THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR A BUSINESS
EMPLOYMENT: ABOUT 300 RESIDENTS PER YEAR APPLY FOR LICENSES TO WORK AT THEIR RESIDENCES.
For Jan Durrant, home is where the office is.
Durrant, Provo, is the owner of Jan's Groom Room, a pet-grooming business she has operated from her home since 1982. She formerly worked for a local veterinary clinic, but operating a home business has allowed her to work and be home with her children."I was tired of punching a time clock," Durrant said. "I wanted to do it at my own pace."
Working at home allowed her to concentrate on the quality of her work and not worry about paying rent for business space, she said.
Apparently, a lot of other Provo residents share Durrant's sentiments. Approximately 300 residents per year apply to the city for a home occupation permit that will allow them to conduct a business in their homes. Home businesses operated in the city include everything from dressmaking and hairdressing to accounting services and housecleaning, according to Sally Harding, city ombudswoman.
The city tries to accommodate home businesses with a "front room" ordinance that allows enterprising residents to pursue their interests while at the same time preserving the qualities of a residential neighborhood, Harding said.
"It is the philosophy that, if it doesn't intrude on the rights of neighbors, a man has a right to make a living in his own home," Harding said.
Residents interested in operating a home business must comply with 14 stipulations outlined in the city's home occupation ordinance. In general, the stipulations limit the size and types of home businesses allowed and govern everything from who may work at the home business to how much space the business may take up in the home.
Harding said many home businesses exist for one to two years before blossoming into full-fledged businesses that require more room - and relocation.
Durrant has reached that point. She began with three clients but now has more than 700. She is concerned about the traffic her business generates and plans to move her grooming service into a commercial building after the first of the year.
Some home entrepreneurs have ventured into the big business world _ only to find there's no place like home.
Royann Baum, a wildlife artist who works in watercolors, has returned her art business to her home after operating a gallery in downtown Provo for a number of years. She said volume had nothing to do with that decision: she wholesales her artwork to J.C. Penney and Hallmark, and she has marketing representatives across the United States. Her business is "growing all the time," she said.
"I decided it was silly to be in a building paying rent when I could do it at home," Baum said. "It is nice that you can call your own hours. It has a lot of pluses. You can work as little or as long as you want."
For Baum, the biggest difficulty created by working out of her home is dealing with people who "bop in and want to get everything free."
Growth is not always a top priority for the home business operator, however. Other Provo residents are content to keep their home businesses low-key, Harding said. "Their neighbors would be surprised they exist."
The businesses that cause neighbors fits are often unlicensed, Harding said. "If it is serious enough that we get complaints, they probably can't comply anyway."
Among the businesses the city does not allow to be operated from a home are auto repair, auto painting, assembly work and preschools with more than six students. Approximately 15 to 20 home occupation applications are turned down each year, Harding said.
Residents who successfully operate home businesses blend their business interests with an awareness that they are still part of a neighborhood and of a larger community, Harding said.