August is “Home Business Month”—Celebrate by Being Legal!

National “Home Business Month” is celebrated through the month of August.  I love entrepreneurs and everything small business, and I represent clients who want to start their own business.  My posts have discussed starting a small business and home-based businesses, such a food-based business.  With the technology that is available today, it’s easier than ever to run a business from your home, just make sure you research applicable laws, rules and restrictions.  This post can help you get started.

First, you should make sure you have all the appropriate licenses.  Your state might require licenses with certain businesses involving food, children (daycare, recreation programs, etc.), hair salon or barber shop, massage therapy, and pet grooming, as a few examples.  Check with your Secretary of State (click here for Ohio’s), and with relevant licensing boards.

Second, check zoning and municipal regulations.  How is your property zoned?  Are home-based businesses permitted where you live?  Typical zoning regulations to consider, and might apply to you, include:

  • Restrictions on the number of employees
  • Restrictions on traffic, noise and parking
  • Restrictions on the number of clients or third-party vendors permitted in a day
  • Signage (height, colors, size, location)
  • Restrictions on use of chemicals or creating noxious odors
  • Restrictions on whether you can store inventory or items at your home

Typically, complaints about home businesses come from neighbors, which will result in local authorities coming to your home, so consider your business and anything about it that might prompt a neighbor to complain.  Will you have clients in and out of your home that might create traffic or parking issues?  Will you be making furniture or fixing cars in your garage and making noise that might create a nuisance?  Will you be training dogs, where dogs might run over to the neighbor’s property, or bark a lot?

Third, there might be private restrictions on the use of your property.  Do you live in a subdivision subjected to the covenants or bylaws of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA)?  Are there deed restrictions that might affect the operation of your business?  Do you lease or rent your property, and have restrictions in your lease or rental contract?

If you want to run a business from your home in Cleveland, Columbus, or anywhere in between, contact me to get started at; in northern Ohio call (216) 438-1298; in central Ohio call (614) 519-8661.


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