[SCA-AE] RE SCA Merchantin. Was.. Need Merchant Info
myfanwy at nauticom.net
Tue Apr 24 13:43:01 EDT 2007
Greetings from Myfanwy!
I have been reading this thread with a fair amount of interest, as a
Alastar and I have run a food booth at Gulf Wars this year and last.
At the moment, it's the only event we do, so we probably count as
"hobby merchants" (it's secondary income). We've been looking at
Pennsic but so far haven't been able to get in, as Cindy has been
limiting the food merchants due to sanitation issues, among others.
We have, by necessity, insurance. The company we went with specializes
in people who do shows like Renn Faires, carnivals, etc. I don't
remember the name of the company offhand, but we got the company's name
from Lee Ann of "The Bored Housewife".
"Gode Bakery" has double the amount of insurance required for Pennsic,
a $2 million liability policy. It costs us a whopping $182. That's
for an entire year (not just one weekend), even though we have *only*
done GW. For a food business it's completely foolish *not* to have
insurance. (Can anyone say "Chi-Chi's"? Sure you can.)
We consider it a necessary evil -- part of the cost of doing business
-- and consider it a legitimate business expense, just like the
Allegheny County food handlers' certificate course, and just like the
new propane convection oven and commercial-grade refrigerator, just
like my airfare down and back last year, and the cost of the truck
rental to haul everything down and back, and the tent rental company
once we got down there, and the RV rental.
This is the first year we've had to deal with income taxes for the
business, and we lost money, but believe me -- all of those expenses
were noted in the (we hope) appropriate places on Turbo Tax. And we
have federal, state and local taxes to deal with (the
Bellevue/Northgate School District income taxes alone were nearly
$900). Plus, we are going to have to start dealing with quarterly
estimated taxes, which is a major pain, just for a side-line business
that is effectively one week a year.
My mother was a writer of genre fiction -- mysteries, SF, gothics,
Regency romances, etc. The IRS considered it a "hobby", even though
one year she made more money than my dad did as a long-time IBM
employee (of course, 2 years before she made a whopping $145). She
expensed *everything*: if we were going to NJ to have dinner with a
friend of hers who was also a writer/editor, she kept track of the
mileage and tolls as business expenses -- "meeting with her editor"
even if she and Laura only talked shop for five minutes.
In one respect the "Renn Faire" merchants have it right. They
understand that it is a *business*.
On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 09:36 AM, Thomas Gressman wrote:
> Please understand, my comments were not necessarily a
> shot at smaller professional merchants. My beef is
> more with the overall climate that makes it necessary
> for us to have insurance.
> It seems that so many people are looking to sue
> somebody so we have to protect ourselves against the
> "Professional Victims" and their enablers.
> The other half of my gripe, the one that was aimed at
> "professional merchants" of the type who make their
> full, or almost full living doing mundane craft shows,
> renn faires and so on. These folks are often, at least
> to my observation, nominal SCAdians, at best. It
> doesn't hurt them so much to have to pay out a larger
> fee to merchant at an event, it is all figured into
> their overhead, the same as insurance is for any other
> Whereas for those of us who used merchanting to help
> finance our hobby, we get cut twice. First in the loss
> of income, slight as that might be, and second in the
> form of reduced participation in the SCA.
> I understand that business and market forces hit
> everyone, hobby merchant or professional. Where I hit
> the disconnect is where the fees being assessed begin
> to overwhelm any potential profit I might make.
> At that time, I like any other business must make the
> decision to raise prices, cut quality, cut overhead (I
> really can't do that, I can't fire myself, so I can't
> cut staff, I work out of my home, so I can't move into
> cheaper digs, and I can't raise and slaughter my own
> cows and tan my own leather), or go out of business.
> Sadly, I had to choose the latter. And, mark my words,
> I won't be the last.
> --- Linda Learn <fabrix at mymail.emcyber.com> wrote:
>> Things like requiring merchants to have insurance
>> driving the "hobby merchants", like me out of
>> business. > --------------------------
>> Us 'professional' small merchants are having a hard
>> time too. Same costs,
>> same hassle, more taxes and no money coming in from
>> a 'day job' to pay the
>> 'ordinary' bills.
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Lady Myfanwy ferch Rhiannon
myfanwy at nauticom.net
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