Business Dos and Don’ts

It Ain’t Easy Being in Business…

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Just had to turn down a potential vendor/exhibitor for three separate reasons. I feel badly about it because she seemed very nice and earnest, but being in business nowadays isn’t as easy as cooking some dog treats and selling them. The whole world is lawsuit happy, and there are state laws we must all follow.

The issues were that she….
a) wanted to exhibit and sell her dog treats without a Certificate of Insurance (NO! if someone’s dog gets sick, we all get sued),
b) wanted to exhibit and sell her dog treats without a State Resale Tax ID (NO! that’s illegal), and
c) wanted to run a raffle to give away her dog treats if I wouldn’t allow her to sell without the COI and Resale ID # (NO! state law says you must be a registered non-profit to run a raffle…..).

Here’s my response…

Yes, you would need a State Resale Tax ID number to sell products at the show… that’s state law.

The Certificate of Insurance is also needed…. heaven forbid someone claimed their dog got sick from eating your treats. Not only would they sue you, but they’d sue me too if you didn’t have insurance. I’ve been in business for many years, and people are sue-happy. You just don’t want to take a chance. Besides, both the Lewiston Armory and the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor require it of the vendors (not just from me). So there’s no way around it.

(For exhibitors who are not selling food products or not bringing animals with them, I will allow a “waiver of insurance”.)

The Certificate of Insurance is needed even for the mixes. Someone could still claim that something in the mix made their dog sick. You really should consider having insurance. Why take the chance of losing your house because someone decided to be a jerk?

And I hate to offer more bad news, but as a for-profit, private individual, you aren’t allowed to run raffles. There are state laws regarding those as well, which are governed by the state police. It’s rare that anyone gets in trouble with it, but there have been instances and it wasn’t a fun situation for the people involved. Here’s a link to a Bangor Daily News article re this issue.
http://bangordailynews.com/2010/03/19/news/bangor/police-thwart-raffle-aimed-at-helping-nonprofit/

And here’s the first paragraph from the state’s fact sheet on raffles [which I attached to my email]:

Raffles:

Who may conduct a Raffle?

Only a bonafide non-profit organization that meets the licensing requirements for a Game of Chance may conduct a Raffle (Licensed or Unlicensed). An individual or business (that does not meet the licensing criteria) may not conduct a raffle in which a person provides something of value for a chance to enter the raffle.
I’m really sorry to be such a downer about this all. Obviously I want as many exhibitors as possible, since that’s how I make my living. But I don’t want to place either myself, you or anyone else in a position of inadvertently breaking the law or otherwise getting into trouble.

Thanks so much for your interest… if there’s any way you can work through these issues, I’d love to talk with you further.

Linda

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