Home Based Cake Business In California???

Business By oohlala Updated 6 Jul 2013 , 3:12am by Mrs CakeRookie

oohlala Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 4:55am
post #1 of 29

I live in California and started making cakes (for personal use) out of my home. Over time, friends asked me to make cakes for them, and I charged them. Now friends of friends are calling me. At what point would the health department concider this a "home base baking business". It seems to me like a fine line of baking cakes for friends and running a business. Any advice?

28 replies
sherrycanary62 Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:04am
post #2 of 29

you were a business pretty much when you sold you first cake

annegirlca Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:16am
post #3 of 29

Home based cake business' are illegal in California. icon_sad.gif You have to bake your cake in a certified kitchen like a restraunt, church, etc.... Where in California are you from?

oohlala Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:25am
post #4 of 29

Near Palm Springs. Do I just have to "bake" the cake in a professional kitchen, or do I have to "bake and decorate" there? will it make a difference if I don't charge for my cakes?

annegirlca Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:32am
post #5 of 29

If you don't charge it's fine but, once you charge someone for it then the Health Department can come after you. I'm still investigating about the baking and decorating issue. I heard you have to bake off site but can decorate at home. The jury is still out on that one. I bake cakes for family and friends only and I do charge them. I'm a laid off teacher and I need all the extra money I can get. icon_smile.gif Welcome to Cake Central!! icon_smile.gif

MrsNancyB1 Posted 7 Jan 2010 , 5:36am
post #6 of 29

You must do all of your baking AND decorating in an inspected kitchen.

Gavriela Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:34am
post #7 of 29

Yes, it has to be baked and decorated in a Certified kitchen.

I just found my kitchen and am jumping up and down with excitement, nerves and fear. My cakes are not anywhere near as good as some here, yet I'm going for it, I cannot take the chance of getting into it with the health department and by having my own kitchen I can bake more than just cakes. I want to bake desserts as well, my favorite is Blackberry Apple Pie!

My list of needs is growing and my startup budget is mini. I have secured an accountant (no pay, she's a friend and up for a challenge) and am working on the rest of the business mess. My cake orders are beginning to grow.

Leap of FAITH!

Gavi

MacsMom Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:17am
post #8 of 29

I've looked into it and one thing that isn't clear to me yet is: Can the certified kitchen be on your property?

I know, I'll have to call and ask myself. I'm sure it depends on where you live. In the central valley, from what I understand so far, is that it's okay if you live a county (a kitchen to be certfied, of course), but not if you live in a city zone. I'd much rather build a $25,000 kitchen than buy a $200,000 one.

I don't want to lease because when I finally have my own place I plan to rent out the kitchen for other CA bakers who are stuck in our situation. It makes me want to move to another state!

Gavriela Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:38am
post #9 of 29

I completely agree with you, I like CA less and less each year.

sweetreasures Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:46am
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsMom

I've looked into it and one thing that isn't clear to me yet is: Can the certified kitchen be on your property?

I know, I'll have to call and ask myself. I'm sure it depends on where you live. In the central valley, from what I understand so far, is that it's okay if you live a county (a kitchen to be certfied, of course), but not if you live in a city zone. I'd much rather build a $25,000 kitchen than buy a $200,000 one.

I don't want to lease because when I finally have my own place I plan to rent out the kitchen for other CA bakers who are stuck in our situation. It makes me want to move to another state!


I live in Calaveras County and asked that same question. I think each area will have a different response. The answer that I was given was that it would be fine so long as I didn't have customers come to my property which is zoned residential. I would have to meet clients elsewhere. However if I looked into it even more, county might make some concessions. Property turning onto my road is commercial as well as property behind me which borders my property line.

cakeladyatLA Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:27am
post #11 of 29

My friend got a license too, she lives in chula vista, but.. (big but coming up) I dont think she can get an approval by the health department, so I dont know how that goes. I will give her your info leave your email and maybe she will contact you and tell you all about it.

Patty*

Gavriela Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 4:01pm
post #12 of 29

"She works out of her home, and also hands out business cards?"

I have spoken extensively with Environmental Services and Debbie has assured me I cannot even store my dry goods or food of any kind for my business in my home. If it's true she received her license in 45 minutes online, is it legit and if not are you will to risk it and the fines. Ideally I'd love to work from home and save the overhead, and yet I have inside animals and children so keep my home ServSafe Food Safe is incredibly difficult and I love the idea of my own separate kitchen.

Gavi

MacsMom Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 4:44pm
post #13 of 29

It's really easy to get a business license -and for only $10 - just not one that is approved for selling food out of your home because of the health department.

A friend suggested that I get a license for selling inedible cake toppers (gumpaste with a card that says "non-edible") and hiding behind that license, which I won't do, but I assume that is what many others are doing.

I can't tell you the number of business cards I see at my child's pre-school and kindergarten, even at a hair salon with mini-cupcake samples icon_eek.gif , from women I know can't possibly be leasing a space, otherwise they would have a bakery address listed instead of just a phone number.

One grandmother at my daughter's dance class told me a friend of hers has been selling cakes out of her home kitchen for 35 years!!

Perhaps CA doesn't think it's worth it to license us? Perhaps the tax money doesn't equal the Health Dept costs? I have no idea...

Isn't Texas legalizing it now? Making CA the ONLY state that doesn't?

sherrycanary62 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:08pm
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsMom

Isn't Texas legalizing it now? Making CA the ONLY state that doesn't?




Nope MacsMom, sadly my home state of Nevada does not license home bakeries..at least not your home kitchen. icon_cry.gif

Didiqo Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 12:09am
post #15 of 29

then what are we gonna do now. I have been in the cake business back home ( philippines) and now that im here in the US , it seems that you cannot use your talent anymore, the years of practicing, all the studies will all going to waste. My friends loved my cakes and they still continue to order. Of course i charge them, but very minimal compared to the expensive cakes in a bakeshop. Whoever lives in central valley, especially near stockton area, can somebody give me information where i can rent a kitchen per baking? thanks for the input guys. Lets continue to bake.

MacsMom Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:30am
post #16 of 29

Look up iformation about being able to call it a hobby. If you make less than a certain amount of money anually, they will leave you alone.

Carolynlovescake Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 8:30am
post #17 of 29

In California you can get a business license online. You might even be able to get your food handlers card online too but just because you have both doesn't mean you are running a legit and legal business. thumbs_up.gif

There's other laws, guidelines and approvals needed from officials before you can say you do it legally.

sweetreasures Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 5:03am
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Didiqo

Whoever lives in central valley, especially near stockton area, can somebody give me information where i can rent a kitchen per baking? thanks for the input guys. Lets continue to bake.




I'd suggest checking with the county. They would know of kitchens available to rent or how to go about it. In my county I just need to find a food establishment that would be willing to rent and then let the health dept. know.

Normita Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 5:21am
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Didiqo

then what are we gonna do now. I have been in the cake business back home ( philippines) and now that im here in the US , it seems that you cannot use your talent anymore, the years of practicing, all the studies will all going to waste. My friends loved my cakes and they still continue to order. Of course i charge them, but very minimal compared to the expensive cakes in a bakeshop. Whoever lives in central valley, especially near stockton area, can somebody give me information where i can rent a kitchen per baking? thanks for the input guys. Lets continue to bake.




Hey there Didiqo....I also live in the Stockton area and am in the same situation. I make cakes for friends and family, but would love to reach out to other clientele...but I cannot do that in this state!! I have looked into rental kitchens but they are too expensive and it would not be worth it for me. I always tell hubby that I want to move to another state so I can legally sell my cakes out of my home lol!! If you find anything out about our county, please let me know icon_smile.gif

MacsMom Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 4:32pm
post #20 of 29

I am reading "Ace of Cakes" book and was surprised at how long it took the health department to knock on Duff's door! He had bought a house and turned into a bakery (basically), he had a website and business cards, he was making cakes even for catering companies! He had 2 employees at the time, too.

He said when the HD knocked and asked him is was making cakes from his home, he just said, "Do I look like a cake baker?". The HD said that if he comes back with a warrant he'd better not find any baking supplies, so in a short time Duff found a a place to lease and moved "under the darkness of night."

Someone once told me to pretty much do the same thing: If I were to bake for customers and the HD came knocking, play stupid and hopefully get a slap on the wrist. But the fines in CA can be anywhere from $5000 to $40,000, so I haven't chanced it!

One day my dream will be realized, unitl that time I can be patient.

Didiqo Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 1:26am
post #21 of 29

Macsmom, you mentioned about the hobby business , i looked into that over the internet i only got a few info, it didnt mention anything about getting a permit. So what can you share about hobby business. I heard that you could still sell and can still deduct some things for taxes...

Didiqo Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 1:46am
post #22 of 29

normita, thanks for the response. i will let you know what i could find. Looking for another county wont solve your problem unless you go other states which the list showed only few states. Its a battle. I wish they're not as strict as the other states, i mean we're only doing some cakes its not like we're running a factory already, right ? why cant they just allow few cakes. is there a hope to californians?

MacsMom Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:09am
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Didiqo

Macsmom, you mentioned about the hobby business , i looked into that over the internet i only got a few info, it didnt mention anything about getting a permit. So what can you share about hobby business. I heard that you could still sell and can still deduct some things for taxes...




You don't have to have a permit to call it a hobby because the money coming in is so little. Basically it would be as if you were making cakes for friends who are purchasing the ingredients, and one cake per week. It's just something to play stupid with should anyone turn you in while you are looking for a way to get licensed. "Oh! Well since I only bake xxx I thought what I was doing was considered a hobby. I am so sorry, blahblahblah."

MacsMom Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:13am
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Didiqo

normita, thanks for the response. i will let you know what i could find. Looking for another county wont solve your problem unless you go other states which the list showed only few states. Its a battle. I wish they're not as strict as the other states, i mean we're only doing some cakes its not like we're running a factory already, right ? why cant they just allow few cakes. is there a hope to californians?




Call and make appointments with both city and counties in your area. Cities tend to be much more strict than counties. In fact, in Clovis county you don't even have to have a license to start a business! (That is, not-food related). I am going to make an appointment to talk to someone soon. Thati s the only way you will know for sure.

And call the department of agriculture, too, as they may have different guidelines and can certainly help you with what they look past and what they require.

ajtuchek Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 1:22pm
post #25 of 29

I live in Georgia and me and my family are going to move to CA in the coming year.

In Georgia you can have your certified kitchen on your home property but it has to be a separate kitchen. It can even be in your home but it has to have it's own outside entrance and it can't be your regular family kitchen. So for instance if you had a kitchen in your basement with outside entrance it would work. (This is my understanding anyway)

I used to live in Ohio and my aunt ran a cake business for many years and there you can have your regular old home kitchen certified so needless to say I was really bummed when I found out about the GA laws.

From business owners in Georgia the suggestion is "It's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" and to just do it and if you get caught say your really sorry and ask what you need to do to be compliant.

I am a pastry chef and certainly miss the big commercial kitchen where things are safe, easy to find and are in the state you last left them (for the most part anyway). Baking from home really kind of sucks once you get used to the commercial feel. I'm making the plundge too. My brother lives in San Diego and says the stuff is overpriced and not very tasty for the most part. He is willing to help me get off the ground as well as find some investors.

Anyway...hope that helps.

Mrs CakeRookie Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 8:52am
post #26 of 29

ADid you open your business? :)

Mrs CakeRookie Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 9:01am
post #27 of 29

AI'm assuming this hasn't changed? :(

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:09pm
post #28 of 29

ACA passed a cottage food law that became effective this year. Follow up with your county health dept for more info and to get a license.

A general FAQ is here: http://www.theselc.org/faq/

Mrs CakeRookie Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 3:12am
post #29 of 29

AThank you very much! I will look into it I'm in Riverside County. :)

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