edc1997 Posted 10 Apr 2006 , 4:47pm
post #1 of

Does anyone know the rules about this in Texas? I'm in the Dallas area. I've been doing cakes for people I know, but I'm hesitant to really start doing business until I know all the rules. I know other people in the area have cake businesses out of their homes, but I'm not sure if they've done anything formal or legal to be able to do it.

56 replies
gilson6 Posted 10 Apr 2006 , 5:16pm
post #2 of

You have to be licensed and certified by the state and also have a separate kitchen - not in your home. They don't make it easy in Texas. They are very strict and have severe penalties if you are caught.

mommymarilyn Posted 10 Apr 2006 , 6:08pm
post #3 of

I don't know for sure but these are some of the things that I've seen mentioned here before (I'm sure this is not all of the requirements):

Separate kitchen (not the one you use for family cooking)
Separate entrance (can not go thru the house to get to this kitchen)
Separate bathroom
Separate mop sink

I have also heard that the floors, ceiling tiles and walls have to be a certain type.

I have also heard that different counties have different requirements - so it is best to check with your County.

sweetcakes Posted 11 Apr 2006 , 4:57am
post #4 of

true, you will need to have a seperate kitchen, if this is possible for you, first thing you need to do is check with your city to see if you are zoned to have a home based business, also ask for the name of the citys health inspector, if you pass the zoning, then call the HI, they can tell you all that you will need., but it will be, a 3 compartment sink, hand sink, mop sink, washable surfaces, all of them, cabinetry and shelving 6" off the floor, sealed lights, fire extinguisher, its own entrance, thats about it.

im working on my kitchen, or at least DH is.

liking Posted 25 Apr 2006 , 12:05pm
post #5 of

I'm confused about the regulations about selling cakes from your home. I'm not about to quit my job and go into "business" for myself with my cakes, but I would like to sell a cake here and there, maybe once a month or so, without having to rent time in a kitchen. Are there people out there that just sell cakes to people they know without going through the process of becoming licensed, etc?

gilson6 Posted 25 Apr 2006 , 12:15pm
post #6 of

I sell them to people that I know. I presently have 7 cakes I'm going to be doing over the next few weekends. My son is a senior so I'm doing a lot of cakes for the members of his class. I donated a cake for an event a few months ago and since then, the orders have been coming in for graduation cakes. I'm flying under the radar. The fine is pretty hefty if you get caught.

AuntEm Posted 25 Apr 2006 , 3:18pm
post #7 of

I think are lot of people go under the radar. I have a seperate kitchen but there is no way I can get it up to the regulations. I'd have to remodel the whole thing.

mcbeal42 Posted 30 Apr 2006 , 3:29am
post #8 of

I probably average 2 cakes a month. I really enjoy decorating cakes and seeing how excited the customer is when they receive it but I'm not going to quit my job. I wish I could figure out how those people are under the radar because the people I have found websites for say on their website "location: my house". So they are advertising they sell cakes out of their home.

KakesandKids Posted 30 Apr 2006 , 10:56am
post #9 of

Lots of people do fly under the radar, but all it takes is one call to the health department and your toast. They aren't out there looking but if they get one complaint or call letting them know you are baking and selling from your house you will get a warning (if your extremely lucky) or you will get a HEFTY fine. It is risky since you never know when a disgruntled customer, mean acquaintance or even the local bakery may decide to turn you in. Be careful and be prepared to accept the consequences just in case you get caught.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 13 May 2006 , 6:15pm

I'm here in the same boat. I just relocated here from NJ where I had a successful bakery/ barkery gig. Now I am here in TX and I am being told I can not bake from my home. It is all that I know how to do icon_cry.gif I love what I do and my edge is that a majority of my creations are organic and vegan friendly. I can't afford to add on to my home or rent a commercial kitchen, but I can't afford to start doing something illegal either. So what gives? Has anyone come up with any solutions? How do the groups that have bake sales skirt around the issues? After all, they are sellling to the public items that have been created in their homes. Granted, I should have checked into this before hand to know what I was getting into.

icon_sad.gificon_cry.gificon_sad.gificon_cry.gif

KakesandKids Posted 13 May 2006 , 6:38pm

I think bake sales fall under a different category than a bakery.....bake sales are occassional and usually a part of another function (fundraising). I think in TX unless you have the means to build/buy/rent a kitchen you are stuck. Sorry this throws a wrench in your plans, but I definitely don't recommend doing it illegally from your home icon_sad.gif . Maybe you will get lucky and find a place to rent kitchen time from...check churches, smaller restaurants etc. It is definitely hard to get started.

Chef_Stef Posted 13 May 2006 , 6:39pm

Hi guys; I'm new on here, but I'm in the same boat, though not in TX. I've heard my state has the same rules mentioned above, and DH has offered to build me the kitchen separate etc. I'm just starting to sell to people who I don't know, but I'm curious what you mean when you say "hefty" fines. Are we talking, $100, $1000, $10,000? That would help to know whether it's worth building a $20K kitchen and going through a whole new-business start-up...

Plus, I tried making all the phone calls around here to the health dept and zoning, and I got the runaround. No one seemed to be able or willing to help--no one returned my messages, and the only lady I did get to talk to would only say "we don't license home kitchens."

For now--Flying under the radar but not happy about it...

KakesandKids Posted 13 May 2006 , 6:43pm

I think depending on county regulations and what kind of a person you deal with you can be fined more than $10,000....if u go to the texas health dept. website they can pretty much fine you and tack on a series of fees such as administrative fines, court fees, document fees etc. That is not to say they will, but they can. You might get a simple warning saying to stop, but who knows. I just would be afraid to do anything illegal.....plus you couldn't get liability insurance either and as "sue happy" as our society has gotten that would be dangerous as well.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 13 May 2006 , 7:22pm

If anyone has any info on where bake sales stand in the baking legalities of TX, I sure would appreciate any info on the subject.

chocomama Posted 13 May 2006 , 7:29pm

I'd love to know exactly what "hefty" means, too. The State makes it very difficult to become legal so most people are going to end up trying to get around the law. I sell to people I know and my Wilton instructor does the same thing. If the State would make it a little easier more people would be willing and able to do the right thing. If I ever get to the point where I am busy on a daily basis I would look into renting kitchen space at a church or somewhere else. Right now, it's just not worth it.

mamafrogcakes Posted 13 May 2006 , 7:31pm

The laws and rules govern "commercial" sales of cakes. A bake sale is something completely different. In a bake sale, the maker is donating the cake for the sale. They are not directly receiving a profit for that sale.
Unfortunately, the rules that everyone has talked about is the way it is in Texas. Also, don't rush off too quick to add on to your house b/c then city ordinances play into as well. You cannot have an entrance to your house through the kitchen and there are some other rules as well. Plus some cities say that you cannot have any type of commercial business in a residentially zoned area anyway.
Best thing to do? Keep doing it illegally, don't advertise and hope you don't get caught, or find a kitchen to rent

Chef_Stef Posted 13 May 2006 , 7:41pm

I've also thought of renting space somewhere to cook, but the whole point of doing this is so I could do it from home...be it even in a separate facility.

I'm not sure who to approach to rent kitchen space, or how to approach them? I know a lot of churches locally through friends, etc., but I'd feel a little strange asking them to rent me their kitchen, for some reason...

Has anyone tried this or done it--renting from someone? I don't want to ask a bakery, because then you're in the middle of telling them who you are and what you do, and they then can be the ones who turn you in for baking at home if they decide they don't like your "idea..."

KakesandKids Posted 13 May 2006 , 8:04pm

Here is a list of places that have been fined for a variety of things in TX....lots for not having permits:

http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/bfds/lic/Licensing.htm

There are varying amounts of fines, so it just depends.

It is difficult to get legal and get started and I suppose in the state's eyes it is a way to protect the consumer by monitoring kitchens and how things are cooked. I think lots of ppl do it illegally from home, and its just a judgement call on what you feel is ok to do.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 13 May 2006 , 9:30pm

Homecook, I am meeting with someone this evening in ref to renting space on an as needed basis. I will let you know what I find out.

What I dont get is that when I obtained my tax ID for TX is that nobody said boo or denied my app. Good thing I am finding this out before I started baking 1200 cupcakes!

Chef_Stef Posted 13 May 2006 , 9:42pm

Puppylove,

Yes, please, please...let me know what comes of your foray into renting.

I have no idea where to really start with that...and like I said, all the
"proper channel" departments have blown me off when I've tried to get info from them. Like, hey--I want to follow your rules, if someone will just tell me what they are...!

The whole thing is starting to wear on me. I just wanted to be able to make cakes that folks order, from here, as often as they order (which is not anything like full-time at this point). I didn't want to have to build myself a kitchen and, therefore, a full-time business--I already run our growing company from home...I just wanted a money making hobby and to do something I enjoy on the side.

Renting a space to cook might be my best option to get above-board, because I SURE don't want to get in trouble, and my next cake is for 250...strangers...

DH commented, when I mentioned churches to rent from, that it would be like, um, "money changers in the temple" or something along those lines...but wouldn't churches usually be willing to rent their kitchens out if they aren't otherwise being used..?

KakesandKids Posted 13 May 2006 , 9:53pm

The tax id is the # you need in order to buy tax exempt and then turn around and sell things to consumers. It has nothing to do with being allowed to sell cakes from your home. You are allowed to sell products from home just not those you have cooked there. I hope you can find a place to rent. Good Luck with that!

Chef_Stef Posted 13 May 2006 , 10:10pm

I'm curious if people have found places who will rent their kitchen on a "per-use" basis...

I am not really interested in signing a rental agreement that will force me to have to make "X" amount of cakes to pay the rent every month...

chocomama Posted 13 May 2006 , 10:44pm

"http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/bfds/lic/Licensing.htm"

Personally, after reading this I'm LESS scared than I was before! Some people had actual storefronts and had no licenses for YEARS and their fines were partially or almost totally deferred. Unreal.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 13 May 2006 , 10:55pm

Homecook, I'm not sure where you are, but there is a place in Austin that a friend of mine was looking into that is $15/hr no min.

Chef_Stef Posted 13 May 2006 , 11:05pm

Well, it is a long way to Austin from here, lol...

What type of establishment, if I can ask? Restaurant? Bakery? Church? I'm stuck on this--and I'm SO not good at just walking in and saying, "Hi, I make cakes, and I want to rent your kitchen." How'd she do it?

poppie Posted 13 May 2006 , 11:18pm

I was thinking of getting a trailer and turn it into a kitchen to license. I'm in louisiana does anyone know who to talk to there.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 14 May 2006 , 12:09am
Quote:
Originally Posted by homecook

Well, it is a long way to Austin from here, lol...

What type of establishment, if I can ask? Restaurant? Bakery? Church? I'm stuck on this--and I'm SO not good at just walking in and saying, "Hi, I make cakes, and I want to rent your kitchen." How'd she do it?




It is a commercial kitchen. Not sure on any of the specifics as far as size and what not. I believe he was toying of the idea of catering and was checking into the large scale ideas at the time (this was back in March-ish).

IMHO, I would just walk in and say, "Hi, I'm ..... and I am looking for a site to use on occasion for my cake biz. What do you charge for rentals?"

I'm off the find out about the space around here. I didn't see what area you were from, but I'll see if they know of any others.

I'm really determined to get this worked out. I didnt bust my rear for all this time learning and developing a passion for this to have it all go down the drain.

Chef_Stef Posted 14 May 2006 , 8:57pm

Puppylove

Good for you! Let me know how it works out. I feel the same way.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 18 May 2006 , 12:47am

Well, I got legal! I found an ethnic hall here that is licenced and that will allow me to bake there. They are charging us $100/3 hours. I just have to hear back from the city and see if my permits are approved.
I cant seem to find anythng online about prep work. Can this be done ahead of time or can I only purchase my ingredients ahead of time? So much to get done and so little time! LOL! Of course, this means I am going to have to increase the price of my goods. icon_confused.gif

sweetcakes Posted 18 May 2006 , 3:52am

puppylove,
looking at your prices, id say they need to go up quite a bit if you're using organic ingredients in your cakes and cookies, your prices are comparable to regular cake, i dont see how you can do it so low. i was looking at organic ingredients over the weekend and they must be 3x as much as regular.
hope all goes well in the kitchen, it seems abit high though.

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