[This article was written by Chelsea Lamb.]
If you work from home as a remote employee or independent contractor, a small office, desk or table may be all you need to get your work done each day. If you own and operate a home-based business, however, you’ll need enough space in the home for your family, employees, and clients. In this type of situation, your home doubles as the company headquarters.
Typically, the specific products and services your business provides—as well as the number of employees you plan to hire—play a major role in the type of space you need. For some tips that can help you to purchase or design the perfect home-based office space for you and your company’s needs, read on!
Evaluate Your Home-Based Business Needs
When purchasing or creating a space for your home-based business, you’ll first need to evaluate your needs, goals and restrictions as a small business owner. If you’re an automobile mechanic, for instance, you’ll need designed garage space for working on your customer’s vehicles. If you’re a therapist, however, you’ll need a private room in your home to make your patients feel as comfortable as possible.
Once you evaluate your needs and goals, you’ll need to decide whether you will purchase a home for your business, or create a space within your existing home that can be used for your services.
Make Your Existing Home as Client-Friendly as Possible
If you’ll be creating an office space within your existing home, there are several important steps you must take if you’ll receive regular or occasional visits from employees, clients or customers. For instance, you’ll need to ensure that you have plenty of suitable parking for your guests. Ideally, your guests should be able to park in your driveway or on the street in front of your home.
In addition to securing parking for your guests, there are several other steps you must take to convert your home into a welcoming space for your clients, customers and employees. To enhance the client-friendliness of your home office, experts at The Balance Small Business recommend:
- Creating and designing a designated room for your customers. This space should be separated from your family members, pets, outside noise, odors, children’s toys, and any clutter.
- Creating a clear pathway to your office. After entering your home, your clients should be able to locate your office space without any trouble.
- Enhancing your home’s curb appeal. To give your clients the very best impression, your home’s lawn and exterior should be clean, tidy and well-maintained.
To enhance the client-friendliness of your home, hiring an interior designer may be a good idea—especially if you’re not comfortable with your design skills. While professional interior design can be costly, the economic return on a well-designed office may be worth the investment.
Save on Your Investment by Purchasing a Bank-Owned Property
If you’d prefer to purchase a new property for your home-based business, you may be able to save a great deal of money on your investment if you buy a foreclosure rather than a regularly listed property. On average, you can save about $45,000 on home purchases if you buy a foreclosed property. When you save on the purchase price of a home, you can put even more money toward the start of your small business.
If purchasing a foreclosure is the right decision for you, then it’s a good idea to work with an experienced real estate agent who specializes in foreclosed homes, as he or she can help you to find the best property for your business needs. It’s also important to obtain a preapproval letter from your lender, pay for a home inspection so you know exactly what you’re getting into, have the property inspected, and understand the risks and limitations of purchasing a foreclosed property. If you like the property but it will need work, you should evaluate the cost of repairing and/or renovating the home.
It takes some money, planning, and commitment to operate a home-based business, but the joys of working out of your home are usually well worth the investment. Plus, the investments you make today will keep your customers and clients coming back for more—helping your home business to thrive well into the future.
Chelsea Lamb has spent the last eight years honing her tech skills and is the resident tech specialist at Business Pop. Her goal is to demystify some of the technical aspects of business ownership.