The idea of working from home for most is an absolute dream, however, it is important to consider the steps you need to put in place for this to become a reality.
Garden offices or shed-based businesses aren’t a new concept, they provide a relatively quick and cost-effective solution to setting up your own business. You can also benefit from no commute, no office politics, greater flexibility, improved satisfaction and increased work/home life productivity.
What’s more, for most individuals, it is ideal to have a working space that allows you to separate ordinary home life and work life - what’s the solution? Simple - a garden shed.
Some of the world’s most successful businesses started in a shed, from Walt Disney to HP, Harley Davidson to Ikea. Could your business be the next big success story?
Back in 1923, Walt Disney set up his very own animation studio in a garage. He started by paying $1 in rent per week. The famous Alice Comedies - a collection of short live-action/animated films - was born in this shed. 5 years later, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck were born. The company was expanding by the minute and little did they know it would go on to produce entertaining children’s films loved and adored internationally. What started as a small enterprise in the back garden, is now a global phenomenon worth a total of $98b.
We are experienced craftsmen at creating premium quality garden offices with the view to encouraging flexible working and living in the 21st century.
Setting up a business from home: Step by Step guide
Do I need permission to a run a business from home?
According to Gov.uk, if you’re considering running a business from home, or in this case, your garden shed, you may need to seek permission from the following:
- Mortgage provider or landlord
- Local planning office: this is only applicable if you’re considering to make major alterations to your home to accommodate a business
- Local council: this will be required if you’re expecting frequent customers or deliveries, you want to advertise outside your home, or if you need a license to run your business
2. Making your shed fit for purpose: garden office ready
It is important to think everything through if you’re considering setting up a business or working from home in your garden office. The concept is a great idea, but your timber shed needs to be habitable and functional. Simple things to consider:
- Electricity and heating
- Internet and phone access
Electricity and heating
Electricity is a must-have requirement for most businesses, and in the 21st century, digital technology is almost a necessity to complete jobs efficiently. What’s more, the UK weather, as we all know, is not reliable; harsh winters and even chilly summers make it important to have a source of heating inside your garden office.
Fitting electricity inside your shed should one of your top priority jobs. We recommend contacting a reputable electrician to complete the works.
Lighting comes hand-in-hand with electricity. On a dull day, lighting is going to be a must-have whatever your business is. If you’re already considering implementing electricity, we recommend also liaising with your electrician about fixing light fixtures within your structure.
However, if electricity isn’t necessary or your garden shed office conversion is on a tight budget, battery-operated lights are a fantastic option for making your office a light, usable space!
From the Ace Sheds online shop you can purchase the HUBi 2k Lighting and Power System: a reliable and robust solar hub to provide light and power where no grid power exists. These are available to buy individually or alongside one of our timber buildings.
Internet and phone access
Although dependent on your business, access to the internet and a phone line will be of great advantage and importance. What’s great about starting a business from your garden shed is the close proximity to your home, and importantly, your WiFi connection. This could save you time and money installing a new connection.
If you’re able to pick up a WiFi connection from your home, you could boost your signal using a WiFi extender, which will increase your internet’s range a great distance. What’s more, if you are considering getting electricity supplied to your garden shed you can alternatively get an Ethernet cable installed. This cable connects to your internet router and needs to be protected. This can be done by digging underground or trailing the cable above ground. If you decide to trail your cable above ground, we recommend investing in a UV and water resistant cable.
We suspect running a business from your garden shed will mean your shed will contain valuable belongings which are often expensive and necessary for the running and success of the business. It is therefore important to consider making your shed safe and secure.
We offer a range of security features including:
- Neulock Padbolt
- Squire KeyBolt
- Squire combi CP50 Padlock
- Security Mesh*
- Solid Brass Padlock*
- Padbolt & Lock*
*available to buy with a purchase of a garden shed or get in contact for individual sale
Our garden sheds have been manufactured in line with Secured by Design security criteria- a police initiative targeting crime prevention at the design and construction stage -, to help offer a completely secure outbuilding, safe from the threat of theft or break-ins.
3. Running a business from home
Once your garden shed is fit for purpose, you need to think about the logistics and formalities of running a business from home. We’ve already discussed the possible permissions you may need, but other things you may need to consider include:
- Notifying HMRC (if you’re becoming self-employed)
- Tax Allowances
- Business Rates
- Health and Safety
If you’re taking the leap to self-employment, you will need to notify HMRC of this change. You can do this online or by phone. If you’re new to the process, we recommended exploring HMRC’s free online training which can give help and support if you’re self-employed.
It is important to be aware that your standard home insurance may not cover your business which includes stock, electronics and customers visiting the business premises. Insurance is very important and can cover your business against unexpected risks including accidents, theft and legal fees for example. Gov.uk recommend visiting the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) website to find an authorised insurer.
Some business operating costs can be deducted from tax if you’re self-employed. Costs you can claim as allowable expenses include:
- Office costs: e.g. stationary
- Travel costs: e.g. parking, fuel, train or bus fares
- Clothing expenses: e.g. uniform
- Staff costs: e.g. salaries
- Things you buy to sell on: e.g. stock or raw materials
- Financial costs: e.g. insurance or bank charges
- Costs of your business premises: e.g. light, heating, business rates
- Advertising or marketing: e.g. website
- Council tax
- Mortgage interest or rent
For more information please visit expenses if you’re self-employed.
In the event that a Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has given a rateable value to a part of your home, you may have to pay business rates on the part of your property being used for business purposes. You can contact the VAO to see if you have to pay business rates.
Health and Safety
As with any business, large or small, you will need to implement and manage health and safety. If you’re self-employed and/or it’s a one-man-band for example, your approach to health and safety should be proportionate to the size of the business and the nature of the business activity.
For more information on health and safety, please visit the HSE website, where you will find information on:
- Electrical safety
- Fire safety
- Gas safety
- Harmful substance
- Machinery, plant, and equipment
- Manual handling
- Personal protective equipment
- Pressure equipment
- Slips and trips
- Working at height
- Working in confined spaces
- Workplace transport
According to HSE, if you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write down your risk assessment or your health and safety policy.
Our Garden Offices
Here at Ace Sheds, we manufacture bespoke garden offices in the heart of Kent. Using premium quality pressure treated timber. our excellent craftsmen build your made-to-measure garden office on-site. Explore our range of garden sheds and discover your new garden office. See how other customers have used their garden sheds in our gallery.