A consulting business typically is an entity that provides expert advice for a charge. Consulting activities could refer to a diverse range of things. Some consulting entities could be working with other businesses or independently. Starting your own consulting business can be a profitable and personally rewarding career.
California had a population of 40 million people in 2020. Because of the high population, California can be a lucrative place for anyone who wants to start their consulting business here. People can set up consulting businesses in a variety of industries and specialties. There are several elements that need to be borne in mind prior to starting your consulting firm which we shall explore here.
Choosing the right business type
Once you have made your decision to start a business, it is vital to choose an accurate business type. You can form a sole proprietorship easily which does not function as an individual legal entity. You are also not required to file documents if you run a sole proprietorship. It is important to note this type of business does not protect you from personal liability.
In case you are starting a business with someone else, this will be a partnership where both you have mutual stakes in the shares. Otherwise, you could start a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation if you want better protections against risks. An LLC gives personal liability protection and offers flexibility especially to small businesses. It is the most common business entity recommended for those who are not United States citizens.
A corporation, on the other hand, is an independent entity that can pay taxes legally, accumulate debt, and get into contracts. When deciding which type of business entity you should choose, think about what kind of services you want to offer. Typically, consulting work does not incorporate issues pertaining to personal liability. However, having protection can be beneficial in case you misplace valuable information, lose personal property in an accident or if there is an injury to someone.
Next, you need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) for your California-based business. You can apply for this on the IRS website. The IRS assigns a federal tax number as a key identifying factor for your business. Your EIN can be used to apply for other licenses, pay taxes, report profits and losses, open a business bank account, and for other reasons.
Depending on the type of business and the area in California you will be operating your firm, there are other licenses and permits that you would need. You need to obtain these prior to working with your first client. Some examples of authorization that you need include a doing-business-as (DBA) certificate, zoning permit, seller’s permit, and a business license.
Almost all businesses need to have a tax certificate which they can get from the Office of Business Licensing. Also, there are many professions for which the state of California needs state licensing and certification. Doctors, lawyers, architects, and other professionals will need to have a professional license to operate a consulting business. Details on the exact type of license that is required can be found in the licenses section of the California government website.
After setting up your consulting firm, you might decide to hire a limited number of employees initially. In that case, you need to be aware of California employment law components like working hour limits, workplace discrimination, overtime compensation, etc. You can consult several resources provided by the US Department of Labor. For California-specific regulations, the website of the Department of Industrial Relations has sections on employment law that could be useful for you to know.
When you are hiring an employee, you can follow certain protocol to ensure that your hiring process is fair. You can achieve this creating job application portals that do not ask discriminatory questions related to someone’s personal background. Ask interview questions that are not offensive and legally allowed. Do not violate privacy laws while performing background checks on a prospective employee.
Ensuring good health and safety
Health and safety in the workplace has become an essential priority following the pandemic. Observing social distancing norms and sanitization of the work environment is key to ensure good health. Moreover, if your business involves working in hazardous areas like mines, you need to be familiar with both federal and state occupational health and safety guidelines.
Nature of Business
Opening a consulting business might be more lucrative if you are opening certain types of businesses. The most popular consulting businesses in the US currently are marketing, advertising, writing, career coaching, computer programming, etc. If you are not interested in opening any of the popular consulting businesses, that should not be an issue. You can choose either a hobby or your current profession and turn it into a business.
Obtaining the right consulting insurance policy for your consulting business is crucial if you want to minimize unwanted risks. The kind of insurance you should get depends on the type of business you are operating. If you are working out of your personal workspace, an insurance that covers accidents around the area can be helpful. Or if you are working with large amounts of confidential data, you can get insurance for that.
A lot of business owners choose to get property coverage for protection against accidents. If your work is situated in a physically dangerous location, personal injury protection for yourself and your employees is necessary. Likewise, for work that involves frequent commute in your vehicle, you can get auto insurance coverage.
Having insurance can be especially helpful if you are starting a business for the first time and are not familiar with risks that can jeopardize your business. There are several types of insurance in the market that you can choose from for your business. You can purchase coverage temporarily and alter it based on your needs in the future. Consider getting consultant insurance coverage today for your protecting your business from hefty expenses.