HOA Concerns For Home-Based Business

skip the LLC. Just be a sole proprietor. No reason to add extra red tape

To be fair there are a lot of areas where you don’t have much choice in housing that isn’t in an hoa.

But an llc offers a level of protection to you from business liability. Takes an hour and $30 to setup an llc, get a federal tax id number and a sales tax lic in my state. And there isn’t any red tape. Taxes can still be handled as a sole proprietor.

Without separation of liability you can be sued and loose your house , cars and everything you have. And have wages garnished over some stupid reason. If my business gets sued they get a pc I use as a shipping computer, My materials on hand and some cardboard boxes.

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This is a good point regarding an LLC. For the business I owned personally leased everything to my company. I bought a pickup to use and leased it to my LLC, same with a computer and a bunch of other stuff. If I was to do it with the stuff I make on my CNC, I would lease that to my LLC as well. That way all a lawsuit can get is the money in the business bank account (and keep that low).

I did a sole proprietorship as I could not imagine being in a situation where someone would sue me. I guess these days if someone gets a splinter that could be a reason.

One accountant I talked to said that there was no functional difference or more protections with an LLC if it was a one man shop but I have heard otherwise from others so I may switch.

personally I use the virtual addresses as a way to protect my family, but it would help with your concerns.

Please note that an HOA cannot fine you for having a business registered at your address regardless or any rule they have. Their scope of coverage would be regarding you operating the business out of your home which is most likely what would happen if the machine is running at odd hours and can be heard.

Yes, fortunately, I’ve worked from home since we moved here. My wife and I are known to the neighbors as woodworkers. I’d certainly build an enclosure w/sound deadening and maybe add that to the doors. The doors & garage are insulated. Maybe that helps some? It will still get hot in the summer, but I’ll deal with that as it comes. A Shapeoko 5 Pro with the spindle won’t be louder than a DeWalt planer will it? Thanks!

Not if you get a Dewalt Stealthsonic or other quiet dust collection system. The planer is easily the loudest thing in my shop.

Get a mini split for your garage.


The DW735X DEWALT Thickness Planer, Two Speed, 13-inch, 15 Amp, 20,000 RPM Motor (DW735X) - Power Planers - Amazon.com It’s loud! I’m thinking of this for dust collection It’s not HEPA though 35 Gallon, 2 HP High-Flow High-Capacity Dust Collector (harborfreight.com) Open to suggestions for something better. Thanks!

That will be louder and costs more than the Dewalt Stealthsonic with a bucket and cheap cyclone from Harbor Freight. If you need it for other tools in the shop then go for it but if if are primarily concerned about the CNC I think you will be happier with the Stealthsonic.

I have a large ClearVue cyclone that provides dust collection to everything else in my shop and originally used it for the CNC. I didn’t like leaving it running on long jobs though as it is pretty loud and more expensive and I didn’t want to wear it out.

I switched to the Dewalt and it is almost silent and I think actually does a better job combined with the deep sweepy. Plus, I don’t care if it dies in a year because it is so cheap.

You can get HEPA filters for it but consider the aftermarket ones on Amazon. They are much cheaper than the ones from Dewalt.

With my HF cyclone and bucket from Lowe’s I almost never see anything in the actual vac bucket.


you could claim whatever you’re doing at home is hobby related

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The Harvey G-700 is supposed to be one of the quietist dust collectors on the market. It has a VFD that adjusts the CFMs based on the pressure differential on the intake filters (I believe). I’m looking into upgrading my DC system & the Harvey is one of the three I’m investigating.

I currently have a HF & WEN dust collectors . I’ll check the decibels tomorrow & post them. They are (much) louder than my CNCs.
They are better than nothing and suck a lot more than a shop vac.

The DeWalt Stealth is @68Db & the HF/WEN DCs are way louder then that according to my ears.

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If I had a huge budget for a dedicated shop space, that, (and one of the Harvey bandsaws) would be at the top of my list too.

Unfortunately, I can’t find John Economaki’s glowing review (back when they first started selling them, before Bridge City got bought out by Harvey), but I recall it as specifically discussing the sensor technology and air flow.

I’d love to have the Harvey G-700 in my shop. As far as noise level, according to their website it’s supposed to be at around 61-72 dbA.

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Indeed. My wife & I (no kids) have been building stuff at home since we moved in. The neighbors already know us as hobbyist woodworkers. Our “cover” is well established lol.

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Thank you all again. This is a very valuable conversation for my wife & I.

Another consideration would be feeds and speeds to test harmonization. If you were to make a test run in each of the materials you want to work in with your main 2-3 bits and make essentially a snake with a u for each speed sequentially getting faster (within the limits of the tool). I work in an apartment above a business with neighbours and I haven’t had a complaint in the few months I’ve had the machine and I have done a few of what I would consider train horn cuts.

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@Scorch So…since you’re asking the question - you know that you are running the risk of an issue. As mentioned above, the issue MAY originate from a noise concern - and you’re getting good advice on that end – but honestly, it’s more likely going to come from someone who will complain that you’re breaking the rules - and turn you in. There are LOTS of rule-babies out there…and they can be quite vicious. It might come from someone who wanted a home business, but restricted themselves because of the rules - and now thinks it’s “not fair” that you can get away with it. Or, they just may not like that you think you can get away with breaking the rules. As the saying goes: I love mankind…it’s the people I can’t stand.

The problem is, SOMEONE is going to know what you’re doing…because you will have friends that you trust - or even potentially clients, or someone who knows a client, in your development. Once anyone knows, assume everyone knows. So, if you’re going to do this, be ready to shut down your operation and move it out. Also, maintain plausible deniability and DON’T EVER tell anyone that you are aware of the rules and are choosing to ignore them…because then you could end up evicted (of course, you told us and there is now permanent proof that you are choosing to ignore the rules…so, eh…)

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This was just a quick dB reading with an iPhone app. The picture that shows a 70.1 max reading was 11’ away from the HF Dust Collector (where I normally operate from). The picture that shows 72.6 was taken 1’ above the motor at the junction of the pipe going into the bags.

Two item I do like about these collectors is how much they will hold. I just emptied both bags for the first time this weekend. So it took me @5-1/2 months to fill up both bags. The other is I run them as long as I’m working. When I’m on a roll, that could be up to 16 hours straight. Can’t do that with a shop vac style.

With my larger machine, they sent this silly little Porter Cable vacuum. It would fill up in about 4 hours & I was constantly unclogging the debris from the hose.

So far my upgrade path from here will either be a Harvey, Onidea(sp?), or ClearView.

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Sadly, this is true. It exceeds our risk tolerance. I learned I’ll be out of a job likely by the end of the month. I’d hoped I could do this. I don’t think it’s viable. Thanks all.

If you are not running a store front or having constant customers driving in the I really wouldn’t worry about it assuming you were planning on buying the machine anyway.

If the HOA complains and you have already established enough business to warrant their complaints vs just calling it a hobby then you can decide if your business is bringing in enough to justify moving or renting some commercial space somewhere.

But you are in a better position than us to gauge the level of busybodyness of your HOA.

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