Entrepreneur

More S'poreans Are Ditching Offices, Here's How You Can Work From Home And Be Your Own Boss Too

People generally hate being stuck in an office cubicle from 9 to 5, five times a week – most of us dream of working from home instead.

The perks say it all: You don’t have to battle rush-hour traffic in your daily commute, you can work as and when you want to, you don’t have to deal with office politics; and if you run your own business, you can also skip on having to pay expensive rent.

Image Credit: someecards.com

Rolling out of the bed at noon and working in pyjamas at the comfort of your own home indeed sounds very enticing, which probably explains why there has been a rising trend of home-based businesses in Singapore.

There wasn’t any recent statistics that can be found online, but according to a Straits Times article, businesses that run from HDB flats have grown from 19,000 in 2008 to 20,600 in 2013. This translates to an 8.42% increase over a period of five years.

Beauty Businesses Sprouting In Singapore

Home-based beauty businesses, in particular, are on the rise in Singapore.

Local beauty services booking app Vanitee, which allows users to book and list beauty services on the platform, reported a big jump in the number of home-based beauty businesses registered on it.

Image Credit: Vanitee

Currently, half of the businesses listed on the app – approximately 800 of them – are home-based.

This is a significant increase since its launch two years ago. In 2015, there were only 55 of such businesses; and it has grown to 386 last year.

In an interview with Straits Times, Vanitee co-founder Kuik Xiao Shi, said that business for these beauticians can be very profitable. In fact, the top 10% of home-based beauty service providers on Vanitee earn an average income of $13,000 a month.

Kuik also said that a key reason why customers tend to opt for home-based businesses is because they accommodate better to clients — their hours are much more easy-going as compared to the typical operating hours of a regular salon or mall.

According to Singapore Polytechnic senior retail lecturer Sarah Lim, the major appeal to setting up a home-based business is its flexible working hours and fewer overheads such as rent and transport costs. She adds that the cost of running a business at home is at least 50 percent lesser than running the same business in a mall.

She also noted that starting a business from home serves as a a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to test the waters before fully investing their money to establish a retail store.

What Are The Do’s And Don’ts

The allure of running a home-based business is now clear, so how do we go about kickstarting one of our own?

The most important thing to note is that your HDB flat must be used primarily as your residence. Hence, your business should not affect the character, ambience and environment of the residential estate.

This means that the business must not be illegal, immoral, or a nuisance to your neighbours. As such, putting up advertisements or distributing flyers is forbidden.

And if you remember last year’s feature story of a Chinese national offering ‘half-priced’ cosmetic surgery from her HDB flat, you should know that medical services of such nature are clearly a no-go.

The same goes for massage services.

HDB’s Home-based Small-Scale Business Scheme allows residents to run permissible activities (see below) for an informal small-scale business from home to strictly supplement the household income.

Image Credit: Housing & Development Board

Other guidelines to note: Hiring of staff is prohibited, and flat address cannot be used for business registration. Loading and unloading of goods related to the business is also forbidden, and no excessive human or vehicular traffic is allowed.

Business activities must also comply with the rules and regulations of the relevant authorities such as National Environment Agency for food hygiene, and Fire Safety and Shelter Department for fire safety requirements.

Now that these guidelines have been clearly laid out for you, be sure not to flout the rules and you can be on your way to becoming a self-made entrepreneur!

Featured Image Credit: Glamour

 

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