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Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Home-Based Business in Singapore

photo-starting-a-home-based-business-in-singapore-1024x512Imagine the freedom of being your own boss. Wouldn’t it feel great to wake up each morning and avoid the rush-hour traffic or the mad dash for public transport just to get to work on time? Imagine if you could set your own work hours, work at your own pace, and maintain the work-life balance you’ve been craving for. That is the freedom that comes with starting a home-based business in Singapore.

Many benefits come with working out of the comfort of your own home. You get to do what you love and you don’t have to pay any expensive rent to do it. You don’t have to pay your employees either because you are working for yourself. That is why many entrepreneurs are flocking to the idea of working from home.

The Home Office (HO) Scheme in Singapore allows tenants, occupants and homeowners of private residential properties to set up a small scale office in their home if they satisfy the prevailing HO guidelines and performance criteria. Furthermore, the business must adhere to certain stipulations. You need to avoid these activities:

  • 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


What is a Home-Based Business?

A home-based business is a small-scale business that is run within the confines of your home. You are not renting office space to carry out your business. Since it is home-based, a business that is done from home is usually a one-person show. Home-based businesses are on the rise, especially here in Singapore. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon for small businesses to start at home.

This type of business will be wholly operated and owned by the homeowner and the activities should not affect the use of the premise as a residential unit. There are several business types that you can operate from home. Here are some examples of what to consider:

  • A small scale baking business
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Freelance writer or editor
  • Freelance photographer
  • Sewing services
  • Freelance artist or journalist
  • Private tuition for no more than three students per session
  • Office-related work using a computer
  • Piecemeal work from a factory on a work rate basis
  • Hairdressing services
  • Beauty services
  • Bookkeeping services
  • Blogging
  • Party planning
  • Meal planner
  • Travel planner
  • Computer trainer
  • Caterer
  • Mobile pet grooming
  • Personal chef

You have a lot of options to choose from. It all depends on your passion and your skills. Home-based businesses can be just about anything you would like, as long as you are passionate about what you do and have the drive to succeed.

Since starting a home-based business will be a sole proprietorship entity, the company registration in Singapore will be an easy and straightforward process. At 3E Accounting, we can have your business up and running within a day or two.


The Business Registration Process

You must prepare a business plan before registering your business as a legal entity in Singapore. The business plan must be as detailed as possible because it is going to be your roadmap to success. Depending on the kind of business you plan to have, it might be a good idea to register your trademark. This will safeguard your concepts and your brand designs, ensuring that your competitors won’t be able to copy your ideas.

Even though you are starting a home-based business, the business must still be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This ensures that you operate your business legally. ACRA is the regulating authority for all businesses operating in Singapore. Registering with ACRA is easy. All you need to do is login to BizFile and use your SingPass ID to do this.

During your company incorporation process, your selected business entity will be the sole proprietorship entity. Once you have your business registered with ACRA, you will then need to get it registered with the taxation authorities. If you are a foreign entrepreneur, you will need to submit a copy of your passport and your address as proof of residence. 3E Accounting can easily assist you with getting all your documents in order.


Licenses and Permits Needed

The good news is that you don’t need a special license or permit to run a business from your home. However, your business must be within the following guidelines:

  • You can only register private residences as business addresses. HDB flats cannot be registered as a business address.
  • The nature of your business should not affect your neighbours and the living environment.
  • Your business should not cause any disturbances (noise, litter, smoke, high human traffic, involve the use of heavy equipment)
  • No paid advertising is allowed. This includes billboards or signs outside your living space and social media.

Your business must adhere to the Singapore Food Agency and Fire Safety and Shelter Department requirements too. Your Singapore corporate service provider can walk you through the process.


Let Us Help You Live Your Dream

Here at 3E Accounting, we believe that all businesses (big or small) matter and deserve equal opportunities. We put the needs of our clients first and we don’t stop working hard until your business dreams come true. Every business needs to start somewhere, and for some people, that “somewhere” is their home. For more information about starting a home-based business and our company incorporation services, contact 3E Accounting.