Homebase cabinet shop?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 12-02-2012 02:39 AM 2571 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 3643 days

12-02-2012 02:39 AM

I am wondering is ilegal to have a home base cabinet shop? I can’t afford to rent or buy place. It seem my town don’t allow here but maybe if I get a liscense to install cabinets maybe I can get away with it.

39 replies so far

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3311 days

#1 posted 12-02-2012 03:00 AM

hard to say in your area charles

maybe you need a business permit
or insurance on the shop
or special certificate from the city or zoning offices

i do know that anyone hurting themselves
in your shop can sue
even if they sign a waver

maybe talk to some shops
and find out what the deal is there

might just need to call it a tool storage shed

and keep a low profile

definitely find out first
before spending money
and having someone come and give you grief

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2645 days

#2 posted 12-02-2012 03:04 AM

Often depends on the neighbors in my area. Don’t operate tools while they are trying to watch TV or sleep…a big no-no

Depends on how they enforce codes in you town. I know a man that operates a small engine repair shop in his back yard shop. Looks like a retired person’s hobby shop and sounds like a retired person’s hobby shop. Must be a retired person’s hobby shop. Across town those folks got into trouble for doing the same thing.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3255 days

#3 posted 12-02-2012 03:07 AM


It usually depends on the zoning laws for a particular area. If it’s zoned strictly residential, then you would probably not be able to have a cabinet shop at home. It really depends on the state, county, city or town. You will need to check with your local area.

Where do you have to go to get a business lisence? They will be the only one that will be able to give you the “facts”. The rest of us will be just guessing.

-- John @

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3259 posts in 2645 days

#4 posted 12-02-2012 03:13 AM

Huff is correct. It is amazing that I can run my hobby shop 8 or more hours a day and it is a hobby shop with no one caring. If you buy the next door house and operate a business shop 8 hours a day then there is a problem. go figure.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2171 days

#5 posted 12-02-2012 03:21 AM

Only thing I see is trouble all the way around when you try to do a business out of your house which makes noise….... Sometimes it is hard enough with just doing it as a hobby….. HOA be all over your then the city, fire marshall ect ect….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2645 days

#6 posted 12-02-2012 03:25 AM

I live near a community of 23,000 people. It is usually a neighbor that turns you in to the city officials then they check and shut you down. That is the inconvience. You are shut down in the middle of a project for a customer and then where are you? We don’t have much or a home owner’s alliance in most areas. I live in the country by 1/2 a mile so I can do what I want. Of course that also means my neighbors can do what they want also.

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13345 posts in 3643 days

#7 posted 12-02-2012 03:27 AM

I really would like to be able to do pay projects. One time I call the city they said it was not allow. But I will ask agian.

View bruc101's profile


1200 posts in 3512 days

#8 posted 12-02-2012 03:35 AM

I think if they said it was not allowed then I would not do it, just find another alternative.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3547 days

#9 posted 12-02-2012 03:36 AM

Charles many folks operate shops out of their garage when it’s not legal too. it’s a matter of how you approach things,sometimes it’s a matter of whether you ask to run your business or not. If you ask then they say no then your stuck because they have to enforce what they already said .If you have already asked with out givig specific information then they probably won’t remember that you asked by the time your shop is built and your ready to make cabinets ether . If you go ahead an make cabinets in you garage the probably won’t bother you and if they do ask you whats going on who’s to say your not making cabinets as a hobby.
Just don’t put any signs up don’t work to early or to late at night and I’m guessing you won’t have problems.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3643 days

#10 posted 12-02-2012 03:52 AM

May have to keep woodworking as a hobby, and just develop my carpentry skills since I went to school for building construction.

View Loren's profile


10283 posts in 3618 days

#11 posted 12-02-2012 05:20 AM

Read the book “Small Time Operator” and also Jim
Tolpin’s books on how to make a living as a cabinetmaker.

Consult an accountant if you like and he or she will
have prudent advice about deductions and
so forth. Laws vary locally, but in general the
system is not exactly set up to penalize or prohibit
traditional homestead occupations like joinery.

Your home shop concerns are really not a big deal
in many areas. A lot depends on how much you
annoy your neighbors (if at all) by running machines
at odd hours. Honestly, most people will be cool
and leave you be. You can be proactive and talk
to the neighbors and don’t be surprised if they
hire you or refer you.

One of the major issues with home based businesses
in urban areas is parking. It pisses off neighbors
when clients are always taking up street parking
in a residential area. This is not usually an issue
with a business like cabinetry but can be a real
issue with home based accountants, dentists, etc.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2820 days

#12 posted 12-02-2012 02:15 PM

Those of us who do have a properly located (zoned) shop and buy a business license and contractor’s license and the appropriate insurance and pay personal property tax on our tools and have our have a business plan and strive to contribute to the legitimacy of the craft as a way to earn a living wage and respond when the Kiwanis want a donation for their fundraising auction (which always benefits kids) and speak to the high school shop class when asked, periodically run up against a potential customer who looks at our carefully-crafted bid for their work and says, “I have a neighbor who works out of his garage and he says he can do this job for about half your price.”



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View grosa's profile


1004 posts in 2799 days

#13 posted 12-02-2012 02:30 PM

The county tried for years to catch me sell out of my garage. They would send someone over to my house and ask if I could make them something. I always said no. I never put out furniture with for sale signs. And I always went to get my own material and unloaded it at night.

-- Have a great day.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3255 days

#14 posted 12-02-2012 04:10 PM

Well put Lee.

-- John @

View MrRon's profile


4722 posts in 3213 days

#15 posted 12-02-2012 08:16 PM

It’s only illegal if you get caught. You have to be discreet. You can’t be advertising in a paper or put up signs advertising a business. Don’t ask, don’t tell is the key here. I’ve built things for clients and no one ever asked me if I had a license. I suppose if you make more than one item as on a production, it would be considered a business, but if you keep quiet about it, you shouldn’t have a problem. Location is a factor also. Think of operation of a cabinet shop like running a whiskey still. If you ran a still in a crowded neighborhood, you would surely be found out, but if you did it in a rural area that didn’t attract attention; no problem. There are laws; some are good and some not so good. It’s a matter of choice and morality.

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