out there so it isn't even a consideration. Looking for other companies.

    You need a BOP Business Owners Policy. Your State Farm agent should be able to quote this. It's separate and distinct from your homeowner's policy.

    3. Licensing - in the past I went to our local Chamber of Commerce trying to get info on starting a business. The man wanted to write down my info and asked for my business name. I didn't have one yet so he wouldn't give me any info or help. He could have at least offered pricing info for licensing but....

    You don't go to the Chamber for this. You go to your local City hall. If your City doesn't issue business Licenses, then your County almost certainly does. Both/either will direct you to the other if you need both. It's usually a small fee based on gross sales... <--starting out you'll be in the lowest tier. They'll supply you with forms as well as what their requirements are for Business names... There are public notices that need to be filed if you file as a Corp. or use an alias name... usually NOT if you use your real full name... They'll give you all the details.

    4. Payment Options - any and all suggestions for this will be appreciated! This would be both for paying through a web site and/or paying in person.

    You'll almost certainly need to accept credit cards. You can visit your Bank and they'll be able to give you info and requirements for their accounts. You can also search online for the several clearing houses that interface with your cell phone with CC acceptance...

    5. Vehicle Insurance - I know I will need to update this to include using my vehicle for a business.

    Tell your State Farm agent that you want business coverage for your car while you're talking to him about your business insurance. He'll explain what you need.

    6. Business Cards - first I need to decide on a business name, and if I get a business license number from the county, that would be included.

    Hold off until you've been through the City hall business license process because that's going dictate what name you use... In Florida, without complicating the subject, it'll most likely be your real name + photography...

    So what else have I missed? Any comments or suggestions on the things I've mentioned?
    Last but not least, you should talk to your tax advisor and/or visit a CPA to get your books setup. He'll also be able to direct you toward the form of business you use based on how much you plan to make... as well as what other assets you may have... Unless a professional suggests you do an LLC, or Corp... I wouldn't be so quick to rush into those... They're just more forms to file and more fees to pay... You can start as a Sole Proprietor until you see how much money you're going to make...

    Good luck with your new venture...

  3. #3
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by FredKingston View Post
    Last but not least, you should talk to your tax advisor and/or visit a CPA to get your books setup. He'll also be able to direct you toward the form of business you use based on how much you plan to make... as well as what other assets you may have... Unless a professional suggests you do an LLC, or Corp... I wouldn't be so quick to rush into those... They're just more forms to file and more fees to pay... You can start as a Sole Proprietor until you see how much money you're going to make...

    Good luck with your new venture...
    Thanks for all of this, Fred, as well as the other info you embedded within my quote. The thing with State Farm is I don't want to use them even for a business policy. When we had a broken pipe in the wall, we found out the hard way that many other companies offer better homeowner's coverage. So I'm guessing other insurance companies would probably offer a better policy for business insurance.

    The local Chamber of Commerce is run by the county. There are 3 offices within the county - this local one isn't great though. They are the ones who take care of licensing businesses. They just aren't forthcoming with the info.

    I'm in Pennsylvania but will find out about naming a business (or using my name for now) as well as the LLC - which as you mentioned I might not need yet.

    Thanks again for the help!
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2019 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  4. #4
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    I don't know why now, but I always thought you were here in Florida... Maybe it's Marilynne (Sp) that I'm thinking of.

    Look in your local phone book (if they have those anymore) or online for a local Independent Agent... They should be able to help you navigate all the insurance questions. They also represent a bunch of different companies to get you a reasonably fair price.

  5. #5
    Staff
    Super Mod
    Marilynne's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by FredKingston View Post
    I don't know why now, but I always thought you were here in Florida... Maybe it's Marilynne (Sp) that I'm thinking of.

    Look in your local phone book (if they have those anymore) or online for a local Independent Agent... They should be able to help you navigate all the insurance questions. They also represent a bunch of different companies to get you a reasonably fair price.
    Yup, I'm down the road a ways from you Fred.
    Thanks/Like FredKingston Thanks/liked this post
     

  6. #6
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by FredKingston View Post
    I don't know why now, but I always thought you were here in Florida... Maybe it's Marilynne (Sp) that I'm thinking of.

    Look in your local phone book (if they have those anymore) or online for a local Independent Agent... They should be able to help you navigate all the insurance questions. They also represent a bunch of different companies to get you a reasonably fair price.
    Thanks again, Fred. Hadn't thought about an insurance broker (if that's what they call themselves).
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2019 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  7. #7
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    That's exactly what you want Cindy... They'll be able to tailor your insurance to your specific needs. Adding a floater to your BOP to cover all your equipment will also be significantly less than paying any association dues to buy their coverage...

  8. #8
    Senior Member

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    I don't have any business knowledge to share. I do have a 'Square' account and card reader. I don't use in much but it works well. 2.6% + 10 cents per trasaction. Many vendors at craft shows and flea markets use Square. You can get a magnetic strip reader for your phone for free or a chip reader for $50. I think in the fine print of the merchant agreements it says if you use a strip reader on a chipped card you might be liable if there is an issue. So it would be good to get the chip reader for your protection. You aren't supposed to use Venmo or zelle for business but a lot of people like using those money transfer services. Younger people especially like Venmo because their credit cards are maxed out and they don't know what a checkbook is. I know a couple small business people that take Venmo when there is no other option.

    Will you be doing your own website? I like Namecheap.com to register domain names and I've had a little hosting account with Webhostingbuzz.com for many years. Very excellent up time for a budget hosting company. Even if you hire a website designer, I would register the domain name yourself. If you get a web designer that includes procuring the domain name, there is a chance he will register your domain in his business name. Even if he does register the domain in your name, you might not have the access that you should if the designer disappears or you have a disagreement.
    I don't know if this is still going on, but take a look here regarding searching for new domain names:
    https://www.lmeservices.com/does-god...rched-domains/

    If you are wondering, when you register a name, you get access to a control panel page. In the control panel, you tell it where your website is. There is a spot in the panel for name server addresses. You get the name server addresses from the hosting company, its a pointer to your files. You type the name servers in your domain control panel and that is what ties your domain name to your website files. You can also do a simple re-direct to another website. So if you get a domain name and want to start spreading it around before you get a site, you could point it to a facebook or flickr page or whatever. You can point multiple names to the same website files. I would buy your full name, Cindy____.com, just so you have something locked in, then eventually get your business name too.
    I must have a really good camera.

  9. #9
    Staff
    Super Mod
    Eduard's Avatar

    Re: Photography Business Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hark View Post
    Thanks for all of this, Fred, as well as the other info you embedded within my quote. The thing with State Farm is I don't want to use them even for a business policy. When we had a broken pipe in the wall, we found out the hard way that many other companies offer better homeowner's coverage. So I'm guessing other insurance companies would probably offer a better policy for business insurance.

    The local Chamber of Commerce is run by the county. There are 3 offices within the county - this local one isn't great though. They are the ones who take care of licensing businesses. They just aren't forthcoming with the info.

    I'm in Pennsylvania but will find out about naming a business (or using my name for now) as well as the LLC - which as you mentioned I might not need yet.

    Thanks again for the help!
    Hey Cindy, as you know I'm in PA as well. When John and I created CWOM, I formed a LLC. I then added an umbrella policy through USAA. You will be providing services, so your situation is different as you will need to cover errors and omissions thus a Professional Liability policy. (Errors and omissions insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that protects companies, their workers, and other professionals against claims of inadequate work or negligent actions.) I'd recommend starting with an attorney that is familiar with creating the LLC and who might be able to guide you in insurance to protect yourself as an individual and the LLC as an entity.
    "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it" -Ansel Adams


    Fuji X-T3 | Fuji X-T20 | Nikon 1 J5 | Too much glass | G.A.S.

    Use this link for a free gift item with $50 purchase at Think Tank Photo!!





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