Newbie soon-to-be Sole Trader. Help!

(14 Posts)
GinGinGin Thu 25-Sep-14 14:44:29

I think I'm getting completely overwhelmed with stuff atm so I'd like some wise MNetters' advice please!

Ok, I'm going to start up my own business making sweets from home, using only ethically sourced ingredients and packaged using eco-friendly packaging, and selling them at craft fairs, via Etsy and possibly setting up a website too.

So, hoping to start trading in Jan 2015 - to give me enough time to sort out everything and experiment with recipes etc. things I need to do before trading are:
Take Basic Food Hygiene
Get kitchen inspected (need to thoroughly clean it first!)
Sort out logo
Sort out business cards
Buy equipment (not much needed tbh)
Buy ingredients and test recipes & flavours
Source packaging
Etc etc etc!

I have a business name sorted and hoping to get my food hygiene next month & then I can book to get enviro health round.

I've been looking into wholesalers on-line to get my ingredients and have applied for registration at a couple - as I'm not yet trading I don't know if I'll be able to buy stuff from them? I've told them this in the online registration so I've been completely honest with them.

I'm currently looking at business accounts and am thinking of either Santander or natwest - has anyone used either of these banks and which would they recommend?

Oh & I've done a biz plan & am a sahm to a 2 yr old smile

OP’s posts: |
acharmofgoldfinches Thu 25-Sep-14 16:28:42

I used Santander for a personal account once and the charges when I accidentally went overdrawn were check if that's the case with their business accounts.

I have my business account with Co-operative Bank - it's ok but not brilliant. Things to think about are can do your banking online (essential I think) and how much are their charges. Best to go for monthly statements (even if there's not much to show) so you can keep a close eye on what's going on.

Hope the new business goes well xx

zeddybrek Thu 25-Sep-14 16:43:50


Sounds like a great idea! I am trying to get my jewellery making business sorted. I'm on Etsy.

The only tips I can think of right now are to try using a website called Fiverr. People do stuff for you for a fiver. I got a great logo made from someone on there.

Also Etsy have a separate app just for sellers which I find useful.

Good luck!

worldgonecrazy Thu 25-Sep-14 16:44:09

The HMRC website for setting up your online tax account is really simple to use. You may also need to opt out of some National Insurance payments if your turnover is below a certain limit - the website has all the information.

I keep a spreadsheet of every single payment in and out, with a short description next to it, so at the end of the year I know how much I've spent on stationery, bank charges, transport, subsistence, clothing etc. I also keep a spreadsheet with the mileage I do, and use a simple calculation to keep a track on my likely tax bill for the year. If you keep a running total of outgoings, incomings and mileage (currently 45p per mile) and work out 20% of the total, it gives you a rough idea of tax payable so you don't get any nasty surprises when you do your tax return. It took me about 30 minute to do my tax return.

I just use one of my savings accounts as the busines account - the bank haven't commented so far. I also take payments via paypal - you do get hit by charges though, but it's cheaper than the percentage taken by credit card companies. I'm not sure that would be the same for everyone though - might be worth investigating.

GinGinGin Thu 25-Sep-14 18:29:28

Thanks everyone for all your advice so far - lots of useful info there.

OP’s posts: |
GinGinGin Thu 25-Sep-14 18:32:57

Zeddy - that info about the website is great, thanks! Good luck for your jewellery business too!

Yes I was going to use PayPal too (sorry, on my phone so can't scroll up to see who said that!).

OP’s posts: |
CopyWoman Mon 29-Sep-14 17:49:39

Hi I think Santander are doing a new business start up account with no charges for 18 months. But I have only glanced it, haven't read the small print.

Nanny0gg Tue 30-Sep-14 22:46:00

You shouldn't have a problem buying from wholesalers as long as you want their minimum quantity/delivery value. They will just expect you to pay pro-forma- ie upfront by credit/debit card. Their T&C will tell you when you're likely to be able to run an account.

BusinessUnusual Tue 30-Sep-14 22:50:19

If you are a sole trader, I think your tax will be different to world's, as she is a LTD company.

Consider opening your business bank account with your personal bank - the credit checks will be easier and they may give you slightly more stuff (eg bank card) quicker because they know you.

worldgonecrazy Wed 01-Oct-14 08:42:57

businessunusual I am a sole trader for my self-employed job, not a LTD company. The tax system for sole traders is now incredibly easy as we can submit simplified tax returns, which is basically money in, money out (broken down into further sections if you want to), mileage.

GinGinGin Sun 05-Oct-14 18:34:26

Sorry, haven't checked for a few days so didn't realise I had more replies - thanks all!

OP’s posts: |
GinGinGin Sun 05-Oct-14 18:36:49

I do have one more question though - I will need to get my kitchen inspected by Environmental Health - does anyone know how picky I need to be with the cleaning of it? I mean do I need to wash the walls/ceilings or should I just ensure that everything is hoovered and that worksurfacea etc are disinfected?

OP’s posts: |
Viviennemary Sun 05-Oct-14 18:43:37

Would people need any kind of insurance if they re supplying food.

GinGinGin Sun 05-Oct-14 19:33:07

Yes Vivienne, I have to anyway as my home insurance insists on it, but I was going to. Public & product liability insurance

OP’s posts: |

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