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If your dream is to work from home, make it a reality. Millions of small business owners start a business and realize they can run it from home just as effectively as in an office. That being said, before you jump headfirst into starting a business from home, start by securing a home occupation permit.

Who Needs a Home Occupation License?

Many businesses that operate out of homes require a home occupation permit, but not all. Here is a sampling of businesses requiring this type of building license:

  • Consulting businesses
  • Retail businesses if products are sold outside of the home
  • Janitorial businesses where clients are outside of the home
  • Landscaping businesses where clients are outside of the home

As long as your home-based business does not create abnormal vehicular or pedestrian traffic or use high-power machines, and as long as it does not create noise or physical pollution, your city business license board should approve your application for a home occupation license.

Typical Rules with a Home Occupation License

Your licensing agency wants to ensure that you running a business out of your home won’t interfere with normal life for your neighbors. That means that you can’t have clients blocking your neighbors’ parking or coming in and out of your home constantly, you can’t alter the structure of your home for your business, and you can’t cause unnecessary traffic on your street.

Applying for Your Home Occupation Permit

Once you determine that you can meet all the requirements of your city’s business license board, apply for your home occupation license, as well as any other business licenses, permits & tax documents you need to fill out. The zoning commission will then determine whether the business you want to start is a good fit for your area. If there is some question as to whether it is an appropriate business, a business hearing may be held to determine the answer. If it’s not determined to be appropriate, your home occupation license may be denied.

Once you have been approved for your license, it is valid as long as you operate your business out of your home. If you move or change the type of home-based business you run, you will need to reapply for a new home occupation permit.

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