Running your business from home
If your business is starting from humble beginnings and using the family home as HQ, you might want to check that your allowed to manage your business from a residential dwelling.
Do you need planning permission to run my business from home?
You’ll need planning permission to base your business at home if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions:
- will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
- will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
- will your business involve any activities that are unusual in a residential area?
- will your business disturb the neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?
Do I need to tell the local authority I'm working from home?
This depends on whether you pass the planning test. If you need planning permission, you’ll have to inform your local authority.
Do I need to tell the landlord?
Yes, it’s best to let them know that you will be working from home. The good news is that the government announced on 1 November 2010 that social landlords should review any contracts prohibiting people from running a business from home.
Do I need to inform your mortgage provider?
Yes, it’s best to let them know - even though it shouldn't mean any change in the mortgage repayments.
What about my insurance provider? Do they need to know?
Yes, do inform your insurance company. Tell them about the equipment and stock you have at home. An upgrade from a domestic to a business policy is not usually expensive so don’t be put off in making this call. Your insurance provider is likely to recommend that you also take out public liability insurance in case anyone who comes to visit suffers an injury in or around your home office.
Do I need protection for when customers and contacts come to visit?
Yes, carry out a health and safety check, which is easy to do by following the steps set out by the Health and Safety Executive in their home-working guide (PDF available at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf).
Should I tell the neighbours?
Yes, of course you should.
Explain to your neighbours that you are running a business from home and that it shouldn't cause them any disturbance. (If it will cause them disturbance, see above: you’ll need planning emission!)
- Keep your promise and try to keep disruptions to a minimum. Avoid big heavy deliveries at anti-social hours and streams of client traffic clogging up the roads.
- If the business reaches a major milestone, maybe host a party for your neighbours.
- Make friends with other homeworkers in your neighbourhood, so you can demonstrate together that the way you work is beneficial to the economy of the area and its safety, for example you can keep an eye on your neighbours’ houses during the day.
If you know of a time when there’ll be an unusual amount of activity in your home office, let your neighbours know in advance and perhaps send a bottle of wine to thank them for their cooperation.
If you are a Limited Company you might also want to consider.
You must display a sign showing your company name at your registered company address and wherever your business operates. If you’re running your business from home, you don’t need to display a sign there.
The signs must be easy to read and to see at any tie, not just when you'er open.
Stationery and promotional material
You must include your company’s name on all company documents, publicity and letters.
On business letters, order forms, invoices and websites, you must show:
the company’s registered number
its registered office address
where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
the fact that it’s a limited company (usually by spelling out the company’s full name including ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’)
If you want to include directors’ names, you must list all of them.