Running your own business from home has a real charm to it. You’re your own boss. Your working hours are flexible. Costs are low since you don’t have to pay rent on a brick-and-mortar office. And there’s no need to ask permission from anyone to, say, walk your dog when the spirit moves you.
That said, not everyone is hardwired for running a successful home-based business. Making a serious go of it requires careful planning and hard work.
Getting ready to take the plunge? Here are 10 tips you’ll want to consider.
1. Pay attention to the permits
If you’re running a small business out of your home, you may need tax registrations, business and occupational licenses, and permits from state and local governments in order to operate legally. Check to see that your homeowner’s association is OK with the idea. It might have restrictions.
For help with questions like these, tap the experts at SCORE, a nonprofit that offers free business advice. The U.S. Small Business Administration is another source of help in getting you up to speed on permits and more. AARP’s small business center also includes articles and advice.
2. Update your insurance
It’s a good idea to add an insurance rider to your homeowner’s or renter’s policy in case a delivery person or client tumbles on your steps. Home-business owners typically get little or no coverage from their standard homeowner’s policy.
The cost of a rider might be around $100 a year per $2,500 of additional coverage. The added cost would vary by the type of work you do, the amount of insurance you want and the volume of inventory stored at home that you’ll want to protect from theft or damage.
If you need further coverage, you can opt for a business owners policy — an insurance package that covers your business property and provides liability coverage for clients coming to your home. These policies generally cost from $500 to $3,500 per year.
Each state has its own rules about insurance that can be offered to home-based outfits. Look up your particulars at the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group and information clearinghouse.