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Is Your House Equipped to Start a Home Business? What to Consider

Is Your House Equipped to Start a Home Business? What to Consider

If you’re starting a home business, follow this guide to equip your house and create a successful workspace. 

Starting your own home business can be a highly rewarding venture—as long as you do it right. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of being an entrepreneur that you forget to check off the most essential requirements to ensure your venture operates within legal bounds and achieves sustainability. Below, we explore eight key factors to consider before starting your home brand.

1. Navigating possible violations

If you’re renting, launching a business could contravene your lease agreement. Many landlords are wary of businesses operating from rental properties due to potential increases in foot traffic, utility usage, noise disturbances and more.

Homeowners aren’t exempt from scrutiny; check if your home business aligns with homeowners associations (HOA) covenants. The last thing you want is some upset neighbor calling the authorities on you or getting fined.

2. Securing licenses and permits

Depending on the kind of home firm you want to run, you might need various licenses and permits before operations can begin. For example, many states require in-home daycare centers to obtain a license and meet certain health and safety standards.

Even a simple business sign outside your home may need a permit. Most counties and HOAs have specific sign ordinances, with violations punishable by fines up to US$100 per illegal sign. In any case, if you’re serious about your organization, you wouldn’t risk any unnecessary legal hurdles over licensing or permit issues.

3. Establishing a designated workspace

Starting and running a company requires dedication and focus, even more so when it’s from home. There’s no shortage of potential distractions—kids playing, pets running around, neighbors yelling, the list goes on.

To separate professional from personal life when starting a home brand, try to set apart a designated work area in your home. Ideally, it should be in a separate room, preferably one farthest away from the main living areas. This space should also emulate a formal office setting so that when you walk in, it immediately registers in your subconscious that you’re there to work. This setting can enhance your productivity and help you appear more professional when meeting customers in person or virtually.

4. Ensuring robust communications connectivity

Your brand’s connectivity needs vary depending on several factors, including the type of venture and how many people you employ. For example, if you operate a call center, you may need to equip your work area with landline phone jacks.

In general, a robust home internet connection is vital for most home businesses. You’ll want to opt for a slightly higher bandwidth than currently needed to accommodate growth. Generally speaking, 75 Mbps should suffice for small businesses, whereas you might need 1,000 Mbps or even more for larger enterprises with multiple employees.

5. Managing increased utility consumption

According to Bankrate, U.S. households paid nearly US$7,000 in utility bills in 2023. Expect to pay more when you conduct corporate activities at home. Recent statistics suggest a home office will increase electricity and internet costs by US$10 to US$500 monthly. The increased use of bathroom and kitchen facilities from spending all your day at home will also impact your water bill.

Plan for these additional costs before starting your business. For instance, you can prioritize installing energy-saving appliances and position your workstation near a natural light source to save money on artificial light.

6. Allocating sufficient storage space

If your home firm involves handling and storing physical items, ensure you have enough room for them. For example, many e-commerce stores may require storage space for their inventory.

Multiple options are available—clean out the basement or attic, repurpose the garage, add a new room or even rent a nearby storage facility. What’s important is the space is secure, accessible and scalable.

Remember to account for proper waste management in your organization and storage areas, as well. Start your home venture with all the right environmental practices, or risk drawing ire from the people living with and around you.

7. Planning for tech upgrades

Setting up a home office might require significant technology investments or upgrades. Check your current computer specs, ensuring they are up to the task with modern operational requirements. A work laptop in the US$600–US$999 range can handle most of your computing needs. For intensive tasks, consider a desktop computer with dual monitors to maximize your screen space.

Moreover, think about other tech-related upgrades as well. For instance, if your home business collects customer data—such as delivery addresses and payment information—you’ll want to invest in cybersecurity solutions to ensure regulatory compliance and maintain client trust.

8. Expanding insurance coverage

Going into a home startup means potentially exposing yourself, your family and your property to various risks. Hence, it’s important to think about how you can manage these concerns from an insurance standpoint. For instance, you may need additional coverage if you use your car for your offerings. Consider getting general liability insurance to cover accidental injuries, property damage and related problems.

Forbes estimates an average business owner’s policy will cost you an additional US$57 monthly on top of your home insurance—a small price for peace of mind. Of course, the premium will be higher with add-ons like cyber liability and workers’ compensation coverage.

Is starting a home business worth it?

Many of today’s tech giants started in their founders’ garages, so the potential for success is evident. The main benefits of starting a home business include:

●  Lower startup costs: While initial expenses are inevitable, the financial burden of buying or leasing commercial space isn’t one of them. This significantly reduces the barrier to entry for aspiring entrepreneurs.

●  Fewer overheads: Starting a home business lets you save on daily commuting costs, work attire and vehicle maintenance, translating into substantial savings over time.

●  Accessibility to talent: Online searches for “remote jobs” surged nearly 400% from 2019 to 2022, suggesting more and more people are exploring work-from-home options. This trend not only expands your talent pool but also reflects a societal shift towards flexible work environments.

●  Tax deductions: You can deduct expenses as the owner of a registered home enterprise. These include mortgage insurance, repairs and other business expenditures as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows. This can significantly lower your taxable income.

●  Control over your schedule: Being in charge of your day is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of starting a home venture. You can customize your work hours for a better work-life balance, which is essential for long-term well-being and productivity.

However, the journey is not without challenges. For one, it will likely lead to disruptions in your household dynamics. Carving out space for your office cramps the lifestyle you and your family are used to living.

Also, getting the required licenses might take time, especially in neighborhoods with strict local ordinances. These restrictions could limit your growth or prevent it from starting at all.

Lastly, a home business might look less professional, especially to high-value clientele. This might raise doubts about your legitimacy even if you’re the best at your craft. Additionally, it could limit access to certain funding sources, such as angel investors and government grants.

Preparing your home for business success

Running a successful home-based enterprise means getting it right from the get-go. By accounting for these considerations, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the challenges of operating your startup from home and thrive. Remember, the key to thriving in a home-based environment lies in meticulous planning, adherence to legal requirements and a clear separation of work and personal spaces.

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