Licenses, Insurance, Taxes, and Accounting
||Note: these archives were compiled from past Parking Lot Planet Forums. The answers and opinions are those of the posters. Things may have changed since then, so be sure to get up to date information from the current Parking Lot Planet forum|
Date: 2/7/00 3:46:08 PM
I live in Louisiana, are there any stripers out there that can give me some information on insurance rates ? Who is the least expensive? Will be working part time.
Date: 2/9/00 10:18:24 PM
I had trouble finding insurance for "line striping" . the insurance companies all seem to want to classify us under paving. I would think that your geographic location may have some effect on your rates but here in the north east I pay around one thousand per year for one million in liability. get many quotes before you decide to sign the dotted line.
Date: 9/17/00 9:20:19 PM
I’m looking for Business Liability Ins. Is their any Company with reasonable prices. Any suggestions where to start.
Date: 9/18/00 5:38:42 AM
Regarding General liability insurance. Find a independent insurance agent and ask them to look into price quotes regarding the insurance. Bob
Date: 9/18/00 8:42:42 AM
I totally agree about the independent agent. We have also found you often get much better quotes if you use the same company for multiple policies such as using the same co. for liability and equipment/business property. Many have discounts that apply to each policy. The same is true for the company we have our commercial vehicle ins. with. I got discounts on life ins. and personal auto with them because of the commercial policy. Another tip if you borrow money... NEVER take the credit life ins. It's such a rip-off that for the same money you can buy thousands of dollars in term life and just name the bank as 1st beneficiary, then you're family would get the rest. On one truck loan I got $100,000 of life ins. for less than credit life on a $30,000 truck cost. My family would be $70,000 better off after the truck was paid for if worse came to worse.
Date: 10/15/00 10:02:28 AM
I am curious as to other contractor's experience with Workmen's Comp Insurance. We have always been categorized by our insurance provider as "Painters - 3 Stories & less" which I think is just ridiculous. I can’t help but think that there is a far greater risk of injury working upon a 3 story scaffolding than on the ground in an empty parking lot. Placing me in such a category means I am assuming a portion of the risk for all painters in that grouping. I don't know that anything within "Pavement Contractors" is any better as we don't work around hot asphalt or large equipment. Any suggestions for an insurance provider that recognizes our special little "niche" of the painting/pavement industry? My Workmen's Comp Payments are killing me.
From: Bookman & Bookwoman
Date: 10/15/00 11:16:48 AM
See if your insurance offers a "Floor Marking" category. You're right, it's bull to have you in that category, but it makes them a lot of money. Sealcoaters are classified as "pavers" (i.e., heavy equipment, hot mix, etc.) at least here in Kentucky. Don't know if this is a state by state thing, or federal classification. Our guess is state by state.
Date: 10/15/00 2:16:40 PM
Welcome to the club. As Bookman said in his example my company is a sealing/small paving/repair/striping type contractor. We get the benefit of being in the same class as the guys who pave interstate highways. Talk about high premiums! One of the main things the guys at the N.P.C.A. have talked about is getting enough contractors together to lobby for our own SIC codes that are realistic for the type work contractors like you and I do and the risks involved. Only then can we at least argue with the insurance "racket".
Date: 10/15/00 7:50:13 PM
If you check with the local business men in your area they have local self insurance for the people who join. It is a whole lot cheaper Joe
Date: 10/15/00 9:22:23 PM
There's no such thing as that here in Texas but... I will mention that there is also coverage available called a "Worker's Accident" policy. They are way cheaper and actually offer better benefits to the worker than traditional workman's comp. does. Some companies will accept them instead of Workman's Comp. We used that for several years, however in the last few years we found few would accept anything less than "real" workman's comp. around here, so about 4 years ago we had to change. You might want to check the customers you deal with to see if they would accept this type coverage. By the way it hacks me off that all my employees are covered but not the owner (me) the way it works here!
Date: 10/16/00 11:10:24 AM
Don: Ref your first post we do have our own SIC code. The code is 1611-04 which is for Parking Area/Lots Maintenance and Marking. Here in the land of Oz owners can opt out of workman’s comp. Otherwise is will cost you an additional $2,400. per year to cover yourself up here. The law up here say as an Owner they must cover us 24/7 not just the 8 or so that we are on the job site. Bob
Date: 10/16/00 11:02:35 AM
Don; We do have our own SIC code. It is for Parking area/lots maintenance and marking SIC 1611-04. As for the workmen’s comp my insurance is for painter not over 2 stories. Bob
Date: 10/17/00 12:12:52 AM
Check around, a Temporary Service may be the answer. It's possible to just send your employees to them. They become employees of the temp service. The service supplies workman’s comp, unemployment insurance, and pays them, and all the associated paper work. You just supply hours worked and are billed accordingly. Check around, it may be worth your while.....
Date: 10/17/00 8:40:51 AM
A couple of additional comments. After talking with Bob it seems the SIC code he gave may be specific to a listing service in Kansas. (Government SIC's are 4 digits and 1611 is the general code for heavy construction we are under see www.osha.gov/oshstats/sicser.html). In addition to Fonz' idea I once knew a company owner who used a firm that actually hired all his employees and leased them back to him. They did all the paperwork, payroll, taxes, insurance, etc. and offered the employees better benefits than he could. Of course he paid a fee but said it was far less than his costs before. Since he was incorporated he even leased himself as an employee of the corp. to get the benefits they offered. He thought it was the greatest thing to ever come along. It's not available where I am but you might check your area. He said the benefits and lack of headaches were well worth the cost. (About 15% of payroll if I remember right)
Date: 10/18/00 3:00:09 PM
Hey Don, you are right on track. We used a company like you are talking about - it is called employee leasing and is very popular for small to mid-sized companies. It has MANY advantages and as you stated, even the owners can be leased back to the corporation - in our case we are incorporated and my partner and I were leased as were all of the employees.
This concept of employee leasing is good in many regards, lowers your unemployment rating, possibly puts you in a bigger (and cheaper) insurance pool, makes you not responsible for workmans comp, allows yuo to offer retirement benefits that would otherwise cost you to much to offer, you don't have to do the W2's at the end of the year for your employees. They will also help you with a health and safety plan if they are good - (you know the OSHA Audit and compliance stuff). And a very important one, if they are big enough, they provide free legal employment advice (or is that employment legal advice?) Just look under Employment Companies, Employee Leasing or Employment services - shop around there are good ones and bad ones - ask them for references and check out their references BEFORE signing up.
Date: 11/5/00 6:04:47 PM
On Payroll Leasing companies: many years ago I worked for an electrical contractor who went to payroll leasing (Mansfield, Texas). To make a long story short, she (the owner) ended up in court over a worker's comp issue the payroll leasing company should have taken care of - going to a leasing company to reduce her worker's comp bill was her motive in the first place. The courts recognized her as the ultimate responsible party since the claimant was on her property working for her when he hurt himself. I never knew how it ended up as I moved on to another job but I don't think she is in business any longer.
From: Robert Z
Date: 5/16/00 6:54:51 PM
Are sales tax paid on paint and supplies tax deductible? If so what line on schedule c?
Date: 5/17/00 1:59:32 PM
First let me point out I'm in Texas where we must charge customers sales tax on restriping so we have tax numbers and don't have to pay sales tax on materials. That being said I am also no accountant or IRS expert but the total cost of materials (including the tax you pay) should be listable on schedule C under line 22 supplies. Call the IRS toll free number in the front of any IRS tax packet or check their web site at www.irs.gov to confirm this.
Date: 5/17/00 7:25:10 PM
Having a retail sales tax permit and being exempt from sales tax are two different worlds, at least in Iowa. When I first started striping I thought that I was sales tax exempt for paint, supplies etc. Wrong! At least in Iowa you are only exempt for things that are going to be resold at a retail or wholesale level, not for things that are going to be used in your business. And yes, sales tax is tax deductible, you do not pay income taxes on money spent for sales taxes. Make sure also that your taxable income that you turn into the IRS is net. you do not pay taxes on sales taxes you collect sales tax you collect should not even exist on your books, unless you like being confused and crunching numbers at tax time. you are merely collecting sales tax on your bill and forwarding it to the government. Good stripes to all and if I’m wrong somebody slap me and I’ll slap my accountant! Matt
Date: 5/18/00 10:37:10 AM
Just a note... I didn't say anything about exempt. Materials (paint etc.) are covered under our resale permit however we also have to pay sales tax on items we use like stencils, chalk, buckets, etc. that are not materials. I did not mean to sound like you should send money to the IRS but if your local situation requires you to pay tax on something that tax is included in your schedule C line for supplies as part of the total price you paid for the items.
Date: 7/31/00 3:05:42 PM
Sales Tax in Texas (whether you pay or collect from your customer) depends on the type of contract you give your customer. I find it very confusing to say the least!
Date: 10/25/00 5:26:59 PM
Tax wise is this a tough business to deal with or have most of the stripers done ok with the IRS
Date: 10/26/00 12:26:31 PM
The IRS is always hard to deal with no matter what business you're in. Stay honest, pay your taxes, don't screw up the forms and you'll be OK. We did our own taxes the first few years then found out a good accountant will not only save you hours of hassle but probably save you enough to pay for their services. Also most accountants these days can take your info straight from programs like QuickBooks on a floppy disk. The answer to your 1st question about the NPE was mine too (I don't like no-name poster's just forgot to type mine in)
Date: 10/26/00 8:52:15 PM
No different than any other biz. One word of advice - assume from the beginning that you will grow to be a large successful business. Get a bookkeeping system, like Quickbooks. Set it up properly (you could sure use a little help from an accountant for this if you don't have experience in accounting). Keep accurate financial records. Have a separate bank account for the biz. Then you won't have the growing pains that so many successful businesses have.
Date: 10/27/00 2:51:13 AM
I totally agree with Robert on this one. The downfall of most small businesses is not keeping business money separate from personal money. Separate accounts is a must !!...Separate, saving, check book, charge card, phone line,..thats all step one. You grow from there.
Date: 12/5/00 1:52:51 AM
Hey Fellas, Have I got one for you I did a bid for a large chain store recently and the manager asked me for a copy of my Striping License? Like a contractor license I asked he said yes "my company will only do work with licensed stripers" I told him I would have to look into it. I kinda walked out in a daze. Haven't had that one yet. I am in Texas. Can Anyone give me a heads up on this Striping License.
From: TEAMC (HERB)
Date: 12/5/00 9:45:08 AM
I DIDN'T THINK YOU NEEDED ONE IN TEXAS (not sure) BUT OVER HERE IN NEW MEXICO YOU WILL NEED ONE IF YOU WANT TO WORK. IT IS A GA03 LICENSE AND ALL IT COVERS IS PAINTING AND MARKING OF PARKING LOTS AND HIGHWAYS. HAVE TO TAKE A SMALL BUISNESS LEGAL TEST AND A CONTRACTORS TEST. COST OF LICENSE (NOT INCLUDEING BOOKS AND TESTS)IS $150 FOR 2 YEARS. BOOKS WILL RUN ABOUT $300 AND THE TEST ABOUT $50
Date: 12/5/00 9:46:56 AM
You probably got a manager that transferred in from another state. That or the chain may have that policy because of having locations in states where contractors must be licensed. Texas has no requirements for contractors to be licensed (other than things like pest control and a few other specialties). Insurance and/or bonding requirements are set by the customer. Workers Comp. is not required by law (although most customers require it) unless you're working for any type of government entity (city, county, state university, etc.)
Date: 12/5/00 7:44:18 PM
Are you required to have a city business license in Texas, meaning any kind of business, which would be different from being a licensed pesticide contractor, etc.? All businesses in the city of Louisville are required to have a business license (in order for them to collect more taxes of course). Can you contact the home office of the place and explain there is no such thing in Texas or get more specifics?
Date: 12/6/00 1:13:31 AM
Called the guy today to ask for a contact on the corp level to find out what they wanted. Don you hit it on the head. He was from California. Bookwoman yes I have the business license to collect the sales tax and I even have a permit to go door to door and solicit for work. I am suppose to wear this stupid looking badge on my uniform on sales calls. I sometimes wonder how many of these little taxes they are going to think up. Thanks for the responses I think I cleared everything up with the manager.
Date: 12/12/00 9:47:52 AM
You might check on the door-to-door badge. Most cities in TX only require that for residential, not for calling on businesses like for striping.
Date: 12/15/00 1:31:53 AM
They wanted me to pay my "Fee" I call it a tax though. You know the drill.
Date: 3/26/00 10:41:21 PM
While we're on the subject of software. I just cannot find the perfect software I want to design my own forms for invoices and proposals. I want something that also does all the math. Converts the info automatically from the proposal to the invoice, and also keeps a running data base for each.............phreuuwwwwwwweeeee....that’s a lot of stuff!! I'd rather have a system dedicated to invoices, proposals, and statements............any suggestions under a hundred bucks????
Date: 3/26/00 10:56:17 PM
I use Peachtree Accounting for my invoicing etc.. I too designed my proposal then took it to a print shop to run multiple copies of 3 part carbonless forms. I type my bids using a standard typewriter so it stamps through all three copies. Only when I get the job do I add my customer into the database. from then on , its all automated. Peachtree works great for me. I strongly recommend it.
Date: 3/27/00 8:54:40 AM
I use Quickbooks Pro for everything, It will convert an estimate to a invoice with a click of the mouse. You can make custom invoices and estimates, it will print your statements. It does everything you are looking for. Except it costs about $240.00, but its worth it when you figure out how much time you save.
Date: 4/2/00 11:55:14 AM
I also use Quickbooks Pro for invoicing and estimating, does everything you'll need.
Date: 3/27/00 9:18:09 AM
My vote for Quickbooks Pro too. Track time costs, job costs etc. If you want a fancier invoice than you can customize on the program (3 part for example) Have them printed then just do an invoice on Quickbooks and don't print it out. It will still do all the math, make data reports, etc. Also does all your payroll, prints tax forms etc. and is very easy to use. Yep it's over $200 but it's a deal.
Date: 3/27/00 4:22:08 PM
I also 2nd the quickbooks pro, not only can you create your own inv & proposals but can incorporate numerous fields, and track what type of customers you are dealing with. Plus add in your own logo or trade marks.
Date: 3/27/00 7:26:41 PM
Plus, it's a little pricey up front but just about yearly they come out with an upgrade that's in the $50-$60 category, so it's just the 1 time with up-front bucks. Plus, if you write letters w/MS Word, QB Pro will insert the amount of money owed/bid automatically into the letter. I'm not totally sure, but I believe it's also compatible w/Excel if you want to do a Spreadsheet. Besides Fonz, w/your immense wealth, $200+ plus is petty cash, isn't it?
Date: 3/27/00 10:50:58 PM
I AGREE, QUICKBOOKS PRO IS A GREAT PROGRAM AND IT IS WHAT I USE, IF YOU WANT A LITTLE CHEAPER USE QUICKBOOKS IT DOES EVERYTHING PRO WILL DO EXCEPT TIME TRACKING, AND IF YOU JUST HAVE ABOUT $20 TO SPEND USE "MY INVOICES" IT WILL DO PROPOSALS AND THEN PUT IT INTO A INVOICE. YOU CAN ADD YOUR LOGO ALSO, BUT IT HAS NO BELLS,,,