Are you interested in starting a small business from home? If you are, you might think that you can start regardless of how your property is zoned, but you need to be sure that it is zoned for commercial use. The local zoning regulations, ordinances and bylaws may prohibit certain kinds of businesses from being run from residential properties.
Fortunately, the state government does make it easy to find out about those regulations and ordinances based on the city you live in. You can search for them on the state government website.
Home-based businesses may require permits and licensing
Depending on exactly where you live and the zoning already in place, you may need special licensing and permits to run your business from home. The Small Business Administration has specific requirements by state available on its website. In general, you may need:
- A professional license
- Health and safety permits
- Sign permits
- A general business license
- A sales tax license
…or one of many other permissive documents.
What can you do if your home isn’t zoned for the business you want?
It is possible that you could ask to have the zoning changed to allow you to run your business from home. For example, you might petition to change the zoning of your property if your residence is right next to another business, since running a business there wouldn’t necessarily change the feel of the neighborhood.
If you want to seek a zoning variance to deviate from the current zoning requirements, it’s important to do your research first and to look into petitioning the local government only once you know exactly how much space you’ll need, the potential impact of your business on the surrounding neighborhood and other factors that may influence the city’s decision.
Getting a zoning variance or having the zoning changed isn’t always easy, so it’s important for you to look into your legal options. It’s better not to open or start planning your business until you know that the variance is going to be approved. The application time, as well as any appeals you may need, should be considered in your business plan.