There are many advantages of starting a home business. Not only will you save money and time on office space, but you will also see your business become more flexible and adaptable. Both these characteristics are crucial to startup success.
There are personal advantages too. Working from home has been found to increase happiness, and you can avoid the long, demoralising queues for public transport, as well as the distractions of the office.
However, there are pros and cons of every working situation. Before setting up your home venture, ensure that you take time to research the financial, personal and practical implications. Here are four important considerations to investigate as part of your residential business research.
1.Business rates savings
For many small businesses, the expense and unused space of an office means that they become somewhat of an albatross around entrepreneurial necks. Working from home offers a much more attractive solution. As well as saving money on corporate rent, you are also likely to save money on business rate bills too.
Almost all businesses operating within a commercial property will have to pay business rates. For those run from residential properties, there is often scope to avoid paying this property tax altogether. This is subject to the ratings valuation given by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
As you may already know, business rates are calculated by multiplying the rateable value by a Government set ‘multiplier’. As of April 2017, the multipliers will change as part of the revaluation.
According to Leaders In Business Rates, this rating revaluation is a major concern for businesses across the UK, as many will see their bills increase. For fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs deciding between home offices and commercial properties, this could be the deciding factor.
Of course, it’s not always that straightforward. Depending on the type, scale and requirements of home business, you may be required to pay business rates. For instance, if your shop and living space are under the same roof, if you sell goods or services to people on your property, or if you have paid employees in your home, you will not be exempt. To find out more visit business rates visit gov.uk before the end of March.
3. Health & safety
Health and safety might seem like a non-issue if you’re working from home, where the most dangerous threat to your general health is an unguarded fridge. However, the truth is working from home can be detrimental to your health.
A 2013 study found that working from home can exacerbate feelings of mental and physical fatigue. Also, working from a desk at home will lead to the same health issues office workers face; any job where that involves sitting down for long periods of time can be dangerous.
To remedy this, homeworkers should go for regular walks, or do exercises in your home office. Personal trainer to sedentary stars, Jon Denoris promotes a number of day-to-day exercises for office workers who spend a lot of time sat at their desks. As many entrepreneurs running a business from home will no longer walk to and from work, it’s even more important to stay aware of your health and be active in other ways.
If you have employees working at your property, you may need to give health and safety greater thought. While computer focused office work should be low-risk, equipment dependent businesses and those producing goods for human use or consumption should be more vigilant. To learn more about health and safety for your business, visit the Health and Safety Executive.
4. Productivity levels
Productivity is possibly the main concern for anyone considering working from home. Many are concerned that the temptation to lounge around the house watching youtube videos will be too much, and that work just won’t get done. However, one study found that individuals working from home are 13% more productive than those that work in an office.
For some driven entrepreneurs it can go too far the other way; knowing when to put away the laptop and switch off can be difficult when you aren’t physically leaving the ‘work’ space. There are other challenges too, such as loneliness and cabin fever. Many people miss the comradery traditional workspaces offer. Separating work and home life is a difficult undertaking, but creating boundaries and balance is hugely important to keeping up motivation and momentum.
Ideally, you will be able to set aside a specific area of the house to become your ‘work office’. However, with families and limited space, this can be difficult. One alternative, if working from home becomes a little bit unsocial or repetitive, is co-working spaces.
Companies like Regus and i2 Office provide coworking environments in London that are perfect for entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking a part-time central base. This means you can work from and office when and where you need and work from your home office the rest of the time.
4. Home business insurance
In the comfort of your own home and the excitement of your new venture, it‘s easy to overlook changes to your insurance.
Many insurers can provide packages tailored to your home-based business. Employee liability insurance is necessary if you have staff working for your business from the property. Public liability insurance will be required if members of the public come on to your property. These two types of insurance will cover certain types of business, such as shops or hairdressers.
However, professional indemnity insurance is important for businesses, regardless of whether you work from the home or an office space. Professional indemnity insurance is necessary for any business that gives advice or any sort of professional service to clients. It is also worth checking your current contents insurance package, as you may need to replace it to cover your work equipment.