Four months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions have got many of us thinking how we can turn the home that has served as our emergency workplace into a more permanent money-spinner, whether as a business base or a rental enterprise.
The reduced travel costs of working from home appeal, of course, so some homeowners will be looking to make “WFH” part of their lives going forward, if only part time. There could even be scope for a complete career change.
Lower overheads are an obvious benefit of running a business from home. It’s also ideal for those with children who need flexibility.
So, how can you make money from your home? Well, there are a number of ways and you don’t necessarily need a large property.
If you live in a desirable location and you have a parking space or garage you don’t use, you can list it for bookings on Justpark.com or Parklet.co.uk.
An unused room, side return, loft or basement can be renovated to transform the layout of your home and provide a dedicated office space or pop-up business. Or you could list your home as a film location.
We talk to three entrepreneurs who have changed their homes into businesses in very different ways…
List your property as a filming location: SW16 Location House
This London home was renovated with a view to hiring it out as a photography and filming shoot location
You don’t have to live in a grand country mansion to rent out your home to film crews and photographers for magazine shoots, adverts and TV shows.
When Rebecca Perfect and Tom Wooton decided to renovate the ground floor of their semi-detached house in Streatham in south-east London, they did so with a view to hiring it out as a shoot location to provide them with an extra source of income.
“In 2019 and at the start of this year we renovated the entire downstairs space of our house,” says Rebecca, who works at helpfulhustle.com as a business consultant.
“We knew that in order for it to be suitable for filming and photography, space and the option for pull-back shots was key. With that in mind, we converted what was a series of ill-fitting, dark, rabbit warren-style rooms into one large, open-plan space.
“We also had a wasted side alley, so decided to take the conversion out a bit wider and bring in the end of the house to create an additional metre or so of garden. We haven’t had an estate agent round since the work, but the guideline is that it’s probably added £150k in value – plus, we can earn an income from it, too.”
Location houses typically rent for between £500 and £2,500 per day, depending on the size of your home and whether you allow decorating.
Renovation cost: Building work £55,000; electrical, plumbing & carpentry, £15,000; landscaping, £10,000; decoration, £10,000.
To hire Rebecca and Tom’s home for shoots, visit sw16locationhouse.com.
From garage to beauty salon: The Beauty Spot
Faye Korol converted most of her garage space into a beauty salon, while reserving space at the front for bike storage (Tim France )
If you’re short of room indoors, one way to gain workspace is to convert your garage – like Faye Korol did. Faye, from West Sussex, had retrained as a beautician and needed a salon.
“I didn’t want to hire someone else’s space, so converting our garage into a salon made perfect sense,” she explains. “I love the flexibility of working from home, choosing the hours I work and making the space exactly as I want it without having to go through any loopholes or restrictions – plus I save on rent and extra utility costs.”
Faye and her husband Darren, who have a daughter, Leonie, 11, and a three-year-old son, Presley, decided to keep some of the garage space at the front of the house to use as a storage space for their bikes, but converted the larger space at the back into Faye’s beauty salon, adding floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open out to the garden, and installing plumbing for a sink and heating.
“I kept the scheme monochrome, with a big, show-stopping neon sign from amusementlighting.co.uk,” says Faye. “It’s a really versatile space and could work as a home office, studio or gym, should we ever want to change it.
“My advice is to keep things as separate from your main home as possible – there has to be a divide and you need to be disciplined to keep it that way. My clients use a separate entrance at the side of the house, rather than walking in through the house,” she adds.
Renovation cost: £3,000, plus decorating costs.
From annexe to hair and beauty salon: @Natural.X
Stacy Odwell set up her freelane hair and beauty salon at home by converting an annexe space (@maggiekrugerphotography)
Decorating the annexe of her three-bedroom Thirties house in Thames Ditton, Surrey, provided Stacy Odwell with space for @Natural.X, her freelance hair and beauty salon, while also giving her the flexibility to work around the needs of her two young children.
“We needed to get the space replumbed and decorated from scratch,” says Stacey. “It’s not a large area but as I’m an appointment-only business, it suits me down to the ground and I don’t have to worry about having walk-ins, which is something I’d have to consider if I had a salon on a high street.”
As Stacey and her husband did most of the work themselves, along with help from family – who run Active Building Solutions – building costs for the annexe were relatively low, with most of the money going on decoration.
“I’ve kept it light by using Wevet white emulsion from Farrow & Ball, and laying a beautiful herringbone floor from Lifestyle Floors,” she says. “I also added a bioethanol fireplace from Imaginfires as you don’t need a chimney for it, but it still gives a real flame, which makes the salon feel extra cosy in the winter months. I love being my own boss and would advise anyone thinking about it just to go for it.”
Renovation cost: £455 for plumbing, plus around £3,110 decorating costs.
Turning your home into a business: what you need to know
There are vital points to consider before you open your home to the public:
1. Always check if there are any legal restrictions on using your home for business purposes – you can find this out by looking at the title to the property, which is held by the Land Registry, or by speaking to your mortgage provider or leaseholder.
2. Check and update your home insurance. If you are using the property in a different way to that detailed on your policy, it may be rendered invalid, or the business space may not be covered. You might need to take out separate business insurance to cover your products and equipment, along with specialist personal liability insurance.
If you store stock for your business at your house, this could increase your premiums as your insurers might view you as being at increased risk of fire or theft.
3. Weigh up all of the costs carefully before you convert or extend your home to accommodate a business. Will the renovations be worth the expense? And are they likely to add to the value of your home if you decide to sell in future? Or could the changes make it less saleable?