Working at Home and Law Part 2
Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures
Do you know the zoning laws of your area? Are you operating your business illegally? If you work at home there will be laws that dictate what you can and can't do. Do you know what they are?
Should it be illegal for an electrician to work from home? Is it offensive if he parks his works vehicle outside his house?
What about businesses which receive regular deliveries of stock. Will the constant arrival of delivery vans cause disturbance to the neighbors? Will it disturb the neighborhood if you sell second-hand vehicles from home, run a music school or repair firearms? Pretty well all home businesses have to potential to create some disruption in the area. What about refuse, will running your business from home mean you create more trash. How will you deal with this? How will the neighbors be affected?
How to Avoid Problems with Zoning Laws
The last thing you want is set up a business only to find you have performed a criminal act. Fighting a case against a zoning law ruling after the fact can be costly, not to mention that it can mean the death of your business.
Always educate yourself about the regulations prior to setting up your home business. If the don't allow you to run your chosen type of business, don't give up hope just yet. Find out if there are any concessions to be made in the form of special licenses or permits. Gaining this sort of authorization will cost money, but its worth it if it means you can operate your home based business without fear of being arrested.
Here are some other ways in which to lessen the likelihood of potential problems:
- Maintain good and courteous relationships with all your neighbors. This doesn't mean you have to best friends with them, but be a considerate, polite member of the community. Respect others and they will respect you.
- Keep your business activities as unobtrusive as possible. If you have business vehicles it's best to store them away at night. Many people dislike the impression commercial vehicles give of an area.
- Stick to the rules. If there are legal restrictions regarding the amount of cars you can park on your property or on the street, adhere to them.
- Where possible, visit clients in their homes, rather than the other way around. If you do hold consultations at your home, keep the hours reasonable.
- Minimize the amount of noisy equipment you use and again, be considerate about the hours you keep.
- If your business eventually outgrows your home think about moving base to a let space that is in a commercial zone.
- Liaise with your local officials to get zoning laws altered.
- If regular deliveries to your home are causing a nuisance to neighbors, have them directed to a mail box service or have a contact in a commercial zone handle deliveries for you.
- Warn neighbors in advance if you are planning any activity that may disturb them. Send out a polite notice to let them know that you are:
- Holding a business gathering
- Undergoing works in the building
- Or simply going to be expecting a large delivery
This may seem over the top but it pays dividends to be thoughtful in these areas.
Of course, each case will be different, as every business is, but it can't be stressed enough that learning about the zoning laws in your area can save your business from untold stresses and possible closure.
Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."
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