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Discussion Starter #1
I'm starting a T shirt business with a friend and we are wondering what we need to do before we can start selling our shirts, legally. Should we secure our company name?
 

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Paperwork varies state to state, but generally you'll need a DBA (state), Resale/Sales Tax ID (state), and depending on business, Articles of Incorp/Partnership Agreement/etc (state), then you can obtain a Business License (city). Then from there it depends on what you're actually doing. Best bet would be to talk with the people at the state office. California requires some form of Garment decorator's license, even if you're just heat pressing designs, think they're the only state that has lost their sanity though.

There are many businesses online and offline that will do the paperwork for you, but they will also charge to do it (sometimes going into absurd amounts). I think we paid roughly like $75 to file everything ourselves in Utah, biggest fee being the business license, which is like $25/yr or $50/yr, thinking the latter. Our DBA's need to be renewed every 3 years, for new businesses it's $22, think for old one's renewing there's no charge, or somethin dumb like $2. Sales tax I don't recall there being a fee for, and is good until canceled/revoked/etc, same with the articles.

If you're planning on doing this just at events, then you should contact event coordinators. You usually don't have to have a registered business for events, as they issue a temporary permit, but you will have to collect sales tax and hand it over to the event co-coordinators after the event is over, generally you will also pay booth fees and possibly electrical fees as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Paperwork varies state to state, but generally you'll need a DBA (state), Resale/Sales Tax ID (state), and depending on business, Articles of Incorp/Partnership Agreement/etc (state), then you can obtain a Business License (city). Then from there it depends on what you're actually doing. Best bet would be to talk with the people at the state office. California requires some form of Garment decorator's license, even if you're just heat pressing designs, think they're the only state that has lost their sanity though.

There are many businesses online and offline that will do the paperwork for you, but they will also charge to do it (sometimes going into absurd amounts). I think we paid roughly like $75 to file everything ourselves in Utah, biggest fee being the business license, which is like $25/yr or $50/yr, thinking the latter. Our DBA's need to be renewed every 3 years, for new businesses it's $22, think for old one's renewing there's no charge, or somethin dumb like $2. Sales tax I don't recall there being a fee for, and is good until canceled/revoked/etc, same with the articles.

If you're planning on doing this just at events, then you should contact event coordinators. You usually don't have to have a registered business for events, as they issue a temporary permit, but you will have to collect sales tax and hand it over to the event co-coordinators after the event is over, generally you will also pay booth fees and possibly electrical fees as well.
We plan to sell to friends, etc, and then going further and promoting ourselves on the internet and sell off of bigcartel. We live in Philadelphia, PA. I'm still quite confused.

All we are doing is designing the shirts, getting them printed and selling them.


So lets make things simple.

1. Should I get my company named trademarked?
2. Do you need a business license to sell shirts. How about selling online?
 

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I suggest doing a Google search for 'Starting a Business in Pennsylvania.' You should find a number of good resources with plenty of info and checklists of everything you need to get started.

We plan to sell to friends, etc, and then going further and promoting ourselves on the internet and sell off of bigcartel. We live in Philadelphia, PA. I'm still quite confused.

All we are doing is designing the shirts, getting them printed and selling them.
Even though what you want to do seems simple, there are certain legalities that are required. I know it seems like overkill, but it's for your benefit in the long run.

To legally and legitimately operate a business, you need to register your business with the state (in your case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). You can register as a Corporation, LLC (Limited Liability Company) or DBA (Doing Business As). Each have pros and cons, you can research it or even search the forums, it's been covered here before.

Then you can apply for a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN). This will help you register for a wholesale account with blank t-shirt manufacturers. When you set up an account, you will not be charged tax on your purchases. This number is also how the government will identify your business come tax time.

Do you need a business license to sell shirts. How about selling online?
Yes. In addition to the items above, you will need to apply for a separate license to resell goods.

When you sell goods in person, you will be required to collect and report sales tax. For online sales, you are only required to collect and report sales tax for goods that ship within Pennsylvania.

Should I get my company named trademarked?
If you can afford to, go right ahead. But do NOT spend your budget on legal rather than marketing and production. Trademarking is a benefit, but it's not required. Once you sell product under your brand name, you will gain common law trademark. Unless you truly intend (and can afford) to file lawsuits against potential infringers, it won't matter anyway.
 

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We plan to sell to friends, etc, and then going further and promoting ourselves on the internet and sell off of bigcartel. We live in Philadelphia, PA. I'm still quite confused.

All we are doing is designing the shirts, getting them printed and selling them.


So lets make things simple.

1. Should I get my company named trademarked?
2. Do you need a business license to sell shirts. How about selling online?
You don't have to trademark right away, but definitely consider it as you get established.

You should get a federal tax ID (EIN), it's free and you'll need one to be able to buy blanks and such. As Kimura recommended, check with your state for sales license, you may need to pay taxes for items sold in your state.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You don't have to trademark right away, but definitely consider it as you get established.

You should get a federal tax ID (EIN), it's free and you'll need one to be able to buy blanks and such. As Kimura recommended, check with your state for sales license, you may need to pay taxes for items sold in your state.
Which do I pick for the EIN. It has options, Sole Proprieter, partnership, corp, LLC, estate, trusts.

then it has a whole bunch of additional types :x Its just me and a friend. Sorry for asking so many little questions I just don't want to mess anything up and I really enjoy learning.

https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/legal-structure.jsp
 
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