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  • #978981
    RMDesign
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    I am in the preparation stage of starting up a home based graphic design business and would like to know some information on added legal issues that come with setting up a home based business.

    I am not finding very much on the internet and my local council website shows no fees or registration requirements. I will of course contact them in person to confirm this to be sure though.

    Thanks Rebecca

    #1111203
    kathiemt
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    Hi Rebecca, and welcome. Please make sure you introduce yourself at the introduction thread too :)

    Have you looked for the small business organisation in your state? For example, here in Victoria we have Small Business Vic, or Business Victoria I think it is now. At any rate, they have the relevant information relating to registering a business and will often have information relating to council rulings and other things too. If you’re not planning on having any employees you probably won’t have any problems.

    You should also apply for an ABN. You might be able to do that through your local state business organisation but you can also apply for it online here.

    You can operate under your own name and you don’t have to have a business name, but if you plan to use one, then it’s important to register it, and look at trademarking it as well. There’s a new national business register now and that might prove a little challenging as the site is new and still somewhat clunky. However, I’d be looking for your local state connection first and let them guide you on what’s needed.

    Important also to locate a local Accountant who speciliases in looking after small businesses to help you set up correctly and let you know what else you might need to do. There is a list of Accountants on in the directory on this website which you might find useful.

    I’m sure you’ll learn lots here too.

    #1111204
    MyGreatIdea
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    To add to what Kathie’s already posted, every council is different and mine actually requires an annual license to operate a home office. Best to check directly with them.

    I’d also check with your insurance company to see if there’s any changes you need to make to your home policy, even if it’s just to note that it will be a business premises. If you have clients coming to your home you may need to look at public liability too.

    Wendy :)

    #1111205
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi Rebecca,

    Each state/territory also has a licence & permit checking tool that might help you determine if/what other requirements you need to meet when working from home. You can find a link to each of the states and territories tools in this post.

    Also, if you are renting your home – double check your lease to make sure there’s nothing to prevent you operating from home.

    All the best,

    #1111206
    James Millar
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    RMDESIGN, post: 123692 wrote:
    I am in the preparation stage of starting up a home based graphic design business and would like to know some information on added legal issues that come with setting up a home based business.

    I am not finding very much on the internet and my local council website shows no fees or registration requirements. I will of course contact them in person to confirm this to be sure though.

    Thanks Rebecca

    Rebecca my advice would be to take care in speaking with council about operating a business from home. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t recommend calling them all. If you look up your council planning scheme you will probably find that there are requirements (possible prohibitions) regarding running a business in a residential zone. The council will give you the legal response not the practical one.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1111207
    MyGreatIdea
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    JamesMillar, post: 123725 wrote:
    Rebecca my advice would be to take care in speaking with council about operating a business from home. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t recommend calling them all. If you look up your council planning scheme you will probably find that there are requirements (possible prohibitions) regarding running a business in a residential zone. The council will give you the legal response not the practical one.

    I disagree James. Running a home-based business such as graphic design is not an issue with most councils. You simply need to determine if you will have signage, clients parking and deliveries being made.

    Should someone injure themselves while visiting as a client to your home-based business, and you don’t have the relevant licenses current, then I would suggest you could be fighting an uphill battle with an insurance company re payout. I know the probability of this happening is low, but my license is only $69 a year, so well worth the paperwork.

    Wendy :)

    #1111208
    James Millar
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    The planning scheme in most councils in metro Melbourne requires planning permits for home businesses above a certain size (more than 1 employee, more than 50 square metres). At some point beyond that it can also transition into a category 3 prohibited use office (where you can’t even apply for a permit).

    Business public liability insurance would not necessarily be automatically void just because a planning permit was not valid. I agree it could create contention which is never a good thing with insurance.

    I’ve had ordinary experiences with councils in Vic regarding business planning permits so I probably have a tainted view on what to expect.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1111209
    kathiemt
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    JamesMillar, post: 123725 wrote:
    Rebecca my advice would be to take care in speaking with council about operating a business from home. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t recommend calling them all. If you look up your council planning scheme you will probably find that there are requirements (possible prohibitions) regarding running a business in a residential zone. The council will give you the legal response not the practical one.

    Actually James, it depends on the Shire or Council. Where I live now, in the Dandenong Ranges, the Shire of Yarra Ranges is very big on local business and keen to keep it local, rather than push business owners out into other regions. They have the most proactive business support group I’ve seen in the three councils in which I’ve run my business. However, both the City of Kingston and the City of Bayside were also supportive of local and home based businesses and worked hard to maintain networking events and courses to encourage people to learn how to develop their businesses and keep them running. I was listed with the City of Kingston Business Directory and got occasional enquiries about my business. I am listed at the Shire of Yarra Ranges but hadn’t had enquiries yet, however I’m still very new to the area. But I have attended some of their courses (sustainability program was very good) and networking events and have made great connections with local people and the local council.

    #1111210
    JacquiPryor
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    Your Shire sounds just like mine Kathie! Pretty supportive of local (including home based) business ;)

    #1111211
    kathiemt
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    JacquiPryor, post: 123750 wrote:
    Your Shire sounds just like mine Kathie! Pretty supportive of local (including home based) business ;)

    mmm, I wonder why that is? :D

    #1111212
    James Millar
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    Well if they’ve got supportive local business departments then that’s great. Unfortunately my experience has been that the good intentions and initiatives of the council economic developent departments don’t override the red tape of the town planning departments.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1111213
    Past-Member
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    In addition to the others, please remember to take out Business Insurance including public liability. For example, if you have NRMA house and contents insurance, it is good to have NRMA Business insurance. (Can be payable monthly.) Or similar if you have other insurers. If someone was visiting you or a courier delivering and fell over a hose and sustained an injury, they would argue as to whether it came under business or personal insurance. You must have both. You may be required to install an alarm to meet the insurer’s requirements.

    In our council area you are not allowed to have any employees. You must work alone, or with one family member who is resident in the home.

    You cannot have signage from a home either without permission either.
    If you are building new separate premises on your property for work and will have visitors, then you must also provide disabled parking and toilet.

    Although I have a fully setup studio and office I don’t have clients visit me. I do most things over the phone and internet. If I have to meet anyone, I choose to meet in a public place like a cafe and take my iPad. I still have to have Business Insurance.

    Another insurance recommended is Professional Liability – http://www.bizcover.com.au has insurers for graphic designers.

    Business Insurance will also cover fees you would not have thought of such as Audit fees for an Accountant if you ever get audited. And your laptop if you take it out on the road. There’s lots more, but they are examples.

    This is the reason it’s important to check your overall rates like in the calculator here. Insurances, accountant fees and more all have to be taken into account. Plus portions of electricity, gas etc.

    My dad used to say that if you work 40 hours, you should make your hourly rate over 20 hours because so many of those hours will be in paperwork, quoting and more. If you happen to be paid more than 20 hours at any time, then it will be a bonus.

    All the best.
    Karen C

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