Guide to Starting a Home Based Business in Singapore
Do you long to escape the humdrum like of being chained to a 9-5 job that does very little to inspire you. Home-based businesses are on the rise, especially here in Singapore and the trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Being your own boss is the dream of many. The flexibility, the freedom to take control and pursue what you love, that is only a sneak peak into what being your own boss could entail. And when that there is a the opportunity to work right out of your own home with a home-based business? That is almost a dream come true.
A home-based business is described as small scale businesses which include sewing or baking from home. This type of business will be wholly operated and owned by the home-owner and the activities should not affect the use of the premise as a residential unit.
According to the Home Office (HO) Scheme, tenants, occupants and home owners of private residential properties are allowed to set up a small scale office in their home if they satisfy the prevailing HO guidelines and performance criteria. They must also ensure that the business does not cause any amenity problems to the neighbours.
Why Do So Many Entrepreneurs Now Seek to Start a Home-Based Business in Singapore?
There are plenty of perks to not working in an office the traditional way. When you run your own home based business, your office is your home. Among some of the perks of working from home include:
- You avoid battling the rush-hour commute to work, saving yourself a lot of precious time in the process
- You set your own work hours
- There is no need to deal with office politics
- You are doing what you love
- There is no expensive rental involved
- Noise, smoke, smell, dust or effluent nuisances that could pose a danger to the neighboring residents
This probably explains why there has been a rising trend in home based businesses in Singapore.
The Dos and Don’ts of Starting a Home-Based Business in Singapore
Running a business out of your home means there are certain regulations you are going to need to adhere to, especially if you live in a HDB flat. Your home will still primarily be your place of residence, which means your business should not affect the environment, character or ambience of the residential estate, even more so if you live in a HDB flat environment or apartment setting.
Your business should not involve the following:
- Immoral activities
- Illegal activities
- Be a nuisance to your neighbours
- Distribution of flyers or advertisements
- Illegal medical services
- Illegal massage services
- Hiring staff, as home addresses are not permissible for business registration
- Loading and unloading of goods for business activities
- Excessive vehicular or human traffic
Home-based businesses can be just about anything you would like, as long as you are passionate about what you do and you have the drive to succeed. Some examples of businesses which will be permissible as home-based businesses in Singapore include:
- Office related work using a computer
- Private tuition for no more than 3 students at any given time
- Freelance journalist work
- Freelance writing
- Freelance artist work
- Freelance photography
- Piecemeal work from a factory on a work rate basis
- Small scale baking activities (the flat must not be turned into a bakery)
- Hairdressing services
- Beauty services
- Manicure and pedicure services
- Bookeeping services
- Party planning
- Meal planner
- Travel planner
- Computer trainer
- Mobile pet grooming
- Personal chef
I Want to Start a Home-Based Business in Singapore, What Do I Do?
Staring a home-based business is like starting any other business, except that instead of a physical office space, your office would be your home. Now that you have decided a home-based business is perfect for you to pursue your passion or talent (whether full-time or on the side), you will need to start preparing for success:
Prepare the Perfect Space in Your Home: The first thing you need to do is decide where in your home would be the perfect place for your home-based business to be run. It could be either a spare bedroom, or an empty corner in the living room, the choice is yours as long as the space is comfortable and adequate enough to meet all your business needs. This area needs to become synonymous with work, and it is important that if you have others living with you, that they view this space as your office.
Prepare Your Furniture: What equipment will you need to get your work space all set up? A comfortable chair? Filing cabinets? A new bookshelf? Set up your work space at home with the furniture and equipment that you need to feel productive and create an environment that is conducive to getting work done. Remember, this is still an office space, so personalize it with anything that is going to boost your productivity.
Setting Up Your Connection: The next step is to make sure your laptop or computer, phone, printer and internet are all set up in working order. Running a home-based business means you need a fast internet connection, so you might want to think about investing in a great internet package. In business, any downtime means potential loss of profits, so always ensure your internet is always up and running.
Write Up Your Business Plan: Every business needs a business plan, this includes home-based businesses. Your business plan must be as detailed as possible, because it is going to be your road map to success. A business plan must include an executive summary, an overview of the company, a financial overview, market analysis, market strategy as well as a detailed list of products and services. Make each section as detailed as possible, especially when it comes to financial matters because this will be the foundation of your business. Without a business plan, it will be difficult for your business to gauge its sense of direction.
A home-based business in Singapore is still a business, so you would still need to get your company incorporated in Singapore under the sole proprietorship business entity option.