Owning a home-based business has many perks. However, the best part is creating a functional workspace that accommodates your business, your product, and any clients that need to visit. Here’s how to achieve the perfect setup for your home-based business.
If your existing home doesn’t have space to expand — or if that’s outside your budget for the project — moving might be in your future. Of course, if you decide to buy a new home to make room for your business, the scenario has a unique set of challenges. Buying a house takes a bit of time, but it might be the best solution to incorporate your business into your living space.
But before you can start designing your new home office, finding the perfect house is the first step. To get to that point, you’ll need to calculate how much you can afford, get pre-approved for a loan, and find a real estate agent. Then, you can begin searching to see what types of listings are available in your desired neighborhood.
Don’t forget about zoning laws in the neighborhood, either. Depending on local law, you might need a specific type of business license — as well as permission for signage, advertising, and even parking for clients, as applicable. Fortunately, a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you navigate these details while you’re house hunting.
For business owners planning to stay put, you might be looking at some serious renovations to accommodate your workspace. From adding an addition to converting a garage, you’ll need to find a way to fit your business and its needs inside your house. However, you’ll also need to budget for such improvements; a garage conversion to a living space can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $19,000 on average, though this price will fluctuate depending on how much you intend to do to the space. For example, adding another bathroom or reception area for customers can add to your renovation bill, too.
The good news is, such renovations tend to fall under the business expense category on your taxes. Depending on the size, expense, and intent of the addition (whether to house your business or free up a room for an office), you may be able to use the IRS’ home office deduction, says TurboTax. Write-off calculations can be complex, though. Consulting with a tax professional can help you plan out your renovations with your budget and tax payments in mind.
You might have big plans for decorating your home office, but consider what’s most conducive to your work. If you need a quiet and peaceful space for working on the computer, hanging a 42-inch TV on the wall probably won’t be conducive to concentration. In contrast, if you only need space for packing shipping boxes or storing products, the size and décor of the room may not matter as much. Decide what your goals are, then consider the following features.
The paint color of your workspace may affect you more than you guess. According to Entrepreneur.com, a study found that gray, beige, or white environments caused workers to feel sad and depressed. Instead of bland or off-putting colors, experts recommend “restful” green and ‘calming’ blue to boost productivity and focus.
Overall, an indirect lighting source is best, says the Spruce, but you may also need a dedicated light source for specific tasks. Working on the computer, for example, may require a defined lighting fixture. Natural light is always welcome, though you want to avoid glare on your screens.
An organized and well laid out space is conducive to you getting the most (and best) work done. Consider breaking your space up into activity centers — with designated spots for each work task — and investing in organizational items like filing cabinets, message boards, and stackable trays for incoming and outgoing projects.
Working from home is desirable for many business owners. However, to make the most of your time and effort, you need a bit of preparation and forethought. With the right steps, you can create a highly productive and comfortable workspace.
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