Hi all! I wonder if I can build a webpage when I'm not legal and my state does not allow home-business/bakery and if so, what are the risks? and can I put my phone number and email address and not my mailing address, etc, etc, etc Sorry I have a lot of questions and doubts...I hope someone here can help, thank you girls! cbya........
I wouldn't recommend it. Even if you don't see it as advertising, it can be looked at that way and it would be a huge risk to take.
What would be required of you to become legal? I'm not familiar with what the laws are in your state/county.
I have a website. I don't sell cakes and I say that pretty clearly on the front page, so I don't anticipate any trouble of any sort.
I think you would do fine as long as you don't have prices and order forms and stuff like that. You probably don't want to put your address or phone number or maybe even your email address...just use a contact form on your website so that people can contact you that way without just getting your email address to send you spam.
If you're looking for a way to show pics of cakes, you can use Flickr for free. It's designed to be a photographer's website so it holds lots of photos. It's free up to a certain volume and then it's only something like $25/year. I had close to 200 photos before I had to pay the $25. You can put a description under each photo and people can comment and add them as favorites.
You can build a website if you make it very clear that it's a gallery for your hobby, have a prominent disclaimer saying you are not a licenced baker, and stress that you do not accept commisions.
If you hint at doing cakes for sale, give out price listings, have a downloadable contract/order form, or any way to personally contact you beyond just an email address, then it's considered a business website and you open yourself up to getting in trouble.
Not every county/state enforces unlicened bakeries/home bakers, but you could find yourself in a situation where you take a cake order and the place you deliver it to doesn't accept cakes from non-licenced bakers, and they could report you. I've heard of it happeneing before, even to folks here on CC.
Not saying don't do it, just be very careful and discreet about things....
My advice/opinion? If you want to showcase your work, by all means knock yourself out (like Texas_Rose!) and have fun with it! If you are not legally in the home baking business, I would not put anything on there to suggest that people should contact you to make a cake for them. Tooooo risky. (JMHO.)
Thanks, this is what I needed to hear, I was ready to build the page when I started to feel not so comfortable about it, yes, I want to have the page to sell cakes etc. etc. I have a lot of customers and I would like to get more and more orders but I don't want to get in trouble either and my friends and family keep telling me it is time for me now to open a bakery but I feel unsecure, always thinking [i]what if this, what if that...How do you guys started? Did you feel unsecure before open your own shop?
yes, I want to have the page to sell cakes etc. etc.
A caterer friend was busted by the health dept 30 days after her website went live. HD told her that their boss had told them to scour the internet and "shut down the illegals" in the area.
Even if you have no pricing and nothing on your website to indicate you are selling cakes, all it takes is one phone call from a HD inspector with the question "How much for a pirate cake to serve 30?" You give a price ... you're busted.
So be careful.
See! this why I love CC! thank you all.
I have not had the opportunity to operate a home-based or store front business. Yet! (So for me, it's just family & close friends. Free cakes.) I have a degree in operations management, and I currently co-own a successful business (not food-related). So I understand in many ways what goes on behind the scenes, not just what people see as our products/services.
Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way. Often times being a hobby baker is a better fit for some who don't want to have to deal with accounting, taxes, insurance, financing equipment, break-even points, market analysis, and all the other "fun" stuff that goes along with running a business. Once some of the hobby bakers cross over into the business and have to deal with all the "other stuff", they find it's no longer as fun as it used to be. OF COURSE, I am in NO WAY saying this to bring you down nor am I assuming that this would happen to you. Regarding confidence in opening a shop (to be brief ), I think if your market research is done right, you've identified your target market, and you have set reasonable (achievable) goals (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually), you will be a lot less insecure than if you went out and opened up a shop without having done any of it. You may in fact HAVE to do some of this work, too, if you need financial assistance (i.e., loans) from banks and/or investors.
If you think you may want to do this as a business, you can always start by doing some research. I'm sure you can find lots of discussions right here on CC! Check with your local, county and state officials (often the health or agriculture department). Ask questions. Identify what would be your confectionary specialty, such as birthday cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. Or maybe you want to do all. Find out who does what in your community and surrounding area. Check web sites, etc., to see what they charge for their products/services. Find out costs of equipment you would need for start up, inquire about store-front or legal kitchen rentals, etc.
(This is of course by no means conclusive. I'm just rattling off the top of my head right now.)
CbyA, may all your dreams come true! Best of luck to you!
Home based in a no home license state:
thanks Malibu, that's why I'm asking and what are you saying it's true about doing all the paperwork, banks, equipment,etc, etc. It is not only decorating a cake and that's it! I feel much better now, after the holidays I will start doing some research about all that stuff to see if in the near future I can open a small business, thanks so much for your wishes
thank you Janh! this is what I was looking and I coudn't find it
I totally understand you wanting to make money doing cakes, what I don't understand is when a person admittedly says they want to break the law, even when that law is stupid (and yes I believe it is stupid for States to prohibit home based bakeries). I guess you can equate it to speeding. We all know it is against the law, and at some point most everyone has been guilty of doing it, and when we do it and get caught then we are out a couple a hundred bucks because of the transgression. But HD's don't pull any punches, the fines are pretty hefty and most home bakers are doing it because they are trying to supplement their incomes doing something they love...I do get that. So why risk your family's wellbeing by doing it illegally? That I don't get. You can lose so much trying to fly under the radar.