[B]Is It Worth Being Licensed?[/b]

Business By firecracker36 Updated 25 Nov 2011 , 12:49pm by jamawoops

firecracker36 Posted 18 May 2011 , 4:56pm
post #1 of 20

I do cakes mainly for friends and family, about 4 -5 cakes a year, but recently facilities have been asking if their cake decorator is licensed. Is it worth me getting licensed and if so how do I go about it. I live in Pa. Are there other options or certificates that I should get. I have taken 4 classes from Wilton. I love to make cakes but not as a full time job right now, so I'm not looking to open some huge cake shop. Would it be benificial for me to get Safe Serve Certified? I'm really confused what would be the best bet for me. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!

19 replies
jason_kraft Posted 18 May 2011 , 6:24pm
post #2 of 20

Luckily PA has a cottage food law, so you would need to apply for a Home Food Processor's license ($35 annually) from the PA Dept of Agriculture in order to legally sell cakes, and you would need to make sure you comply with your town's zoning rules. ServSafe certification is completely separate from being licensed by the Dept of Ag. You will also need liability insurance in order to protect yourself from potential lawsuits from customers, otherwise you are putting your personal assets at risk. And don't forget to record your income and expenses so you can report your business activity on your tax return.

Here is a PDF with more info about the Home Food Processor's license:
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/Files/Publications/Home%20food%20processor%20guideline%20UPDATED%2012-2010.pdf

sappy42 Posted 18 May 2011 , 10:19pm
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Luckily PA has a cottage food law, so you would need to apply for a Home Food Processor's license ($35 annually) from the PA Dept of Agriculture in order to legally sell cakes, and you would need to make sure you comply with your town's zoning rules. ServSafe certification is completely separate from being licensed by the Dept of Ag. You will also need liability insurance in order to protect yourself from potential lawsuits from customers, otherwise you are putting your personal assets at risk. And don't forget to record your income and expenses so you can report your business activity on your tax return.

Here is a PDF with more info about the Home Food Processor's license:
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/Files/Publications/Home%20food%20processor%20guideline%20UPDATED%2012-2010.pdf




Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jason!!!!! I have searched till my brain was numbed looking for this kind of info!!! The Dept of Ag website is so incredibly NOT user-friendly! So again, THANK YOU!!!!

traci_doodle Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 12:53am
post #4 of 20

What is ServSafe?

carolinagirlcakes Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 1:23am
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by traci_doodle

What is ServSafe?




Certification in safe food handling.

http://www.servsafe.com/

traci_doodle Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 3:33am
post #6 of 20

I'm guessing it's required to become legal? How much does it cost? And is there any way to learn food safety more specific to cakes?

LKing12 Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 3:45am
post #7 of 20

To get the food safety certificate you pay a fee, take a class and then the test. They send you a license. It is not just specific to cakes but every all food safety and handling.

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 5:05am
post #8 of 20

Yes. Several reasons. First and foremost, is so you can legally sell. Getting a business license is not that big of a deal. Since you have a cottage law in your state that makes things a ton easier. Taking a food handling course is just a good idea and personally I think it should be taught in schools in general. But if all that boars you or you don't think it's totally worth the few hundred dollars, I got a really GREAT reason for you. One word.

Wholesale. .... cue Barry White music....

Oh, yes. It's my favorite word. Wholesale. Mmmmm mmm. Love me some wholesale. Pay a fraction of the cost for everything, have it sent right to your door. Oh yeah. Wholesale.

Seriously, the 1st time I paid $15 wholesale for a bottle of vanilla that would normally cost me $48 in the store almost brought me to tears or break out in song or something.

icon_biggrin.gif

cai0311 Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:05pm
post #9 of 20

Being licensed is a selling point too. I live in Ohio. You do not have to be licensed to sell home baked goods here. I went ahead and paid the $10 to get a license. I have the license out for display during consultations and I make sure to always tell people I "work from a licensed home bakery". It makes people stop and think because I know they have probably called a couple other home bakeries because there are hundreds here in Ohio since it is legal without having to do anything.

cai0311 Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:07pm
post #10 of 20

Being licensed is a selling point too. I live in Ohio. You do not have to be licensed to sell home baked goods here. I went ahead and paid the $10 to get a license. I have the license out for display during consultations and I make sure to always tell people I "work from a licensed home bakery". It makes people stop and think because I know they have probably called a couple other home bakeries because there are hundreds here in Ohio since it is legal without having to do anything.

traci_doodle Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:16pm
post #11 of 20

So, ServSafe costs a few hundred dollars? Yikes! I actually don't live in Pennsylvania; I just hijacked this thread. icon_smile.gif But I may live there next year (that or one of 15 or so other states), so I've been researching whether or not it would be worthwhile to get licensed if I'm only going to live there 3-4 years.

kakeladi Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:31pm
post #12 of 20

In some places the local county health dept will do food handler classes for a very small fee or free. (I'm thinking mine was free some 10 yrs ago but that might have changed now).

jason_kraft Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:45pm
post #13 of 20

An online ServSafe course costs $15:
http://www.servsafe.com/catalog/productDetail.aspx?ID=1710

A business license from your municipality will typically cost $25-100/year depending on the city, compared to the other costs of running a business this is virtually free.

jamawoops Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:49pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311

Being licensed is a selling point too. I live in Ohio. You do not have to be licensed to sell home baked goods here. I went ahead and paid the $10 to get a license. I have the license out for display during consultations and I make sure to always tell people I "work from a licensed home bakery". It makes people stop and think because I know they have probably called a couple other home bakeries because there are hundreds here in Ohio since it is legal without having to do anything.




I'm also from OH and I thought you did have to be licensed to legally sell here. I wanted to get a license, but I have cats and birds so I was under the impression that I couldn't get a license and thus couldn't sell my cakes. That's why I only do them for family and friends.

jamawoops Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:55pm
post #15 of 20

In fact we are looking at putting a pocket door in the entrance to our kitchen so that I can keep the cats out and then can get licensed. Would this work or should I scrap the idea?

jason_kraft Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 2:57pm
post #16 of 20

In OH you can't get a "home bakery" license without an inspection of your home kitchen, but you can operate under the separate cottage food law which lets you sell non-potentially-hazardous food from home without an inspection.

As far as I can tell the only thing the home bakery license gets you is the ability to legally sell potentially hazardous food (e.g. food that requires refrigeration).

BeccaW40 Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 3:23pm
post #17 of 20

In AZ, you are required to have a health card if you are selling food. Also, if a resident lives in the county, we donot need a business license, however if we live in the city we do....go figure!!! A health card is a good idea, just to be safe.

carolinagirlcakes Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 4:47pm
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawoops

In fact we are looking at putting a pocket door in the entrance to our kitchen so that I can keep the cats out and then can get licensed. Would this work or should I scrap the idea?




I would talk to either your health inspector or the dept of Ag. I send a detailed email to mine with pictures of my kitchen. He was very helpful and told me what I would need to do to be able to pass an inspection.

I have a dog and an open kitchen (there is a half wall, bar height, across majority of my kitchen that stops at a doorway minus the door) because of this I cannot pass an inspection with my dog being an inside pet. I would have to be able to enclose my kitchen. We rent so this is not possible so for now my dreams of selling are on the back burner.

Here is an example of my kitchen so you know what I am tallking about:
Image

AnnieCahill Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 5:21pm
post #19 of 20

Yep I am in the same boat as you Tracy. I'm also in VA. We also rent. It's ok though. I am super busy in my non-cake life and I am perfectly happy doing it as a hobby.

jamawoops Posted 25 Nov 2011 , 12:49pm
post #20 of 20

Thank you Jason for clarifying and thank you Tracy for the suggestion. I will definitely have to give them a call. Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%