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New Woman Owned Minority Business - do's and don'ts

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rated:
Hello,
We are in Northern VA and are in the midst of opening a small, home based business (S-corporation). As a registered architect, I will be providing my architectural design services, but wish to incorporate the business under my wife's name to be able to register with the SBA as a woman owned, minority business. Getting an 8(a) designation will help us grow the business. Not having started anything of our own previously, we are a little hesitant, and would appreciate any guidance and advice you may have. We will be working with a CPA to set up the firm and register with the state, IRS, etc. but it is always helpful to know "what to expect".
Some specific areas we would love advice on:
1) Titles - since the firm would be under my wife's name, we believe it would be best for her to be the President, with me being the VP. Do we need to have a document which states that either one of us can sign documents for the firm?
2) Benefits:

  1. Medical - We are not sure if we can qualify under Obamacare or whatever version is out there. Should we just look @ getting quotes from Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser, etc? Since the firm will have only my wife and I as employees, the medical brokers don't seem to want to assist us much.
  2. 401k - We would prefer having a 401k over a SEP IRA, but not sure about the difference in administrative costs for these. Who should we talk to or how should we proceed on this? 
  3. PTO? Do we need to "offer" vacation/PTO? Keep timesheets? We asked our CPA, but didn't get a firm answer.
  4. Liability Insurance: Should we let our home insurance know we are starting a home based business? We have a general umbrella insurance through them as well. Would that cover as liability insurance? At most, we may have a client visit our home once every quarter?
  5. Errors and Omission Insurance: How can we find such insurers? The people we have contacted so far seem to quote about $5k/year for a $1mil coverage - which seems a little expensive

3) Banks - Wells Fargo and Capital One seem to be highly rated for small businesses, and we have them locally. What is your preferred bank?
4) Book-keeping - We intend to get the desktop version of QuickBooks from Costco & use it to maintain our books, invoicing, as well as payroll. Any thoughts on this?
5) Anything else that you may suggest to do, or not to do?

Thank you all.

Edited to add:
Yes, my wife will be involved in the day to day operations, and this will be the sole job for both of us. She has an MBA and is going to be heavily involved in the accounting side

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rated:
I just have to know if there are official programs that actually use the acronym W.O.M.B.

rated:
1) Brokers will only really start to talk when you have the state minimum amount of employees (varies by State) to even be required to offer insurance.
2) 401k, that CPA you're talking to can guide on this but really SEP 401k works just fine
3) You really might want to hire a consultant to setup a business for you and I encourage you to read more (Employer's Legal Handbook, The: Manage Your Employees & Workplace Effectively) obviously you need to account for state requirements but this book is a good starting point
4) You likely should already have this but as a "Home Based" business, i'd increase your personal umbrella and possibly Professional Liability insurance
5) keep searching you will find cheaper
6) Banks Vary based on so many things, you have to find what works for your business..  I prefer BOA for online banking but Chase Private Bank is 100% better in terms of customer service
7) QB is fine as long as you know how to use it.  

rated:
Sounds like someone needs to consult a small business lawyer.

rated:
forbin4040 said:   Sounds like someone needs to consult a small business lawyer.
  Better be a female one

rated:
forbin4040 said:   Sounds like someone needs to consult a small business lawyer.
  
Especially since the once common practice of having an accountant draw up your articles of incorporation has been treated as unauthorized practice of law for the past decade or two...

rated:
ish to incorporate the business under my wife's name to be able to register with the SBA as a woman owned, minority business.
You may be able to get minority owned certification but woman owned may be difficult. If you are going to be only qualified person (architect), certification authority will see your wife as pseudo owner unless she owns 100% of the business.
Be prepared to show your resume as well as her resume and be able to justify her as actual owner.
From what I know, being either one (minority v/s woman owned or both ) has same benefits. Not sure being woman owned qualifies you for anything more.

rated:
These are the requirements for WOSB:
Be at least 51% unconditionally and directly owned by women who are U.S. citizens
Women must manage the day-to-day operations
Women must make the long-term decisions for the business
A woman must the hold highest officer position in the business
This woman must work at the business full-time during normal working hours.
No minimum amount of time for the business to be operational

Does your wife have a full-time job? This would disqualify you. Even if she doesn't and you qualify, if as VP you run the day to day operations and she does next to nothing I would argue you are committing fraud.

rated:
Being an entrepreneur is the "hot" thing right now.  Why do you want to be one?

What's the benefit of this designation? All the benefits I'm aware of in the past have gone away. I think you are overthinking it. Focus on sales, bringing in customers, and making the business a success (profitable). Talk with some people you know that own small businesses (especially home based ones) and see if you still want to go down this path. Good luck but I think you're focusing on the wrong thing here.

rated:
FaxMac said:    I will be providing my architectural design services, but wish to incorporate the business under my wife's name to be able to register with the SBA as a woman owned, minority business. Getting an 8(a) designation will help us grow the business. 
  How would this help grow the business? And isn't this just a way to scam the government? Using your wife's name to get the designation for a business that is primarily yours?

rated:
I'm a supplier management contract admin for a large aerospace company. If I had a dollar for every WOSB who had a wife that had little to do with the running of the business, I could take a month off with pay
Yes it's fraudulent. It's also "self certifying" so apparently the SBA has little interest in pursuing the verification of those certs. Just sayin'.

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