I have just started advetising on my website, I haven't had any customers yet but I am concerned about the legal / insurance issues in the UK. What exactly do I need and have to do if I don't want to get into trouble with the council? I have not registered as a business yet because it is too soon as I don't earn enough. I have heard that the law states that you have to be earning over a certain amount before you even consider to register as a business and deduct tax etc... I am more concerned about the health issues.
I'm in the UK also - South East England.
Firstly, what you've been told about tax is incorrect. You must register as a business within 3 months of opening, else you'll get a hefty fine. You can apply for a special earning exemption which means you don't need to pay NI for your business, but there is no 'minimum earnings' rule regarding registering for tax. It may well be that you'd earn under the tax free threshold, and therefore have no tax to pay, or (more often than not) in the first couple of years, you make a loss....then there's no tax to pay. But you 100% MUST register with HMRC as soon as you've opened.
As regards to the Environmental Health, the law states all food business must be registered with the council 28 days prior to commencing business. IT's free to register, and an EHO will come to your home and inspect your premises. I'd personally cease advertising until your registered. In all honesty, the inspection is usually a breeze, as long as you don't use cream, they catagorise us 'low risk'. It's free, so you haven't got anything to loose.
At the minimum, you should have public liability insurance, to cover you against any damage, illness etc caused by your cake. (Not to say that your cake will make someone ill, but you need to insure against it).
Basically, as soon as you decide you want to charge for a cake, you must register with HMRC, register with the EHO, and be insured. I'm afraid it doesn't matter how little you earn, you could find yourself in hot water if you don't.
how much is the insurance?
Also, does making Ganache cause problems (as you use Cream).?
My Liability is £5million, and includes product and public liability insurance. mine costs around £10 a month. £140 in total i think i had an initial payment.
It depends on if you cover kit, transport etc.
try insure my liability they were great, and have insurance specidic to cake baking and decorating.
The health inspection was fine, same as above with the dairy products. they'll reccomend you use pasturised eggs in any icings (royal, meringue) and you'll need to prove a safe fridge practice (a thermometer and zero cross contamination)
The tax and vat thing is right as above too. You need ot register your business, you may not require to pay tax or NI on your earning if they are low enough, in your first year you are not expected to turn tru profit anyway. you may include past purchase up to 3 year i think in your first return
So all those cake pans and mizers come off your profit, because without them you dont have a business. Vat theshhold is £67k but you should see oyu local business gateway for a workshop, they are usually free and you can get one to one time with someone form hmrc.
Good luck x
re ganache, you health inspector will be able ot confrim specifics for your region, but for mine
As long as the pasturised cream (i use elmlea with no problems) is boiled them poured over the chocolate the ganache is room safe for a day as a coating or piping and safe for a few days as a filling.
The sugar in the chocolate acts as a preservative, the health dept are concerned with moisture content, as this breeds bacteria, solid ganache isnt "wet" and so is pretty safe.
They will give you a cast iron answer at your inspection, do not be afraid to ask questions it benefits all 3 parties, you the customer and the health authorities
Apparently if you join the British Sugar Guild you can then take out their insurance which I am sure was about £20 for the year! Which is an excellent price. When I phoned my env. health they couldn't have been any more helpful. they did say about doing the food handling basic course (one day at college £50) but apparently there is an on line option for about £22 it was all on the UK beakers thread if you can find it, there is a tonne of info on that!
I'd read over very carefully of rhtat, because I checked it out and it only covers you up to a certain turnover
I have been told by my tutor that you have to be making 5 cakes or more a week to get a licence in the UK. (Which I don't) Plus you have to register with tax office if you are earning £5,000 or more a year on the business..which I'm currently not. When you apply for the license from the Environmental Health Agency, from your Local Authority, they will come for regular inspections and you need to have two separate sinks and separate ovens and fridges for your business and home food. Is this true? If thats the case then It will be impossible for me. I found this link to obtain a food hygiene Cert, has anyone been on this? http://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/
It's not really a license, per say - you become registered with your Environmental Health department to be able to legally sell cakes from your home kitchen. It's nonsense about the 5 cakes per week. If you want to sell legally, you must be registered (and you won't get insurance cover without registration either). You also have to register with HRMC whether your cake earnings are over £5000 or not. You should really just ring them to talk it through.
The two separate sinks, cookers etc will vary from council to council. Mine only required a 1.5 stainless steel sink.
The best we can advise you are working bakers and decorators is that all of hte above NEED to know you are in business.
Regardless of turnover you need to register your business. Whether you pay tax/vat or not is subject your earning after your first year
You MUST have public liability insurance
If you prepare food to be sold or eaten by the public you MUST register with your local health authority. Licences arent' standard for all areas of food prep in all local aithorities but if you were a butcher it wouldnt matter if you did 1 cow or 100, you would have that licence. I think the rules are much stricter for non home bakeries.
The best people ot advise you are your local authority they really are very helpful.
They would like me to have a seperate fridge for storing orders with cream cheese. but i did not need 2 kitchen sinks or 2 ovens. I did however need a seprate hand wahsing ares (bathroom) and a dishwasher was very helpful as it had a sterile setting.
Personally I have never heards of the 5 cake minimum, those 5 cakes could feed 2000 people if they were big wedding cakes, it think the health dept needs everyone registered.
IT really isnt a lot of work and everyone was so helpful with me, for your own peace of mind call them all, if they tell you you dont need soemthing great, but if they tell you later you should have had something you don't you could be in serious trouble.
p.s we'd love to see your website. And see the uk bakers thread in the cupcake section, it has some peoples paths through getting set up, you may find it helpful and comforting