Trying To Bake Legally.....

Business By ayerim979 Updated 22 Jan 2010 , 10:47pm by indydebi

ayerim979 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:22am
post #1 of 27

I have a question, I dont know if this topic has been brought up but I was wondering for you ladies that own a Bakery here in California or are baking in an approved kitchen.

My mother has her own business where she sells smoothies, sandwiches, cappuccinos etc. But her licenced is a restaurant licence although its only take out.

She has a wherehouse that she is not using (her shop is divided in 3 sections with a wall and door in between each room) 1. the main front part counter 2nd room. her fridges and stock stuff and 3. pretty much just empty.

So I wanted to know if you ladies think I can operate from the 3rd room, I dont want a blown out business for I do just bake for fun (family and friends) but I think it would be just awsome to have my own space and organize all my tools.

And on occason bake a cake or two for a little business. I would like a regular stove dont think I can afford a major commercial oven.

I have tried calling the city but , they told me that , they have to come and inspect the place to see if they can approve, I dont want to make it a big deal.

I just figured it be easyer being that there is already a restaurant permit although I know its two different things. If anyone can help or has any idea let me know please. thank you for reading my post.

26 replies
StaceyCakes75 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:41am
post #2 of 27

If you want to bake legally in CA its going to be a big deal. The HD will have to come out along with all the paper work. There is no way around all the red tape here in CA if you want to be legal. Sorry icon_sad.gif You might just want to stick to friends and family if you don't want all the work it takes.

JanH Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:44am
post #3 of 27

.moving to Business forum. icon_smile.gif

JustToEatCake Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 4:47am
post #4 of 27

If your mother's place is already licensed you should get the regulation papers and find out what she qualifies under. It may not be as big a deal as someone without a already licensed space. The easiest way might be for your mom to find out if she can rent out her kitchen space and that should tell you. You mom is a "licensed restaurant" and that might cover preparing low risk foods, which could mean your cakes.

Personally I'd ask my mom where are her regulations and if she doesn't have them I'd GO down to wherever they have them AG dept or wherever and ask for a copy. Tell them you are considering it but not sure what it entails..then just get it and read it.

itsacake Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:02am
post #5 of 27

Yes, it is always a big deal in California. Sigh.....

Even if you have your own business in your mother's space, without bringing in any additional equipment you would need your own licensing, insurance, and inspections, including a food handler's exam. (ServeSafe or the equivalent)

If you want to move in your own equipment and make it your own space, you need yet more--a plan submitted by an architect and all commercial equipment--no residential equipment allowed.

indydebi Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 8:08am
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayerim979

And on occason bake a cake or two for a little business. I would like a regular stove dont think I can afford a major commercial oven.



I'm not in California so I'm not addressing what may or may not be required there. I'll leave that for our Calif CC'ers.

But generically speaking, what caught my eye in your post was the phrase "....for a LITTLE business".

I see this frequently and it bothers me. A lot. It bothers me because I only hear it from women. It bothers me because it makes a business venture sound like a scrapbooking hobby ("oh it's just a cute little thing that we girls dabble in!"). It bothers me that someone will try to start a business "on the cheap" and end up losing their butts.

A business license is one price. You don't get it cheaper just because you're going to do "just a cake here and there". Doesn't matter if you do one cake a week or one cake an hour, the cost is the same.

A 3-compartment sink, a standard requirement with most health depts, costs the same whether you wash one cake pan a week or 100 cake pans a day. You can't get a mini-3- compartment at a reduced rate because you want to do "a cake here and there".

A commercial oven costs the same no matter how many cakes a day or a week you bake in it.

Food Safe certification is the same cost. YOu can't just sit in on the "baked goods" part as a discounted price. You have to learn everything.

A million dollar liability policy costs the same whether you bake one cake a month or 300 cakes a week. You don't get to buy a policy just on the days that you bake and deliver.

So I don't believe there is such a thing as "just a LITTLE business". You're either doing the volume that justifies the cost of opening a business, or you're still a hobbyist.

ANd it bothers me that (mostly) women tend to blow it off as "oh, you know, just a cute little business on the side. Nothing serious. " As if they're afraid people will think they're "silly" for wanting to open a business. So they make it sound like it's not a "real" business while at the same time wanting people to think they have a "real" business.

If I'm in business I want people to take me serious. And with the money needed to invest in this, you should want people to take you serious, too.

FleurDeCake Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 8:22am
post #7 of 27

bein a cake decorator is waaaay too much hard work and very costlyto be........"just a little business"

mamawrobin Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 1:02pm
post #8 of 27

I read so many post on cc from people that want to start their own business. Why not go to work for someone that already has a business FIRST. I read alot of post that say "I made this cake and my friends think I should have my own business." Why is it that the friend never suggest that they get a job decorating cakes? Edna is one of the most talented cake desingers on cc and she isn't a business owner. You don't have to own the business to be a good cake decorator.

I also read ALOT of post from people that don't even know how much to charge for a cake. If you don't know how much to charge for a cake then you aren't ready to be a business owner.

I work for someone that owns a business and that works great for me. I don't know that I am cut out for the business side of things but I do enjoy cake decorating. I'm just saying that before taking the leap from manking a few cakes for family and friends to owning a business, it makes more sense to me to work in the industry for awhile before making the leap to being a business owner. Just my opinion.

Sagebrush Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 2:43pm
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

But generically speaking, what caught my eye in your post was the phrase "....for a LITTLE business".

I see this frequently and it bothers me. A lot. It bothers me because I only hear it from women. It bothers me because it makes a business venture sound like a scrapbooking hobby ("oh it's just a cute little thing that we girls dabble in!"). It bothers me that someone will try to start a business "on the cheap" and end up losing their butts.




I do think that's exactly what they want it to be treated like, though...

if you are into scrapbooking, and someone likes what you do, you could design and sell kits for people to use, or do peoples pages for them for a cost, or a variety of other things and if you don't make over a certain amount (ie. it's just a LITTLE business), or you spend more than you actually earn, then for a while, you can keep from having to pay at least some of the fees and taxes that big businesses have to (and, on the other hand, big businesses can buy in volume to lower their own costs and up their profit margins so that their costs ie. rent, utilities, etc. aren't such a big hit).

The same applies to so many other hobbies... someone could have a low volume (ie. LITTLE) business knitting for someone, or teaching knitting classes, dying yarn or fabric, sewing things, making cute polymer clay things, and on and on and on, and do it without incurring many of the fees of being a business... at least until they are sufficiently established and making a certain volume of income.

So, yes, I think a lot of people, especially women, want the same opportunity when it comes to cake decorating to get into the business of it on a small scale and see if they can make a go of it and turn it into a bigger business before incurring the costs of turning it into a bigger business.

They're not trying to say they don't take it seriously, just testing the waters like they can in so many other areas.

Unfortunately (for those used to doing things the other way), the government does not see selling food in the same light that it does selling scrapbook products, or knitted clothing items, or sewn aprons, or cute little do-dads.

With good reason... if you sewed something up and you did it wrong, the buyer is only out the cost of the item, and fixing the problem (sewing a new one properly) is relatively easy. If you mess up with food, though, and cause food poisoning to all the guests of a party, the consumers could end up out a lot more... medical costs, or in a worst case scenario death... and fixing it is a LOT more costly.

- Leisel

kelleym Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:08pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Quote:

the government does not see selling food in the same light that it does selling scrapbook products, or knitted clothing items, or sewn aprons, or cute little do-dads.




Fortunately there is a small, but growing, number of states who recognize that this should be a business that you can start from home with minimal investment. People should be able to dip a toe in the water without forking out $60k or more to dive into the deep end.

lilthorner Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:33pm
post #11 of 27

you can call the envirnmental healt office in your county and ask for th efood permit guide.. this gives you the requirements for a food facility.. this way you can get an idea od what they are requiring.. it helps a LOT.. i found out a couple of new rules that would limit the type of place i could look for

StaceyCakes75 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 3:39pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Quote:
Quote:

the government does not see selling food in the same light that it does selling scrapbook products, or knitted clothing items, or sewn aprons, or cute little do-dads.



Fortunately there is a small, but growing, number of states who recognize that this should be a business that you can start from home with minimal investment. People should be able to dip a toe in the water without forking out $60k or more to dive into the deep end.


Amen Kelleym! I'm sure CA would be the last in line though icon_sad.gif

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:13pm
post #13 of 27

Since it is your mother, can you not just be her employee? Since she owns a coffee shop, cakes and pastries go very nicely with that.

ayerim979 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:13pm
post #14 of 27

Thank you ladies for giving me some insight.

And honestly I guess I was or am thinking it would be somewhat more simple being that my mom already has her equipment (3 compartment sink, mop sink, refrigerators etc.)

Indy I understand what you mean as far as permits, wether I make one or two cakes the permit and licence is the same.

And I guess what I meant as far as little business, I have had strangers (my family aquaintances and such) ask me for cakes and I dont make them. I just dont want to get caught or anything like that. My cakes are usually gifts I take to Bday partys . I by no means am planning to adversize nor make business cards I just want to have a space for myself.

I co- own my moms business my name is in the selling permit, food handlers permit (I have one), and also her business licence but I hardly ever work there (maybe 1nce a week if she needs to run and do something). My perants own the property so I have my own business next to my moms.

I just really like making cakes and now dont have time cause I live an hour away from here (where my business is at so I just stay in my store; it has a loft in the back) so my business consist of just sitting here for most part waiting for customers to come in (its a second hand store mainly just furniture) and I figured I can just set up there with my mom, but I want to make it the right way for if someone wants to pay me for a cake I can take the money.

I have gotten money that cousins,friends of mine have usually send me a thank you card and slip in some money in the card after I wont take any at the party.

It is not my intention to tick any one off nor I want to sound dumb. I appreciate your comments. And also appreciate the fact that you are taking your time to respond. icon_smile.gif

lilthorner Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:45pm
post #15 of 27

it would be simpler since your mom has all that type of equipment.. the permit requirements per county vary..example below for renting a kitchen located in solano county. my home address is in napa county

if i use my napa county home address as my business addy (with the kitchen located in solano) i had to fax in a copy of the valid health permit for the kitchen located in solano county and pay 300+ dollars to get my own permit. I naddition i was required to have a food handler's permit whihc i had anyway.

If i used a solano county address, such as renting an office to hold meetings etc. I would have to have the owner of the kitchen sign a paper saying im am using/rentin or otherwise, basically preparing food for commercial consumption at their location. I didn't have to pay any fee for my own permit. i did need a food handlers permit..

keep in mind, this is the SAME kitchen, just the address that I was going to use as my BIZ address, because since I am renting a kitchen, the address doesn't have to be the same as the kitchen..

also, in Solano county. if I was calling myself a "personal chef" I wouldn't have to have a permit or anything because technically personal chefs prepare the food at the client's home.. thats another twist LOL

it seems to me that if her PROPERTY is lic for restaurant use that pertains to the entire property.. does the room not in use have its own address? It doesn't sound like it..

FromScratch Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 8:06pm
post #16 of 27

If you are on the permits for your mom's place, then this should be easier for you to do this. Give the HD a call and find out if you need anything else. You might be able to operate under the current licensing since your name is on all of it. Or it might be a simple additional thing and you are on the way. A call over there couldn't hurt and you will kow exactly what is needed. icon_smile.gif

DelectabilityCakes Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 8:23pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawrobin

I read so many post on cc from people that want to start their own business. Why not go to work for someone that already has a business FIRST. I read alot of post that say "I made this cake and my friends think I should have my own business." Why is it that the friend never suggest that they get a job decorating cakes? Edna is one of the most talented cake desingers on cc and she isn't a business owner. You don't have to own the business to be a good cake decorator.

I also read ALOT of post from people that don't even know how much to charge for a cake. If you don't know how much to charge for a cake then you aren't ready to be a business owner.

I work for someone that owns a business and that works great for me. I don't know that I am cut out for the business side of things but I do enjoy cake decorating. I'm just saying that before taking the leap from manking a few cakes for family and friends to owning a business, it makes more sense to me to work in the industry for awhile before making the leap to being a business owner. Just my opinion.




The real question isn't how many people think that they can run a cake decorating business but how many people can run a business that decorates cakes? (If that makes any sense). I, like many others here, would like to open a bakery because I know that I can. I know that I can deal with the highs and lows, the ups and downs, the slow months, the busy months, the lawsuits (god forbid any but I'm sure they'll try) and any and all of the business aspects.

Like IndyDebi said, if it's just something to dabble in don't start a business. A successful business that's properly managed will take 1000s of hours or personal time and an excessive amount of money and worry. It affects your body, your mind, your personal time, your family, your savings, etc. I've always wanted to own a bakery and now detailing all the work that it takes just for the start up is a plate full of work but I understand it and I think the business side of it is harder to understand than the cake side. But I am comfortable with my decision. It's just another day at the office to me, just a busy one.

I don't know.. but I'm just rambling not sure if I'm even getting my point across. Like I don't want to just do it for friends and family here and there I want to be the number one bakery in my city in 15 years (putting at 15 because I have to get established as a local name and there are bakeries that have been around for over 30 years).

My DH is all like it doesn't matter how hard you want it if you don't properly plan then it's doomed to fail and it will crush you both financially and emotionally. Personally, I think a business is kind of like the army and war.. be prepared for anything and plan to win - plan to do your best and never anything less. Like Yoda.. do or do not there is no try.

But then again I might be more aggressive than others.

It sounds like she's got a stepping stone to work off of though.. just do a lot of research and then some more and then when you think you're done triple check and then figure out if it's what you want to do. You can always turn back but it's going to be a lot of time and money wasted if you realize it's not what you want for the rest of your life until retirement or you hand the bakery off to your children or other family/friends.. so for many working in a bakery is a good idea of what to expect but just being a worker is not going to give a person business management, financial or accounting experience... so a business degree might not be a bad idea either.

ziggytarheel Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 8:29pm
post #18 of 27

In defense of women everywhere....or something like that....icon_smile.gif

My dad has ALWAYS had "a little business on the side". All my life and before I was ever thought of, my dad has always had some type of business going along with his job, or when he retired, more than one business. Almost none of them took much start up cash, although he could manage to put a good chunk of money into the business after he got it up and running. My dad is a 100% by the book guy, never even had a traffic offense. I can say that my dad comes from a long line of "little business on the side" men. My dad always managed to come out ahead with each of these, some more than others.

There are many types of businesses you can legally start with a relative small investment. Women seem to be especially good at this! Women can also be exceptionally bad at it if they don't know what they are getting into before they take the plunge. If you are in a state that requires a big investment, well, then, you can't have a little cake business on the side.

ayerim979 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 9:16pm
post #19 of 27

Okay ladies well this is the thing. I do want to make it something for me because I have the property (space), I dont think it is goint to be an issue as far as making it just for friends and family cause thats just how I want to do it. I dont want to make it a full blown business. I just dont know if I can get the permit to operate like that. Wich I would think shouldn't matter as long as I pay lol !!!

DelectabilityCakes :
You just mentione as far as stress and lawsuits. I have been around businesses all my life for my dad has had his business for for over 30 years (non food related) Im the one that was in front of it all at one point (my dad hates confrontation) So that really doesnot bother me one bit. I have gone to court and dealt with that (twice and we werent at fault so it got dismissed totally different subject) I have had those yelling customers I have been thrue it already and that does not affect me in anyway.

But besides that Im not going to or at least dont think Im going to deal with that cause its going to something just for me, I dont mind paying taxes cause I know it is not going to be a heavy flow of cash coming in so I dont mind paying couple bucks every six months for my hobby.


I just want to know if its something that you ladies though was a possibility because I have a big advantage that (1) I dont have to pay rent for a commercial property and (2) I already have some permits . I really think , that I can afford to make it a hobby because I have that little stepping stone already.

Sorry for the confusion if any, and I do think that what all of you ladies do is very unique and inspiring and that makes me want to learn even more. I really appreciate you ladies taking the time to give me your opinions.

DelectabilityCakes Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 9:26pm
post #20 of 27

I got ya 100% but here's this question:

You used the hobby word twice since my post... so from the dictionary:

Quote:
Quote:

hobby n. , pl. , -bies . An activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.




So... is it a business OR just something you want to make money on the side...

And I mean no insult in any way, but that's what you should make your decision on.

You should be able to provided you have all of all the required equipment but you just have to get in contact with all the departments over your area to make sure that if you do include your product in the already existing permit will it be accounted for and legalized without any penalties or fines?

FromScratch Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 9:55pm
post #21 of 27

Unfortunately in Cali, even if you want to bake cakes for others for fun and want a little compensation... it has to be under the guise of a business. You *have* to have that fully commercial kitchen or it's a no-go and you'd have to mke those cakes for free inorder to be doing it on the up and up.

I completely see what you are saying ayerim979... you want to do this on occasion just for the people you know. And you want to do it right (which is commendable) AND you have a retail food establishment already which puts you miles ahead of others in your area. I say call the state HD and find out what you need to do. You might be able to offer the cakes under the name of your current establishment and not need anything else. Since you are part owner it wouldn't change the dynamic of the business.

ayerim979 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 11:49pm
post #22 of 27

well, I see what you ladies are telling me and honestly I wouldn't want to call it a business but I suppose that is what its going to be.

I do have my own business and wanted to do that on the side. And well Its probably not a hobby anymore huh !!!

I do not get offended on the contrary I understand and appreciate all of your two cents.

and well I am going to ask as far as equipment goes. I hope they dont require/make me get a big industrial mixer (for making 2-3) cakes a month lol !!!

As far as an oven hmm....................... dont think my husband and dad are going to want to cough up money for a lil HOBBY (wich is what I call it) they are definately gonna want to get re-imbursed well at least my dad is icon_confused.gif So I will see what happens.

I will try to call tomorrow Friday and try to get some answers.

itsacake Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 1:49am
post #23 of 27

As long as your appliances are rated commercial they do not have to be big. They also do not have to be new. Craigslist usually lists quite a lot of used commercial kitchen equipment and there are auctions around where you can get good deals as long as you educate yourself ahead of time and know a good deal when you see one.

Larkin121 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 10:01pm
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayerim979

And on occason bake a cake or two for a little business. I would like a regular stove dont think I can afford a major commercial oven.


I'm not in California so I'm not addressing what may or may not be required there. I'll leave that for our Calif CC'ers.

But generically speaking, what caught my eye in your post was the phrase "....for a LITTLE business".

I see this frequently and it bothers me. A lot. It bothers me because I only hear it from women. It bothers me because it makes a business venture sound like a scrapbooking hobby ("oh it's just a cute little thing that we girls dabble in!"). It bothers me that someone will try to start a business "on the cheap" and end up losing their butts.

A business license is one price. You don't get it cheaper just because you're going to do "just a cake here and there". Doesn't matter if you do one cake a week or one cake an hour, the cost is the same.

A 3-compartment sink, a standard requirement with most health depts, costs the same whether you wash one cake pan a week or 100 cake pans a day. You can't get a mini-3- compartment at a reduced rate because you want to do "a cake here and there".

A commercial oven costs the same no matter how many cakes a day or a week you bake in it.

Food Safe certification is the same cost. YOu can't just sit in on the "baked goods" part as a discounted price. You have to learn everything.

A million dollar liability policy costs the same whether you bake one cake a month or 300 cakes a week. You don't get to buy a policy just on the days that you bake and deliver.

So I don't believe there is such a thing as "just a LITTLE business". You're either doing the volume that justifies the cost of opening a business, or you're still a hobbyist.

ANd it bothers me that (mostly) women tend to blow it off as "oh, you know, just a cute little business on the side. Nothing serious. " As if they're afraid people will think they're "silly" for wanting to open a business. So they make it sound like it's not a "real" business while at the same time wanting people to think they have a "real" business.

If I'm in business I want people to take me serious. And with the money needed to invest in this, you should want people to take you serious, too.




Hmmm... what's so wrong with wanting a small business, though? I mean, I agree with you on the point that a lot of women seem to belittle their businesses or careers and whatnot. But what about those of us who really do just want a "small business?"

Like others said, some women sell jewelry they make, or homemade soaps, some do part time work as personal assistants or errand runners. And they aren't looking for a full time career out of it.

I want to have a "small" cake decorating business. Unfortunately, I can't sell out of my home here. However, I can choose to rent a place instead of build my own bakery, and I can choose to rent on an as need basis, too. When I do this, (in about 3 yrs, when my youngest goes to school part time), I do NOT want to do 20 cakes a week. I aspire to be low volume, no more than one wedding cake per weekend.

But I do know how much the licensing, the insurance, the rent, the ingredients, the time involved, etc is and will price accordingly for profit. I intend to use the fact that I do a limit amount of custom, high quality ingredient cakes as a selling point, too.

So, I do think you can have a "little" cake business.... it just takes some careful planning.

Of course, if I'm totally wrong, I'm open to hearing it. Obviously, I haven't given it a go yet, this is all just in theory. icon_cool.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 10:16pm
post #25 of 27

Larkin, I agree. Not saying we all have to be as big as General Mills. icon_lol.gif But to use your example, will one wedding cake a week pay for the rent, for the equipment, the insurance (my insurance averaged $10/day .... $300 a month), and all of the other fixed costs.

I didn't build a bakery either. Rent can cost as much or more than owning your own place sometimes. Even renting on an 'as needed basis', like by the hour, can be a deal-breaker. $25/hour x 2 hours mixing/baking + 2 to 6 hours icing/decorating = potentially $200 just to pay for the kitchen. If it's a cake for 100 at $3/serving, that's only $300 gross and 75% of the gross just went toward the rent. Then cost of ingredients, insurance, misc supplies, etc. It would be easy to run in the red.

As you said, with proper planning, it's possible. But unlike jewelry making or knitting, there is a whole lot bigger investment required for a food industry business.

If I want some extra spending money, I'll sell Tupperware. But to put together a comm'l kitchen takes a whole lot more money.

My concern are those posts/threads where one inquires about getting legal but they don't want to spend a lot to get started because they just want to do a "cake here and there". That's a hobby, not a business.

ayerim979 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 10:39pm
post #26 of 27

quote: Indydeb
My concern are those posts/threads where one inquires about getting legal but they don't want to spend a lot to get started because they just want to do a "cake here and there". That's a hobby, not a business.

It makes perfectly sence what you are saying, and you are right no matter how I see it is it a hobby I guess. I so want to be able to take some money even if it is from a friend, family member etc. And maybe I can make a cake for someone not related to me and charge a fair amount of money.

But in my case (not that Im special) We already pay insurance, of course utilities. But I dont pay rent and that alreasy is a big advantage I have.

But anyhow I called today only to get transfered to a machine after speaking to 3 different people that end up telling me after hearing my inquiry , that I was speaking to the wrong person icon_razz.gif


indydebi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 10:47pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayerim979

But in my case (not that Im special) We already pay insurance, of course utilities. But I dont pay rent and that alreasy is a big advantage I have.


You definitely have an advantage and if I were in your shoes, I'd certainly explore every avenue to make it work for me! thumbs_up.gif

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