Home-based business licences

If you want to start a a business, but you don't need space in a commercial building, you might want to use your residence as your home office. For example, contractors, gardeners, painters, and some online businesses can be home-based businesses.

A home-based business is a business whose office is located in the owner's home. The primary use of the building is residential, with its secondary use as a home office.


A business licence may be issued using your residence as your business address, providing:

  1. A portion of the residence is to be used for a craft or occupation for administration purposes only.
  2. No clients are permitted to attend the premises at any time.
  3. No partnerships or employees are permitted to engage in the running of the business from this residence. Each partner will need to obtain their own licence under their own home address. The only exception is for partnerships between spouses that both live at the same address.
  4. No person other than one resident member of the family occupying the residence shall be engaged in the home-based business on the premises.
  5. No more than three home-based business licences shall be issued for one residence.
  6. There shall be nothing to indicate from the exterior of the dwelling unit or building that it is being used for any purpose other than its principal and approved residential use (no signage permitted).
  7. No products or materials shall be sold from or within the residence.
  8. No products, materials, or equipment shall be stored outside the residence, or any accessory building on the property.
  9. No offensive noise, odour, vibration, smoke, heat, or other objectionable effect shall be produced.
  10. If you are not the owner of the dwelling unit, you have discussed and received permission to operate the home-based business from the property owner or property manager.

Home-based business application forms

General Business Licence application form (209.96 KB)

For commercial, industrial, home-based, and out-of-town businesses.

Starting or expanding a small business

Key resources to to help you start or expand your business in Vancouver.