My First Step towards starting a small business

Howdy Reddit,

I’ve decided that as a way to stay accountable and to let others see the struggles of a person working full time and attempting to launch a business that I should document the process. I am going to share generalities to start and later on as we get closer and closer to launching you will be privy to see the numbers and costs that I am facing. I know what you’re thinking, this is another t-shirt business or shitty subscription box. Well, this is not a t-shirt business and it is not a box, I am starting an old fashioned home service company. Where we come and fix problems in your home such as a toilet backing up or installing a new facet in but we’re putting a spin on it and no I'm not creating a Uber or a Handy.

A bit about me, I’m a manager for an airline and love my job, I love that I can travel anywhere and not spend a dime but I have had this idea for a year now and after talking with business owners, reading posts on reddit and reflecting I need to stop saying that I have an idea and start saying that I have a business. I have made mistakes though and starting today I'm attempting to be transparent so that hopefully I can get advice from people in similar positions.

The Idea
To help people maintain their homes, kind of like a Handyman but with a twist. Step one, is an MVP which is just a website and some contractors in one small area. During step 1 i need to document everything I do as I would love to expand into the adjacent city. After I have a a successful market which is being defined as having 150-200 customers, Step 2 kicks in, I want to add in a webapp that will make it easier to manage customers and contractors because it will be too hard to manage a second city. Step 3: Find team members to start a second city. That is the roadmap in 3 little steps, in my head there are a thousand steps and a thousand things to do before even getting to step 1 but im going to do this.

Contractors
Because of how I plan on launching I am going to have to use sub-contractors to start, I eventually want to have everything in house but to save money on startup costs I am going to use contractors to provide services. This does provide in an interesting up side in that I can offset or subrogate insurance claims onto other companies should anything happen and be able to scale up rather rapidly and scale down just as fast if I need to. I do have some incentives to get contractors to work with me, but it is going to be difficult and this is honestly going to be the hardest part starting out.

Website and The First Mistake
Well, I created a website myself and it is currently hidden so that the world can’t see how hideous it is, well I hired a designer, you know one of those PSD gods and ended up paying him a few hundred bucks, okay it was $600, and well guess what, when developers started looking at it they are quoting me upwards of $3K! Holy moly, that is ALOT more than I thought it was going to be, so I decided lets see what reddit has to offer and started reaching out to users that had experience converting PSDs to wordpress. I started getting more responsible offers and then I had one guy say well what about PSD to HTML and just use the form to your email and quotes me 50% less than the others…….

The website is an MVP, it needs to tell people what the company is and give them the ability to signup/contact me so that I can get the process started. Ideally I would have a form that the person fills out with their details that then goes to an agreement then where they sign it and then it processes to recurly. Developers i have talked to said it would be thousands of dollars to do this, so i have unfortunately decided to just do a basic contact form. Any thoughts?

Form Step 1—->ApproveMe Step 2—-> Recurly Step 3

((Form just collects info and emails me, ApproveMe is a system that lets people sign contracts, and recurly preforms subscription billing. ))

Legal and Taxes
Because of what I am looking at doing especially starting with contractors, I have to be protected but I also want to save on taxes. I am currently looking at starting with an LLC or limited liability corporation but where I am hung up on is which tax status to select the C-Corp or S-Corp. I am leaning towards a S-Corp because it will give me the ability to report losses or income on my personal tax returns but also avoid double taxation as a C-Corp would incur. But I have to think and a nagging thought, what if I need to raise money from family and friends? Would it be debt or would it be equity? Or both?

Questions So I have two questions for the users of reddit and my fellow small business owners or entrepreneurs. The first, is there a benefit to spending 50% less and just having an HTML site to start or should I make it so that I can edit it easily on WordPress? And the second question, Lawyers, ugh how did you find your lawyer? ((I need to setup the company the right way to start and unfortunately legalzoom is not the way i'm willing to go.))

Total Expenditure So Far $600
Next Step Speaking with accountant and attorney
Next Post 5/15/17

~C

P.S. The next post will be on 5/15 and it will be detailing the dreaded…….software piece of the business….from a help desk to finding the team. Please forgive my horrible formatting and grammar, I'm not new to reddit but new to posting things like this.

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