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Legal Business in Washington State


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I have for some time been toying with the idea if establishing a consignment based business revolving around classic cars trucks and motorcycles. I have been trying to work with some friends over in Europe to start exporting vehicles and parts however the "slow down" at the ports have created doubts in my clients. So I thought I would start a business where I help advertise show and research classic cars and parts for individuals also who have collections they are looking to pass on. Always wanting to be on the right side of the law I established a small business and started to make myself legal in the eyes of the state. To get my foot in the door I figured I would work on consignments only that way I'm not buying and selling on my own dime. Just to be sure I contacted the local vehicle registration office and explained what I wanted to do. They said it would be best if I contacted the states vehicle dealer division. Upon doing that I got in touch with a woman that explained that in the state of Washington anyone who consign vehicles is considered a dealer and would have to get their dealer certification and permits through the state even if the vehicle remained in the owners name and never transfered through me during the sale. Now I eventually want to be able to legally sell vehicles so I'm only a little upset that I have to go full bore just to consign but when I asked about parts I almost dropped the phone. I asked the lady what about the selling of parts, I.e. on individual has some vintage parts laying around and after the vehicles are sold he/ she would like me to sell those. She informed me that I would then be classified as a wrecking yard and need to establish myself as such even if I were not to bring any parts back to my shop.

I know that was lengthy but can anyone shoot me some advise on a legal means to do business? I would like for this to be a part time that could evolve into full time but I want to keep it small, internet based, and out of my shop in the early stages.

Any advise would be appreciated.

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My first contact with the State of PA in 1979 when we started the business was with the State Sales Tax Office. I stopped in to apply for a sales tax number. The lady behind the counter said "The PA Sales Tax year is divided into Quarters of which there are 5". For years PA recognized 5 quarters in the tax year, Jan-March, April-June, July was a "quarter" by itself then August-Sept, followed by Oct-Dec. I knew then it wasn't going to be easy.

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Restorer 32 this is an amazing state minus the government seems they have found a way to either block business or tax just about every aspect of it. I use to live in Montgomery County in PA and I doubt if I moved back to my old stomping grounds it would be much easier. They say most of the laws started to combat the tweekers selling cars for scrap so they could buy meth. Then the Russians moved in. This remindsme of the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy tells Red he had to come to prison to become a criminal....I didn't think about breaking the rules until I tried to start a business in Washington.

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When I was starting the business in 1978 I sought the advice of the local SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) office re applying for a Small Business Administration loan. Turned out the counselor I hooked up with had known my Dad for years. I have never forgotten his advice. "Son, only because I knew and admired your Dad I am going to give you my best advice, contrary to what we are supposed to tell you...leave this office and NEVER ask any government or quasi government agency for advice or money".

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