Business Question... Sort Of Long

Decorating By JaneDee Updated 28 Sep 2008 , 1:33am by wendy1273

JaneDee Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 2:59am
post #1 of 13

I was just thinking...

If people post personal services (unlicensed) like babysitting or handyman etc... on craigslist and other places, then not even write up contracts or any type of agreements for the cash they recieve,

how does that differ from someone who makes cakes for a little extra cash, but they write up a contract/agreement to where they can't be held responsible or whatever might happen.

I was just wondering, I know someone will correct me or remind of me something I'm not thinking of. But I was just curious how I could get "in trouble" for selling a cake for a little extra cash, but people who babysit other peoples precious children, don't bother to even really get into that much detail?

(NOT assuming that every person offering a service for cash does not do this, just some who I even know will do a service for some extra cash.)

Don't get mad at me lol I'm just curious if I should really take the chance of selling my cakes to friends of friends with a writen agreement of some type. Or if there's more to it than I know of and can get into a lot more "trouble".

Thanks! icon_smile.gif

12 replies
tannersmom Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 3:19am
post #2 of 13

Oh boy! This topic has caused some heated discussion on CC. Well I was inspected yesterday by the dept of ag and he told me that he knew alot of people were baking and selling illegally but they were more interested in the BIG companies. He did say that if you get reported that they have to investigate and you will be fined. This is what I was told. Isn't Virginia a Cottage Law state. If so, look into that and you can be legal to sell your cakes. Oh yeah, the liability if someone eats something that you bake and gets sick. You can be sued. They can sue for everything you own, even your house. I'm not saying or even getting into how I feel if you should be legal or not. To each his own. I can only answer for myself. I know this is a long post but I hope it helps.
Stephanie

kakeladi Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 3:28am
post #3 of 13

There is probably more chance of people getting sick from eating a cake made in a dirty place than there is a child getting hurt while being babbysitted.
That is the premise health depts work on.
Most health depts don'thave enough employees to check up on home bakers. They will only act if someone complains to them.
Health depts are responsible for checking out bakeries; grocery stores (mini marts to supermarkets);resturants; dairies; schools; even stores like Big Lots that sell food in any way, shape or form.
For the most part you have little to worry about as long as you do NOT ADVERTISE in any way......
One time yrs back I was contacted by the county health dept by phone because I had advertised in a 'penny saver' - one of those throw away, small coverage area, papers. They told me in so many words....go ahead - do what you want by word of mouth. just don't advertise and they would leave me alone.
If you keep your home *clean!*; don't have indoor pets and maybe even deliver instead of customer coming to pick up you should be rather safe for a long time........
Other people want to obay even the letter of the law and won't sell.....
it's your call.

JoAnnB Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 5:06am
post #4 of 13

You cannot legally contract for an illegal service. If you don't have legal business, you cannot enforce a contract.

Many decorators sell without a license, but it is at your own risk. you also cannot get insurance.

Cakeyladey Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 6:42am
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

There is probably more chance of people getting sick from eating a cake made in a dirty place than there is a child getting hurt while being babbysitted.
That is the premise health depts work on.
Most health depts don'thave enough employees to check up on home bakers. They will only act if someone complains to them.
Health depts are responsible for checking out bakeries; grocery stores (mini marts to supermarkets);resturants; dairies; schools; even stores like Big Lots that sell food in any way, shape or form.
For the most part you have little to worry about as long as you do NOT ADVERTISE in any way......
One time yrs back I was contacted by the county health dept by phone because I had advertised in a 'penny saver' - one of those throw away, small coverage area, papers. They told me in so many words....go ahead - do what you want by word of mouth. just don't advertise and they would leave me alone.
If you keep your home *clean!*; don't have indoor pets and maybe even deliver instead of customer coming to pick up you should be rather safe for a long time........
Other people want to obay even the letter of the law and won't sell.....
it's your call.





I have had my share of problems as well the DHEC came and put a letter in my mailbox after a breif advertisement showed up in our small town paper the letter stated that I was not to advertise in this way again... Personally I think a so called now EX friend tipped them off... icon_mad.gif Anyway I now work in a commercial licensed kitchen behind our house... Alot to start up and pass codes though icon_eek.gif Just be careful let word of mouth do your advertising! thumbs_up.gif The fine thing is simply a scare tactic! the DHEC guy told me that himself... Only repeat offenders who continue to go against there suggestions!!!

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 1:11pm
post #6 of 13

I agree that it's because the risk is greater. And I dont' know, but on the babysitting thing, don't you have to be licensed only if you are watching over a certain number of kids? That may be a rumor or it may vary by state.

Who the HD looks for is dependent on what their focus is at that moment and for that area. 20 years ago, when I first got started, I was VERY visible in a small town .... ads in newspapers, office space downtown ... and did I mention it was a small town where everyone knows everyone? Never, in over 10 years, did the HD even HINT at coming around. Family tells me that with a big surge in the Amish population over there now, the HD is getting more "involved" ..... what I call "doing their job" now.

Around here, any event that has food is required to give the HD a list of participants ..... from big bridal shows to small Community Days (which I'm in tomorrow). So if you are unlicensed and set up a booth somewhere .... flea market, farmer's market, bridal show, etc..... the HD may be informed of your name whether you know it or not. My HD told me that last year, at the BIGGEST bridal show in town, they had to shut down 2 cake ladies. These women paid at least $2000 for their booth space .... and they got the knock on their front door from the HD.

I've shared this story before, but a caterer friend was busted when she put up her website. It had been up 30 days when she got the knock on her front door. HD folks told her their boss had told them to scan the internet and shut down the home bakers/caterers.

kelleym Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 8:12pm
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneDee

If people post personal services (unlicensed) like babysitting or handyman etc... on craigslist and other places, then not even write up contracts or any type of agreements for the cash they recieve,

how does that differ from someone who makes cakes for a little extra cash, but they write up a contract/agreement to where they can't be held responsible or whatever might happen.

I was just wondering, I know someone will correct me or remind of me something I'm not thinking of. But I was just curious how I could get "in trouble" for selling a cake for a little extra cash, but people who babysit other peoples precious children, don't bother to even really get into that much detail?




The difference is: whether or not you are required to have a license for conducting the business in question.

Everyone else has done a good job covering answering your question, but I had to chime in since I have a little experience in this area - for 4 years I worked for the agency that licenses child care facilities in my state.
The regulations for caring for other people's children are different in every state, and in my state, without a doubt, if the state finds out you are caring for children illegally, you will get a knock on your door, and you will be ordered to become licensed or cease operations. It's a very serious matter, and not the kind of thing they let slip through the cracks.

(Don't even get me started on the fact that it's legal to care for up to 12 children in your home here, but god forbid you sell a cake made from that same home. icon_mad.gif )

Whether or not you get in trouble for advertising and selling cakes without a license depends partially on how vigilant the health department in your county is, and honestly, luck. Some people do it for a lifetime and never get caught. Some people put up their first ad, or web site (like indydebi's caterer friend) and get caught immediately.

And, as JoAnnB said, a contract for an illegal activity is worthless. And if, God forbid, someone did get sick from your cake and sue you, it would just be more ammunition against you, because it would all be there laid out on paper.

wendy1273 Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 9:11pm
post #8 of 13

I'm from NJ and this is what my accountant said, if you don't have a store front and you are selling to individuals from a website the department of health will not bother you.
I called the department of health from my town and spoked to the inspector from my area and he said that a lot of people does it from a website and they don't bother them but if you get sue you could loose even you house.

My accountant said that as long as you have the LLC paper work done you are good because if someone sue you they can only take the business but not your personal property.

I'm not an expert and this information a got from these people, I'm in the process of hiring a lawyer to consult all this findings.

Wendy

JoAnnB Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 9:15pm
post #9 of 13

Is the accountant going to pay your fines when the HD finds out?

Advice from other than the source (HD) is not a thing to trust. It may be true that the HD isn't looking, but there sure is no guarantee you won't get caught or someone can turn you in.

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2008 , 10:25pm
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoAnnB

Is the accountant going to pay your fines when the HD finds out?



yeah, I wouldnt' take legal advice from an accountant. Smart move to talk to an attorney.

costumeczar Posted 28 Sep 2008 , 12:33am
post #11 of 13

It's pretty easy to get a business license in Virginia, so why not go ahead and do that? Contact the Dept. of Agriculture, they do the inspections. I'm doing a wedding cake for one of the women who works there, and she says that they keep REALLY busy with phone calls from people ratting out illegal bakers. Why not just get licensed since we're lucky enough to live in a state that lets you bake from home?

You can pm me if you can't get anywhere with the dept. of agriculture. If you're in my area then I can give you the inspector's contact info.

kelleym Posted 28 Sep 2008 , 1:06am
post #12 of 13

From my research, and what other CC members in NJ have said, NJ is a state that requires a separate, commercial kitchen.

http://www.bernardshealth.org/Homepages/Document/Chapter%202012.pdf

IMO, it's pretty reckless of your accountant to give you that kind of advice. icon_confused.gif Talk to the county health department, and make sure you get the name of whoever you speak with in case a question ever arises.

wendy1273 Posted 28 Sep 2008 , 1:33am
post #13 of 13

Thank you everyone for your advise, I will talk to a lawyer about this soon.

Thank you Kelleym, there is a lot read. lol

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