Home Based Business In Grogan's Mill in Points North Posted January 7, 2009 My advice is to check with your municipality to see what kind of licensing a regular business in an office would need. Then ask if the same items would be needed if you worked out of your home.Many cities have become very friendly to home-based business in the last ten years. They offer the city a source of commerce and tax revenue while having nearly zero additional cost to the infrastructure.Some cities (New York) have no licensing requirements for most home-based businesses. My city is not one of them.I am required to pay a bi-annual licensing fee (about $250) to the city, plus a fee to the county, plus a fee to the secretary of state, plus a fee to the state department of revenue, plus all the taxes that each level of government demands.The point of that mini-rant is that while The Woodlands may not require you to license your home business, you may still be required to register it with the county or the state, which is why it's good to find out all the things a regular business would have to go through.You're already aware that most home-based business licenses restrict the amount of visitor traffic to your home. But they can also restrict other things. For example, if someone orders a printed photograph from me, I'm not allowed to print it in my home, because the city considers that manufacturing, which is not permitted in home-based businesses in my city. Further, I'm not supposed to do any kind of photo printing because the laws were written back when "photo printing" meant "barrels of chemicals" and not "ink jet printer." Since I don't have a big photo printer I have to send my prints out to be done anyway, so this hasn't been a problem. But it pays to read lots of the fine print, even if you think it doesn't apply to your business. When I did some research on opening a business in New York I found that you only need a license from the city if you're involved in certain industries, like waste hauling, or hot dog vending. In Chicago EVERY business, no matter how small, requires a license. Every city is different. But I've found that if you go and ask questions in person, rather than on the phone, they're much nicer and more patient with you and you get the answers you need the first time.In this particular case, this is regulated by an association, not a city. Basically, some people have been clamoring for our community to be a city but having local ordinances can be a big issue. Our community emphasizes transparent coexistence with neighbors in a natural setting. That means the property must blend in with neighbors according to deed restrictions and that the business must not be a store front where customers do business. The restriction says no business in home residences unless approved. Basically if the entire neighborhood want to be "zoned" as commercial, the Design Review Committee will proabably approve it. If there are complaints by neighbors without approval, the business has to be shut down adn would likely face serious consequences. Applying to have a business will likely be denied unless there are some irresponsible people enforcing the restrictions, which would be quite unusual here. Not applying when there is a restriction can cause a legal case from the community, paid for by the problematic resident. Every home buyer must sign a written agreement to comply with the standards. Rentors should do so also, but the contract may not have that stipulation. If not, the landlord is at risk. It is my belief that a business operated transparently without any visibility whatsoever from the street is not in violation of this code. An example of that would be a computer or telephone based business. Behaviors impacting such decisions include generation of noise, increase in traffic (especially in Cul-de-sacs and areas where traffic is minimum and every automobile is noticed), appearance of the residence (usually controlled by other covenants), chemicals in drainage systems, etc.