Health Dept Restriction. What To Do Now?

Business By ScrumdidlyCakes Updated 6 Sep 2011 , 3:34pm by ScrumdidlyCakes

ScrumdidlyCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 12:41am
post #1 of 19

So I have been talking to my countys health department about the restrictions on a home based business and my county only allows that if you have a separate kitchen not attached to living quarters(which I don't) or doing a remodel on the garage with more restrictions attached including a restroom attached. MY only other option would to fine a licensed kitchen in a church. I don't mind doing that but since I'm just starting out, I don't get more than one cake order at a time and that would barely pay the cost of renting the church.
Cake decorating is such a passion of mine so this just breaks my heart. If I'm not thinking about my wonderful husband and son, im obsessing over cakes! I work full time and cannot afford to take a big pay cut to work at a bakery in town.
Any advice on what to do next? I'm not a quitter but am starting to feel I've hit a wall

18 replies
jason_kraft Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 12:48am
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrumdidlyCakes

MY only other option would to fine a licensed kitchen in a church. I don't mind doing that but since I'm just starting out, I don't get more than one cake order at a time and that would barely pay the cost of renting the church.



So raise your prices to include the cost of renting the church kitchen plus some profit for you.

Annabakescakes Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 6:04am
post #3 of 19

I thought I was ready to go into business 7 years ago, I was a welfare mom with 3 kids and a tiny apartment no friends or family to support me. There was no way, no how I was going to be in business, but it was a dream and a passion. I learned something new with each I did for friends and family and the occasional order.

Now i own my own home with the business in the garage. I am so much better now to the point it is embarrassing to look at the photos of the cakes I did back then. And I am still learning.

I recommend you keep practicing, and supply cakes at your friends and family get togethers. You never know what the future holds, and if a cake business is in it, you will have the decorating down by then.

Also start researching your area and putting together a business plan. Keep updating it and save each copy. Keep taking pictures of your work. Put together a portfolio, and then do another. You will be amazed at how you progress, and how your business ideas progress.

Take some business classes, even if they are free on-line, or just read some books on it. If it is meant to be, it will be, but you can start getting ready.

myslady Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 2:49pm
post #4 of 19

Have you researched what it would cost to rent a church kitchen?

How much of your time are you willing and able to put into growing your business?

You mentioned that you are only getting one order at a time. You would be able to advertise your business to pick up more orders which would help cover the cost of renting a kitchen.

cakecoachonline Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:23pm
post #5 of 19

Being passionate about your talents - that is the key. So do not rules prevent you from doing anything. Research the options. How much truly does a rented kitchen cost? How many hours can you rent it for to start with? If you put the plan in place, and an have an intention to get the orders so that the kitchen rental pays and is covered by your sales - you will be surprised what you can do. In UK we do not have restrictions on having separate kitchens for home bakers - just some guide lines on keeping clean working spaces etc. But never let someone tell you - you cannot do something!! If you would like five orders a week, you need to build up your circle of people who know about you. Add the cost of the kitchen rental to any orders and do more marketing and networking so the orders come in regularly. Hope that helps.

fondantgrl Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 2:45pm
post #6 of 19

This is exactly why I never went into business because of how the state that I live in restricts selling any type of food that is baked at home. No way I would violate this... if I get caught I will be fined a lot of $$$$$ and it iwould totally be my fault and no one else's. No one can be blamed but myself.
.... It is not worth it.

I make cakes to give away to firnds and family. I cannot and will not make my state give in nor surrender to me. That would be impossible. Therefore for cake makers who live in a state where you have to prepare or bake in a commercial kitchen, think about it really well first.

I hope you will find the solution to your problem.. Good luck..

carmijok Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:06pm
post #7 of 19

Good luck getting a church to rent to you. If they accept payment from you and you are a for-profit business, then that could jeopardize their non-profit status.
A restroom in a garage kitchen? Good Lord. Talk about strangling small business entrepreneurs with stupid regulations.
I'm thinking you may have to start donating your cakes and hope that someone tips you accordingly.

cabecakes Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:30pm
post #8 of 19

I know it can be frustrating to have a passion to do something, but everything seems to be standing in your way. There is no way my finances will allow me to open my own business, but it doesn't keep me from making cakes for family and friends. Have you ever considered (and you may not have any in your area, so this may not apply) speaking to local coffee shops to see if they have a kitchen that would allow you to bake for them and yourself as well. Or possibly a restaurant that would like you to bake some things for them in exchange for using their kitchen. It may be worth a try to ask. These are just a couple of options I considered, but I just never followed through with due to other commitments.

LKing12 Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:44pm
post #9 of 19

Ran an ad in the local papers for a month to rent a kitchen, no church, not even mine can allow outside use. So, I sold my husband's boat, most of our savings and the local consignments shops have seen a lot of my "extra" stuff. We are about 3 weeks away from opening my commercial kitchen.
Yes, we have a lot of sweat equity in the new building, but, I will be able to make a living. I have baked for three years and have a great portfolio. Yesterday I received the deposit for my first LEGAL wedding cake. It all comes down to what you want to do to be able to do you want to do.

jason_kraft Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 3:57pm
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Good luck getting a church to rent to you. If they accept payment from you and you are a for-profit business, then that could jeopardize their non-profit status.



This is a common misconception -- in most cases nonprofit organizations are allowed to accept rent from for-profit organizations as long as the revenue does not accrue to individual shareholders of the organization. The rent from the for-profit company would be taxable for the NPO only if there is a mortgage on the property AND more than 15% of the property is being rented out, but even if the rent was taxable it should not jeopardize their non-profit status.

Obviously NPOs can still refuse to rent to for-profit organizations, but if there is a concern over losing non-profit status you might be able to allay those fears by presenting the relevant parts of the tax code (see link below) along with your proposal.

http://www.justanswer.com/tax/337i5-non-profit-church-rent-space-profit-organization.html

FromScratchSF Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 4:06pm
post #11 of 19

Starting any business is really frustrating, but it does take some start-up capital, and you must be prepared to operate at a loss for a little while. I see many on these forums that think making cake "for profit" means profit right out of the gates, but quickly learn it really takes a while to break even then takes a while after that to actually make a profit. When I first started i had a small savings to start and every dollar I made off cake went right back into supplies, tools, overhead and equipment. Actually, it still does, because I very rarely take an owner draw to actually pay myself a wage. It all goes right back into the business or into savings until I can save enough to open a storefront. I am very lucky that I have a very supportive and indulgent husband that can pay the bills in the meantime. I can't imagine trying to do this with no savings and no support like that.

The GOOD news is that it CAN be done and although it doesn't feel like it, your "loss" is really tiny in comparison to other business start-ups and it only hits you one cake at a time. But trust me, If you have a strategy (i.e. a business plan) and focus you CAN do well quickly.

You just have to get over the initial speed bumps. thumbs_up.gif

Good luck!

littlecake Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 9:25pm
post #12 of 19

I'd do the remodel a little at a time, your cakes are really nice, don't give up.
If your husband is handy you can do alot of stuff yourself.
i had a storefront for 9 years, we moved once last year, so we've rehabbed 2 different places, if you can do stuff yourself it won't be as expensive as you might think, the last place cost about 3 grand..when i rented it it was just one big empty room, we had to run plumbing, put up wall partitions etc.

even before you start any of that you can start putting some money back and keep an eye on craigslist for sinks and other stuff you'll need.

tbkimber Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 10:06pm
post #13 of 19

The Food Bank in my town has a great commercial kitchen that they rent out to people just like you who are trying to start their own business but do not have the money for their own commercial kitchen. I don't know if you have anything like this in your area but it is a possibility you could check out.

cakecoachonline Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 10:06am
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbkimber

The Food Bank in my town has a great commercial kitchen that they rent out to people just like you who are trying to start their own business but do not have the money for their own commercial kitchen. I don't know if you have anything like this in your area but it is a possibility you could check out.


I was wondering if someone was enterprising enough to make a building with lots of little kitchens to rent especially for all the cake decorators who by law are not allowed to use their home kitchens. So one state has one already. So it seems to me - that any of the states in USA who ban home baking - should really make space easily available at reasonable rent to the talented cake makers who are frustrated by their rules. We are allowed to home bake here in UK - but it makes sense to me. So calling all building developers....... give the cake bakers a hand!!

scp1127 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 3:57pm
post #15 of 19

Developers do it all the time, but it is a for-profit enterprise. That explains the higher cost. People renting commercial kitchens can't play around with running a business. They have the same expenses as any other baking establishment, just on an as needed, by-the-hour basis. Time management and a good business plan are needed to insure a profit.

ScrumdidlyCakes Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 2:09am
post #16 of 19

Thank you guys soo much for the advice and well wishes! I think I was Debbie downer the other day when I posted this.... I was bummed and thought there wasn't much I could do but I know that I will just forward on and do everything in my power to do cakes! The health department woman will be tired of me after all of the questions I've asked!

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 3:39am
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrumdidlyCakes

Thank you guys soo much for the advice and well wishes! I think I was Debbie downer the other day when I posted this.... I was bummed and thought there wasn't much I could do but I know that I will just forward on and do everything in my power to do cakes! The health department woman will be tired of me after all of the questions I've asked!




I had the direct number to the head inspector at my health department, and I hand delivered everything, lol. He was fantastic about me calling about 50 times, and emailing pics and asking hundreds of questions! And the gal up front was as nice as could be, we would chat while I waited for him to be free so I could nab him for a while, lol.

shawnteel Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 4:10am
post #18 of 19

I dont know what state you are in, I am in Michigan and was in your boat not long ago. Michigan has a cottage food bill which alows home business to prepare and sell food from their home (under certain conditions). Maybe you could look into if your state has anything like that.

ScrumdidlyCakes Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 3:34pm
post #19 of 19

I live in southern Indiana. My county health inspector is very friendly but is better toget a hold of via email. Annabakescakes- I think I will be the same way! It'sgood you have that kind of relationship with yourhealth inspector!

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