Just Looking For Some Direction

Business By jwhite0826 Updated 3 Mar 2009 , 4:25am by jwhite0826

jwhite0826 Posted 2 Mar 2009 , 11:56pm
post #1 of 15

so recently, i've been reading the forums looking for any and all information regarding a home based bakery businesses. I've seen everything about being licensed and what you should and should not do. Well perhaps my situation is a bit different? I'm just looking for opinions as to where i should start.

Currently, I am a supervisor and head cook at a local highschool cafeteria (full time). Then i work a few hours (part time) at a bakery at night. I'm educated/experienced in cake decorating and baking and all that other fun stuff. So, ultimately i'd like to open my own bakery. But i'm not too into baking. I prefer decorating/designing cakes. I've been considering decorating cakes for the local highschool students (since my town is so small and everyone knows everyone) for graduation, birthdays, etc. Also, i'd like to provide cakes for small businesses in the area as well..all for a profit.

My questions are as follows:

- would i need to be licensed to decorate and sell cakes to the students/clients, from my home? There would be NO traffic coming into or out of my apartment. There would be NO deliveries made here.

- am i allowed to hand out flyers at the school advertising my services..or would i have to be licensed for that as well?

also, like i said, i prefer decorating over baking so i already know i can buy from wholesale uniced cakes and decorate them myself. Is there a problem in this, considering it is not my own personally baked cake?

I guess i'm looking for some sort of direction. I basically want to just create an order form, create a few flyers and hand them out to the kids at school, and decorate the cakes as they desire and deliver them to where ever they are needed. all while making a profit.

Are there certain things i need to know before doing this? I am soooooooo ready to start decorating again since i havent been doing it as much as i like. I live in an apartment, no pets, no children. just my boyfriend and i..and plenty of free space to do the necessary work.

any information would be great !!

by the way, beautiful cakes posted here and great advice.. HUGEEEEE thanks and appreciation to everyone on this forum. i've only been around for a few days but ive found and learned more from this one page than i have in 4 years of pastry school and numerous years of bakery experience!

14 replies
kelleym Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 12:18am
post #2 of 15

In general, you must be licensed to sell food made in your home. Some states allow this and some do not. You do not "have" to be licensed to hand out flyers and advertise, but doing so unlicensed vastly increases your chances of being caught.

Generally, states that do not permit you to sell food made in your home will not allow you to decorate a pre-made cake at home. All food prep must be done in the licensed kitchen.

Check the sticky at the top of this forum to find out your state's regulations, and then call your county's Health Department or Department of Agriculture for more information. thumbs_up.gif

costumeczar Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 12:25am
post #3 of 15

The licensing questions are something that you'd have to find out from your specifc state's health department. The laws are different everywhere as far as that goes.

I personally wouldn't sell or advertise anything until you have any licensing that's necessary in place.

The idea of selling "prefab" cakes is kind of strange to me...If the quality of your cakes isn't any better than something that people can get for $18 at Costco, why would they come to you? You might be better off doing a whole bunch of baking at one time to get it out of the way, then freezing your cakes until you need tham. If you offer a limited cake menu, or just use a basic yellow or chocolate cake then change out the fillings, that might be better then buying premade cakes in the long run.

indydebi Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 12:30am
post #4 of 15

We're pretty much unable to help you until we know what state you're in. Each state's laws differ.

In general ...... you need to be licensed to sell any food that you have prepared. Not just baking it ... but decorating it, too. It's food PREPPED, not just food COOKED.

jwhite0826 Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 1:33am
post #5 of 15

thanks for all feedback. i live in PA, close to philly. I had originally said i'd rather buy uniced cakes wholesale mainly for convenience and consistency. My customers would be within a 5 minute driving distance from me as opposed to the "grocery store" cakes, which is why i took that route. also I wouldnt be completely against basic yellow or chocolate cakes. my problem with that is they are more moist, softer cakes..and wouldnt be as sturdy..as to hold the icing or decorations the way i'd like. I've decorated with this type before..and found it was alot easier when using the uniced cakes i bought from wholesale. Also the wholesale cakes can, too, be doctored up to be different than a "costco cake". Thanks again !

also, with getting licensed, does it matter that i live in an apartment, rather than a house? That is why i mentioned my living conditions. I'm not opposed to getting licensed, it jus seems tedious and i dont want to go through the whole process only to find out its not even possible because i dont live in a freestanding house, so to speak..

kelleym Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 1:39am
post #6 of 15

Here are the regulations. You will have to follow up with the Dept. of Agriculture to answer your specific questions.

http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/lib/agriculture/foodsafetyfiles/publications/Home_Processing_rev_11-05.doc

The process for licensing may be "tedious", but trust me, those of us in states where selling from home is flat-out prohibited would give our eyeteeth to be able to do it. thumbs_up.gif

Deb_ Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 1:59am
post #7 of 15

No disrespect to the OP, but I thought I had to ask you.......if you're "not too into baking" as you stated, why did you go to pastry school? icon_confused.gif I'd give my "eyeteeth" to be able to afford to go to pastry school because you see I LOVE everything about baking. I just find it odd that you don't like to bake but you went to school for it. icon_rolleyes.gif

jwhite0826 Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:04am
post #8 of 15

went for baking and pastry arts.. i dont HATE baking..its just not as fun as the other things i like to do lol. and school was a wide range of things learned..a little bit of everything and it wasnt until i left school that i figured out what i wanted to specialize in. Dont get me wrong, school helped, but the money i spent on learning at school wasnt even close to what i learned after i left and just basically worked in the field and got experience. kind of hard to explain but i see your point !

doughdough Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:07am
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

The process for licensing may be "tedious", but trust me, those of us in states where selling from home is flat-out prohibited would give our eyeteeth to be able to do it. thumbs_up.gif




I second that!! icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:09am
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhite0826

went for baking and pastry arts.. i dont HATE baking..its just not as fun as the other things i like to do lol. and school was a wide range of things learned..a little bit of everything and it wasnt until i left school that i figured out what i wanted to specialize in. Dont get me wrong, school helped, but the money i spent on learning at school wasnt even close to what i learned after i left and just basically worked in the field and got experience. kind of hard to explain but i see your point !




No, I understand. I'm also a hairstylist and what I learned in school would fit on the head of a pin compared to what I've learned working in a salon for the past 26 yrs. They just give you the basics, I guess it's that way with any trade type career.

I am still holding out hope that in 3 yrs when we're finished paying for my 2 kids college tuitions that I'll finally be able to apply to Johnson & Wales. I'll be a 50 yr old Freshman icon_eek.gif

indydebi Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:09am
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhite0826

.. i dont HATE baking..its just not as fun as the other things i like to do lol.




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Oh man, then you are REALLY going to hate being in business for yourself! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif It's full of "not as fun" stuff that has to be done. And most of it falls under the category of "Oh crap, you mean I have to figure out how to do that, TOO???" icon_lol.gif

SugarChic24 Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:30am
post #12 of 15

LOL! I've never heard of "eyeteeth" (???) but I too would give them up (including a big chunk of moolah) to go to pastry school! I understand where JWhite's coming from, the "baking" is not my favorite part, I prefeer the decorating aspect but designing cakes is truely my passion... I'm currently a financial consultant for a well known bank which is a great job but it is my dream to make cakes for a living. The problem with the schooling is that all the programs I've researched have been mostly weekdays and I couldn't keep my job which right now is supporting me and my 3 year old, as well as helping my parents out (we all live together and as everyone knows... times are tough). For now I pretty much self teach from great websites like this one (which is my absolute favorite btw),books,dvds,and I attend weekend workshops when possable. I sell cakes from home (shhhhh....) but actually its only to family, co-workers, friends and friends of friends (just to get my name out). I hope to be able to get things up and running within 3 years with a rented kitchen and storefront. Maybe when I'm at that point I'd be able to do the schooling... I couldn't imagine it even being possible to be lic. in ny to do this out of my home, but now i know where to check into it, Thanks!

indydebi Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:43am
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarChic24

LOL! I've never heard of "eyeteeth" (???)



http://www.ask.com/bar?q=where+does+the+phrase+%22give+my+eyeteeth%22+come+from%3F&page=1&qsrc=2417&zoom=&ab=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.funtrivia.com%2Fen%2FPeople%2FOrigins-of-Phrases-14126.html

Here's your history lesson! thumbs_up.gif Pretty common phrase in this part of the country.

SugarChic24 Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 3:50am
post #14 of 15

Thanks! I must've heard it before and never paid attention... I like it, I think I'll use it! lol. I used to live in Indiana for a few years, down in Evansville.

jwhite0826 Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 4:25am
post #15 of 15

i understand the business aspect, maybe i'm just not being clear..? sorry ! I went to johnson & wales..spend alot of time doing alot of different things involved with baking (sugar art, chocolates, artisan bread, etc) nothing really zeroed in on anything specific. at the moment, i dont own my own bakery...so i'm not involved with the business side, just looking for opinions about a home based business, which most of you cleared up for me. thanks again.

also, had i known before i spent $26,000 a year for school that it only costs around $400 to get licensed and i can be self taught more than what the school taught me...i would have taken that route ! would have saved alot of money ! anyway thanks again everyone for your help. I think i'm going to start off small and work my way up like alot of you all did..

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