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Just some thoughts about some Home Business

Started by baileyuph, June 22, 2019, 03:49:31 pm

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Home Business (Legal?)

Probably a keyboard business that doesn't draw clients to the location would not be offensive to local
control and home insurance coverage companies.

Some time ago, this issue came up for a home upholstery business - one that had all the equipment,
(machines/wood cutting/foam shaping/compressed air gluing support and anything that leans to industrial
and is air offensive). 

The person was warned (by insurance) that the home ownership policy could (likely would) impact
his coverage.  A business like such would draw outside traffic to the driveway just like a licensed business does. 

In the end result, after talking to a lawyer about the consequences, the operator found a smaller commercial with space that could be rented reasonably.  I was younger then and he called me there
to do the furniture and other work that he wasn't quite up to - experience wise.  I had a business but
helped him over the hurdle and was paid well to work overtime on his stuff.  I didn't want the task
of picking up/returning objects in work - not a problem because his equipment met the shop needs and
being young - the extra time and good pay was actually fun - I worked it in and the money wasn't bad.  That shop pulled most of staples - so we moved things through.

The way lawyers and companies and actually customers are today - have yourself checked out and
maybe change the complexion of the "home work" to a low profile hobby.  The instructions from my
lawyer is "sure it is worth the risk?"  Storing chemicals was very objectionable and is another thing the
lawyer pointed out. 

Doing the work in a separate small building a distance from the residence would be a good move where
most customer contacts are off-site.

Today I am within zone - with a license and even with that, the local city control have their radar out all the time - all it takes for them to come checking is - one call.  They have people hired to do that and don't won't to let things look like they no one is doing their job (people will complain).

Small hobbies - chemical free - run quietly one might consider?

Best to understand the risk!



June 23, 2019, 03:24:40 pm #1 Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 04:44:08 pm by kodydog
How much risk are you willing to take?

Rose gets very nervous when it comes to local codes and insurance liability. We spent two years looking at many commercial pieces of property.  They always seemed to be priced to high or zoned wrong. And when we found something we could afford the commercial cost of utilities and taxes and insurance quickly made the venture non-cost-effective.

So we decided to set up a shop at home. But how can you do this and stay in code? Rose called the building dept so many times they started calling her by name. One day the director told Rose, look, do you have any idea how many business run out of a shop in their back yard? He was telling her to just go ahead and build your shop.

Of course this doesn't mean if a neighbor complained the code department wouldn't come knocking on our door. So we had to assess the risk. The wooded lot across the street is empty and the rest of my neighbors work during the day so from 9 t0 5 I'm not bothering anybody. We built a sturdy and insulated shop that blends in with the rest of the neighborhood. When I close all the doors and windows you would never know I was inside working. Before we started building we told all of our neighbors what we were doing. We keep a tidy shop with no old sofas, cars or boats in the yard. The grounds are well maintained. Our neighbors love us.

Insurance was our biggest concern. Liability especially. Technically our insurance says no customers on property and we could tell our customers they are not allowed in the shop. But this would defeat one of the benefits of having a shop. Customers can come with their projects and save us a trip and a lot of time. Customers can also come as the job is progressing and try different types of foam or make decisions on trim or etc. We get two or three customers a week and always by appointment. This gives me time to eliminate trip hazards like sticks in the yard or trash on the floor of the shop. I heard an interesting show on the radio yesterday, Law Talk by a local lawyer. He said because of Florida law slip and fall liability cases in Florida are very hard to win. That makes me feel a little better.

As you mentioned Doyle, offensive air is also a concern. Lacquer Wood Finish is the biggest. When I'm spraying lacquer I open all the doors and windows and run a high power fan. I'm sure on a big job the neighbors could smell this. So I time my spray jobs when the neighbors are gone and when Rose is gone. She hates the smell of lacquer.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


Doyle I don't really understand your post.  The question is confusing since I know you're not an investigator it almost sounds like your angry with the small guy operating under the radar and getting some crumbs.  I don't think you have that kind of personality.  Myself and any home based companies follow the rules.  Myself,  I have an on site service business -  I use my home address but I'm a service guy - I am also entitled to have a home workshop like every guy in this Country.  We are not weekend warriors so we know how to handle what goes on in a shop safely more than a guy who seldom does his own crafts.  Example oil rags thrown into the garbage.  Solvent chemicals around a working furnace, customers visiting - those things are wrong and illegal in most places. Home craftsman are not criminal.  Can an insurance  company argue the point - sure but proving negligence it is another issue.  What do you say to someone like me who collects and restores his own antiques - am I allowed according to code ?  Sure I am.   
I contribute - pay my taxes and help many along the way. I don't care if the next guy doesn't pay his taxes, loans, alimony, etc.  as long as he's / she's not in violation of their residential norm.  I think lots of folks are walking a tight rope but it's not in violation.  I think lots of commercial owners are walking a tight rope if you look close enough.


I'm not sure I really understand either. I follow the code, and try not to annoy people.

On the topic of fouling the air - there are new low-VOC waterborne lacquers. I just did a quick search and found one called EM6000.


We operated our shop out of our home for several years. Never had an issue but then we have 3 secluded acres and are zoned agriculture.

I never liked people coming to our home and to be honest hated having the business at home. I had a very hard time winding down
and felt I needed to be in the shop which resulted in me working some crazy hours. Our current shop is 2 miles from home in an industrial park and I like that arrangement. If this deal goes through on this other building then we will be 5 miles from home.

I still have an office at the shop but only go in once or twice a week for a few hours. I have an office at home I work from and since I am doing admin and phone/technical support it works out good for me. We carry $ 2 mil liability insurance which covers us anywhere are at including shows and events which always require liability insurance.

I will know this week if the bank buys our deal or not. I am hoping and praying as I am pretty much over this rent crap and putting money in someone else's pocket every month. I would rather own an asset like a building then help someone else own one.