How to Run a Keepsake Business from Home Legally

How to Run a Keepsake Business from Home Legally

Author : Michelle Willliams

If you are keen to start your own Keepsake Business, whether that be a Baby Casting Business or a Fingerprint Jewellery Business, you will need to give some thought to your business location and where you wish to operate your business from.  When I first started my own Baby Life Casting Business and Keepsake Jewellery Business, almost twenty years ago, I started off, operating frome home, from my kitchen table.  In fact this is how most people start out, but many operate from indiviual spaces around their home and property, such as a Garage, Garden Shed, Log Cabin or a spare room within their home?  Many others opt to operate a mobile business, visiting customers for appointments in the comfort of their own homes.  Whilst some decide upon investing in renting a Business Premises or Shop.  

Whichever type of business location you decid upon for starting your Keepsake Business, is entirely upto you.  But, for most people, when starting a Baby Hand Casting or Keepsake Jewellery Business, they prefer to keep their business overheads low.  So, starting a business from your Home, Shed or any space on your property or land, often makes the most practical and economical sense.  

But, if you wish to start and run a Keepsake Business from home, there are certain questions that you probably have, such as:

  • How to start a Business from home?
  • How to run a Business from home legally?
  • How to start a Business from a Shed?
  • Do I have to pay Business rates working from home?
  • Does running a Business from home affect my Council Tax?
  • Do you need Planning Permision for running a Business from Home?


How to Start a Keepsake Business from Home?

A Keepsake Business can be very easily run from home making it perfect for busy mum's who want to work and earn a salary, but also gain more flexibility and quality time with their families.  In addition a Keepsake Business, requires very minimal outlay, has low overheads, but also fantastic profit margins and earning potential, meaning that you can start up relatively quickly and gain a very fast return on your start-up investment. 

The first thing you will need to consider is what Tools and Equipment you will need to start your Keepsake Business, to ensure that you have adequate space.  Unlike many other home business ideas, the tools and equipment that you will need are fairly small, portable and inexpensive. If you wish to start a Life Casting or Baby Casting Business, for example, you will need some very basic tools and you will not require the use of a Kiln.  However, if you wish to start a Clay Imprints or Fingerprint Jewellery Business, you will require the use of either a Ceramic Kiln (for Clay Imprints) or a Jewellery Kiln (for Keepsake Jewellery). 

If the Keepsake Products that you intend to make, require the use of a Kiln, you will need to make sure that you have somewhere suitable to site your kiln. Most small Jewellery Kilns, are portable and can be used in a safe area of your house, such as a heat-proof kitchen worktop, but if you require a larger Ceramic Kiln, you may need to house this externally, in a converted Garage, Workshop or Outbuilding.

The Pros and Cons of Home Based Business...

What are the Advantages of a Home Based Business?

  • Lower overheads (i.e no rent, rates, staff).
  • You can claim a percentage of your heating and lighting costs when working from home.
  • More flexible working hours, with no commute time.
  • Low set-up costs.
  • Lower costs alllows you to offer more competitive pricing
  • Less legislation to overcome than operating from a fixed business premises.
  • No staff issues.

What are the Disadvantages of a Home Based Business?

  • You'll need to set aside a suitable area of your home to keep your tools, materials and stock.
  • You may find it difficult to set boundaries and 'switch off' from your business when you work from home.
  • You may become easily distracted by household chores and family committments.

What are the Disadvatages of operating a Mobile Business?

  • Requires more planning and organisation, as you will need to plan where you need to be, when and what you need to take.
  • It will also involve twice as much transportation (taking tools, materials and equipment to customer, then re-delivering the finished products.
  • You will need to factor in traveling times and costs into your pricing and planning.
  • When you have no static location (no high-street footfall) your business will be much less identifiable for your customers.  (No passing trade).
  • More marketing may be necessary as you will not benefit from the same foot-fall and word of mouth that you may from a retail shop or business premises.
  • Customer’s may expect goods and services to be lower price than studio/shop locations.
  • Requires lots of self discipline as you may become easily distracted by other household chores or family interuptions.
  • You may feel lonely or isolated working from home which is why it is always good to join a relevant industry association or community, such as www.thekeepsakeguild.co.uk

Home Business Set-Up Requirements:

Now that you are a little more familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of starting a Keepsake Business from home, I just want to focus on the Business Set up Requirements for a mobile or home based Keepsake Business:

  • Facilities -  If your Keepsake Business requires specialist equipment, such as a Ceramic Kiln or Jewellery Kiln, you will require a dry, level location, either in shed or garage in which to site your Kiln. Wooden flooring should be loosely covered with concrete slabs. This area needs to be well ventilated and away from food, as per the recommended Health and Safety Executive guidelines, which you can find at www.hse.gov.uk.
  • Health & Safety Regulations – you will also need to check if the operations of your business, your business environment, the equipment, materials and substances that you use could pose a health threat and if any health and safety regulations apply to you. You can check at www.hse.gov.uk/does-law-apply-to-me.htm
  • Power Supply - if your Keepsake Business involves the use of a kiln, You will require a 13amp power supply (depending upon which model you purchase) close to where your Kiln will be sited.
  • Suitable Storage Area -  you will need somewhere suitable to store your tools, equipment and raw materials. All of the materials required for Life Casting, Ceramics and Jewellery Making, are best stored in dry conditions, out of direct sunlight, at room temperature.

How to run a Business from Home legally?

Other things you will need to consider, when running a Business from Home are:

  • Public Liability Insurance - If you are accepting money for services, then you will need Public Liability Insurance for your Keepsake Business, to cover yourself against any loss or damage. This is particularly Important, if you are dealing with children and ‘trading’ at locations outside of your home.  
  • Home Insurance - you must notify your insurance company immediately, if you intend to operate a kiln from your home. If you fail to do so, your home and contents may not be covered in the event of a fire. You will probably need to contact a broker to help you, as often the main insurance companies have inflexible, standard policies. It is possible that your current home-insurance company will refuse to insure you or may charge excessively. So, I suggest you use a broker to ‘shop around’ on your behalf. You can find details of Keepsake Business Insurance Brokers here. 
  • Disclaimers & Terms and Conditions - on any publicly-facing website you run, you will need to consider disclaimers and terms and conditions, particularly if you are selling any of your products on-line. Make sure that you are working within the law. Refresh yourself with Sale of Goods and the Distance Selling Regulations.   
  • Term of Tenancy/Ownership -   you may need to check on the terms of tenancy/ownership of your property to check if there are any covenants or restrictions that would prevent you from working from home. In most cases, unless you are unlikely to cause disturbance to your neighbours through the operation of the business, there is usually not a problem.
  • Planning Permission -  if you are planning on erecting a fixed studio for business use within your grounds, you may need to contact your local council to ask about planning permission.
  • Business Rates -  if you are operating your Business from within your home, make it clear that part of your home will be for business use. This may attract the attention of the local authority Valuation Office, who may be keen to apply business rates. However, if the space is for "mixed use", i.e. for example, personal as well as business use, then business rates should not be applied.
  • Capital Gains Tax - if you sell your house, having claimed that a proportion of it has been used for business purposes, accountants have often warned in the past that this may have Capital Gains Tax implications for the sale. However, HMRC has clarified (in June 2008) that this is not the case, and mortgage interest can be offset against your tax bill where relevant.
  • Declaration - Insurance and Mortgage companies will often ask you to declare that your home is used solely for residential purposes (same goes for tenancy agreements), but if you're running a small home office, and take out business insurance for your business-related items, you should be OK but you will need to check.
  • Self-Assessment -  to avoid triggering an Inland Revenue investigation when you make your claim on your self-assessment form, you must be sure that your claim is genuine and necessary. You should only claim if the amounts involved are significant and if you genuinely do use a proportion of your home solely for running your business. You should be prepared to provide full calculations for any expenses claimed.
  • Legal Requirements - you have a legal requirement to register as Self Employed to (HMRC) within the specified time.

If you do not wish to operate your Business from home, but prefer to operate from a Business Premises, check out this article on How to choose and set up business premesis for your Keepsake Business.

If you are new to starting a Baby Casting Business, Pet Keepsake Business or Keepake Jewellery Business and you need a little extra help in starting, launching and growing your Business, I have over 20 years Business and Marketing experience in the Life Casting and Keepsake Business Sector, which I'd love to share with you.

Apart from offering a market leading series of Life Casting Courses and Keepsake Jewellery Courses, I also offer a growing collection of Business and Marketing e-courses, designed to help you Start, Launch and Grow your Keepsake Business, which go into far greater detail than I am able to offer here. I also offer a range of "Done for you' Marketing Services", if you need any help in developing your Brand Identity and Website.

I hope that this information is of value to you, but if you have any further questions, please message me and I'll be happy to help!

If you are right at the begining of your journey of considering starting a Baby Life Casting Business or Keepsake Jewellery Business, check out the additional links and resources below and register for my FREE Mini Course on "How to Start your own Creative Home Business."
 

Links

http://go.thecraftecademy.co.uk/creative-home-business

http://go.thecraftecademy.co.uk/timeandfreedom