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Is your operation a registered business?

Kyle76

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I've done a couple of jobs just for a personal check, but if I begin getting regular gigs, I guess I need to organize as an LLC or sole proprietor. Do any of you operate without some sort of official business structure? What, in the US, are my options? Also, do you use some kind of billing facilitator like Squarespace?
 

Electromen

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If the business name uses your real name like (your name) Drone Photography, all you need to do is file a Schedule C with your federal income tax. Also pay state & local taxes. You do not have to file for a fictitious name. The advantage to an LLC or Corporation is that it limits personal liability on you. Either way, I would purchase liability insurance in case you damage a car, property to person.
 

Empire Drone

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Take the time now to get an LLC set up. You don't want to scramble if you land a big job that requires certain business insurance. It's good to get a broker lined up so they can handle changes in insurance needs when the time comes.

As mentioned above, and LLC also affords better liability protections.

The LLC will also allow you to set up a business bank account which is key to keeping personal and business separate for tax time.

We use Quickbooks Online for billing.
 
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cjc1103

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You don't need to be incorporated if you are a one man shop, just operate as a sole proprietor and get liability insurance. LLC's force you to file quarterly reports and pay extra fees and taxes. In Tennessee LLC's are taxed a percentage of their assets, this is ongoing, every year. We have lots of expensive gear, so those taxes are going to add up. Sure there's a case for incorporating, in particular you have limited liability from lawsuits, but you should be aware of all the requirements before jumping in.
 

Steve C

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I’ve got a day job that consumes 50-55 hours a week so my drone business is just a side thing for the time being. Because of this I haven’t marketed myself at all and only do an odd job here and there, but I did set up an LLC, bank account, and use Wave for finances. The great thing about Wave is it is completely free for buisiness like me that can’t justify the monthly Quickbooks expense, while having all the features I need to stay organized.
 
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Interesting thread with a lot of good info. I have been at this about four years now and only do about 5-10k/year. I do what Electromen mentioned above; file a schedule C and declare gross and net revenue, no big whoop for me as my side money. I have used Verifly in the past when big jobs required a certain LOL. Pay by the hour, only pay for what you need. If I could hit six figures as a one-man-show, I'd quit my day job, but how realistic is that? (not sarcasm, genuinely asking)
 

BigAl07

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Six figures is doable, based on your market and your marketing. The one, fundamental requirement is that you be willing to work your @$$ off and be available 7-days a week.


THIS ^^^^^

We went LLC from day one and it was a great move (here in NC). Offers some protection but as with anything else, a good attorney can pierce that bubble of protection but it's well worth the efforts. This year has been our best ever... our revenue is up 500% over last year (and last year was good) but we've been KILLING IT 24/7 for a long time. I'd say it takes 5 years before it gets "easy and worth while" if you're trying to see a significant ROI.
 

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