Millions of business owners run their empire from their homes these days, and their numbers are growing steadily larger all the time. A healthy 50% of all U.S. businesses are in fact home-based businesses. To ensure that your home-based business gets off to a good (and legal) start, read the four major steps needed to begin your endeavor.
1. Zoning Laws
Your choice of a specific home-based business could depend on the zoning laws in your locality, so a careful check with your zoning and planning commission is in order before you order those business cards. Residential zoning restrictions are put in place to ensure that your neighbors are not inconvenienced by noise, odors, traffic or other issues that could result from running a business out of your home. Issues to consider are signage, street and foot traffic and the storage of inventory and supplies, some of which could be considered hazardous.
2. Business Licenses
Even home-based businesses need a license in some cities. The issuance of a business license means tax revenue for cities, counties and states, but usually only for items sold to residents of that same locale. Some areas will require an inspection of your work location to ensure compliance with zoning laws, to check for the display of the license and for fire safety. As a bonus, registering your business with your state could mean not having to pay sales tax on business-related purchases.
3. Form of Business
The simplest form of business operation for tax purposes is the sole proprietorship, and is an easy way to begin your business. No action is required of you to become a sole proprietor, with the exception of checking the correct box on your tax return and completing the Schedule C section.
Many small business and home-based business owners also use the Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) form, which is slightly more complicated than sole proprietorship, but still relatively easy to use and understand. Other forms include several different levels and types of incorporation and partnerships, most of which require the advice of a business lawyer, like Caldwell Kennedy & Porter or others, for assistance.
4. Name Your Business
The choice of a name for your business should be among other high-priority decisions, since you will need it for applying for licenses and certificates. A quick search of your state's business name database online will ensure that only you will be using that special name you've chosen.
Seek the advice of a business law professional for more assistance in getting your home based business off to a good start.