KAMLOOPS - Brandon Ruddock and Jennifer Baldes started their businesses for different reasons, but both are part of a growing trend in Kamloops as home-based business growth out paces more traditional office or commercial spaces.
Over a third of the businesses licensed in Kamloops are home-based now, with a wide variety of industries represented, from fashion to construction to web development. The city has recorded a three per cent growth in business licences over the previous year, but there’s been a 6.5 per cent increase in home based businesses, says the city’s business licence inspector Dave Jones, well above the average for other categories.
“A lot of people out there require different services,” he says. “People are taking it on themselves to fill those niches.”
Overall business licences are at a ten year high, Jones says, with 5,522 renewal notices sent out for 2017. Almost 1,900 of them are for home business. While there's been more of an increase in construction businesses, he says, it doesn't appear to be a single type of business that's grown noticibly, just home based in general.
There are a variety of reasons to start a home business. Ruddock started Hometech Home Theatre Services this past fall for a couple reasons. It was an extra source of income, he was doing something he enjoyed and he was filling a niche he saw in the community.
“The home-based business I do in my free time, it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” he says. “My target market, when I started this, was to help seniors; I get a lot of requests from seniors in my own family.”
He says the low cost of starting a business helped, since he’s the only employee, he’s using a skill set he already had after 20 years of doing it on the side and he can reach out to the community for free through social media.
“It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” he says. “Why not make a business of it.”
Baldes was in a different situation as she was looking for a change this past summer. Instead of looking for work with a new employer, she started Pinsinmymouth Sewing and Machine Embroidery.
“I was looking at a job change and had always wanted to start this business,” she says. “It just seemed like the right time.”
Her clothing alterations business takes advantage of the fact she doesn't have a commercial space. Working from home means she’s more flexible with hours and how she runs the business.
“It didn’t make sense to have a space where I’d be tied down and I’d have to be open all the time,” she says. “I do pick ups and deliveries, I’ll go do fittings wherever they are.”
Because her business is based on appointments and not people coming in off the street, Baldes decided to run it from her home and meet people when and where it’s convenient for them.
Jim Anderson, executive director of Venture Kamloops, says his organization doesn’t keep hard numbers on home-based businesses, but he’s seen an increase in entrepreneurs coming in for courses with Venture Kamloops, many of whom are likely to start a business from home instead out of an office building or commercial area.
“A lot of people are finding it more affordable to start their business at home,” he says. “The appeal is very evident in Kamloops.”
Part of the increase is due to the city’s licensing and legislative division, he says.
“It’s not hard from a legislative or licensing stand point to start a business in Kamloops,” Anderson says. “They’re very aware this is a need that needs to be filled in Kamloops.”
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