While the Great Recession initially brought an increase in home-based businesses, at least one Perry Hall business owner has transitioned back into an office.
"It was a little crazy with the kids around, and trying to cook dinner. I'm so happy. It's just nice to get out of the house," said Tracy Dietrich, a portrait photographer based at 9419 Belair Road.
Dietrich moved her business into an office suite over the summer. Previously, she worked with clients on location and handled the editing and accounting end of the business from home.
"A long time ago, I had a studio in Annapolis because that's where the money was. I loved it but decided to leave because of the cost," she said.
Her Perry Hall studio suite is filled with props, photography and editing equipment and photographs of clients—all of which used to be stored at her home.
"For what I do, it's nice to have a special place. I'm still photographing newborn babies, and now I can control the temperature," Dietrich said.
The Baltimore County Office of Economic Development does not track the percentage of home-based businesses. But according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 52 percent of small businesses across the United States are home-based. The main reason is cost—combining living expenses with business expenses can bring significant savings, the SBA reports.
Dietrich said her decision to become a brick and mortar business was risky, but is already paying off with an increase in portraits of high school students.
"It's helping me get my name out there. And for some reason, people are like, 'Oh, you have a studio.' It seems more legitimate," she said.
Dietrich advised fellow business owners to be prepared for a rise in overhead when transitioning to an office. "I have to be more concious of my numbers. I'm asking myself, 'Am I making enough to make it worth it?'" she said.
The SBA offered similar advice to those planning to move out of the house, urging them to plan a budget based around their needs. Business owners may also consider renting furniture and even rotating desk space. They should also be aware of changes to their business regulatory paperwork at a new location.
Are businesses moving from home to offices a sign of the economy improving? Do you own a home-based business? Tell us about the pros and cons in the comments.