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Sole Proprietors: Permits, Insurance and Other Needs When Working at Home


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7/21/2014
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While working at home is a blessing to many people, it’s not always possible to set up every business on this basis. Furthermore, even if it is legal to operate your type of business from home, you’ll still have to address a number of legal and bureaucratic matters before you can start thinking about how you’ll tackle your first work task or assignment from the comfort of your home office space.                                                                                                                 

It’s often wise to meet with your Peachtree City business attorney at an early stage so he can help you check on local zoning laws, permits and licenses that may apply to someone in your line of work.                                                                                                                                                

Here’s a look at some of the various topics that may apply to some sole proprietors working at home.

Practical Concerns and Legalities Tied to Working at Home

  • Property use restrictions. Be your attorney reviews your apartment/home lease agreement or (mortgage agreement) to be certain they are no prohibitions against running a business in your home;

  • Local signage and other regulations. If you’re hoping to run a small daycare center out of your home, you need to first find out if the area is zoned for that and if you’ll need to obtain a proper permit and/or license. Likewise, if you would like to advertise your business with a sign in your yard or on a side street near your home, you must find out if there are any ordinances that forbid that.  In addition, you need to find out what kind of parking restrictions apply to your area and if you’ll need a special permit to cover the maximum number of cars that may park in front of (or near) your home during any given work day;

  • Obtaining a reseller’s certificate, if required. If you make crafts in your home or are planning to run a printing or stationary business from your home office, you’ll normally need to obtain a state certificate allowing you to sell goods to your customers. Different government offices may handle this in some states. In Georgia, the Department of Revenue is in charge of providing  a “Sales Tax Certificate of Exemption”  (Georgia Purchaser or Dealer) to qualifying parties;

  • Carrying adequate insurance. First, if you’re buying your house, check your mortgage agreement to be sure you’re carrying all of the required insurance. Likewise, if you live in an apartment complex, make sure you’re carrying adequate renter’s insurance to cover all expensive business equipment and/or inventory.  When speaking to your insurance agent, also inquire about any other insurance needs you may have, including: general liability insurance, products liability coverage, and professional liability insurance. Find out what types of medical and disability insurance policies may be available to you as well;

  • Try to determine your legitimate tax write-offs tied to working exclusively from home. Be sure to ask your Peachtree City business attorney about the types of goods, utilities, and other items you can deduct from your taxes;

  • Check with your condo or homeowners’ association. If you live in a community that tightly regulates various resident activities, make sure there are no ironclad rules against running a business in the building where you live.

While this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, it should give you an idea of how many issues you’ll need to carefully research before trying to run a business from your home.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.



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