I feel sure that you probably need to have the LLC set up before or simultaneously with getting the EIN, but I don't see how this is relevant to mystery shopping where your SSN and a Schedule C self employment are all you need. You would need an EIN if you employed others, but with shops you are not allowed to subcontract. So why make life difficult?
I have not asked this question before. I am just thinking of an LLC in case there is any possible way you could get sued if you walked into an employee-only area and they connected it with mystery shopping - all possible scenarios.
> I have not asked this question before. I am just
> thinking of an LLC in case there is any possible
> way you could get sued if you walked into an
> employee-only area and they connected it with
> mystery shopping - all possible scenarios.
Actually, you did ask exactly that same question yesterday under "Not really Independent Contractors." If you click on your name, you can view all 3 of the posts you have made.
Actually, the original poster hasn't asked anything before that expressed a concern about a LLC as a way to limit liability if a shopper were to get sued. I'd almost swear that one of our long-term posters said recently that he or she did that very thing. Anyone remember who it was?
The follow up provided here was more, but the question in the original post was on another thread.
As far as "employee only" areas, on a mystery shop none of us have any business going there anyway. If it is an announced audit with part to be completed in a restricted area, we have authorization. Even with authorization, if an employee or manager forbids us from going into backrooms, etc., we have no business going against their wishes.
Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
By clicking on the OP's name, you can view all 3 of his posts. Post #1 and Post #2, the original post in this thread, ask the same question. Post #3, in which he said he had never asked the question before, added more detail to the question, noting his concern about being sued, but his first and second posts, yesterday and today, were identical questions.
If you're concerned about getting sued, consider getting a personal liability policy. A one million dollar policy shouldn't run more than $500 or so. I'm paying under that for a policy for my photo business. I'm contemplating the same for shopping.
Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)
"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor
"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
I don't see how an LLC would protect you anyway. You are not your LLC. The MSC did not hire your LLC. They hired you personally. I have an LLC but I don't mystery shop under it. When we're mystery shopping, we're just another customer while we're doing the scenario (unless it's a revealed audit). Why would you think you would get sued just for wandering into an employee area? More likely, you could get charged with trespassing. In order to collect on a lawsuit, they'd have to prove damages -- that you did something to hurt someone, damage property, or cost them money. What did you plan to do in that employee area?
With the exception of competitor shops, the businesses we shop know they will be shopped, have agreed to be shopped, and in some cases are actually paying for the shop. If they tell you to go get a picture of the employee break room, they're not going to sue you for doing what they told you to do.
The thing that I'd worry about the most, if I wanted to worry about anything, would be that someone would get fired, with my report one factor among many issues that led to it, and that I'd get included in the lawsuit.
It's a fallacy that creating an LLC will protect you personally from lawsuits. The only time that you may have some protection is if you really do have a company and you have a fair number of employees, but even then, you are still the owner and they can and will go after you personally. If you get sued because of a mystery shop, no corporation status will protect you. Any first year law student can see through the ruse. Not worth it.
If that is your concern, you are better off with errors and omissions insurance or a personal liability insurance policy.
No, I have never heard of anyone being sued for performing a mystery shop according to the MSC guidelines. I have monitored this forum and the volition forums and attended IMSC conferences for many years and have never met or heard from anyone who has heard of such a thing actually happening.
If you are concerned about shops that might land you in court as a witness, then you might want to avoid revenue protection shops aka integrity shops, and shops that require you to report on whether IDs were checked for liquor and/or tobacco sales.
In addition, if you do recorded shops, be sure that you are up to date on audio recording laws because 13 or 14 states have criminal penalties for audio recording without prior permissiin of the other party. For details, please see the second thread in the New Mystery Shoppers area of the forums. An LLC will not shield you from criminal prosecution, btw.
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel