Movin’ Out: Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Home Office
With work booming, many remodeling companies are in growth mode. If you’ve been working out of a home-based office, it may be time to fly the coop. No one wants to spend money on rent or another mortgage if you don’t have to, but if working out of your home is limiting your company’s growth or infringing on your family’s life, the benefits of moving into a commercial space may well be worth the cost.
No. 1: Zoning or HOA violations
Home-based businesses can get away with a lot when it comes to zoning laws or the rules of your neighborhood if you’ve got a Homeowners’ Association. Most municipalities have laws about things like business signs, percentage of your home you use for business, the sorts of materials you’re storing, and how many employees you have working there. Company-branded trucks, even parked in your own driveway, may be in violation of some neighborhood bylaws.
It’s easy to fly under the radar, but all you need is one nosy — or disgruntled — neighbor to blow the whistle on you and cause headaches.
No. 2: Your business has taken over the house or life
If your whole house has become the office, with paperwork, product samples, and equipment everywhere, it might be time to move out. This is especially true if it’s affecting the lives of your kids or partner.
The upside of working from home is you can work all the time. But that’s also the downside. If your work is dominating your home life, it’s probably time to put some distance between the two.
No. 3: You need to meet with customers on your turf
If clients meet with you in your home often, it’s probably time to get a dedicated office. Their trust level will go up when they see you have a separate place of business — they perceive it as a more serious commitment and more professional.
No. 4: Kids, especially little ones
Running a business in the same space that your children are playing, or just being kids, is incredibly difficult. This is especially true when they’re infants and toddlers — too young to understand that you don’t want to be interrupted for a half-hour. Even having a small office somewhere other than home will boost your productivity.
No. 5: You get lonely
Some people just don’t thrive working alone — they are the people who need people. If you’re more productive and happier with the energy a communal office offers, you need to put yourself in that situation.
No. 6: Your business is growing
A growing business needs more room for equipment, storage space, and especially employees. Your employees need room to work, and they could be cramped in your home. You also could lose some prospective employees who think there’s something sketchy about working in your basement.
We went through this a few years ago — moving from a home office to a commercial space. The increase in morale and productivity made it clear it was the best thing to do, and well worth the added expense.
Run the numbers ahead of time to be sure you can swing it, and look at starting the new year in a new space. If you can’t afford your very own dedicated space, you still have options other than the local coffee shop. Check into the growing number of co-working spaces available and the different rental packages they offer. It can give you a place to work, either quietly or to enjoy the company and energy of other entrepreneurs, more networking opportunities, and a space to meet with clients.
When Did You Know It Was Time?
How about you? When did you and your firm know it was time to “cut the cord” and move to your own space? Any pitfalls or learning lessons? Let us know in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you!