Starting your own business as a certified home inspector is a big undertaking. The habits that you form now, including the financial side, will determine its success. But bookkeeping doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
Here are 3 simple and valuable pieces of advice to help you avoid the missteps that so many other small businesses face.
#1: Think About Hiring an Accountant
In a business that often consists of one, the idea of hiring anyone might be off-putting. But the Intuit company, which produces QuickBooks, says an accountant is a smart investment.
The reasons make plenty of sense. There’s a learning curve to bookkeeping. If you set up your system improperly, you’ll pay for it until you learn your way through it. And in the meantime, your business could suffer.
Think about hiring an accountant at least for the earliest stages of your new home inspection business. You’ll have a stronger start than another inspector who chooses the trial-and-error route.
#2: Take Taxes Seriously
Self-employed people have a lot of taxes to contend with. There’s federal, of course. And many states also require income tax payments. Local business takes might also factor into your business plan. But if there’s anything evergreen about taxation, it’s that the rules are always changing.
Taxes for the small business aren’t as complex as those for a major corporation. But they can still leave almost anyone confused. So talk with a tax professional before you get your business off the ground.
ASHI Reporter says taxes are yet another strong argument for hiring an accountant. What you don’t know really can hurt you and your business.
#3: Keep Documentation of Everything
Many small business owners, including home inspectors, choose the digital bookkeeping route. With so many different computer software choices, there’s probably one that suits your fancy. But even if you prefer hard-copy bookkeeping, keep documentation of everything.
You never know what might be important one day. A home inspection agreement could prove the fees that you collected. A single receipt might put your mileage into a higher bracket that merits a tax deduction.
Assemble a document keeping strategy, keep it simple and stick with it. An association membership, previous year’s tax returns, oil changes in your work vehicle and anything else that’s part of your business profits or losses needs a place for safekeeping. Whether that’s a digital scan or a filing cabinet is up to you.
Small businesses aren’t so small when you consider everything it takes to keep accurate books. And if you’ve never managed a business before, it can become a mess in a hurry.
The smartest first step is hiring an accountant, at least for the initial stages. Once you’re set up properly, you can move ahead with confidence.
There’s a lot to learning about the home inspection industry. Good financial habits are part of it. You’ll learn that and much more when you take the ICA School home inspector’s course. Enroll now and get started today.