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UGHHH!!! So Confused!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Ngom12, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Ngom12

    Ngom12 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    OK, so lets start from the top. I have worked for my friend plowing snow in the winter, on the side, and I have wanted to start my own business, on the side, for the longest time. I have finally grew enough balls (and saved enough) to start the company. I've spent countless hours on here researching, because I hate to sound like and idiot:dizzy: as least as posssible, but I'm so confused now I was probably better off not ever reading any threads haha.

    Heres what I got. For the first year, it is going to be just me and my truck, no employees, nothing, but I do plan on growing the business to have employees/sub-contractors, ect.

    Should I:
    A) File as a dba for the first year, then switch to an LLC or INC. when i hire or
    B) File for LLC from the beggining.

    also, i don't want to name my company Nick's Snow Plowing, i want it to have a real name, such as quality snow plowing, blue canyon snow plowing, ect. Can I do that with a DBA??

    Second Question:
    I called my insurance provider asking for quotes. She said the ONLY insurance i would need is to raise my personal coverage to have 1 Million dollar coverage, costing my only $260 a year on top of my coverage currently. She said I would not need General Liability or Business Coverage. She also said i do not need commercial plates, NOTHING!!
    Is this true or what??

    I honestly wish someone would just give me a step by step guide on how to do this haha good thing i started 6 months early so I have all the this time to work out the kinks.
  2. EliteSnow&Ice

    EliteSnow&Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    1. LLC or INC from the start to protect your personal assets. The cost in Michigan to file articles of incorporation is $60.

    2. Check in the cities or townships you plan on plowing to see if they require a LIC. to plow. Some cities have min. insurance requirements to obtain LIC. My general LIB insurance is 1mill/2mill. The city also requires 250k/500k on the trucks. I have had customers call the city to check to see if I am LIC. Also, should a neighbor complain to the city about the drive or parking lot you did and they track you down the many not take playing stupid for a reason.

    3. As for trucks the city says you need to follow DOT rules. USDOT numbers (this is up for argument), company name on truck, flasher, and depending on the cop fire extinguisher and road triangles
    …or you just can run covert and hope you don’t get caught or have an accident.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    First get a new insurance agent.

    As for your name.DBA means Doing Business As...So if your name is John Smith ,your Doing Business As "Forever Snowplowing"
  4. muffy189

    muffy189 Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    i carry comercial insurance for plowing and dont run comercial plates. and ive been doing that for 25 years and never had a problem and i did it as a DBA and now LLC
  5. Ngom12

    Ngom12 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I was expecting her to throw a huge number at me, and when she said $260 I almost signed up right then. But it just seems too good to be true.

    MUFFY, do you mind if I PM you. Your in Salem, I'm between Akron and Cleveland, so I believe we should not run into any direct competition any time soon. I would like to ask you a few questions??
  6. muffy189

    muffy189 Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    no problem ask away
  7. randomb0b123

    randomb0b123 PlowSite.com Addict
    from america
    Messages: 1,278

    a neighbor!! i think grandview is right your insurance agents info dosent sound right. talk to tower insurance about it theyre in brookpark i used them when i had tree cutting and snow plow insurance
  8. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,105

    Get commercial insurance call progressive commercial they have great rates in ohio. Its not only the truck they insure the plow and damage it causes.Mine is underwritten by Artisan and Truckers Casualty Co. They also do 6 months policy's 5 trucks 1mill policy about 2000 bucks dec thru may and can call and cancel if needed.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  9. LHK2

    LHK2 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    First, listen to Grandview about your insurance. Second, file as an llc will be cheaper than filling as INC. Third, get commercial plates on your truck. Fourth, join SIMA, and attend the symposium.
  10. Ngom12

    Ngom12 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I agree about the insurance. They have honestly been great for my personal insurance for my truck and my tailgating trailer, but when she said that it would only cost my an additional $260 and i didnt need any kind of business/gen liabilty, I became so confused.

    I am going to be joining SIMA, without question. And I will be getting commercial plates with some lettering in the rear window. And i think filing as an LLC makes the most sense too.

    Any other suggestions??
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    When you join SIMA use my name(Grandview) as a referral and get 50 bucks off.

  12. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,105

    I'm gonna suggest too that you deal with your insurance company/broker through email.
    My wife is a broker and it's amasing how many licenced brokers dispense poor, inaccurate advise over the phone. It becomes he said she said. When you have written documentation it makes them accountable and can affect their licence to sell insurance.
  13. Ngom12

    Ngom12 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    ok, so here is a little update. I two insurance companies today. One telling me I will need commercial auto and general liability. My conversation was cut short so I wasnt able to get much information but he told me I needed both.

    The second call said again, all I would need is a $1 million dollar coverage on my Truck. He said to the insurance company it doesn't matter if the plates are commercial or not, but he suggested I check with the DMV. I flat out asked him: What if I plow a drive/lot and someone comes out, slips, and breaks something. He said: Not my problem, even if I threw salt down, I would not be held responsible for that. he said it is the property owners responsibilty to make sure the drive was cleared (the same thing my personal insurance agent said yesterday too). I then asked why do people suggest I get general liabilty. He then said if I were to do landscaping as well as snow removal, then I would need gen. liabilty, but since it is just me, my truck, and plow, which would be covered under insurance, all I need is commercial Auto for $1M. I then said, what If i start adding more truck with employees. He said still, I would only need to add Commercial to them.

    I forgot to ask about equipment (DAMMIT!!!!!)

    So right now it is 2-1 for no general liabilty haha.

    What the hell do i do now!
  14. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    In all honesty getting more coverage then needed is NOT a bad idea. Its better to be more protected then less.

    Deffinatly go LLC as it keeps your company separate from your house and other assets.
  15. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Get a lawyer because when someone is going to sue you and you have no insurance,your going to need a gallon of FF afterwards.
  16. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,968

    Not if he is an llc.Can only go after llc assets.Disolve llc and start another.Crazy system:confused:
  17. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    sounds like the SIMA symposium would be perfect for you. You will learn more than you know what to do with. I hope to see you there.
  18. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Really what you need to do is sit down with a quality CPA in your area to really evaluate the best way to create your business.

    We were doing just a Sole Proprietorship for 6 years along with extra coverage on our insurance to compensate. As the business has progressed and new assets to protect, we are currently in the process of switching over to the corporate cloud.

    So you just need to find out what's best for your situation and only a personal assessment of your finances will give you that answer.

    Check out here for someone in your area.


  19. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    We operated as a sole proprietor for 40 years or so. Incorporating was one of the best business decisions I ever made. For tax purposes I am now treated as an employee. Quarterly tax payments were always a big hassle when I operated as a sole proprietor.
  20. Ngom12

    Ngom12 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Alright, here is some more information, hopefully it is the right information this time.

    My current insurance provider, for my truck, called me back. She said she had talked to the business underwritters. They said I need a business inusrance that is considerer a "Service Contractor Insurance." That isnurance will cover me up to $1M in Liabilty, $1000 for office supplies, and $10,000 for mobile equipment (plow, spreader, gps, ect.). She said it will cover me in the event of someone trying to sue me for a slip and fall claim as well. And I will also need Commecial Auto Insurance as well. She was very very knowledgeable in the stories she told, even providing me with her own examples. I feel comfortable that this is what I need, but I thought I would check here again to see what you thought.

    The price was not bad at all. I would have to pay an extra $820 ontop of what im paying now, which to me sounds reasonable. What do you guys think?