Landlord and zoning questions - Posted by Bill A.

Posted by Frank Chin on May 28, 2004 at 07:37:17:


There are several problems with this approach:

1- If you secure a residential lease, a sharp landlord will place restrictions on running a business out of an apartment.

2- As you recognize, its also prohibited by zoning.

How you’ll be found out is some neigbor will turn you in. And often, its not based on noise, its because visitors come by and park their cars in front of other residents homes. Sooner or later, keeping an eye on you, they’ll find out what’s going on.

You could try these approaches:

a- Why don’t you be a personal trainer and go to people’s homes??

b- Find related businesses and sublet some space where you can complement the other business. Subletting is often more informal, and you’re not laying out 6 months for security deposit, and commit for a long period.

I own a biz and was chatting with a customer running a “sign” shop up the street. He’s actually subletting his space from the print shop guy operating in the back.

Then, I had an attorney who subleased a room in the front of his storefront office to someone operating a “real estate” brokerage. They have one girl answering the phone for both businesses.

In your case, you might be able to do something for the other biz, and get the rent reduced.

c- Find some space that’s off the beaten path with a motivated landlord. As you plan to do marketing anyway, then you don’t need a prime retail area. All your customers need is a place to park and work out.

Frank Chin

Landlord and zoning questions - Posted by Bill A.

Posted by Bill A. on May 27, 2004 at 20:41:29:


I’m moving to one of the wealthier suburbs of Philadelphia (from NYC) in about 6 months to start a personal training business.

The area I’d be living in is mixed with commercial, retail and residential units. One of the strategies I came up with for the first six months to build a client base (while reducing risk exposure)goes like this:

  1. Get a large apartment along the main road in a good location.

  2. Furnish it with all exercise equipment necessary to train clients.

  3. Start the Advertising, Marketing and Publicity campaigns.

  4. Grow the client base in the first 2-6 months enough to move to a commercial location.

I would, of course, be living and working out of the same space. This could be ideal for me as a starting point, but I’m afraid I’ll run into trouble with the landlord or the township for zoning or other issues.


  1. Only one person going in and out of the apartment every hour,

  2. There is NO more noise than normal that would disrupt other tenants(due to no music, no yelling, no metal weights clanging),

  3. I secured liability insurance for not only my business but for the building I live in as additional insured to cover any liability issues

what, if any, forseeable problems would I need to deal with?

Again, this is only a temporary situation that would last only as long as needed to secure, renovate and move into a permanent commercial location.

The reasons I don’t want to go into a commercial space right away are the initial costs of leasehold improvements, signage and the long commitment of a lease–all without a client base.

Could anyone give me advice on pursuing this option?

Bill A.

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