Starting a Business From Your Garage: What You Need to Know
today at 8:06 am
If you’re thinking about starting a business in your garage, you’re not alone. In fact, many people have walked this same path before you, including the creators of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs came from very humble beginnings — and so can you. If you have a great idea and are ready to run with it, there’s no reason why you can’t convert your garage into a workspace.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you begin your entrepreneurial journey and strive for success.
1. Choose the Right Business
Not every business is meant to be run out of a garage. Just imagine trying to start a massage parlor or law firm in your musty carport. Odds are you wouldn’t attract many clients. However, there are plenty of other operations that would work perfectly in such a space.
For instance, a business that specializes in graphic design, online retail, bike repair or social media management wouldn’t raise any questions if you ran it out of a garage.
2. Renovate Accordingly
Once you’ve chosen the right kind of business, you can begin renovating your garage to accommodate it better. After all, very few investors or clients will take you seriously if you’re working out of a disorganized, windowless, oil-stained space.
Make your carport more inviting by cleaning it inside and out. Move all your tools into the shed or a small storage space.
You should also insulate the garage door to help regulate the temperature and humidity and lower energy costs. In fact, replacing your old garage door with an energy-efficient model can reduce energy loss through the door by up to 71%.
3. Research Regulations
If you’re making any major renovations or adding on to your garage, you must research local zoning laws and obtain a permit before conducting business. Many municipalities and lease agreements also have regulations that dictate whether you can run a business out of your home. Therefore, it’s best to call your local government office and file any necessary paperwork before declaring your garage an office space.
4. Get Insurance
Most homeowners insurance policies contain business-related exclusions, so if a customer sustains an injury on your property, they could sue you. Therefore, it’s crucial to protect yourself and your startup by purchasing adequate insurance.
Choose among a homeowners policy endorsement, a business owner’s policy or an in-home business policy. You might also consider a supplemental commercial auto or errors and omissions plan to cover all your bases.
5. Increase Security Measures
Running a business out of your garage often requires you to keep inventory, equipment and even extra cash on your property. Whether you keep everything in one big safe or right inside your garage, it’s important to increase security measures whenever possible.
Install motion-activated lights, security cameras and alarms around your entire home. Get a guard dog to scare off intruders or invest in a few simple weapons — like a taser and baseball bat — to fight off anyone who makes it past your system.
6. Prepare to Make Sacrifices
Being the CEO of your own company requires time and effort right from the get-go. However, most entrepreneurs are unaware of the toll their business will take on their personal lives. Prepare to turn down invites, tell friends and family no, and spend countless hours in your dim garage. It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but making sacrifices now will improve your odds of becoming a success.
7. Know When to Move On
This piece of advice is pertinent, whether your business grows exponentially or fails miserably. If you succeed, you’ll eventually have to move into a larger space with more potential for future expansion. Likewise, if your venture doesn’t pan out, you must know when to close up shop and try a different avenue. Frequently analyze your business model and bottom line for clues that may prepare you for either outcome.
Becoming Your Own Boss
Becoming your own boss is no walk in the park, but with consistent dedication, you can successfully start a business from your garage. Who knows — one day, you might even turn your tiny startup into a global corporation and become a bigwig yourself.