Should I Consider

Business By cricket0616 Updated 20 Apr 2009 , 11:47pm by costumeczar

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 2:37pm
post #1 of 13

I have been a scratch baker for years, schooled by my grandmother. I have baked cakes and cookies for my family and friends, but never have sold any. This weekend I went to my son's baseball game and brought sugar cookies decorated as baseballs with each player's name on them. One of the mom's was so impressed, she asked me if I made cakes. I told her yes. (Not thinking she would want to pay me for a cake). She asked if I would consider making her godchild's first birthday cake. Well, my jaw dropped. I explained that I have only made cakes for family and friends, but I would think about it. She wants me to bring pictures of cakes that I have made. Challenge: I live in a state that does not allow home bakeries. I love baking and would like to do this, but am worried about the legal end of this. Should I thank her and tell her no or do I bake this one cake and see what happens.

12 replies
melhoneybee Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 3:07pm
post #2 of 13

The likely-hood of it is, that if you do one cake (even many) for friends and family by word of mouth only, nothing bad will happen. It still is a risk though. Word of mouth is word of mouth and it gets around, you never know who might be listening, especially if you live in a smallish sort of town. If you do decide to bake illegally from home though, I would definitely not advertise because that could get you in trouble fast! Also, I know that other home bakers/cake ladies on here have said that they will do cakes but not take orders from anyone they don't know. Maybe that is a good idea for you?? Hope I helped. HTH!

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 3:20pm
post #3 of 13

I do live in a small town. Just moved her a year ago and it has last than 1,000 people in it. The challenge is that there isn't a bakery for 25 minutes and I think that is why she asked. Word is getting around that I am a baker because teachers a my son's school have requested things for parties and fund raiser, etc. I have to say my heart is in because I love it, but my head is worried.

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 3:24pm
post #4 of 13

Thought: Could you explain that you can not charge for a cake, but you do accept donations for supplies?

melhoneybee Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 3:45pm
post #5 of 13

I think that is a safe bet, sure! If you tell people who ask you to make them a cake that you do not charge, but they need to pay for the ingredients, I think that would be just fine. You are not selling them for profit that way, it is really more of a gift. My guess is that you will receive some nice tips too! icon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 3:50pm
post #6 of 13

Hre we go...You're going to get a lot of replies on this unless everyone's tired of arguing about it on other threads! icon_smile.gif I'll try to keep it short.

If you take money for a cake, even for supplies, you're doing it illegally if your state doesn't allow it.

You'll get people telling you to go ahead, who cares? But if it's illegal it's illegal. The IRS is interested in these cases, and if someone turns you in you'll end up paying fines.

I also think that if you have kids who are watching you, don't do it. You'll be teaching them that you should follow the rules unless it's inconvenient, then go ahead and break the law. Don't think they won't know what's going on, and they learn by example.

Maybe you can find a job teaching decorating or something if you want to have a creative outlet that you can use to earn money. There's a place near me that teaches kids cooking, and they have classes for cake decorating for kids. Something like that might be good to look into.

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 4:05pm
post #7 of 13

Unfortnately the closest town is 25 minutes away and I don't think my town could support me opening something formally. I have always day dreamed about opening a bakery some day, but that is not in the cards now. I appreciate the feedback and maybe, I should tell her thanks for the compliment, but I can't do the cake for her.

jillmakescakes Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 4:11pm
post #8 of 13

totally agree with costumczar

Check with the local HD, they might give you a variance. This might be more likely given the size of the town.
You could also see if the school might let you use their kitchen to do it legally.

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 4:34pm
post #9 of 13

Does the HD actually give variances? I would have never thought.

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 7:19pm
post #10 of 13

any other ideas or suggestions.

melhoneybee Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 7:53pm
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by costumeczar

If you take money for a cake, even for supplies, you're doing it illegally if your state doesn't allow it.

Oh! I wasn't aware of this. I thought for sure you could have people pay for your ingredients only just so you don't have to pay for it! hmm...well doesn't that just BITE!

cricket0616 Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 10:24pm
post #12 of 13

Thinking about what costumeczar said, how can anyone come after you if they are reimbursing me for the cost of materials used to make a cake for them. If I go to the store and pick up a gallon of milk for my neighbor and they reimburse me, I don't report that! Just trying to figure this thing out.

costumeczar Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 11:47pm
post #13 of 13

If you were milking the cow and packaging and selling the milk then you have to get health department clearance, I think. Handing a gallon of milk to someone isn't the same as producing something yourself.

You might want to check with the health department in your area, every state has different laws and there might be something about whether you can do occasional cakes for people for reimbursement costs, I don't know what the specific laws are where you are.

One inspector here told me that there was a woman who had to have her home-made candy inspected three times before there was an "acceptable" level of dog hair in it (as oppsoed to too much dog hair!) That's why they inspect people and have laws about baking things out of your home. Some states don't want to deal with it, others are willing to. They inspect restaurants and food processing facilities for the same reason.

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