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Doing work for friends/family & beyond??

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Doing work for friends/family & beyond??

Old 09-13-13, 03:21 PM
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steve-in-kville 
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Doing work for friends/family & beyond??

Does anyone do work on bikes for cash on the side? I've been doing more & more of the basic stuff for family and such. Lately I've been approached by co-workers that know I work on bikes to do tire changes, replace cables, etc.

My question is, at what point do you consider it a business enough that I should track my expenses and income for taxes? Or should I stay on the down low for a while? I am not trying to evade the law as most of the cash goes toward more bike stuff anyway.

Any other pointers for doing repair work on the side?
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Old 09-13-13, 03:44 PM
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When you do repairs for people who might be injured by your actions you need insurance for making them as whole as is possible. For insurance you need to REALLY be a business with all the governmental aspects. Sales taxes, income taxes, DBA or other business "license", proper shop location (out of the home can conflict with home owner's insurance or local zoning laws).

The vast majority of people who do repairs on the side don't follow any of this. But it only takes one bad result to change one's mind and one's financial future... Andy.
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Old 09-13-13, 03:50 PM
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If you are going to hold out your services to the public you need to be aware of the possible impact of a liability lawsuit if someone whose bike you have worked on is injured or otherwise suffers a loss. If you have significant assets (house, cars, investments) you would do well to look into carrying liability coverage. While you can (should?) be able to trust your family, even "friends" may forget your friendship when the possibility of a juicy liability settlement, possibly prompted by a sharp attorney, arises. Usually there is no problem but it has happened.

Regarding taxes, according to the Feds, you should pay taxes on each dollar you earn; of course many folks ignore this but strictly according to law you should report everything.
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Old 09-13-13, 03:51 PM
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I work for beer when it comes to friends and family. Bike, cars, and computers. I don't track any of it. Neighborhood kids knock on my door to fix their bikes. I can't charge them with beer though so they are free. Anything to get kids off the video games and get some exercise.

However I do computer consulting work on the side for businesses. This is 1099 work and I certainly do track it carefully for tax purposes. And I get paid in dollar$ as the beer would be way too heavy for the amount I charge per hour.
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Old 09-13-13, 03:51 PM
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Point well taken. I agree. In a world over ran with lawyers, we all could be toast.

Keep the replies coming!!
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Old 09-13-13, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JerrySTL View Post
Anything to get kids off the video games and get some exercise.

Good man!!
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Old 09-13-13, 05:27 PM
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A few considerations in addition to those above:
  • Don't litter your property with a bike junkyard. Even a garage full of bike parts is unsightly if open often.
  • If you start creating any significant amount of traffic it's time to move the operation away from your residence.
  • Don't do a repair for someone else (especially "beyond" friends and family) by the seat of your pants - you need to know what you're doing and know your limits.
  • At the point you start to advertise you are running a business, and need to be legit. You you are implying that you are professional when you put yourself out to the public, and you also can become a target.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-13, 05:39 PM
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I only do it for barter, and never charge. One neighborhood person, that is well known for taking advantage of others, asked me to repair her kid's bike. I did it for free, with the stipulation of find me a road bike (she was heavy into garage sale). My rule was don't pay much, just get one that is light in weight with narrow tires and curved handlebars. Two years later, a nice Cannondale appeared in my driveway!


Do some research about forming an LLC if you are going to charge for repairs.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:21 PM
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Become an LLC. Its not expensive, keep your records up to date, follow the rules. Then when you do get sued, you have a better chance of saving your arse
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Old 09-13-13, 10:00 PM
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The worst part is when you realize your "customers" are coming to you only because you are cheaper than the LBS. They will whine about every part you think is needed and want you to come up with used parts that are cheaper. You'll be feeling 'well used' in short order. Nope, I don't work on friends bikes anymore. bk
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Old 09-13-13, 10:02 PM
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Last comment on this thread- Any service or product that exchanges hands, whether for pay/barter/beer or not, is considered commerce/sales. Just ask any one busted for passing a joint to a friend (don't ask me how I know this).

In real life this letter of the law rarely comes into play. But there's some one, or some one's spouse, who will get upset when they hurt after trusting you to fix their bike. If you're going to fly under the radar then pick your 'customers" carefully and stay within your comfort zone. Andy.
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