The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Home-Based Business

Starting a home-based business can be a dream for many people in Wisconsin. It offers flexibility, the ability to work in a comfortable environment, and the opportunity to be your own boss. However, starting a Limited Liability Company in Wisconsin from scratch can be challenging, especially if you need a clear plan and the right resources. In this article, Webinarcare Editorial Team will guide you through Starting a Home-Based Business in Wisconsin, covering everything from legal requirements to marketing strategies. It would be best if all the factors in this article guided you.

What is a Home-Based Business?

A home-based business in Wisconsin is a small business venture that operates primarily from the owner’s residence rather than a commercial office or retail space. These businesses typically have minimal employees, low overhead costs, and a flexible work schedule. The types of home-based businesses in Wisconsin can vary widely, including freelance services, online stores, consulting, tutoring, and crafting businesses, among others. Home-based businesses can be considered sole proprietorships.

To operate a home-based business in Wisconsin, entrepreneurs must comply with Wisconsin regulations, such as obtaining necessary permits, licenses, and zoning approvals. Home-based business owners must maintain a professional image, create an efficient workspace within their homes, and implement effective marketing strategies to facilitate growth and success. If you want to start an LLC for your home-based business, consider the Best LLC Services in Wisconsin.

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How to Start a Home-Based Business in Wisconsin

Starting a home-based business in Wisconsin involves several steps, from identifying your niche to complying with legal requirements. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you start your home-based business in Wisconsin.

Step 1: Assess Skills and Interests

The first step in starting a home-based business is determining your skills and interests. Take some time to brainstorm and list your strengths, passions, and hobbies. This will help you identify the type of Wisconsin business that suits you best. Choosing a business you are passionate about is essential, as this will make it easier for you to stay motivated and committed to your new venture.

Step 2: Conduct Market Research and Business Plan

Once you have identified your niche, conducting market research is crucial to determine the demand for your product or service. This will help you understand the competition and identify potential customers.

A solid business plan is the foundation of any successful Wisconsin business. It helps you set goals, identify potential obstacles, and create strategies to overcome them. Your business plan must include the following sections:

  • Executive Summary: Briefly describe your business, its mission, and the products or services you plan to offer.
  • Market Analysis: Provide a detailed analysis of your target market and competition.
  • Company Description: Describe the structure of your business, including its legal form and ownership.
  • Products or Services: Detail the products or services you plan to offer and how they will meet your customers’ needs.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategies: Explain how you plan to reach your target audience and generate sales.
  • Financial Projections: Provide a financial forecast for your business, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Step 3: Choose a Business Structure

Before you can legally start your home-based business, you will need to choose a business structure. The most common options are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. This is the list of business structures for you to choose from.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business structure in which an individual owns and operates a business as a single entity. The owner has complete control over the business and is personally responsible for all debts and obligations. Small businesses and self-employed individuals, such as freelancers or consultants, often use them.


A partnership is a business structure where two or more individuals come together to share a business or venture’s ownership, responsibilities, risks, and profits. Partnerships can be formed through various legal agreements, such as general partnerships, limited partnerships, or limited liability partnerships, each with different levels of liability and management roles for the partners involved.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business structure that combines the flexibility and tax advantages of a partnership with the limited liability protection of a corporation. 


A corporation is a business structure legally separate from its owners (shareholders) and has a distinct identity. Corporations in Wisconsin are created through an incorporation process, which involves registering the business, filing for the Articles of Incorporation with the Wisconsin Secretary of State, and adhering to specific regulations. Corporations are managed by Three board of directors, who are elected by the shareholders and oversee the company’s overall direction.

Each structure has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consult a Business Attorney in Wisconsin or an accountant to determine the best option for your business.

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Step 5: Name Your Home-Based Business

Selecting a name for your Wisconsin home-based business is essential to forming. There is a complete guide on Wisconsin Business Name Search for you to have a proper home-based business name. 

In Wisconsin, if you do not wish to file your LLC right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application with the Wisconsin Secretary of State to keep the name. 

You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available.  Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for Wisconsin DBA (doing business as). In this manner, you can choose any name you desire for your business. A DBA allows a company to operate under the name of the person or entity who owns it. If you have decided to file for a DBA, you can file it in two methods, by mail and in person.

However, before filing a DBA, you must know that you need to renew your DBA every ten years, which costs $15.

You can check the availability of your desired business name by searching the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions‘s website.

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Step 6: Register Your Home-Based Business

Once you have completed the initial steps, it’s time to register your Wisconsin home-based business with the Wisconsin Secretary of State. Here are the steps involved:

File the Articles of Organization

You must file the Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Secretary of State to officially form your home-based business. This document includes essential information about your LLC, such as:

  • The name of your LLC
  • The address of your LLC’s principal office
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • The purpose of your LLC (optional in some states)

You can typically file the Articles of Organization online, by mail, or in person. A filing fee is associated with this process, which costs $130.

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Appoint a Registered Agent

Registered Agent is a person or entity responsible for receiving legal documents and official notices for your home-based business. In Wisconsin, your Registered Agent must:

  • Be a resident of Wisconsin or a business entity authorized to do business.
  • Have a physical address in Wisconsin (P.O. boxes are not acceptable)

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. 

You can serve as your Registered Agent, appoint a friend or family member, or hire a Professional Wisconsin Registered Agent Services.

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Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Wisconsin can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

In obtaining an EIN in Wisconsin, you must be aware to ensure that your business is eligible for an EIN. You need an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet other specific IRS criteria. 

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Register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

If your Wisconsin home-based business will collect sales tax, have employees, or be subject to certain state taxes, you may need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Check the department’s website or consult a tax professional for specific registration requirements.

Step 7: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Depending on your business type and location, you may need to obtain various permits and licenses to operate legally. In Wisconsin, you can check the Wisconsin Business License Directory to determine the necessary permits and licenses for your business. Some common requirements include the following:

  • Business License: Most cities and counties in Wisconsin require businesses to obtain a business license. The filing fee ranges from $50 – $300.
  • Sales Tax Permit: If you plan to sell products or services in Wisconsin, you will need to register for Wisconsin Sales Tax Permit through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
  • Professional Licenses: Some professions, such as real estate agents or massage therapists, require specific licenses to operate in Wisconsin.
  • Home Occupation Permit: If you plan to operate your business from home, you may need a home occupation permit from your local zoning office.

Step 8: Set Up your Finances

Setting up your finances is another critical step in starting a home-based business in Wisconsin. This includes opening a separate business bank account, tracking your expenses, and setting up a system for invoicing and collecting payments. Some tips for managing your finances include:

  • Choose reliable accounting software to help you track income, expenses, and taxes.
  • Create a budget and regularly review your financial performance to ensure you stay on track.
  • Consult with a financial advisor to help you make informed financial decisions and comply with tax laws.

Step 9: Develop a Marketing Strategy

Marketing is crucial for attracting customers and growing your Wisconsin home-based business. Develop a marketing strategy to reach your target audience, including online and offline tactics. Some marketing tactics to consider include:

  • Content Marketing: Create and share valuable content, such as blog posts or videos, to attract and engage your target audience.
  • Social Media Marketing: Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your products or services and interact with potential customers.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and send regular newsletters or promotional materials to keep your audience informed and engaged.
  • Networking: Attend local events and join industry-specific organizations to build relationships with potential customers and partners.
  • Paid Advertising: Invest in online advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to reach a larger audience and generate leads.

Step 10: Set Up your Workspace

A dedicated workspace is crucial for maintaining productivity and separating your personal and professional life. Set up a comfortable and organized workspace in your home that includes all the necessary equipment and supplies. 

Benefits of a Home-Based Business in Wisconsin

Starting a home-based business in Wisconsin offers numerous benefits for entrepreneurs, ranging from financial advantages to an improved work-life balance. Here are some of the key benefits of starting a home-based business in Wisconsin:

  • Lower overhead costs: Operating a business from home significantly reduces expenses such as rent, utilities, and maintenance associated with a traditional office or retail space. This can lead to higher profit margins and lower financial risk.
  • Flexibility: Wisconsin home-based businesses typically offer greater flexibility regarding work hours and schedules. This allows entrepreneurs to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively, accommodating family commitments or pursuing other interests.
  • Tax benefits: In Wisconsin, home-based business owners may be eligible for various tax deductions related to their home offices, such as a portion of mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance expenses. 
  • Reduced commute time: Working from home eliminates the need for daily commuting, saving time and money on transportation costs. This also contributes to a more eco-friendly lifestyle by reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Customizable work environment: With a home-based business, you can create a workspace tailored to your preferences and needs, increasing productivity, comfort, and job satisfaction.
  • Easier scaling: Starting small and growing your Wisconsin business at your own pace is more manageable with a home-based business. This allows you to adapt to market changes and expand your business as needed without the pressure of a large overhead.
  • Greater control and independence: Running a home-based business in Wisconsin allows you to make your own decisions, set your goals, and determine the direction of your business without interference from a boss or corporate structure.
  • Opportunity for innovation: Wisconsin home-based businesses often focus on niche markets or provide specialized products or services, allowing entrepreneurs to explore innovative ideas and solutions that may not be possible within a larger company.
  • Local economic benefits: By starting a home-based business in Wisconsin, you contribute to the local economy by providing jobs, paying taxes, and supporting other local businesses through your supply chain or partnerships.
  • Personal growth and development: Running a home-based business in Wisconsin offers personal growth and skill development as you learn to manage various aspects of your business, from marketing to finances.


What are the legal requirements for starting a home-based business in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, you may need to get a Special Home Occupation Permit (SHOP) if you plan on having customers in your home.
How do I know if my business idea is feasible in Wisconsin?
Look up market research data for Wisconsin, and assess local competition and the availability of suppliers and customers.
What resources are available to help me get started with my business in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin Small Business Development Centers can help with resources and advice.
Is it necessary to get a business license in Wisconsin if I plan on starting a home-based business?
It depends on the industry – some require specific licenses or certifications while others do not.
Do I need to register my business name in Wisconsin?
Yes, you’ll need to register your business with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Do I need to collect sales tax for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, if you’re selling tangible items.
How do I form a business entity in Wisconsin?
Contact the Wisconsin Division of Corporations, or consult with an attorney or accountant who specializes in business formation.
Can I get a business loan to start a home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, there are many options for financing your business, such as the Small Business Administration loans.
Is there a minimum age requirement for starting a business in Wisconsin?
No, people of all ages can start a business in Wisconsin.
What types of insurance do I need for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Depending on the business type, you may need liability insurance, property insurance, or professional liability insurance.
Is my home office deductible for Wisconsin state income tax purposes?
No, but you may qualify for a deduction if you have a separate structure that you use exclusively for business purposes.
Do I need to have a separate entrance for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
No, you don’t necessarily need to have a separate entrance, but it can help show customers that you’re a legitimate business.
What types of home-based businesses are popular in Wisconsin?
Popular home-based businesses in Wisconsin include virtual assistants, online content creators, and food businesses.
Can I use my personal bank account for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
It’s generally recommended that you open a separate account for your business to ensure easier bookkeeping and accurate tax filings.
How do I know if my home-based business needs zoning approval in Wisconsin?
Check with your local county, city, or town to learn about local zoning restrictions.
Is there a fee for getting a Special Home Occupation Permit in Wisconsin?
It varies, but most counties in Wisconsin charge a nominal fee for this permit.
Can I still qualify for certain business tax credits if I operate out of my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, consult with a tax professional to find out which business tax credits you may be eligible for in Wisconsin.
Can I hire employees for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, but keep in mind that there are wage, hour, and tax laws that apply when you hire employees.
How does Wisconsin classify independent contractors for tax purposes?
Wisconsin classifies independent contractors based on how much control an employer has over them.
Can I sell homemade food in Wisconsin for my home-based business?
Yes, Wisconsin Cottage Food Laws allow home cooks to sell their food items provided that they follow guidelines for packaging and labeling.
Can I still claim business expenses on my tax return if my business is based out of my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can claim business expenses that are necessary and ordinary for the running of your home-based business.
Can I grow and sell plants from my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can grow and sell plants as long as you comply with state guidelines for labeling, packaging, and selling.
When do I have to renew my Special Home Occupation Permit in Wisconsin?
It depends on the county, but most counties require an annual renewal.
Can I deduct the cost of my computer for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, if the computer is necessary for your specific in-home business.
If I have employees for my home-based business in Wisconsin, do I need to carry workers’ compensation insurance?
Yes, Wisconsin law requires that all businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance if they hire employees.
Can I conduct garage sales for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
No, conducting garage sales is not considered a legal home-based business activity.
Should I have a separate business phone line for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Having a separate phone line, even just a separate number, can help distinguish your business presence from your personal life.
What should I do if I receive a cease and desist order for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Contact a business attorney, who will advise you on the appropriate measures to take.
Is it difficult to register a business in Wisconsin as a home-based business?
No, it is fairly easy to register a home-based business and receive all required licenses and permits.
Are there any specific regulations that apply to home-based businesses in Wisconsin?
Yes. Zoning regulations define the allowable uses in the home-based business and the number of visitors allowed daily to work at home.
What is the process of getting zoning approval for a home-based business in Wisconsin?
You will have to contact your local zoning authority and fill out the necessary forms.
Is there financial assistance available for home-based businesses in Wisconsin?
There are several state programs available for low-income entrepreneurs in Wisconsin.
Does Wisconsin have specific rules for the use of residential property for business purposes?
Yes, Wisconsin has some specific rules regarding this issue.
Can I conduct a shipping business from my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, commercial shipping operations can be conducted from a residential property in accordance with local zoning regulations.
Do you need to have a storefront to start a home-based business in Wisconsin?
No, you can have an online business or business that does not require physical presence.
What are the advantages of starting a home-based business in Wisconsin?
Flexibility working from home and also a decreased overhead cost for an office can be advantages.
Can I run a catering business from my home in Wisconsin?
It’s possible if the local jurisdiction governing the address permits it.
Can a person with a felony conviction start a home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, Wisconsin law does not restrict people with a felony conviction in starting or owning a business.
Are there any grants that can help expand a home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, many government organizations and foundations offer grants to businesses to expand an existing business.
Do I need a special permit if my small business makes specialty foods from home?
In Wisconsin, special permits are needed to make, label, and sell specific specialty foods from home.
Do I have to pay taxes for my home-based business in Wisconsin?
Yes, the taxes and regulations may differ from county to county.
What kind of home-based businesses are popular in Wisconsin?
Popular home-based businesses include selling goods or handicrafts, photography, consulting services, Marketing, etc.
How can I legally register as a home contractor in Wisconsin?
You can register or obtain licensure by contacting the Department of Regulation and Licensing.
Can I run a graphic-designing business out of my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, it’s possible as long as the zoning of your apartment supports it.
How can I register as an LLC in Wisconsin?
You must complete a form and submit it to the Wisconsin Secretary of State along with articles of organization, search certificate, name reservation, and operating agreement.
What steps can I take when launching my photography venture in Wisconsin?
You must be familiar with image copyright laws, market your photos once with professional presentation.
What are my options for financing a new home-based business in Wisconsin?
Funding options include bank loans-, grants – and line of credit –
Can I own a dog grooming business from my house in Wisconsin?
A dog grooming business can be run from home if the Entrepreneur follows local zoning regulations.
Do I need insurance when running a business out of my home in Wisconsin?
Insurance can be mandated as part of the governing regulation of the city youre based in..
How can I obtain business capital insurance in Wisconsin?
Contact an independent insurance broker to help you identify and compare the types of coverage your home-based business may need.
How often should I reconsider expenses for my Wisconsin home-based business?
One ought to be reconsidering expenses and profitability a few times a month
What are the legal requirements for home-based daycare in Wisconsin?
Home-based daycare businesses in Wisconsin must comply with state laws and regulations and have the required permits and approvals.
Can I sell home-made cleaning products in Wisconsin?
You will require to check and abide by the relevant state regulations, including market labeling and production.
How can I get a business up and running quickly in Wisconsin?
Starting with a good notebook outlining the costs, doing multitasks as per feasibility, may speed the business opening process
Can I operate a bakery out of my kitchen in Wisconsin for retail sale?
Wisconsin permits home-based bakeries to sell products if you follow regulations as per law
How can I ensure that my intellectual property is protected for my Wisconsin home-based business?
To enforce IPR, the Entrepreneur needs to originate, use strategies lawfully to protect their unique brands, and intellectual expertise.

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Starting a home-based business in Wisconsin can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience if you follow the necessary steps and dedicate yourself to your new venture. By assessing your skills and interests, conducting market research, and creating a solid business plan, you can set yourself up for success. Additionally, complying with legal requirements, managing your finances, and developing a marketing strategy will help you establish a professional and profitable business. You can achieve your dream of running a successful home-based business in Wisconsin with determination, hard work, and the right resources.

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