Is your home really the right location for your business? Contrary to popular belief, not every business is right for home. If you are considering building your own office or business from home, let’s take a look at the things you need to consider first.
Things to consider before choosing your home as a business location
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a location for your business start-up and whilst your home might at first seem the most convenient solution, it’s not always the most practical. In this blog post I will explore whether your home is the right location for your business from my own personal experience.
I have ran an online ecommerce store selling goods that I had to store in my home, a handmade craft business and a digital marketing business which is online only.
My husband has ran two of his own businesses from home too; a handyman business and a furniture making business.
We also know several people who run businesses from home, from beauticians to photographers to seamstresses.
Having experienced running our own home businesses for several years and having many conversations with those who we know that do the same, we’ve been able to assess the many pros and cons of running various business types from home.
There are so many different business types and whilst many are suited to a home environment, others are not. It will also depend on your own home set up, location, lifestyle and business' needs.
Here are some things to consider whether you need a separate business premises or not.
Access and delivery space
If you have deliveries coming to your property then you need to seriously consider if you have suitable parking, access and delivery space at your premises. If your home is in a busy centre with no off road parking or stopping then can a delivery van easily park outside or can a HGV? If you are selling goods online then how do you expect to accept pallet deliveries of stock? Is it practical for you to receive these deliveries at your home?
You need to consider the sorts of things you’ll be ordering for your business, their size and the types of deliveries. Will goods be delivered by a regular parcel service or will heavy goods vehicles need to get to your property and delivery pallets of goods? This is where your business type is so important and whether it is suitable for the type of home you have.
Whilst delivery vans might be able to temporarily park to deliver to your home, what about regular parking? If you have clients or customers coming to your home then they will need to park outside or close by.
If you’re running a beauty business, offer holistic treatments or photography sessions, for example, then clients could be in your home from one hour to several hours at a time. This is only a practical business idea to run from home if you have the ability to park outside your home for long periods of time, otherwise it may ruin the customer's experience.
Your home interior and design
It’s very likely your house is already decorated for the purpose of being a home and this just isn’t suitable for being a workspace without some monetary investment or changes.
If you are creating a simple office for one or two people then this is more likely to be possible in a home. However, if you start adding more staff and have clients coming through on a daily basis, then you need to factor in the room decor and furnishings to accommodate higher footfall. For example, actual business and office premises will use commercial carpet instead of residential carpet to cope with regular foot traffic.
Your home should be welcoming, professional and have enough natural light for your clients to feel at ease when they visit. Your home should also have enough room for the number of staff that you need to work from it, as well as somewhere comfortable for them to take breaks in.
Different types of businesses require different types of space. Running a home-based business requires a space that is big enough to accommodate all the necessary equipment while also being quiet enough for people to work.
If you are a writer, designer, or consultant then the benefits of running your business from home outweigh the negatives. However, most small businesses are not built with the same needs as these home-based businesses are.
Also, if you are doing more than simply working from home yourself online, and are converting a section of your house into a business only area, then you may need to apply for a change of use for your premises, or part of your premises, with your local council.
Of course you can probably find storage space for stock and supplies anywhere in your home if needs must and you have your heart set on your business idea, but consider where you will store these things in the long term. I doubt you want piles of electronics surrounding you in the living room if your dream is to sell these on Amazon and eBay.
If you are making goods, be it furniture or clothing, do you have somewhere safe and practical to store them? It’s all very well setting up a reclaimed furniture upcycling business, but where will you store the pieces of furniture until they sell? What if customers want to come and view them - do you have space to show them the various pieces in a nice room easily?
When selling online I started out with boxes of goods under my bed, in the wardrobe, in the cupboards! We lived in a flat and I had to make the most of every storage space I could find. Starting out it was fine, but not a long term goal! When we moved house, a converted garage proved the perfect storage space to build shelving and store stock properly with easy access.
Ben’s furniture has been stored in a separate purpose built shed and also a spare room in the house. It can still take over and long term a storage unit or new location will have to be considered.
Not only do you need to consider how noisy it is where you live, but also how much noise your business might make.
If you are a masseuse then ideally you need to have a separate relaxing room to provide the treatments, but you definitely need to ensure this room is noise-free! It’s no good offering a relaxation type of service in your home if you have a noisy dog barking next door all day long or a keen DIY enthusiast drilling all day long.
On the other hand, how noisy will your business be?
Perhaps you desire to teach how to play musical instruments from your home, but do you have adjoining neighbours who will hear the noise all day long?
Will you be sawing and sanding wood with power tools all day long to make furniture?
Do you have a soundproofed room or can you create one?
If you need to meet clients or potential clients face to face at your business location, then you’ll want and need to give a good perception of your business from its legitimacy to its professionalism.
What does your home and neighbourhood say about you? Although many of us strive to be non-judgemental, it can often be engrained in us as well as our clients.
If you have the space to create a professional office within your home then great, but if not then you might need to consider a purpose built garden room or even hiring an office space to meet clients.
Even if you don’t have clients coming to your home, you might wish to separate your work life from your personal life and a dedicated office/work space in your home is a great way to do this.
Without an extra room for your business, your options may be quite limited when it comes to the type of business you can run at home. There are still plenty of options from making cakes professionally in your kitchen, childminding in your own living space and running an online business using a laptop anywhere in the house.
Final thoughts: It’s really important to make sure your business type is suited to your home set-up, surrounds and location. Assessing your business needs as a whole and exactly how they’ll fit into your home is a must.
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