Home Cake Sales Question

Business By gathenry Updated 24 Nov 2010 , 1:57pm by Crazboutcakes

gathenry Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 7:45pm
post #1 of 33

I have been receiving a lot of requests from people both friends and acquaintances to purchase cakes from me. I live in Virginia and they allow sales from home bakeries. So I contacted the Dept. of Agriculture and the lady pretty much told me if it wasn't a full time job, than personally, she would recommend getting licensed, but she would send me the info on it anyway. So I am left in kind of a gray area. The info just stated the process really.

I would only be doing, say, one cake a month or so. I have someone that really wants me to make her wedding cake. I'm thinking about having her sign a statement saying something to the fact that she knows she is purchasing a cake from unlicensed home kitchen, for hobby cake baking. Has anyone done this or heard of anyone doing this? TIA!

32 replies
brincess_b Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 7:53pm
post #2 of 33

agreements like that can only realy be valid if they are done by a lawyer, otherwise they are easy targets should something go wrong. even if the state isnt bothered, you would still want to be a business with insurance - which very asically means that if someone sues you over cake stuff, they cant take your personal savings or home.
xx

ncsmorris Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 7:53pm
post #3 of 33

Maybe some other will weigh in too, but I'm thinking you're putting yourself more at risk by having her sign something stating that she knows you are not licensed (ie, you know you are doing something illegal). I'd just go on and get the inspection done - I don't know about VA, but in NC it wasn't very difficult or expensive to do.

sari66 Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 7:53pm
post #4 of 33

I'd get licensed if I were you. As for that wedding cake you may not be able to deliver it to a venue if not licensed and insured.
hth

kelleym Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 9:26pm
post #5 of 33

Get licensed, and count your blessings that you live in a state that allows you to do it.

Misdawn Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 9:39pm
post #6 of 33

Amen!

gathenry Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 3:10am
post #7 of 33

I'm sorry, my post was supposed to say the lady from the Dept. of Department of Agriculture said she WOULDN'T recommend getting licensed. Otherwise I would have done it by now. I was surprised to say the least and it was almost to the tone that it would be a waste of time for them. I sent an email to them to clarify. When I asked who oversees that dept. she said it was her. That is why I was left feeling like I was in a huge gray area. I'm currently trying to find someone in my area that has a licensed home kitchen, to see if they met the same road block.

leah_s Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 3:19am
post #8 of 33

ditto all of the above. More and more venues are requiring a copy of whatever license you have and proof of insurance.

costumeczar Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 3:39am
post #9 of 33

I'm in Virginia, and I know exactly why she told you that, it's because they're overworked. This is the situation here:

1. You need a business license as far as I know, unless there are different laws in your county. To collect sales tax they do ask for a Federal ID number, which you get after you get a business license. I seem to remember that someone in a different county had something to add about that, but I can't remember who it was. It doesn't take much effort to get a business license, and a lot of venues do require one, so I'd go ahead and get one.

2. The Department of Agriculture inspects home businesses, but they have nothing to do with issuing business licenses. Don't take their word for anything relating to the need to be licensed. Call your local county government to see what's required. You'll also be required to pay litter tax as a food processing vendor, so I suspect that you'll need to be licensed, or they'll find you and say that you owe the state back taxes. And they DO find people, and fine you for producing goods illegally if you don't follow the laws.

3. You CAN bake without an inspection out of your home, but there are restrictions for the product that you make if you do. It can't be perishable, so no cream fillings or meringue buttercreams. EVERYTHING has to be clearly marked "This product was produced in a non-inspected facility" which to me isn't going to inspire people to want to buy it.

4.You can request an inspection and they have to do it. The inspector that I work with WANTS people to be inspected, because it prevents complaints from consumers down the road. I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to be inspected, since it's a far better thing to tell clients that you're inspected by the state than to have to say that you're not if they ask.

PM me if you have other questions.

gathenry Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 12:45pm
post #10 of 33

Thank you! That makes much more sense and is encouraging. I feel better, I really want to be licensed, but was really put off by the Dept. of Agr. I'll be contacting the county today icon_biggrin.gif

tpatmore Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 1:10pm
post #11 of 33

Can anyone licensed in PA give me an idea of what it entails here. I know it is legal to have home bakeries and I would like to get licensed, but I have two dogs and I know the first rule is NO animals in the home.

jason_kraft Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:12pm
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I'm in Virginia, and I know exactly why she told you that, it's because they're overworked.



That's why you can't always take what you hear from DoH/DoA staff at face value...they may be looking out for themselves (to make their jobs easier) instead of looking out for you. It's best to arm yourself by knowing the letter of the law, it should be available on your state/county/city's web site. If you follow the verbal advice of a government worker that turns out to be incorrect/illegal, you will still be on the hook, and the govt worker will deny everything.

joyfullysweet Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:21pm
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpatmore

Can anyone licensed in PA give me an idea of what it entails here. I know it is legal to have home bakeries and I would like to get licensed, but I have two dogs and I know the first rule is NO animals in the home.




You need to contact the Department of Agriculture and they will send you the info you need to fill out. You cannot have any pets, no kids in the kitchen while baking, your house needs to be zoned properly, kitchen inspected, water tested, etc. I'm sure there's more but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

Also visit www.paopen4business.com to register your name and for taxes. If you pm me, I can give you the number for your county's Department of Ag!

joyfullysweet Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:22pm
post #14 of 33

Sorry wrong link: www.paopen4business.state.pa.us

Crazboutcakes Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:26pm
post #15 of 33

I know that I saw someone on the news out Tampa, fl area I think, but that this person (lady) was on the news about why fl doesn't allow home bakers, and she said she wanted to do what ever it took to get the state to help people in the state due to the ecomony and needing a second income! If anyone has any info on this person or if your on here I would love to talk to you, to see what I could do in my area. pm me please!

kelleym Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:29pm
post #16 of 33

The contact in Florida is Barbara Schmal, who has been working very hard to build support for the bill there.

http://flices.ning.com/group/southeastflorida/forum/topics/bake-at-home-legally-1?xg_source=activity

jenbakescakes Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 4:58pm
post #17 of 33

I am also in VA. The process wasn't that hard with the Dept. of Ag, just a matter of getting all your ducks in a row and the inspection is not that difficult. Through my county it was just a matter of getting a zoning certificate. The part that bugs me is that even though the highest number of cakes I do a month is 3 or 4, I have to pay $100 per year to the Dept of Ag for an "inspection fee" (and they haven't even done an inspection for 3 years!). This fee jumped from $40 last year to $100 this year which kinda stinks when the people around here already balked at my prices before. So you must figure on adding in that cost per year when deciding on your prices.

Crazboutcakes Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 5:11pm
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

The contact in Florida is Barbara Schmal, who has been working very hard to build support for the bill there.

http://flices.ning.com/group/southeastflorida/forum/topics/bake-at-home-legally-1?xg_source=activity




thanks for the link I tried to go onto join and it won't let me! Any ideas?

costumeczar Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 5:18pm
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenbakescakes

This fee jumped from $40 last year to $100 this year which kinda stinks when the people around here already balked at my prices before. So you must figure on adding in that cost per year when deciding on your prices.




I was irrtated about that too, especially because the current administration claims to be so pro-small business. First they decrease the dealer's discount, then increase the inspection fee? Hypocrites...But I guess if you don't CALL it a tax, then it isn't a tax increase icon_wink.gif

kelleym Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 5:32pm
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

The contact in Florida is Barbara Schmal, who has been working very hard to build support for the bill there.

http://flices.ning.com/group/southeastflorida/forum/topics/bake-at-home-legally-1?xg_source=activity



thanks for the link I tried to go onto join and it won't let me! Any ideas?



I don't know about that group, but her email is in that thread if you read it all the way down. I just don't want to post it here.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 5:52pm
post #21 of 33

Just an FYI... you may not need a business license as it depends on the county. The county I am in (in VA) gives licenses to businesses with gross sales over $100,000 a year.... needless to say if you aren't hitting that mark, then you don't need one. The inspector told me that the inspection certificate serves as my business license.

Crazboutcakes Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 5:53pm
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

The contact in Florida is Barbara Schmal, who has been working very hard to build support for the bill there.

http://flices.ning.com/group/southeastflorida/forum/topics/bake-at-home-legally-1?xg_source=activity



thanks for the link I tried to go onto join and it won't let me! Any ideas?


I don't know about that group, but her email is in that thread if you read it all the way down. I just don't want to post it here.




Thanks found her email and it's on it's way thumbs_up.gif

costumeczar Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 7:53pm
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

Just an FYI... you may not need a business license as it depends on the county. The county I am in (in VA) gives licenses to businesses with gross sales over $100,000 a year.... needless to say if you aren't hitting that mark, then you don't need one. The inspector told me that the inspection certificate serves as my business license.




Out of curiosity...How do you file your sales tax? The forms that I use require a FEIN, and I thought that you had to have a business license for that. (Maybe you don't.) I knew that there was something different about some counties, but I'm curious about that.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 8:00pm
post #24 of 33

I use the ST-9 (I file directly online which is wonderful... and I better say that since the company I worked for designed it) and I have a FEIN. Pretty much the first thing I did after registering my business name with the state was apply for a FEIN... everything local came after that.

LEHLA Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 8:09pm
post #25 of 33

How about New Jersey are there any bills to change things in that state?

costumeczar Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 9:13pm
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

I use the ST-9 (I file directly online which is wonderful... and I better say that since the company I worked for designed it) and I have a FEIN. Pretty much the first thing I did after registering my business name with the state was apply for a FEIN... everything local came after that.




I thought that you had to have a business license to get the FEIN, so I guess that's the "missing link" in the formula that's confused me on this topic! I file online too, it's much easier than filling out the forms and hoping that the mail gets it there on time!

pinkpiggie78 Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 9:30pm
post #27 of 33

It's so easy!! Takes like 3 min and I save a stamp and envelope!

From what I remember working in state agencies for 10 years, they rarely "talk" to other state, local, or US agencies. I remember talking to the inspector to make sure I didn't need to have zoning and sales tax registration done before they inspected. She laughed like I was asking her if the moon was made out of cheese!

snocilla Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 9:50pm
post #28 of 33

Gathenry, just curious, where are you in VA? I had to get a business license, and honestly, it was very easy. And the health inspection, is really not hard either, as long as you read through the requirements.

gathenry Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 10:55pm
post #29 of 33

I'm in Stafford County. I spoke today with the Department of Commision, Zoning and a few others that I have to go through the application processes in the county, and they were all very helpful, but I think it will be easier just to go up there and get it all done in one swoop. I am sending off the application to the Dept. Of Agriculture as soon as I can get all my recipes down on a word doc. The lady I spoke with today, was much nicer and more helpful. Apparently all I need to do is send them back the application, my recipes and a diagram and pictures of my kitchen, then they can do the inspection. With all the fees, it looks like it will be a few hundred dollars. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 10:57pm
post #30 of 33

You can utlize the SBDC at Mary Washington near Geico if you need to. They helped me with everything, except for the Dept of Ag. I told them it was legal to bake out of your home in VA.

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