Dog Treat Business
Legal Information

When we started our own dog treat business, I remember one of the hardest parts was navigating through all of the legal requirements. Do you incorporate, where do you get a tax identification number, are there certain licenses we need? It was enough to almost make me toss in the towel.

Having waded through it before, let me say – HANG IN THERE!!! You can do it!! Starting your own dog treat business just requires a little bit of paperwork to make sure you are legal. Knowing what paperwork and requirements you need to meet is more than half the battle!!!!

LICENSING & ZONING

For our purposes, let’s say you want to start a home-based dog treat business. (Naturally if you have your own shop, some of these requirements may be different – licensing, zoning, and inspection requirements). If you are planning to start working from your home, and creating your dog treats in your kitchen you will need to check with your local town or city offices to determine if there are any zoning restrictions that would prevent this. Also, if you have a neighborhood association, you should check with them to make sure they have no issues with what you are planning (for instance, posting a sign with your business name in your yard, or on your house). Usually a quick phone call or two will get this answered for you and will only take a few moments. They may require some paperwork, or fees and will let you know once you talk with them.

Once you have the all clear for your zoning, you will need to secure the proper business license(s). This may vary from state to state. Typically a “Trader’s License” is required, but your state or county may have a different name for it. (More on this in a minute).

A great resource for you is the Small Business Administration. They are a free service that can help you with specific contact information, phone numbers, and even offer guidance. Your tax dollars are paying for this – now is the time to take full advantage of it. Check out all they offer at http://www.sba.gov.

But before you can get your license, keep reading below.


TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER

Before you can apply for your business license, you will need to apply for a federal tax identification number or employer tax identification number (EIN). This is how your business will file taxes with the government. To learn more from the government about EINs, follow this link:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html

There are many services out there that you can use to help you with filing for this. If you have an accountant, they can help you. To file for this, you will need to decide what type of corporation you will be forming:

* Sole proprietorships

* Corporations

* S-Corporations

* Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

* Partnerships

* Estates

* Trusts

* Non-Profits

* Other

There are benefits to each type depending on what your business will require to operate (will you have more than one owner, will you have employees on a payroll, etc). Again, use your SBA resource to help you make that decision.

Certain states may require that you have a state number or charter (you would apply for this separately).

Brief Recap

Are you still following. You are almost done!!! Hang in there you are through the thick of the dog treat business legal stuff. Real quick, to get you caught back up if we lost you:

1. You will need to confirm your zoning requirements.

2. You will need to learn what licenses you may need for your local and state government.

3. You may need to apply for a state number or charter.

4. You will need to apply for you federal EIN.

5. Once you have your EIN, you can secure the business licenses you need.

Your business license may cost anywhere from $20 to $150 depending on any deposits you may need. If you use a lawyer to file for your state number or charter, it could cost you $500 or more for their services. Your federal EIN if you use an expedited service could cost $120 or more.

Some states and local governments are starting to require that home-based dog treat and bakery businesses be subject to inspections to make sure that the facilities meet food handling requirements and regulations.

Your local SBA office again is a fabulous resource and they can point in you the best possible direction!!!! I highly recommend you tap into that resource. We have provided you a general overview of what will be required for your home-based dog treat business.


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