HOA Concerns For Home-Based Business

Hi all, I want to buy a machine and start making/selling products online. My neighborhood has an HOA that prohibits any home-based businesses. I’ve learned a “virtual business address” can be used to hide my home address from public records for an LLC. I’m worried somehow I’ll start getting business mail at home. Then the HOA will find out risking causing us trouble. Has anyone had a similar circumstance? Any suggestions? I understand you can’t give legal or financial advice. I’m looking for peer experiences to help us find a possible solution.


My HOA has a similar restriction but these days with so many people working from home I think it needs revisiting. I plan to simply ignore the rule.

I think it is largely to discourage increased traffic to the residence so if you aren’t setting up a storefront or having clients come in constantly then why should they care. Amazon visits my house more than customers ever will.

Note that I just got elected to our HOA board and plan to add some clarifications of that rule when we propose some other covenant updates.

If your HOA is snooping in your mailbox then report them to the post office.


Exactly the kind of feedback we’re looking for. Thank you! Others, please chime in! We want to hear your experiences too!

As @CullenS said let the rath of the US Gov rain down on them if they are snooping in you mail.

If you want to be invisible to them you could get a Mail Box with a street address. Think MailBox etc does that

Hi! Ok this is easy. There are a TON of companies you can pay to form an llc or corporation for you. They all provide registered agent and mail drop services. Just google “file an llc for me” and a bunch will pop up. Ive used Swyft and Incorporate (.com). If your registered mailing address for the new co is that maildrop, then mail wont make it’s way to your res. Just make sure when you open your business banking that all of your mail routes to that new address and not your home. We used to live in a subdivison once upon a time. And then we discovered how cool it was to wake up every morning in the woods with only Bambi to argue with. She LOVES sugar snap peas straight from our garden :)))

Indeed. The “Virtual Business Address” is like a PO box but is a street “business” address that can receive packages like my CNC when I order it. Thank you!

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Outstanding! Thank you. Yes, we’ve looked into LegalZoom so far. This is great stuff everyone, thank you very much!

Keep in mind you’re probably as/more likely to have some snoopy HOA member hear your machine running, then turn you in.


As far as the “Karens” know, that machine in your garage is a “Hobby”.

Looking at your mail is a federal offence. That doesn’t necessarily stop them from looking, but they can’t use it against you.

It sounds like you’re already ahead of the game as far as protecting yourself.

The only other consideration I can think of is the noise. While these machines aren’t extremely loud, but if it can be heard, it’s not necessarily a ‘pleasant’ sound. (It is to me! :smiley: ). An enclosure cuts down the noise, or just keep the garage closed while machining.

I lived in an HOA neighborhood, and we had only a few “Karens” that would complain about the grass being 1/2" too long, or the garbage cans sitting outside. I ignored them, and found the best solution was to get to know my immediate neighbors and just talk to them about anything that might be an issue. They were all cool, and didn’t care too much about the minutia. If I had the machine at that time, they would be the ones watching, drinking a beer, and asking me “Can you make me…?” :laughing:

Good luck, and enjoy your time in the garage.


The HOA will eventually turn on you for some other reason. The only real solution.



The reason I joined the HOA board this year was because they raised our dues 47% in one year with no real justification. I am making it my mission to roll that back or enact a 5-7 year ban on future increases.

Luckily, even though I am in an HOA controlled neighborhood, we have large lots and I own the ones on either side of the house which provides a nice buffer. Plus since my garage has an AC I never open the door. The machine can be heard slightly but not by the time you get to the street. And as @Tod1d said, it’s really no business of theirs as long as it is not creating a nuisance that people complain about.

The delivery of your machine is just you getting a new toy. Way less annoying than someone getting a new fridge or carpet installed.

Now, if you plan to get wood shipments daily via tractor trailer that would be another issue.


In going to try and be civil while speaking of HOAs excuse me if I don’t.

I would look at the specific wording if your hoa rule. Does it flat out ban all home business or does it specify. Retail, foot traffic, ect.

Most rules are there to stop people from coming to your home for business.

The virtual address maybe sketchy. Your going to need an address for ::

Business license ( if applicable )
Federal tax id
Sales tax licensee
Bank accounts and credit card.
Shipping from address
Customer return address visible to customer
Accounts for wholesalers for supplies.
Any website you sell through including Facebook.

I could be missing some. A-lot of this is assuming you’ll be dealing in volume and that you’ll be shipping things.

We pay a small amount for a P.O. Box in sole any address a customer sees on the package or invoice, ect. Is not our home address. But slot of the things I’ve listed needs a hard physical address with proof of residency.

When my neighbors house was 13ft from mine at my old place I had a fully insulated garage with and enclosure and a shop back in an enclosure all in efforts to reduce noise. I had my wood shop for a while before the cnc showed up. None of this was to avoid the hoa as I was all legal there but more of a courtesy to my neighbors. Also meant no long nights. But the doors stayed closed with ac.

And how I don’t miss that. Now my closest neighbor is 1/4 mile away. My shop is 100 ft from my house and I’ve got a 450 ft drive way. If the weathers nice I’ll open the doors and play some music and work through the night with machines running.


Thank you all. The mail is in a locked box, so that maybe less of a concern. My wife and I have been doing woodworking in the garage since we moved in. If it’s no louder than our DeWalt planer, we should be ok on noise. I’d never expose my home to anyone I sell to, people are nuts anymore. I’ll look into the items listed to make sure it’s possible to use the “business” address for everything business related. I find this, but it looks like I couldn’t receive packages, like the cnc. Virtual Office | 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Omaha, NE

What challenges has anyone had with running a cnc business from run from home? Can you replace a full time income? I’d think scaling would be limited. Thanks again, all, I’m looking forward to reading more!

Depends on the full time income I expect :joy:

I don’t see why you couldn’t. Find the market that generates income. Price it. Find new sources to generate new business. The one-off type that I do is not sustainable as a business. I have found the “Flea-Markets” don’t work for me. I had a short-term contract to make a product for a customer. It was my fault I didn’t parley it into more.

But it is possible. YouTube is full of vids where people have made money, and of course, their system is the way to go.

Good luck

Of course, my bad. Research indicates the minimum wage where I live is $10.50/hour. Might it be unrealistic to earn as a one person maker company $420.00 a week? I’m trying to see if I’m better off doing this instead of looking for a full time job. I’m expecting to lose my job soon. I have a good savings to start it up. I’m 55, low vision and in IT. I’m concerned if I can find a job at all it will be minimum wage menial service level work. Tech is in a bad place of late. My age is doing me no favors either. Thanks.

If you are going to try to make this your full time job you are going to have a hard time doing it in an HOA restricted area. People are going to notice that you are almost always home, that you have power tools running all the time, and that you are constantly bring wood into you home and boxes of product out of it. There is almost always an HOA Karen in your neighborhood. Someone who feels entitled to rat out their neighbors.

Not saying you cannot do it, but you are going to have to run it like Walter White. Make sure your workshop has plenty of sound deadening insulation. Put the CNC in a sound deadening enclosure. Offload your lumber and other supplies inside your garage with the door closed. Load up your finished products inside your garage as well. Have valid excuses for what it is you are making if someone asks. Even if there isn’t an HOA Karen in your neighborhood, you should always assume there is. Above all have a backup plan in the event someone does report you.


I agree, the risk is real. Thank you.

I can easily make $420 a week working an hour a night if I have the sales.

It all goes down to the product , what you can sell , what you can profit and it what volume.

I’ve got some prints on my lasers that make $480 a machine hiur. I just don’t have much volume. I’ve made batches of price that would profit me $2k in half a day of running my 5 pro. But the customer I make them for takes a year to buy them all.

A blanket statement of Profitability won’t be realistic.

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I don’t understand why anyone would voluntarily live under more restrictive government?