Have you taken the big decision to start your own business? Being your own boss is what many people dream about but it takes real grit and determination to make it a reality. And it all starts with where and how you’re going to do business.
To avoid the financial pressures of rising commercial property prices, many business start-ups rely on office space at home. And while saving on the cost of renting office space is a definite plus, working from home does also have its disadvantages. A quick peep at the TV can turn into a 3-hour marathon catch up of your favourite box set. At the very least, niggling house chores more often than not eat away at your concentration. Keeping on top of a work-life balance when you are working from home isn’t easy.
One option you may like to consider is putting your home-based office into a log cabin in the garden. We’ve put together a useful guide of the things you need to consider when starting a business in your garden studio.
Rules and regulations – the business
There are certain rules you must follow when you set up a business. As well as general responsibilities such as accounting, and calculating tax (and VAT if applicable), you’ll need to find out if there are any special rules that apply to your type of business.
Here are some of the things you will need to do when starting out:
- First of all, you need to register your business – what type of business are you (sole trader, partnership, limited company).
- Find out what your accounting responsibilities are. There’s a useful tax planning guide here to get you started. Don’t forget that HMRC can also help you with queries about tax.
- Check if your business reaches the takings threshold for VAT – if it does you’ll need to register.
- Do you need a license to carry out your business? If you intend to sell goods online, make sure you are following the correct rules. Are you importing or exporting goods? There are rules for that too. Finally, find out what insurance you need.
Rules and regulations – running a business from home
As well as the normal rules for starting up a business, there are additional guidelines and rules you need to adhere to if you are running your business from home.
- You may need permission from your mortgage provider or landlord.
- Check with your local council to see if you need a licence. You may need one if you are expecting to get lots of deliveries, or if you want to advertise outside your home.
- You may need additional insurance – home insurance won’t cover your business.
- If you are a sole trader or part of a business partnership, you can include your business costs in your tax return.
- As a sole trader, or of in a business partnership, allowable expenses in your tax return can include a proportion of energy (heating and lighting), phone costs and council tax.
- Capital Gains Tax may be payable on the part of your property you used for your business if you decide to sell your home.
- You may have to pay business rates on the part of your property you use for your business.
Rules and regulations – the log cabin
Check your deeds for restrictive covenants preventing outside buildings or sheds. You’ll also need to check with your local council for any planning permission restrictions. There are strict rules for permitted development, which may be even stricter in conservation areas.
Considerations for your garden office
You’ll have done your homework, so you’ll already know of any size restrictions before you pick the right garden building for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to help you choose the right garden studio:
- What is your budget? It may seem like a big initial layout, but a garden office will add value to your property, and it’s still cheaper than renting traditional office space.
- What size building do you need for your business and where exactly in your garden will you put it? Make sure you know what planning permission you need, and do the necessary.
- What about access? Will your clients be visiting you at home?
- Do you need electricity or phone lines? What about storage space?
- Consider insulation – floor, roof and double glazed windows. Working through the winter you’ll need to consider heating options.
- Want a garden shed to function as your office? Check out Discounts and deals for Garden Sheds before buying one it might help you save some money.
Considerations for your sanity
Finally, the novelty of your start-up may soon start to wear off – it can be a lonely life at the end of the garden. Our advice is to join some professional networking groups and internet forums to get involved with your business sector.