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Hi all!

I am from the bay area in California where I began my dog training business. I just moved to south Alabama where I am continuing my practice but need to get a business license. Unfortunately, the city is telling me I cannot operate out of my home where I board and train dogs/puppies. They require a very specific facility to operate out of. I'm not sure how I can correct household behaviors in a facility without household items like counter tops, sofas, and rugs. I also cannot board and watch my clients from another location. I do not have enough income coming in to support an additional rental fee. I have been so successful caring for others pets out of my home where I can train them in a similar environment to their own. Can someone please give any advice on this matter, maybe from Alabama (Houston County)? Does any one else train/board out of their home and are licensed? How should I go about this to be legal? There has to be some way around this. Thank you SO much in advance! All comments and or advice/suggestions are welcome.

I am just an individual. I don't have employees so I don't understand why I am required to operate out of a separate location other than my home. :(
 

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wow. that sounds like a lot of red tape to me, but I don't live in Alabama ;) Is there a service similar to yours somewhere around you? Maybe you could call them or invite them to lunch/coffee and ask them some of your questions. I did that for my dog walking/sitting business when I first opened and the 2 people I went to lunch with gave me some great advice and pointers. Plus I made 2 new friends! Good luck!
 

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The specifics are going to depend on your city and/or county planning and zoning regulations. Operating a business in a residential zoned area has limits. Generally business is defined as something that has clients or workers coming to the residence or some level of shipment or production of goods; work from home on a computer isn't usually considered a business.

Read your city land development code or codes and regs carefully and then make your case that you can operate in a residential area if it seems reasonable. Look at options for a zoning variance and what requirements are for one (such as, notify and receive permission or no complaints from neighbors within a certain distance, limit hours, limit capacity etc)

That said, it is completely possible to train dogs to live in a house without needing to train them in a house. Most of dog training IMO is training the owner anyways. Look into small storefront rentals or maybe agricultural properties that could rent for a low cost and allow business operations and then do just training rather than board and train.
 
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