Friday, July 23, 2004
So I went back to Wall Street's Startup Journal for a closer look.
Clicking on some of their links, I discovered that people who've been telling us our attorney is overcharging can be well substantiated.
Through a long and (for me!) tortuous journey comparison shopping on attorneys, I learned the average cost of a complete incorporation package (which includes filing fees) is $480.00. We paid $70.00 more than that to "our" attorney, which is fair enough had he provided all that comes in the complete incorporation package.
Those things are:
prepare and file Articles of Formation
Customized Calender to remind you of corporate deadlines and when forms and taxes must be filed
Overnight delivery of paperwork once returnd from state
Stock Transfer Ledger
Sample forms for by-laws and minutes
Tax ID (SS4)
Tax Classification (8832)
4 Books to keep in the business library:
Legal Forms for Small Businesses
Legal Guide for Small Businesses
Tax Savvy for Small Business
The Corporate Minutes Book
What "our" attorney has actually provided:
prepare and file Articles of Incorporation
I'd value this at $200.00. And that was provided with lots of foot-dragging and with some rather questionable, potentially damaging advice.
I won't blog about it here, because it is unfortunately unactionable, since it comes down to Manager's word against the attorney's.
His foot-dragging and reluctance to initiate contact has resulted in Manager having to pay tax penalties because the attorney filed the paperwork and never notified her of their completion - even after repeated phone calls from her to him asking about it. She didn't know the paperwork was done until she received notification of the tax penalty due from the Tax Commission. What she'd managed to wrest from him was the tax ID number to allow her to start the loan process - she's till pushing him for the rest of the paperwork. That's documentable, and I can blog about that.
That's real brilliant of this attorney - making sure the business flounders before it ever gets a chance to open. He's destroying a potential source of long term revenue through his actions. Does he mean to lose clients like that? Is his purpose to run himself out of business? Or are his clients so unaware of his tactics that they accept it as normal behavior? Is it that the attorney is just bad himself and has snowed his clients into thinking he's decent, or that he's learned to be sloppy and shoddy and uncaring from his unobservant clients?
It's such a good thing Manager has knowledgeable people advising her and is rapidly developing an aggressive demeanor.
And another interesting tidbit I picked up from the Startup Journal is something Manager has already started working towards providing: online ordering.
According to an article on the Startup Journal, in regards to online ordering and running a website for one's business: "The place to announce your business's Web site to the world is not on Google.com -- it's at the cash register in your store."
This makes sense, and indeed, we'd planned on including the web information on all the business cards and coupons and flyers we print and distribute, as well as on hardcopy ads and in the phone book. Adding that 1 line in isn't going to effect the price of the advertising, but will provide at least a 7% return. Possibly more, located where we will be between these large office towers, call centers, and hospitals. Those are the places we most expect to receive online ordering, as many of them have email and web access. They can place the order before they leave work and expect it to be ready for them when they arrive. We're still investigating the possibility of letting them pay online via credit card so all they have to do is grab and go - virtually no waiting!
Plus, if they pre-pay, we're less likely to be left holding an abadoned order.
There's a company called PCWaiter which looks like a decent model. It's not exactly what we're looking for since we and our employees are computer-savvy, but it's a starting place.
We have friends who write code and programs, maybe we can convince one to create the program we need for coffee and bread.
Then, I found something exciting on the Startup Journal, as if the above weren't enough! For their readers, they are offering a 1 year subscription to the PRNews wire service for submitting press releases and feature articles. A trial membership for a year will certainly let us know if it will be worth the $125.00 annual subscription fee.
Did I already say how much I liked the Startup Journal?