Getting Started

Business By TracyFace Updated 15 Dec 2010 , 6:02pm by jason_kraft

TracyFace Posted 14 Dec 2010 , 8:56pm
post #1 of 10

I live in TX, where it is illegal to have a "home bakery". Although I am bummed about this, I understand why it is. I am very passionate about cake making/decorating, and eventually I want to open my own business, but right now I have 2 young children and just don't have the time. Plus, after reading through A LOT of the topics in this forum, it seems VERY overwhelming!! Anyway, I still want to make cakes, and I have a lot of friends that have offered to pay me for them. I understand that I can't do that, but can I have them buy any ingredients/materials I would need to do these cakes, and then just give them the cakes for free? Just to build up a portfolio & to practice, but not to have to take on all the cost? Or would this still be considered illegal? Thanks so much!

9 replies
jason_kraft Posted 14 Dec 2010 , 9:15pm
post #2 of 10

Accepting compensation for even just the ingredients is still against the law...if you want to practice, I would advise giving the cakes away for free, practicing on cake dummies, and/or working for another established bakery. To get legal, you would need commercial kitchen space: there may be a commercial kitchen rental or kitchen incubator in your area, or you may be able to build a commercial kitchen on your property (depending on local laws). Another option would be renting a church kitchen or use the kitchen from another business during off-hours.

That said, the risk is pretty low if you bake from home, only accept orders from close friends and family, and don't advertise until you can get legal. I definitely wouldn't continue that way long term -- if you can't afford taking a loss during your "practice" period, you may not want to start a business at all.

kelleym Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 12:19am
post #3 of 10

You should call your county's health department to ask them this question. This forum is not a good place to get an answer to your particular question, because it will probably be the wrong one.

I am in Texas, and in my county, the answer is "yes", I can do what you described. I can sell cakes to people I know personally (not friends of friends, not referrals) without running afoul of the law. That is not a business, in the eyes of my health department.

Please follow the Texas Cottage Food Bill on Facebook, because we are getting ready to have the bill introduced again, and I feel that we have a strong chance of passing the bill next year!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Bakers-Bill/292920830821

If you have any specific questions, please PM me. I am happy to help.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 2:58am
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

I am in Texas, and in my county, the answer is "yes", I can do what you described. I can sell cakes to people I know personally (not friends of friends, not referrals) without running afoul of the law. That is not a business, in the eyes of my health department.



What's your source on that?

kelleym Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:00am
post #5 of 10

Well, it's not Google.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:07am
post #6 of 10

Kelley is absolutely correct that you need to contact your county (and city, and state) to get information on the local laws pertaining to you, but make sure you get the relevant information in writing, preferably by getting a reference to the specific section and subsection in the text of the law. Verbal consent from a clerk at the inspection office (or even the inspector himself) means nothing, since a change in personnel could mean that the laws as they are written are suddenly enforced.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 3:12am
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Well, it's not Google.



Google is never a source, it's a search engine used to find the text of state, county, and municipal laws (which are sources).

TracyFace Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:06pm
post #8 of 10

Thank y'all for the responses. I'm going to contact my county's health department this afternoon and check it out! I also signed the petition for the Baker's Bill! Thanks again!!

cakesdivine Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 4:49pm
post #9 of 10

Jason, KelleyM is the most informed person here on CC when it comes to Texas food industry legalities. She has barked up every tree all the way to the State Capitol and she is the driving force behind the bill here in Texas to get the law changed.

Different counties, and cities have varying laws on this subject. One county health department might allow sales to family and friends directly, some may allow ingredient compensation, others will have an absolutely NO exchange of funds policy. Here in Texas it really does depend on where you live. And, even within ones own neighborhood. The community across the road might allow commercial undertakings in their midst while others have strict deed restrictions against any commercial undertakings. So each person in Texas should contact their local HD to make sure what is and what isn't acceptable. And many times it will also depend who answers the phone as to what information is given.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 6:02pm
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

And many times it will also depend who answers the phone as to what information is given.



That's exactly why a written source is so important. If someone on the phone says what you're doing is OK, but there's nothing in the law to back that up, someone else in the same department could cite you for a violation and you would have no recourse.

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