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Home Occupation Certificate (Office within a Residence)

Home Occupation: A business activity conducted entirely within a dwelling unit by residents of that unit which is clearly incidental and secondary to the principal use as a dwelling unit. Employees of the business, other than the residents, are not allowed to work at the home where the business is conducted. Home occupation is less intense than home employment and does not have customers coming to the home. Such use shall not change the character of the dwelling unit nor have any exterior evidence. Such uses shall meet the standards of section 32-300.07. 

Submission requirements (to be filed in person at the development services building)

  • Completed HOC1 (Home Occupation Certificate) Application Form.
  • Processing fee in cash, check or credit card (Visa, Mastercard and Discover) in accordance with the current Zoning Fee Schedule.
  • Personal picture identification, showing proof of current residence (such as a valid drivers license or DMV identification card) must be presented at time of application. Other forms of proof include deeds, leases, and utility bills. Examples of things that are not accepted include cell phone bills, letters, and expired driver’s licenses.
  • Proof of Trade Name Registration (i.e. Assumed Name Certificate - may not be required if using the applicant/owner's name for trade name).
    • Trade names are applied for in person at the Prince William County Judicial Center, at 9311 Lee Avenue Room 305, Manassas. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Visit the PWC Clerk of the Circuit Court's Web page or call 703-792-6045 for more information.
    • If the business will not operate under a trade name, the applicant must apply for HOC1 - Office under the applicant's name.
    • Application is for a home office use only, and is subject to the provisions of Sec. 32-300.07 (2) of the Prince William County Zoning Ordinance (conditions/restrictions are also listed on the HOC application form).

Business License Procedures:
  • Business License (issued by Prince William County Department of Finance) is required for businesses grossing over $200,000 per year or contractors' business (regardless of income).
  • For Contractors License:
    • Contractors operating from offices not located in Prince William County may apply for a contractor's license from the Finance Department in order to conduct business and obtain permits in Prince William County.
    • Out-of-State contractors should contact Department of Development Services, Building Development Division regarding minimum licensing requirements at 703-792-6930.

Additional Resources for starting a Small Business:

Questions or comments? Contact Zoning at zoning@pwcgov.org or 703-792-6830.

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