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Growing Up Vending

Just getting started in Georgia. Help!!!

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Hello everyone. I'm just getting started in the business here in Georgia and was wondering how necessary it would be to become an LLC right out of the gate as well as what other regulations I would need to be immediately aware of.  The stuff I have come across has been foreign language to me.  My goals of this business venture is to run the business with my son to teach him about the ins and outs of business. money, and responsibility. He is extremely driven and has a very entrepreneurial mentality. We are starting off with 6 bulk candy machines and one snack machine. Any Georgia specific help would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum and good luck with your business!  I am in Florida so just general info: the LLC is a legal structure to keep your personal assets and business assets separated; if someone sues your business and prevails, for example, they could attach all of the assets of the LLC to satisfy the judgement, but not your personal assets like your private savings account or personal car.   Any good attorney can help you set up a state specific LLC, but there are some who specialize in doing it and usually charge a lot less.  To be effective and legal you will need to separate your business assets, so the company will need to get a tax ID number and bank account, file a tax return each year (state and federal), etc.  You don't HAVE to have an LLC, you can be a proprietorship or partnership without one if you want, the risk of being sued in vending is fairly low.  You can start as one form of business and switch to another form later as you grow.  You can open a business checking account with your own SS number and file the business taxes with your personal taxes (Schedule C, I think) 

Another area to research are sales taxes.  Bulk vending and snack vending may have different tax rules in your state, the state revenue department will have the info.   There may be a tangible property tax in your state, depending on how much equipment you own you may need to pay property tax on it each year.  (Florida has a rather large exemption amount but I have no clue about GA).

There may also be rules involved about registering the name of the business if you are not setting up an LLC under the business name. 

You will probably need to get a city and county license based on your business address (home based business).  In FL they are not called licenses anymore, but called Business Tax Receipts.

Think about liability insurance as you grow, it is fairly affordable for vending (again, not a lot of lawsuits, but they can happen) and some locations you approach will ask if you have insurance.  It's a good selling point when you can tell them up front you carry liability insurance. 

Health departments don't usually get involved unless you are vending PHFP (potentially hazardous food products) such as cold sandwiches or ice cream, but you may want to verify that with your local authorities.

Sadly, the level of government regulation involved in setting up may outweigh the benefits of running a small business, but you never know until you try.  Of course some people operate pretty much "under the table" with a small operation; that may not be the right lesson to teach your child.   Look for a local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) branch in your area, they volunteer their time to put on seminars and coach individuals on starting and running small businesses.  They can be a lot of help when you are new.   

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