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Home-Based Business Owners Require Licenses & Permits, Too

Apple, the billion dollar tech company, came from humble beginnings as a start-up in a California garage in 1977. Home-based business can be a satisfying and flexible option for individuals and, sometimes, it can be the start of something big. In the case of Apple, very big. It is crucial to remember, however, that if you are operating a business from your home, the business is still subject to license and permit laws. Understanding the required licenses and permits that you need upfront will save you from headache (and potentially fines and fees) down the road. There is not a one-size-fits-all checklist for home-based businesses because the requirements vary depending on the nature of the business (i.e., the industry involved) and its location.

Normally, home-based business owners will be required to obtain a general business permit from their city or county to be able to legally operate in an area. In addition, some city and county zoning and planning agencies may require a Home Occupation Permit. Some communities allow home offices and home occupations, but limit the types of uses, square footage of the non-residential use within the house, or limit employees to those who reside in the house, among other restrictions. In some communities, home offices are only allowed as a conditional use that must be approved by the local board of adjustment after a public hearing.

In addition to a general business and Home Occupation Permit, owners may be required to obtain a sales tax permit (if selling taxable goods or services), a health and safety permit, sign permit, or a construction permit before beginning operations. Some small business owners, such as realtors or beauticians, are required to be appropriately licensed by a board or government agency before opening their doors for business - even when their services are offered on a small-scale basis from the privacy of one's own home.

If you are considering beginning a business or moving an existing one closer to home (literally), then consult with a business and corporate law attorney at McBrayer. Our legal team represents businesses of all sizes, from small, locally owned shops to Fortune 500 companies. We'll make you feel right at home with your new business - no pun intended.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

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