Start your business in the right place

Starting your business from home, at the kitchen table, or in the garage. It may seem like a safe choice, but will it also offer you the best shot at success? You have more options after all. You could also set up shop in a multi-company building, or rent office space, a pop-up store, or a food truck. Find out which location is best for you. And for your business.

Starting from home

Home sweet home: starting up your business from home has several clear benefits. Most self-employed professionals start from home. It gives them the chance to discover if running a business suits them. It does not matter if you work part-time or full-time. Working from home gives you flexibility and means you do not have to rent commercial space. This helps you save anywhere from hundreds to thousands of euros a month. Do you rent a home? Ask your landlord for permission first. Also to take a close look at insurances, because your private home insurance will not cover business assets.

You should also look into the rules in your municipality. Not all businesses can be run from home: they have to comply with the zoning plan. It is also worth checking whether you have to notify the municipality of your home business. 

Running an online shop from home

Whether your municipality will allow you to run an online shop from home depends on the zoning plan. It is important, for example, that your work does not bother your neighbours. Keep this in mind if you have parcel delivery services drop off and pick up parcels every day. If you sell products on online platforms like Bol.com, eBay, Amazon, and AliExpress, you will probably not keep large amounts of stock at home. 

Registering your business at your home address

Did you register your business at your home address? Everyone will be able to see where you live. Legally speaking, your personal address and your business address are two separate addresses. But, if your business is registered at your home address, people will be able to see that address in the KVK Business Register. All business addresses are public. If you want to be less visible, find out how to shield your address

Tax benefits

If you have a workspace or office at home that has its own entrance, toilet, and water connection, it is considered an independent workspace by the tax administration. This means you may be able to deduct expenses. You can quickly check if this also applies to you. Use the workspace tool (in Dutch) of the tax administration. 

Sharing space in a multi-company building

Working alone at home in the attic can get quite lonely. If working from home would mean dealing with distracting children and pets all day long, it is probably not your best option. In that case, see if a multi-company building (in Dutch) is right for you. Here you can find small, affordable workspaces with flexible lease terms. If you need more or less space later on, you can usually scale up or down quite easily. You share amenities and facilities like cleaning, security, and meeting rooms with your new neighbours. This helps you cut costs. 

Multi-company buildings can also double as a creative hub. This means you will not just find a pleasant working environment, but might also meet fellow entrepreneurs looking to team up or outsource work to you. 

Stay flexible with flexible office space

If working from home works just fine for you but you do not have a good place to host and meet customers, look for meeting spaces in your area. Many libraries offer (free) flexible workspaces for self-employed professionals. They offer the opportunity to meet your fellow entrepreneurs. Coffee breaks have already spawned many good ideas. You could also consider renting coworking space or meeting space. You get a fully equipped room for a low fee per hour. Many coworking facilities offer everything from WiFi and projectors to catering. The expenses are deductible and you get to benefit from full flexibility. Flexible office space can be found all over the country and in major hubs. 

Setting up your business in a rental property

Is your workspace an important part of your business image? Or does location matter to potential customers? Then renting commercial property that you can design as you see fit is probably a good option.

If you rent a so-called ‘commercial space for medium-sized businesses’, like a shop or a restaurant, you also qualify for renters protection. This means that your landlord is not allowed to terminate your contract or raise the rent at their discretion. This protection does often come at a cost: a long lease term of up to 5 years. You cannot terminate this contract. Offices, factories, and warehouses are subject to the rules for ‘miscellaneous commercial space’ (overige bedrijfsruimten’), which means you have no right to renters or rent protection. You will have to make arrangements with the landlord or rental company yourself. 

Always think things through before signing a lease. Investigate all your options and negotiate the rent and the terms and conditions. During an economic downturn, you can probably negotiate a deal with the rental company.

Tip! Use our Company Counter for a closer look the competition in the area you are looking at. 

Buy or rent?

Not sure whether to rent or buy? Buying and renting commercial space each have their own pros and cons. Do you want to buy property as an entrepreneur? You will often have to provide the bank with financial statements to demonstrate that you can pay the mortgage. Click here to find out more about your mortgage options as a self-employed professional. 

Experiment at a pop-up location

Is your budget is rather limited or do you want to try out a new retail or hospitality concept? Areas with lots of vacant spaces are a good place to find a good deal on starting a temporary pop-up store or restaurant. With a pop-up, you set up shop temporarily, offering special or scarce products or services in the hope that people will not want to miss out on whatever you are offering.

Even though pop-up stores are temporary, they have to comply with the same rules and regulations as permanent shops and restaurants. So, keep a close eye on your costs. You may save substantially on rental costs, but other costs, like furniture and decorations, will stay the same.

Operating a market stall

Do you want to sell your products outdoors at different locations? Consider buying or renting your own market stall or selling your wares from a commercial trailer or vending cart. With your stall, trailer, or cart, you can head from one local market or fair to the next. For example to sell fresh produce, snacks, or clothes. 

To sell you wares on a market, you have to apply for a market permit with the municipality. To sell goods from a separate pitch or along public roads, you need a market trader's licence (standplaatsvergunning). 

Make sure you read up on the rules for the products you have on offer. You are not allowed to sell alcohol, for example. And if you make fresh to-go snacks, you have to meet the HACCP food safety requirements. Other foodstuffs and products are also subject to specific rules. The stall, trailer, or cart itself must be stable, fireproof and able to survive bad weather.

Renting or leasing a chair

Do you want to start your own beauty business, for instance as a hairdresser, beautician, or nail stylist? Renting a chair in an existing beauty salon can be an interesting option. Orm if you own a salon, you can rent out chairs yourself to help save on your real estate costs. Also. chair rental lets you offer services that you do not provide yourself.

Whether you rent or own and rent out a chair, the tax administration require both the owner and renter to be independent. There should be no authority relationship between you, with one party appearing to be the employee and the other employer. Enter into a rental agreement for the floor area you are renting or leasing. Also set up a separate cooperation agreement for all other matters, such as the use of payment terminals, opening hours, and insurance. Have the two agreements refer to each other, so that the termination of one also triggers the termination of the other.

Important! If you are renting your salon yourself, do not simply offer a chair for rental but ask your landlord for permission first.

Hitting the road with a food truck

To operate a food truckat a festival, you have to rent a stand site. You can also rent out your food truck to events or apply for a market trader's licence (standplaatsvergunning) with your municipality. With this permit, you can sell your wares at a fixed site or along public roads when the festival season is over. Check which permits you will need before you get started. To prevent food poisoning, for example, it is crucial that you follow the HACCP food safety rules.

Door to door sales

Do you want to offer your products or services, via door-to-door sales, on the street or via a party?

This form of trade is subject to stricter rules than trading from a fixed point of sale. There, people will visit you on their own accord and have time to decide whether or not they want to buy something. The same does not apply to door-to-door sales. That is why, for amounts over €50, you have to enter into an agreement with the buyer. You and the buyer must both sign 2 deeds, after which the buyer is entitled to a 14-day cooling-off period. If you want to sell your goods door-to-door, check with your municipality to see whether you need a street trader’s licence.