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Do I need a license

9:55 pm on Dec 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi I'm living in Florida and I was wondering if I needed a license to run a small web design business. We don't get many clients a month but I'm afraid of legal actions. Does anyone know?
10:53 pm on Dec 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have you checked the Secretary of State site for Florida? I know here in California they have a long list of different services that require a license of some kind. FYI: Here Web Design isn't one of them.

We do, however, need all of the normal certifications, registrations, tax ID's, etc. that go along with running ANY business.

12:51 am on Dec 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well personally I can't get a license if one is required since I am under 18 so I was hoping I would'nt need one.
10:42 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I commend you for wanting to do it right and have everything be above board! If I were you I would do some more research on the general requirements for running a business in your state. Unfortunately, being under 18 can make it difficult.

For example, if you're under 18 you may or may not have trouble forming contracts. I believe in most states you have to be at least 18 to form a valid, enforceable contract. It would be a real shame if you had a client decide not to pay you for your work and find out you couldn't go after them because you are a minor.

I'm sure there are ways around it, but you should find out before taking too much of a risk.

11:24 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In general, states liscense some types of activities but it is cities that liscense almost all businesses. It would be unusual for your city not to require your business to have a liscense regardless of your age, what the business does, or whether it has any revenue.
11:52 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I live in lake worth flordia and their website is www.lakeworth.org I have sent them e-mails many times and haven't really heard back from them. They have a phone number but I can't call them since they close by the time I get home and by the time I leave for the bus. I've had so many people tell me I don't need one and this is the only forum I have heard different but making money is not worth going to jail and screwing up my record. Thanks for all the help and if you have any other ideas please post them.
1:26 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

well a lot depends on how you ask the question.

Technically, almost every city is going to require every business to get a business liscense.

In actuality, many home businesses and other small businesses never bother getting a business liscense. Most cities are pretty inept at enforcement. I'd guess in most cities, unless a business has really noticable activities they could get away with not getting liscense until they had several million dollars in revenue.

Often the penalty for getting caught without a liscense is being forced to get one and pay back fees plus interest. Sometimes back fees aren't even (fully) assessed.

I am not advocating not getting a business liscense, but in many cities it is treated less severely than speeding in a school zone.

7:05 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In many states, counties, and municipalities in the western part of the US, so-called "cottage industries" are mostly exempt from the "usual model of doing business" sort of licensing. They ARE still required to collect state and local taxes unless shipping commodities out of state, and required to have a federal TIN (can sometimes be a SSN) to facilitate paying the collected funds to the appropriate agency.

I am NOT a CPA or an attorney. Your best bet ESPECIALLY as you are a minor, is to talk to either one or both of those professionals.

7:55 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I live in NY and am 23- just started my own business earlier in the year. I got most of the information I needed from IRS mailings and other info from my state. NY doesn't require a license for a sole proprietorship, just a DBA. Of course I'll have to file proper taxes and such.

Try calling an accountant in the area and ask if he'll speak with you over the phone. You'd be surprised how many will want to help you out (for free, or very little $) regardless of your age. Check with your local chamber or town hall. Call during a break at school, do you have a study hall? Find time during the day to call, if you can. Messages get lost or people forget to return calls. That happened all too often with me.

In the research I did trying to set-up my own business, I was really surprised by the number of people who seem to run legitimate businesses but actually don't. More than half of people I asked to speak with and asked for advice couldn't help me because they do all their work under the table. I was shocked- didn't know THAT many people would want to risk ramifications. And they all had websites, business cards, etc. to make it seem legit.

Good for you for wanting to follow your ambitions.

9:26 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Right now I have two clients but they are both like friends so even though I am making a profit I should be fine since they will probably pay by check. During break and my two partners are going to print a bunch of our cards up and go around the mall giving them to people and laying them in random places. I plan to get 1 to 2 customers from that and hopefully some big ones. But I'd to be in the situation where some guy asked me if I'm licensed and I say no. I wanna be able to say no I don't need one for this kind of business. Contracts are no problem as it is legal to have a guardian sign it and I'll have it notarized so there is no problem there. Just wanna goto MIT and this will give me an awesome chance, but I'd rather stay away from the law.

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