Operating a home business

Operating a business from your home offers a flexible, convenient and affordable option to a commercial premises. To set up a home business, find out how the Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan) applies to your proposed business and property and whether a planning application is required.


City Plan defines a 'home-based business' as a dwelling used for a business activity where subordinate to the residential use.

A home-based business can operate from a townhouse, apartment or house where the business is secondary to the residence.

Examples of a home-based business include a:

  • home office
  • bed and breakfast
  • home-based childcare.

Examples of businesses that do not qualify as home-based businesses include:

  • businesses that may disrupt your neighbours
  • mechanic
  • shop
  • transport depot
  • cafe
  • industry.

Brisbane City Council does not classify employees of an off-site business or organisation who work from home and communicate with their employers electronically (telecommuters) as home-based businesses.

Preferred locations

City Plan encourages home-based businesses to locate in:

Use the online self-assessable checklist to see if your proposal meets the accepted development criteria in the Home-based business code. If it does, you will not need anything in writing from Council to commence your home-based business activity.

Planning approval

Not all home based businesses need Council approval.

To help you determine if the proposal requires Council approval, phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to speak to a Town Planner.

If the nature of your business changes over time, you may need to reconfirm whether you require planning approval as a result of these changes. 

Running more than one business from your home

The City Plan does not limit the number of businesses you can operate from a dwelling. However, the combined impact and extent of all the business activities on-site must comply with the Home based business code - with a maximum floor area of 50 square metres or 30% of the total floor area, whichever is less. This is specified in the code and applies to the total floor area for all businesses within the home.

Building approval

Building approval is separate from planning approval. Licensed private building certifiers or building consultants can provide advice regarding:

  • building work for an existing home-based business or a new home-based business
  • building approval requirements.

Private building certifiers and consultants are available on the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Find a Local Contractor search.

Other considerations

Find information about:

More information

Phone Council's Business Hotline 133 BNE (133 263) for advice specific to your situation if:

  • your proposed home-based business requires planning approval
  • your property is located in a neighbourhood plan or overlay area. 

Find out more about home-based business.

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Topics: business

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