While I didn’t intend to wait a week to post again, here we are, a week since my last post, and so much to tell you. First, I do apologize that it’s been a while, but in my defense, I’ve been really busy. And secondly, I am so excited I can hardly sit here to write this post, but I’m going to do it anyway. 😀
As I mentioned in that last post, I have decided to go back into soap making. I have spent the last week trying to get things set up, and it’s been a comedy of errors, to say the least. Let me preface this story by telling you that my husband, Chris, has decided to start his own small business making e-cigarette juice/liquid, so keep in mind that everything I say has impacted both of our businesses, which probably explains part of why it’s been so painful.
I made a decision when I left the corporate life to try to find enjoyment everyday, particularly when it came to whatever work I decided to do, because there wasn’t a lot of enjoyment in my last job. But I have to be honest – sometimes it’s hard to find anything to enjoy when you feel like people are being obtuse for no reason. Before we went to the county courthouse to set up our DBA (doing business as/assumed name), we talked to a banker where our household accounts are currently held. It is a national, well-known bank, and the lady we spoke to was very helpful, right down to understanding our concern about sole proprietorship and survivorship rights, should the unthinkable happen to us. She told us that we could set up the DBA as a sole proprietor with spouse, and that would provide the protection we wanted, so we headed to the courthouse that afternoon to set it up.
It was amazingly quiet at the courthouse that afternoon; I don’t know if we just hit it at the right day and time or what, but I have never seen it so quiet. Parking was easy to find, and there was hardly anyone there. We walked in to the Clerk’s office and were seated in front of a very nice lady who helped us set up the DBA. Only, she didn’t know what a sole proprietor with spouse filing was, and set it up as a general partnership. I will say that we told her that would work, but boy, were we wrong! It was nothing but trouble; I should have known it would be a nightmare after such a pleasant experience with the courthouse. Ugh.
Eager to set up a small bank account to fund the start up costs of the business, we came home and I set up Employee Identification Numbers (EIN) through the IRS online. I also set up Texas Sales Tax and Use numbers for each business, and printed out all the information. The banker we’d talked to earlier in the day told us that it would be best to set up an appointment to go back to set up the accounts, so I tried calling the bank. I got a recorded message that everyone was busy, and to try back later; the call disconnected. So I waited 15 minutes and tried back again with the same result. And again in 15 minutes. So I tried a different branch; same result. It was getting late, so after trying a few times with no success, I just put it off till the next day.
The following day, I had the same result, until finally I got in touch with someone who took a message to give to a business banker. He called me back at the end of the day and he asked about the legal entity of the business. When I told him they were general partnerships, he asked if we had a Partnership Agreement. I explained that we were married, so really, the entire business would fall under community property laws anyway, but he said that the bank requires a Partnership Agreement. I hung up and started searching online. What I found was that the state of Texas does not, in fact, require a Partnership Agreement to be filed, so I found an agreement I could personalize online, just to fulfill the requirements of the bank. I put an agreement together for each of the two businesses, printed them, and we signed in front of a witness, who also signed. Just to be safe, I printed an alternate last page for signature that had a notary block in case the bank wanted the agreement notarized instead of witnessed; I figured we could just switch out the last page and have it notarized right there at the bank, and everything would be fine. Ha!
On Monday, armed with all the paperwork we’d already generated, we headed for the bank to set up the accounts. We were going to be in a different area than the branch with the first banker, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right, so we stopped at a different branch. Have I mentioned that it’s Spring Break time in Texas right now? As a native Texan, and a native to the Gulf Coast, I have learned there are certain things I don’t enjoy during this time of the year. Driving down I-45 to Galveston is one of them; so is going to any beach, and San Antonio is strictly off limits until April. What I didn’t realize is that apparently, going to a bank and expecting service at any point during Spring Break is also completely insane; it’s not going to happen, because the bank goes from four or five bankers down to one. The branch manager saw us walk in, and came over to ask what we were in need of, and I explained that we had a couple of small business checking accounts to open. She asked a few questions, then told us that she didn’t have a business banker working that day; she had a “visiting banker” but she’d told that one there would be nothing like this to be done. I don’t know what the point is of a “visiting banker” if they’re not going to work, but whatever. She asked us to wait, though, because maybe they could make an exception. Ten minutes later, the visiting banker came out to us and we followed her back to her cubicle, where she proceeded to be very rude and it was clear she didn’t want to help us. She told us there’s a checklist they have to follow, so she printed it out and then disappeared behind a locked door to retrieve it. When she didn’t come back after 20 minutes, we picked up all of our documents and walked out the door; no one tried to stop us.
At branch number two, we found half a dozen people waiting for … you guessed it, the ONE banker they had on duty. We told the woman who greeted us (if you can call it that) at the door that we just wanted to make an appointment with a banker to set up our business accounts. She took us to her cubicle, and then proceeded to grill us on the businesses. She also printed off a copy of the infamous checklist and got up to get it. The door to the printer was literally two feet outside of her cubicle entrance, and she made it as far as the door, when an employee walked up to her and started talking. Without a word to us, they walked off and disappeared for 15 minutes. When we next saw the woman who had been helping us, she was walking around the lobby helping other people; I guess she’d forgotten us in her cubicle! She finally came back and picked up the checklist off the printer and brought it to us. She asked about the Partnership Agreement, and I told her we had one, and she asked if it was registered with the state. I told her it wasn’t an LLC, it was just a general partnership, to which she replied that the bank requires the partnership to be registered with the state. I told her that Texas doesn’t register partnerships, so then she wanted us to go see an attorney to get the partnership registered. I told her again that neither company was an LLC, but I guess that was too far above her head. By this time, I was livid. I picked up all the documents and told her that I’d been a customer of the bank for more than ten years and I had never been so angry with them. We left.
By this time, I was beyond done with the whole thing. I mean, we couldn’t get a freakin’ BANK ACCOUNT set up! I was hungry, angry and done. So we made a quick stop to get some food, and then we headed back to the courthouse, because this whole general partnership thing wasn’t working. We talked about it during lunch and I told Chris that we’d be better off to just pay the money to have the DBAs rescinded and then reissued as a sole proprietorship. I’m sure you can imagine that when we showed up at the courthouse this time, we weren’t quite as lucky as last week, but we did at least manage to find a place to park. We had to wait in line for 45 minutes or so, but 20 minutes after that, we walked out with two sole proprietorships in hand.
But I can tell you that our current bank will NOT be getting the business accounts we have tried to hard to set up for the last week. Instead, we will be going with another national bank, because when we walked into their branch, which is less than five minutes away from home, they immediately sat us down and explained their business products to us. The only thing is, we have to wait a month for the DBAs to age; it’s a bank policy. Until then, we have a couple of personal checking accounts we can use to make necessary supply purchases.
You know, just typing all this has exhausted me. LOL But at least we’re on the way, and I have people who are waiting for soap, so it’s time for me to put the last week behind me, and get in there to make some product.