Home-based Businesses

A home-based business is any business where the primary office is located in the owner’s home. Limiting commutes, lowering overheads, income tax advantages and providing flexibility in juggling work and personal life are many of the great things about starting a home-based business. However, like any business, it takes strong commitment and a lot of homework to get started. 

If you are thinking of starting a home-based business, there are considerations to keep in mind prior to starting up, to protect you, your home and your customers. 

For any small business looking to open in Brantford, the best place to start is the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre, which offers free one-on-one consultations. Due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, we are currently providing consultations via WebEx and phone.  Please contact us at 519-756-4269 or brc@brantford.ca to set up a free consultation.

Home-Based Business Workshops (virtual)

How to start a home-based business

The BRC offers free virtual workshops for anyone interested in starting a home-based business.  Please subscribe to the BRC e-newsletter for the most up-to-date workshop dates.

Starting a home-based business, like any other business, can be complicated, but we are here to help! If you are thinking of starting a home-based business, the best place to start is the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre. Please contact us at 519-756-4269 or brc@brantford.ca to set up a free consultation.

What you need to know to start your home-based business

Business Licensing
Certain types of businesses in the City must be licensed by the City of Brantford to operate legally. These licenses are required to help ensure the safety of our citizens and your customers.

The City issues licences for both stationary businesses and some mobile businesses. For information on regulations, fees, renewals and business licence categories, visit the City of Brantford Business Licensing page.

Business Licensing By-laws
Businesses must adhere to business licensing by-laws to protect the community against infractions related to public health and safety, nuisance control and consumer protection. For more information about business licensing by-laws, visit the City of Brantford By-Laws page. 
Business Structure

A business can be set up as a sole proprietorship, partnership or a corporation.  If you choose to structure your business as a sole proprietor or partnership you can apply for a  

Master Business Licence through Service Ontario.  You will need a Master Business Licence to open a business bank account.

If you choose to incorporate, we advise seeking the council of a lawyer and accountant to ensure you are setting up the corporation properly. 

For more information about business structures, please contact the BRC.

Fire Inspections
Your home-based business may need an inspection to ensure compliance with the Ontario Fire CodeContact the Brantford Fire Department to request an inspection.
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
You have to register for a HST/GST account if your business exceeds revenues of $30,000 in 12 rolling months.  For more information about HST and CRA accounts please contact the BRC. 
Income Tax Implications
Home-based businesses owners may be eligible to deduct certain business expenses from their income tax if your home is your principal place of business. Connect with an accountant to determine if you meet the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requirements for home-based business tax deductions.
Your home insurance may not cover your home-based business from theft, damage to your business property or lawsuits. Contact your insurance advisor to discuss your options to protect yourself and your property.
Ministry of Health Guidelines
The Ministry of Health has published a guide to help such entrepreneurs take the recommended steps to succeed, in a food-safe way, in their homemade food business efforts. 
Public Health Inspections
Some home-based businesses, including food and personal service businesses, will require an inspection from the Brant County Health Unit, which is responsible for food safety and infection control. Your home based food business may also need a certified commercial kitchen. Inspection reports are posted on the Brant County Health Unit website.
Zoning By-law
Based on the City’s Zoning By-law, home occupations are permitted in all residential zones, with regulations in place to protect the reasonable enjoyment and aesthetics of a residential community. Home-based businesses are subject to a number of regulations that include, but are not limited to: parking, storage, signage, deliveries, noise and odours.

For more information about the City’s Zoning By-law, visit the City of Brantford Comprehensive Zoning By-Law. Anyone interested in starting a home-based business is encouraged to speak with the Building Department directly for more information by calling 519-759-4150.