For growing or new businesses, a common problem is finding a place to operate. Commercial construction is very expensive and slow, and it can be difficult to find somewhere to rent that has sufficient parking, a useful floor plan, and a welcoming look.
For those reasons, many businesses turn towards residential structures for their new location. Houses can avoid many of these problems and provide a good, functional space for operations.
Of course, they aren’t without their own issues. Before making the move to purchase a house for business purposes, review some of these considerations.
Zoning laws vary from city to city, and some cities may even have specialized areas within their limits that apply even stricter regulations to buildings there.
But a good starting point is to determine what the existing standards are. If you are in a residentially-zoned area, find out what the process is to make a change. There may be fees, hearings, or other steps that must be taken.
Bear in mind that if you’re in the middle of a street that is otherwise full of homes, you may face a challenge from your future neighbors. A better choice is to go to an area where other homes have already been converted because you are less likely to face a legal issue.
Create A Professional Look
A house can be a great office location because it feels so welcoming, but there are still some things you’ll need to do to make it a workplace. Good signage and some help from can help to draw in passing customers. So if you operate a business that counts on attracting people who are just passing by, you’ll want to think about these considerations.
But it will take work inside, too. Your customers may like a homey feel, but your employees will need it to look more like an office so that they can be productive and feel professional. There is a lot of science to support this idea, so find ways to improve the workability of the space without losing that homelike warmth.
Think of the Upgrades
Speaking of changes inside, you’ll have a few things to do from a functional perspective. It seems that a home, which is occupied many more hours per day than a typical office, would be more demanding of structural components, but it’s actually the opposite.
Remember that you’ll be using things much more heavily than a home would because you’ll have more people coming through, even though it is just for eight or nine hours a day. Floor coverings will need to be upgraded to commercial quality so that they can handle the constant foot traffic and more frequent cleanings. You might choose to go with low-volume commodes and to lower utility bills.
Doors will be opening and closing far more often, so those worn latches and hinges will wear out faster (and squeak more in the process). You’ll also want to think about security and fire safety.
While no alternative is without its headaches, moving an office or other business into a former house can certainly make things easier. You’ll get an existing building with no wait time, modest conversion costs, and a great setting that will attract customers while still feeling comfortable to employees.