I'm surprised Greg didn't get in on this.
Forgive the long post and multiple questions.
Quick overview: Goal is to start up a pro haunt next year. Though I have assistance, I am putting business solely in my name. I'm not seeking loans or investors, just using savings. I may have found a building that will work and want to make sure business is set up first. Idea is to use property for constructing props, storage, and putting haunt together. During off season, we will conduct some sales - not as a standard store but online and by appointment. We will also occasionally do event rentals (birthday parties, etc), classes, photo shoots, small weddings. Building is not large but will easily support these items and will bring in a small amount of income. The main goal for leasing the property is the haunt and everything else is just filler.
I have JUST started the process of setting up a single-person LLC through Legalzoom and curious what others have done when setting up theirs.
Question 1: Officers
I read on one site that at a minimum, even a single-person LLC should have a President, Secretary and Treasurer - even if they are all the same person. Partial reason is that a bank will not allow an LLC to open a bank account unless the LLC has a duly appointed officer authorized to open the account and sign checks. On other sites, it says that officers are not necessary.
For other single person LLCs, how have you set yours up? Have you named yourself as officer(s) and if so, what?
Question 2: Primary business activity. Two part question - one is a drop-down list of options and the other asks for a description.
I think that "Entertainment" would probably fit best out of the list of options. For the description, I'm a bit at a loss.
What have others put as the primary business activity description? My initial instinct was "Haunted attaction" but I'm not sure that is a suitable answer.
Last question: Registered Agent
Legalzoom offers the option of being the registered agent for $159 per year. Other than myself, I don't currently have anyone for the role of registered agent.
What have others done? List yourself, take the Legalzoom option, find someone else?
I think that is it. I'm sure these are basic questions but just curious what others have done. I know I can call Legalzoom but would rather know what others in this industry have done. All help greatly appreciated!
I'm surprised Greg didn't get in on this.
Didn't you know?!? Greg was off in the Mountains last November fighting Flying Monkeys in exchange for Fabric Mats (for his bathroom...he didn't like the ones at WalMart).
Greg, please refer to our Facebook convo from way back when to decode that lol.
I'm also looking to setup a LLC, if anyone has any insight on this that would be great. A few of the question were asked earlier would be nice if anyone could clear them up, or what they would suggest to do for setting up a legal haunted house and business.
I am not a lawyer, you aren't a lawyer, that being said neither of us should use legal zoom because we don't know the law.
When I did my LLC I went straight to my attorney. Something as important as protecting me and my assets is not something I wanna waltz around doing on my own. That's just my two cents, spend the extra money to see your attorney/lawyer whatever and have him or her make sure everything is done to be of the biggest benefit to me.
EVERYONE and their mother tries to sue haunts now, it isn't a joke anymore, even if you do nothing wrong, someone will find something not worth suing over to sue you over. If you can't spend the extra money for legal council upfront, you may be swimming in a pool with too many hungry sharks my friend. Protect protect protect yourself!
And don't forget that an LLC is not a replacement for insurance, go call Ken Donat and have him hook you up! He is the best for ANY haunt, I couldn't be a more satisfied customer. I just wish he offered insurance on company vehicles lol (I do my coverage over the course of a full year not just a couple months)
Bobby's right, even in an LLC you will get sued. We opted for S Corp for tax reasons and at the advice of my accountants. We also have event insurance but to make sure I was covered, I purchased an umbrella policy for me personally. This protects my house and personal assets when they come hunting me down. It happens, much more often these days unfortunately.
BTW - i filed myself. Legal Zoom wanted far too much money to fill out the three pieces of paper I needed to complete. I put myself and my son as officers, and myself as agent.
Of course doing an LLC won't stop you from being sued. It isn't intended to. What it stops is what they can go after: Instead of your house and personal assets, they are limited to the assets of the company (which is a much lower value than most people's homes and retirement). So get insurance first, and get the LLC also. It's about $150 to maintain each year.
Put yourself down as the registered agent. Sometimes they will try to scare you and say the state requires someone to be there to sign for papers 9 to 5 during all business dates, blah blah blah, but it's a seasonal business, so that sounds like just a selling point that is devoid of real merit.
As far as the bank is concerned, anytime you have a business, they will want you to have too accounts now: One personal, one business. Once you have the business account, even if it's just a DBA, it's easy to convert to a LLC. They just want your FID # to make it complete.
BTW, remember to keep a different check book and account for the LLC than your home stuff, otherwise they may try to bypass your LLC protections. Good luck.
It is very easy to set up an LLC on your own. You don't need a lawyer or Legal Zoom. Just go to your states web site. There should be a downloadable form under the small business section. Also, most of the major banks will offer to do this for you for free. You must first call and get your Federal Identification number, then go in and see one of the bank personnel and ask them to set it up. Chase just did it for me in about 15 minutes for a different business. Oh yeah, you do not need anyone else as board members, you can be the sole employee but it often helps to have someone else that you trust able to go to the bank for you.
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