Does Anyone Know How To Start A Cake Business In Pa?

Business By carlysun Updated 1 Aug 2011 , 11:25pm by polliwawg

carlysun Posted 10 Oct 2006 , 1:48pm
post #1 of 13

Hi guys! I have a few questions about the legalities of starting a cake/baking business in Pennsylvania? I have tried repeatedly to find any and all of the infotmation I need, to no end. The internet is more confusing than helpful. Any ideas? CC postings say to contact the PA Sec. of State, but the link is VERY confusing. Help! icon_cry.gif

12 replies
erinkalins Posted 10 Oct 2006 , 3:07pm
post #2 of 13

i would love to know also! I am right on the PA/MD border and thought about moving just so I could get legal in a home bakery! Here's a BUMP to you!

sondrad Posted 10 Oct 2006 , 3:23pm
post #3 of 13

I found out some information from another cake central member. To bake in the home, you actually need to go through the PA Dept of Agriculture. It doesn't look to be that difficult of a process, or that expensive either. You can't have any pets in the home, and I'm not willing to give up my dog, so . . .

Anyway, here is the link
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/lib/agriculture/foodsafetyfiles/publications/Home_Processing_rev_11-05.doc

kdbrumbach Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:27pm
post #4 of 13

Thanks for posting this link. The document was unusually clear (you know for a government thing.) and helpful. I'm not anywhere near ready to start charging, but I'm thinking this might be a nice part time thing to do in the future.

Thanks again!

mjw15618 Posted 13 Oct 2006 , 1:40pm
post #5 of 13

I'm licensed in Pennsylvania. First, call your local health department and see if they offer a food safety course. You'll need that course before you can do anything else! Some of the community college campus' also offer the ServSafe course, but they can be pricey. Allegheny County offers them monthly - it's a 2-day course and you have to pass an exam at the end. It's $75 if you live outside of Allegheny County. I assume other counties provide the same course elsewhere in the state. It will take about six weeks to get your score...if you pass you'll also receive a certificate.

Once you have your score and the certificate, you can apply for the license from the PDA. It's $20 and they'll need your business name, food safety course score, address, etc. You'll get the license in about two weeks. After that, you can give the PDA a call to schedule the home inspection. That's it! Good luck icon_smile.gif

Fluffybubba Posted 10 Apr 2007 , 1:56pm
post #6 of 13

I live in PA, and have been trying to figure out how to have a legal cake business for a while now. I was so glad to read what sondrad said about the pets not being allowed. I had contacted the Ag. Dept and my Township and neither of them said anything about the pet policy!! I went under the link provided and it was VERY informative!! I have 2 dogs ( I am a Vet Tech - and will ALWAYS have animals!!!) Now I know that I cannot have a licensed cake business as long as I have pets. Glad I didn't go thru with all the red tape and money to various people, just to be told in the end, my dogs had to go if I wanted to have a business out of my home. Thanks for the info!!! icon_cry.gif

Moofiebonbon Posted 10 Apr 2007 , 3:22pm
post #7 of 13

I am in PA as well and I am licensed. Actually if you are a home based business and you do not have any employees and not restaurant style, you do not have to take the food safety course. The process that I went through was-
1. I had to have my water tested for Coli, Nitrate and Nitrate by an approved lab. The Nitrate/Nitrite was not required for the type of business I was planning (wholesale) but it is in other cases, but I did it anyway- better safe then sorry! ($62 is what I paid)
2. A letter from my town secretary stating that we did not have special zoning regulations, therefore allowing me to conduct business from my home- or if there are special regulations you must get a permit (which I am sure the process varies and I cant help with that)
3. Filled out an application for the Dept. of Ag.
4. Mailed in the application, copy of water test and copy of the letter from my town to the Dept. of Ag in my district.

I received a call from an inspector a week or so later to arrange an inspection.

He came to my home and talked with me. The law states that you must store all of your "baking" supplies separate from your personal supplies. In my kitchen I have a set of cabinets that are somewhat set aside from the rest and that is where I keep my supplies. We have a game room/bar in our basement and we have 2 small refrigerators in it. I told the inspector that I had designated a drawer in reg. fridge for my eggs, butter etc, but if this was going to be a problem, I would be glad to use a small fridge in the basement. He was a really nice guy. He said heck no, a drawer is fine and I won't tell you have to do that. He said my house is very clean and well maintained and everything was fine the way it was. So that was cool. Of course no pets indoors and you must limit the use of your kitchen for personal use while commercial baking. If you have young children, it may be a good idea to get a babysitter just while the inspector is there as I know that there are some rules or something concerning young children in the kitchen area while baking. After all of this I wrote a check to the Dept. of Ag for $35.00, he gave me a temp. hand written license because his laptop was not working and told me I would get my actual license in about 2 weeks, and I did!
Very simple process actually. Oh, and this was just back in Nov. 2006 so not too long ago.
Hope this helps!

Just wanted to add the link for the actual Dept. of Ag. application-
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/lib/agriculture/foodsafetyfiles/afsls_273part_ii.pdf

FatAndHappy Posted 14 Apr 2007 , 5:54am
post #8 of 13

Thanks for all the info!

polliwawg Posted 14 Apr 2007 , 6:17am
post #9 of 13

Moving to PA soon....anyone have suggestions on schools, classes, bakeries? anything cake really....
going to central PA

trumpetmidget Posted 14 Apr 2007 , 5:49pm
post #10 of 13

I have gone through the process to find out about legalizing myself. Unfortunately, I can't because of the dog and I can't convince my hubby to let him go. I tried to find out if I could put doors up and keep the dog out of the kitchen, but that wouldn't fly. You need a totally seperate kitchen for that to work. I talked to the inspector himself. One thing he suggested (which unfortunately, I can't do) is using a neighbor or close friends/family members kitchen if you have pets. This way you can get your license, you would just have to go there to bake. He has a couple of people that do that. Me, I am just waiting for the dog to be naturally selected (is that terrible, or what?). One question for those of you that aren't legal - I have yet to actually sell a cake. But, I have 2 people now who asked me to sell them a cake. What do you do in that situation? I want to start a business, but can't. I want to sell my cakes, but can't do it legally. Is there something I can do or hsould I just tell them that I don't sell them? Or, can I tell them, I can't sell them the cake, but I can sell them the cake board? Any suggestions on how to handle that? Thanks

suzmazza Posted 15 Apr 2007 , 8:14am
post #11 of 13

I'm from PA as well, and getting the licensure/inspection really isn't a big deal as the previous posts stated above, and its quite cheap to do. Its all the little things that are a pain. Like the NO KIDS in the kitchen thing. I suggest to you that if you want to start making cakes and selling a few of them, keep it on the DL. My instructor has been selling cakes for over 30 years this way, and says shes never had a problem. She stated to not have any advertisements/websites/fliers that could get you any undue attention, and only sell to people you know personally who wont turn you in. Plus, if you are just starting this as a hobby, and not really making much money off of it, do you really want to start to have to file taxes on it, and get the govt. involved?? If you really want to get serious about it, try asking a church or restaurant where you know someone about renting out some space to use their ovens, then you have no need for licensing, they will already have their current inspections and licenses already.

TinaLovesCake Posted 1 Aug 2011 , 11:09pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moofiebonbon

I am in PA as well and I am licensed. Actually if you are a home based business and you do not have any employees and not restaurant style, you do not have to take the food safety course. The process that I went through was-
1. I had to have my water tested for Coli, Nitrate and Nitrate by an approved lab. The Nitrate/Nitrite was not required for the type of business I was planning (wholesale) but it is in other cases, but I did it anyway- better safe then sorry! ($62 is what I paid)
2. A letter from my town secretary stating that we did not have special zoning regulations, therefore allowing me to conduct business from my home- or if there are special regulations you must get a permit (which I am sure the process varies and I cant help with that)
3. Filled out an application for the Dept. of Ag.
4. Mailed in the application, copy of water test and copy of the letter from my town to the Dept. of Ag in my district.

I received a call from an inspector a week or so later to arrange an inspection.

He came to my home and talked with me. The law states that you must store all of your "baking" supplies separate from your personal supplies. In my kitchen I have a set of cabinets that are somewhat set aside from the rest and that is where I keep my supplies. We have a game room/bar in our basement and we have 2 small refrigerators in it. I told the inspector that I had designated a drawer in reg. fridge for my eggs, butter etc, but if this was going to be a problem, I would be glad to use a small fridge in the basement. He was a really nice guy. He said heck no, a drawer is fine and I won't tell you have to do that. He said my house is very clean and well maintained and everything was fine the way it was. So that was cool. Of course no pets indoors and you must limit the use of your kitchen for personal use while commercial baking. If you have young children, it may be a good idea to get a babysitter just while the inspector is there as I know that there are some rules or something concerning young children in the kitchen area while baking. After all of this I wrote a check to the Dept. of Ag for $35.00, he gave me a temp. hand written license because his laptop was not working and told me I would get my actual license in about 2 weeks, and I did!
Very simple process actually. Oh, and this was just back in Nov. 2006 so not too long ago.
Hope this helps!

Just wanted to add the link for the actual Dept. of Ag. application-
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/lib/agriculture/foodsafetyfiles/afsls_273part_ii.pdf






Thanks for the simple-easy to understand "how to". I've been looking everywhere, and asking around and I was just so confused. . . . Now my only question outside of getting the license is do you need a tax id, and do you have to carry insurance? Anyone know?

polliwawg Posted 1 Aug 2011 , 11:25pm
post #13 of 13

Depending on the organization of the business You will need a tax id so that you can file taxes (if you are sole proprietor you can use your ssn). I would advise insurance, although I am not sure if PA requires it for home businesses. Insurance should be very cheap since you do not have any employees and are not operating fryers and such. Better to be safe than sorry, if you are sued you stand to lose way more than the insurance will cost.

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