Getting started at home

  • Advantages of working from home
  • Disadvantages
  • Home business premises suitability checklist
  • Council requirements

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 hand held 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 less distractions and interruptions
  • Convenience and comfort

Disadvantages

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.

      Does your business require any of the following?Yes/NoIf ‘yes’, is it already in place?If “no”, can it be done feasibly at reasonable cost and convenience?
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.

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.

Council requirements

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 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, it is 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. You can learn more about these throughout this website.