I have booked a wedding in May and my client has informed me that all vendors must obtain a temporary/day vendor’s license from the city.
I think it is up to the wedding coordinator to take care of this. If it’s needed at all as you are providing a service and not selling a good. But I should point out that you are taking a gig and making income. So now you are a business (un-incorporated business or at least an independent contractor)
Anita Burroughs-Price! It has been a very long time…would really love to catch up sometime when you are in town, or even via email…
As for the permits, the city of Aiken has told me that although I am not incorporated, if a person provides any service and receives income for it,
Dear Claire Wolcott,
Harpists are not exempted from federal, state and local laws.
In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, anybody who takes money from others for a service needs a business license. For harpists it’s fifty (50) dollars a year, with the county retaining the right to inspect one’s studio 24/7. The business license must be posted in a prominent place.
I checked in Rock Hill, SC, once, and even to drive there and teach one student I would need their vendor’s license.
Your performance is a service rendered and you are a businesswoman, like it or not! Keep careful records of your miles driven; string and music expenses; repairs on the harp; advertising expenses; professional dues; outfits; dry-cleaning; depreciation of your instrument, insurance, etc. If you are playing other than for relatives and close friends you are indeed in business. Expect to file and pay social security and file with the IRS four times a year.
If one plays in a restaurant and is on its payroll, one does not need a business license in this county. The harpist is then a restaurant employee, but as soon as you take students here, or solicit brides’ mothers for money, teach in your home, cart your harp to various venues for strangers or church members and are paid, give a ticketed recital, you are in business.
In this county, if you make a CD and sell it on your lawn for one day, you need a license like anybody hosting a garage or attic sale and state and local taxes need to be filed and paid. If you record any piece that is not in the public domain, even if it’s just for friends and relatives for Christmas, you have to pay royalties. Even for “just demo CD’s” it’s best to inquire. Composers have legal rights. Ditto for arrangers.
Here in Mecklenburg, we actually get a lot for our money: a fire department with lots of state-of-the-art equipment; a decent police force; good libraries, parks, etc.
Figure out if playing in public in this weak war economy is what you want to do in the long run and if it’s truly worth it financially for you and your family. If you do so, I hope that ALL of the other professional harpists treat you with kindness and utmost respect as they should when you are out on a gig. The business end can a bit more complicated than one first thinks…
The information in the above post is true also for the large city on the west coast where I live. My late husband was in law enforcement and it was important for me to get a business license as soon as I began to teach and play here, many years ago.
Thank you for your responses, Susan and Patricia! Glad to hear from others who have needed to get one – I am more than willing to comply, just wanted to see if others had come across this as well! No one had ever mentioned it to me before so it was new to me.
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