Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Pop Up Home Business Location

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Home Business Location  

Starting a Pop Up Home Business Series
Topic #1 - Location, Location, Location 

Have you ever... Thought about starting a small business you could run from your home? Are you... Daydreaming about styling beautiful displays filled with things you love? Would you... Offer vintage, antique, handmade, unique, or one-of-a-kind items you have found and breathed new life into with fresh paint and updated hardware? How about selling new items from select wholesalers in a style you have a hard time finding in local shops yourself? 

Dreaming of a business flyer........... ?

Would you like some tips on how to turn your dream into a new business reality?

Then this series of posts may be just what you are looking for to help you. For the past six years I have held a Christmas sale called French Country Christmas in my garden house in the backyard, and plan to hold the seventh annual French Country Christmas Event again this December. 

My tips and suggestions are things I have learned from my own personal experiences. Any advice in this series is not intended to be professional legal information. Always consult a lawyer and your local government agencies for accurate information that applies to your location. 

Even if you do not plan to start a business, reading about creating a small home-based business will give you, as a customer, insight into what all is involved in offering a charming, unique alternative to big stores. You will understand some of what it takes to operate a small business and understand some of the hidden costs in running a business. 

You may find a new appreciation for your favorite local speciality shop. 

The garden house in my backyard is the location for my pop up Christmas sale. 

Today's post is about choosing a location for a pop up business.

Factors in Pop Up Business Location 

#1 - Government Regulations 

There are several factors to consider about where to hold your pop up home business sale, but the most crucial factor is local government regulation. If you live within city limits, your local city will have rules about WHERE and WHAT KIND of businesses can operate. If you do not live within city limits, your local county will be the governing agency that sets the rules for businesses. You may also need a state license for your business. 

  • Research online for your city, county, and state rules for a business. 
    • Can a homeowner operate a business out of her/his home? Cities often have rules about every kind of sale in a residence, including garage sales and home "party" sales like Tupperware parties. 

    • Does the city allow "cottage industries?" 

    • In most areas in Texas, as long as your business does not negatively affect your neighbors, you can operate a home-based business. Different states have different laws. In all states, check city, county, and state rules for home-based businesses. 

  • Apply for permits   
    • Sales and Use Tax Permit - In TEXAS, if you sell taxable goods or services within the state, you must apply for a state Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit whether you run your business as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. Both state and county taxes must be collected and paid to the State either quarterly or yearly depending upon the dollar amount of sales taxes collected. 

    • Assumed Name Certificate - In TEXAS, if you want to operate a sole proprietorship business in your name, you do not have to file any special paperwork. If you want to operate your sole proprietorship under any other name than your name, you must file an Assumed Name Certificate with the county clerk for a small fee. 

Styling the French Country Christmas Event displays in my garden house is always fun. 

#2 - Residence as a Sale Site 

After research, you may find your residence can be used for a pop up business. 

  • Possible Home Sale Sites 
    • A free-standing building, such as a garden shed, tool shed, greenhouse... on your property may be an excellent site for a pop up sale. Laura at Decor to Adore is converting her backyard garden/tool shed to a SheShed, and will hold a one-day Pop Up Shoppe reveal in November.  Links to RSVP to her invitation to attend are on her blog. P.S. I have already sent my RSVP and would love to meet you there. 

    • Garage transformed to a pop up sale site...  When advertising your pop up sale, be sure to clearly label your sale as Vintage Sale, Craft Sale, Pop Up Shop... so that people do not think it is a garage sale with garage sale goods and prices. 

    • Room(s) in your house transformed into pop up sale site(s)... British Country Living featured a savvy business owner who transforms almost her whole house to a Christmas pop up sale each year for several days in December. When she began, she only transformed her living room, but the sale was so popular, she gradually enlarged the sale until she now uses every room except the attic and her bedroom. 

Each year the Christmas pop up sale has many new items not seen in previous sales, and there are always items with a French connection like the Paris Metro Map. 

  • Home Pop Up Site Factors to Consider  
    • Advantages include not transporting sale items or display tables and shelves, longer time for preparation of the sale site, no site fee, access to electricity, no travel time... 

    • Disadvantages include limited parking spaces for customers and inconveniencing neighbors, but the biggest disadvantage is attracting customers. There will be few, if any, drive-by customers who do not know about the sale beforehand. 

#3 - Insurance 

Insurance may be a factor forgotten by small home-based businesses, but should not be, for it will be a major factor to consider for a pop up shop. While your small business may have little inventory making it not cost effective to insure from loss due to theft or fire, liability insurance may be needed.
  • Home Owner Insurance 
    • Check with your home owner insurance agent to see if your policy will cover claims arising from your home-based business. Very likely, your home owner insurance will not cover a home-based business. 

    • In some cases, your insurance carrier may cancel your home owner insurance policy if you operate a business out of your home without notifying them and/or without buying a separate business policy. 

  • Liability Insurance 
    • Ask your home owner insurance agent if your insurance company offers a special events liability policy for home-based businesses. 

    • Liability insurance can be purchased from some insurance companies for special events, such as a Wedding, Retail Sales Booth, Rummage Sale, Craft Show Sale, etc... 

    • Event Helper {no affiliation or endorsement} offers online liability insurance with premiums based on state, number of attendees, and number of days for the event. See to get an immediate online quote. Research other companies and read customer reviews before choosing an event insurer. 

    • Organizers of multiple vendors for a market sale such as Round Top Antique Fair, Country Living Fair, or your local high school's fall craft sale may require each vendor to provide liability insurance. 

Special items for sale include French style crowns, rose cement bundles, and garland gray cement vases. Photos show displays from the first six years of the French Country Christmas Event. Every year has different items, but sometimes things from previous years are available again. 

#4 - Sale Sites other than your residence 

Sale sites other than your personal residence may be good locations for your pop up business. City ordinances may prohibit using your residence. Large markets may offer benefits from their advertising or location that draws in more customers than your single residence site.  
  • Alternative Sites 
    • Craft Fairs at local high schools, community centers, church grounds, or for-profit organizer sites such as Country Living, Round Top Antique Fair... provide spaces for a fee. 

    • Drawbacks
      • having to sell enough to recover the space fee 
      • transporting your sale items 
      • transporting display tables, shelves... 
      • no electricity a possibility 
      • limited amount of time to style your space and to dismantle your space at the end of the sale 
      • competing with other vendors to sell similar items 

    • Benefits 
      • advertising by organizers 
      • fair reputation/following 
      • location with drive-by traffic 
      • customer overflow from surrounding vendors 
      • booths with similar offerings draw customers interested in your products 

  • How to Find Sale Sites 
    • Visit local fairs and ask for vendor information from organizers' information counters  
    • Search online for dates of upcoming fairs 
    • Ask vendors at a fair who to contact and for names of other fairs they attend 
    • Contact local Chamber of Commerce for upcoming events 
    • Contact local community organizations (Junior League, Kiwanis Club...) for fairs 
    • Contact convention centers for upcoming fairs 
    • Post an "In Search Of" craft fairs in Facebook Groups 

Choosing a location for your home-based business is the first step in creating a pop up shop that offers a special shopping event for your customers. 

For me, I started the French Country Christmas Event to sell the kinds of things I love to find for myself after my favorite speciality shops closed their doors, one by one. Left with no place other than big stores to shop, I started a small seasonal shop and fill it with things I love. 


Upcoming topics on starting a Pop Up Home Business include a low-cost way to accept credit cards, planning and preparation for selling, managing your business records, creating displays, ordering from wholesale vendors, advertising and attracting customers, expanding your home business to an online business... 

Do you have your own small pop up shop, or are you thinking about starting one? 

Do you have any questions about starting a small pop up shop? Leave them as a comment, and I will include my answers in upcoming posts. 


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