Starting a Home-Based Business

Are you thinking about starting a home-based business? Here are some guidelines to help get you started.

What is a Home-Based Business?

A home-based business or Home Occupation is the employment of a resident in a dwelling with a business that has limited commercial activity.  This employment activity is incidental and subordinate to the residential use of the property.

Can I operate a business from my residence?

Yes, certain types of businesses can be run from your residence. The City of Dublin Zoning Ordinance Home Occupation Regulations (Chapter 8.64) addresses the types of businesses and operating characteristics of those businesses that may be run from a residence. The intent of these regulations are to ensure that Home Occupations are compatible with, and do not change, the residential character of a neighborhood by generating traffic, noise, odors, visual impacts, or storage of equipment and materials not typically expected in a residential neighborhood.

Home Occupations shall conform to the following, as further described in the Home Occupation Regulations:
  • Shall be conducted within the primary structure, except administrative and artistic activities which may be conducted in detached offices, studios or workshops
  • Maintain the unaltered exterior appearance of the residence
  • Construction equipment and work vehicles (i.e. plumbing vans or similar) shall not be stored at the residence
  • Comply with applicable codes, laws and regulations
  • A maximum of one company vehicle (maximum ¾ ton capacity) may be parked at the residence
  • Not operate within an established emergency shelter or transitional housing
  • Employees must reside in the home
  • Equipment, appliances, and stored materials shall be of a residential nature
  • Activities, equipment, and materials shall be restricted to the residential occupancy classification as set forth in the Building Code
  • Shall be incidental and subordinate to the residential use of the property
  • Shall be conducted indoors and limited to one room within the residence, accessory structure, or garage
  • No merchandise should be sold, leased, or rented from the residence if customers must visit the property for delivery
  • Shall not create a nuisance
  • Storage and display of equipment, materials, supplies, and merchandise is not permitted outdoors
  • Vehicles used for the Home Occupation shall not occupy a required parking space of the residence
  • Have the written consent of the property owner to operate the business
  • No signs or business identification is permitted
  • Storage of equipment, materials, and waste produced by construction, landscaping, or service trades is
  • prohibited
  • No more than two students may be given instruction at one time. No instruction may be given between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00  a.m.
  • Shall not generate more than five additional pedestrian or vehicular trips in excess of what is customary for the neighborhood
Do I Need a Permit to Operate My Home-Based Business?
All home-based businesses are required to have a current City of Dublin Business License prior to beginning operations. To get started, you will need to complete a Business License Application, Home Occupation Supplemental Questionnaire, and pay the application fee. The supplemental questionnaire is used to confirm that your proposed business complies with the Home
Occupation Regulations. Applications are available online or in person from the Community Development Department.

What Types of Home Occupations are Prohibited?
The following types of Home Occupations are prohibited to be run from a residence in the City of Dublin:
  • Adult business establishments
  • Appliance repair shops
  • Auto body, auto repair, and re-upholstery shops
  • Barber and beauty shops
  • Carpentry and cabinet making
  • Dance and night clubs
  • Fortune telling
  • Grooming, breeding, training and raising of animals
  • Medical and dental offices, clinics, and laboratories
  • Mini-storage
  • Restaurants
  • Welding and machine shops