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Full Disclosure?

When to tell customers you work from your home
December 1, 2004
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/73754

Q: Should I let my customers know I work from home?

A: The answer depends on five factors:

  1. Type of business: If you provide day-care services, for instance, having a home address may be an advantage. Customers wouldn't expect you to operate from a commercial building, and if you did, they'd be concerned about the higher prices you'd need to charge to cover your rent. However, if you have a retail operation, some customers could see working from home as less professional.
  2. Location: Customers tend to want a service that's within 20 minutes of them. If you offer bookkeeping or massage services, for example, you're apt to get more business if customers know you're nearby, so you'll want them to know where you are.
  3. Street name: Names like Hog Call Road aren't going to project the right image. In such cases, you're better off not using your home address.
  4. Safety: This could be a concern for mothers of young children or single women who live in areas where neighbors work away from home. And if your business carries a risk of antagonizing people (such as a collections agency), you may not want to publicize where you live.
  5. Zoning or homeowners association restrictions: Ignoring restrictions while working from home can attract meddling neighbors. Most towns and cities-and homeowners associations-post regulations on their websites. Visit www.statelocalgov.netto link to most local government sites.

If you decide not to use your home address, use mail-receiving services such as those offered at UPS Stores as your official address on business cards and marketing literature.


Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' new book isThe Best Home Businesses for People 50+. Send them questions at www.workingfromhome.comor in care of Entrepreneur.