I moved to Florida, USA a year ago and bought a new house. I have a couple of palm trees, as do all of the houses in the neighborhood, which are mostly filled with people who also moved to Florida recently.

The palm trees are dying, because the soil is "fill" and has next to no nutrients. A neighbor clued me in that I needed to get some palm tree-specific fertilizer, which I did, and they're doing much better now.

95% of the neighborhood has, apparently, not been clued in, or haven't done anything about it anyways. I tried to get my teenage son to do a business of fertilizing the trees for pay. I figured it was easy money and would be a good experience for him. He's not interested.

I decided to do it myself, partly for the money, but at least as much just to keep the trees from dying. I was thinking I would do some flyers in the neighborhood with my cell phone/email, and do as many trees as people will pay me to do.

I have no interest in making this anything but a neighborhood gig that, ideally, I would do every half year or so. I also intend to pay taxes on the profits (not large- I figure we're probably talking around $1k).

Do I need to set up an LLC or something? I would rather not, but I also don't want to have legal problems from something that is, at heart, more of a service project than anything.

  • Love the earthy connotation between Clay and "fill", I suggest you need to insure yourself against professional risk since people can get unusually possessive and may have related issues with landownership especially should a part (less likely with palms agreed) fall on neighbours or their property. Certainly get some legal / accountancy advise first. – KJO Nov 27 at 17:46

More opinion than anything....

Any time you perform services professionally for another and get paid, regardless of how often or large the service may be, it's wise to protect personal assets from legal troubles the business may present.

An LLC means if you were to damage someones property, they could not sue you into personal bankruptcy, take your home, etc. If managed correctly, the only liability would be to the business and its assets and your personal assets would not be at risk. In addition, you may be able to use a Schedule C when tax filing to get business deductions regarding the equipment you use for business.

Whether or not an LLC is right for you can really only be determined by discussing it with an attorney, which you may also need to file the LLC inception forms.

Basically.... this isn't a question for freelancers, it's a question for an attorney. If you are concerned, it's well worth it to pay for an hour of consultation services with an attorney. A hundred dollars (or whatever) now may save you many headaches in the future.

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