With remote working part of ‘the new normal’, entrepreneurs and business owners are beginning to consider how they can offer their services from the comfort of their own homes. However, with the vast majority being used to working in a more traditional, commercial setting, it begs the question: can you run a business from home? With several legal aspects to consider and the prospect of adapting to work in a completely new way, this can be daunting. 

But, it’s not impossible.

In this article, we’ll be sharing useful advice on how you can effectively run your business from home, along with some top remote working tips to help get you started. We’ll cover:

  • Running a business from home
  • Do I need permission to run a home-based business?
  • Thinking long term
  • Top tips for working from home

Running a business from home

Before you ditch your commercial property for good, you need to decide if the service you’re planning on offering can be delivered in your home. You also need to consider whether it’s financially viable to do so, particularly if you may be hiring employees.

You also need to think about your set-up, whether it’s an in-person service or online. For example, if you’re a beautician, do you have the right equipment and does your workspace meet health and safety regulations? If you’re offering an online service, do you have a reliable broadband provider and up-to-date technology?

However, prior to buying potentially costly equipment and planning extensive home renovations, you should check whether your business can be legally run from your property. 

Do I need permission to run a home-based business?

In short, most likely. Whether you’re in a council house, renting or own your home, there are regulations in place to ensure that your business isn’t causing unnecessary property damage or disturbance to others. 

If granted permission, this could affect the amount of Council Tax that you pay, so it’s worth factoring this into your business expenses. In addition to this, it’s helpful to research different insurance policies as your home insurance may not cover your business. This is especially true if you are planning on keeping stock on your property, so make sure you check.

The UK Government website has a useful page on everything you need to know about each property type, tax adjustments and insurance. Here’s a quick overview of who you may need to be in contact with:

Council houses – Reach out to your local council 

Rented houses – Seek permission from your landlord

Owned houses – Check with your mortgage provider and ensure there are no ‘restrictive covenants’ on your property (this can be obtained from the Land Registry or in the documents your solicitor provided when you purchased your house)

If you’ve got the go-ahead and you’re ready to open for business, the final step to officially setting up your home business is to inform HMRC or Companies House or both.

Thinking long-term

You don’t want to waste your time, energy and money on a home-based business idea that won’t be successful. Take some time to create a business plan that takes your new environment, and the challenges it may present, into consideration. For example, if you’re used to running a physical shop, how will you market yourself now that you’re not necessarily as visible to potential customers? If you’re setting up a new business, how will you get clients on board?

Top tips for working from home

Whilst there are many benefits that can be enjoyed by working from home, it can take some getting used to if you’ve never worked in this way before. We’ve listed some of our top tips below:

1) Set (and stick to) a routine

When working from home, it can be very easy to blur the line between your professional and personal life, leaving your days feeling unstructured and stressful. That’s why it’s a good idea to set yourself a schedule for each day and ensure that you ‘switch off’ when you’re not working.

2) Create a home office environment

Again, it’s vital that you keep your personal and professional lives separate in the same way you would if you worked in an office or other commercial building. If you can, set up a ‘home office’ in a room where there are no distractions, such as a TV. 

If you’re planning on welcoming customers into your home, think about creating a dedicated area that’s separate from your living space. 

3) Take regular breaks

Working from home provides less structure than a typical day in a commercial environment, so you may forget to take breaks at regular intervals, which can lead to increased levels of stress. 

To ensure you’re doing your best work and running your business as effectively as possible, it’s essential that you give yourself time to step away from your work for a while. Even if it’s only five minutes here and there throughout the day, it can make a difference.

4) Set boundaries

Do you have company at home? If so, it may be necessary to talk to your housemates, partners, children, siblings or parents about your new set-up. Just because you’re running your business from home, doesn’t mean you’re available during working hours. 

Make it easier to run your business from home

If you’re considering taking the leap and running your business from home, there is a lot to think about. Why not make some of those tasks simpler?

With the Countingup app, you can easily make payments, get cash flow insights, tax estimates and more at the touch of a button. By automating these processes, you can spend less time focusing on time-consuming financial admin and, instead, do what you do best.

Find out more here and sign up free today.