Business licenses – the when and how to get it
It’s time to make this photography thing serious.
You log onto social media groups and see the potential for client issues and liability.
You feel it in your bones. You don’t want to have to deal with doing things wrong and the government coming after you. You also truly want to avoid issues with clients and protect yourself.
The groups tell you – “Go get your business license! You just file as a limited liability company (LLC)!”
Friend, this is so wrong.
Business License vs. Limited Liability Company
A limited liability company is NOT a business license. Please do not simply file for a LLC and believe you’ve met any “licensing’ requirements.
A business license is the government giving you permission to do certain business activities in a specific geographical location.
A Limited Liability Company is the creation of a legal entity separate from yourself to divide your personal and business assets.
- LLCs are not required to do photography business, but recommended. See 5 Reasons here
- If a license is not required for photography, then you don’t need it to file for it.
- Business entity set-up (LLC or corp)
- Business license application, if required
- Business permit, if required
When do I get my business license or LLC?
Simply, if you’re putting yourself out to be a business – whether you’re making money or not right now -you are in business and need to get your entity set-up and a license (if required).
Here is a quick factor list (meaning, you don’t need all of them to determine your classification) for review:
- Do you intend to be profitable?
- Does your time and effort reflect an attempt to be profitable?
- Do you have enough knowledge of photography to turn it into a business?
- Do you expect to make a profit in the future?
- Have you made a profit doing a same or similar activity in the past?
- Are your losses part of normal business setup or circumstances you can’t control?
Where do I get a business license?
These are typically going to be applied for through your local city/county. Business licenses are not typically applied for at the state level – some states may vary.
Still unsure what to do?
Enroll in BizRevamp- our 6-week legal-biz workshop that walks you through all the steps you need. Get info here.