Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by adamodepax, Sep 21, 2008.
the general advice in this case is to go and see a proper local lawyer about all the details you need to know. Much more reliable than on a forum - though you can of course get the general idea from the experiences of others
Well, I am in Quebec, neighboor (actually, since you are in Ottawa, make that like 2 hours away from me... lol), but things like the obvious should be in place before you open shop:
- registered business name (its the SMART thing to do!)
- bank account opened in the name of the business
- register for tax number(s) - PST for sure... GST if you plan to do over (I think), $30,000/year
- a way to track things, an accounting program
- insurance, not just equipment, but liability insurance too
That's some things. But there are more important things that any business needs:
- did you do a competitive study of the area?
- do you have a business plan?
- business cards?
- a marketing plan?
- work-flow process already developed and tested?
- company budget?
- do you have adequate equipment to achieve your goals?
That and about 200 more questions should all be answered before the first press of the shutter happen... you know... "business 101" (the basics), kind of questions and answers.
The photography business, you will find out, has very little to do with photography.
Those are two good resources that you should spend some time reading.
The information in the previous post is good, but I just want to mention that it is very important that you figure this stuff out before you begin doing business. It's a lot easier to spend the time figuring out what is required before you get going. Those two websites will be a huge help in doing that.
You need a business license...probably issued from the city or municipality that you are in. There are probably different types of business to choose from. For example, in Edmonton, there is a minor home business and a major home business. The difference could be one of several things; like how many clients would come to the house, if you have any employees, if you use a garage or out-building etc. Make sure you look into this and consider what you will be doing...it could be a big difference in fees/taxes that you pay.
You can probably find a good reference for starting a small business in your area. If not, talk to someone who can help...an accountant, a bank associate etc.
It's a very good idea to make sure you are set up properly, then you can start writing off your expenses etc.
There are, of course, many other things...so do your homework.
FWIW...The research I have done says that you do not need a business license if you use your own name for the business ( ie your receipts are written as John Smith... not John Smith Photography)...
Also... if you are planning on yearly revenue's less than $30,000 you do not have to register GST, PST or charge it (and you obviously can't charge it and keep it).... however.. if you make 1$ more than $30,000 you have to submit GST, PST on the entire amount....revenue canada suggests that even if you intend on making less than $30k that it would appear "more professional" for you to register and charge taxes...
so it kinda depends how how much you plan on doing.... if you are just doing some on the side and can live with your name as the business name then you might want to save yourself some hassle...
this is what my research shows (i live in ontario as well)... but don't take my word for it...
ps - you should also look into tax advantages of writing off some of your mortgage interest/living expenses by have a photography office in your house... as well as keep detailed track of business purpose mileage you put on your car as well as gas... a lot of this stuff is deductible.... you need to investigate via accountant or your own research what qualifies...
I thought that you didn't need to register your business name if you are using your own name...but you always need a business license. Might be different for different jurisdictions though. In Edmonton, they recently changed it so that the 'fee' for a license are also your city taxes, so you only pay one time (per year).
Either way, I'd certainly suggest using an accountant.
I also heard that you may not require a business licence if you are not doing business out of your house, ie. negotiating payment or recieving payment in your house. You are doing everything outside of your house or home business. But check with your local city hall.
That would make sense, because the business license is basically a permit to conduct business in a location (your home for example). However, the cost of a license isn't much and you can then have a 'home office' and write off a portion of your living expenses.
You can still write off your home office space even if you do not have a business licence. I do and and my wife is a bookkeeper.
Another fantastic website is www.cbsc.org/ontario
I work at a Community Futures organization, and we recomend this site to a lot of our clients. Provides a TON of business start up advice and ideas.
Another option for you, if you would prefer a real human instead of the internet, is to held to a local Community Futures. They provide business start up advice and assistance, you can meet with business consultants (free of charge at our location) etc. They are located in rural communities, here's a link to a map with their locations around Ottawa: http://www.ontcfdc.com/frame3.asp?lang=english
They can only help out if you fall in their catchement area, but if you live in one of those tan areas, head on down to their office.
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