More and more people are setting up their own limited companies from home, thanks to major advances in web technology, and the realisation that there is no such thing as a ‘permanent’ job any more.
The Company Bug team have set up and run many companies over the past 15 years – and for most of the time, they have all been run from home rather than a specific ‘workplace’.
Here are some tips we’d like to share to make running your company from home more efficient, and profitable.
Working from home expenses
Although HMRC allows a pitiful £3 per week standard expense, deductible against Corporation Tax, if you run your company from home, you may well be entitled to claim a proportion of your household expenses against the company. The claim must only be for costs which wouldn’t otherwise have been incurred by the household – such as the additional cost of heating, cleaning a workspace. You must ensure that you have a dedicated area for company work too. For more details, read our guide to home office expenses.
Giving a professional image
Even if you work from home, you can still present a professional image of your company, thanks to major advances in technology over the past decade. You can use mail forwarding service and telephone answering services, use VOIP for cheap calls over the web with a dedicated ‘landline’ type number (for faxes too). Make sure you print well-designed business cards, and use the same branding across all your stationary and electronic communications. Get more ideas in our article – how to make your company look like a big business.
The latest revolution in web technology is the widespread adoption of ‘cloud computing’, where all the data you’d usually store on your PC or Mac is actually stored online, meaning you can access it anywhere. Some of the most common uses of cloud computing include webmail (such as Google), collaboration tools (such as Google Apps, and Basecamp), and a growing number of excellent online accounting tools – such as FreeAgent. All of these tools can save you a great deal of time, and can help you organise your business in an efficient way.
Separate work and home lives
From our personal experience, it is very easy for your work and home lives to merge into one – especially if you have children. Above all, you should designate a part of the home for pure business use. Ideally, this will be a separate part of the home, or at least a dedicated room. Some people find it hard to adjust to working from home, especially if they have come from a structured traditional office environment. For this reason, you should build a routine, and stick to it from day one. You may have to patiently train other family members to respect your need for quite and privacy when you are working.
Not only will having an organised work area prevent you overlooking important tasks, but it is also good for the mind. Create a filing system to keep all your paperwork organised, and consider moving as much of your paperwork online as possible. Applications such as Google Docs enable you to store all your documents online (and lets you share them with others if you wish). Again, an online accounting system will massively simplify your paperwork.
Are you insured?
You may find that your home insurance policy doesn’t cover business equipment, in which case you should take out a separate business policy. If any members of the public are going to visit you at home, you should also consider taking out public liability insurance in case they are injured on your premises. For more information, read our guide to limited company insurance.
- Claiming home office expenses from your company
- Money saving tips for limited companies
- Guide to illegal dividends, and how to avoid them
- How to get your limited company online
- Limited company expenses if you are caught by IR35
- ClearSky Accounting - specialist support for contractors
- Visit Hiscox for Professional Indemnity and Business Liability Insurance
- Contractor Finance - up to £30,000, when you need it
- InTouch Contractor Accountants - Personal Online Accounting
- Join PCG - Free impartial start-up advice for contractors.
- Visit Qdos Consulting for tax investigation cover and IR35 insurance.
- 90% Pay Retention for Contractors - Helix Management Ltd