How to start a business from a hobby
August 18, 2005 6:46 AM   Subscribe

Help a bunch of idiots start a business maybe - advice required on how to go about it.

We (a motley crue of 12 adults) have been running LAN parties monthly for 18 months. We averaged 25 attendees but are now ramping up due to a surge in interest to 60-80 people. We are concered about legal implications as these are not free events, we charge a small fee to cover costs and supply networking equipment - We're sourcing a new venue and gaining sponsership from local businesses. Do we need to register as a company? Non Profit org (We funnel all profits *so far* into new equipment for the lan) or something? What about legal implications/insurance if someone gets hurt etc? How do we do whatever it is we need to do? This is in the UK for legal issues.
posted by Leud to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Talk to a lawyer. The first time is free. He or she will want to show you how smart they are to get your business, so you can ask them all your questions and get a real non-IANAL answer. It's probably not a bad idea to meet with four or five lawyers in succession, because you can ask the later lawyers your follow-on questions. After that, you'll have spent no money, but you'll probably have a decent idea how to proceed.
posted by jeb at 6:58 AM on August 18, 2005

You would do well to invest in a book that came out by ExtremeTech about LAN Parties. The link is here:

ExtremeTech LAN Party Hosting

There is a legal section there that applies to most things in the US, and about going pro. It's not very well written, but it does get into a few subjects you might be interested in for legal purposes.

I myself have hosted about 6 LAN parties, and have helped and consulted with (home of the 400 MAN LAN) and DragonLAN. Cliffnoted advice:

1. Draft up a waiver of non-liability that your lawyer can check over (you can find many examples online if you search for a bit). Have everyone attending the LAN sign one of them, and keep them on file for at least 2 years.

2. If you're allowing minors in, you need to get parental buy-in, and get a phone number as well on where they can be reached.

3. Get everything in writing. Liberally use a video camera when it comes to check and check out procedures if you are using an off-site facility. Do not skip this.

Good luck with your LAN endeavors. :)
posted by DCTapeworm at 8:00 AM on August 18, 2005

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