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Old 31st May 2006, 09:21 PM   #1
FNA-MOTOSPORTS
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Default Running business out of home garage....

Hello!!!!!

In the begining stages of starting a business!

Let me give you a general overview:

FNA-MOTOSPORTS
Business that SELLS (used and refurbished), REPAIRS, SERVICES and does FABRICATION work for ATV'S, QUADS, MOTORCYCLES, SNOWMOBILES and PERSONAL WATERCRAFT.

I would like to start this business as low cost as I can (keeps the wife happy!). One of the "PLANS" is to at least get this off the ground in my garage. I have a decent size garage (2.5 car) and the wife only uses it for her car at night (we can make her park outside if need be ).

I have a office area in the home for running the show. I have 95% of the tools and equipment needed to get this going (need to purchase about $2000 for a lift and special tooling )

My only concern is when I market the business is that I may run into problems with my town. I have not checked, but I'm sure that this type of business is a NO-NO in a residential zoned area.

SHOULD I JUST TAKE A CHANCE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS?

I want to be a legal operation (for tax reasons) and am a little "SCARED" about starting this out of my house, but also do not have enough $$ to justify a "SHOP" othe than my garage!!

I plan on starting my business PART-TIME. I work a "NORMAL" job during the day that gives me some pretty good flexible hours to get me own business off the ground.

Please let me know what you think!

Thanks!

"T"

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Old 1st June 2006, 06:38 AM   #2
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T-

Yeh, it might be a little difficult on the neighbors to listen to power tools all weekend.

Options?????
Do you have a friend who would rent you their barn or shop on a part time basis?

Could you offer moblie repair?

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Old 2nd June 2006, 12:09 AM   #3
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Default Please don't...

I would really discourage you to start a business in your garage that might not comply with zoning laws. We once had a "horse ranch" in Oklahoma. It was on the edge of town...and it was ok for boarding. It was also ok for chickens, pigs, ducks, goats...etc. It was a beautiful 80 acres with lots of room. We started allowing day care centers to come and gave all the children a "pony" ride while they were there. Within six months...(the largest month we had) we walked 3000 children around in a circle that month. Then zoning came down. Seems the neighbors complained about the traffic pulling in to our lane. (Now we are only talking 2-3 vans every two hours )...lol. Oh well...they won. It would be sad to see you start to be successful...then have to change your location.

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Old 2nd June 2006, 10:56 AM   #4
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Yep, probably all good advice given. I've learned over time that it can really tip off the neighbors when semis start making deliveries

Note, many have done what you are suggesting. Sometimes its best just to plunge in and take things as they come when starting a business. If not, you can be paralyzed before starting.

Its a tough crux, for starters I would check out the details of what the actual zoning is. I agree you are probably right, but hey ... you never know until you check. I take my chances, as if it is okay a lot is solved easily. Assuming its not, from there I would try to work out some sort of cooperative agreement with someone else who would have a need for the services. For example, you mention Jet Skis. Are there any local places that rent these? If so, maybe you could find an arrangement where you assist with servicing their equipment in exchange for some space they may already have. Basically, I'd investigate trade options available for what is needed. Gotta start selling sooner or later.

Another trade route idea, are there any RV dealers in your area. Maybe network some with them, as these people sometimes haul their toys/atvs and maybe your services would be of interest to a segment of their customer base. perhaps a rv dealership would have some extra space and be interested in the types of services you are providing, while not being a competitor.

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Old 3rd June 2006, 09:53 AM   #5
FNA-MOTOSPORTS
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Thank you for all the replies! I'm pretty determined to launch this business from my garage. I'm a little "scared" to head down to the town hall and start asking questions about zoning (sometimes that opens that can of worms you want to keep shut!).

I'm lucky in some respect that my neighborhood homes are not on top of each other. Almost all the homes are situated on parcels from 1-2 acres.

A few of my neighbors are into boats, atv's and motorcycles and are always toying around with them, so I feel my neighbors would be OK with a small business running out of my home.

I presently work for a company that I am a local feild service rep. I work out of my home and the company ships my supplies to my home on a constant basis. The UPS man makes a couple of deliveryies a day to me and I also have the big rigs do a roadside delvery every now and then. So....the neighbors are use to it and this has been going on for a couple of years now without any complaints.

I plan on starting my business as a part time venture. I'm lucky because my present job allows me flex hours so I can be home running my show then take off and do my regular job.

How do I go about making my business legal?
( I have not yet spoken with a accountant or lawyer yet)

I've done some checking here in Connecticut and it seems in order to get a proper business bank account you need to have a document from the town stating a registered business. But then I've heard that if your business has your name in it ( example: JOHN DOE MOTORCYCLE REPAIR) you can get away with a personal checking account (seperate from existing one).

As for getting a state issued resale (tax) certificate....they basicly give them out to anyone who wants to purchase one.

How about marketing ?

What's the best way to get your name out there without having people show up at my home when I'm not there.

Guess that's it for now! Thanks again!


"T"

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Old 4th June 2006, 08:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FNA-MOTOSPORTS
How do I go about making my business legal?
How about marketing ?

What's the best way to get your name out there without having people show up at my home when I'm not there.
The legal thing - - - - I have no idea for your area. Sorry.

The marketing thing. I would advertise "by appointment only" that way people don't just show up and it looks like you don't take everybody that calls.

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Old 4th June 2006, 11:51 PM   #7
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You've already received some great advice here "T" so we'll see if I can add anything to it:

1) Don't just "take your chances." Please, for your own sake, cover your bases on the legal side of things. I know that in my city (in Canada), when you buy a business license for a home based business (and maybe even for a commercially zoned location), the newspaper runs an ad letting everyone know. This way, if your neighbours complain and you are in fact operating the type of business you said you were going to, the city can say "you were told" (kind of). Perhaps I'm a little bit conservative, but why risk your life dream just to save some steps in the beginning? So not worth it.

2) Buy a business license, register/protect your name, incorporate if you think it's necessary, talk to an attorney, get service contracts drawn up, etc etc. It's a drag but really, again, soooooo worth your time and money (just get a good lawyer who won't hose you. LOL).

3) Do you have a business plan? Even just a brief one? There are lots of good templates around the net to get you started and the process of putting together a business plan will force you to answer some important questions now rather than on the fly later (like while you're dealing with a tough customer but have no idea what your modus operandi is).

Some of the things that a business plan should cover (again, it doesn't have to be a dissertation, just organized, succinct, somewhat original):

- your key business objectives (why do you want to do this? what are your long term goals?)
- how you will meet those objectives, including a marketing plan
- a well defined target market (marketing)
- how you plan to attract and retain that client base (marketing)
- price strategy / promotional strategy / service portfolio (marketing)
- legal structure
- projected startup costs (this always exceeds expectations)
- proforma income statement including forecasted expenses
- cashflow projection for at least the first year of operations (no cashflow, no business ... probably one of the biggest reasons small busiensses have to close their doors before their 5 year anniversary: they're busy as h*@l but can't pay the bills. Cashflow is different than revenue or profit!

That should get you started ... but keep the questions coming!

Cheers,
Karri

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Old 6th June 2006, 06:03 AM   #8
FNA-MOTOSPORTS
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Talking

Thanks again for your input!!!!

I can now understand why so many people do not follow thru on starting a business!! So many loose ends needs to be sorted out and it can become fustrating and overwhelming!!!


I still need to sort out a few things myself.....but either way...This show is going to start soon!!!!

Thanks again for input....will take a piece here and there and use some of my own judgement as well. Will keep every posted of the progress as well as all aditional questions that arise!

Thanks Again!!

"T"

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Old 10th June 2006, 12:38 PM   #9
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Default Don't Be Scared

FNA - I realize that most of the people are correct. The town could shut you down. But your dream is possible and its not hard to dance around the rules.

More than likely you are not allowed to run a business at a residential location. But generally that means you cannot have walk in business as the pony ranch says.

If you pickup a snowmobile and bring it home and fix it in your garage, that is not technically running a business. Your not a storefront and you do not have drive up clients.

Many businesses run from home, such as plumber and carpenters. They go and do onsite work but use their garage as a depot or parts storage.

The town cannot prevent that. Just as they can't stop you from having a home office for that plumbing business.

You can offer onsite repais, travel to the customer and fix the item in their garage. Totaly legal and legit.

On hard repairs take them home. Just don't invite people to your garage. Or at least keep it at a minimum.

The legal issues are simple. Keep receipts, and file the income with your regualr taxes at the end of the year. If you are offering services, its non taxable, at least as far as sales tax. So you will not need a tax number.

In most cases you do not need a business license to do side work. Hell, if you mow the neghibors lawn and he pays you, you don't need a business license.

You would not likely be issued a license on a residence anyway. So just approach it as an extra income. Keep it on the up and up by claiming income on your taxes and you are 100% legit.

Unfortunately you wont be able to hang a sign on your door, but its a start untill you have enough business to justify a business location. At that time, take the advice of the posters, get a licence and so on.

Too many people never start because they are afraid. Don't give up the dream... just do it!

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