Go Legit Or Try To Fly Under The Radar?

Business By evasmama Updated 4 Feb 2009 , 4:06am by jlsheik

evasmama Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:23am
post #1 of 19

Just found out that my county HD (Tulsa, OK) requires baking for "the public" to be done in a full commercial kitchen separate from any living quarters. Crap!!!

I don't have a booming business just yet...so far, just friends and family...but I'm getting to where I'm doing 2 or more cakes a month (small potatoes, I know, but it's picked up). Plus, I gave my name to two guests at a friend's party yesterday where I provided the cake, so I have some decisions to make.

My question to you other part-timers is this: does commercial kitchen space rental kill your profit margin? I'd like to be within the law, but I want to make some money as well.

18 replies
CakeForte Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:43am
post #2 of 19

Well since you posted in the biz section I'm guessing you want to make this a business endeavor, so you should start doing research on finding places to rent.

jlsheik Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:48am
post #3 of 19

Hi....fellow Okie!!

I am in the very early process of renting kitchen space from a caterer.... I am sure me being the only legal baker in our area has to mean something! But at this point I cant really say that it will actually help me!
There are 4 or 5 bakers in my area....I know I will have to charge way more than they do because of the extra expenses I will have...and I think with the economy people will price shop and some will go the cheaper non-legal route.
For me...I am doing it because my business has grown out of my kitchen and I can't continue to keep baking in my home....I need my house back!!! Not to mention I have built up a great reputation and so excited to be on with the next phase of my new career.
Good luck...I know I will need it, I have just started cutting through the red tape... and jumping through all the hoops.
Laura

dmich Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:52am
post #4 of 19

I would LOVE to be able to bake from home, but am restricted by the laws here. I would like to sell a few cakes per week. While it's tempting to just fly under the radar and do it from home, I don't think I could sleep at night. What if someone gets sick and claims it's from your cake? People are so lawsuit-happy. I just don't want to put my family and our personal assets at risk. So, I'm looking for a kitchen to rent (hopefully have found one - cross your fingers for me). I know I'll have to raise my prices to cover everything, but many other cake decorators around here charge a decent amount.

maryjsgirl Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:02am
post #5 of 19

Why not just get a job at a bakery??

Mac Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:09am
post #6 of 19

I rent a commercial kitchen for $400 a month. Three nights a week for 4 hours each night. My first weekend of the month, pays the rent. The second weekend covers ingredients, supplies and advertising. The next 2 weekends are profit (give a cake or two). But I also do a couple of cakes a month to donate to the women's shelter for the children's birthdays. Hope that helps

Mac Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:12am
post #7 of 19

a bakery may not allow individual artistic creativity. Plus some bakeries are quantity, not quality!

evasmama Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:29am
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryjsgirl

Why not just get a job at a bakery??




Because my first responsibility is my little girl, who is 2. Doing cakes is awesome, but if I can't make it fit around my life as a mom and wife, it'll have to stay a hobby. Thankfully my family is big, and we have monthly birthday parties and assorted other gatherings that could use a cake.

SugaredUp Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:30am
post #9 of 19

There are pros and cons to both - but mainly, since it's not legal, the cons to doing this out of your home probably outweigh the pros. I knew off the bat I wanted to be legal because I am a scaredy-cat about most things in life! LOL But when I contacted the health dept, and especially during my inspection, I got the feeling they were kind of rolling their eyes at me thinking "why doesn't she just do this from home"? In fact, the lady told me they usually don't say anything about home bakers. I feel better knowing I'm licensed and I can advertise. It's just a stupid hoop they make you jump through so they can make $$ on the licensing IMO. It doesn't mean you're not as clean or not as professional if you're not licensed. You're just taking a risk at getting caught.

SugaredUp Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 5:32am
post #10 of 19

Oh - I have 3 very small kids (3 years old and younger), so you can do it even w/ kids if you're willing to work your butt off. Just go around looking for someplace to rent close to home. That's what I did. If you want it bad enough, you will work it out.

muddpuppy Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 1:06pm
post #11 of 19

It took me 3 years of sort of looking then seriously looking then sort of looking again to find a commercial kitchen rental that I was happy with. But I feel sOOOOOO much better knowing that my biz is legal. Working from home was great and if you can do it, then do it, but I was always scared someone would find out i wasn't lic. and report me and I'd get a huge fine.. It only takes one bridezilla to ruin you. Good luck with your biz!! I hope it works out for you!!

-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 1:55pm
post #12 of 19

I vote go legit.

Because the object of the game is to get noticed so you get more business. The more you get noticed the more business you have, yay. Also the more you risk by not having the duckies lined up.

It's a self-defeating pattern. I mean it's like going up and down the stairs at the same time. Oh boy so & so is calling for a cake. On no somebody I don't know is calling for a cake.

All you need is one person to dial the number on the phone to get turned in. It's so easy to loose it all.

And often it is a relative.

indydebi Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:20pm
post #13 of 19

It's not just the problem of people potentially getting sick. You are setting yourself up to get screwed payment wise.

Someone gives you a bad check. you threaten to take them to small claims court. They dare you ... because if you do, they are turning you in to the health dept and that will cost you more than a little bounced check.

After the wedding, they get buyer's remorse and want a full refund for whatever reason. You refuse. They threaten to take you to court, which will expose you as an illegal baker.

They kind have you by the short you-know-what's and they know it.

spencersmom98 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:55pm
post #14 of 19

As someone who got turned in to the HD for reasons that I am still trying to figure out, I say, go legal. I am currently trying to set up appt's to get legalized in IL. Now I have several friends who know I am actively looking to rent a kitchen, build a kitchen, or rent/buy a shop, and they are all saying they'd be interested in going into the biz with me. Ironically, I think I've gotten more calls in this past week for cakes, than I have in the past month. Figures! lol

leah_s Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:26pm
post #15 of 19

Definitely go legal. For all the reasons stated above. And for one more.

You said that being a wife and mother was important to you. I would, then, also think that not cheating on the law and being a law-abiding rolemodel would also be important to you.

With children it has to be "do as I do" not "do as I say, not as I do."

evasmama Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:48pm
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Definitely go legal. For all the reasons stated above. And for one more.

You said that being a wife and mother was important to you. I would, then, also think that not cheating on the law and being a law-abiding rolemodel would also be important to you.

With children it has to be "do as I do" not "do as I say, not as I do."




Dammit, you just had to go there. icon_wink.gif

After talking with DH, I've decided I'm not going to pursue an actual business venture just yet. I'm going to continue to bake for family and friends and keep this a somewhat serious hobby.

springlakecake Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:56pm
post #17 of 19

You should do it legally. I understand where you are coming from. I am doing small potatoes now too. But I know that I am good enough and it is what I want to do. I want to do things right so I am nearly done with my in-home separate commercial kitchen. Every time I get on here to talk about it, I realize it is costing me more than I thought (I am up to around 9K). But I think that is a drop in the bucket compared to what it COULD cost. I have a lot of piece of mind knowing this is morally and legally the right thing to do. Plus I am sure orders will pick up when I start to advertise and get business cards etc. Plus it is fun saying that I own a business! If you think you are good enough and you have enough passion for it, you'll find a way.

Deb_ Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 10:12pm
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by evasmama

After talking with DH, I've decided I'm not going to pursue an actual business venture just yet. I'm going to continue to bake for family and friends and keep this a somewhat serious hobby.




It's not so bad, I did this for 20 yrs. We lived in RI then, where you couldn't have a legal home kitchen, so I baked for friends and family and raised my kids. We moved to MA (30 minutes from our RI home) in 2004, where you can have a legal home kitchen, and now I make those same people PAY me for their cakes. Hey, after 20 yrs of freebies, they've got a lot of making up to do. icon_lol.gif

The risk of "flying under the radar" really isn't worth it. Enjoy your baby, make your family/friends cakes, you'll be getting a lot of practice, than, when you can afford it take the necessary steps to become legal. You won't regret it.

jlsheik Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:06am
post #19 of 19

Well if you ever come to my neck of the woods stop in for cake!! I just got my confirmation on my "business entity" A Sweet Success! It is the first step of many more to come of getting my business off the ground!! If I can do it anyone can...I'm old...I've had a career...retired and started a new life!!
Happy Caking...Laura

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