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Starting a business from home

Starting a business from home allows you many freedoms and flexibilities to grow your business at your own pace.

The information we signpost to is not comprehensive, nor does it replace professional advice, but it will help you to think through some of the legal and statutory issues to consider.

We also publish information on becoming self-employed.

For a useful introductory guide to setting up your own business, visit the Money Advice Service website.

On this page:

How it affects your home

Renting your home

If you rent your home, your landlord may restrict the way you can use the property, including running a business. You should check with your landlord before you begin.

For council housing tenants, contact us by phone on 023 8028 5222 or by email to

Owning your home

If you own your property, there may be conditions attached to your lease or conveyance that restrict the way you can use the property, including running a business.

Check with your mortgage provider to ensure that there are no restrictions on running a business from your property.


Informing your employer

If you are in employment, you should inform them that you are starting a business from home. Your employer may have policies that prevent staff from setting up their own businesses, especially if it will sell similar goods or services.

Registering with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

If you are running a business or working for yourself, you will need to register with HMRC. The GOV.UK website also has a series of guides to working for yourself.

Planning permission

You will need to check whether you require planning permission to run your business from home. Visit the National Planning Portal website for information on planning permission for working from home.


If you are on existing benefits, contact your benefits office and explain what are proposing to do before you set up your business from home.

If you have been unemployed for 26 weeks or more, you may qualify for the New Enterprise Allowance to set up a business. This scheme also provides support from business mentors in the early months of trading. Ask your local Jobcentre Plus Adviser for further details, or visit the GOV.UK website to find out about help with moving from benefits to work.


Business rates

If you work at or from home, you should be aware that the accommodation within your home used as an 'office' may be liable to business rates. Visit the GOV.UK website for guidance on business rates when working from home.

For enquiries relating to business within the New Forest, contact our business rates team by phone on 01590 646119 or by email to


You may need a licence to operate your business from home, but this will depend on the nature of the business. The Government Licence Finder tool will help you to identify the licences you will need to operate your specific type of business and whom to contact.


There are certain types of insurance cover that you need to have to run your own business from home. These are to protect you, your employees and your customers. You can call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0870 950 1790 for guidance and advice, or visit its website for insurance guides for small businesses.

In addition, running your own business may impact on your existing home, motor and other insurance policies. It is important to speak with your insurer before starting your business.

Customer records

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) controls how you handle and store people's personal information. This includes information on your customers and employees. The Government's Information Commissioner provides independent advice and guidance about data protection and has a useful assessment tool for small businesses.

Support organisations

Making business contacts

Networking with other small business owners is a powerful way of building your business and enabling you to overcome isolation. It can also be also be a low-cost marketing method for developing opportunities and contacts.

We publish a list of local organisations that offer business events and networking opportunities.

Business start-up support

We publish a list of several organisations that can support new businesses.

We also work with several partner agencies to provide a range of business support options. Contact our business support team by phone on 023 8028 5735 or by email to

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