A Singaporean's Guide to Starting Your Own Home-Based Business
66
shares

A Singaporean's Guide to Starting Your Own Home-Based Business

Kenneth Fong
66
shares

SeedlyReads Content Survey

So you took a couple of online courses and learned to draw or take photos really well.

Or you’ve decided to go pro with your baking and want to turn it into a legit side hustle.

Mr Krabs I Like Money
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

However, you don’t have the capital to open a shop and you’re not planning to hire 50 workers to help you bake cookies and cakes either.

So how?

Well… why not start a home-based business from your HDB flat or private residence?


TL;DR: A Singaporean’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business

Seedly Home Based Business Guide

When it comes to setting up your own home-based business, you don’t need a license to do so.

BUT, there are a few guidelines that you have to adhere to:

Criteria for Home-Based BusinessesGuidelines
Business AddressHDB flat addresses cannot be registered as a business address BUT private residences can be registered
Business ActivitiesShould not adversely affect your neighbours' living environment or cause any nuisance (eg. noise, smoke, odour, dust, litter, high human or vehicular traffic)
Should not involve the use of heavy equipment or appliances not meant for domestic use
Should not require additional workers or staff
Should not require storage or movement of goods
AdvertisingNo physical or paid advertising for the business (eg. display of signboard outside your flat or pay for advertising in newspapers or on social media
Rules and RegulationsMust follow rules and regulations of Singapore Food Agency for food hygiene and Fire Safety and Shelter Department for fire safety requirements

Introducing… The Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme

The home-based small scale business scheme allows you to carry out small scale home-based activities to supplement your household income.

And you don’t need a license or HDB or URA’s approval to do so.

HOWEVER.

Because HDB flats are primarily used for residential use, there are a couple of guidelines which you have to observe.

And if your business gets really successful.

Or grows to an extent where it is disruptive to your neighbours.

Maybe your brownies are so good that they bring ALL the boys and girls to the yard — even if you’re selling a dozen for $100.

Lifting a piece of brownie out of the pan
Source: Giphy

(Or your HDB flat corridor…)

Then you’ll need to relocate your business to a proper retail or industrial space, and have to get a food business license to continue operating.

Guidelines For Home-Based Business

Here are the guidelines that you have to observe:

Criteria for Home-Based BusinessesGuidelines
Business AddressHDB flat addresses cannot be registered as a business address BUT private residences can be registered
Business ActivitiesShould not adversely affect your neighbours' living environment or cause any nuisance (eg. noise, smoke, odour, dust, litter, high human or vehicular traffic)
Should not involve the use of heavy equipment or appliances not meant for domestic use
Should not require additional workers or staff
Should not require storage or movement of goods
AdvertisingNo physical or paid advertising for the business (eg. display of signboard outside your flat or pay for advertising in newspapers or on social media
Rules and RegulationsMust follow rules and regulations of Singapore Food Agency for food hygiene and Fire Safety and Shelter Department for fire safety requirements

You can also refer to the HDB guidelines and URA guidelines for clarification.

What Kind of Businesses Can I Start at Home?

SpongeBob SquarePants blowing dry his hair
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Here are some examples of businesses that you can carry out under the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme:

  • Baking on a small scale
  • Hairdressing, beauty, manicure or pedicure (note: massage services are not allowed in HDB flats!)
  • Simple factory work on a work rate basis
  • Private tuition for not more than 3 students at a time
  • Sewing services
  • Work as a freelance artist, journalist, photographer or writer

Supplementing Your Income During Circuit Breaker

The thing about running a home business — or any business for the matter.

Is that depending on what kind of business you’re running, you might be affected by things like COVID-19 and the implementation of Circuit Breaker.

For example, if you’re a home-based food business or conduct private tuition classes.

Then you’re probably more affected than someone who does remote office work using a computer.

If you need financial assistance because of your reduced income, you can apply for the COVID-19 Support Grant.

Seedly COVID-19 Support Grant

PSA: Circuit Breaker Advisory for Home-Based Food Businesses

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of Circuit Breaker.

Home-based food businesses can only operate if you comply with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources’ guidelines:

Criteria for Home-Based Food BusinessesCircuit Breaker Guidelines
Delivery and CollectionOnly delivery and collection of food orders is allowed
Ensure contactless delivery and collection (eg. safe distance of at least 1m and must wear a mask or avoid face-to-face interaction as far as possible)
Collection of food must be by appointment only so there is no waiting or queuing at common areas
Use cashless payment methods
Use digital tools to enable speedier contact tracing (eg. via the TraceTogether app)
Business ActivitiesOnly members of the same household (living in the same address) can work in the business
Rules and RegulationsFood handlers must follow rules and regulations of Singapore Food Agency for food hygiene and Fire Safety and Shelter Department for fire safety requirements

If you fail to comply with the safe management measures:

  • First-time offenders will be issued a fine of $1,000
  • Repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court

For customers or delivery service providers who breach the measures:

  • First-time offenders will be issued a fine of $300
  • Repeat offenders will face a fine of $1,000 or prosecution in court

REITs Tool

About Kenneth Fong
Editor of Seedly's blog. Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!

Stay updated with the latest finance tips!
Receive bite-sized finance on Telegram here.

What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
Comments
66
shares

What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!