Getting Started at Home
Advantages of working from home
Working from home has never been easier or more cost-effective. Technology makes it possible to run an entire business from a desktop computer or a handheld device in ways that even 10 years ago were not possible.
There are many advantages to working from home, including:
Flexible working hours. You decide when and where you work.
No time wasted in commuting
It’s cheap. There are low overheads and large potential savings on-premises and travel costs
Some tax benefits
Higher productivity through fewer distractions and interruptions
Convenience and comfort
On the other side of the coin there are some drawbacks which can include:
Isolation. This can be a challenge for people who need and enjoy social contact.
Potential privacy concerns if you are seeing clients at home
Fewer promotion opportunities than a bricks and mortar business
Notwithstanding the above re no distractions, you may have others at home who can be a potential distraction.
Brief premises checklist for running a home-based business
Depending on the type of business, there can be a number of important considerations in relation to your premises that you will need to take into account.
Before committing yourself to costly home alterations, be sure to seek professional advice from an accountant or tax agent on whether any tax deductions might be applicable and whether they may be any capital gains tax implications for your home.
Does your business require:
A working area for the business separate from household
A separate entrance for clients
Adequate parking for customers and /or employees
High speed internet
Adequate storage areas
A large mail box suitable for business mail
Any special utility services / power points etc.
Are these already in place?
Could it be done feasibly at reasonable cost and convenience?
Most local authorities have rules about the use of property and land within their area. Sometimes whole areas are designated for particular purposes, such as ‘residential’ or ‘industrial’. To avoid future problems, it is essential to find out, before you start, whether or not you would be allowed to run a business from your home. The answer may depend on the kind of business you want to run. Also, different local authorities have different rules.
The local authority will probably ask you a number of questions about the business you are proposing to run. They may send an inspector to your home to assess such things as the availability of parking space and the effect of noise on other residents. Since a certain amount of time will be required before a decision is made, be available to submit your application as early as possible.
As an example, in New South Wales, home-based businesses can only be operated on either ‘home occupation’ or ‘cottage industry’ residential zonings. Where motor vehicle traffic is increased due to business activities or additional air, noise or visual pollution is caused, development approval will be refused. If the business employs others or requires motor vehicle repair or used vehicle licences, a shop and factory licence, second-hand dealer’s licence, pressure vessel licence or meat or food licences, permission will generally be refused by the local authority.
Your home business will also be subject to all of the legislative and regulatory requirements that impact all other businesses.