Keeping overheads down when running a business is a challenge many managers face when trying to increase revenue. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my dad when running our family business was to keep overheads to a minimum. He taught me: Do as much work as you can do yourself, delegate jobs that you’re not so good at to professionals who can do it much quicker than you and avoid having to lease an office space if you can manage an office at home.
This is a reality for many small to medium size trade businesses who run their office at home. There are also good tax benefits when running a home office. It’s important to use a good accountant to find out what can and can’t be claimed.
But the biggest problem of running a home office is lack of space. I’ve talked before about organizing offsite storage for materials required for long term projects, but what if you prefer to store supplies at home? Where can you find the right amount of space to store materials?
Dad always liked to store leftover PVC pipe and fittings at home from completed jobs to be used for new jobs or emergency situations when suppliers would be closed.
Here are some suggestions for material storage solutions when you run a home office.
The first place is the garage. Dad would have shelves along the walls of the garage holding containers of fittings and pipe brackets. Wall shelving meant that nothing was stored on the floor to make it difficult getting in and out of vehicles and it also made for a well organized garage.
The second place is outside along the side of the house. Dad would have a racking system with different sizes of PVC and copper pipe. Elbowroom have shelving and racking systems perfect for this type of storage space. A word of caution though when storing pipes or gear with orifices outside… it can be a nice home for a snake or two in the summer months.
The third place was in the roof space. This space was generally put aside for files of jobs and paperwork that we would need to keep for business records.
If a house is not the best solution for running a home business, why not convert a warehouse into a home as well as an office?
When I worked as a Sales Rep for a Courier company, I remember visiting a family business in the inner city of Brisbane where the family lived in a furnished area on the second floor of the warehouse and the storage area and office was contained on the bottom floor. Of course you may need to get Council approval to organise such an arrangement, but this is another solution when combining office and home in the one building.
Do you run a home office and can you share any practical solutions to store materials inside the house?
This is post has been written in accordance to my disclosure policy.