Making the move: Growing your Ontario home-based business

August 4, 2011 - TAGS: Planning

For many first-time business owners, starting a business at home is an affordable and simple way to get a business idea off the ground. But when your business is growing, you might wonder if it's time to move to a commercial location. Changes in inventory, staffing needs, or a rise in customer demand can mean that your business has outgrown its home-based operation.

Growing your business can be expensive and requires planning, but don't let that discourage you. In Ontario, Business Advisory Services can help you with your business growth plans. There are also advantages to a commercial space like increased visibility and production capacity that can take your business to the next level. Before you hire the movers, you may want to think about what switching to a commercial location will mean for your business. Ask yourself:

Do I have enough money to move to a commercial location?

A commercial space could mean new expenses that you didn't have when you were operating at home. This can include additional rent and utilities, and furniture or fixtures; in addition, you can no longer claim tax deductions for working from home. Before you move to a commercial space, consider whether your business can cover the expenses.

Do I need more space for inventory or equipment?

As your business grows, new product lines or increasing inventory can quickly take over your home business space. Depending on your business, you may need to upgrade to industrial-size equipment for manufacturing, increase your storage capacity or obtain warehouse space.

Do I want to hire employees?

If you're finding it hard to meet customer demand, you may be thinking about hiring employees. Depending on your industry and location, there may be restrictions on hiring employees to work from your home. You can learn about your obligations as an employer by contacting your municipal licensing office and visiting the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.

To learn more about expanding your business, check out the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade's Your Guide to Small Business. You may also be interested in our blog posts Time to leave home? Moving your business OUT of the house and Financing your growing business.


Posted by Colin on August 11, 2011
So what if I run my business from New Brunswick?
This is a Government of Canada website, isn't it?
This post could easily have been modified to accommodate all provinces.
Posted by Canada Business Network on August 15, 2011
Hello Colin,

Our goal is to provide businesses across Canada with the resources they need to grow and prosper, including a wide range of information on government services, programs and regulations. However, from time to time we publish regional blog posts, such as this one, from our network of service centres. There is a centre in each province and territory working with partners in many communities across their region to provide numerous service access points. If you require help in growing your business, please do not hesitate to contact the Canada Business service centre in New Brunswick by email or by dialing toll free 1-888-576-4444 (TTY 1-800-457-8466).'
Posted by JT on October 10, 2011
I work from my home selling producing and selling fine art.A home based business taking no more than 30% of the floor space is allowed in my zone

MPAC indicates that I must pay 30% commercail property tax to operate this way. In turn the municipality is charging me commercail utility rates (at 100%) on top of the residentail utilities.

Does this apply to all artists? I've never heard of it before nor have my art friends. It adds $4,000 per year to the expenses!
Posted by Canada Business Network on October 12, 2011
Hi JT,

Thank you for your comment. Generally, property taxes are assigned by each municipality according to the type of property and its use (e.g., residential, industrial). An artist operating at another location may have different zoning regulations and property taxes from those assigned for your zone.

For more information on your property assessment you can contact MPAC. You can also speak with your local municipal government for more information about commercial rates, zoning and permits that are specific to your city. You can find a complete list of municipal governments in Ontario at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario website.

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