For many of us, a home-based business seems like a solution to a host of problems. We can be home with the kids, sit at the computer in our sweats, avoid the cost of office or shop space, and have more control over our day.

Yet numerous pitfalls exist that an unwary business owner may encounter. City and county planning and zoning regulations can throw a potential home-based business into a sea of unexpected costs and conflicts. Many of these regulations were developed long before personal computers changed the whole complexion of having a small business. These laws were meant to keep noisy, smelly, high-traffic activities out of residential neighborhoods. Yet today they are being applied across the board to quiet computer consultants, as well as the noisy, smelly businesses.

If you are entertaining the idea of having a home-based business, contact your city or county planning and zoning department and your city clerk’s office, depending on where you live. Contact them before you start the business, not after. They will tell you what the requirements are to operate a home-based business in your community.

Having a home-based business can also bring you into contact with your county assessor’s office, who will assess a tax on your business furniture and equipment, as well as other agencies.  For detailed information on starting a home-based business, visit the  opens in a new windowIdaho Small Business Solutions Web site.

A special word of caution – if you are starting a home-based business in response to an advertisement about earning money at home, BEWARE!! Before you put any money on the line,  check the information found on the  opens in a new windowIdaho Small Business Solutions Web site or contact a counselor at your nearest Idaho SBDC office.

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