This month Network readers ask questions about accounting, insurance, and starting a school. And one reader has a question about business etiquette: how much should he charge his friends?

* * *

Cooking Recipes
I am planning to establish a cooking school to take advantage of what I perceive is a renewed interest in cooking, and I need help getting started. Are there resources available that specifically address setting up a school?

Mona Diaz

Bordentown, N.J.

Fit for Taxes
Many of my acquaintances work for large corporations that buy country-club memberships for key managers' use. The corporation writes that off as an expense. I'd like to get a similar membership for myself and pay for it through my C corporation, but my accountant told me I would have to count it as a fringe benefit to me from the company and pay personal taxes on it. My big-company peers don't have to do this. And although they get audited regularly, this is never flagged. So who's wrong, my acquaintances or my accountant?

Tore Arnesen


Arnesen & Associates

Broomfield, Colo.

Risk Takers
I'm talking to a company that wants to test-market a sports product I've developed. My problem is liability insurance. Efforts to locate an underwriter through local independent agents have produced nothing. This type of product apparently rates just below a bomb for insurability. Where can I find the names of reputable agencies willing to cover a new venture?

Lynn L. Gage

Warren, Pa.

Such a Deal
This summer I took the plunge. Now all is going well for my mobile bicycle-sales-and-repair business. But I did not anticipate my most difficult problem: doing business with friends. I assume they expect a discount -- I would. How much should I offer? Ten percent above cost? Ten percent below normal price? What if two friends talk and their deals are different? I may go broke if I don't come up with a consistent policy.

Bryan O. Chaney

Fuller Cyclery