I am a resident of the state of Pennsylvania in the United States, and I occasionally do website design and hosting support for small businesses in my area. I generally don't do this for money, it is more because I enjoy doing it and helping out friends and acquaintances I know through local small business organizations and meetups, and I hate to see these scammy SEO optimization companies charging what I feel are exorbitant fees so I have offered to help a number of small businesses with their website and email hosting for what I feel is fair and not exploitative. Generally I prefer barter-in-kind for my services (Eg. Free or discounted remodeling, lawn service, tax services, etc...) and my accountant makes sure I am square with the IRS.
I am working on a website for a customer that has a number of products that he wishes to sell on his website, and as I usually do websites through customized Wordpress templates, I have the option to install a commerce plugin that will handle the payment processing side of things. I am fully qualified and comfortable to do this work, however I have only historically ever done integration with payment processors in the role of an employee for another organization, and as such I never had to worry much about the potential damage from cyber crime.
My concern is that if I set this up for this client, and (knock on wood) the client or his customers became negatively impacted by a security exploit in the plugin or payment processor, then I would be potentially drawn into litigation.
As I do not have an LLC and this is more of a hobby job for me, I could stand to fall into personal bankruptcy in the worst case scenario no? Further I looked into cyber crime insurance a few years back for an unrelated matter and the quote I had seen given to a different client was far beyond the realm of affordability for either myself or my clients.
What steps short of establishing an LLC can I take to protect myself here? Is there any kind of legal document or agreement that I could sign with my client that would absolve me of any legal responsibility for the use of the websites online store such that I am at least somewhat protected?
If not then I am thinking I will not be comfortable doing an online store for this client.