formerbuckeye Posted 17 Jul 2007 , 6:16pm
post #1 of

Okay. I have been reading the different posts about getting a home-based kitchen licensed in VA. For those of you who have gone through it, I have a few questions.

1). Is the licensing and inspection done by the state or by the county you live in? Do you have to do one or the other, or both??

2). How difficult was the process? When did you get licensed?

3). Are any of you in Richmond, or more specifically, Chesterfield County?

Thanks,
Sandra

86 replies
2winboyz Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 1:42am
post #2 of

I, too, am curious, but I am in Fairfax. I called the county and someone said as long as I am baking cakes, cookies, pies, etc, I don't need to have my kitchen inspected unless I plan on doing catering. All the threads I've searched for home bakeries in VA have not indicated this. So I am a bit confused. Does anyone live in Fairfax county know what needs to be done?

berryblondeboys Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 1:57am
post #3 of

I'm in Fairfax county too. I have started the process. There are state requirements, but counties can have things too. For instance, the "state" says you need a double basin sink in the home, separate supplies for cake and for home cooking, and a separate shelf for cake stuff in the refrigerator - not sharing the butter with home, etc. ALSO, you cannot make/sell items that need to be refrigerated from home (so technically no IMBC).

Now, I asked about the double basin sink since I have a big deep single basin sink with granite countertops (we bought the house this way). I was told that in VA you can use two containers (like rubbermaid) in the sink to act as a double basin sink. However, a gal here (hope she pops in) was told that no, she indeed needs a double basin sink to be legally licensed despite being told otherwise herself at an earlier date by the state... I can't recall what county she's in.... I think she lives in Ashburn?

For now, I'm not legal. I make like a cake a month, so it's not worth it for me, but if I ever get my name out there, I'll do it because it is VERY doable and easy in VA to get legal.

Melissa

berryblondeboys Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 2:00am
post #4 of

I'm in Fairfax county too. I have started the process. There are state requirements, but counties can have things too. For instance, the "state" says you need a double basin sink in the home, separate supplies for cake and for home cooking, and a separate shelf for cake stuff in the refrigerator - not sharing the butter with home, etc. ALSO, you cannot make/sell items that need to be refrigerated from home (so technically no IMBC).

Now, I asked about the double basin sink since I have a big deep single basin sink with granite countertops (we bought the house this way). I was told that in VA you can use two containers (like rubbermaid) in the sink to act as a double basin sink. However, a gal here (hope she pops in) was told that no, she indeed needs a double basin sink to be legally licensed despite being told otherwise herself at an earlier date by the state... I can't recall what county she's in.... I think she lives in Ashburn?

For now, I'm not legal. I make like a cake a month, so it's not worth it for me, but if I ever get my name out there, I'll do it because it is VERY doable and easy in VA to get legal.

Melissa

squarepair Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 2:06am
post #5 of

That was me about the 2 basin sinks. It is super easy to get legal. The only hiccup I had was the sink and you can still do cakes and frosting with the one sink basin. The inspection is done by the county, he did say they are getting ready to switch to US laws instead of VA laws but wasn't sure how that would affect things. I did hear too that Fairfax was easier than Loudoun but that was kind of just a rumor from the guy at Home Depoticon_smile.gif HTH, Kristin

Jessica1817 Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 2:14am
post #6 of

I'm so glad I ran across this topic--I'm printing everything right now to complete my packet to become legal in VA (VA Beach area). I didn't realize you couldn't sell anything that needs to be refrigerated--so no cream cheese frosting on carrot cake? The ingredient labels took me forever! Any pointers before I finally send this thing off tomorrow? Thanks!!!

berryblondeboys Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 2:44am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarepair

That was me about the 2 basin sinks. It is super easy to get legal. The only hiccup I had was the sink and you can still do cakes and frosting with the one sink basin. The inspection is done by the county, he did say they are getting ready to switch to US laws instead of VA laws but wasn't sure how that would affect things. I did hear too that Fairfax was easier than Loudoun but that was kind of just a rumor from the guy at Home Depoticon_smile.gif HTH, Kristin




I'm confused, if you could do cakes and frosting, what CAN'T you do with the one basin sink?

Melissa

VACakelady Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 4:49am
post #8 of

I was never told that I couldn't sell anything that needed refrigeration. My inspector even checked the refrigerators and that I had a thermometer in there and a separate instant-read thermometer for checking things.

The only thing I found strange about Chesterfield Co was that they will not issue a business license for a home bakery, said that they do not require one. But I've been inspected and registered a business name. I guess in a way I assume I'm legal.

berryblondeboys Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 10:39am
post #9 of

Which just shows how unregulated it really is! Interesting about the refrigeration! huh!

I wonder if there will be a grandfather clause (should be grandmother in this case since most home bakers are female) if and when they do change these home baking regulations? That would stink to be legal for 20 years and then all of a sudden, boom, you can't sell from home any more without the worry of the state coming after you!

Melissa

formerbuckeye Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 1:20pm

Thanks for all of the good input ladies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VACakelady

I was never told that I couldn't sell anything that needed refrigeration. My inspector even checked the refrigerators and that I had a thermometer in there and a separate instant-read thermometer for checking things.

The only thing I found strange about Chesterfield Co was that they will not issue a business license for a home bakery, said that they do not require one. But I've been inspected and registered a business name. I guess in a way I assume I'm legal.




VACakelady: since you are right in my "neck of the woods" so to speak, it would be great to get together and compare notes on this and other issues. I also registered the name "Sweet Memories" in late 2005. (Do you know how long this is good for? I need to go into my files to check to see if I have to renew it.) I was also given that same type of information about not requiring a business license but how do you get a vendor ID then? So the state is a separate thing from the county? I guess I need to do both, huh? Have you ever given any thought to opening a small shop with a partner sometime in the future??

VACakelady Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 1:41pm

They never said how long the business name registry was for, didn't think much of it. I don't have a vendor ID either. When I started this it was just something to do out of boredom, then it snowballed and I'm up to my ears in cake on top of my FT job. Getting together could be interesting, but I wouldn't know when. I work nights and do cakes on my days off, hardly have time to do anything else these days, it's nuts!!! I'm so much more on the business side of this, the cakes are just money to me, not a passion by any means.

RRGibson Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 2:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica1817

I'm so glad I ran across this topic--I'm printing everything right now to complete my packet to become legal in VA (VA Beach area). I didn't realize you couldn't sell anything that needs to be refrigerated--so no cream cheese frosting on carrot cake? The ingredient labels took me forever! Any pointers before I finally send this thing off tomorrow? Thanks!!!




Can you give me the link where you found that information? I called my local health department and they gave me the number to the department of agriculture which is the department that actually regulates the baking. If I can find it online, I won't have to call them and wait for it to come in the mail. I would appreciate it so much!!

I am in the Richmond area. I'm currently in the process of looking for a kitchen to work out of. I feel that would be much easier than trying to make modifications to my current kitchen. I live in an older house and I think that a commercial kitchen would allow me much more room to work. I also found out something that I would have never known hadn't I called the Health Department. I assumed that if I rented a commercial kitchen currently licensed and used for food prep, that I wouldn't need to have another licensing inspection. However, this is not the case because the agencies which license for food and baking are two separate entities. Just wanted to mention that in case anyone else was looking for a kitchen like me. Someone also mentioned the catering thing, in Richmond, you can't legally cater out of your home kitchen, you have to have a separate one. I would think that the rules would be the same accross the state.

As far as the business license, I would still get one, even if they say you don't need it for baking. Just list your business under something like Hospitality services. The reason I say this is that sometimes, certain venues will not deal with you if you don't have a business license. So this is just insurance that you won't run into that problem ever and have to turn away a bride who is dealing with that type of venue. For instance, the University of Richmond is one place that will not allow anyone to utilize the services of a person without a business license.

Additionally, I was told that it is in our best interest to get insurance as well. I was told that the Hartford offers the type of insurance that we would need for this type of business and it's around $350/year.

And really, I can't see how a chang from county to US law would be possible or make a difference because the Dept. of Agriculture is a US agency right?

Just wanted to give all of the info that I have obtained, maybe it will help!

susgene Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 4:21pm

It is so funny finding this post from Richmonders right before I was going to call Dept of Agriculture today on my lunch break. I have a FT job and make cakes on nights/weekends/vacation days... I can't believe I actually have to turn people away. I mainly make cakes for family & people at work but many others have asked. I want to do them (although I have no idea when I'd find the time... who needs to sleep anyway!?) I just want to be legal so I can advertise even in my neighborhood newsletter and so my clients won't have trouble taking my cakes to reception sites...

formerbuckeye Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 5:38pm

Even after all this great input, it's as clear as mud, huh?? I still can't figure out how to get a vendor ID number for wholesale purchasing, if I need to be licensed by the state even though Chesterfield County doesn't require it............etc. etc. etc. What part of town are you in susgene??

RRGibson Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 6:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by formerbuckeye

Even after all this great input, it's as clear as mud, huh?? I still can't figure out how to get a vendor ID number for wholesale purchasing, if I need to be licensed by the state even though Chesterfield County doesn't require it............etc. etc. etc. What part of town are you in susgene??




Get the business license app for your county and just take a look at the different categories under which you can file for the license. I don't think that it would be inaccurate to describe it as somewhat of a hospitality business or something to do with events or event consulting. Have you gotten a copy of the application to see what information is requested? I just pulled it up, I will attach it. I think you could probably just classify it as a professional service or perhaps peddler-edible perishables.

susgene Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 8:44pm

I'm in Western Henrico. I called earlier but had to leave a message for someone to call me back.

SHADDI Posted 18 Jul 2007 , 9:47pm

http://www.virginia.gov/cmsportal2/business_4096/frequently_asked_questions_faqs.html
mabe this will help a little. i'm sure lots of you have been to this site but just in case if you havn't here is a site to find out some info on how to start you busniess....i'm also in the middle of trying to find things out how to do it the right way. and reading you guys post is helping me feel better about going all out soon. if it any bother for tose of you that already had a inspection what did you guys go though i have read some were that they might ask you to do a demo on how you prepare the items did you guys have to do that and how long did it take.... for me is just that i'm scared what are they going to ask me and would i be able to answer their questions.....thanks ahead for your help

shaddi

squarepair Posted 19 Jul 2007 , 1:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys

Quote:
Originally Posted by squarepair

That was me about the 2 basin sinks. It is super easy to get legal. The only hiccup I had was the sink and you can still do cakes and frosting with the one sink basin. The inspection is done by the county, he did say they are getting ready to switch to US laws instead of VA laws but wasn't sure how that would affect things. I did hear too that Fairfax was easier than Loudoun but that was kind of just a rumor from the guy at Home Depoticon_smile.gif HTH, Kristin



I'm confused, if you could do cakes and frosting, what CAN'T you do with the one basin sink?

Melissa



It was the fillings that were a problem. Anything that couldn't sit out on the counter for a few days without spoiling. Even when he explained it, I still couldn't really see why I needed 2 sinks. It is all about sanitizing the utensils and such. Even though I use the dishwasher, because it isn't a professional one with gauges it doesn't count as good enough to make food that can spoil quickly.

Kristin

susgene Posted 19 Jul 2007 , 7:12pm

What are the rules about pets in the home in VA? My son just moved back home for a while and brought his dog. Do you think this means I can't get licensed until the dog moves out?

squarepair Posted 19 Jul 2007 , 8:19pm

Pets are fine in VA.

marccrand Posted 20 Jul 2007 , 5:53am

How picky are the home inspections? If I have a double sink, seperate fridge (in the garage) and all my stuff stored seperately and my kitchen is clean - is that all I need? Were the inspectors nice? If I want to store pans in my garage (no car in there) on shelves - is that a problem? Sorry for all the questions but these are important to me!

Also, how long did it take you to write your flow processes, recipes, ingredients, etc. I have been slow moving on this because having to do that makes it seem like a pain!

formerbuckeye Posted 21 Jul 2007 , 2:15am

marccrand: I heard that you can't have your fridge in the garage. I have one there also. I'm not sure where I heard that, if it was in VA or some other state. Anyone have any input on that?

Squarepair: I was also told that you couldn't have pets in the kitchen area. Where did you get the information about pets being okay?

squarepair Posted 21 Jul 2007 , 12:56pm

Well, I have pets, and the inspector knew it and there was no problem. I had asked Richmond also beforehand since I didn't want to waste my time. My floorplan is very open too, no doors into the kitchen, it is in the middle of the living area. They just need to be out of the kitchen while baking. He also takes a sample of your product but that is for everyone.

Kristin

formerbuckeye Posted 22 Jul 2007 , 1:10am

Squarepair, that's very encouraging. I had thought it would be a big problem. We have a dog and a cat and I was afraid that would keep me from getting approved.

Thanks,
Sandra

Yorkiemum Posted 22 Jul 2007 , 1:31am

I too am in Fairfax County. I bake a few cakes a month but would eventually like to do more. Being in real estate, I am cautious about taking on more cakes than I can handle.

Just curious, have any of you talked to your accountant to see how to set up for your taxes? I would think that would be necessary in order to keep out of hot water with the tax man. Since I have to pay my own taxes for real estate, I'd be curious to know what the process is for cakes. Will you have to file a business return?

On another note, if any of you are near Fairfax City and are interested in classes, Fran's is planning to start giving them again. I've been asking for a while. They are going to teach gumpaste as well. I am so excited. I can do a lot, but have so much to learn.

sassycleo Posted 7 Sep 2007 , 2:08am

Compared to some of the states Virginia is fairly easy. I'm currently in the middle of getting ready. You can call the Dept. of Agriculture to get your packet. I read someone commenting on it taking awhile. Mine literally took 1 day from the time I called to receive it. Talk about fast!

Does anyone have a sample of your product label? I'm getting prepared and not sure and don't want to be the only thing to hold me up from getting inspected.

In preparing to become legal think of what you want to have as your name first. Get the application in for that before anything else and be prepared there is a $100 fee for that, then $40 fee to get inspected and your license fee.

Also saw someone ask about taxes. Think about setting your self up as a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) and file as an S-Corp. This seperates you personally from the business so that god forbid someone eat something else bad the same day they eat your cake but want to blame you for it, they can't sue you personally.

Again, any sample labels available??

talk soon
sassy

JanetBme Posted 7 Sep 2007 , 2:42am

I didn't read thru all the posts to know if this was already answered- but in VA (particularly Richmond and Virginia Beach areas) you can write or call: Tho the state is lenient, some cities require more or restrict it. (Norfolk city is restricted from home bakeries)

Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Division of Animal and Food Industry Services
Office of Dairy & Foods
P.O. Box 1163 Richmond, Va 23218
Phone # 800-552-9963 or Fax 804-371-7792
www.vdacs.state.va.us

If you are in VA Beach- you can drop by:
VDACS- Office of Food Safety
ATTN: Rick Barham
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23455-3363

I didn't see where you can't use cream cheese- It says they prefer seperate refrigeration, but to use the family one, just designate a "cake item" area or even use a rubbermaid tub.

Pets are OK- but can't be in immediate area during food prep.

hth!

strawberry0121 Posted 7 Sep 2007 , 3:24am

Thanks for all of the great info and links, ladies! I have been slow to get all of the recipes and labels together. I just can't seem to find the time!!
Also, my cake stuff is SO unorganized. I can't stand it. I need a shelf with bins on it or something to store all of my stuff.
There are so many little things to get and do, I just haven't made it my priority. I need to. My little biz has really taken off!
The county I live in does not require a buisiness license. I couldn't get one even if I wanted to. There is no place to go to get one. I just need to regster my name and get the Dept of Ag out here to inspect.
Does anyone know how to get a Federal Tax ID? I have tried, but I don't know what I'm doing. Thanks!

RRGibson Posted 7 Sep 2007 , 12:56pm

For the Tax ID you can just go to www.irs.gov to apply for one. It's really simple.

sassycleo Posted 10 Oct 2007 , 2:17am

Ok so it's been a little while since I have posted, however I have been watching and reading the many different forums on CC. Gotta love how friendly everyone is and how willing most are at helping others out.

I got my call all of my paperwork passed the first stage!! Talk about some major "homework" to have to do to prepare for this, sheesh. I actually thought about forgetting it and just going back to school ...lol

So I scheduled my inspection, he would have done it this past Friday, unfortuantely I was getting my tooth pulled that morning, silly me! Monday was a holiday, Tues he was out of town at a conference so you betcha, work thinks I'm going to the dr in the morning...lol my inspection is scheduled for 9:30am!!!

I have spent this evening cleaning my already clean house, making sure my crammed full of cake decorating supplies kitchen was neatly crammed. I'm starting to stress out. I am certain I've missed something somewhere and he is going to fail me!!

Ok so if anyone who's been through the actual inspection can lend any last minute words of advice other than relax...lol I'm all ears!

I'll keep you posted
Alicia

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