Handling Customers at a Business in Your Home
If you’re running a crafts business from home and are likely to have customers coming to your home, then there may be a few issues you need to consider.
Working from home is an option many small business owners choose and it can work out very successfully. Sometimes it’s chosen as a temporary way of starting a small business before moving on to own premises, or as a permanent way of cutting overheads or juggling work and family. Whatever your reasons for working from home, you may need to think carefully about it if you’re likely to have customers coming to your home to purchase or commission crafts.
Having customers coming to your work premises is generally no worry when you’re based in a shop or workshop that’s purely used for work. But when people need to visit your workplace and you work from home, it can sometimes generate a few concerns.
Space for Meeting and Greeting CustomersYou may need to think about whether you have enough space to effectively meet and greet customers. For example, you may operate your crafts business fine from your spare bedroom or a corner of your conservatory, but when it comes to having visitors to your workplace, there may not be enough space. Plus, it may seem a bit unprofessional if the only space available is in your kitchen, which looks decidedly non-work related.
If possible, it’s helpful to think through in advance what space you have available for visiting customers. If you don’t immediately have much space available, then is there any way in which you can re-arrange rooms or furniture to clear space? If not and this becomes a big concern, then would it perhaps be better to meet customers in a neutral space, rather than having them in your home?
Feeling Safe and at Ease With CustomersThe space concerns naturally leads on to whether or not you feel comfortable and at ease welcoming customers into your home. When you’re having customers in to your workspace, it’s a different kettle of fish to having random strangers in your house. It’s important to remember that although you work at home, it is also your home and it may not feel right having customers visiting you there. Some people may feel fine about it, but when space is limited and you’ve got other family members living in your home, it may be more practical to meet customers elsewhere.
There is also a safety aspect to consider, as you may not feel safe having unknown people visiting you at home if you live and work there alone. Don’t compromise your personal safety for your crafts business. It is fine to meet customers in a neutral location.
ParkingIf you live in a quiet residential area, or even on a main road, then there may be practical parking issues to take into consideration too. Depending on how many customers may visit you whilst you’re working at home, and the frequency of their visits, you may need to arrange parking facilities.
Some people’s neighbours are sadly not so friendly about having lots of cars coming and going, or parking in front of their homes constantly and may not warm to the idea of you running a crafts business from home. Ideally you need to keep your neighbours on side as much as possible, but provide practical car parking solutions, or even timed set appointments for customers, so that parking issues can be avoided.
TimingWhen you’re running a crafts shop or working from business premises, then it’s generally no problems for customers to call in whenever they want during business hours. But when you’re running a home business it’s not always so practical to have customers turning up unexpectedly during the day, especially if other family members may be around.
To avoid any timing issues, it’s useful to book people in for set appointments as much as possible, so you’re not caught on the hop or in the middle of your lunch break. It also helps you feel more organised and plan your work around the appointments you have booked in.