By Mindy Campbell, USAG Bamberg Public AffairsJune 2, 2011
Multiple moves, log deployments, limited job opportunities and crazy schedules. For some military spouses hurtling these obstacles can be tough when searching for a job overseas.
A viable alternative for some spouses is a home-based business.
Statistics show that self-employment is the third highest occupation for spouses. According to a Defense Manpower Data Center 2006 Active-Duty Spouse Survey, of the number of currently employed spouses, 58 percent work in the private sector, while 17 percent work for the federal government and 10 percent are self-employed.
Child development and entrepreneurial ventures were the next most common work cited in the report. About five 5 percent of employed spouses worked in child development, often in their own homes.
Another 5 percent of spouses pursued some entrepreneurial venture, generally from their homes.
According to the 2010 U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg Newcomer’s Employment Orientation Guide, past home-based business have included: pet grooming, product sales such as Pampered Chef, virtual customer service agents/assistants, writing, catering, insurance, real estate consulting, sewing and bookkeeping.
For Warner Barrack’s resident Christina Gonzalez, opening a home-based business in her on-post home was the right choice for both her and her family.
Last summer, Gonzalez opened a garrison-approved dog day-care and dog-sitting business in her own home on post. Prior to starting the business, Gonzalez was a stay-at-home mom.
“I wanted to keep staying at home because I still have a son who is not school-aged yet,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted a job that worked with both my husband’s and children’s schedule and still do something that I wanted to do.”
Having a home-based business allows Gonzalez to have flexible hours that can accommodate her schedule.
In order to start and operate a home-based business in a residence on post, potential entrepreneurs have to follow strict guidelines. All home-based businesses in government quarters must be approved by the garrison commander, the garrison employment guide states.
Once the application is completed, the package is then forwarded to the legal office for review. After the review is completed, the commander may approve your business at his or her discretion. This process takes several weeks for final approval.
In addition, there are postal restrictions that also must be followed when operating a home-based business on the garrison, said Douglas Stewart, postmaster. It is illegal to run a business or commercial venture using the military postal facilities.
For example, if you sell Pampered Chef products, you can’t have the products sent to you personally to be distributed to the individual buyers. However, you could have the manufacturer mail products directly to the individual buyers.
“The reason for this is that the Department of Defense pays for the mail movement,” Stewart said.
Those selling personal items on websites such as Ebay.com are permitted to use the postal system. However, residents can’t purchase items for the sole intent of selling them on the website, Stewart said.
While it takes time to complete the application, having a home-based business has been wonderful for Gonzalez.
“It’s a long process but I would recommend it if you have something you want to do,” said Gonzalez, who is helping a friend navigate the process to start her own business.
For more information about home-based businesses, contact Christa Roney, budget analyst, at 0951-300-8708 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.