Home Based In "no Home Licensed" State? Anyone?

Business By staramystar Updated 12 Jan 2009 , 1:55pm by FromScratch

staramystar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:28am
post #1 of 94

I am in Florida and I know I got my wedding cake from a woman in her home. I also know she made her cakes in her home, but my reception site recommend her. Is there any decorators out there that sell there cakes from home without a license? If I start a business from home is anyone really going to come fine me for doing it? Help! I really could use the advice because there is no way I have the money to rent a kitchen or re-do my house to be licensed.

93 replies
JanH Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:43am
post #2 of 94

Here's a previous thread on this subject:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-44409-.html

HTH

tcakes65 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 3:33pm
post #3 of 94

I'm surprised a reception venue is recommending a non-licensed baker to brides. It not only sets the baker up for huge liability, but the venue as well. It's hard to say whether or not you'll get caught. I'm sure it's the luck of the draw. However, there are many risks involved by flying under the radar. It's not just about getting caught, but putting people's health and welfare at risk as well as not paying taxes. Attending a Food Managers Certification class really puts into perspective how baking out your home is extremely risky and can make clients and their guests sick. If you're going to bake out of your home, it's probably best to start with only baking for family and friends. It's a double edged sword to be quite honest. You have to start somewhere, but also take a huge risk by selling cakes without being licensed. It makes the decision quite difficult, and only you can decide if it's worth taking the chance. By the way, I heard from a reputable source that there is talk about making it illegal for venues to allow wedding cakes be brought in from unlicensed bakers. There was a meeting held recently in regard to the subject, but I've not heard anything since. Not sure it will even go anywhere, but it's something to consider when making a decision in the future.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 3:53pm
post #4 of 94

There are a few "lady's" in Texas that sell them out of their homes, it amazes me! Many have been doing it for years (one lady in Friendswood has been doing it for over 30 years illegally) Not sure how she has gotten away with it as her reputation is well known in the Houston area, she only depends on word of mouth advertising. I have heard of a couple more up here in the Hill Country of TX where I am now. Very few legit bakeries or cake designers up here, I am one of the legit ones...LOL! I have a tax ID, license, liability insurance, DBA in 4 counties, and my food managers certification for the entire state of TX, not just my county, oh and I use a licensed commercial kitchen...My home however is my consultation area and gallery (I have a spare room that I turned into my "shop" so to speak. My storefront is in development stage as the contractors have yet to break ground...getting a bit ancy as they should have broken ground back in October! But, at present I am in no true rush to begin having a hugh overhead again icon_smile.gif

But as for advise on being illegal...DON'T DO IT. IMHO it is an insult to all those who do "jump through the hoops" to be legit. Most times "home bakers" that aren't legit short sell themselves by not charging enough, and then cause problems for those who are legit. It propetuates the myth that cakes shouldn't cost much. I now tell potential clients who tell me "so & so only charges $1.50 per slice" I then tell them that "so & so is probably doing cakes illegally out of their home and is opening up her guests to possible food poisoning, not to mention at $1.50 a serving you won't be getting the cake of your dreams."

meancat Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:53pm
post #5 of 94

I used to do it out of my home till I found this site and found out it was illegal - we quit doing it asap, because it isn't fair to the ones who do have shops. I'm working on getting a shop and when I do, if I hear of someone in my area doing it out of their home, you can better believe it, that I will turn them in.

indydebi Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:56pm
post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by staramystar

I also know she made her cakes in her home, but my reception site recommend her.



icon_eek.gif Whoa! That surprises me, too! I'm betting the venue doesn't know the woman is not licensed. They have SO much liability by permitting that, they are really putting themselves at risk!

Quote:
Quote:

I then tell them that "so & so is probably doing cakes illegally out of their home and is opening up her guests to possible food poisoning, not to mention at $1.50 a serving you won't be getting the cake of your dreams."



You might also add, "Hope she doesn't get busted before your wedding or you'll end up with no cake at all."

I have a cousin who has been a professional photographer for years. He has the same issue with "my uncle has a camera" type of thing or the friend who wants to break into the biz. So he asks the bride where that person works full-time. 9 times out of 10, the person works in one of the local factories. He scrunches up his face and does a big intake of breath and tells 'em, "Well ...... you know sometimes these places have mandatory overtime on Saturday. And if this guy gets called into work on your wedding Saturday, well ... you just won't have a photographer." He has booked brides on the spot when he hits them with this piece of reality that they never even considered.

CakeForte Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:14pm
post #7 of 94

Yes, many of the venues and wedding planners in my part of Texas recommend the ones from their homes as well. These are extremely popular venues as well. Some are major hotel chains....some are private. The "cake lady's" are are crazy booked. It's very frustrating because many venues take on the attitude of "Well we ONLY refer this person." I know this because I have called around several locations just asking questions...and clients that are interviewing me are also interviewing the other cake lady's. If you make simple conversation...you can find out a lot of info by just asking questions.

I do bake from home under the radar...but its a very tiny (about 25 weddings in 200icon_cool.gif amount right now as I have full time job and school full time. I have all of my business paperwork filed, I do my taxes am in the process of building a kitchen which should be finished and inspected by the Fall. I'm not saying I'm right ...but I'm doing what I have to do to reach my goals.

I have looked at renting kitchen space in the interim...but they are all too far away to make the $20/hr rate feasible...especially since I'm already shelling out $875 plus utilities on a space PLUS construction costs. Not only that, but the kitchens that I have toured to rent are some nasty a$$ kitchens...and they are legal? Not to mention the failed kitchens on the news every week?? I am not worried...I have no pets at home and ANYONE would rather eat off of my floors than in most restaurants.

I bake under the radar to help offset those costs and get most clients word of mouth or through my website.Yes I'm taking a risks...but someone would have to see me in the act b/c just because I have a web site doesn't necessarily I am doing anything illegal.

I'm also of the mentality of "If I go down, they all go down with me". If someone is going to play dirty, then I'll play dirty right back. We( cake lady's) all know each other...we are all under the radar, so there's no need to go there.

Let the flames begin!

indydebi Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 6:04pm
post #8 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

Yes, many of the venues and wedding planners in my part of Texas recommend the ones from their homes as well. These are extremely popular venues as well. Some are major hotel chains....some are private.



I must be a little naive country girl as I'm finding this amazing! I've always heard that Texas is crazy-strict about home kitchens (second only to California, perhaps?), so it's crazy to hear that hotels and popular venues are recommending "the underground" for a cake. icon_eek.gif Don't you wish the state would at least be consistent?

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:32pm
post #9 of 94

Yep debi, it depends on what county you are in. Some of the counties are super strict but most aren't, and if you are in an area that is governed soley by the state, and not your county you generally can get away with it if no one directly reports you, as the State has very few inspectors available, nor are the rushing to hire either. The inspector for my area has 12 other counties that he is responsible for and they are scattered all over the state. He usually only comes this direction when a new establishment opens or there is a complaint. Some restaurants up here haven't seen the inspector darken their doors in over 3 years because they passed with flying colors on their last inspection. The venues here in Texas generally don't care if you have creds or not. It would be hard pressed to target what food at an event may have caused food poisoning, and cake is usually last on a list of suspects. They will more than likely blame the caterer for their food. The "under the radar" cake lady will generally remain so until someone reports her directly.

staramystar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:27pm
post #10 of 94

It's not like I'm going to give anyone food poisoning! I have my BS in restaurant management and have taken many classes on food safety. I also worked for a major restaurant chain for 5 years (I'm only 27) so I know all about that stuff. I have all my certifications that I would need.

I don't think I would ever turn someone in for doing cakes out of their home. In this economy I think we are all just trying to do what we can to keep our dreams alive. I hope everyone can remember when you just think someone is "flying under the radar" for kicks to save a little. In my state you either have to have your own bakery or build a separate room on to your home, not everyone has that luxury.

CakeForte Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:34pm
post #11 of 94

It really does depend on the county. My building in right between two counties...and one county said my plans were perfect, and I could get set up to open...BUT my jurisdiction was the city. The city permit requirements were about 8 pages different than the county. Basically I had to start over with the plans.

I think the weekly inspections that end up on the news and fast food chains and restaurants keep them plenty busy....so they just don't have time to go around.

Especially when weddings are typically on a Saturday night and a private. I would be a pissed off bridezilla of the city crashed my wedding to check the food...lol. Also this is an industry where its word of mouth....anyone with a bad reputation wouldn't make it.

indydebi Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:40pm
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by staramystar

I also worked for a major restaurant chain for 5 years (I'm only 27) so I know all about that stuff. I have all my certifications that I would need...... In my state you either have to have your own bakery or build a separate room on to your home, not everyone has that luxury.




1st ... A major restaurant chain here in town was shut down last year for food poisoning. Sick employees came to work and non-hand-washing. So working in or being a major chain isn't a pure safety measure. Yes, you're more aware than most, but it's not sure-fire.

no one ever intends to give someone food poisoning.
icon_confused.gif
2nd ... This is the second thread is a short time where someone has indicated that running a business legally is a "luxury" and has implied it's something that only those "with money" have to do. icon_mad.gif

www.dictionary.com defines "luxury" as:
1. a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity. Gold cufflinks were a luxury not allowed for in his budget.
2. free or habitual indulgence in or enjoyment of comforts and pleasures in addition to those necessary for a reasonable standard of well-being: a life of luxury on the French Riviera.
3. a means of ministering to such indulgence or enjoyment: This travel plan gives you the luxury of choosing which countries you can visit.
4. a pleasure out of the ordinary allowed to oneself: the luxury of an extra piece of the cake.
5. a foolish or worthless form of self-indulgence: the luxury of self-pity.


Running a business legally is NOT a luxury. It is the way it's done. It's not a luxury everytime I have to make a loan payment, a rent payment, or pay the other overhead and licensing costs required to run a biz.

Just because one may not have the money to do things the right way, doesn't mean that everyone who DOES do it the right way, is living luxuriously.

If your attitude is that running a business legally is a luxury, well .... then you have the wrong attitude.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:48pm
post #13 of 94

I think I said this before...indydebi...YOU ROCK!

momofjil Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:51pm
post #14 of 94

I, too, quit making cakes when I found out it was illegal. I thought about my situation and knew that I could not break the law because it was hard to get started. Since then, I found a kitchen that will allow me to rent for $5 an hour and with my certificate I will be free to do what I am doing without the fear of being caught. I probably will never turn anyone in but it won't be because I am not tempted!

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:52pm
post #15 of 94

Luxury eh? Sounds like another comment from a person suffering from "entitlement-itis".

staramystar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:58pm
post #16 of 94

I didn't mean a business was a luxury. I meant being able to afford a separate space for me to cook right now for me is. You shouldn't judge people when you have no idea of their circumstances. And I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't very hard work to get to have your own place to cook. I'm just saying it is something that I cannot afford and I am just looking for a little help here on what others have experienced with this and ways to help me like renting a kitchen. NOT JUDGMENT! icon_confused.gif

rebew10 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:02pm
post #17 of 94

I read a previous thread on this not too long ago......and it opened my eyes to the laws in Texas. Needless to say, I strictly just do this for friends/family free of charge because I enjoy doing it and love to see the finished product. I would love to be able to add a seperate kitchen or build a site, but am not able to. Nor am I willing to go down the road of possibly getting in a load of trouble. Like Indydebi said, no one intends to give anyone food poisoning.....but if you do you better look out. I know I get pretty steamed when I go into a franchise restaurant and I get it!!!

indydebi Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:03pm
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by staramystar

What ever, you shouldn't judge people when you have no idea of their circumstances.



That's right you shouldn't. You should not judge everyone who runs it legally as people who have "the luxury" of being in business.

"What ever"? You want to "what ever" this conversation? icon_confused.gif I'm not sure what you intended with that comment but all it did was flag you as a little girl that I just don't have time to teach how to be a grown up. But don't worry .... this, too, you will outgrow. thumbs_up.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:04pm
post #19 of 94

The tone you used set the ball rolling for all of the comments that you received...and rightfully so. You sounded huffy and snarky and resentful about not having the "luxury" of being legal. I believe someone took care of that comment.

This is the most helpful place in the world as far as caking goes. I wouldnt know 90 percent of what I do without the help from the ladies and gents in here.

Ask a question with polite and friendly tones, and you will receive reponses in kind.

We are here to help.

Doug Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:06pm
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by staramystar

What ever, you shouldn't judge people when you have no idea of their circumstances. And I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't very hard work to get to have your own place to cook. I'm just saying it is something that I cannot afford and I am just looking for a little help here on what others have experienced. NOT JUDGMENT!




breaking the law is breaking the law....

and this case....

is just the same as selling so-called rolex watches, LV purses, etc.

it's a form of theft.

----

just because it's easy, because it's convenient, or makes one "feel good" does NOT make it right.

----

the logic of "if it makes me feel good or I can benefit, I can do it" is the same logic that every criminal uses.

so, if makes me feel good to blow your brains out I can?

so, if makes me feel good, benefits me to steal everything in your house/car, I can?

so, if it makes me feel good to do whatever I please and then tell you are wrong for "limiting me" or "not allowing me to express myself" or "not allowing me to self-actualize/seek my full potentional", you have no right to laugh in my face?

----

sorry, it's breaking the law

it's a form of theft -- siphoning off legitimate clientele from legitimate business

----

it's plain out WRONG!


------

I speak as one that could EASILY fly under the radar (does NC even have radar!?).

I speak as one daily trying to educate America's youth to what is right and wrong (33 years and counting!)

I speak as one who believes laws DO serve a purpose and are to be followed. If you don't like the law -- get it changed.

staramystar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:08pm
post #21 of 94

As you can see I edited it. When I get typing when I am a little ticked some times a what ever flies out. And really you needed to attack me like that? That is grown up with your snide comments.

staramystar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:13pm
post #22 of 94

All I wanted like I said was help or suggestions. I hope you all can realize when to judge and when to help. And thank you Cakeforte and Momoofjil for the help and renting suggestions. I appreciate it.

ziggytarheel Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:25pm
post #23 of 94

But you know, when you come on a cake business forum and ask how you can get away with operating illegally, do you expect people to really give you advice to help you do that? Think of it that way and maybe you will understand. In general, the law does not look kindly on helping others to break it. You know? I surely wouldn't want to be someone who could be discovered to have helped you or anyone else to have circumvented the law. And you don't want to lose all your savings, your reputation, have the IRS after you, etc., do you? There are surely legal ways for you to feed your family. That's a better way to think of it.

Owning a business is a difficult thing that requires hard work and capital. There are some short cuts, but mostly, you gotta pay the piper and make wise choices for it to work. For most folks, it takes planning, dreaming, sacrificing and saving to give it a go. And, unfortunately, after all of that, most businesses fail. Those are just the facts.

tootie0809 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:34pm
post #24 of 94

There is no luxury in getting licensed so you can LEGALLY bake and sell from home. I have very limited financial funds, but I want to start my own cake business and I've worked my rear end off trying to make that happen over the last few months. Sure, I could have taken the attitude of "I don't have the kind of money to get legal", but the laws don't give a hoot what your circumstances are. Laws are laws. I'm still working on getting licensed. In fact, the city building inspector is downstairs in my basement at this very moment with my husband going over the rough inspection of our basement refinish so we can get my separate kitchen approved down there. It's been a long process. I'm not even there yet, but I'm doing it as all people should who want to bake and sell from home. After going through all the right avenues to getting legal, it really makes me mad when someone just pops up and decides they want to ignore all the laws and think they don't apply to them. That attitude is a "luxury" I don't have.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:37pm
post #25 of 94

I took the luxury comment as if Stara meant that it would be a luxury for her to get sucha business. More like insufficient funds rather than seeing it as the first shot fired in a class war.

Now on the other hand this statement in the first few posts in the thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

...I now tell potential clients who tell me "so & so only charges $1.50 per slice" I then tell them that "so & so is probably doing cakes illegally out of their home and is opening up her guests to possible food poisoning...




To me referencing a food poison potential for people who do cakes out of their home is firmly across the line of not playing well with others.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:44pm
post #26 of 94

Lots of us have started at home illegal.

There were two females here in Memphis who turned in several cakers.

Woe on their sour grapes and sorrier arses.

They went out of business in short order.

Funny thing they themselves started out of their homes.
And their business was going gangbusters. wtf

A really sick thing? They turned in their own family.
Happy holidays forevermore huh.

There's vigalante-ism and there's somebody just wanted to do the cake thing.

I'd rather do cakes that fight any fricken day.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:52pm
post #27 of 94

And me, I've been fixing to go get to the busines license place all week. I thought January 5th would be such a great date to get my license because five is the number for grace.

Then I'm all busy that day, didn't happen. Well the 7th is a great day--God's perfect number.

Then I thought the 8th is better the number for starting over.

Then here it is the 9th. January 9, '09 perfect--cool number.

I'm too tired to get down there today. icon_lol.gif

But now that I finally have the green light lo these many years, I'm moving kinda slow.

I'm gonna get her done though. thumbs_up.gif It's worth waiting for.
And of course it's worth doing it right.

She meant it's a luxury to her because she can't get there right now.

MacsMom Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 10:05pm
post #28 of 94

Kudos! For some, it simply is not feasible nor affordable to become "legal". It has nothing to do with getting away with not paying taxes or slamming legit business owners, but some states just make it impossible to run a legal home-based business.

If you are only making a couple of cakes a week, you can not afford to rent. If you can't work on cakes during daylight hours, it's not safe to be alone in a shop.

Yes, we all must start somewhere. I am pretty certain that all of us wish we get lincensed and not many are trying to scam anyone.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 10:48pm
post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I took the luxury comment as if Stara meant that it would be a luxury for her to get sucha business. More like insufficient funds rather than seeing it as the first shot fired in a class war.

Now on the other hand this statement in the first few posts in the thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

...I now tell potential clients who tell me "so & so only charges $1.50 per slice" I then tell them that "so & so is probably doing cakes illegally out of their home and is opening up her guests to possible food poisoning...



To me referencing a food poison potential for people who do cakes out of their home is firmly across the line of not playing well with others.





I never said I would turn one in, I wouldn't, but you darn right I will let a potential client who is trying to get me to cut my price know in no uncertain terms that they are asking for trouble if going with an illegal home baker. Here in Texas it is ILLEGAL to bake out of your home for profit, END OF STORY! If you are in a state that it is illegal to operate from your home or it is legal yet you STILL operate in an unlicensed kitchen you are committing a crime! END OF STORY!

Now those ladies who you spoke of who ended up out of biz after turning in several illegal home bakers, yet they as well got their start illegally then all I can say is karma generally deals with hypocrites in it's own way.

However, to state I don't "play well with others" is just rediculous. So I am suppose to bend my morals, and ethics, lower my prices to accommodate a customer who is uneducated in the legalities of retail food establishments? I THINK NOT! I choose to educate that client with the truth about it all.

Illegal home bakers make it very difficult for legitimate bakers to profit. Same as those who counterfeit music, videos, designer goods, etc. So yes there is alot of anamosity from those of us who have struggled, busted our butts, pinched pennies, WAITED UNTOLD YEARS, MONTHS, WEEKS, AND DAYS to be able to get our establishments going legitimately. There are ways to get your cakes done legitimately. Call area churches to see if they have already licensed kitchens. Work out a percentage deal with them you might be surprised how cheap it is! If it is your church and you are a member you might just get it for free!

The fines are very steep if you get caught, I personally wouldn't want to risk not being able to ever own my own shop because someone reported me. But hey all you that "fly under the radar" you may not be so "under the radar" Your competition just might be scoping to find out if you are legit or not. You never know who could be on the other end of the phone. A random call could end you up out of biz!

There is never a good excuse/reason for breaking the law!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:30pm
post #30 of 94

Switch to decaf.

It's not only not playing well with others it's using a scare tactic to book your cake.

I am clearly referencing the 'poison' remark.

Other than that you're preaching to the choir.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-613958.html

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