Home-Based Businesses

A home-based business is when one of the permanent residents in a home conducts a gainful occupation or business activity in the dwelling. Cochrane's Land Use Bylaw allows home-based businesses (including day homes and bed & breakfast) provided they meet all the requirements.

General rules for home-based businesses

  • Only those who live in the home may work in the business
  • Only one business vehicle is allowed; it must be parked on-site (not on the street)
  • Signs or advertising are not allowed on the home
  • A sign is allowed on a business-related vehicle
  • No outside storage of goods and materials related to the business
  • No nuisances (noise, vibration, smoke, dust, fumes, odours, heat, glare, or electrical or radio interference) may be detectable beyond the property limits
  • Must have a current Business Licence

Types of home-bases business

There are two types of home-based businesses: minor (permitted use) and major (discretionary use).

Home-based Business: Minor 

In addition to the general rules listed above:

  • No aspect of the business may be detected from outside the property
  • The business can occupy a maximum of 30% of floor area of the residence
  • No client contact allowed at the residence
  • No exterior alterations or additions related to the business

Home-based Business: Major

In addition to the general rules listed above:

  • A maximum of six client visits per day are allowed
  • Employees working at the home-based business location must live in the residence
  • Hours of operation are limited to 7am to 8pm
  • At least one on-site client parking stall must be provided in addition to the two stalls required for the dwelling/home
  • Vehicles for the home-based business must be parked on the property
  • Business related deliveries are limited to two (2) per day
  • The business is conducted wholly within the residence
  • The maximum floor area that the business can occupy is 30% of the residence and one accessory building
  • Alterations or additions related to the business may be allowed

Thinking about starting a home-based business?  

Step 1:discuss your proposal with Planning staff as soon as possible. We can provide early guidance, describe the process and ensure you are headed in the right direction.

Step 2: Complete and submit a home-based business development permit application. Pay the application fee

Tip: use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need to apply.

What happens next?

Once we receive your application, Town staff give it a thorough review and determine if there is sufficient information to make a decision. If we need more information, we'll get in touch to let you know what's missing.

In some cases, your application is circulated to various Town departments and outside agencies for comment and we conduct a site visit. We'll let you know if there are any comments so you can address them. 

The Development Authority (Development Officer or the Cochrane Planning Commission-CPC) will render a decision on the application as soon as possible (within 40 days; longer if you have granted an extension). CPC meets on the third Wednesday of each month.

After reviewing the development proposal, comments and recommendations, the Development Officer or CPC may approve the application, place conditions on the approval or cite reasons for refusal.


Decisions may be appealed to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. To appeal,complete and submit a Notice of Appeal form within 21 days of the Notice of Decision.