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Running a business from home is how lots of budding entrepreneurs begin, but you might need to get permission from different authorities before starting out.

Many small businesses are set up from home, especially when they’re first getting started. Here are a few best practice top tips you need to know about running your home business.


With a business plan prepared, its time to work on household admin and make friends with the neighbours!

When you start and grow your business from home, you may have a few questions about who you need to inform. Here are the answers.

Q: Do I need planning permission?

A: 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?

If your house is [pretty much going to remain a house, with your business quietly accommodated within it, then permission shouldn’t be required. If you’re unsure, contact your local council to seek their views.

Q: Do I need to tell the local authority I’m working from home?

A: This depends on whether you pass the planning test. If you need planning permission, you’ll have to inform your local authority.

Q: Do I need to tell the landlord?

A: Yes, its 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.

Q: Do I need to inform my mortgage provider?

A: Yes, its best to let them know – even though it shouldn’t mean any change in the mortgage repayment.

Q: What about my insurance provider? Do they need to know?

A: 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 the 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.

Q: Do I need protection for when customer and contacts come to visit?

A: 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 homeworking.

Q: Should I tell the neighbours?

A: Yes, see to the right for more advice!

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 or some chocolates to thank them for their cooperation.

Source: Home Business Guide, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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