I have searched many on top of many websites for the answer of can you have a home based food business in WA. I can not find anything can someone help me please! I want to start at home so I can save money to open a nice store front and show my hubby I can handle this, but I want to be as legal as I can be. I work for a tax place so I know not to mess around with the guys in charge. lol
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just like where I live -- it's the Dept of Ag that controls home based business
and WA's is picky
found by goggling "home based food business Washington state"
really very "simple" no matter where you live.
Given that you have already:
Written a business plan and lined up the financing. -- this exercise will enlighten you to just how much it will cost to do and the amount of time it, if ever, it will take to turn a profit and under what conditions. Right here could be dead in the water.
Consulted an attorney re the best way to set up your business: sole proprietorship, LLC, ect.
Talked with an accountant about all the bank accounts, etc. you will need.
(the last 2 of these three can be concurrent with the following)
1. If want to be home based - check state law re: "cottage" or home-based food business. If state says No -- dead in the water. If state says yes, then check county. If county says No -- dead in the water. If county says yes, then check your specific locality (city, town, district). If it says no -- dead in the water. Easiest place to find out -- the state health department (tho' local should know too).
If dead in water -- only option is to open store front of some sort. Regardless of home or store front next comes:
2. Find out the zoning regulations for your location. If it's not zoned for it, then your either have to get a variance, rezoned or if you can't get those, you're dead in the water. Zoning often comes with certain requirements which could affect such things as amount of sq. ft. you can dedicate to a home business, # of parking spaces, and on and on. Meeting the requirements may cause modifications to your plan such as switching from home based to store front or vice versa or having all cakes by delivery only and no pickup.
3. If zoning is ok -- then find out who control this type of food production. Best place to start is the Health Dept. It may be them or it could be state dept of agriculture (as it is in NC). They'll then fill you in on all the rules, regulations, requirements and what you inspections you'll need. Again may have to have a change of plans or do remodeling or..... all depends.
4. Register your business name -- usually at county tax offices. While there find out if any tax you have to pay beyond business license.
5. Get a business license -- usually from the lowest level tax authority
(so for 4 & 5 where I live -- county for name, city for license. Can be accomplished in one afternoon)
6. Call state tax dept or go to their website -- find out if you have to collect sales tax, and if so at what % (could even be a split amount), how to report it and get a STATE tax ID #. nota bene: a state tax id # is separate from federal. You must have state ID if required to collect taxes. The need for a Federal Tax # depends upon how your business is set up. In some cases you just report as part of your income using your SS#, in others it will have a Fed Tax # If necessary, also get Fed ID #.
Now "all" you have to do is:
open bank accounts (do this as soon as you know it's a "GO" and will have to start paying fees)
get a line of credit (you will need it!)
do all the set up work (could be simple, could be very extensive!)
do all the inspections
do all the advertising
an excellent resource is the Small Business Administration. Lots of free info and templates to help start a business.
"..." <<<< indicate sarcastic "as if!" tone of voice.
WOW - Doug! Your advise is always clear and very detailed!!!!
You are amazing. So much info, straight to the point.