You hear the tales about businesses that started as a couple of young people working out of their parent’s garage. Despite the cliché your garage is a valuable space that you can use as an office, store or workshop if there isn’t space elsewhere in your home. Garages are often a highly underutilized space. Converting them to a new usage is a great way to use them better and to make the most out of your home.
Many types of businesses can be run from your garage. Hairdressers looking to ditch salon fees can put a chair and sinks in to turn it into a salon space of their own. Photographers can put in a photo studio with lights and a backdrop. Mechanics, craftsmen and artists can make products in their garage. You can put in a desk and office furniture to turn it into a more traditional office and telecommute or looking to run a low budget startup.
Here are some tips and steps for anyone thinking of working from their garage.
Talk to your insurance company
Many home insurance policies don’t cover business uses. If you are going to be started a shop or hairdressing studio in your garage then you may need additional insurance if other people are going to be in your garage or home. You may need to change your policy to something that covers a business or commercial purposes if you are making and selling things or services in your home. Ask as you plan the switch. Do the research now before you make a claim and find out you didn’t have the right coverage.
Think about the location of your garage
Zoning bylaws will prohibit certain types of activities in residential areas. You will be unable to do any heavy industrial or manufacturing in these spaces. There may also be rules about what types of chemicals you’re allowed to use in these spaces. Obviously it depends on what type of project you want to get underway whether zoning bylaws may affect your ability to work in your garage. Contact your local government to ask them about zoning in your neighbourhood and the type of business you plan to run.
Think about how you’ll receive deliveries or customers. Is there going to be enough parking nearby for what you have in mind? Will it be disruptive to neighbours?
Depending on what type of thing you want to do in your garage based business you are going to need a certain amount of space. If you only have a one-car garage and want to do manufacturing you may quickly find yourself short on space. Some types of home businesses take up more space than others and need different furniture and equipment than others. Work on a layout and plan. Measure your garage and see how all the things you need will fit (or not) in there.
Make a business plan
If you’re not working from home or telecommuting then you will need a plan for your home based business. Think about what it is you want to do or sell and who is going to be interested in that service or product. Make a business plan. Come up with a company name and think about what structure you want your business to have. You can also claim lots of different expenses as tax write offs if you work from home.