Starting a landscape company in Illinois requires following state and local rules, which differ depending on the type of services your company intends to offer. For example, landscape architects must be licensed by the state, while companies doing landscape maintenance do not. In addition to following rules that specifically apply to a landscape company, there are rules that apply to any business, including filling out the correct forms for insurance and tax purposes.
Illinois Landscape Architecture Act
A company offering landscape architecture services must employ a landscape architect licensed under the Illinois Landscape Architecture Act of 1989. The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation oversees the issuance of licenses. The requirements for applying for a license include a combination of experience working with a licensed landscape architect and completing approved educational programs.
Although states don't impose licensing requirements on a company engaged in landscape maintenance services, cities or counties may require registration as a condition of doing business within their jurisdiction. For example, Lake Forest passed an ordinance in 2006 mandating licensing for all landscaping companies working within the city. The requirements for a license include providing the city with proof of liability insurance and a surety bond. A new landscaping company needs to contact the city or county clerk where it intends to offer its services to obtain information on local license and registration requirements.
Certificate of Registration
The Illinois Department of Revenue requires all businesses involved with the sale of goods or services to obtain a Certificate of Registration for sales tax collection. The rules regarding collection of sales tax by a landscape company from its client will vary depending on whether the company is selling product to its clients, just providing services, or a doing combination of both. A new company will have to register with the Department of Revenue and then may want to consult with an accountant regarding whether its business activities require collection and remittance of sales tax.
All businesses in Illinois that hire employees are required to register with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) within 30 days of starting business. Typically, the business is required to file quarterly returns with the IDES along with paying the appropriate unemployment contribution. Prior to registering with IDES, a new landscape company will need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number from the IRS because this will be required to properly complete all IDES forms.