Imagine working 16 hours a day, seven days a week to create your dream business. Then, just as you've got it up and running, an anonymous call to the authorities threatens everything you've built. That's exactly what happened to Colleen Wolf, who started communications and marketing company Wolf Prints Inc. in Yorklyn, Delaware, in 1992.
"I had converted a garage into an office," says Wolf. "It had a separate entrance and was attached to the house. Then, once it was finished, I put a sign in my front yard advertising the business."
Within two weeks, Wolf says she got a call from the local zoning office saying a complaint had been filed against her and that a representative was coming out to investigate whether it was legal to operate the business from her home. "It was shocking," recalls Wolf. "When I filed for my business license and incorporated the company, at no point did anyone ask me where it was going to be, nor did they tell me about county codes. I had no indication it might be illegal to operate a business in my home."
To Wolf's relief, the authorities deemed it legal for her to operate her business from home and simply instructed her to post a smaller sign. Unfortunately, not all homebased business owners are so lucky.