After graduation from high school or college, many young adults have a good idea for a business they and a buddy want to go into together. It could be a landscaping business, a coffee shop or an accounting firm. Really, the possibilities are endless for those who are willing to work hard and learn new things.
Wherever the germ of the idea originated there are many legal formalities that come with establishing and operating a business in Lancaster County. From obtaining the necessary permits and licenses to registering your business to choosing the best business structure to meet your needs, starting a new business is, in part, a legal process. One of the first steps a burgeoning entrepreneur needs to take is to decide where in Pennsylvania to establish their business.
Factors to consider when deciding where to locate your business
There are a variety of factors you should consider when deciding where to establish your business. You will want to consider region-specific business expenses, zoning laws, tax laws, and state and federal incentives.
Analyze region-specific business expenses
Part of determining your startup costs is analyzing how much you will incur in business expenses based on the location of your business. For example, different areas of the country have different minimum wage laws. You will also want to learn about necessary government licenses and fees in the area where you are thinking of establishing your business. Property values, the cost of rent, the cost of insurance and utility costs are also factors worth considering.
Consider zoning laws
Different parts of Lancaster County have different zones. These zoning regulations dictate how landowners can use their property. For example, a business generally cannot operate in a residential zone and a property developer generally cannot build a subdivision in an industrial zone. Zoning laws are controlled by the local government, for example, a city or county rather than the state. Your business location will depend, in part, on what zones it can operate in.
Don’t forget about tax laws
Businesses are generally taxed both at the state and local level. This means that your business may have to pay Pennsylvania taxes, Lancaster County taxes and city taxes. Some examples of taxes businesses in Pennsylvania may have to pay include income taxes, property taxes and, if they incorporate, corporate taxes. Some states are more tax-friendly than others.
Take advantage of government incentives
The federal government and some state and local governments provide business owners with special incentives. For example, a small business owner may be able to take advantage of special tax credits, favorable business loans and government incentives. There are a variety of reasons why a government will provide business owners with incentives for locating their business in a certain area, for example, to create jobs or assist in urban redevelopment.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help establishing your business
If all these details are overwhelming it is okay to ask for help. Many people are unfamiliar with the legal side of starting your own business. Failing to adhere to local, state and federal laws and regulations can cause problems from the get-go. It is better to move forward with a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.