Post # 1
I met with a potential wedding photographer, and asked about a business license. She said she still had one in the city she was living in before, but I can’t figure out how to search for it. She has an “F” on the BBB due to not having a license in the city where she operates.
I feel uncomfortable with her not having one, but when my Fiance asked how it would affect us, I couldn’t really explain.
How important is it for our photographer to have a license? How would it affect us?
Sorry if this is a stupid question. Thanks!
Post # 3
Well, ask her to get one? They don’t cost a ton, I don’t think. Make sure she is insured, that’s most important. (Not health insured, business).
Post # 4
People don’t get F’s on BBB for not having a biz license, they get F’s for customer complaints.
It’s really not a huge deal, how many weddings does she handle per yr? If she doens’t make much income she may treat it as a hobbie and not declare income tax. If she is not filing her business at all though and the IRS finds out, she can be in trouble. The important thing is that she is reliable, you like her style, she has the right equipment and experience to cover your day, and she has the necessary biz insurance that most venues require.
What bothers me is that it’s quite simple to apply for a DBA, a simple trip to town hall…so not sure why she is talking around it and making excuses.
Post # 5
Oh, I see. It said there was one complaint for not getting the pictures back early enough, but that it was resolved. Yeah, I don’t really see why she hasn’t got it yet as she’s been living here a year, but maybe it doesn’t have much of an effect on me as on her… But, then I guess maybe it’s not that important? That’s kinda why I was asking.
The venue is my dad’s backyard. So, I’ll double check on the insurance issue.
Post # 6
If she has an F on BBB AND doesn’t have a license, I think I would go with someone different just to be safe. If you’re looking for affordability, try talking to a local college. My roommate in college used to do weddings all the time because professors recommended her to brides looking for cheap photography.
Post # 7
Some smaller scale photographers don’t acquire buisness licenses unless venues require them. They pay their taxes as self employed individuals so a buisness license is just another fee they paid the city in addition to taxes. If they choose to apply for a license as an LLC they can claim travel, equipment, etc. on their taxes- for someone who does it on a large scale it makes sense. For someone who is new to the buisness or part time it means they’re much more likely to get audited. A lot of hobbyist apply for a buisness license and then claim vacations and equipment for personal use as “travel expenses.” The IRS really looks out for that kind of thing.
If your venue requires a license a DBA may work (quick, cheap and easy for her to get). If you’re worried about being able to report someone to the BBB- as long as the contract protects both you and the photographer there will be no problems- i.e. one of the clauses should cover if the photographer loses/ruins your images or doesn’t show up all together. It should state you recieve your total package price back. In return, there should be a clause protecting her- this may state if your vendors, clery/church rules place any restrictions on her she is not responsible for missing images. The BBB really isn’t going to help you get any money/damages, taking the photographer to small claims is typically the best way to go.
Also, make sure your contract clearly outlines the service you are contracting. There was a post a few weeks ago about a bride complaining her photographer said she ordered an album when she allegedly did not. Her contract should have stated what she was getting and when/how much was due. That way your photographer can’t look at a client and say, “Hey- you need to put a $X dollar deposit on this album.” Solid contracts are important.
If you’re still not sure: Ask for referrals and email the people whose contacts she provides. Also request to see a couple completed wedding gallery- this is a good way to gage the quality of her overall work and that she completes work.
Post # 8
If the potential photographer’s business isn’t properly registered, then there is a good chance that he/she doesn’t have the liability insurance. You definitely want to check this since a lot of venues actually require this.
Post # 9
@bomphoto: I don’t believe this to be true. I know plenty of photographers who carry all the proper insurance and are not registered (they carry DBA’s/pay self employed taxes).
Post # 10
@MWilliamsPhoto: my bad for not reading the post thoroughly. what i meant to say was that if they didnt register the business w/ the state, aka freelancing without registering for taxation. 🙂