Can You Run a Contracting Business From Home?
When you are first looking at ways to set up your contracting business, overhead costs are a big deal. So is the space you need to work. Although everyone dreams of having a warehouse full of equipment that’s paid off and inventory ready to go, you have to start somewhere. For some people, somewhere might be their own homes. Read this checklist and see if your home could be a good place to set up an office while you work on establishing a regular client base.
- There Are No Issues With Local Licensing and Zoning Ordinances
Before you can start planning out a home-based business, you must find out if you can have a business in your neighborhood. Zoning ordinances tend to be region-specific, so one city might be much more relaxed than another. This could place limits on the types of work you can do from home. Be sure to factor in the dictates of your homeowners association (HOA) if you have one. If you rent, get your landlord’s approval in writing before filing your business license at your home address.
- You’ve Got a Solution for Inventory and Equipment Management
Some companies can be run from a laptop at a coffee shop, but most construction fields need more dedicated space. Think seriously about your equipment and inventory obligations. If you can limit most of your regular tools to a truck you can secure each night, this might be an obvious alternative to paying for warehouse space. When your job requires you to stock some things inside your home, confirm that you can manage it without letting the business take over your living space.
- Insurance Can Protect Your Investment
Homeowners and renter’s insurance often covers items lost inside the home, but they may not apply to your business. Make sure that the policy you carry will protect your investment in the company in case something happens to your home. Ask your insurance agent about how to handle employees or clients coming to your home for work or consultations, if you plan to do either.
- You Can Keep Home and Business Life Separate
You don’t necessarily need to have a designated home office to run a business from your house or apartment. If you do, the separation can help to keep you more organized. If you cannot spare an entire room to your contracting work, make sure that you can divide your home life and your work obligations. This will help avoid confusion and minimize the stress of looking for a misplaced invoice or payment.
- You Have a Way to Collaborate With Employees and Clients
Besides the legal concerns of bringing workers and potential customers into your home, you should also consider the practical aspects. A lot of contractors do most of their work at a client site, which means that you and anyone working with you won’t be at your house most of the time. If you don’t plan to have a dedicated space for others to meet with you, think about investing in software that streamlines common business tasks like messaging or invoices. Look into renting coworking space for larger meetings or important presentations.
- The Location Makes Sense for Your Commuting Needs
Running a business from home is about convenience, so make sure it’s convenient. Situate your home in the context of areas where you will work, and add in your warehouse if you plan to keep one. Think about traffic patterns and how long it will take you to get home to prepare paperwork when you need to do so in the middle of the day. If working from home will force you to spend hours a day driving from one place to the next, it might be more practical to consider renting a space closer to client job sites.
Working from home may feel like a dream, but you want to build it from reality. Evaluating the items on this checklist helps you decide if your home will work best for your contracting career. To get started, contact us at CSLS today!