Ten popular UK Home businesses

Written by Nick Grant


Published on 27th November 2018


Last Updated on 27th February 2024


Read time: 6 minutes


New technologies have made remote working easier than ever and the number of home workers in the UK is on the increase.

Remote workers and employees working from home are more common than some decades ago. For a savvy and persistent entrepreneur, the location from which you start your business can have no bearing on the level of success. Just remember how many billionaire businesses started from a garage: Amazon, Google, and Apple, among others!

Do I need permission to run a business from my home?

Depending on the type of business you are running in your home, you may need a licence from your local authority. Even though a lot of work carried out at home can be low-risk or office-type work, if you want to do it in your own home, be sure you know all the local laws about home businesses. It’s likely you might need a written permission if you live in a council property, or you might need to inform your mortgage lender if the house requires a material change, although most businesses can set up with just a computer. Restrictions are common when there is a risk of causing a nuisance to your neighbours (noise, delivery lorries and access, hazardous material storage, etc.).

What are the benefits and challenges of working from home?

home worker

A research made by the Trades Union Congress shows more than 1.6 million employees regularly work from home, and at least 70% of professionals work remotely for at least one day a week. Flexible working tops list of most desired benefits for SME employees according to a research by Totaljobs (working from home and flexible hours), followed by insurance and pensions schemes.

The main benefit of working from home is the reduction in commuting time, and employees can be happier when they work from home. Working from home offers a greater work/life balance, as flexibility around breaks, it might be easier to focus on tasks, and avoid a long commute. However, this research found 35% of UK workers not given the option of working remotely and 12% agree that they are happiest when working in an office environment.

What are some popular UK Home businesses?

If you are considering running a small business from home, here is a list of popular home-based jobs.

1. Caterer or Baker

Do colleagues at the office ask you to bake a cake for their birthday? Anything homemade and personalized has potential (cookies, bread, jams, cakes, pies), and if your baking and cookery skills are good, you might consider selling them and develop the products you might already be selling and turn your passion for cooking into a business.

2. Real Estate Agent or Mortgage Advisor

Selling property and providing mortgage advice are not quick-start jobs. You might need a licence and perhaps work for an established firm first, but it can certainly be lucrative and it might you allow some flexibility with a regular business income.

3. Landlord or Property Management

If you have the money to invest in a property, you can make this your home-based job. There are people who opt for traditional B&B business options, however more people can easily start booking guests into their homes with services as Airbnb. Also, owning properties that you can rent is not a passive business and there’s a lot of work involved, such as finding tenants, maintaining properties, etc. If the job involved is more than other landlords want to assume, they might hire property managers, and that can be a viable home business too.

4. Start a virtual call centre

Offering services as a home-based call centre agent can either be a home business or a telecommuting job. Some companies might use work-at-home call centre agents (either as employees or independent contractors), or you can start a home-based independent travel agency for example.

5. Freelance Writer or Journalist

Although computers can do more things than years ago, the need for writers continues to flourish in the media and marketing departments. It can be a very flexible job, and you can start part time and build up your income as you grow and learn. You can work from home or from a remote location while you prepare online media or blogs copywriting (PR, ads, sales letters, etc.).

6. Transcription and translation

Typing skills are useful to earn extra money from home as a transcriptionist, although this is more of a contracting job, so generally you might need to get more clients to really start making some regular money. If you are bilingual or you can speak multiple languages, you may consider giving private lessons to either children or adults.

7. Personal Trainer

Health and fitness is a worldwide industry, and more and more people are concerned about their weight, beauty, or wellbeing. To build a personal training business, you’ll need certifications, experience and clients. Specialising in a particular area of health and fitness and how you market yourself can help you along the way.

8. Class Instructor

Yoga, piano, massage therapist, knitting or crochet, Alexander technique, painting, Zumba there are hundreds of activities others might want to learn, so if you have a skill, you could become a freelance instructor, specialising in making your hobby your career.

9. IT, Graphic or Web Designer

Computing and websites are key components in this digital era, and some businesses require greater technological knowledge to create. If IT is your career, you can offer a variety of services, specialising in one type or in a specific industry.

10. Personal pet sitting

Imagine you can follow your animal-lover passion and start a job taking care of pets (dogs, cats, or small pets) when owners are unable to do so due to work, holiday, or family commitments. After being police checked, vetted by an association of national pet sitters, and adequately insured, you can share your love for animals and look after them in your own home or that of the animal’s family.

A lot of work carried out at home can be low-risk or office-type work, so computer equipment is the main tool for a remote worker. Whatever you want to accomplish in the future with working from home as an option, bear in mind that you might need to check your policy details, as your existing home insurance policy might not provide cover for a home office space and business equipment. Working from home can introduce several risks, for example equipment or stock kept at home or visitors, so insurers could invalidate your standard home insurance.

Have you ever wondered about running a business from home and what insurance you might need? We would love to hear from you.

*The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.

Nick Grant is a Business Development Manager at Intasure with 10 years of insurance experience.