Electronic cigarettes have been around in one form or another for years, but if you feel like “vaping” — as the act of smoking an e-cigarette has become known — has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years, you’re not wrong.
In fact, the number of vape shops more than tripled in 2014 alone and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since. So while the science behind vaping continues to be hashed out, no one is debating the health of the industry thus far.
To that end, you might have stumbled onto this article because you’re looking into how to start a vape shop of your own. Given the fact that vaping is still considered controversial in some circles, you might be wondering what steps you need to take to establish your vape shop as a legitimate business.
First, let’s address the role that incorporation plays in the lifecycle of your business. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, incorporation provides several key benefits that your burgeoning vape shop could use.
Respectability: You might think that securing your real estate or other steps may be enough to establish your vape shop as a legitimate legal entity. But only incorporation (i.e., forming your own LLC, S Corp or C Corp) can protect you from personal liability and provide certain tax advantages that will safeguard your shop's future.
Expansion: Though you might just be starting your vape shop, it’s never too early to think big. To that end, consider the fact that incorporating now will actually become more and more useful the larger your vape shop gets. If you are hoping to establish business partnerships or have a grand vision for your business, incorporating can help facilitate these long-term goals.
Hiring potential: Assuming you’re going to be bringing on at least a few staff members to work at your vape shop, incorporation will make it much easier to bring on employees. Employment laws and regulations can be tricky — rather than putting yourself on the line, use the shield that incorporation can provide to address the legality of expanding your team.
Start a Vape Shop: Leaving Your Mark
If you’re beginning to lean toward incorporation, then we’re probably getting our point across. Opening a new business can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to be tempted to cut corners and just get started already. You have a lot of stress to contend with (especially early on), and incorporation can seem like just one more thing you feel you need to do. But in the long run, you’ll probably look back and thank yourself for taking this early opportunity to form your LLC when you did.
In addition to the legitimacy and protections that incorporation provides, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your business is firmly established as a separate entity in the eyes of the law. That stress relief alone will likely make the process worth it. Since the world of vaping is very much in flux right now, this certainly isn’t the time to take chances in the industry. Taking the extra step to incorporate your company prevents you from facing any unforeseen liability somewhere down the line.
Moreover, incorporation is the first step to creating a legacy for your brand. Right now you might only be opening up a single vape shop, but who’s to say it won’t lead to something bigger? After all, just look at the way vaping itself has exploded — and taken the JUUL e-cigarette with it. This particular brand was only introduced in 2015, but it has since become the most popular one on the market (prompting its parent company to spin off JUUL Labs into an entirely separate entity). With time and focus, your humble vape shop could lead to a series of locations, or perhaps something more.
If your vape shop is incorporated, you are not only already taking precautions to protect your company’s future, but you're creating a roadmap of success. Incorporation means the business you started will exist apart from you and can continue on for years or decades to come. That’s a powerful statement to make with your vape shop, and one that represents a level of professionalism and care that is sure to help your shop stand out amidst a growing industry.
Incorporating Your Vape Shop — Take the Time Now
So can you operate your vape shop without bothering to incorporate? Of course you can. But the bottom line is that doing so offers a number of advantages we wouldn’t recommend ignoring. Sure, you might not think it's necessary right now, while you're worried about finding time to arrange all the other aspects of your new company. But you’re kidding yourself if you think you’ll be less busy once your vape shop is fully operational and (hopefully) thriving.
Luckily, Incfile is here to help your vape shop have the best possible launch. We offer a deep pool of resources to help you learn more about how to start and run your business. We can help with incorporation, as well as the processes and paperwork you need to make your business official and keep it compliant. Are you ready to get incorporated? If so, let’s get started!
Robert Yaniz Jr.
Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm