Unexpected Costs of Running a Home Business

When you work from home, it’s awesome that you’re saving on your weekly commute. But, that’s the thing — when you first start running a business from home the expenses can pile up if you aren’t careful. Not sure what I’m talking about? Here are three different kinds of expenses that can surprise you:

Getting Your Office Started

When you first start working from home or running a home business, you’ll be surprised at how costly it can be to replace the luxuries of a traditional office. While of course you can shop sales and get things second hand, if you’re expensing it and feeling fancy, retail office supplies can really hurt:

  • Stapler $5

  • Hole Punch $6

  • Printer paper $5 per ream

  • Pens and pencils $5-15`

  • 3-Ring binder $4 each

  • External monitor $75-150

Right off the bat, you’re looking at almost $ to get comfortable. Ouch!

Small business costs

Regardless of how you’re being paid, running a small business means you’re getting paid somehow, and that doesn’t come free. You’ll likely need to pay a large upfront fee for a program or a recurring monthly fee ranging from $20 up to $100, depending on the size of your business.

If you use PayPal, you’ll also want to factor in fees from your transactions. These can range from a flat $.50 fee per transaction, or a percentage of the amount being handled (ouch!).

Putting the Finishing Touches on Things

A real or fake tree in the office is one thing, but if you’re going to work from home you’ll need more decor than transitory Christmas decorations! When things start going well, it can be easy to want to upgrade. Furniture, electronics, planners, and calendars, galore! But that’s where things can go wrong.

When I first started my small business I purchased a new chair I also had purchased wireless keyboard wireless mouse and a Mac as well as supportive items like a wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse. While I don’t consider these things frivolous, I’ve also been tempted by a new stylish chair, an expensive day planner, and pens that have no reason to cost $5 each.

The key here is to put aside some of your business income for specific business savings. It’s all right to indulge… as long as you’re doing so with money specifically set aside for that purpose and making smart business choices.

Did you have a large number of investment costs when you first got started? Or have you stayed lean?


6 thoughts on “Unexpected Costs of Running a Home Business

  1. I didn’t have a lot of expenses to start working at home – luckily I had everything I needed. But I didn’t account for the spike in our electric bill! Most of that though was my fault as I was lazy and would leave by PC running all day long, even when I would step away to go to the gym, run errands or eat lunch. I’ve since been more aware of what I was doing and we’ve seen our electric bill decline.

  2. It’s amazing how all the little things add up! There are a lot of things you probably already have on hand though, that you can use. Instead of spending lots up front, I would make use of what you have available for free (or use less-expensive options) until you start bringing in money. Of course there will be some real expenses, but I would try to keep them minimal, until your business starts to be profitable. It would be easy to use the new business as an excuse to go on a little shopping spree 🙂

  3. It’s true that working from home might not be everything you imagined it to be, but I still think a home business brings much more pleasure than working at someone’s office.
    Great post

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