If you are looking to start up a business, it is likely to be home based, at least in the early days. Figures suggest that over 60% of businesses start in this way and that there are 2.9m businesses in the UK operating from home.
This blog looks at some of the common questions regarding working from home.
Do I need planning permission?
This will not normally be required if your business is quietly accommodated within your home. However, permission may be required where, for example, your business venture gives rise to more traffic or causes a disturbance to neighbours. If in any doubt, you should contact your local council.
Will I have to pay business rates?
You will not be expected to pay business rates if you operate alone from a home office. But business rates may be levied in certain circumstances, such as if you employ others to work at your home or if you convert your home for business purposes. Your local council will be able to advise. If you do need to pay business rates, be sure to check if you are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme, which may reduce the amount payable.
I live in rented accommodation; can I run a business from there?
You will need to get your landlord’s permission to start a business, but current regulations mean that landlords cannot deny permission without “reasonable” grounds.
Do I need to tell my mortgage provider?
Yes. Whilst your mortgage repayments are unlikely to change, your provider should be aware of how your home is being used.
Am I covered by my home insurance?
No. You should get your insurance provider to amend your existing policy to include business cover. You should also consider whether public liability and/or professional indemnity insurance are needed.
What about health and safety?
Small businesses with less than five employees do not need a written health and safety policy. However, you are responsible for your own welfare as well as that of employees and customers entering your home. You should make sure potential risks are addressed, for example, workstations set at the right height, cable tidies used for trailing wires and so on.
Any tips on kitting out a home office?
- A separate PC/laptop – As you get more customer information, contacts etc., you will not want to be sharing your computer with family members/flatmates, especially in light of the new data protection regulations (GDPR).
- A multi-function printer – A device that can print, photocopy, scan and fax all in one will save space.
- Broadband – Fast reliable internet connectivity is a must in today’s business environment to engage with others and promote your business, so search around for a good supplier.
- A separate business phone line is often a good idea to maintain professionalism.