Starting a home-based business

If you are starting business from home you may require certain permits. This page will help you understand what requirements need to be met to get your business up and running.

What permits do I need?

There are a range of permits your business might need including:

  • Planning Permit (subject to below requirements)
  • Building Permit (to alter or change the use of an existing building or carry out structural works)
  • Food Act Registration (prepare, handle or store food at home)
  • Health and Beauty Registration (hairdressers, tattooists, beauty therapists)

You can use the Business Application Navigator to help you understand the types of permits you may need for your business. It only takes a few minutes. At the end, you will receive a summary of the permits you will most likely need and how to apply.

Access the Business Application Navigator here

Planning Permit

If you want to run a business from home you may not need planning permission provided you meet certain requirements:

  • You must live in the dwelling
  • You can employ two staff who do not live in the dwelling
  • The net floor area (including storage area) cannot be more than 100 square metres, or more than one-third of the net floor area of the dwelling, whichever is less
  • You can’t impose a utility load greater than a normal domestic use i.e. power or water
  • The business must not affect the amenity of the neighbourhood with regard to the appearance of the building or materials used, car parking, transporting of goods, hours of operation, electrical interference, storing chemicals or other hazardous materials, noise, smells and dust
  • Cars cannot be serviced or repaired for profit
  • Only one commercial vehicle under 2 tonnes can be present at any time
  • Only goods manufactured or serviced on the premises can be sold or stored
  • No goods manufactured or serviced on the premises can be visible from outside the site
  • Any goods offered for sale online must not be collected from the dwelling

If your home business does not meet the above requirements you may still apply for a planning permit for home occupation where:

  • You can employ up to 3 people who do not live in the dwelling
  • The floor area is up to 200 square metres or one-third of the gross floor area of the dwelling, whichever is less
  • Up to 2 commercial vehicles under 2 tonnes can be present at any time

Advertising signs

You can have a sign at any location on your property advertising your business at home provided it is not larger than 0.2 square metres (20cm x 20cm). If you want a larger sign or an illuminated sign, you will need to apply for a planning permit.

Note: If you own a heritage listed home, you will need to speak to Town Planning.

Building Permit

If you are planning to alter or change the use of an existing building or carry out structural works you will require a Building Permit. Find out more about building permits or contact Council’s Building Services Unit on 03 5434 6347 or at [email protected]

Food act registration

In Victoria the Food Act 1984 requires anyone who prepares food in a home kitchen for sale to the public to be registered with Council. This includes:

  • The storing and preparing of food at home for sale at temporary food stalls such as markets or events
  • Preparing food at home for sale directly to the public, meal sharing, or to be sold by other food premises.

Residential kitchens are generally designed for domestic use and may not meet the structural requirements expected of a commercial kitchen. As such, domestic kitchens may not always be suitable for large scale or high-risk food activities. The food safety laws require that the layout of domestic home kitchens minimise the risk of food contamination. Some things you'll need to think about:

  • The layout of your private dwelling should minimise opportunities for food contamination
  • You must ensure fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are able to be cleaned properly
  • Your private dwelling should have appropriate access to water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and toilets.

Health and beauty registration

Low risk procedures such as hairdressing, hairstyling, manicures/pedicures and make up procedures can be conducted in the client’s home if the operator is registered with the Council where they live.

For more information visit:

Contact us

You can contact one of our friendly Business Help Desk staff on 1300 002 642 or email [email protected].

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