So - am I in business now??

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ottor, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Would you consider me a "Business" - my insurance company does... and wont' allow a separate policy for my camera equipment without catagorizing me as a business...

    I have a website that I store pic's on for family/friends - anyone can purchase a photo if they want one...

    I dont' advertise...

    I dont' do 'commission' work - I work for nobody...

    I have no 'studio'..

    I love to take pictures - mostly landscapes - and I put them on my walls and website.. I have a full time job 40hr/wk - same job 25 years..

    Not much difference between me and the amateur/hobbyist oil painter who paints pictures and will sell one to a person who liked it and wants it...

    I 'did' sell some pictures last year ........... a total of $389 over the last 2 years - and one of those sales was for $200...

    I have a 'card' that has my website on it - to give to people who want one....

    Am I in "Business", or am i a hobbyist who wouldn't turn down an offer to by one of my pictures... ?

    r
     
  2. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    it is a gray area about business and not being a business... did you tell the insurance company about you selling some photos... there are a few thread on here if you do a search about insuring your photo equipment
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I suppose the strict, legal definition will depend on where you live. Certainly, I would not call you a business. AFAIK, most states, and provinces have minimum income levels at which you're required to pay tax. Likewise, most municipalities have a minimum requirements before you need a business license. If you don't meet those, (and I'm betting from what you've said, you don't), then get a new insurance carrier.
     
  4. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    I think it lies in the tax area, are you paying taxes on the profits you are making? I'm assuming no, since they are so low. Is a home owner who has a garage sale in business? I'd think not. What is the insurance agency? I have state farm and took out a personal property insurance plan for my camera gear; $7,000 worth of gear for about $140 per year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  5. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What you do almost seems to me to fall more under the category of 'freelancer'... not so much a 'business'. I don't know much about laws outside of my state concerning such things, but from my own experience as a freelance writer, I can attest that one can sell their work without ever being registered as any kind of business. I reported my freelance writing earnings in my taxes, but not as a business (if only I had some freelance photography earnings... *sigh*). I would say that in most circumstances, it would seem there is a distinct difference.

    Unfortunately, it sounds to me like you told your insurance company a little too much information... more than they really needed to hear. Now they are hassling you on a difficult-to-clarify technicality. Unless you're registered as a business with the state, though, I really don't think you're considered a business in any official sense of the word.

    Then again, I'm no lawyer.
     
  6. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another quick thought:

    Consider individuals that set up tables at a flea market and sell goods. I highly doubt any of them are registered businesses or considered a business in even the loosest sense of the term. Yet, they are able to sell items every weekend.

    I'm sure that, by law, they are supposed to report their earnings on their taxes... but that still doesn't mean they are a business. You better believe that the Department of Commerce knows nothing about John Doe selling dusty lamps and rusty tools down at the local Flea Market every Saturday. Furthermore, I've never seen cops raid a flea market checking for proper business records (or ever heard of such a thing).

    It would seem that, in a sense, your minimal photography sales fall more in this category than that of a formal business.

    But, as before, I'm no lawyer. And, indeed, it can be dangerous to use reason and logic to figure out unfamiliar laws... since laws, sadly, usually don't follow any consistent reasonable and logical premise. (ex. the person that is supposedly "following too close" is indiscriminantly blamed for any vehicle damage in traffic accidents... pure laziness on the part of lawmakers and police)
     
  7. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is where it gets a little strange...... My insurance company IS State Farm - 35 years of history with them..

    Strange part number 2 - before their underwriter considered me a business, I was quoted $36/month for $4,500 worth of equipment on a separate policy....

    ???

    r
     
  8. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    That is werid, I would re-iterate it is for personal property and then try to put some pressure on them by way of threatening to move all of your insurance. Also, I received a discount on my renters/car/personal property insurance because I went with the State Farm (package deal or whatever).
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have,myself, just about had it with my insurance company and agent...hoops,hoops, doggies,ponies, and more hoops...sounds like it's time to get some new insurance quotes from somebody who can "see the light of day", if you know what I mean.

    You might just do better by walking. Your call, of course, but sounds like somebody's trying to "give you the business"...
     
  10. Browncoat

    Browncoat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would contact the corporate office of your insurance company.

    Independent agents work on commission, and business deals can mean some very lucrative dollars, and the $$$ is front-loaded. I think maybe your local guy is trying to sell you up into something that you don't actually need in order to line his own pockets.
     
  11. slowhand

    slowhand TPF Noob!

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    I sure hope you mean $140 per year.
     
  12. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    yes, thanks, corrected
     

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