Home Office Zoning Issues to Consider

By Garrett Sutton, Esq.

Where you do business will certainly affect costs, but that should not be your only concern. Here are 5 hazards to consider before deciding to work from home.

1. Zoning & Residential Restrictions

If you’re doing business out of your house, you have to take into consideration whether your neighborhood is zoned to allow you to run a commercial enterprise from home. In some residential neighborhoods you can’t display signs. Others look at increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic and parking concerns.

2. Home Office Challenges for Selling Goods or Storing Chemicals

If you’re selling goods rather than services or storing any kind of chemicals or hazardous materials you may not have the option of a home office. This means you may not be able to run your house painting business out of your house. Your local planning department or zoning board in city or county offices can tell you whether or not what you have in mind is legal. If you’re in an apartment or condo, administration for the building should be able to tell you, or at least indicate what governmental body can tell you.

3. Location, Location, Location

On the flip side, some businesses flourish in the right location. You may find you’re more visible in an office building or warehouse or strip mall and that the extra traffic you bring in will more than make up the difference you’re paying in rent.

4. Household Distractions

One more consideration if you’re thinking about a home office is separating home and home office. That isn’t always as easy as it sounds. The temptation to throw in a load of laundry instead of returning phone calls or working on a project might not make or break the new business, but your time is better spent pursuing your business, not doing laundry. Even if you’re sure you have the discipline to run a business out of your home, you need to take into account whether your family is, and whether they’ll give you space and time to work.

If all systems still seem go for working from home, consider some of the following:

  • For a professional address and consistency if you happen to move to a new house, get a post office box for your business (this also stops customers from coming by without an appointment, at least the first time when they don’t know where you live).
  • Get a second phone line for your business use.

5. Working 24/7

Working from home allows you to be flexible in your schedule, cuts out any commute time and means you can run back in to “the office” if you forgot something that just can’t wait till the next day. Just don’t fall prey to the 24/7 aspect of working where you live – just because you’re awake doesn’t mean you have to be working.

Bookmark this article.