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Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business in Singapore

Last modified: February 10, 2021
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Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business in Singapore

You may want to start a home-based business in Singapore for various reasons: make money, implement an innovative idea, self-expression, recognition, etc. An experienced provider of Singapore company incorporation services can help you with the task.


Who Can set up a Home-Based business in Singapore?

Yes, you can do so under the Home Office (HO) Scheme. The scheme allows homeowners, tenants or authorized occupants of private residential properties or HDB flats to set up a home office.

Depending on your circumstances, you will need to obtain permission from URA or HDB authorities to set up your home office. The tenants and authorized occupants need the owner’s consent to set up a home office.

  • For the home office in a private residential property apply to URA authorities
  • For the home office in an HDB flat apply to HDB authorities


Home Office Permit

Starting a home-based business will help you in realizing your dreams. First of all, it will allow you to escape from a boring 9-5 office job. It will also allow you to plan and execute your creative ideas the way you want. Most importantly, you will be able to do so right from your home, saving you travel-time and efforts you need to make to reach a workplace.

Your one-time permit for setting up a home office is valid as long as your business is operating. However, authorities may revoke it if you breach any restrictions or conditions applicable to your home-based business.


Home Office Scheme: Restrictions and Conditions

A home-based business is essentially a small-scale business activity. The authorities expect you to conduct it in without disturbing others in any way.

Before you approach your Singapore company incorporation services provider, you need to know about the restrictions that a home-based business must follow in Singapore.

The authorities expect you to keep the scale of activities of your home-based business small. You are not supposed to cause any inconvenience or disturbance to your neighbours. As per the restrictions and conditions imposed, you:

  • Can employ at most 2 non-resident employees
  • Cannot use external business signage or advertisements
  • Cannot make noise, dust, smoke, odour, or wastes
  • Cannot engage in business activities that are not allowed under HO scheme

You need to take care and not allow your business activities to affect the neighbourhood’s character, environment, or ambience. You should avoid,

  • Immoral or illegal activities
  • Being a nuisance to your neighbours
  • Distributing flyers or advertisements
  • Loading/unloading of goods for business activities
  • Causing excessive vehicular or human traffic

Under your home-based business, you can conduct light activities like:

  • Computer-based office work
  • Computer training
  • Blogging
  • Software/Website development
  • Bookkeeping services
  • Private tuition (at most 3 students at a time)
  • Freelance artist/journalist/writing/photography
  • Piecemeal work from a factory on a work rate basis
  • Baking cakes for sale to friends
  • Sewing/hairdressing/Beauty/Manicure and pedicure services
  • Party/meal/travel planner
  • Yoga classes
  • Personal chef/catering services
  • Mobile pet grooming


How to Run a Home-Based Business in Singapore

Registering a home business gives you a chance to capitalize on your passion or talent. However, you need to do the following things to make it a success.


Prepare a detailed business plan:

Prepare a business plan, even if it is only one-page long. No business can succeed with a detailed blueprint. Put all the essential details in your business plan: an executive summary, business & financial overview, market analysis and strategy, products and services. It will assist you in keeping to the right track without losing sight of your business goals and objectives.


Dedicate a place in Home to your office:

You need to mark a place/space/room in your home as a home office. Doing so will help you in wearing an Entrepreneur’s hat comfortable and bringing discipline to your business activities.


Office furniture:

You need to fill your home office with the necessary furniture like chair, office cabinet, desk, shelves.


Office equipment:

Invest in essential office equipment like computer, fax machine, printer, telephone, internet modem, UPS, etc.


Business website:

Invest in a business website. It will establish your digital presence and reaching out to your targeted customers easily. They will also be able to view the products and services that you offer and be able to judge your usefulness to them.


Registered office address:

By paying a small fee, you can retain a register office address service for your business. You can then put an address from a prominent business area on your office stationery and website to enhance branding.

Do not forget to get a comprehensive internet connection package for your home office. It will keep you connected to your customers and enable you to handle their queries.

SBS Consulting is a registered filing agent that offers comprehensive Singapore company incorporation services. If you have any questions, call us on +65 6536 0036 or email us at info@sbsgroup.com.sg for answers.

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