Seven Deadly Sins: The Unknown Laws That Cost Your Small Business A Fortune

A bookshop owner in the Wirral was shocked to be handed a £300 fine last month by a local authority enforcement officer who accused her of flouting strict laws on waste after she threw sweet wrappers in the bin. The officer explained that any business generating rubbish needed a waste transfer license setting out how they will dispose of trash – and since the bookshop couldn’t produce its license, it had to pay the penalty.

Technically, it appears, Wirral Council is in the right, though UK legislation on what counts as business waste, as opposed to personal rubbish, is sketchy. However, the council cancelled the fine after a public outcry, with other small businesses rallying to the bookshop owner’s support. Many insisted they had no idea they were covered by such regulation.

Such cases may be relatively rare, but the waste licensing laws are just one example of regulation that many small businesses may be flouting unwittingly. With so many rules and regulations in so many different areas, small companies are constantly at risk of falling foul of the law. Here’s seven more regulations you may not know apply to your business – and which could cost you dearly if you’re caught breaking the rules:

Hang the DJ

Are you playing music in your workplace? If so, the small print of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 very likely applies: it says any business that ever plays music on its premises for customers or staff is hosting a ‘public performance’. If so, they need licenses from PRS for Music and PPL, the organisations that ensure performing artists are paid when their work is played in public venues. These start at less than £100 a year, but can cost thousands of pounds for larger businesses. Still with PRS conducting spot checks pursuing civil actions and enforcement actions against businesses playing music without authorisation, not having a license could prove more expensive.

Read more of this Forbes article by David Prosser by clicking here.