I recently let my quickbooks payroll service expire. I was really upset that they would not honor the same price that I used to sign up for it a year ago. In fact, the renewal was set to cost twice as much!
So, I started looking on the web for alternatives. These guys offer FULL payroll services including tax filings for the same price as just the “enhanced” payroll through quickbooks.
It was either too complex and pricey to be useful, or too minimal to be effective.
By innovating some key areas, Patriot Software developed Patiriot PAY , payroll software that’s actually easy to use and affordable. You can get upfront costs with no hidden fees with the pricing calculator. You can also supplement Patriot PAY by adding TaxBeGone and have all your filing for federal, state and local taxes prepared and submitted for you.
With Patriot PAY you get these advantages:
- Convenience of running payroll online, anytime, anywhere
- Low cost, no hidden fees
- Innovative cloud based technology that makes it powerful, yet simple to use
- Guaranteed accuracy
- Software designed for small business owners
- Pricing that begins at $10
- No long term contract…you can leave at any time
If you’re running a business from home, you already know that it has plenty of advantages.. My personal favorites are the commute and the dress code. Another big advantage is the savings in overhead costs as compared to a typical “brick and mortar” business. But did you know that running your business out of your home can land you some nice tax breaks as well?
It’s true. While we suggest you check with your own accountant on these (Read: We are not accountants, don’t pretend to be, don’t play one on TV, etc) here are a few of the ones we’re aware of:
- You can deduct some of your housing costs as a business Expense
There are a couple of “tests” you have to meet in the tax law, but as long as you meet the criteria, you can write-off a portion of your rent or mortgage, real estate taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs and some other costs. To get this credit, your home generally needs to be either your primary business location or you need to do a substantial amount of there and you need to have a section of your home that’s sole purpose is dedicated to your business – no kitchen tables or living-room recliner, sorry.
- You can deduct certain travel costs from the moment you leave your driveway
So let’s say you need to go visit a customer or client. The mileage you put on your car or truck from your home (after all, this IS your primary business location, right?) can be deducted. As long as the purpose of your trip is a valid business purpose (Visiting clients or vendors, going to the bank or office supply store, etc) Keep in mind though, you need to keep good records that include the data, purpose of the trip and your starting and ending mileage for anything you deduct.
- You can write off the cost of your computer and office equipment
For most people, if you use a computer for both personal and business purposes, you need to keep a log of its use, kind of like with vehicle mileage. For those of us working from home, since we use the computer and/or equipment at our primary business location, it is not considered “listed property” and can be deducted in full.
- You can write off the cost of your cell phone and service plan
If you’re like most of us, your cellular phone is your primary link to your clients. If you put the billing of your cell phone in your company’s name, it automatically becomes a deductible expense.
As you can see, even Uncle Sam think’s it’s a great idea to work from home. Actually, when you think about it, our President works from home too..
So you’re just starting out and one of the first decisions you have to make is what the name of your company will be. This is going to be the first of many challenging decisions you will have to make as an entrepreneur. Some say that your name can make your or break you. I have actually seen it work both ways. A lot depends on your company, your market and your potential customers.
If you are going to market to consumers, you might want to consider a short, easy to remember name that can be made synonymous with your industry. As an example, think of Tire Rack – when you hear that name, you have no doubt that their primary business is selling tires.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Is the name you’ve chosen available? You may want to consider using a company such as CorpNet to help you search to make sure that your name isn’t already taken and help you register with the state, IRS and local authorities. Companies like this can save you a lot of time and headaches and are usually well worth the investment.
- Will the name you’ve chosen work online? For some people this comes as an afterthought. Before you decide completely on the name, think about your web site (you WILL have a web site, right?) and run a quick check through GoDaddy or Network Solutions to see what’s available. TIP: make sure you don’t make it too hard to remember – your website doesn’t always have to match exactly. Think about it – which of these is easier to remember: peteshoemacherlawnserviceinc.com or petedoeslawns.com.
- Can you create an identity for your company? Choosing your company name is just the first step toward creating your brand. Eventually you will need to create business cards and in some cases letterhead and other stationary. While you can go to your local office supply store and use their old-school clip-art, you may want to consider using a company like LogoWorks who can help you create a true identity that is unique to you. Sometimes, however, going through this exercise makes you realize that branding the name you’ve chosen might not work – look at the lawn care example above.
We hope this guide has given you a little insight and assistance with selecting your name. Be sure to read the other helpful hints we have here to get your business started off on the right foot.
Ever since being out on my own, I have joked that wherever there is cell phone reception and public Wi-Fi, I have a place to work. While I have actually “grown up” and gotten myself an office and receptionist, for many years I went at it alone – working out of my house, Panera Bread, McDonald’s or wherever I could get Wifi.
Interestingly enough, today it is even easier to telecommute or run a virtual business thanks to the technology that has become so cheap to deploy. Let’s go over how you can run an entire company on just pennies per day:
#1: Get a domain name, website and email address @yourdomain.com
We list this one first because it goes a long way in proving you are a legitimate company. It is a lot easier to do than you think. Just head over to GoDaddy or Network Solutions and get the domain. Both generally offer a free one-page website and low cost e-mail services. Choose whichever one looks better to you. You can always move your website later if you need to.
(Hint: Be sure to get a .com name. They will try to sell you many different extensions (.info, .co, etc) – those are junk. Stick with .com. Trust me here.)
#2: Get yourself a virtual phone and virtual fax
As you know, we are big fans of both RingCentral and eFax, but there are other options as well, such as Phone.com. The idea here isn’t to steer you to any one service, because they all have their benefits and weaknesses. For instance, you may like one better because it costs less, but another may be easier to use. We do have a page with some RingCentral Coupons that might save you some money in case you are leaning that direction.
#3: Invest in a good, quality computer
This one you may have already, but it is still worth mentioning. If you are going to be serious about doing the best work you can, you need to plan for your computer upgrades. I won’t get into the Mac vs. PC debate, but will tell you this: Mac’s simply last longer. If you have a PC, plan on replacing it every 18-24 months to keep it running smooth. If you have a Mac, every 36 months will probably do. Many Mac owners get even more mileage than that.
Congratulations! You now have the framework of a virtual office.
In the next article, we will explore how to get software at a great price, and if you’re just starting out in business, how you can find work/clients day one.