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Question added to topic Starting a BusinessMarch 27, 2008

What legal issues arise when trying to start a business under the age of 18?

I am a 16 year old sophomore in in high school and would like to start a mobile auto-detailing business. I have read E-Myth and a book on starting your own auto detailing business. The only thing that I don't know is what legal issues will arise. Eventually, I would also like to have employees before I am 18.
The most significant and special issues that arise for teens starting businesses is that they are not old enough to take certain legal actions on their own. This includes forming the business entity, properly signing contracts (in some states), and being responsible for their negligent actions. It's important, therefore, to have a parent or legal guardian as part of the business. Aside from that, teens face the same overall legal issues that other entrepreneurs face: which legal entity to choose, having a shareholder's agreement with other owners, setting contract terms with clients, protecting trademarks, etc. It would be best to speak to an attorney in your state about all of these issues, as the guidance at the beginning stages will be crucial.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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