San Jose Home-based Business Information

San Jose home-based businesses are one of the easiest to start and have a lot of advantages.  You have to keep in mind that Santa Clara County and San Jose have prohibited home based businesses.  For example, you cannot start a bakery or any food-related businesses outside of your home due to health reasons.  The Santa Clara County Consumer Protection division (where you get your consumer health permit aka food permit) requires food-related businesses to operate out of a commercial kitchen.  The following details some laws, regulations and advantages, you must follow for your home-based business.

Home-based Business Laws and Regulations for San Jose:

The reasons why they have the following is because they want to make sure that residential neighborhoods are not impacted by commercial activity as they are meant for quieter areas and a place of residence.  (Yes, there are neighborhoods that are louder than commercial centers… I live in one.)


Signage must conform to the residential signage requirements set forth inPart 4 of Chapter 23.04 of Title 23.

In other words 1 foot by 1 foot… pretty dinky sign.

Business Vehicles

A maximum of one (1) business vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds is permitted to be kept, garaged or parked on the lot or parcel associated with the home occupation.


A maximum of two (2) clients at a time are permitted at the dwelling.

Employees and Assistance

Only occupants of the dwelling may be employees or unpaid volunteers of the business or commercial activity.

Environmental Constraints

There shall be no obnoxious odors, vibrations, glare, fumes, dust, electrical interference or noise detectable by normal human sensory perception outside the dwelling or through vertical or horizontal party walls.

Hours of Operations

Clients are permitted at the residence only between the hours of 9 o’clock a.m. and 9 o’clock p.m.


Dwelling Unit (your house)

  • Home occupations, including storage, are permitted in the dwelling unit.

Accessory Building

  • Home occupations, including storage, are limited to one hundred (100) square feet of floor area in an accessory building provided any required parking provided in the accessory building is retained and accessible.

Attached Garage

  • Home occupations are permitted in an attached garage provided the required parking is retained and accessible.


  • Home occupations are not permitted in carports.

Yard Areas

  • Home Occupations are not permitted in yard areas.

Manufacture or Assembly

No manufacture or assembly, other than hand-crafted products, ispermitted.


The direct sale of products off display shelves or racks to the general public is prohibited; however, an order may be filled on the premises if placed earlier by a customer using telephone or mail order communications, or through attendance at an off-site sales party.

Prohibited Home-based Businesses in San Jose:

  1. Animal breeding.
  2. Appliance repair, other than the repair of small household appliances, as defined in Section 20.200.550.
  3. Firearm sales and service.
  4. Motorized garden tool repair, such as, but not limited to, lawnmowers, chainsaws,  and leaf blowers.
  5. Massage parlor, as provided in Part 1 of Chapter 20.80 of this Title, and the business of massage as provided in Section 6.44.010, Subsection A, of Chapter 6.44 of Title 6.
  6. Pest control.
  7. Upholstery and furniture repair.
  8. Food catering.
  9. Vehicle-related uses such as, but not limited to, the following: storage of vehicles, cleaning, dismantling, embellishment, installation, manufacture, repair or service, sale, lease or rental, towing, driving schools, and dispatching of vehicles located at the site.
  10. Welding.
  11. Any use which requires a Hazardous Materials Permit from the Fire Department.
  12. Any Off-Sale of Alcohol.
  13. Any other use which does not comply with each of the criteria provided in Table 20-160.


  • You can write off the exclusively and regularly used part of your home for your business divided by the total square footage of the home. (be sure to check with a tax professional)
    • You can deduct the following (you have to qualify for some of them):
      • Real estate taxes
      • Qualified mortgage insurance premiums
      • Deductible mortgage interest
      • Casualty losses
      • Depreciation
      • Insurance
      • Rent
      • Repairs
      • Security System (some people have also justified a dog as a security system)
      • Utilities and services
      • Find more information accessing the IRS Publication 587. (Business Use of Your Home)
  • Mileage for business related activities. (This one is a huge one as you can deduct the mileage from your home to/from clients.)
  • Test your business market without having to drop a large amount of money for a commercial office.
  • Stay close to the family.
  • Many others.

Resources for Home-Based Businesses:

City of San Jose Department of Planning and Code Enforcement Regarding Home-based Businesses

IRS Publication 587 – Business Use of Your Home

Home Office Deduction for those who work from home