Thinking of starting a boating business in Maryland? Here are some steps to follow to ensure you chart the right course for success
It goes without saying that Maryland is a superb state for boating. Surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries, there are countless opportunities for people to enjoy the boat life in Maryland. In terms of both geography and culture, it’s a state that encourages a lot of time on the water — and thus, naturally, an ideal place for a boating business.
It’s partly for this reason that we’ve explored how to start a boating business in the past. In doing so, we’ve covered key topics such as how to structure the business, how to manage finances, what insurance and documentation you need, and even what resources can help you with the process.
Those topics concern most of the fundamental aspects and formality of getting a boating business up and running. But in this piece we want to follow up with some ideas about how to get a boating business started successfully in Maryland specifically.
Study the LLC Process
In our aforementioned look at starting a boating business, we covered why an LLC is the most logical structure for a boating business. Essentially, it’s because it separates personal assets from business liabilities, such that you will “not be held personally liable for any debts or obligations incurred by your company.” And, as mentioned, it’s fairly trivial in most states to set up an LLC.
Maryland is no exception, but you’ll still need to look into the process early on so that you can set up the business smoothly. Setting up an LLC in Maryland is a five-step process that can be completed entirely online. It involves first naming your company and appointing a registered agent with the state. You’ll next need to file the official Maryland Articles of Organization.
It is then recommended that you create an Operating Agreement, and required that you apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number for taxes). This may all sound somewhat involved, but these are all simple, cheap, and brief processes that will ultimately allow you to set up a Maryland LLC in no time.
When you’re just starting a new boating business, it’s a big enough job to launch in a single location. Whether you’re operating with one boat, renting out a few for recreational purposes, or whatever else your business may entail, you’ll logically have a startup hub where you base your operations.
At the same time however, there are a lot of opportunities around the state. Maryland’s charming bay towns are numerous, and yet exist within a relatively compact area, all things considered. For that reason, we’d suggest that part of setting up a good boating business in Maryland means figuring out how to take advantage of this geography and these towns. It may mean setting up operations in multiple harbors, if you have he resources to do so. It may mean roving about, such that you do business from one town during the week and another on weekends. Whatever the case, it’s worth taking the time to explore locations and figure out how you can best leverage the variety of lovely coastal spots for good business.
Consider Tourist Exposure
Marylanders know that it’s an excellent state for recreational boating, sailing, fishing, crabbing, and all sorts of additional activities out on the water. This ultimately means there’s a lot of opportunity to generate business locally. Nationally though, the state is surprisingly overlooked when it comes to boating activity. In fact, even rankings of the best boating states with regard to the amount of money involved in related businesses leave Maryland out.
For these reasons, we recommend you take some time to consider how to expose your business to tourists as well. This may mean partnering with other local businesses that already appeal to visitors. It may mean conducting content marketing efforts at travel websites. Whatever the case, the basic idea is that as good as local activity may be, Maryland is not quite the boating destination you might expect for non-Marylanders. You’ll have to work to attract non-local business activity.
Beyond these factors, you’ll also want to look into some of the fundamentals of starting a boating business that we wrote about before, especially with regards to local requirements. But what we’ve outlined here will help you to get set up quickly and situate your business to generate strong activity early on.
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