Can I Run My Business Out of My Home?

Some places frown on home-based businesses, and some businesses should never be run out of the home. What you should know before starting out. Whether you can run a business out of your home and what will be required involves the laws in your city and county (ordinances), the characteristics of your neighborhood, and your tolerance for risk. County and city occupational license ordinances are typically written so that it is virtually impossible to carry on a business without being legally required to register and pay for a license. Typically, you are required to register first with the city, and second with the county. You will have to be in an area that is properly zoned for your type of business. You can check your local ordinances at the following link:  If you want to operate out of your home, you may find laws that are "home-based business friendly" or not. You may or may not be able to obtain county and city occupational licenses. If not, the choice is stark: get another address, become a scofflaw, or don't start your own business. Some types of profitable activities exist in a gray area: if a city tried to get Stephen King to obtain a business license because he writes novels in his home, the Constitution itself has a right to privacy that would prevent them from being able to do it. If you can obtain licenses, you may deem the process too onerous or expensive. Then you again have the same choices. Your residence may also be covered by a homeowners or condo association, or rules in your rental community. These must also be taken into account. Finally, suppose you do decide to become a scofflaw, at least with respect to one set of rules. It's important to know what the fines or other consequences might be and how aggressive your community is in detecting violations and pursuing enforcement. You also need to know how the violations are typically caught: does the city or county comb fictitious trade name filings with the State of Florida? Do they check commercial telephone listings in the phone book? A profitable business can be run without providing any of these triggers. What else might trigger attention? Anything that bothers the neighbors, and/or puts additional burden on police and fire services. What bothers neighbors? Noise. Smell. Light. Vibration. People coming and going at all hours. What puts added burden on police & fire? People coming and going. Lots of value (gold jewelry, for example) kept on premises. Anything that might burn or explode. So, unless you live way out in the woods, a pig farm is not good.Much of what you will use in deciding these questions is "plain 'ol common sense", plus a feel for your own neighborhood. The kinds of shoestring business that are acceptable in, say, Hialeah might cause heart attacks in Boca Raton. If you want to start a home-based business and you need to learn more about incorporating, click on "Frequently Asked Questions" above.