Your home-based business might require a special permit from your local authorities, usually the city council, and you may have to meet with them to present your case.
Though most home businesses never need to do this because there is no impact on the neighborhood, such as a consulting business where you go out to see your clients or only deal with them over the phone, local permits may come into play when you have something like a pet-sitting business, where people drop off their pets at your home. In this kind of a scenario, be prepared to meet with your local authorities to get a use permit.
What you should bring with you:
- Business license: Have copies of your business licensing documents. This includes your federal Form SS-4 (which shows your employee identification number/tax ID), your state license, and any local licensing.
- Business plan: They will want to see your business plan. In this type of scenario, your business plan should be of a formal nature and in some sort of presentation style. It should include such things as a business description, a layout of marketing strategies, a competitive analysis, operations and management plans, and financial planning components.
- Impact statement: Have an impact statement ready. Local authorities will be mostly interested in how your business will impact the residential zone you live in. How many employees will you have? How many customers or clients will come to your home at any peak time? In the example of the pet-sitting business, where will the pets be kept? How much noise will come from the business?
Most importantly, bring your cool. You can present your business in a much more positive light if you remain relaxed and don’t get tense. While the local authorities are interested in preserving the quality of local residential zoning, they are not necessarily your enemy and can be helpful as well.