I own a business in New York, (laundromat) which is incorporated. I want to start a new, unrelated business (home inspections). How do I add this new business to my existing corporation. Is it just a matter of a name search, and filing a DBA, or is there more to it? I realize that linking these businesses connects them in the event of a lawsuit, but still want to set thing up this way if possible.
I would recommend that you set up a separate corporation or LLC for the new business. There are many reasons to do so, including liability and tax. If you insist on keeping the new business in the same corporation - first you must check your incorporation documents to determine whether the business can legally operate under your existing agreement. If so - you can file a DBA and simply begin business.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) Lawyer
I agree with Attorney Bruno that a separate entity would be preferred; however, as you understand the mixing of liabilities, once you have clarified that your Certification of Incorporation for the laundromat does not limit the corporate activities, filing a DBA in the counties where you intend to do the home inspections is the next step. You should also be careful to notify your insurance company and obtain necessary insurances for this new line of business. In New York, New York State law Article 12-B §444-B(4) of the Real Property Law
defines a Home Inspector as any person licensed to do home inspections. You will also need to apply for this license if you do not already have it. For the application for a Home Inspectors License go to www.dos.ny.gov/forms/licensing/1694-a.pdf
Trademark Application Attorney
Separate incorporation is ideal, however you can file a dba on behalf of your existing corporation rather than on your personal behalf which would both shield you somewhat from personal liability and you will not have to put in the incorporation investment before you know your side business is viable. Again you need to make sure, as my colleagues have pointed out, that your existing corp has the authority to do this. Run this by a local attorney.
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