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Starting a Small Business/What should my business be registered as?

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Question
Hi David,
I am trying to start my own pet sitting business. I have a large clientele list, but would like to become an official/registered business in my area. My question is what do i register my business as? Not exactly sure how to word it properly. I've been told to go look at legal zoom since they tend to do most of the work for you but do i pick the LLC, Inc., or the DBA? I do not have any employees at the moment, but my client list is starting to grow larger than i am able to handle and i am thinking that within the next two years i would be willing to hire an independent contractor to take on some of the load. I do have insurance for my petsitting and dog walking if that makes anything different? I would just like to have my business license and need a little advice to get the ball rolling! Thanks so much.
-Rei

Answer
Rei,

Thank you for your question.  There is no single right answer.  A DBA means you are liable for anything that happens, but as long as you are the only person performing activities for the business, you are probably going to be liable in most cases even if you had a corporation or LLC.

Both an LLC and a corporation provide some liability protection, particularly if you have others performing services for you.  In Illinois, the state fees for an LLC are substantially higher than the fees for a corporation.  On the other hand, a single member LLC avoids the need to file a separate tax return, which a corporation would need to do.  Also, a corporation would need to pay salaries and would therefore need to file payroll tax returns.

Personally, I do not recommend using filing services.  If you know what you are doing, you can file the simple forms online yourself with the Illinois Secretary of State and save the fees.  If you are not sure what works best for you, the filing services cannot provide the legal advice you may need to select the appropriate entity for your business.  For a few hundred dollars more their filing fees, you can get the advice of a business attorney who will discuss the pros and cons of each particular entity as it applies to your own facts and situation.

Good luck!

David

Starting a Small Business

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David K. Staub

Expertise

I am a business and tax attorney and have spent more than 35 years assisting people in starting a wide variety of businesses. I can answer questions about the basic differences between the various entities available to new businesses, including limited liability companies, corporations, S corporations and partnerships. I can provide guidance in other areas facing start ups, such as hiring employees, signing contracts and obtaining necessary licenses. I can also direct people to sources for answers to specific legal questions which cannot be answered in a forum of this nature.

Experience

I have an extensive practice in the mergers and acquisitions area and have been involved in the tax and legal issues on hundreds of business transactions.

Website
Staub Anderson LLC
Illinois business attorneys

Practice Areas
Business Organizations
-Corporations

-LLCs
-Partnerships

-Joint ventures
Mergers & Acquisitions
-Buying/selling business
Securities Law
Tax Law
Technology Law
-Software licenses
-Development agreements

Trademarks

Organizations
Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association (former Chairman of the Corporation & Business Law Committee and former Chairman of the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee; former Executive Committee member, Federal Tax Committee and Chairman of subcommittee on general tax issues); Keystone Foundation (Trustee); Association for Corporate Growth; Midwest Entrepreneur Forum; Midwest Association of Alpha Delta Phi

Publications
Commerce Magazine; YLS Journal; ISBA Section of Taxation Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977; University of Illinois, B.S. in Accounting, with highest honors, 1974

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