In the Zone

In the last post, we looked at the effect of zoning laws on the ability to start a home business. But the government isn’t the only one who sets rules about these things.

You also need to be aware of restrictions placed by homeowners or condominium associations, as their regulations can sometimes be far more draconian than anything imposed by the government. Before setting up your home business, be sure to consult any of these groups as well as your local planning board. It’s best to invest in a little due diligence at the outset rather then become embroiled in a nasty lawsuit later.

Zoning laws vary widely by state and municipality as well as by type of business, so we can only speak in very general terms here. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has an extensive set of online resources, including their “Home-Based Zoning Laws.” Your local Chamber of Commerce might be able to help, too.

Generally, if you’re a home worker on a computer with no clients visiting you, you’ll be fine. When there’s a flow of traffic to your home office, however, you could have a problem. Your best start will probably be with an attorney or an accountant (both of whom may also work out of a home office).