Information Sheet 009

Home based businesses are small-scale, unobtrusive businesses operated from residential premises that do not have an adverse impact on the amenity of the surrounding area. Under the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme 2012, the planning scheme, a Home Based Business is defined as: 'the use of a Dwelling or Domestic outbuilding on premises for a business activity that is subordinate to the residential use of the premises.'

A range of small scale activities may operate as home based businesses. Examples may include a bed and breakfast, farm stay and dog day care. Other uses may include small scale hairdressers, online retail businesses and cottage arts and crafts, provided items for sale are not visible from outside the premises.

To qualify as a home based business, the use must comply with the definition of a Home Based Business.

A business activity will typically not qualify as a Home Bases Business where the attributes or operational characteristics of the use detract, or have the potential to detract, from the amenity of the surrounding residential area as a result of:

  • the business exceeding a scale where it is no longer subservient and ancillary to the primary residential use of the premises;
  • the number of employees engaged in the business exceeding that appropriate for a home based business;
  • excessive customer generation and increase in traffic movements to and from the site (including customer, employee and commercial vehicle movements);
  • the display of goods or materials being visible from outside the dwelling or outbuilding; and
  • potential impacts from business activities, such as noise.

Certain uses such as those that could be described as an office e.g. solicitors, accountants, architects, engineers, or health care services e.g. naturopaths, physiotherapists, massage therapists, psychologists, may operate as a home based business, provided they comply with the acceptable outcomes of the Home Based Business Use Code.


Do I need to lodge a planning application to establish a home based business?

Home based business is Accepted Development subject to requirements, i.e. a development approval will not be required if it meets the Acceptable Outcomes of the Home Based Business Use Code where:

  • it is conducted by a resident or residents of the dwelling;
  • no more than one (1) non-resident employee is on site at any one time;
  • equipment goods and materials associated with the use are stored inside the dwelling or outbuilding(s);
  • the use does not display goods or materials visible from outside the dwelling or outbuilding(s);
  • less than 10 vehicle trips are generated by the use per day;
  • no vehicle service or repair is undertaken as part of the business;
  • the home based business maintains a domestic scale and character; and
  • the home based business, other than office activities, is conducted only during times when surrounding residents are not likely to be disturbed, typically 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Saturday and 8:00 am to 7:00 pm on Sunday and public holidays.

The above list is not exhaustive, but summarises a number of the acceptable outcomes for all Home Based Businesses. Specific types of Home Based Businesses such as farm stays and dog day care have additional requirements. The detailed requirements applicable to home based businesses can be found in Part 9.3.4 Home Based Business Use Code of the planning scheme.

In situations where a development approval is required, the category of development and assessment level may be either Code or Impact Assessment depending on the type and scale of business and the zone in which it is located. In most residential zones, home based businesses which do not comply with the acceptable outcomes of the home based business use code require a code assessable development application.

Applicants are encouraged to confirm the category of development and assessment level of any home based business proposed by reviewing the home based business use code under the planning scheme which is available online or by contacting Council’s Technical Advice Officers on 131 872.

Please note, rental of part or all of a dwelling house for the purposes of short-term accommodation where the owner is not living within the dwelling house is not considered to be a home based business.


How do I make a development application to Council for a Home Based Business?

For information regarding making a development application, please contact Council’s Technical Advice Officers on 131 872.

What happens after I lodge my application?

After your application is lodged, Council will assess it in accordance with procedures outlined under the Planning Act 2016 and subordinate legislation. The stages and duration of the assessment process vary depending on whether the application is subject to Code or Impact Assessment. 

Do I need further approvals?

A range of additional development approvals may be required before a proposed use can lawfully commence. Development permits for building work, operational work (e.g. excavation or filling, vegetation removal, placing an advertising device on premises) or plumbing and drainage work may be required.

Some home based businesses may also require other approvals or licences e.g. hairdressers or beauticians. It is recommended that business operators contact Council to determine if other approvals and/or licences are required.


Further information

For further specific information on home based business requirements, please contact the Technical Advice Officers on 131 872 or visit your nearest Customer Service Centre.



The information contained in this article is a guide only. This information has been prepared by Toowoomba Regional Council to help people gain an understanding of the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme. Please consult the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme for detailed information including maps (zones, local plans, overlays and priority infrastructure plan), provisions and policies. The content of this information sheet is not intended to replace the provisions of the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme.