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Does my group need to be a business?

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  • Does my group need to be a business?

    I am part of an airsoft group in WA and we are currently small - we have small games a few times a month that anyone can go to. However we are planning bigger "operations" and once the summer comes we will be having paid games ($1-$5 a game per person) or a yearly membership fee ($30). Everyone that helps run the group are volunteers and noone will be paid in the future. We will not have a physical shop building or anything to that extent.. Any money that comes in from donations/memberships will be used for the costs of setting up future games

    Do we need to have a business license to accept membership fees and/or donations?


  • #2
    Whether you need a business license is generally a local matter. It sounds like your group is more like a club than a business, but it pays to check with your city or county.

    One thing you may want to consider is organizing as a not-for-profit organization. Many states protect unpaid directors of a NFP from liability for actions as director. This may help protect you from liability if someone gets injured.

    As you become more organized, you may also want to consider insurance if it is not cost-prohibitive. As a small, close-knit group, one injured player may be unlikely to sue his fellow players. Once you start including people you don't know well, and particularly when you are coming across as an organizer and collecting a fee (even if it just covers the cost), an injured participant is much more likely to start looking for someone to blame his injuries on.
    David K. Staub (
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.


    • #3
      Thank you for the reply. If anyone else has anything to add I'm all ears


      • #4
        Go to your local library and ask the reference librarian for Nolo Press books - they have one for forming a non-profit, and others on general business issues. They are VERY helpful and written for the layperson.
        I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.