Sunday, December 13, 2015

So you want to sell art from home?

Lots of aspiring artists want to sell art from their home. I've been wondering how many have thought through the implications of doing so when it goes beyond simply selling online and then wrapping up and posting artwork done at home.

Selling art from home - Things to think about

This is Selling Art from Home - a new page on my art business website. It aims to cover all the things you need to think about when retailing from home.

selling art from home - a word cloud

Working from home - in a paperwork sense - seems to be something that is now almost regarded as a new norm. Certainly many artists draw and paint in their own homes.

However any 'working from home' which involves retail and strangers visiting your home is a completely different enterprise.

At present, the NEW web page covers
  • Pros and Cons of selling from home - who this approach is suitable for and the realities of the expenses and downsides to selling from home.
  • Security - the essential need to think about the security of your home, your valuables and you and your family.
  • Mortgage provider / Landlord - You may well need to get permission from your mortgagor or landlord if you change the use of part of your home so it's no longer only domestic.
  • Insurance - you MUST 
    • avoid invalidating any insurance cover you have for your home and contents. If you check the small print you'll normally find your premises must be used only for domestic purposes - and selling is not domestic! 
    • think about the implications for insurance for third parties. 
  • Tax - you MUST think about what making part of your home non-domestic does in relation to property and asset taxation.
  • Health and Safety - why rules on health and safety apply to people you invite into your home re commercial transactions.
  • Planning Permission - the reasons why you might need to seek planning permission.
When I say MUST I mean there can be very real financial penalties for not observing the rules or losing your insurance cover if you mislead your insurer - which means no cover in the event of a claim. It's your choice - but ignoring the rules could be very expensive if you make the wrong choice.

I plan to extend the content of the page so that it also covers:
  • Open Studios - practicalities and things to be careful about
  • Storage of Art at Home - after you run out of wall space, how to avoid the art taking over the house

The rules outside the UK

I'm less familiar with the detail of rules outside the UK. If you have any useful information to share please leave a comment.

More about Art Business Info for Artists

If you'd like to hear more about news of developments on my art business website you can:

Other pages about selling art


  1. I don't sell from my home, except via mail or courier for many of the reasons that you have indicated in your post.
    I live in Richmond BC Canada, and would like to add that Cities and/or Municipalities here may have bylaws that forbid the selling of goods from your home, depending upon what type of Zoning you live in. A Zone could be Residential, or a mix of Business/Residential dwellings. The Zone I live in is a mix of Residential dwellings & Businesses.

    I had some neighbors that were selling goods obtained from auctions in our residence (I rent), and had cause to do research on my City's website and found that our area (Zone) was not allowed to operate any business from a residential dwelling other than offering lessons such as piano lessons, art lessons etc.

    A City via it's bylaws has the ability to ask & force you to desist and prevent the activity or activities that you are engaging in.

  2. Thanks for the information Terry

    That's exactly the sort of issue which I had in mind when I said areas will vary in terms of what you can and cannot do.


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