With more than a million Australians working from home, home-based businesses make up a sizeable portion of businesses in Australia. Those who work from home have the opportunity to enjoy a more convenient work-life balance – a key career goal for many.

If you’re considering working from home or currently do so, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of the legal requirements you should be complying with. Issues to consider include employment, tax, finance and insurance law issues, as well as the criteria for obtaining a licence or approval from your local council.

Managing a home-based business is not simply about becoming your own boss, it also requires knowledge in managing your business, gaining experience in the industry, and familiarising yourself with the technical know-how to scale and prosper.

What do I need to know before I start up my business?

To succeed in running your business from home, you will need to simultaneously manage multiple issues. The level of planning involved in the running of your business can determine the level of success you will enjoy. By creating a strong business plan that maps out the solutions to potential problem areas, you’re enabling the business to remain competitive and flexible as it adapts and responds to the relevant market for your product or service.

A well thought out business plan is essential. This is an area where some ambitious home-based business owners fail – in these initial planning phases. When you begin drafting your plan of attack, the following considerations are paramount:

  • Do you live somewhere that will be beneficial for the business?
  • Will there be any council regulations that prevent the operations of the business?
  • What are your legal risks?
  • Will you be able to create a healthy work-home balance?

Always prepare for the worst by asking yourself the difficult questions about your business. When you’re starting up a business at home, look online to support groups and advice both on government sites and in blogs, isolation can lead to poor decision making.

In fact, most state and territory governments have downloadable home-based business packages where many frequently asked questions and answers are available.

Take every opportunity to network as a way of staying on top of current events and trends in your industry. These are perfect opportunities for building strong client relationships. As a business owner operating from home, you should join any relevant business associations and subscribe to the business publications that relate to your industry.

It might also be worthwhile to consult a business lawyer to get all the relevant business documents in place, especially if you have a website. A good business solicitor can provide guidance when making those difficult business decisions.

Not unlike other businesses in Australia, home-based businesses are required to register for a business name, pay taxation to the ATO, and comply with any relevant business licences and permits that your business may need. Working from home, depending on where you live means complying with your particular state or territory’s local government regulations. An expert business solicitor can advise you on which regulations apply to your business and the best practise for proper compliance.

On an environmental note, your business may undertake activities that impact negatively on the environment. Pollution, energy use and parking are a few examples of activities that your business may need permission to undertake. This permission can be sought from your local council who grant permits for things like zoning, signage and other health or noise-related issues.

Conclusion

If you’re starting your business from home, stay on top of the legal considerations. It’s easy to become complacent with all the reporting requirements of running a business, especially in the comfort of your own home. Our advice: have a business solicitor review or draft all of your documents for your business. It will save you the time and worry down the track.

Ready to launch your home-based business? Need legal advice on how to go about it? Call LegalVision today on 1300 544 755, and speak with one of our expert commercial solicitors to get your free fixed-fee quote today!

Lachlan McKnight

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