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Blinky Hobby to Business in Australia

Discussion in 'The Family Room' started by Roosta, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Roosta

    Roosta Full Time Elf

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    Hey All,

    So, many a time over the last 6 months family, friends and acquantices have discussed blinky with me and there has been lots of mentions of how I could/should turn my hobby into a after hours business..

    The oppurtunity to assist a friend with customising an upcoming milestone, has made me sit here considering the topic and figured may as well put it out there for discussion for those who have done it, considered it or are considering it..

    Some things are simple enough, such as making elements, and the usual blinky things.

    What I am more interested in is probably the legal and business side of things. Such as:
    Business setup (abn, etc)
    Necessary qualifications, if any.
    Insurances (public liability and indemnity)
    Warranties
    Anything else?

    I know the local council spent a silly chunk of money on the pixels in a laneway here and they dont do too much aside from colour waves. I have also never seen them all running, everytime we are there there a sections of them that are dead.
    (https://www.mamalbury.com.au/who-is-mama/the-making-of-mama/streetscape-presence/lite-up-amp-lane)

    Which then leads me to further see a possible business avenue here for custom lighting in public spaces let alone for small private events such as bdays, weddings, etc..

    Lets see where this goes!

    Cheers,
    Nik
     
    QldKing(Brad) likes this.
  2. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Business setup (abn, etc) Business name is just a registration and not entirely necessary.**edit** meaning if you use your personal name, ie Jo Bloggs contracting, then you don't need to register it. ABN is an online registration and is personal and does not require a business name, so very straight forward.
    Necessary qualifications, if any. No need... except for electrical, as in mains, you will need to make sure all is legit and wired by a qualified electrician, on the 240v side. 12v is fine.
    Insurances (public liability and indemnity) Go through an insurance broker. Go to a local small business and talk to them, they will point you in the direction of one that can help, Public liability is a must, even though a waste of money (imo) but if you want to charge anyone for work you do, you will need it.
    Warranties There are statutory warranties you need to provide, but anyone in good faith would give those anyway. such as fix any problems, replace any faulty parts, but it all depends on what you do as a business.

    Each state has different laws regarding business. but your best bet is go to your local state government websites and research a bit. Most of what you want to do is unique so you are going to have to play it by ear. When you deal with large businesses and government departments, you are going to find ridiculous hoops you have to jump through and will need to find ways to abide by or get around them.
    I for one love the fact (insert sarcastic tone) that in order to work for them, as a sole trader, I must have workers compensation insurance. When I apply for it, I am told as I don't employ anyone, I cannot have it. So I need to find a company that will take my money for nothing in order to get a certificate to show I have something I don't need in order to work for them!

    Have fun!
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  3. Lishfish

    Lishfish Full Time Elf

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    Sounds exciting! Hope it goes well for you
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    For some customers (government mainly) you may have to have a documented OHWS system in addition to a $20,000,000 public liability policy.

    You could also find yourself needing to get complete a "working at heights" course, safety inductions, etc.

    Some customers may insist that you use fiberglass ladders instead of metal ones and no ladders over 1.8m at all.

    Scissor lifts, boom lefts, etc may be the only option for some jobs and they require an operators certificate if over a certain height.
     
  5. livetoride

    livetoride Full Time Elf

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    David touches on some really good points. All electrical work im sure requires fiberglass ladders, over a certain height you need a step ladder and fall protection if your higher again. You'll need at least $20 million in public liability if not more. Most councils in my area are 20 million. Then you'll need SWMS stating how and why you will do things safely.

    Then comes the side of if your doing it to music you'll have to get licenses to use the media etc. How would you go about targeting the general public? Alot of people would be scared off at a basic outlay for a small to moderate setup :D

    If you need a hand for SWMS I can send you some I made for my work and they have no issues getting passed through local or state government if needed. Its a big job but once you get it all going its very rewarding. Biggest thing is finding a niche in the market that you can fill and branch out from there. If you can get in with the council on there next project that always helps. Then they may look at using you to upgrade to led street lights or anything, possibilities are endless.
     
  6. drakky

    drakky Full Time Elf

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    "as a sole trader, I must have workers compensation insurance" is not correct unless you employ someone ,

    as far as height safety goes the rule is "from one height to another" even stepping from a footpath height to the road, the old 1.8m rule no longer exists in NSW and QLD,

    if you want to deal with any government dept you'll want an ABN , if you're not making more than $75k you won't need to register for GST, although
    it may have some tax advantages, your accountant would be the best person to talk to about that.
    ABN can also give you some other advantages a lot of businesses give discounts to ABN holders, for example Bunnings does a trade card.

    with any government dept and commercial installations involving companies documented OH&S policies and SWMS will be very important ,
    old mate down the road who just wants a star stuck on his roof won't care about them.

    warranies/guarantees here's a link might help https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees

    insurance now days $20mil public liability is stock standard

    forming a company will absolve you from any direct liability as such , you can rack up $millions in debt and then just declare bankruptcy and walk away , you will need a director , a secretary and an employee , all of which can be you, you will need to register the company , have an ABN and ACN , you can form the company online for less than $500 or your accountant can do it from $800 or more , there are tax advantages doing it this way , but also lots more headaches with paperwork
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    It would be foolish to rely on a company structure to walk away from a debt. Most suppliers will have you sign personal guarantees so AFAIK you'd still be on the hook if the company won't / can't pay.

    Also don't underestimate the cost of doing business when pricing jobs. Getting caught in a race to the bottom (price wise) doesn't end well for anyone in the long term.
     
    Richie4540 likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    Roosta

    Roosta Full Time Elf

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    Thank you all for the info and advice.. Keep it coming..

    I will investigate some of these insurances for costs, and go from there..

    It may be that it will remain as a for friend favour only venture.. however no doubt even for that some of those above mentioned would be a wise investment anyways just in case..

    Cheers,
    Nik
     
  9. plasmadrive

    plasmadrive Full Time Elf

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    Think hard about it.. I found over the years that hobbies are best enjoyed on stolen moment or when engrossed in them for the sheer delight they bring you because you don't have to do them. Making them into a business works for some.. but takes that spark away for others..

    Just think about it for a bit.. and good luck if you decide to go for it.
     

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