Run Your Business From Home in NYC
Nothing, absolutely nothing in NYC is cheap. But starting a business? Woof.
There’s the pricey LLC publication requirement. The licensing fees. The minefield of costly violations small business owners dance through every day. The most expensive part by far: taking up space.
With the shift to remote work, many entrepreneurs are wondering the same thing. Can I run my business from my home? And what are the rules? Because this is NYC. Of course there are rules.
Running your business from home is called a Home Occupation.
Here, we’ll break down how to run your business straight from your Brooklyn Heights co-op or your Midtown luxury glass tower or the crawl space you rented in Astoria sight unseen for 3K a month. Okay, we probably can’t help with the last one, but if you can eek out some space in your apartment to start a business, read on.
What are the rules for an NYC Home Occupation?
According to Zoning Resolution §12-10, your Home Occupation CANNOT:
Running your business from home should be an “accessory use” of your place. Your home should be where you eat, sleep, and (if you’re lucky) do your laundry, first of all. Business use should come second to living.
You can’t use your entire apartment to run your business and then sleep Harry Potter-style in the broom closet. Your business can only take up a fraction of your home.
Your roomies can work for you, but you can only have one employee who lives outside of your place.
Everything you sell needs to be produced right there in your home.
Sorry to squash your dreams of placing a 20-foot toadstool on your roof to advertise the mushroom microfarm you have going in your closet. Basically, no one should be able to tell you’re running a business from your apartment.
If you’re running your business from home, all your goods need to fit on-site, in that 500 square foot space you’ve allotted to your business.
Your business can’t produce anything that might offend the five senses of people living near by. That means noise, vibrations, smoke, dust, odor, heat, humidity, or even a glare.
NYC Home Occupation FAQs
Of course. There’s a long list. Here you go.
- advertising/PR agencies
- barbershops/beauty parlors
- commercial stables or kennels
- electrolysis offices
- interior décor offices or workshops
- ophthalmology offices
- real estate offices
- insurance offices
- stockbrokers’ offices
- veterinary clinics
If you’re teaching or tutoring, you can have four students in your home simultaneously. If you’re teaching music, you can only have one student in your home at a time, because your neighbors are probably only going to be able to bear the sounds of one screechy 9-year-old violinist at a time.
But keep in mind – your business can’t annoy your neighbors. A steady stream of clients clomping up and down your stairs all day is probably going to cause complaints, which could lead to your business being shut down.
Miraculously, no! Just make sure your business meets the requirements of Zoning Resolution §12-10 so you can defend your business’s right to operate out of your home, should the need arise.
Yeah, we were thinking the same thing. Running your business from home can save you a ton of money, no doubt. But when you incorporate in New York or form an NY LLC, you need to list a business address on your formation documents. That address then goes on the public record.
It’s a real problem for anyone who gives a hoot about privacy. If you hire us to form your company or act as your registered agent, we’ll list our business address on public documents and spare you never-ending piles of junk mail.