Getting Started / When To Get A License

Business By augurey Updated 24 May 2011 , 7:28pm by kelleym

augurey Posted 15 May 2011 , 2:03pm
post #1 of 9

I'm very new with cake decorating, so this is not something I see in my immediate future, but would like to look into should it become possible.

Right now I bake simply to practice and improve my skills. I bake maybe once to twice a week to improve. I bake for family, friends, and just for small group gatherings (one work party) -- nothing major, just people I know.

I do not sell/take money for anything I bake, as, like I said, I'm doing this to improve (and to be honest I didn't know about the licensing until I started browsing the forum recently).

Should I become good enough, I would love to be able to open a small business, but that could be years from now.

But, if there comes a time when someone does want to buy -- I want to do this legally. In my state you can get a license for in home baking, however, I would not be able to get one because there are pets in the home (which will prevent you from getting an in home license).

The only thing I could do would be to go somewhere else, and I think unless I knew I'd have clients/customers, I don't think it'd be smart to go rent out a space/building without the means of the income from what I bake.

If someone wanted me to sell a cake/baked goods, I wouldn't be able to, legally, without a license. But on the other hand, you have to start somewhere.

So, I guess my question is where can I even start (for future possibilities)? If I could do this from home, I'd just get a license right now to cover myself for all future possibilities, but seeing as I can't do that, I really don't know where to go with this.

Does anyone have suggestions? How did everyone else get started if you weren't able to get a license for your home?

And also, while I know that in order to sell, a license is required by law, but if I'm just doing things for family/friends as I have been, is a license required if not being reimbursed? I did not consider this just until this morning.

8 replies
kelleym Posted 15 May 2011 , 4:34pm
post #2 of 9

In Ohio, you can operate under "cottage foods" and sell non-potentially hazardous foods without a license or inspection. You would only need a license if you wanted to have a registered home bakery selling potentially hazardous foods also.

Someone from Ohio can correct me on this if I've stated it incorrectly.

YellowBrickRd Posted 15 May 2011 , 7:26pm
post #3 of 9

One thing I've done (and I'm in TN) is start researching all the necessities. For example: what things do I need to have in place-fridge thermometer, storage, labeling, etc. Then I've been researching costs: license, food safety course, registering name w/secretary of state, talkig with insurance agent about insurance prices, figuring out advertising.

With the cakes I've done I'm taking pictures, building a portfolio. It sounds to me like you're on the right path. I do understand not jumping the gun because then you've paid all the money and dont have orders. Best of luck!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

augurey Posted 15 May 2011 , 8:31pm
post #4 of 9

Thanks for the information kelleym. I wasn't aware of "cottage foods" until your post.

Since your post I've been researching cottage foods and it definitely sounds like my best option should opportunities come up.

With all of my searching on cottage foods, there is one area I'm not sure of and couldn't find an answer to. Do you need to contact the Dept of Agriculture in order to operate under cottage foods, or do you just simply follow their guidelines of labeling and what you can/cannot sell, and should anything happen (such as unhappy client/illness) then you'd be covered by cottage foods (so no legal issues) and then I know that an inspector would be allowed to sample -- which sounds like it's if there was a situation with illness or if it is suspected that you aren't following cottage food regulations?

If it doesn't take anything of the sort and you just go by the guidelines, I would start labeling and whatnot now, but otherwise I'd need to look more into it and probably just stick with family events until I'm sorted and ready.


YellowBrickRd, thanks for the suggestions! I realize that it could be 5 - 10 years before I'm ready to be able to actually sell, but I know that when I feel confident and am ready, I want to have everything figured out. I'd like to start thinking about that stuff now and get my ducks in a row, even if I'm waiting 5 years. I take a picture of every cake I do, disaster or not lol Right now it's for my sake and to see how I'm improving or what areas I'm not. But once I get decent enough, I'd definitely want to build a portfolio. Thanks again! icon_smile.gif

SweetDreams98 Posted 16 May 2011 , 7:04am
post #5 of 9

augurey,
We are lucky (at least in this respect) to live in Ohio! We have the large Amish population in our state to thank for the ability to bake and sell under the Cottage Foods blanket! I just started selling cakes and cupcakes and I am meeting with an Entrepreneurial/Marketing specialist this week. I'm not sure what area of Ohio you live in but I know that in this area, there are several Community College's that offer free counseling for small and personal businesses. This might be something you want to check into, even just to get an idea for the future if nothing else! I live in a suburb of Cleveland and while I'm trying to get my baking business off the ground, my boyfriend is trying to start a photography business (he has his BFA in Photography from Eastern Michigan and just relocated to this wonderful state). The counseling is something we are taking advantage of because although for now, I will operate under the Cottage Foods Act, eventually we are looking into opening a studio/bakery (hopefully finding a location that has a lower and upper area that can serve both our needs...a bakery and photography studio in the same building would hopefully lead to people seeing it as "one stop shopping" and also allow us to spend a little time together thumbs_up.gif )
At any rate, hopefully this helps you, regardless, have fun baking and learning!

augurey Posted 16 May 2011 , 9:09pm
post #6 of 9

^^Thanks so much for that suggestion! I'm actually from Cleveland, but moved about half hour south of Youngstown. I'll have to look into and see what schools/Community College's are around here and if they offer anything of the sort. I don't think there's many, but I can still look.

Best of luck with your business and your meeting with the Entrepreneurial/Marketing specialist icon_smile.gif

MelissaJeane Posted 16 May 2011 , 9:27pm
post #7 of 9

I'm from Ohio as well and if you pay for the home inspection you don't have to go through labeling every single ingredient. Go to ohio.gov and request a business info packet, it's free. You will need a venders liscense only if you rent items like stands or tables because these are taxable sales in our state.

kashmiere Posted 24 May 2011 , 12:41pm
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

In Ohio, you can operate under "cottage foods" and sell non-potentially hazardous foods without a license or inspection. You would only need a license if you wanted to have a registered home bakery selling potentially hazardous foods also.

Someone from Ohio can correct me on this if I've stated it incorrectly.




Where do I find this information? Is it so even if you have pets in your home? I'm in Warren and looking to start a cookie business and want to know what I need to do to get started. What do they consider non-potentially hazardous foods? Thanks!

kelleym Posted 24 May 2011 , 7:28pm
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmiere

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

In Ohio, you can operate under "cottage foods" and sell non-potentially hazardous foods without a license or inspection. You would only need a license if you wanted to have a registered home bakery selling potentially hazardous foods also.

Someone from Ohio can correct me on this if I've stated it incorrectly.



Where do I find this information? Is it so even if you have pets in your home? I'm in Warren and looking to start a cookie business and want to know what I need to do to get started. What do they consider non-potentially hazardous foods? Thanks!



http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FoodSafety/docs/CottageFoodOperation-factsheet.pdf

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%