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Home Occupation Business

A Home Occupation Business is a small-scale business that operates out of a dwelling (home) in a residential neighbourhood, the business is secondary to the residential use of the building.  In the Town of Three Hills, Home Occupation Businesses are regulated by Land Use Bylaw 1458-20. If you are thinking of operating a business out of your home, you will need a Home Occupation permit that will grant you Land Use Approval in addition to a Town of Three Hills Business License.    

The Town of Three Hills offers the following two classifications of Home-based Businesses: 

Home Occupation – Class 1

The home occupation shall be an incidental and subordinate use to the principal residence and shall be contained within an area or room designated as an office within the principal building. The home occupation does not involve the outdoor storage of materials, goods or equipment related to the business on the site.

Home Occupation – Class 2

A Home Occupation – Class 2 is allowed for in a number of land use districts to provide for the potential of operating more intensive home-based businesses than Home Occupation – Class 1 operations.

The home occupation involves the use of equipment or tools in addition to what is permitted for a Home Occupation Class 1, or that the home occupation use occurs in more than one room within the dwelling unit or within an accessory building located on the same parcel as the dwelling unit. This classification also involves the storage of materials or equipment related to the business not exposed to public view. 

What are the Steps in Opening a Home Occupation Business?

Potential applicants are requested to arrange a pre-application meeting with the Town Planning and Development staff.  Note that this meeting is mandatory in order to review application requirements prior to submission and to ensure a timely process.  To arrange such a meeting, please call 403-443-5822.  For this meeting, an applicant should have a legal description of the subject property and should be prepared to discuss the intent of the application. 

  1. Print your Home Occupation Application form here or pick one up at the Town Office. Complete and submit to the Town of Three Hills Development Officer.
  2. The Town of Three Hills Development Officer will review your application including an analysis of how the proposed use or development complies with the related regulations in the applicable Land Use District, and any other related regulation in the Land Use Bylaw 1458-20.
  3. Once your Home Occupation is approved, print your Business License Application here or stop into the Town Office to pick on up. Complete and submit to the Town of Three Hills.
  4. Once you receive official approval and obtained your Town of Three Hills Business License, you can begin operating your new Home Occupation Business.

Rates & Fees

Application Fee
One time fee
$   50.00
Class 1 - Home Occupation Permit
One time fee
$   50.00
Class 2 - Home Occupation Permit
One time fee
$ 100.00
Business License
Annual fee
$   75.00

All Home Occupation Businesses require a Business License, click here to learn more.

Is starting a Home Occupation Business for me? 

Before you decide to start a home-based business, there are a few things to consider. Launching a business in your home could be ideal, depending on the space you require and the nature of your work. You should make sure that this arrangement suits both your personal and professional needs. As per the Canadian Business Network, you should ask yourself a few questions to determine whether having a home-based business is right for you:

  • Will working on your own suit your personality? Some people prefer to be in the company of colleagues.
  • Do you have the self-discipline to motivate yourself, even when business is quiet?
  • Might you have difficulty setting boundaries between your personal life and your business role? Will you face interruptions from family and friends?
  • Is there enough room for the resources you need, like special equipment or employees?
  • If your business is successful, will there be room to expand? How will you address this when the time comes?

When you decide you are ready to launch your home-based business, consider the following suggestions:

  • Review provincial and federal health, safety and taxation regulations related to your business.
  • Check municipal by-laws and determine whether your area is zoned for operating a business, particularly if you plan to deal with the public or have non-family-members working out of your home.
  • Designate a specific area of your residence as your workspace (as removed as possible from the ebb and flow of your household activities). Find tips on creating your space here.
  • Try not to let chores or other distractions take you away from your work and interrupt your productivity.
  • Avoid letting the less formal setting interfere with your professionalism.
  • Be available to your clients by keeping a consistent schedule and getting back to them in a timely fashion.
  • Be aware that some home-based business opportunities may be fraudulent.

Still seeking information on opening a Home Occupation Business?

Check out these links:

Community Futures Wild Rose

Alberta Learning Information Services

Business Link - Starting a Home Based Business

Starting a Home Based Business: A Manual for Success

Community Futures - Home Based Business Loan Application

Community Futures - Business Start-up Guide