What's The Point?

Business By JustGettinStarted Updated 7 May 2011 , 12:27am by Annabakescakes

JustGettinStarted Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:24am
post #1 of 54

Okay, so I'm a hobby baker, baking for friends and family. However, I've considered trying to get my license just to say I have it. But, what's the point (or benefit) of having one? I know plenty of people who aren't licensed and sell from their homes. Is that illegal? What difference does having the license make?

53 replies
icer101 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:30am
post #2 of 54

Hi, if you will google that question and then add "on cake central" you will see many heated threads about this subject. hth

bobwonderbuns Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:34am
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Yes, this can be a heated topic, unfortunately. But to answer your question in some states home baking and selling IS illegal, in some states in not. There's a thread around here someplace on the states that do and don't have cottage laws or home baking laws. I know in Texas if someone turns you in, the powers that be will go after you with tickets and fines. Other states are more lax. But it's always good to get your ducks in a row first and know why you are doing whatever you choose to do. Good luck!

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:46am
post #4 of 54

JustGettinStarted it's on your mind for a reason. Like everyone said check with the laws in your state. I was always telling myself I wasn't gonna get a license I was just gonna take my chances. And if I got caught I was gonna say I didn't know... But it kept nagging at me and pulling at me. So with the help of some CC I did some research. And I felt for me I needed to get my license because I didn't want it all to be snatched out from underneath me. I even had a relative say "but it's just a hobby right" They way I felt about that question being asked let me know I was doing what was right for me & renting a commercial kitchen and getting licensed is the right choice for me. I don't know what the laws are in TN or even in your county but do your research (not just finding out the laws, but also finding out the fines & penalties) and go from there. Cause all we can do is tell you what we think & how we fell but the final decision has to be yours.

Good Luck, & HTH

artscallion Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:47am
post #5 of 54

It's becoming common for event venues to not allow brides/customers to arrange cakes that were made by unlicensed bakers. So you could lose jobs. You also can't get liability insurance for an unlicensed business. So you are unprotected in case anyone decides to sue you. Aside from the legality in your local area, those might be some of the benefits to you.

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 1:59am
post #6 of 54

Her's the latest thread on Home Kitchens

NEW: States that License Home Kitchens
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-586218.html

bobwonderbuns Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 2:02am
post #7 of 54

Hey, I have a question since we're on the topic, do you have to be licensed to participate in a bridal show?

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 2:17am
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Hey, I have a question since we're on the topic, do you have to be licensed to participate in a bridal show?





Is that the same as a Wedding Cake Competition? If so I just looked at the rules to the one that's taken place in VA later this month & it just says "This competition is open to all adults age 18 and over."

Here's the link to all the rules
http://www.cakeshow.org/Documents/2011_Wedding_Cake_Competition_Rules_Entry_Form.pdf

bobwonderbuns Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 2:19am
post #9 of 54

Is that a wedding cake competition? I was referring to bridal shows where the brides come and look at your stuff. Do you know what I'm talking about?

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 2:20am
post #10 of 54

oh okay no that was the wrong info that I gave you then...I'm gonna google it to see what I can find cause that is a really good question

platinumlady Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 2:34am
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Is that a wedding cake competition? I was referring to bridal shows where the brides come and look at your stuff. Do you know what I'm talking about?




here's a thread here on CC
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6190110-.html&sid=5fd09b51e423494c8894889e23accb66

HTH

tryingcake Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 4:59am
post #12 of 54

Honestly, the point is peace of mind so some jealous or threatened baker doesn't turn you in. That's the only benefit I see. I can sleep at night because I'm not looking over my shoulder for those people.

I know people who operate illegally and I could care less. I believe in Karma..... I'm not turning anyone in who is otherwise clean and safe with food handling (and health dept licensing does NOT ensure this fact). We've all seen commercial kitchens that are just plain scary that are allowed to operate. In NC I was allowed to bake from my home. I was always being told by the inspector how much cleaner my home was than any commercial kitchen he has ever seen. But get this... we were allowed to bake out of our homes, but not cater. ??????. Funky to me. I had the same clean kitchen either way. Oh well. I digress.

Anyway, back on topic. There are a lot of people out here who think it's their business to run yours.... so just watch your back if you don't go legal.

indydebi Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 5:57am
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustGettinStarted

Okay, so I'm a hobby baker, baking for friends and family. However, I've considered trying to get my license just to say I have it. But, what's the point (or benefit) of having one? I know plenty of people who aren't licensed and sell from their homes. Is that illegal? What difference does having the license make?


I actually like your honestly in what you are asking. icon_smile.gif

A lot of folks use car violations as exampls of legality. Would you say "why get a drivers license just to say you have one? What difference does the license make?"

The difference is being legal or not being legal. Thats it. Nothing more.

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I was always being told by the inspector how much cleaner my home was than any commercial kitchen he has ever seen. But get this... we were allowed to bake out of our homes, but not cater. ??????.


I see this logic all the time and I really have to address something that drives me a little crazy: "clean" is not the same as "safe". Many people on here keep referring to how "clean" their kitchen is. That is not the same as safe food handling. I can have a shiny, spic-n-span clean kitchen, but can have a refrigerator at 45 degrees, a freezer at 28 degrees, eggs and meat stored on shelves above my lettuce and carrots (where is YOUR meat and vegetable crisper drawer in YOUR home refrigrator?), hot water that isn't hot enough (or too hot .... yes, that's a HD violation). I can wash my counters with a soapy sponge to make them all shiny looking.....

And all of that puts every food dish I make in danger of spreading food poisoning, and everything I listed above is a HD violation.

As a caterer, I handled and stored MANY more food ingredients that required MUCH more care in handling thatn what we use to make cakes.

THAT'S why we have inspected kitchens. Not to see if your counters are shiny. But to make sure the food is safe.

They are not mutually exclusive.

Do not confuse "surface clean" with food safe.

CakesGoneSweet Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 6:52am
post #14 of 54

I took the time and put up the money to get legal. It shows a level of professionalism and commitment to what I want to do. I have not renewed my permit this year because of the expense and lack of time to commit to the business. Because I am no longer legal I no longer have an active business website or Facebook business page. I do not advertise. That's just how I see things.

There are people around here that advertise and get business that are not legal and it is very annoying but the only person I can police is myself. I chose to be a professional and part of that is to be legal. I no longer bake for profit and only make cakes for family and close friends at no charge (as gifts)

There is a cottage food law that is slowly making its way to becoming legal here in my state so I hope that soon I will be able to start working again.

scp1127 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 9:14am
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I am not jealous or do I feel threatened. It is unfair to insult those of us who have spent multi thousands to have a legal baking business. It's one thing to be in a place where licensed and unlicensed are a few hundred dollars apart. And a totally separate thing to be in an area such as mine where legality comes with a price tag of $50,000 to $100,000. My personal cost was only about $30,000 but that was because I owned the property (that is a cost) and have a commercial contractors' license (more yearly expense). Just without the license, my buildout would have been upwards of $60,000 in my already finished space. My two fellow bakers have buildouts of over $100,000. Business is business, not some petty thing we play at with those numbers.

scp1127 Posted 13 Mar 2011 , 9:55am
post #16 of 54

By the way, not trying to rehash the debate, just responding to the one comment.

tryingcake Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:40am
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Quote:

By the way, not trying to rehash the debate, just responding to the one comment.





I don't think that being legal is petty. I think turning someone in for not being legal is. It serves no purpose for the tattler except removing a little teeny tiny competition.

I think you are bringing bad karma on your head and I just won't do it unless I know FOR A 100% FACT they are not clean or food safe. And even then, I hesitate. Who of us are 100% perfect 100% of the time? Go ahead and claim it. Anyone who does we'll all know you are lying.

But in the end, it doesn't take much for your food grade to be marked down. My dad has owned restaurants forever. Always very clean and food safety was high on the list. I remember one he was opening in a new area. The inspector came in days before the opening (unannounced), I remember it was at least a week before opening. Paint cans and brushes were everywhere, drop cords flowing across the floor, ladders, etc. They actually gave him a "C" because of this. We weren't even open for business and obviously under construction. The only food in the joint were our lunches we brought with us. My dad had to fight to get another inspection and that didn't happen until a couple of weeks after opening. By then the damage is setting in. He had to get newspaper coverage to tell the truth. (This was small town, the kind where the newspaper tells about Martha going to visit her daughter in Atlanta. So this was big news.)

Debi - I know, I was just sayin'. Food safety is absolutely a priority and I would not have been allowed to remain legal had I not practiced it.

costumeczar Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 11:14am
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by tryingcake

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By the way, not trying to rehash the debate, just responding to the one comment.




I don't think that being legal is petty. I think turning someone in for not being legal is. It serves no purpose for the tattler except removing a little teeny tiny competition.

I think you are bringing bad karma on your head and I just won't do it unless I know FOR A 100% FACT they are not clean or food safe. And even then, I hesitate. Who of us are 100% perfect 100% of the time? Go ahead and claim it. Anyone who does we'll all know you are lying.

.




I think that if you get turned in for being an illegal business then that's your own bad karma come back to get you.

scp1127 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 12:10pm
post #19 of 54

Thanks, Costumeczar. I don't care about those little businesses, but I do care about the bold, advertising with commercial websites, businesses. There is a way to stay out of the limelight, and in my opinion, the line can be crossed. Other industries don't put up with this. Let an unlicensed contractor bid and get a job and they will get shut down immediately by their peers. And let's not forget that if they feel they are above the law on licensing, why not be above the tax law too? Is that ok? No one likes a tax evader.

indydebi Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 12:37pm
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I think that if you get turned in for being an illegal business then that's your own bad karma come back to get you.


Yep! When I share these types of threads with hubby, he's the one in our house who first mentioned this concept in response to those who were saying "dont' do anything ..... karma will get them", at which time he said "getting turned in IS the karma that is getting them."

If no one ever turns in illegal activity because "well, *I'M* not perfect so I can't tattle on someone else for not being perfect", then police depts might as well shut down their Crime Watch hotlines, let's do away with neighorhood watches, and I won't tell my neighbor when I see their child riding their bike out in front of cars without looking.

Cascades Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 4:55pm
post #21 of 54

In my opinion, the minute you advertise you have crossed the Karma line.
It's that fine line that now puts you in a different category. It's now as they would say in The Godfather...."Go to the Mattresses It's not personal...it's business!"

I am two people. One is this single mom, daughter, friend, who would do anything for anyone. The other is a business woman, who has an large monetary investment in a BUSINESS! Why go into a business if I am not willing to do my best to ensure it's success.

It's not personal, it's business.

tryingcake Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 5:02pm
post #22 of 54

That's like comparing a murder or rape to illegally selling a cake. We are not God. Man's sins (laws) are not all equal as they are in God's eyes. OMG! In my eyes, that is quite overboard. If that were the case we would serve severe time for speeding.

For many of us, those of use who are honest, anyway, we started in this business and it just kind of grew and then we realized this is not a hobby. I need a license. No body woke up one day, who had never decorated a cake and said I'm going to open a cake business.

If you sell your cakes to anyone.. EVEN AT COST.... you are selling cakes. The IRS and business license people want to know about it. I can honestly say I turned in every penny of income I had when I still considered it a hobby and hadn't gotten a license yet.

And, yes, anyone who gets caught has brought this on themselves. But I'm not putting the bad karma on my head for those times I fail to follow a rule (Oh I forgot - we follow all rules 100% of the time).

If I don't tell the mom her kid is riding without a helmet, my kid may very well be hurt doing something I need to know about. If I don't call the police when a peeping Tom is seen across the street, I deserve what ever bad thing happens to me. If you all want to go those extremes, go for it. Take it from someone who has been raped and beaten up and spent time in ICU over it... these situations are not even close in what's reportable and what's not. Was that karma? I highly doubt it. I was just the chosen one at that moment. And I do know it wasn't from not doing the right thing or at least not attempting to do the right thing.

Under no circumstances do we mess with Mr. Tax Man. The business license people and Health Dept people will merely shut you down. The fine may even cause you to lose your house. But it's highly unlikely you will go to jail. For taxes.... you head right to jail, No passing Go, No collecting $200.

How about instead of reporting them... duh..... going to them and giving them a chance to become legal. Then turning them in if the don't? That sounds a little more humanitarian to me and a lot less petty.

VickeyC Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 5:49pm
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustGettinStarted

Okay, so I'm a hobby baker, baking for friends and family. However, I've considered trying to get my license just to say I have it. But, what's the point (or benefit) of having one? I know plenty of people who aren't licensed and sell from their homes. Is that illegal? What difference does having the license make?




JustGettinstarted,
Each state and possibly each county, has different laws and guidelines. I too live in TN, and in my area, people are allowed to sell occasional cakes out of their homes without having to have a license. With that being said, there are no guidelines (that I am aware of) that defines occasional. I happen to be the only licensed and health inspected cake designer in my county. I can and do advertise, where the others are not allowed to do so. However, there are a few that have facebook pages that are only for their cakes. My HD inspector is currently checking with authorities in Nashville to make sure that she can put a stop to this. When the laws were written, facebook was nonexistant. They were referring to signs, business cards, newspaper ads, etc. So as technology advances, the laws haven't kept up.

If I were you, I would check with my local HD and ask plenty of questions. I was fortunate enough that the layout of my home allowed me to have my business here. I have a seperate commercial kitchen, with a door leading outside, a utility room / dry storage area, and a seperate restroom, that can be defined as my business area. My garage is on the other side of my kitchen and I am hoping remodel that and to expand real soon.

I hope that you will check with the local authorities in your county and then follow your heart. I hope that my post can be of some help to you. I wish you all the luck in the world.

jason_kraft Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 6:24pm
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by tryingcake

How about instead of reporting them... duh..... going to them and giving them a chance to become legal. Then turning them in if the don't? That sounds a little more humanitarian to me and a lot less petty.



The issue with contacting the unlicensed baker directly is that they may respond a number of different ways. It's certainly possible that they will thank you for your concern and start working towards operating legally, but IMO it's more likely that they will take it personally or even retaliate, especially if you are a competitor.

They certainly won't take it as seriously as a call from the health dept. A call from a "wedding planner" inquiring about the license and inspection status of the baker might be a good middle ground as a wake-up call that they could be losing business because of their illegal status.

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Man's sins (laws) are not all equal as they are in God's eyes.



Not to get too OT here, but I sure hope all sins are not equal in god's eyes. That would be pretty messed up.

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For taxes.... you head right to jail, No passing Go, No collecting $200.



Not true. There are significant fines for failing to pay taxes, but only the most egregious cases get jail time.

scp1127 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 6:43pm
post #25 of 54

I am going to say something very unpopular. This site is full of hobbyists, bakers who live in areas where going into business legitimately is rather simple and inexpensive, illegal bakers, and people who are serious about their massive business investment. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion because there are various degrees of business knowledge and degrees of business instinct. Some of us run our businesses the same as we would run any business... this just happens to be cake. Most areas have determined food production a licensed business for public safety. I do not get why people want to argue for breaking the law on a public forum.

artscallion Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 7:16pm
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I am going to say something very unpopular. This site is full of hobbyists, bakers who live in areas where going into business legitimately is rather simple and inexpensive, illegal bakers, and people who are serious about their massive business investment. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion because there are various degrees of business knowledge and degrees of business instinct. Some of us run our businesses the same as we would run any business... this just happens to be cake. Most areas have determined food production a licensed business for public safety. I do not get why people want to argue for breaking the law on a public forum.




I know. How do things like karma and sin even come into these discussions? Seriously? These things get decided by karma rules? I also don't get how folks think they get to make their own personal decision as to where the line is when a law is okay to break and when it isn't. The law is the law. If you don't like it, work to change it. Until then, be prepared for any consequences that arise should you decide to break it.

These laws exist for a reason. Food is involved and so public safety. Sure your kitchen may be safe, but I hear all kinds of horror stories about unsanitary practices on this very site that make my teeth itch. At least if you're legal, you'll probably have been made aware of how to be safe. I do like going into a wedding not having to worry too much whether the baker's cat sits on the same counter they roll fondant out on. Legality isn't a guarantee, but it improves the odds.

scp1127 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 7:34pm
post #27 of 54

Artscallion, I agree. Aren't we glad our grocery stores, Applebee's, Olive Garden, our butcher, school cafeterias, and even street vendors are licensed? This attitude that EVERYONE has to abide but those special chosen few is exactly like a tax evader griping about the welfare system or teachers' salaries.

silverdragon997 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 7:48pm
post #28 of 54

It's taken me quite a while to get legal, but that's mostly due to the lack of qualified commercial kitchen space for rent in Los Angeles. There are 2 that I've found, one too expensive and with a waiting list to even get it, and the other only open from 7am to 6pm M-F. And both are at least a 1/2 hour drive from where I live in the Valley. I work a full time real job, so those hours don't really work for me, but I'm working through it anyway.

Really, getting legal is up to you. You either take the risk or you don't. But I also think you should take the food safety course either way, so that you are aware of all of the dangers. That was the first thing I did.

costumeczar Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 8:45pm
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I am going to say something very unpopular. This site is full of hobbyists, bakers who live in areas where going into business legitimately is rather simple and inexpensive, illegal bakers, and people who are serious about their massive business investment. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion because there are various degrees of business knowledge and degrees of business instinct. Some of us run our businesses the same as we would run any business... this just happens to be cake. Most areas have determined food production a licensed business for public safety. I do not get why people want to argue for breaking the law on a public forum.




yep...

cheatize Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 9:49pm
post #30 of 54

Funny. I was taught a sin is a sin is a sin and to render unto Caesar.

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