Starting a business is HARD.  It is A LOT of work. It is A LOT of red tape and wondering if things are going to work out and come together in time.

I said I would blog about this: 1. So I could document the process; 2. So it can help others who want to start a business and 3.  To serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come.  So, here is what it took to get these keys:

Step#1: Formed the business as a LLC for liability purposes.  This was as easy as going on the State Corporation Commissions website and completing the information electronically.  Paying the $100 and getting the Certificate of Organization and Articles of Organization.  It is the Articles of Organization that everyone will need to see.

Step#2: Getting the Employer Identification Number or EIN was harder.  At first it seemed like it was going to be as easy as getting the LLC established.  Not so.  First, you can do it on-line BUT with my first attempt I went through most of the screens only to get a message back that you could only do it during the hours the IRS has agents working 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.  It didn’t give me that message until I was half way thru the online forms.  So, do it during those hours.

I waited until the next day and tried it again.  I get thru all of the screens and then got a  NOPE we can’t help you online and they gave me a 101 CODE and a phone number to call (keep that number because it is hard to find it again).  This is where it got red-tape-y.  I called that number, was on hold about 20 minutes, got an agent, gave her the code and she told me that I couldn’t apply on-line because the name of my business was too common.  I needed to either mail (4-5 week turnaround) or fax (4-5 day turnaround) a paper form SS-4 along with the Articles of Organization for the LLC.  Of course I chose the fax option.  Now, with the fax option they want to FAX the EIN number back to you.  I don’t have a fax machine…who does anymore???…so you have to call them back in 4-5 days to get the EIN number over the phone. Red Tape.

Step #3 Getting a bank account.  They want the Articles of Organization and a LTR 147 C from the IRS with the EIN number on it.  Of course I didn’t have the 147 C because I didn’t have a fax number, so I called the IRS back, waited 30 minutes asked the agent to fax the form to the bank’s fax number.  I opened the bank account. I ordered Business Checks.  I got information about Merchants Services to compare it to using Square.  Yet to be determined.

Step #4 Reviewing the Lease. Depending on the complexity of the lease I would recommend you get a lawyer to review it for you.  I happen to have worked in purchasing for 15 years on and off again, so I have read many legal documents, terms and conditions and felt comfortable with it. If you don’t have this experience, get a lawyer.

Step #5 Getting Business Insurance.  I had already been told that with 3 or more employees you need Worker’s Comp. and since it’s only me for now, I was good on that end.  You do however need Comprehensive, Building and Contents insurance.  Apparently $1M comp and $100K building is standard and then for retail something called Plate Glass Insurance is needed.  There were loads of other add-on’s like Terrorism Protection which was only $2 additional per year (I got that since I’m now living in a military town…NASA Langley, AirForce, Army…all of that is here)  I didn’t get a lot of the other add-ons.

Step #6 Insurance Certificate.  Your landlord might ask for that. You get it from the Insurance Company.

Step #7 Business License. If you’re in a building you have to go to zoning first.  Once zoning gives the okay then you can get the business license. The tax rate will depend on what type of business that you are starting.  The business license itself is about $50.00.

I worked on all of the above during the month of January, in order to get the keys…