Make working from home work for you

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

The benefits of running your business from your home are numerous. Just think of the lower petrol costs, extra time with your family and freedom to manage your own office hours, and you’ll soon be dragging a desk into your spare bedroom.

But first take a minute to think it through though. Moving your business into your home is trickier than it sounds.

Get the legal matters straightened out

Running a business from home is only legal if your house is partially registered as a commercial property, especially if you plan on opening a sales point. Find out about zoning laws in your area before getting too excited about moving your business home.

Bear in mind that appealing to a zoning law can only grant permission for running a venture from a single property. The presence of other businesses in your street doesn’t mean you are automatically allowed to start yours. There are exceptions to zoning laws partaking to music teachers, private tutors and some medical practitioners. Research the legal implications of your business before taking steps to rezone your property.

Make sure you have permission

Complaints from neighbours can force you to shut down your home business. Avoid this trying situation by getting their permission beforehand.

Be upfront about noise – whether from manufacturing machinery, or playing children if you are starting a day-care service. Also warn your neighbours if you are expecting clients to visit your house. This is especially true if you will have to provide parking for multiple clients, as in the case of a hair salon. Neighbours will soon grow impatient if they find strange cars in their driveways or on their lawns, so pre-empt their frustration by having a non-intrusive parking plan in place.

Keep thinking of your home as separate from your business

Even though your office or workshop will be on your property, maintain separate business insurance, separate amenities like phone lines and internet connections, and even a separate billing address. Just because your personal and professional lives share space, this doesn’t mean the admin should overlap. Also avoid buying equipment on your home loan. Rather get a separate bond or asset finance for major business expenses.

Be strict about time management

Once everything else is in place, and you’ve successfully moved your business into your home, the greatest challenge is creating a productive atmosphere in a space that you would normally associate with free time.

Treat your home business as you would an outside office. Get up early, dress appropriately and leave errands for lunch times and after business hours. Failing to set a routine in place might tempt you to pop out continuously throughout the day, or encourage your family to think of your job as “less serious”. Put parameters in place from the start to avoid having to manage distractions later.

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