April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
26 Jul 2017

Affordable Legal Assistance for Small Businesses

LegalShield LogoHave you ever thought, “I wish I could afford an attorney” when someone asks you to sign an agreement or a contract? Then, since you are on a tight budget, you cross your fingers, sign it, and hope all works out OK.

You aren’t alone! Nearly 90% of Americans say they do not have any form of legal insurance or legal protection service, but 60% are interested in having legal protection.

LegalShield (an associate member) offers the ability to talk to a lawyer on any personal or business legal matter without worrying about high hourly costs. For one flat monthly fee, you can access legal advice, no matter how traumatic or trivial the issue.

You might have wished you had personal legal representation. Have you ever:

  • Signed a contract or document without legal guidance?
  • Been overcharged?
  • Received a traffic ticket?
  • Wanted to create a will?

As a small business owner, these facts are important to know:

  • Nearly 60% of small businesses have experienced significant legal events in the past two years.
  • Those who experienced a legal event in the past two years reported not hiring an attorney to help them, citing high costs as the reason.
  • Business owners reported spending an average of $7,600 in legal expenses per year.

LegalShield is a very affordable opportunity to have legal assistance. As a home inventory business owner, did you have an attorney advice for your contracts and agreements you created for your clients? If someone wants you to sign an agreement to work with them, were you able to have an attorney review it and provide advice to either sign it or suggest edits? 

Small business plans are just $39/month, and this includes a personal plan as well. Learn more here.

13 Mar 2017

Associate Member LegalShield Provides Benefits For Small Businesses

LegalShieldLogoIn a continuing effort to bring quality services to our list of Associate Members, we believe that it is important for all businesses to have access to an attorney. LegalShield provides our members with this option.

Often small businesses do not have the funds to hire a lawyer. When someone asks you to sign an agreement, do you cross your fingers and hope it’s going to be OK as you sign on the dotted line? Or you might need to create an agreement, contract, or other legal document for your home inventory services or when establishing a business relationship. Do you usually copy a document off the internet and hope it provides you with the protection you might need? These scenarios happen because of the out-of-reach hourly rate an attorney will charge your small business.

Another situation is when you are having difficulty collecting your service fees. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an attorney send a collection letter from their firm, on their letterhead, requesting payment?

LegalShield offers these services and more from their nationwide network of provider law firms to help you run your business confidently. For a low monthly fee, LegalShield has been offering legal plans for 40 years, creating an opportunity for everyone to be able to access legal protection – and afford it. Unexpected legal questions arise every day, and with LegalShield, your business will have access to an experienced law firm for covered situations. Just pick up the phone and call them – no worries about how many minutes you’re being charged – it’s part of your monthly membership.

For a low monthly cost, you can lead your business with the peace of mind that you’ll always have access to legal advice and services for your business when you need them.

LegalShield Small Business Services include:

  • Legal consultation on an unlimited number of matters
  • Contract and document review
  • Debt collection assistance
  • Legal correspondence
  • Trial defense services

Rate chart for LegalShield

Join the other 47,000 business owners who have found LegalShield to be an affordable way to have legal assistance and representation. Following is the rate chart and benefits for businesses with less than 10 employees. There is no enrollment fee, and you can cancel your LegalShield membership at any time without penalty.

Sign up to begin receiving these legal services, or contact the NICA office if you have questions.

14 Sep 2016

Small Business Legal Checkup

legalThere are a variety of business structures within the home inventory industry. Some are organized as corporations, some are LLCs, and others have chosen to establish their business as a sole proprietorship. Along with the differences in business structures, we have full-time professionals, those who have a full-time job and enjoy their home inventory business on a part-time basis, while still others are semi-retired and choosing to work their business on a part-time basis. It really doesn’t matter what business model you’ve chosen, or whether you’re part-time or full-time, there are legal issues to consider.

Taking the time to perform a legal checkup helps you determine if you face any potential liabilities. As a LegalShield small business member, the National Inventory Certification Association has used LegalShield’s services for:

  • creating contracts
  • reviews of contracts presented by other organizations
  • website content
  • other legal needs

We received the following information in a recent newsletter and wanted to share it with you.

“Is your business structure the right fit? There are several types of business entities to choose from when starting a business. It is important to consider tax treatment and benefits, sale of interest in the business and limiting your personal liability.

“Are your workers properly classified? It is your legal responsibility to establish whether someone working on your company’s behalf is classified by the IRS as an employee or an independent contractor. Making the wrong determination can have serious financial and legal consequences.

“Do you have adequate insurance coverage? There are many insurance options for small businesses, including general liability, professional liability, product liability, commercial property and home-based business insurance. It is important to carefully examine your potential liabilities and make sure you have the right coverage.

“Have your contracts received a thorough legal review? Small business owners frequently sign contracts with employees, vendors, banks and contractors. It is important to make sure your contracts are enforceable in a court of law and are free of potential surprises.

“Is your intellectual property protected? The best way to protect your innovations and creations is through effective enforcement of intellectual property (IP) law. A copyright is established when a work is completed. Trademarks protect the design, name, words and phrases used to identify your business and products.”

If you don’t have an attorney on retainer, you might want to consider LegalShield. You will have access to attorneys who can help you limit risk, create contracts, review contracts others want you to sign, and address any challenges your home inventory business faces, all for a small monthly fee. Click here for more information about all the benefits you can receive when choosing to purchase a LegalShield membership.

02 Mar 2016

Small in a Biggie-Size World

In our world of BigSmallbigger, larger, or jumbo sized everything, I began to think about our industry and how the home inventory service companies are all small businesses. This is by design.

As the Managing Director of NICA, I have spoken to many of our members, and have learned from them that their desire to remain small is personal. I am asked periodically about our home and business inventory company, Hartman Inventory, and why we don’t work on growing it into something larger than just being a 2-person business. After all, we have been in business since 2004, so why aren’t we bigger than we are?

After some time contemplating this topic, I listed many reasons for a personal property inventory company to remain small. Most of them are what have encouraged us – and I assume others in the industry – to refrain from striving for growth.

Reasons home inventory companies remain a small business entity:

  • Confidentiality is a key element of this industry and the service provided
  • Total control over how the business is run (one thing many entrepreneurs “need”)
  • No employees – no employee issues
  • They want to give the personal touch
  • They enjoy getting to know their clients
  • The business image and the owners’ professional image are one and the same
  • It’s great having direct contact with the clients
  • Clients know they are working with the owners, which gives them a feeling of comfort and trust (many clients have told us this)
  • Small means there is an ability to adjust the process and customize the service to meet each client’s needs quickly, without going through a lot of corporate regulations to make a change

Now, I’m not saying it’s bad for people to want to grow a business, and many – in different industries – are working toward and achieving this initiative. Other industries are ripe for growth and it makes sense to become a larger company. However, with contents inventory being such a personal service, we see the value in remaining small and personal.