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Poll: Register Your Business on Base or Get the Boot

You're living the dream and have a business based out of your on-base housing. Maybe you do direct sales. Maybe you're a photographer. Maybe you are a self-employed freelancer. And you're in the clear, because you registered your business with your housing office and got the base-level OK for your hustle.

Wait, what?

Many military spouses who run businesses out of their on-base homes have absolutely no idea that they are supposed to register their business with the powers that be.

... Or that if you do, they might order you to shut down.

Here's the deal: while every base and housing company has its own rules and regulations about what can and can't be done as a business in housing, most of them require that you get the housing company's blessing. For example, at Fort Campbell only breeding and selling animals is specifically prohibited, but at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii they prohibit any type of salon or sale of food made in your home (a bummer if you like to make and sell cakes, for example). The only rule that seems to be universally followed across bases is for in-home childcare: if you are going to provide it, you must be registered with the base.

Here are the rules about operating small businesses out of on-base stateside housing. (We know things get a lot more complicated if you're overseas, and we're working on a how-to guide for that.)

But the bigger problem is this: your business could be banned from operating on base if it is competition with anything the Exchange or MWR does or could offer. Exchange officials are able to give the final "yes" or "no" to home-based businesses. And while there is a way for the base commander to override that decision, it's not likely.

Registering childcare makes a lot of sense from a health and safety perspective. So does banning purposeful animal breeding. But forcing spouses to register their Pampered Chef business? Or small photography business? ... only to risk being not allowed to run it? How much harm is your home photo studio really going to do to AFFES' bottom line?

Tell us what you think: should in-home businesses in base housing be forced to register with base officials? Take our poll.

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