So you decided to be a stay-at-home parent and start a venture. Here’s a guide on how to keep your legal small home business.
Now you have much time at home to take care of the kids and the household. However, you want to have an extra income. Despite being in an HBD flat, you can indeed have a small business, yet since we all know HBD have strict regulations, you have to keep it within the guidelines.
Most Singaporean parents wish to have extra income as much as possible. Therefore, the government encourages small businesses. So it seems that nothing will be stopping you from having one. But you must be very careful about how you conduct your operations.
Your chosen business must not affect the lives of your neighbours. But, of course, they can be your prime consumers. There is no problem with that. However, it would help if you did not disturb the vicinity.
Remember that you are in a residential estate, and the priority is the neighbourhood’s peace. Therefore, your small enterprise must not cause noise, odour, smoke, chemical waste, dust or litter. It is as if nothing much is happening in your own home.
When it comes to advertisements, it is prohibited to make any signage. The residential feel of the estate or neighbourhood must not be disturbed.
If you commercialize your place and make it seem like a shop outside does not correlate with it. And since you are using your home as the base of your business, you must still use it as your residence and not be utilized as a business address.
You can’t hire any staff or worker who does not live in your home. It is an excellent excuse to involve your family in your small business. You can even make it as your daily family bonding.
Also, you are not allowed to load and unload your goods through trucks and vans. Seeing oversized vehicles than cars in the neighbourhood will ultimately make it seem that you are operating a business for a commercial lot and not a residential space.
In addition, trucks will disturb the traffic around your place, and it will indeed create a nuisance for many car owners. The survival of your business relies much on keeping your neighbours feel peaceful and undisturbed.
Many sew as part-time jobs. You can sew a fashionable dress for small girls or a bear’s ears for a specific factory. But you must be careful not to let dust get into your neighbours. Remember that textiles and fabrics can create dust, so you must take care of this.
Do not make your own home into a bakery if you are into baking. Robiah Lia Caniago has received a hefty fine after failing to comply with National Environment Agency (NEA). Apparently, she has a mass-producing curry puff in her two-room flat and even hired 8 helpers.
If you are a freelancer such as an artist, writer, journalist or photographer by chance, you can have your home as your office. Just remember not to hire anyone other than those living with you.
On the other hand, you can be a tutor and have your students come to your home. You can only have a maximum of 3 students. It may be risky as the students might disturb those living nearby. Do not attempt even to have younger kids. You are bound to be reported in no time.
Also, you can put up a hairdressing business. Include manicure and pedicure to share your hobby and hidden talent on nail arts, too. But massage services are strictly prohibited. Plus, you can’t let your clients line up outside your home.
Does your legal small home business somehow not meet the Small Business Guidelines for Setting Up a Small Business at Home? Then, you can try to apply for the Home Office Scheme.
Even if you are not the residence owner, you can still apply for HO. It is possible, especially if you live at the same place and provide written consent from the owner.
You have to log in to Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS). Then, register with your SingPass.
Also, you have to pay a non-refundable $20 administration fee. It is payable through a credit card or direct debit.
The only permitted businesses are accountancy, architectural, consultancy, design, advertising, insurance, financial planning, real estate, transportation, trading office and technology-based and knowledge-intensive businesses.
Having extra cash for your family is now a necessity. If you have a business idea in mind, there will be no stopping you. Unless you do not create any nuisance for your neighbours, that’s a different story.