CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 28, 2020) – When Jo Messerle moved to Camp Zama two years ago as a military spouse, she decided to turn her penchant for detailed cleaning into cash by starting her own business.
First, however, she had to receive approval from U.S. Army Garrison Japan for a home-based business, a process she found relatively quick and easy.
“The process to get your own business was not bad,” said Messerle, owner of DustBusters. “I’ve been doing this for two years and I love what I do. It’s kind of nice that I get to give people a sense of relief when it comes to cleaning.”
Rika Osada, business and nonprofit liaison for the Non Appropriated Fund Support Management Division of Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said the garrison has a new, streamlined process for approving home-based businesses that makes it even easier than when Messerle first applied two years ago.
The directorate released the new policy earlier this year, and it eliminates some businesses from the approval process and does away with the previous requirement that home-based businesses don’t provide competing services with FMWR and AAFES, Osada said.
FMWR defines home-based businesses as those businesses that have a primary office and operation inside a home on a military installation, Osada said. They are non-federal entities that authorized residents can own, operate or offer sales or services from their on-post residence.
When in doubt, people should always ask, but a few examples of businesses that need approval are cleaning businesses, businesses that sell food and consulting businesses, Osada said.
On the other hand, tax preparers, personal trainers (as long as they don’t train others at home), photographers and tutors do not need approval, Osada said.
Also, individuals who work remotely from home do not need approval, Osada said.
To start the process, Osada recommends that people send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will send them an introductory email with all the required forms to fill out.
The forms include a statement of understanding, an application for a permit and a checklist, Osada said.
Business owners who plan to sell food also need approval from Preventive Medicine, U.S. Army Medical Activity – Japan, and must complete a food handler’s course, Osada said.
Sgt. Ianbernard Astudillo, noncommissioned officer for Preventive Medicine, MEDDAC-J, said the classes cover personal hygiene, food sanitation, general sanitation and pest control, and they are important because they protect the community from food-borne illnesses.
The food-handlers course for home-based business owners is four hours long and the organization offers it every other month, Astudillo said. The next one will be Nov. 17, and the permits are good for one year.
To sign up, contact Astudillo at email@example.com or call Preventive Medicine at (DSN) 315-253-5050.
In addition, all home-based business applicants also have to show approval from the U.S. Army Garrison Japan Housing Division, a list of products, services and prices, business information such as advertisements, a copy of state certifications, licenses, insurance or permits (if applicable), and an insurance license number and business registration number (if applicable), Osada said.
Once everything is filled out, applicants can bring copies of the forms to Osada’s office in Bldg. 102, Room B-211, or scan them and send them via email, Osada said.
With the new policy, Osada said she has seen the garrison approve applications in a week, but others can take as long as two weeks.
Home-based business permits are valid for three years, Osada said.
To make the process easier, a list of FMWR “dos and don’ts” accompanies this article.
Messerle said she encourages others to start home-based businesses, not only because the process is not difficult, but also because it provides people with an opportunity to earn money from their talents.
The money isn’t bad either, Messerle said.
“It gives you the freedom to have an extra income, so if you need to help your family you can, or if you don’t actually need the income, it gives you a little extra to go do whatever you want,” Messerle said.
Interested applicants can access the home-based business website for information, forms, command policy, regulations and the “dos and don’ts” at https://zama.armymwr.com/programs/commercial-solicitation-and-home-based-business.