Your HDB Flat-cum-Office

Do you know of a relative or friend who bakes from home cakes and cookies to sell during festive seasons? Or have you been to someone’s home for manicure and pedicure services?

Running your own business from home, or more specifically, from your HDB flat, is not entirely uncommon. Some do it to earn extra pocket money while managing a family, yet others do it as an alternate career option.

Inspired? Well, why not, if that is something you’ve mulled over for some time. But, hang on… before you start thinking of setting up shop in your HDB flat, it would be wise to read the regulations governing home businesses. And do remember, your HDB flat is primarily provided for residential purposes, so you can’t hang a signboard outside your flat and turn it into a full-scale retail outlet!

HDB offers two schemes for people who wish to run their own businesses:

  • Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme

This scheme is designed for small scale type of activities which sees you operating from your HDB flat without engaging any external employees. You do not need to seek any prior approval from HDB but do check out some examples of permissible businesses that are possible under this scheme, and the guidelines to take note of. For example, the business needs to comply with the rules and regulations of other authorities, and it must certainly not cause any nuisance to your neighbours.

Many of us would have heard or even purchased some of the products and services offered by entrepreneurs running their home based small scale business. So it isquite easy to take part in this scheme too! Put your skills and passion together to run a successful small business.

• Home Office Scheme

The main difference between this and the scheme above is that the Home Office Scheme allows HDB flats to be used as a proper home office, with a valid business registration. It also allows a maximum of two non-residents to work in the flat (there is no limit on the number of employees for the business/company). You will have to register your business with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), unless it’s exempted from registration under the Business Registration Act.

Some examples of businesses that you can run under the Home Office Scheme include accountancy services, architectural services, and advertising and design services. If you wish to find out what sort of business are not allowed, and to read up on the application procedure, you can visit the HDB InfoWEB.

HDB has launched a new e-Service to make it easier for budding entrepreneurs to check on their home office eligibility under this scheme. So give it a try and find out if you can conduct your dream business in your very own flat under the HDB Home Office scheme. If you’re an existing Home Office user, you can renew your Home Office license here and continue to run your business. Through such e-Services, HDB has made it more convenient for people to run their own businesses.

Do you have an interesting story to share about a home business?

Tell us more about this, and what inspired the business owner to start their business from their HDB flat. We would love to hear from you! You can email us the details and photos at