Suite 208 A-LB 29 Main Street, Rouse Hill Town Centre, Rouse Hill, 2155

Using Your Home Address For Business

           

April 16, 2019 / fbcadmin

Kerrie Sheaves
Foundational Business
1300 SML BIZ

Using your home address for business – 3 Common Mistakes to avoid

When starting a new business and operating for the first few years, there’s 3 common mistakes many small business owners make.

Mistake 1. Using your home address as your Business Address.

Small business owners and Sole Traders, especially those in trade and consulting style service businesses have a lot to do when setting up a new business and the address they’ll use for their business is usually an afterthought, therefore they use their home as the default business address. That seems a simple and cheap solution when there’s so many other expenses to think of and given most of their work or admin will be done in a home office/garage or on the kitchen table, it makes sense.

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Why is that a problem?

There are some downsides and legal issues when business owners use their home address as their business address. Some of the key risks include:

    • Leases and Landlord rules. Some home addresses cannot be used as a business address. Specifically, apartments and unit complexes may restrict you from running a business out of your home. Some single-family homes may also have similar rental lease or strata rules and restrictions.
    • Zoning restrictions. Councils have local zoning restrictions and codes that prohibit homeowners from running a commercial operation from their homes. Or, in some instances, only certain types of businesses may be prohibited.
    • Privacy concerns.  In an age when your privacy is limited by the impact of social media, business owners who display their home address as a business address reduce the level of privacy that they maintain between themselves and their customers. In addition, your business may need to provide your customers (for legal contracts and other matters) a clear separation between your business and personal affairs. Many small businesses suddenly find the privacy of their families compromised, with customers and vendor sales people showing up on their doorstep unexpectedly.
    • Professionalism and Trust.  When customers see an apartment or home address on a contract, letterhead, business card, business directory, or invoice, it doesn’t give them a feeling of trust or professionalism. Your business address plays a critical role in building trust with prospects and customers, as well as giving you a local professional presence.

 

Mistake 2. Using your home phone number or mobile as your primary business contact

When starting out, most businesses will use their mobile number or a home number as their main contact number.

Why is that a problem?

The key problem with using your home phone number as your primary business contact, is of course, like using your home as your business address, that there’s a privacy issue. When using only 1 mobile number as your primary contact in your advertising, you are telling your prospective clients that you are a small 1-man band driving around the suburbs in a van, or working from home., not a team of tradespeople or a service company.

If that’s the impression you want to give that’s fine, but when a business starts trying to sell their services to other businesses, they can’t give business/commercial customers the assurance of being a business that can handle more that 1 customer at a time. If growth is your goal, then consider using a dedicated landline number that redirects all your calls to your mobile, or when you can afford it, to an answering service/scheduler/admin service to make sure you never miss a new lead.

Mistake 3. Meeting your customers in coffee shops or at your home

Offering convenience, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and social atmosphere could be alluring to your customers. But the reality is, that when you’re pitching your services or leading a client through their personal or business plans in a public venue full of distractions, around a dirty café table on which you’ve propped your laptop, and you’re having to yell your message to get past the screaming child in the pram beside your table; it severely diminishes your brand and professionalism in their eyes. The information you’re discussing could be commercially sensitive, and clients wonder who could be sitting at the next table listening to your conversation.

A home office can work if it’s accessed up front, separated from your personal living space completely (i.e. a separate entrance to your front door) and is appropriately and professionally setup as a dedicated office or studio. These work better for personal service businesses such as personal trainers, Yoga, Beauty and Counselling, but not always – so just expect that running your consulting rooms from home, will limit your customer reach.

Often, small businesses who provide consulting, meet clients online or record podcast/webinars from home. Sounds like a great plan – but think about the environment and the light, noise and décor of the room you’re doing it in. The dog barking, baby crying in the background, messy shelves and a poorly lit office that looks like your family’s junk room (we all have one), as your background for a professional customer meeting or webinar, doesn’t polish your brand as well as you think it might. People like to do business with real people, but they also expect that person to be a professional. So please don’t record video of yourself in the car and post those videos online. It’s not a professional way to promote your brand, especially to other businesses.

People are not that comfortable coming to someone’s home to do business, even if you are happy to have them in your space. It feels very personal and an intrusion on someone’s family space. If it doesn’t instil confidence in your professionalism as a business, then don’t meet clients in a home office.

Beyond the potential legal and privacy challenges that occur when business owners use their home addresses, there are also various missed opportunities that can occur in the marketing of your business.

Business Advantages of Virtual Office Addresses

The alternative to using your home address is to use a virtual office location. These services for a fee (generally a small monthly amount) can provide you with a range of service packages.

At the Foundational Business Centre we offer micro and small business owners Virtual Location Services, where you can use the Foundational Business Centre at Rouse Hill as your business address, on your advertising and Google My Business page for $22/mth (inc GST)

We also provide Virtual Redirection Services, where we allocate you a landline number and automatically redirect your incoming calls to your mobile or any other number – which is also handy if you go on holidays and want to change the destination number to another number. The Virtual Redirection Service is $33/mth (inc GST).

Want to get more professional and grow your business this year? Contact us for more information on 1300 765249 or Enquire Now

Call us to find out more today!

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