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A Shop, Workshop or Work from Home?

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 15 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Self Employed Workshop Work Electrical

When starting your electrical business you need to have a base to work from. This base needs to reflect the service you are offering and must have room for tools and materials.

Work from Home

With many self employed electrical trades the actual work is done either in a client’s home or on a building site. Consequently they do not need to have a workshop or a shop. This will cut the overheads of the self employed person as they can use their home address for correspondence. However, electrical workers need tools, materials and transport and it has to be considered whether it is possible to work from home without the home becoming filled with tools and materials. A secure garage is a safe place to keep the business items as long as it is not needed to store a car. Permission should be sought from the local council for permission to work from home and also the lender if the home is mortgaged. There is much to consider when a self employed person works from their home.

Use of a Workshop

Many self employed electrical workers have to repair items for their customers. This entails the use of a workshop as some items cannot be repaired on site. A workshop can be part of a home but ideally should be apart from the home environment. The workshop needs to have a workbench, good lighting and a place to store materials and the items being repaired. Telephone and computer links would also be ideal along with a table or desk to do paperwork. Running water and toilet facilities should be available plus some form of heating. The workshop could be a converted outhouse or a garage – even a shed in the garden as long as it is suitable for the work required.

Run your Business From a Shop

If you intend to run your electrical business from a shop you will have the added expense of the shop and its running expenses. Rent, business rates and staff wages – whether self employed or PAYE will mean you will have to turn over higher sums of money that you would working from your home or a small workshop. Using the shop front to sell reconditioned electrical goods, new items and perhaps smaller ancillary items such as light bulbs, batteries and cables will bring people into the shop to look at higher priced items. You also have to consider whether you will work in the shop or will continue to stay in the workshop taking care of the electrical repairs.

Public Liability Insurance

Make sure that you have public liability insurance for your electrical repair business. If you use the services of sub contracted staff ask to see their public liability insurance and keep a copy in case you need to make a claim against the person. For the sake of paying out several hundred pounds each year for insurance you will be assured that being self employed will not be to the detriment of your home if someone should make a claim against you.

Making Decisions

Once you are self employed you have to make decisions about where your business will be based. Whatever you decide you will need a good sized workshop where you can carry out your business and will be able to hold other self employed electricians if the business expands.

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