Setting up a business and hiring a lawyer and accountant (1 Viewer)

Dre

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I want to start a small business, and I want to make sure I do everything right. I want to make sure I set it up legally (who know what intricate rules are out there?); make sure I structure it in a way to legally protect myself; know the best way to structure it for tax purposes; and anything else that might come up (contracts, different types of insurance).

What is the best way to consult with a lawyer or accountant? How much should I expect to pay? I imagine I could meet with each for a couple of hours (hopefully less!), but do they even do these brief consultations, or do they expect something longer term? And how do I find one?

Thanks!
 

saintsfan84

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You're probably looking at around $150 an hour to talk to an accountant I'd think. A tax manager could most likely give you the information you need. If the partner spends any time with you, that would increase the rate.

Are you looking to contract any services? They may be willing to consult for a cheaper fee if they'd be doing you tax preparation work?

Do you know anyone that works for a large company? I'd start by asking around with friends, a good tax accountant at a public or private company may be able to get you started in the right direction for a couple beers or a meal.

If you're more interested in talking with a firm, I can give you the names of a couple people at a couple different firms.
 

Saint Sarah

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I want to start a small business, and I want to make sure I do everything right. I want to make sure I set it up legally (who know what intricate rules are out there?); make sure I structure it in a way to legally protect myself; know the best way to structure it for tax purposes; and anything else that might come up (contracts, different types of insurance).

What is the best way to consult with a lawyer or accountant? How much should I expect to pay? I imagine I could meet with each for a couple of hours (hopefully less!), but do they even do these brief consultations, or do they expect something longer term? And how do I find one?

Thanks!
I would suggest hiring both at the same time and getting them to work together from the start. A lot of people think this is overkill, but it could possibly save you from having to redo things later.

Most accountants and lawyers will do a initial consultation for no charge. As far as finding one you like, either talk to a lawyer/accountant you trust but may not be in the field you need to recommend one or as someone who has set up a business if they liked the person/people they used.
 

JonsDuu

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I want to start a small business, and I want to make sure I do everything right. I want to make sure I set it up legally (who know what intricate rules are out there?); make sure I structure it in a way to legally protect myself; know the best way to structure it for tax purposes; and anything else that might come up (contracts, different types of insurance).

What is the best way to consult with a lawyer or accountant? How much should I expect to pay? I imagine I could meet with each for a couple of hours (hopefully less!), but do they even do these brief consultations, or do they expect something longer term? And how do I find one?

Thanks!
Your options for biz legal set up are
a) sole proprietor -- you just start running your business. You combine your business profit/loss to your personal income and pay taxes as an individual
b) limited liability -- file the necessary paperwork. Income is pass through your personal like a sole proprietor. The limited liability come in if someone slip in front of your store and sue you, you're personally shielded from the LLC. With LLC, you can hide your personal information, so it's difficult for someone to find out who the actual owner is (eg if you value your privacy).
c) corporation (S or C). You'll need a lawyer for this one and have to follow the rules. Corporation is treated as a separate entity. S Corp pass its income to the shareholder. C Corp pay its own income tax. And if you as an individual pull money out, you get to pay taxes on that; eg you pay taxes on the C Corp dividend.


Depending on how much money you're pouring into the business and if you want to protect your personal assets from your business will dictate which form you want. For me, when I opened my ice cream shop, I just operated it as a sole proprietor. No lawyer/accountant to talk to. Just sign the lease and go.

If you're setting up a dentist office, S Corp prolly be best.

If you're creating the Facebook killer and got millions to start it up, then C Corp.

Biggest thing to do is never co-mingle your fund. Keep your business fund separated from your personal fund; eg open a checking account to be used only for your business.
 

Saint_Kyle

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Is this about that brothel idea you were telling me about where you film it and then call it a "pornography studio" instead?
 

superchuck500

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The more you educate yourself about these topics, the more effective your time with the professionals will be - and the less time it would likely take.

On the law side, simple (small business) organization is fairly easy, and is indeed an area of law where a legal professional may not really be necessary. But it's always a good idea and I think many lawyers have a package rate for organizing a small business (that would include filing the paperwork and all for a set price rather than by the hour).

I don't know what that costs though. On the hourly side, it all depends on your location and the age/reputation of the lawyer. (A good lawyer can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 per hour depending on the variables).
 
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Dre

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The more you educate yourself about these topics, the more effective your time with the professionals will be - and the less time it would likely take.

On the law side, simple (small business) organization is fairly easy, and is indeed an area of law where a legal professional may not really be necessary. But it's always a good idea and I think many lawyers have a package rate for organizing a small business (that would include filing the paperwork and all for a set price rather than by the hour).

I don't know what that costs though. On the hourly side, it all depends on your location and the age/reputation of the lawyer. (A good lawyer can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 per hour depending on the variables).
I think a package rate would be good for me. If a lawyer sets the whole thing up, do I even need an accountant for planning ahead (I would definitely hire one for taxes if I did an LLC or S Corp of course)?
 

superchuck500

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I think a package rate would be good for me. If a lawyer sets the whole thing up, do I even need an accountant for planning ahead (I would definitely hire one for taxes if I did an LLC or S Corp of course)?
Not unless you have initial accounting concerns (e.g. some tricky capitalization or loan issues), I wouldn't imagine that an accountant is necessary at the start. But if you're really not clear about business accounting and want good advice from the start, it could be a good idea to get a consultation.
 

COACHTDL

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Are you going to be the only owner?
What type of business?
Any equipment purchases?
How many employees?

I am a CPA and with these answers, you can get set up without the need for an attorney depending on the answer to question #1.
 
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Dre

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Are you going to be the only owner?
What type of business?
Any equipment purchases?
How many employees?

I am a CPA and with these answers, you can get set up without the need for an attorney depending on the answer to question #1.
It is going to be a healthcare business, staffed by independent contractors. Very little equipment purchased-- otoscopes, bp cuffs, syringes, etc(no xrays or high tech machines). And thanks for your input.
 

gwballin

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It is going to be a healthcare business, staffed by independent contractors. Very little equipment purchased-- otoscopes, bp cuffs, syringes, etc(no xrays or high tech machines). And thanks for your input.
Are they really going to be independent contractors or are you just going to call them independent contractors to avoid paying taxes? The only reason I ask is because I've had 2 friends get jobs in the last 6 months as "independent contractors" when the reality is that they are employees.

Might want to read up to save some heartburn in the future. Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?
 

BIG E

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A good accountant should be able to handle everything for you for a small start up, especially one that is a notary.
 

dtc

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I think a package rate would be good for me. If a lawyer sets the whole thing up, do I even need an accountant for planning ahead (I would definitely hire one for taxes if I did an LLC or S Corp of course)?
Not unless you have initial accounting concerns (e.g. some tricky capitalization or loan issues), I wouldn't imagine that an accountant is necessary at the start. But if you're really not clear about business accounting and want good advice from the start, it could be a good idea to get a consultation.
I would always suggest hiring an accountant before starting a new venture. Having not done this a dozen or more times, I think I've learned my lesson.

Have your contributions properly accounted for and documented as they should be. Also, when you need to have audited financial statements in order to secure financing for plant and equipment, it's automatic if the accountant was on board from the start.

I don't know if your business will be like mine where you have to prove solvency or capitalization, but if you do, the up front investment is worth it and it shouldn't cost squat.
 

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