Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do you have a craft business based in your home?

I recently taught my crafting business class, Crafting For Money, to a group of very talented, very driven women. The class ran a bit over the usual 3 hours but their questions were so insightful and illuminating. One of the things we discuss in the class is what it really means to turn your hobby into an official business. I always like to tell the story of a wonderful customer of ours here at the store who had a nice 30K a year beading business based out of her home. She moved from Raleigh, NC to Virginia because of her husband's job and didn't think much about heading to her local revenue office to register her business and get a Virginia business license and tax i.d. number. They had found the perfect condo in suburban D.C. with a great location and a nice, 3rd floor bonus room she was planning to use as her studio. Within a few weeks of moving in (and registering her business in VA) she received a letter from the condo board. They objected to her home-based business and were demanding the couple move from the condo or that she move the business elsewhere! The moral of this story, in my class, is to read the fine print and determine if your home-based business is legal in your home. I don't know where all my customers live. I live in a very old, downtown Raleigh neighborhood with completely expired neighborhood covenants and easy-going neighbors. The rest of the world may not be so nice.

So, just this weekend my hubby and I were headed to dinner in a private home. The house was in a fancy, suburban neighborhood where grass length is regulated, everyone has a beige or tan or brown front door and no more than two cars are allowed to be parked overnight in the driveways (that was what all the 3- and 4-car garages were for!) We had never been to the location, so I whipped out my trusty smart phone and google mapped it. Whoa! Not only did I find the address we wanted, but I also discovered that one neighbor had an appraisal business, another was an interior decorator, two were chiropractors and one had a gift basket business. Hmm, I wondered, are these businesses allowed in this neighborhood?

When I clicked on the link for each business I discovered that the diligent business owners had created websites and facebook pages and twitter accounts for their businesses. Oh, and google had nicely created place pages for them. Uh-oh. Do you think home-based businesses really want place pages?  I hope the Home Owner's Association in that neighborhood is a bit less techno, don't you?

Is your business allowed in your neighborhood?