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Licenses to run assays?

Discussion in 'QC Research and Testing' started by Kurt, Nov 25, 2011.

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  1. Kurt

    Kurt Quantum Vapyre ECF Veteran

    Sep 16, 2009
    Suppose a qualified chemist (not just me) wanted to run simple titration curves for vendors. Because it is a nicotine assay, does one have to have a license to do this for a small business in PA? Until I find out for sure, I am going to do tests for free, but I would like to be able to provide the service professionally eventually.

    I am thinking in terms of protecting myself. I think there may be a lot of qualified people that can do this, which would be a great benefit to the industry...obviously this is one of my goals.

    Where does one even begin to look into this? I am quite qualified, but not officially certified.

    Thanks in advance for any advise!
  2. Nick O'Teen

    Nick O'Teen Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 28, 2009
    Swansea, Wales
    I can't imagine a license would be necessary (it certainly wouldn't in the UK or Europe - it's just an industrial service being offered, and not one dealing with controlled substances,) but knowing how mad politicians (and the laws they generate) can be, I couldn't comment definitively on the situation in the US.
    But what makes you think you might require a license? Not being certified in some circumstances (likely not these though,) might reduce credibility, but if a company wants to pay for that service, why should there be a legal impediment?
  3. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    I cannot speak to what type of license you might need in your state. Does your state have a Small Business Association? Mine does and they are a good source of info as to State Regulations and Local Licensing for small business owners.

    One thing to consider is that doing something for yourself and doing something for others is two Completely different things.

    If you make a mistake and it is just for yourself, well, things happen. But if you make a mistake for someone else you could be sued over it.

    I think I know where this all stems from with you testing e-Liquid for Nicotine amounts. If you decide to test Nicotine for others I would strongly suggest to speak with an attorney first and understand what potential liabilities you might be incurring.
  4. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    Because people who do not hold Licenses in certain disciplines cannot perform certain functions.

    I can draw a floor plan for a house. But I cannot submit the plans to have the house built because I am not a Licensed Engineer.

    I can draw it but the Engineer must sign his/her name that all my load calculations were done correctly and that everything is to code for a given area.
  5. Allan.GH

    Allan.GH Super Member ECF Veteran

    I can't speak to PA, Kurt; but I would recommend that you start-out by filing as an LLC, to limit your personal liability picture in the event that Murphy pays you a visit. From there, I'd trade/service-mark a name to operate under and talk with your local authorities about licensing requirements.

    Given the nature of what you propose to do, you may find yourself looking for operating space in a commercially/manufacturing-zoned area of your locality--particularly where acids may be shipped/received and used in any sort of process. I'd waget that something like a purity testing lab would be allowable in a professional park, fairly near to your local hospital.
  6. stevejo

    stevejo Supplier ECF Veteran

    Apr 28, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'll agree with Allan on the incorporation (whether LLC, S corp, or C corp is up to you and your personal tax situation) to limit liability. Additionally, it would not be a terrible idea to invest in some legal consultation and have some forms written up. The few that come to mind immediately are a indemnity agreement, an NDA ( for both you and the client, to ensure that they cannot share your tactics, and you cannot share any recipie or other info about their liquid), and a limits of liability statement to ensure that any negative anything that comes from testing doesn't fall back on you.

    This may sound like overkill, and for vendors that you already have a relationship with, it may well be, but it is always worth the investment to make sure that you covered.

    You may also want to look into bonding the business against any damages. I bond is a kind of insurance that covers any claims against you for perceived or real bad business practices, and is usually fairly cheap. Mine for my business runs $265 per year for $250,000 in coverage.

    If this is something that you want to run as a business and generate an income on, it is worth setting up properly to avoid any issues in the future. My first IT business I set up I made the mistake of just registering a sole proprietership with the state registrar, and it came back to bite me in the .... The thousand bucks you will spend getting the corp set up, getting bonded, and getting some basic documents drafted by a competent attorney pale in comparison to what your liability could be if anything goes wrong ;)
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