Starting a Home Based Business

Operating a business from your home offers a flexible, convenient and affordable option. Weipa Town Authority (WTA) recognises the value small businesses create for our economy and the Weipa Planning Scheme has made it quicker and more affordable to set up a home-based business. 

This page outlines how the planning scheme applies to setting up a home-based business and whether you need to lodge a development application.

What is a home-based business?

WTA is dedicated to providing options for small businesses. A home-based business is defined in the planning scheme and can operate from a townhouse, apartment or house where the business is secondary to the residence. 

Examples of a home-based business

  • home office
  • personal and professional services such as hairdressing or beauty service, counseling, physiotherapy or other minor scale professional services
  • home-based childcare

Examples of a business that do not qualify as home-based:

  • mechanic workshop
  • shop
  • transport depot
  • cafe
  • industry 
  • mobile business such as gardening service, mobile dog wash or airport shuttle service.

Assessing your home-based business application

To see if you need to lodge an application, you can assess your home-based business proposal using criteria outlined in Section 8.2.4 Home based business code in the Weipa Planning Scheme 2018.

To make things easier for home-based businesses, the WTA has identified a number of criteria which if met, mean that the use is accepted development, subject to requirements and there is no need to lodge a planning application. To ensure that the use meets the accepted development requirements, you should undertake a self-assessment of the criteria.

To be accepted development, subject to requirements*, you need to:

  • be a permanent resident of the townhouse, apartment or house
  • conduct the business from inside your house, garage or shed
  • have no more than one non-resident employee if the business is run in a house, and no non-resident employees in other kinds of dwellings such as apartments or townhouses
  • have a business which takes up no more than 50 square metres in a house or 20 square metres in an apartment or dual occupancy
  • have a business suitable for residential areas
  • manage any potential impacts, such as traffic, visitors, car parking, noise and odour, for as long as your business operates
  • have no signs unless required by law to identify a registered business (if a sign is required, it is to be no larger than 0.6 square metres)
  • limit hours of operation and deliveries. 

If your home-based business does not meet all of these requirements, you may need to lodge a development application.

* Some businesses such as bed and breakfasts, farm stays, home-based childcare and dog day care, may use a greater area.

How to check if you need WTA approval to set up your home-based business

Not all home-based businesses need approval. An enquiry can help you determine if the proposal requires approval. You can phone us on (07) 4030 9400 during business hours and ask to speak to a town planner.

While WTA aims to assist you through the process, you may wish to engage a consultant, town planner, surveyor or other appropriately qualified professional for help with your building or development project. 

Setting up your home-based business

  • Check for other regulations and licences you may need for your proposed business, such as:
  • a food business licence if you are preparing food, for example a food van
  • body corporate rules and regulations
  • If you need help lodging a development application, a consultant town planner can help by preparing a development application for you.
  • A private certifier must approve any building work, such as extensions. This is separate to WTA's development approval for a home-based business.