The hoops you need to jump through to get a business license.

You would think the government would be pro-small business and pave the way for any and all entrepreneurs to get started. Well, as we will see from this discussion in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, it’s just not the case. Government employees seem to enjoy making you jump through hoop after hoop even before you get started. Here is one entrepreneurs story on the bureaucracy he had to deal with to get a simple business license.

One lawn care business owner wrote “it’s insane the crap you have to deal with to get a business license. I went to my local town hall today to to get a license. I read the affidavit for a home based business thoroughly and believed 100% that I was not in violation of any code. I have a 6×12 trailer with 2 mowers and trimmers, basic setup for a one man operation. Until I grow the trailer will be kept in the garage out of sight. I don’t want it taking up room in my garage, but you gotta make do.

I took the forms to have them approved by an individual, for some reason the affidavit is not enough and was told that I couldn’t keep the trailer on my property. One, because the person approving the forms assumes that I have no place to keep the equipment other than my yard or driveway (even though I told him otherwise) and two because of the noise. What noise? I was told that I would have to produce a contract from a storage facility proving that the equipment is not being stored at home. Or, because I asked, I can come back with a letter stating that the equipment will be stored on private property that is not in violation.

Not one mile, as the crow flies, from where I live is a guy who keeps his ragged out trailer and equipment parked in his front yard and has business signs posted in his yard, so I get it, I understand the rules but I wonder if he has a license?

Has anyone ever experienced this kind of subjectivity before? How, if I am clearly not in violation of any of the conditions in the affidavit can someone come along and say no, you have to spend $100 plus on storage. I have a place to keep it free if I want but that only puts that person out. Tomorrow I will go back and have the individual explain to me every condition and prove to me that I am in violation. Not that I could ‘potentially’ be in violation, it says nothing about that. Once I sign that affidavit, how is it his problem anyway? What about the guy that can have a home-based business in art but he’s up at 3am jack-hammering on a piece of granite for a new sculpture? The only thing that will happen to him is someone telling him to keep it down but he’s not going to be fined for code violations. I hope I can overcome the odds and reason with a government employee. The ironic part is that some of that tax will pay his salary… it’s just beyond me.

As it turns out I now found out I was dealing with the ‘new guy.’ However, I was able to sit down with his supervisor and him at the same time but the supervisor was not going to overturn any decision. I’m satisfied that I was able to express my frustration with the situation in an articulate and knowledgeable manner but still had to produce a letter stating that the trailer will be stored somewhere else (they’re covering their butts). Anyway, to do it all again, if possible I’d suggest set up the business at another address outside of any municipality and zoning restrictions and only pay for county taxes.

One interesting point, they showed me an overhead of my property and said that because I couldn’t get to my backyard with the trailer, therefore I couldn’t park it there. So I let them finish and the first thing I asked was… So you’re saying that if I could get to my backyard then I could park it there? Total silence from both of them. I went on to tell them it would only be stored in the garage anyway because I don’t want to devalue my own property. Didn’t do any good.

I think a big part of the economy coming back will be due to all of the new entrepreneurs, the professionals who have lost their jobs. I hope they all flourish. I was a corporate office worker for ten years when I myself became a statistic and lost my job. I decided then that I will do for myself from now on. Fortunately I do like lawn work and have done it professionally when I was younger. Let’s do it right and make a name for ourselves!”

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