North Florida Nesties
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Self employed chicas

I need your assistance please.  I'm starting a little side business (had my first official order completed this weekend...YAY!), and I'm really at a loss on how to organize the financials.  I'm not quite at the point to have a big bad business account but I'm in the process of getting a seperate account at my bank so I can keep things seperated a little easier.

Any advice on things that you found to be helpful?

Also, I'm at a loss about shipping.  What I'm sending will be somewhat fragile so I know not to use FedEx (long story, but I don't trust them).  In your experience is USPS good, or UPS a better route?

 TIA

Re: Self employed chicas

  • I did the same thing in getting a separate account at my bank, and then opened a business PayPal account as well to accept payments and shuffle money around. Any specific financial questions bothering you?

    USPS Priority is typically adequate and we've only had a couple breakages a year, here and there, though my main complaint with the post office is that it's getting more and more expensive. The flat rate boxes might save you and your customers some money though. Otherwise, I try to offer the UPS Ground option, which is more affordable, though it does take longer by a couple of days.

  • I have found Quickbooks to be very helpful in tracking finances and customers and all.  You can also set it up to help you do shipping labels, inventory and what not.  I use the Pro version, but there is a "Simple Start" version, I believe.  I think it's relatively inexpensive and may have all you need for just starting out.  The website details the differences in versions and I believe even has trials.
  • Thanks ladies, those are both very helpful! 

    Duncan- Financials overall are not my strong point, though with a little extra time I can figure out what I need to.  I think I will definetly be getting Quickbooks to help with that. 

     

  • One more question regarding taxes (if you know off hand, otherwise I'll dig and find out).  Do you tax based on the original price of the item or it's discounted price, assuming a discount is being offered.

     Thanks!

  • I would check with the local Dept. of Revenue to know for sure.  They are intimidating, but they really are there to educate.  But...from my understanding, you tax the "sold-as" price. 

    Is this something you make?  Do you charge labor separately or just sell the items?

  • You just tax based on the price the person pays and only if you sell it in Florida. There's a different sales tax rate for every county.
  • Oh, and if you pay tax on the supplies you use to make the item you sell....it is determined a lawful deduction, which you can deduct on your taxes.  So, that way when you charge tax to your customers and report/pay it to DOR, you aren't essentially paying tax on the same thing twice.  Or, depending on what you do specifically, you can get a reseller's certificate and buy your supplies tax exempt to begin with.  This is my version of "the law" how I understand it from my specific business' point of view.  Again, I'd definitely recommend getting with your local DOR office.  I'm sure Jville has a Small Business Development Center of some sort, which often offers free or cheap courses for new businesses on this sort of thing. 
  • Okay, so pp said most of what I was going to say...

    1. Separate business account -  a must do.
    2. Paypal business account - a must do.
    3. Quicbooks or Quicken - definitely. But be careful with quickbooks. If you have an older version of the program and ever need help (aka "to call them") they will tell you that the older version is not supported and you need to upgrade for them to answer your question. But, that's what nesties are here for, right?
    4. I signed up for a resale certificate for making purchases for items i use to make and or sell. That keeps me from having to calculate all the sales tax ive paid out. Really helpful.
    5. You charge sales tax on whatever price they pay. discount or no discount. Like Duncan said, different counties have different sales tax rates, but when you sign up for #4 above, they send you the chart with different rates.

    One recommendation, I would like to make, and may make your life (temporarily) easier would be to have a credit card associated with your business only. The reason I say this is that if you make purchases for items relating to your business, you can pay the credit card off each month with a check from your business checking account. You can reconcile it on a monthly basis by lumping similar items together. For example 5 gas transactions = $150.00. that is one number to record instead of 5. And so on. I hope that wasnt too confusing. If you need any more help - just ask! Youve got a bunch of bright ladies over here! Good luck!

  • image erine12398:

    4. I signed up for a resale certificate for making purchases for items i use to make and or sell. That keeps me from having to calculate all the sales tax ive paid out. Really helpful.
    One recommendation, I would like to make, and may make your life (temporarily) easier would be to have a credit card associated with your business only. The reason I say this is that if you make purchases for items relating to your business, you can pay the credit card off each month with a check from your business checking account. You can reconcile it on a monthly basis by lumping similar items together. For example 5 gas transactions = $150.00. that is one number to record instead of 5. And so on. I hope that wasnt too confusing. If you need any more help - just ask! Youve got a bunch of bright ladies over here! Good luck!

    Thanks!  I'm definitely going to check on the resale certificate.  It would only apply for part of what I'm doing, but that little bit would certainly help.  And I really do need to get the tax listing of all the counties, but it's going to be more involved with that even...I have one order so far that is going to Seattle in May so I'll become quite knowledgable on that area too :)

  • Yup, Liz is right.  I forgot to add that part about QB.  They "retire" software after 3 years.  I had been working out of 2006 for the longest time, so this year I had to get 2009.  Which....I also have a new laptop with Vista and my 2006 wouldn't work on it anyway...so it all worked out.  Stinkin' software....now THAT'S job security.  lol
  • -Um, word. I much preferred the previous version of QB, but had to buy this new one. I'm still getting used to it.

    -If you sell out of state, unless you have a residence there, you do not have to charge sales tax. So don't worry about that Seattle sale. One of the many blessings of selling online is the vast majority of your sales will not be taxable.

    -Also agreed about the dedicated credit card. It's just easier to keep it on one, even if you have a tiny limit.

    -When you get a resale cert, you'll first need to get a zoning cert at the courthouse to work out of your home, then the resale cert, then a sales tax cert. But none of those things take much time, and they're all downtown in Jville.

    -The local SBDC that dollfinn mentioned is out of UNF and they are very helpful. I worked there a couple of years when I was in college, and I would recommend checking them out.

  • wow you girls have so much information.  i'm not there yet, but maybe one day i'll be picking your brains too :) 
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