Home Business

Before committing to opening a home-based business, find out what is allowed.

The steps below will guide through the process of starting a business out of your home.

Be sure to apply for City approvals at least two weeks before you want to open for business.

A guide to getting started
 
Conditions for home businesses
Land use approval

All home-based businesses require a Home Occupation Development Permit, which is automatically a part of your Business License application. The purpose is to avoid home occupation activities that may have negative impacts to the neighbourhood.

You will be asked about the type of home-based business you intend to open. Things like parking, having customers on site and material storage will be checked, to make sure there are no issues with safety or disruption. Staff will also determine if your home business is considered Major or Minor:

  • Minor Home Occupation: Does not exceed a gross floor area of 10m(107.6 sq. ft.), is considered a home office, and has no more than one business-related vehicle visit per week.
  • Major Home Occupation: Does not exceed a gross floor area of 30m2 (322.9 sq. ft.)

Not allowed as home businesses

Certain types of businesses are not allowed to operate as home-based businesses:
  • Businesses using a floor area more than 30m2 (322.9 sq.ft.)
  • Adult establishments
  • Businesses that are or should be licensed under the Escort Service Bylaw
  • Animal breeding or kennels
  • Vehicle modification or servicing (including auto-body work, vehicle painting, vehicle repairs, and vehicle or equipment storage or cleaning)
  • Industrial operations (including sheet metal work, welding, upholstery work, carpentry or cabinet making)
  • Retail uses
  • Cannabis Production and Distribution Facility, Cannabis Retail Store, or Cannabis Lounge
  • Supervised Consumption Site
  • Any vehicle associated with the business which has a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6500 kg (14,330 lb.) or a length exceeding 11 m (36 ft.)
For more information about business regulations, see:

Bylaw #2339

Renovations and safety
Building Permit

If any renovations are required in your home in which the business will open, a Building Permit is needed before the work is done. Building Permit applications are reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code by a City Safety Codes Officer to ensure that our built environment is safe.

Any construction, repair, demolition or alterations to a building or structure requires a Building Permit. If the only changes are cosmetic (e.g. painting, flooring, cabinetry), then a Building Permit is not required.

For more information or to apply, visit:

Building Permits


Trades work

If any intended renovations include changes to gas, electrical, plumbing, heating or cooling systems in your proposed location, you will require trades permits. To ensure compliance with all regulatory safety policies, these permits are issued only to qualified professionals who are licensed by the City of Medicine Hat.

For more information or to apply, visit:

Trade Permits


Inspection

Having your plans reviewed, and work inspected by a Safety Codes Officer will ensure that minimum standards of safety are met. This will help protect you, your customers and staff, and the value of your property.

For more information or to apply, visit:

Inspections

Business License

Once the above steps are complete, you may apply for a business license. Anyone involved in business activities in Medicine Hat, including home-based, requires a business license. Once you receive your business license, it must be prominently displayed in your place of business.

For answers to common questions about business licenses, visit:

Business License

How to apply
Apply online for a business license

Apply online

or:

Apply in person for a business license

Complete both forms below and visit Planning & Development Services in City Hall. After your application is received and processed, you will be notified of the application fee.

Home occupation application  Business license application


Payment methods
  • Online or phone
    • Visa or Mastercard
  • In-person
    • Debit
    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Visa or Mastercard
  • Mail
    • Cheque

To view fees for various types of business licenses, see:

Fees and charges

Signs which advertise businesses visible from outside your home are not allowed in residential areas. Please see the Land Use Bylaw for details.

Landlord or condo permission

If you rent your home

You must provide written authorization from the land owner in order to apply to operate a home-based business.

Land Owner Consent form

If you live in a condominium

You must provide a letter of authorization from an authorized agent of your condominium association to apply to operate a home-based business.

This letter must include:

  • Your name (tenant or condo owner)
  • Date
  • Address of property
  • Business name
  • Description of business activity
  • Name of: Landlord, Landlord's authorized agent OR authorized agent of the condominium association, whichever is relevant.

Operating a day home

The rules for a Day Home are different than those for a Day Care Facility.
  • A Day Home must be located in a home within Medicine Hat.
  • "Day home" is only applicable for care of six or less children, including operator's own children who reside in the home.
  • All children must be under 13 years old, or under 15 years old if the child has special needs.
  • Police information check is required. 
  • An inspection by Alberta Health Services is required. 
  • Provincial licensing is not required.
  • City of Medicine Hat Business License is not required.
  • Development Permit is not required in Medicine Hat.
  • If the dwelling is rented or in a condominium, the operator is likely obligated to ask permission of the landlord or condominium association before opening a day home. Check your tenancy agreement and/or condo bylaws.

Operating a home-based food business

Home-based food businesses may include catering, preserves, specialty cakes and other desserts, personal chef, etc. As well as following the steps above, it is necessary to obtain approval from Alberta Health Services to ensure that food-safe measures are established.

Home-based food rules

Moving or closing your business

Moving your business

If you are moving your home-based business to another home, you must apply for another home occupation Development Permit. Your first approval does not "follow" you, since there may be new or additional concerns regarding safety, parking or disruptions to neighbours.

For City records, it is important that your home-based business show your new address. When you submit your application for a new home occupation development permit, you will be asked to complete a business license form indicating the new address, at no additional fee.

Closing your business

Notify Planning & Development Services so your license file can be closed. If you sell your business, the new owner(s) must apply for a new Business License and home occupation Development Permit. If your business closes, the Business License fee is non-refundable.