Selling cakes when you're not legal

Business By yellowjacket Updated 9 Oct 2006 , 6:51pm by MrsMissey

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 3:37am
post #31 of 71

That $100 that you made probably could have helped you with about $1k in tax deductions not to mention the supplies you could have gotten at wholesale saving you even more $$. My first business (before opening my bakery) actually gave a tax refund the first 2 years...I'm talking we went from paying several hundred on April 15th to getting a return of a few thousand! When you all do this illegally do you realize how many laws you are actually breaking??? City, county, state, & federal.

debrab Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 3:58am
post #32 of 71

Imartsy~ I live in KY too. I just heard from a girl last weekend who was reported to the Health Department by a caterer who thought she took some of her business. Some one from the Health Department called her and asked if she made wedding cakes. She told him for friends only. I was in shock!!!! I know this caterer and I have always thought well of her. This has really changed my mind. The company I work for uses her several times each month and she always handles our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Plus I know that she has other business contracts. I could not believe that she turned this girl in for making her friends' wedding cake.

When I make a cake, I only make them for friends and family. Even when I try to give them away, people give me money. When someone wants cake that a bakery or Wal-Mart can't or won't make for them, they are so excited that I will try to make whatever they want!

Julisa Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 4:04am
post #33 of 71

Thanks Mbalis.

Dear Husband!!! icon_lol.gif
I woud have never thought about the "dear" part. Coul think of MANY other words. tapedshut.gif

CoutureCake Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 6:52am
post #34 of 71

It's really skating on thin ice... Especially for this state... MN "The State Where Absolutely NOTHING Is Allowed"..

It is illegal here to bring in food/cake that wasn't baked in a licensed facility unless it is into a church (bake sale) or public location such as a park or shelter house.. The skirting around the law is if it's made in a licensed kitchen, the challenge is if the owner of the licensed kitchen is selling it under their name, no problem. If you are selling under your own name using their facility, you need your own license.. If you are just making it there and giving it to someone you don't need a license. Not a big deal to obtain, just two inspections and you're good to go, but still a lot of people don't do it..

I am basically renting space from my in-laws. Not the ideal situation by any stretch because I can only do cakes certain parts of the year, but still, that's better than nothing.

In some respects I totally think the laws are screwy. I really don't think someone who is a food manager is cooking any differently at home than they do at the kitchen other than everything might not be NSF at home. I also think that it doesn't matter as long as people keep their kitchen area spotless and free from pets that there is a problem with having a home kitchen (I'd be fine with a "No dogs/cats/hamsters/furry critters" rule)..At the same time though, I know people that I wouldn't eat at their house regardless of the reason. FiFi and Fido have the run of the kitchen and not very good personal care. It's all relative..

But, when all is said and done, it eventually catches up if you don't run things properly regardless of whether one is legal or illegal..

Chef_Stef Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 4:00pm
post #35 of 71

I agree, and I think that's why the licensing laws force some states to have people bake in licensed kitchens. Some home kitchens are totally clean; others, I don't even let my family eat there!

I do happen to know that my home kitchen is much, much cleaner than the licensed kitchen I am able to rent at a local mexican restaurant, which usually smells like tamales and fried onions..! icon_surprised.gif BUT I can't sell out of my home, and I have no desire to get turned in by local caterers, because I DO intend to make a dent in the market here, so I have to be legal.

I'm very lucky, because I rent the kitchen I use on a per-use basis. When I bake for friends and family, of course, I do it from home, but if it's for customers, I use the legal kitchen, even though most of them don't know OR care where the cake came from. It just makes me sleep easier knowing I can't get in trouble for doing business. And you never know any more. How many law suits have there been in recent years over food, hot coffee, foreign items in food, etc., farcical or real?

It's depressing to try to start, though, because you can't just say "Hey, I think I'll start a bakery", rent a building, buy a zillion supplies, run some ads, flip on the lights, and sit there waiting to see if you'll get enough business off the street every month to pay the rent. (that's a LOT of cake, most places!). Plus, most of us, if I'm not mistaken, are mothers and wives who aren't necessarily in a position to leave the house for 8 hours in a rented shop every day trying to do a new business start-up. And to get enough clients to justify a shop, you have to start somewhere first, right? Catch-22 if I ever saw one...

Keep looking for a local kitchen to work something out with, if you're serious about doing it as a business. If you just like making cakes for people, I'd stick with not actually selling them. I just didn't like going to bed at night wondering if the phone's going to ring and it's "the State Department of Health" calling with "a few questions" or whoever.... icon_surprised.gif

RisqueBusiness Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 4:02pm
post #36 of 71

I have been on boths sides of the fence, even though I don't advocate ratting anyone out. I have to give you guys the view from the "OTHER SIDE".

I don't think that it's fair to me or any lic. bakery to have a "homebaker" undercut me.

to have someone that hasn't 'jumped' through the hoops as I have to set up shop, and because they do not have to pay rent or any fees and basically everything they make is pure profit does drive me mad sometimes.

I have to earn 67 dollars a day JUST to pay rent! Over 400 dollars a week! So, yes, my prices are a bit high!!

Is it fair that someone sees one of my cakes and says to themselves or their friends, I can do that cake and charge you 1/2 of what you just paid?

Is it fair that I have to, after I close, steam clean my kitchen? Tired from making, baking and decorating cakes..I have to wash up, clean up and steam clean everything from my ovens to my floors so I can keep my place open?

I would love to be sitting at home, with my feet up, cat on my lap, cuppa coffee and tv blasting while I wait for cakes to bake! Not, working on my financial statements, bank account, web site, customer call backs, wheeling and dealing trying to earn my next dollar.

The beach is right outside my door, I can't even just say, let me take a few minutes and get some sea air and relax.

After I put in my 12 hour day at the store, I have to go home and if don't fall dead sleep in my shower, I can actually talk to my family for a few minutes before I have to go to sleep!

So, do I approve of a "HOME BAKER"? No, not in the LEAST. Have I been a "HOME BAKER?" Absolutely!! that's how I put food in my child's belly when she was a baby! Would it be easier to do this from home! OH YEAH BABY...but I wouldn't get the same validation from the media that I have been getting.

Would I EVER call and report anyone....ABSOLUTELY NOT! I just have to work, 2x's 3x's harder to knock people's socks off!!

I absolutely believe in KARMA!! so, if there are any sneaky cheeky bakers in Miami, cutting into my business...hahahahaa! well, I just hope that your gain was worth all the stress that I go through every day...!!! lol

Now, that's the business woman in me speaking...so....PLEASE DO NOT GET OFFENDED! or mad at me or throw tomatoes at me...lol

Fancymcnancy Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 4:11pm
post #37 of 71

Thanks for that post RisqueBusiness - that makes a lot of sense.

I absolutely LOVE your avatar! It is hilarious!!!

RisqueBusiness Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 4:28pm
post #38 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fancymcnancy

Thanks for that post RisqueBusiness - that makes a lot of sense.

I absolutely LOVE your avatar! It is hilarious!!!




Thanks, I was a bit apprehensive about making that post, because I know how sensitive people can be! But, I work hard for my landlord..lol

Somedays I don't even have time to eat!!

But would I change anything? Absolutely NOT.

I just hope that I can continue doing what I'm doing for my clients and not get so burnt out or discouraged when I lose an order ( coz I KNOW someone went with an unlic homebaker..lol)

It is also very hard to be a creative person, constricted by the every day, mundane workings of keeping a place open.

I don't want to worry about paying my bills!!!...i want to sit and play with sugar all day! I want to bring the cakes that live in my head to life!!!

Whaaaaa icon_cry.gif

Welp...let me drink another cup of rocket fuel...( strong coffee with an envelope of Hot chocolate!!..and here I thought stressing over the bills was keeping me from a good nights sleep! haaaaa! )

kelleym Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 5:21pm
post #39 of 71

Some of you may remember that a while ago I posted about the filthy condition of the restaurant whose kitchen I was using. I called my county health inspector to ask some questions about the inspection scoring system and she told me that the cleanliness of the facility is only worth 3 "points" because they're cooking food in there, and "everything can't be clean all the time". She also said that the inspectors pay the most attention to food safety issues - things like food temperature and storage issues.

Here is also something from their web site:

Quote:
Quote:

The latest version of the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) went into effect March 15, 2006. The new format focuses on causes for food born illnesses. Demerits are given for any deficiencies in the acquisition, storage, handling, and preparation of food found during the inspection. Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls. These issues are addressed under a different time schedule for correction. The goal is to leave our restaurants with all deficiencies corrected.




This almost makes me cry, y'all. "Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls." Yet my lovely home kitchen is "contaminated" (per my conversation with the inspector) and I can't even make a fondant bow for a cake here.

If they don't care about the cleanliness of the facility, why don't they just issue me a food handler's certificate and let me cook in my kitchen!!???

It's a moot point. I can't change the law. I found a licensed kitchen, got my food purveyor's permit and food handler's permit. I'm legal. I jumped through their hoops and I'm paying through the nose for it.

But I don't have to like it.

RisqueBusiness Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 5:26pm
post #40 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

It's a moot point. I can't change the law. I found a licensed kitchen, got my food purveyor's permit and food handler's permit. I'm legal. I jumped through their hoops and I'm paying through the nose for it.

But I don't have to like it.




I agree with you 100%...I am legal, paying through the nose, I don't have to like it, but I have to do it....so, if I get a little burnt under the collar at home bakers..so be it! lol...


But I still would NOT report ANYONE! lol...I just can't do it....I will just keep on raising the bar on quality, design and customer service!! lol

SweetThistleCakes Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 5:28pm
post #41 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Some of you may remember that a while ago I posted about the filthy condition of the restaurant whose kitchen I was using. I called my county health inspector to ask some questions about the inspection scoring system and she told me that the cleanliness of the facility is only worth 3 "points" because they're cooking food in there, and "everything can't be clean all the time". She also said that the inspectors pay the most attention to food safety issues - things like food temperature and storage issues.

Here is also something from their web site:
Quote:
Quote:

The latest version of the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) went into effect March 15, 2006. The new format focuses on causes for food born illnesses. Demerits are given for any deficiencies in the acquisition, storage, handling, and preparation of food found during the inspection. Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls. These issues are addressed under a different time schedule for correction. The goal is to leave our restaurants with all deficiencies corrected.



This almost makes me cry, y'all. "Demerits are not given for items such as dirty floors and walls." Yet my lovely home kitchen is "contaminated" (per my conversation with the inspector) and I can't even make a fondant bow for a cake here.

If they don't care about the cleanliness of the facility, why don't they just issue me a food handler's certificate and let me cook in my kitchen!!???

It's a moot point. I can't change the law. I found a licensed kitchen, got my food purveyor's permit and food handler's permit. I'm legal. I jumped through their hoops and I'm paying through the nose for it.

But I don't have to like it.




Amen to that. I feel your pain, I really really really do.

aundron Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 5:44pm
post #42 of 71

Does anybody know about getting legalized in TN!! I've looked on tennesse.gov and I've had them send me informations, but it is all so confusing!! I've even talked to the guy over this department and he acted like he didn't know what a home baker was!! He asked if I meant separate from the house.

I only bake for close friends and by word of mouth nothing major at all; but I just want to be on the safe side!!


Help!!! icon_cry.gif

jen1977 Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 5:52pm
post #43 of 71

Reading this thread makes me so glad I live in Ohio. As long as we don't have indoor pets or carpet in our kitchen, we can operate under cottage foods. Smack an ingredient label on the box and we are good to go! I really feel for all of you who have to jump thru hoops. Like someone said before...licensing and all takes money, and you have to start somewhere! Good luck to all of you!

mommacakes Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 6:12pm
post #44 of 71

WOW!!!!! I am super confused now! I did not know that there was something this serious out there for us non- professional bakers. I am just your run of the mill mom who enjoys making cakes for others. I don't make more than 80 bucks a month on cakes. I usually do birthday cakes and that is about it. I can't help it that people want my cakes and enjoy the work I put into it. I have not advertised anywhere and just go by word of mouth. People just keep ordering from me and they know I don't have a liscense. So with the fact that I only make 80 to 100 bucks a month ( if I have a good month) does this mean I am in trouble? The most I have ever charged for a cake is 35 and that is it. I don't even make a profit but break even with them basically paying the ingredients. I don't mind though because I don't need that money. I just literally like creating cakes. I love making people happy and seeing what new things I can do out there. So am I doing wrong by this? I live in MO as well so I was shocked to see this thread!

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 8:21pm
post #45 of 71

OMG, RisqueBusiness! You took the words (making them nice) right out of my mouth! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Everything you said is RIGHT on the money!!!

twinsline7 Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 9:34pm
post #46 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by RisqueBusiness


I would love to be sitting at home, with my feet up, cat on my lap, cuppa coffee and tv blasting while I wait for cakes to bake! Not, working on my financial statements, bank account, web site, customer call backs, wheeling and dealing trying to earn my next dollar.




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif


omg...you cant actually believe thats what at home bakers are doing.....

I'd bet good money a majority of these home bakers are doing what they can for now UNTIL they can get legal....as Im sure you yourself did when you were on the "other" side of the fence...

I do not sell my cakes...mine are simply for seeing what i can do BEFORE I invest the money into "jumping through hoops".....but hobby or business...I can tell you baking them at home is far more difficult then going into a building away from your children and household daily chores to make a cake.....

i'd personally give anythig to go into a shop away from my screamin demons to bake, clean and decorate ......hell Id like to go into a room seperate from my children to do my bills...trust me I could get a lot more "wheelin and dealin" done....


so is your post offensive?? Id say so....

SweetThistleCakes Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 9:57pm
post #47 of 71

Come on now, she was just giving her opinion, Twinsline. I see more humor than insult in there.

peacockplace Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:05pm
post #48 of 71

I see both sides here! I would like to say that some of the home bakers do charge less, but I don't see this as undercutting the professional baker. A lot of people choose a home baker because they can't afford bakery prices.

I guess what I'm saying is that is seems to be two different markets. People who can go to a bakery and those who's only choice is home baker or grocery store. Coming from a rural area I understand that.

Also, the mods have been pretty lock happy lately so lets all play nice icon_lol.gif

SweetThistleCakes Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:12pm
post #49 of 71

And in all fairness, 90% of customers have NO IDEA that it's illegal to bake from home. I'm not condoning home baking- I spent $$ I didnt have to get "legal" but after all, the customer goes to the person with the best tasting, best decorated, best priced cake regardless of who's baking where.

ge978 Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:23pm
post #50 of 71

Yes, RisqueBusiness was just giving her opinion, but so was Twinsline...and by the way I saw alot of humor in Twinsy's post too. Lets not all get our thongs in a twist...from what I can see the thread hasn't turned nasty...just people stating opinions from each side icon_wink.gif

berryblondeboys Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:33pm
post #51 of 71

I can understand how someone who has the expense of a bakery would be upset at the home baker, even if she used to do the same thing. It's just hard to see profits going elsewhere, especially if it's kind of a black market, meaning it's illegal to do it.

Similar to people hiring domestic/cleaning help or yard work, etc.

Now, imagine people here in Virginia. It's legal for me to be a home baker with license and some rules, so it's a bit trickier in those states and really, a bakery can't be mad at home bakers if they are following the law, you know?

Though, I do think most people buy from friends not only to buy cheaper, but for good relations, you know?

Melissa

Julisa Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:37pm
post #52 of 71

Hi. I can definately see Risquebusiness point of view. Our family owned Moving company has to pay out the tapedshut.gif for D.O.T. licencing, Workmans Comp. ins., employee drug testing and back ground checks to be able to play by the rules. It really hurts ($$$) when someone who doesn't have that overhead or recruits homeless workers for a day comes buy and steals your business because they are able to under bid you.

The area I live in is small and most of the "home bakers" charge more than the bakeries do. Mainly because the only bakeries here are grocery store chains and don't do anything past sheet cakes and pre-designed wedding cakes. The employees that work at these places aren't "allowed" to sell cakes on the side, because it takes business away from them (As if Wal-Mart is suffering from lack of business icon_twisted.gif ) So, many of them do it illegally. I couldn't imagine one of them ratting out someone else. But people do come in all flavors.

twinsline7... I am with you on the children issues... I would sell my self at the county fair for $.50 if I got to go to the bathroom by myself.. icon_lol.gif

imartsy Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:44pm
post #53 of 71

You know what would be great? If we just had the same rules nationwide instead of state by state - then it would seem at least a little more fair to everyone - I hate the fact that some people can bake out of their homes if they live in a certain state - yet others can't simply because they live in a different state. I mean doesn't food safety seem like the kind of thing that there should be NATIONAL laws for? I wonder if restaurants have national laws..... hmmm I don't know.

I totally understand business people being upset about "losing" business to a homebaker.... although I don't think home bakers should always charge less - we have big expenses too b/c we can't buy stuff at wholesale or deduct things for taxes. And I do think you gotta start somewhere....

Anyway - I think this forum is about done, isn't it? We've discussed basically everything.......... and there is NO happy answer to it all. Anyway just my opinion.

peacockplace Posted 5 Oct 2006 , 10:56pm
post #54 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julisa


twinsline7... I am with you on the children issues... I would sell my self at the county fair for $.50 if I got to go to the bathroom by myself.. icon_lol.gif




Oh my gosh..... I totally understand! I was just telling DH yesterday that he is so lucky. At work he can go to the bathroom whenever he wants and doesn't have people following him in there asking where the head to the blue power ranger is! icon_cry.gif

RisqueBusiness Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 12:49am
post #55 of 71

Well, I just knew that by posting my "other" side would rattle someones knickers! lol

That's just the nature of the beast! and as long as no one is getting nasty...this is what a thread is supposed to look like, loads of points of view..right or wrong...just a POV.

It is correct that we all have to start someplace, and someone that is a hobby baker making cakes for kids and family and a few friends is NOT going to make a big dent in someone's business. really.

What burns my toast is that home baker, and we've all read the threads...that undercut, call receptions halls and underbid, so forth and so on.

There are sanitation rules that a lic. baker must follow and certifications that we have to renew annually. We have to learn food safety, basic sanitation, and have insurance.

How many home bakers take on more than they can handle? I read those threads all the time!!

How many brides have had their cakes, lean, fall and the young bride who posted about her cake being undercooked?

We also "spoil" our customers by being able to offer them a cheaper price, eighter by baking from home or letting them hire us when we REALLY don't have enough experience.

It is a catch-22 situation, I did start out as a friends and family baker, with a few referals. When I bought my house, I had a seperate cake studio and as soon as I got "big enough" I moved into a store front.

All that took a great deal of sacrifice and hard work, and getting over any and all fear of failing.

But, that's just me! I'm bullheaded...lol

All I have to say about this now....if you do it from home and it's NOT ALLOWED in your state...I don't care HOW nice, how clean and how loving you are, you ARE breaking the law, and it's a shame..because to get my degree I had to do 20 community hours and I chose to impliment a cake baking and decorating 8 week course for underprivilege women in my area.

Learning how to cake decorate helped me go from being a statistic...young, unmarried welfare mother, able to earn a living in less than 2 years and eventually to become, presently, a respected..( hahaha yeah right..lol) business owner.

God Bless free Enterpise!

mkerton Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 1:07am
post #56 of 71

Wow all this breaking the law talk....hmm wonder who drives over the speed limit? Wonder who doesn't come to a complete stop at stop signs etc, etc....

I live in a state that doesnt license home bakers, I don't sell my cakes (though I can't say I never will), I do them for family and friends who have only gotten cakes from WALMART or the grocery store in the past....

funny I sleep just fine at night.

Chef_Stef Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 4:38am
post #57 of 71

well, I'm out....

It's been an interesting discussion, though.

littlecake Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 5:12am
post #58 of 71

i have a storefront bakery too....i sunk my lifesavings into it.

i'm in my 5th year now, sometimes i think i might have bit off more than i can chew.

it seems like everyone has thier hand out for a piece of the pie....

plus don't get me started on finding good help.

sometimes i envy the home decorators...they can spend hours on a cake....

due to the amount i gotta sell...time constraints just don't allow for it.

in fact, when customers come in with a wilton book in thier hand...i hand those customers off to a home decorator i know that can oblige them.

what i love (not)...is when they bring a pic of a "food network" cake in....and want it for grocery store prices.

but theres pluses and minuses to everything....

can you imagine trying to bake in one of those little home ovens?....or using a little kitchenaid mixer?

production would take forever.

i did a wedding cake in my home the year before i opened the shop.....geeze, it was like i was lucy ricardo....its just to small to work in...i even had icing on the ceiling!

back to the subject.....does anyone know of a home decorator that ever got busted?

there are several around here....and some of the people in government even buy from them....no one thinks a thing in the world about it.

cake2decorate Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 5:48am
post #59 of 71

I don't have a problem with either side of the issue, but feel better being legal and licensed in my state. Guess its just a personal choice for all of us??

ge978 Posted 6 Oct 2006 , 1:20pm
post #60 of 71

Its always good to have both sides of the issue to discuss. I have a legal shop, but honestly I don't consider home bakers competition...not because i don't think they have a great product, but because i look at business different. I don't consider anyone competition...not the grocery stores...or the home bakers or the legal bakeries that do the same thing as me. The way I look at it is that there is enough business to go around. And if they like my cake they will buy it regardless of who else is making cakes. Plus, because I am legal I can advertise, and I get alot more foot traffic, etc....when you are a home baker word of mouth is usually the only way to get business.

Did I pay alot to open my shop? yes.....do i pay alot for licenses, etc? yes. But also alot of the people that bake from home have small children to support and for alot it is the only way for them to stay home with their children & work at the same time.

So I guess my point is that getting legal is a personal decision and the risks that home bakers take is their own & I believe that there is room for all of us in this business.

I'm sure alot of people will disagree with me, and thats ok...like I said I'm open to discussion. Its good to have everyone's point of view as long as we keep it a debate and not an argument.

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