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Home-based businesses

Before you start

A home occupation permit is required for businesses that have home-based business activities or operate as a mobile business with no fixed commercial address. A business cannot be based out of a vehicle. If your business is based from a commercial location within Calgary, you are required to go through the commercial business approval process. If your business is based from a home outside of Calgary and conducting business within Calgary, you are considered a non-resident business.

In addition to land use approval, some home-based businesses require business licensing. Visit myBusiness for licence types and the required approvals.

Which land use approval do I need?

All home-based businesses require land use approval. Depending on the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, there are two different types of land use approval. Read through the information for both types to determine which will work for your home-based business.

Home occupation - class 1

The basic rule for a home occupation - class 1 is that the home-based business must not be visible from outside the home. The business must be conducted in the home by a resident and have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. If your business follows the rules, this application is approved and issued instantly. A home occupation - class 1 clearance form specifies the rules you must follow and is valid for as long as you operate that business from the same location. Some examples of home-based businesses that may fit under a home occupation - class 1 are desk and telephone occupations, web-based businesses or a consultant's office.

General rules for home occupations - class 1

  • You must live in the home associated with the home occupation.
  • Only two home occupation - class 1 businesses are allowed at the home.
  • Businesses can use up to 20 per cent of the floor area of the home or 30 square metres, whichever is less.
  • An accessory residential building cannot be used for the business.
  • No outside storage of material, goods or equipment can be on or near the site.
  • Businesses cannot be visible from the outside.
  • Businesses cannot create any kind of nuisance detectable from outside the home (electronic interference, dust, noise, odour, smoke, bright light or anything of an objectionable nature).
  • Employees and business partners cannot work at the home, if they do not live at the home.
  • No more than three visits per week by clients, staff or couriers to the home.
  • No more than one commercial vehicle associated with the business can be parked at or near the home (maximum 4536 kilograms gross vehicle weight).
  • No vehicles over 4536 kilograms gross vehicle weight, associated with the business, can be parked or stored at or near the home.
  • You cannot directly sell goods at the home, unless they are incidental and related to the service provided by the business.
  • No form of advertising related to the business is allowed on the site.
  • The address of the home occupation cannot be advertised to the public.

Please note: If you cannot comply with the above rules, you must apply for a development permit for a home occupation - class 2.

Home occupation - class 2

If you cannot comply with the home occupation - class 1 rules, you must apply for a development permit for a home occupation - class 2. 

This approval allows for more flexibility and has specific conditions attached. Before receiving this permit, a sign will be placed on the property to inform neighbours of the proposed use, and the approved permit will be published in the local newspaper.

Some examples of home-based businesses that may fit under the home occupation - class 2 rules are hairdressers, music teachers and a consultant's office (more than three visits per week).

Home occupation – class 2 development permits are approved on a temporary basis, with the length of the approval determined before the permit is released.

General rules for home occupations - class 2

  • You must live in the home associated with the home occupation.
  • The business can use up to 20 per cent of the floor area of the home or 30 square metres, whichever is less.
  • The garage may be used for the business, provided it can still be used to park a vehicle.
  • There can be no outside storage of material, goods or equipment on or near the site.
  • The business cannot be visible from the outside.
  • The business cannot create any kind of nuisance detectable from outside the home (electronic interference, dust, noise, odour, smoke, or anything of an objectionable nature).
  • The business cannot generate traffic to and from the home that is uncharacteristic of the neighbourhood.
  • There can be one employee or business partner working at the home who does not live at the home.
  • One commercial vehicle, with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 4500 kg, used for business purposes, can be on the business property.
  • No vehicles with an enclosed cargo area greater than 17.5 cubic metres (618 cubic feet) are allowed at the home.
  • A minimum of one parking stall is required for the business, in addition to the motor vehicle parking stalls already required for the home.
  • The business can only have five business-associated vehicle visits per day and a maximum of 15 visits per week.
  • You cannot directly sell any goods at the premises, unless they are incidental and related to the service provided.
  • No form of advertising related to the business is allowed on the site.
  • The address of the home occupation cannot be advertised to the public.

After the application is submitted

  • Only complete applications will be accepted for submission, including photographs and application forms.
  • The application is reviewed for compliance with the Land Use Bylaw 1P2007. Then, a notice is posted on the property for seven days, to inform the neighbours about the application and advise them on how they may respond. Comments may be submitted to the file manager at this time.
  • The application may be circulated to the community association, the Engineering & Environmental Services department and Alberta Health Services for their comments.
  • If the application is approved, the decision is advertised in the local newspaper on Thursdays in the public notices section and at calgary.ca/publicnotices. A two-week period is allowed for appeals to be made to the Subdivision & Development Appeal Board.  If there are no appeals after two weeks, the permit is released and the home occupation may begin.
  • If the application is refused, the applicant will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it by registered mail. The decision may be appealed to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board within 14 days of receipt of the letter.
  • The total permit timeline is typically six to eight weeks.

Please note: if you are renting your residence, authorization from the property owner is required to be submitted with the application form.

Fees

If you submit an identical application for home occupation class 2 at least 30 days prior to the previous development permit’s expiry, 50 per cent of the fee will be charged. See resubmitted applications (note 8) on the development permit/planning applications fee schedule.

Renewal Fee - H​​ome Occupation Class 2

Your expiry date is indicated on your Development Approval Notice that you received with your original approved development permit. However, we will also forward you an expiry notification​ as a reminder, to allow you to renew your permit at the reduced cost, should you wish to operate your business under the same land use approval.

How to apply

Home occupation class 1 permit

To begin, fill out the home occupation class 1 application.

Online (payment by credit card only)

Home occupation class 1 can be set up online through our business registration system.

By phone (payment by credit card only)

Planning Services Centre
403-268-5311
8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

By mail (must provide completed application form and fees)

The City of Calgary
Development & Building Approvals
Customer Advisory Services Division
PO Box 2100, Station M (#8108)
Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M5

In person

Planning Services Centre
Calgary Municipal Building
3rd floor, 800 Macleod Tr. S.E.​
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Home occupation class 2 permit

To begin, fill out the home occupation class 2 application and submit the application fee. You must also submit photographs of the areas in and around your home where the business will be operating. A full application must be made to renew an existing permit.

There are two ways to apply:

By mail (must provide completed application form, photos and fees)

The City of Calgary
Development & Building Approvals
Customer Advisory Services Division
PO Box 2100, Station M (#8108)
Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M5

In person

Planning Services Centre
Calgary Municipal Building
3rd floor, 800 Macleod Tr. S.E.
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​