Working at home can come with hidden costs and kinks that need to be smoothed out over time. If you’re thinking of telecommuting or becoming self-employed, it’s important to consider these hidden costs of working from home so you can budget and prepare for them accordingly.
1. Office Supplies and Machines
It was easy to take advantage of the abundant supply of paper clips, pens, and highlighters from your former workplace. In a traditional office, you can use the fax machines, printers, and phones to conduct your business.
In a home office, you might be limited to a computer, printer, and phone. Before you splurge on office supplies and equipment, take note of what you really need and use a lot of. For example, if you only send one fax per week, then it would be more economical to do it at the office supply store or use a website that allows you to fax documents through email or uploading.
For other office expenses, put all your office spending on a business card so you can keep track of your business expenses for tax purposes. It’s also smart to shop during the back-to-school season since most supplies are highly discounted
If you’re working for yourself, then it’s best to admit from the start that you can’t do it all. You’ll need to utilize virtual assistants, social media gurus, accountants, possibly a babysitter, and more so you can fully focus on your job.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent working from home, then it would be unwise for you to answer every email, research listings, prepare taxes, and market yourself on top of drafting up paperwork. An assistant and an accountant would help you focus on the tasks that only you can do, resulting in a more productive workday.Consider these hidden costs of working from home before #telecommuting or #freelancing Click To Tweet
Advertising isn’t required, but it’s an important part of growing a new business. This is especially true for service-based businesses, such as cosmetology, hair cutting, real estate, freelance IT help, and more.
Eventually you’ll want most of your business to be based off of word-of-mouth, direct referrals, and repeat clients. When you’re just starting out, you should expect to have an advertising budget. You can either pay for advertising directly or you can hire a local PR expert to help land you the exposure you need.
4. Holiday Time, Vacation Time, and Sickness
When you work for an employer, your paycheck usually comes with holiday time, vacation time and sickness time already built in. When you work for yourself, you also have to budget and plan for these days off.
For many freelancers, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid. To balance this out, you’ll need to figure out how to continue making money if you have to take a sick day or if you want to take a week off for vacation. This can come in the the form of working ahead, having sources of passive income, or utilizing an assistant to keep things running when you can’t.
If you’re starting a home based business, then expect to be hit by a lot of hidden costs. Just know you don’t need to buy everything the first year you’re in business. Stick with the essentials that will help your business flourish, and then consider investing in your business once you have a better sense of direction.
Have you worked from home before? What were some of the hidden costs you experienced?