How To Set Up A New Small Business

Setting up your own business?

Congratulations! Owning your own business is exciting and rewarding. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some tips for starting up your own business.

 

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC helps small businesses get setup legally and would like to share some questions and answers for all you entrepreneurs out there. If you are setting up a new business, call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston.

Q: What type of business entity should I setup my business as?
A: You can begin as a “sole proprietor” to start doing business. It is easy and inexpensive to start as a sole proprietor however there is no legal protection for your personal assets. This means you have no limit to your personal liability for business failures or mistakes. If you want to limit your liability, set your business up as a corporation instead.

Q: Do I need a Federal Tax ID number?
A: If your business is a corporation, an LLC or has employees you need a Federal Tax Identification Number. Even if you are a sole proprietor you might want to get an EIN. If you do not have one as a sole proprietor, you can use your social security number however an EIN is more professional and less risky than giving out your SSN.

Q: What is a resale license?
A: A resale license will enable your company to purchase goods or materials for manufacture or resale without paying sales tax.

Q: Do I need to file a fictitious business name?
A: If you use any name other than your own, you will need to file a “doing business as” name. This will enable the public to know who is actually operating the company.
Have questions about setting up your business? Call us to get answers: 951-461-2500.

 

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What To Know When Hiring A Contractor

Planning to build a home or remodel your existing home?

The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston come across many construction cases where the contractor either does not have a license or the license he or she carries is out of date.

 

It is important to know how to hire a contractor when starting a construction project at your home. Here are some tips to choosing a contractor:

  • Make sure he or she is currently state licensed in your area. Has the construction company paid its employees legally and carry workers’ compensation, property damage and liability insurance? You should also find out how long he or she has been in business along with a list of references you can contact.
  • Does the contractor have a work crew or do they subcontract the work? Protect yourself from a mechanics lien by asking the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers for lien releases or waivers upon each payment.
  • Ask if the contractor can supply you with a fixed start and completion date included in a formal written agreement. If you aren’t normally onsite during the project it is a good idea to check in regularly to make sure everything is coming along.
  • Ask for an itemized price estimate from each potential contractor when getting bids. Examine each carefully paying attention to those that seem too high or too low. Lower bids may mean you will get a hasty job that won’t leave you with a quality finished product. Remember, in most cases you get what you pay for.
  • Ask the contractor for a schedule of the work from start to finish. If you want regular progress reports, ask for them in writing.
  • Don’t let your payments get ahead of the work. We recommend paying 10 percent down before they start the project. If it is a stable company they won’t need a large amount of money to pay for materials or overhead.
  • If you have questions about a mechaincs lien or construction issues, contact Jonathon Preston with Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC.

 

Has A Mechanics Lien Been Filed On Your Property?

What to do if a mechanics lien has been filed on your property.

The first thing you should do is determine if it is a valid lien. If work has not been completed or supplies were not included in the plans and contracts, the lien may be void.

If an invalid mechanics lien was filed it can make it difficult or impossible to sell, refinance or obtain a line of credit on your property. However if the contractor, subcontractor, laborer, or material supplier fail to follow any of the specific time frames, your lien may be invalid and you may petition the court to remove the lien.

Talk with our office to find out if your lien is valid. Was the preliminary notice given to you within the specific time frames? The subcontractor or supplier will have 20 days after delivering materials or beginning work to serve a preliminary notice. If it is late, lien rights are lost on work done or materials delivered more than 20 days before the notice.

Check with your local superior court to make sure a timely lien foreclosure action was filed by the subcontractor or material supplier. A lien foreclosure action is a lawsuit to foreclose the mechanics lien. The lien claimant must file a lien foreclosure action within 90 days of the date that he or she recorded the mechanics lien.

Call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston today so we can help you with the mechanics lien filed on your property – (951) 461-2500

Safety At The Construction Site

Construction sites pose the risk of injury and many precautions should be taken in order to avoid harm.

It is important for all job site personnel to be properly trained on equipment and job site safety. The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston deal with many construction site injury cases.

Please take a moment to read these construction site safety rules:

  • Personal safety equipment must be worn as prescribed for each job, such as:  safety glasses for eye protection, hard hats at all times within the confines of the construction area where there is a potential for falling materials or tools, gloves when handling materials, and safety shoes are necessary for protection against foot injuries.
  • If any part of your body should come in contact with an acid or caustic substance, rush to the nearest water available and flush the affected part.  Secure medical aid immediately.
  • Pay attention and watch where you are walking.
  • A good job is a clean job, and a clean job is the start of a safe job.  So keep your working area free from trash and debris.
  • Lift correctly with your legs, not the back.  If the load is too heavy get help.  Approximately twenty percent of all construction related injuries result from lifting materials.
  • Know what emergency procedures have been established for your job site.  (Location of emergency phone, first aid kit, stretcher location, fire extinguisher locations, evacuation plan, etc.)

How To Set Up A Budget For Your Business

Have you planned your businesses budget yet?

The beginning of the year is the best time to set out your budget. It is important to make sure you review it monthly.

If you haven’t already set up your business’s budget for 2014, it’s not too late!

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share our 5 ways to getting started on your business’s budget.

Start With A Spreadsheet – Before you buy a business or open a new business, create a spreadsheet to estimate what percentage of your revenue you will need to allocate toward raw materials and other costs. You should also include any rent, taxes, insurance and other overhead into your spreadsheet.

Allow Some Slack – Whatever you estimate your business will generate in revenue, make sure you have a cushion on that amount. It is important you have more than enough money put away or coming in before you expand your business or take on new employees.

Cut Costs Where You Can – If you come across a tight month financially, you will need to cut costs where you can. Try waiting to make purchases until the next billing cycle or take advantage of payment terms offered by suppliers and creditors.

Review Your Business Regularly – Of course you want to draft a budget yearly, however small businesses should do this more often. Since business can be volatile, planning on a monthly basis will be very beneficial.

Shop Around For The Best Deals – It is always a good idea to get quotes from other suppliers. If you are able to receive the same service and quantity at a lower price, why not switch to a different supplier? Do this on a quarterly or yearly basis.

If you have questions about budgeting for your business, please call our office, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, at 951-461-2500.

How To Avoid Construction Litigation

The market is improving and we are starting to see more new construction start to go up.

When more construction starts, we see a lot more cases pop up that have to do with legal issues at construction sites.

construction

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share with our readers some helpful tips to avoiding a construction lawsuit:

  • View changes in the original construction plan as an opportunity for mutual benefit. We all know changes in a construction project are inevitable, whether unforeseen or initiated by the owner. In a flexible environment with communication as a top priority, dealing with unexpected change can be a group effort, and open communication is key.
  • Make sure goals are set in place to meet the project’s schedule and budget. When faced with an issue, gather as much information as possible about the given subject before proceeding.
  • Hire a construction manager to better articulate the owner’s goals and facilitate the contractor’s work. A qualified construction manager knows what to look for during your project’s design in order to avoid legal action later.
  • Build a relationship with your project team and make trust and communication your biggest asset. During the bidding period you can test each partner’s knowledge and willingness to work together.

Do you have questions about a legal matter for a construction project you are involved with? Please call our offices at 951-461-2500.

How To Avoid A Small Business Lawsuit

Don’t let your business get caught up in a lawsuit.

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC has a lot of experience with assisting businesses in legal matters and would like to share some tips to avoid a lawsuit as a business owner:

small businessBe Safe – Of course accidents can happen but if you take the proper steps to avoid accidents you will be much better off. Keep areas where employees and customers walk safe and free of obstacles which can cause danger

Keep Things Documented – Creating a well drafted contract will help avoid misunderstandings and prevent lawsuits. Keep all emails, invoices, contracts and even telephone messages to resolve future problems.

Understand The Law – Make sure your business is not in violation of any property laws. Make sure no one else owns the trademark on your business name.

Protect Files – Make sure all your computer’s files are backed up. Files can also be lost and/or stolen and that can lead to legal action. Make sure they are protected.

Handbook – It is a good idea to create an employee handbook which contains all sensitive employment issues such as maternity leave, sick leave, compensation, termination, benefits, etc.

Hire A Lawyer – It is smart to have a lawyer hired for your business and to make sure you are in compliance while running your business. Call our offices for all your business needs!