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Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

Hi Folks,

So I am a one-man PLLC. I am licensed by my home state and through their secretary of state corporations division, yada yada.

So, I am individually licensed as a PE in several other states. With the firm just being me, and me wanting to keep it that way, it is a big hassle to go get my firm licensed in other states. Thus, some states allow you to work as "Your Name", PE and not reference your company, etc.

For this occasion, I'm specifically asking about Florida, but I'd be curious of other states as well:

1. Do anyone know of any other requirements I would need to do work in that state beyond being licensed by the board? I contacted the Corporations folks and they basically told me to go hire a lawyer, which to me is a cop-out answer. The board told me they didn't think I needed anything else but to contact a lawyer if I wanted peace of mind.

2. In terms of liability insurance, how do other single-man PLLCs handle that with working as "Your Name", PE in other states.

3. Any other things I should consider when working as "Your Name", PE?

Thanks to all! I hope this thread will benefit a lot of folks and help everyone prevent having to get registered agents....

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

I'm in the same boat as you, I'm licensed in two states, and work in 25 (but not Florida, unfortunately). I cannot stamp work that I do in other states. If the client needs something that requires a stamp then I decline the work. If it doesn't require a stamp and it looks interesting, then I do it. The states that I've checked with all say that as long as I don't stamp anything or do work for individuals (as opposed to companies) then my efforts do not constitute holding myself out to the public as an engineer and comes under the Industrial Exemption.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

1. In most states the individual needs a license (PE or SE) and the firm they work for requires registration with the board and/or with the state as a registered business entity. For a sole proprietorship you'd have to check with the Sec. of State in Florida to see if you need to register. This varies state by state.

2. Working as "your name, P.E." I would think that your home, your possessions, your investments, etc., would all be fair game if you got sued for something. That is the reason there are LLC's and Incs.

3. Other that the above I'm not aware of anything other than how you'd pay your taxes for earnings within that state.

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RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE Florida, if you practice under a business entity of any type, whether it is your name or otherwise, you must have a Certificate of Authorization and you must be licensed as a PE in Florida. If you practice without a business entity designation such as a PLLC, LLC, INC, etc., and use only your name, you are not required to have a Certificate of Authorization and may practice under your name and PE designation. (See Florida Statute Chapter 471, Section 471.023)

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

@Ron, thanks. Are there any other governmental things to consider in Florida? My research indicates that there aren't, and it seems like that is what you're saying. It's just hard to prove a negative, I.E. prove there isn't some agency I don't know about that would want info from me.

@JAE, great post. My understanding is that your home, possessions, etc. are already all fair game anyway because of the "professional" side of things. In other words, at least in the state I'm in, if you are a PE working under an Inc. or PLLC, you can still be individually sued. Rare, but can happen.

@zdas04, thanks...unfortunately all my work will have to be stamped!

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

njlutzwe - you may be right that my home, etc. is fair game for lawsuits but I like to pretend otherwise. smile

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RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

Hahaha JAE, I wish it wasn't. I think states vary, but the state I am in won't let the corporate structure protect "design professionals". Not cool....really really old Inc. companies are exempt, I think if they were started in the 70s or something like that. Regardless, it's a scary issue, but that's what insurance is for I guess.

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

Liability for being sued and (unintentionally) breaking the law by practicing without firm registration are different topics. I don't know about all states, but I can tell you that my state requires individual AND firm licensure. If you are a sole practitioner, you still need to have a sole practitioner registration which is separate from individual licensre. Be careful and just be familiar with each state's laws. If I get reprimanded in another state, I get reprimanded in my primary state.

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE Florida, an engineer in Florida can be sued separately from his business entity.

RE: Working in other States, "Your Name", PE

Here's the thing, a one person LLC doesn't provide much. Here's why... A lawyer will ALWAYS name you by name is a lawsuit in addition to your business name you are operating under.

Here are other important factors:

1. Limited Liability about protecting co-members (basically your business partners) from being held with unlimited liability to your mistakes.
2. Limited liability is not there for protecting the person who does the work from being held fully responsible for their actions.
3. All business owners are liable for the work of their employees. However, licensed employees maybe held liable for their actions and their employer can not shield them from being liable but the owners of the firm will be jointly liable along with the licensed employee who made the mistakes or errors and being sued.
4. When you are a one person LLC, you really can't reduce your professional liability for work you performed. If you did it, you are fully liable to unlimited extent of any professional activity you perform. Since you aren't a "silent partner" in the process, limited liability is somewhat moot for work you perform. In a multi-person LLC, your liability maybe limited if you had no active role with the work such as being a passive partner/member of the LLC/LLP.

How do they do this, it's called "piercing the corporate veil". This applies to all business entities that provides limited liability protections.

In a corporation, everyone who owns a part of a corporation are shareholders. Passive shareholders benefits from limited liability but the more you are actively involved with the day to day operations of a business, the less protection by the limited liability provisions, you would have.


Justice. Courts aren't going to just give you a "Get out of jail free" card. It isn't the intent of any legislative body to allow that. If you were directly involved then you will be directly sued due to your direct involvement. License or not, you would face this. Occupational license has nothing to do with it. As a building designer, (no state license), I am still liable 100% for what I do no matter what kind of business entity I form.

Limited liability protection gives you the best protection if you are a passive partner. If you are involved, your liability exposure increase.

Building Designer | Architect/Engineer (Sweden,Norway, Finland, and Denmark [including Greenland])

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