Setting up to sell online the right way - from the beginning.
June 2, 2016 12:02 PM   Subscribe

New email, online checking account, paypal and ebay accounts all linked together in a closed loop. Am I being smart, too paranoid, or setting myself up for problems later?

Following up from my previous question, I'm ready to pull the trigger on getting some of this stuff sold. I've never sold online before, haven't bought on ebay in years, and rarely use paypal so my working knowledge of these is pretty terrible.
Because of reasons (mostly minimization of risk) I want to create all new accounts for this project. New email, new online checking account, new paypal, everything. I'm also planning on setting up an Etsy shop and an Amazon Marketplace account somewhere down the road. The main reason is I don't want paypal/ebay touching my real back account, I can't afford to have unexpected charges/changes from disputes or fees or whatever affecting my real money. The online bank I'm planning to use is BankMobile.
Let's say I want to use "Main Street Yard Sale" as the username for everything. Am I going to run into trouble for looking like a real business?
Are there considerations to my plan I'm not thinking of? I'm in California, if it matters.
posted by ApathyGirl to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here's some info from the California Sec. of State about registering and using a fictitious business name.

Basically, it just creates a public record that "main street yard sale" is connected to ApathyGirl - and anybody that has a beef with Main Street Yard Sale can connect it to you.

If you're operating as a sole proprietorship, the banks (and others) will likely insist that your name is on everything but can handle DBAs (with or without a copy of the form you filed). So your account with the bank might be named something like: ApathyGirl DBA Main Street Yard Sale.

This does not, however, create a separate entity like incorporation (or other business forms like LLCs) would. If you really want to shield your personal identity (and liability and taxes and everything else) from the business that's the route to go. There are plenty of self-help books on the topic, but there are plenty of lawyers set up to help with those issues.
posted by GPF at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2016

I've seen good discussions on Etsy about permitting and tax stuff for CA state.
If you search around there I'm sure there are more.
posted by oneear at 1:25 PM on June 2, 2016

I'm not sure if this is in scope for what you're asking about, but definitely turn on two factor authentication for the new accounts to keep them more secure.
posted by Candleman at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2016

Do I need a fictitious business name or DBA? I'm really just trying to contain this project in its own set of accounts.
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:32 PM on June 2, 2016

In addition to turning on two factor authentication on all of these accounts, make sure that the passwords are very strong and different from one another.

You need professional advice on whether you need a DBA name, given your intentions and concerns. It is possible that by using the name "Main Street Yard Sale" that you may not just look like a real business but become a real business based on the laws where you are, which is why you should ask these questions of a professional. And depending on the income you expect or actually earn, you might be required to take steps to declare that (and if you have any kind of success, you'll need to do certain things on your taxes, and should have the proper advice for that). You need to talk to a tax professional and/or an attorney in your area for those questions, not metafilter.

(For what it's worth, I've been a paypal/ebayer for more than ten years under a username that's basically my name, have had disputes and fees over that time, and have never had anything affect my "real money". I personally think you are going too far in the paranoid direction which will overcomplicate things for you, especially as based on your last question this seems likely to be a one-off type of thing and not a long term side hustle. I did do this as a long term side hustle and I didn't bother with any of this except for the tax advice recommendation.)
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:45 PM on June 2, 2016

I've sold for years on Amazon and eBay and pursued your exact strategy - separate bank accounts and PayPal IDs, no merchant account tied to a personal account and so forth. I also properly pursued state licenses in WA and Federal tax IDs and only ever visualized these merchant accounts as actual real-life businesses, which is why I segregated them financially. It made keeping track of taxes and business expenses much more accurate and less ambiguous. Renewing the licensing and keeping track of various state and federal reporting deadlines was a hassle, though, no doubt.
posted by mwhybark at 11:52 PM on June 2, 2016

If you haven't already, research whether Paypal and your online bank play well together. My main (local) bank started charging ridiculous new fees recently, so I started using my well-established Capital One 360 checking account as my main account instead. Then I tried to link that account to my well-established Paypal. After a lot of strange errors (and Paypal temporarily locking down my account without explanation, ughhh), I googled the issue and found out Paypal doesn't like Capital One 360 and a lot of other online banks. It's really weird because Paypal even offers Capital One 360 as an option when you go to link a new account.

Some users have been able to link the two after calling Paypal and jumping through additional verification hoops, but from what I read, it's an arbitrary process that mostly depends on which customer service rep you talk to. I ended up having to open a new local account with a different bank. It was all very idiotic and frustrating, and I would have gone about the whole thing differently if I'd known the online checking account would be an issue. Paypal might like BankMobile just fine, I don't know, but it's worth a quick google.
posted by QuickedWeen at 8:56 AM on June 3, 2016

new paypal

You can have one Consumer account and one Business account.

Unless you register this as a business, PayPal is not going to happily go along with your plans here. They do not allow individuals to have multiple consumer/individual accounts.

I have registered a business name in the state of California. It involved paying a few dollars and filing paperwork at the county level. That allowed me to open a business account at a bank.

But, if you are just trying to offload some stuff for a few bucks, I doubt it makes sense to jump through the hoops of setting up a business.
posted by Michele in California at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2016

So, I took a quick peek at your previous ask and one way around this might be having your dad set up a PayPal account in his name with a new bank account, etc, assuming he doesn't already have an account. But that brings up other potential issues because his legal name will be on the PayPal account.

There will be no logistical problem with him giving you the password and letting you access the PayPal account, but if you set up a Ebay account under your name using a PayPal account under his name or if you set up everything under his legal name but, in fact, he never logs into it and you do everything, that might run into some problems. You might want to google up info specifically on such scenarios before moving forward.
posted by Michele in California at 12:31 PM on June 3, 2016

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