Pebbles1727 Posted 20 Mar 2012 , 11:33pm
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Just got a phone call from a freaked out bride. She got a call from her venue, city civic center, informing her that all vendors now must have that city's business license. What in the world? How can they require that? We leave in an area of a whole bunch of towns, big and small, many don't even have borders and separations between then. All vendors routinely cross over between city and county borders. Some vendors even come from out of state because we are so close to neighboring states. My first thought was that the bride has misunderstood and the venue just requires that vendors are properly licensed, which is not a big deal and seems common, however, the bride told me no, she specifically questioned the requirement and only vendors with that city business license will be allowed. Of course, I cannot get anyone to return my calls this afternoon, so will start the chase tomorrow morning. There is no way I can get a city license since my business is not in that city's limits. If that what's required, what am I supposed to do? Terminate the contract and refund the payments that the bride can rebook with another vendor? And what if there is no other vendor available? The wedding is next month. There is only one bakery in that town and they may very well be booked. What, bride is left without a cake? That's just nuts....

69 replies
traci_doodle Posted 20 Mar 2012 , 11:58pm
post #2 of

I really hope the bride misunderstood. That sounds like a pretty ridiculous rule. I hope things clear up quickly! You'll have to keep us updated on what the venue says.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:19am
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Hopefully this is a big misunderstanding!!

If not, could it be that the venue wants to guarantee that only certain vendors will be able to provide services there? And why on earth wouldn't they tell that to the bride when she booked her reception in the first place?!?

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:29am
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That just doesn't make any sense! We have delivered to several venues outside of the city we are licensed in and never had a problem. I hope you find out that's not really the case!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:30am
post #5 of

That just doesn't make any sense! We have delivered to several venues outside of the city we are licensed in and never had a problem. I hope you find out that's not really the case!

SRumzis Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:31am
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Maybe someone from the brides family could pick it up, can they bring products in that they buy elsewhere? That way maybe you wouldn't be technically servicing the venue? Just an idea, may get lucky. Who knows where they got the cake from if they bring it in themselves?

SRumzis Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:32am
post #7 of

Maybe someone from the brides family could pick it up, can they bring products in that they buy elsewhere? That way maybe you wouldn't be technically servicing the venue? Just an idea, may get lucky. Who knows where they got the cake from if they bring it in themselves?

Smallfrye Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:45am
post #8 of

I hope thats a misunderstanding. I know that I live in a rual area and am not required to have a city business lic unless the money transaction takes place in the city. So maybe if you get ahold of someone at the venue explain to them that the cake was purchased in your city and is just being delivered

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:57am
post #9 of

Not to be the devil's advocate, but is there a chance she had a change of heart and just wants her money back? Because that is stupid, makes no sense, and seems like a big fat lie.

Jenise Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 3:05am

I don't think that the bride misunderstood. My husband and I have a glass business where we live and we HAVE to have a business license for every city/town that we do business in. I know that it seems crazy, but it is how the city/towns pay the inspectors for the area. All that you need to do is go purchase a business license for the area, most of them will cover a $1000 min of sales, and will usually run 25-45 dollars depending on the area.

As others have suggested, the only way to get around it would be to have one of the family members bring it in if the venue allows, because the total sale would then have been completed in your area.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 3:18am

If that IS the case then wouldn't you think the bride would have some sort of legal recourse since the venue didn't tell her of the requirement when she booked with them?
Especially since the wedding is NEXT month!?! How on earth do they expect her to be able to change her vendors?

BooperBaker78 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:10am

It is a very silly "rule" for venues to have... but more and more recently, I have had this issue with my wedding cakes. In most cases, I have been able to contact the venue, and ask if any outside insurance was available to purchase, so I could create the cake as planned. Only once has this been unsuccessful. There are several event insurance companies that provide a one time insurance policy, making it possible for small vendors like myself. I actually had one Bride tell her venue flat out that if they would not allow me to do her wedding cake... that she would be changing venues!! I felt so honored!!! Just have your Bride do a little research and see what happens.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:20am

I don't know y'all. I'll have to figure this thing out tomorrow. I cannot get that city's license because I don't have a physical location there. Even if I could get a license, the license is $100.00. And if I could get a city license at a "different" location, I'll be responsible for city, county, state sales taxes for that location. Even if it does not make any money, i have to file 3 returns every month till the rest of the year. The whole thing is very strange, I wouldn't think that the venue can change rules like that on a whim. What is the bride supposed to do? Her caterer and florist is from another city and county as well, and both of those businesses will actually be on location working. I'm just dropping off the cakes that were made at my shop, which is properly licensed and inspected and all that jazz. Weird, just weird...will be chasing after someone tomorrow to get this resolved one way or another.

scp1127 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:28am

It is not a silly rule, it is a law. It is the law everywhere you go. In order to do business in an area, you must have a license and pay appropriate taxes. And yes, there are set boundaries for every city and town. Many cities have B&O (Business and Occupation) taxes that you must pay. It is usually less than 1%, but must be paid on ALL transactions within the city limits. Every business must comply with the appropriate business and tax licenses.

For out of state transactions, there is an act called the Fair Trade Between States Act which allows businesses within a reasonable driving distance near a state line to sell across the line without having a FEDERAL FDA license. But you must still follow every rule and every code that the other area has, including a possible business license, and most importantly, their local sales tax license.

You are supposed to comply with every HD line you cross. This means establishing a delivery area and checking with each one. If your county is lax in laws and the next county is srtrict (drains in floors, specific sink size, etc.), then you cannot deliver to that area until you are up to code. I know this first hand. My brother-in-law has a restaurant one county over that gives out HD licenses with little regard to food safety. He wanted to cater my mother-in-law's anniversary sale at her store and he was stopped.

I am on a state line and do business in three counties, two in WV and one in MD. In each county, I need a business license, must comply with all county HD rules, can be inspected by all three HD inspectors, and can be inspected by the FDA. I also pay sales tax to each state and must keep a record of sales from each state. So far, I have not done business within the one city that has B & O tax, but when I do, I will need a city license and a B&O tax account.

These rules and laws have always been there. All other businesses pay them and so must bakers and decorators. The HD's have found that there are too many illegal bakers and out-of-area bakers to police, so they are cracking down on the venues to try to stop, or at least slow down, the volume of people who are unlicensed and who are not paying appropriate taxes.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:42am

I'm sorry I do not understand your post scp and I usually can follow you pretty well. I'm not crossing any county lines or state lines. I am paying city sales tax for my city (where I hold my license and where my shop is and where the transaction took place), county sales tax and state sales tax. I do not fall under any other county's or state's Health Department regulations because first of all I do not bake/decorate in any other jurisdiction and then don't even cross those borders to deliver the cake. This specific venue always required vendors to have business license but it was never required to have that specific city business license. That is a new thing apparently.
So what are you telling me?

BooperBaker78 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 5:04am

SCP... I wasn't impling that retaining a proper license is a "silly rule." Not sure why you took it that way.... I am stating from the baker's point of view, that in these specific cases, the rule is a bit ridiculous. (In my personal opinion) If we are licensed by the county in which we perform these services, it shouldn't matter where we deliver to. I do understand that "laws are laws", but there are some laws that don't make much sense, and are unfair - not only to the vendors, but for the clients as well.

Pebbles - Best of luck to you... I hope you get the answers you need, and the Bride isn't stuck without a cake!!

FromScratchSF Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 5:32am

I've personally never heard of this, but you never know what laws cities and counties are changing to generate revenue in this economy. i'd just call the city in question and ask them direct. Forget the venue, they could be blowing BS just to get the bride to use their vendors, or maybe the person at the venue just has it wrong.

scp1127 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 8:58am

Hi Pebbles, I was really replying in general. In your post you mentioned other bakers crossing lines. I was just making a general statement. Sometimes after I read all the posts, I answer the question based on all of the posts.

For example, in one county where I do business, I have to purchase a state license, but that county has a city that requires a city license in addition to the regular business license. Every person doing business in the city limits must obtain a $30.00 license, but because the city has B&O taxes, a small percentage of this sale must be paid to the city. Many businesses in these cities try to locate just outside the city limits. Because we deliver, delivering within these limits requires a license.

When you are licensed by a particular health dept, you comply with their laws. But it doesn't give you carte blanche to go anywhere you want. When you deliver to another county or state, you are doing business in that county. Their HD has a right to approve or disapprove any food sale in their jurisdiction. In my three counties, the codes are all similar and close to FDA regulations, so because of this, other HD's have not inspected my bakery and probably never will. But they will stop people from coming into the county that do not meet these high standards.

I think because I worked so long with businesses of all types in my marketing company, I am more aware of licensing. These businesses were in the different counties, states and cities. B&O is a big headache in that one city.

If you get a contractors' license, it is a state license. You can work in the entire state and in every county. If you cross state lines, you have to comply with their licensing laws. I have a WV contractor's license. But I also worked in VA. The first thing I did was call VA to get the right information. VA accepted the WV license as long as I was working under a VA licensed contractor. Since I was a sub, it worked. But I had to submit my license, WC policy and my liability policy while I was working in that state. I also had a max amount of money I could accept per job without getting the VA license. But in food service, you are granted only a local license by your county, not the state. Notice how chain pizza delivery doesn't usually cross county or state lines?

The FDA comes in if you do not fall into the Fair Trade Between States Act. Let's say you have a county license in your state. And you have also complied with your neighboring HD's and do business there too. Now you want to ship across state lines. It is just like DOT rules or anything that crosses state lines. There must be a standard that every municipality can accept. The FDA, with strict requirements, is accepted by all HD's in the US. I am always rebutted on this but think about it. You would need federal guidelines for food safety just like my husband must comply with federal guidelines for DOT physicals. He is subject to FDA inspections and his office must meet all federal guidelines to do these exams. That federal DOT driver's license is acceptable in all states. You only need a state commercial license to stay witin the state.

Cities have always had trouble with county based businesses doing business within the city limits. This would include plumbers, people who mow lawns, caterers, mobile auto dent removal companies, etc. They can get away with not paying. In areas with the extra license or B&O, businesses do everything they can to be outside the line. And there are lines. There are lines between counties and a line inside counties that designate city limits. If you don't know them, police, post offices and the city itself can show you the lines.

Pebbles, I doubt this is a new law. My guess is that the license was needed all along and the city is enforcing it by requiring the license from the venue. And it may be a case where the city does have B&O tax, or they are just trying to collect their $30.00 a year from the businesses doing business within their limits.

As for these laws making sense or seeming rediculous, they have been there all along and are a source of revenue for the city or county. These licenses are also trackers for sales tax and state income tax.

If you call an HD in a neighboring county or just over the state line, if the codes are close, chances are they will waive any inspections. But if you are in a state with CFL neighboring a state with strict codes, they may not want you to do business in their state. Again, I fall within the FTBS Act, but I still had to comply with all MD codes which are higher than WV. The buildout was the same, but labeling and some storage issues were different. FTBS Act only allows you to do business just over a state line without having to go through a full FDA licensed kitchen.

I hope this helps. You just need to know the law for every district where you do business, no matter what business you are in. You either have a city, county, state or federal license. That denotes your boundary. For example, I have a bride who wants a delivery 60 miles outside the county where I do business in MD. Before I take this job, I will call the county HD and ask permission to do business there. I'm sure they will ok it if I have proper licensing and the tax account. The county clerk in charge of licenses at the city hall will probably ok the transaction because again, I have a MD sales tax license and it is probably a one time deal. But I'm not going up there without checking.

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 11:09am

This is interesting. OP, I would just call the county or city in which the venue is located for clarification. I know where I live, the license is issued based on the situs of the business. For example, my husband conducted 99% of his business outside of our county, but his business license was for the county in which we live. I would just call to be sure. It's probably not that big of a deal.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 1:45pm

Well, still cannot get the venue to call me back. Called the city and they told me that if I deliver I have to have a license. License is $105.00. I don't know what to do. The cake is only $200.00. I cannot chalk this up to learning experience and cover it. Do I terminate the contract and return bride's deposit?

tiggy2 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:03pm

See if the bride or family can pick it up.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:10pm

Got an email from the bride just now, she is really freaked out, only one of her vendors has that city's license, the other vendors do not. All vendors worked that venue in the past, one of them did so last week, city license was never required......

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:28pm

Tell the bride to raise all holy hell with the venue since this was not something that was required when she booked.

Jennifer353 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:30pm

If you/she/other suppliers cant get them to reconisder for this time...

Since it is such a short notice (and so not what you want before your big day!!) the bride may be prepared to pay your license? (possibly refund a bit of it to her in the future if you do more cakes for the venue/city that you would have needed the license for)

Or as tiggy said ideally they will collect it.
Is it the kind of cake you can stack and finish before delivery? If not maybe make some suggestions for a redesign.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:34pm
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Is it the kind of cake you can stack and finish before delivery?




All my cakes are fully assembled. All I do is take it out of the box and set it on the plateau. In and out in 10-15 minutes and that's with taking pics. That's why it does not make any sense. The rental company is dropping off their stuff and they are not required to have city license. They'll be on site for longer while unloading and loading than I ever be.

step0nmi Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:41pm
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Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

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Is it the kind of cake you can stack and finish before delivery?



All my cakes are fully assembled. All I do is take it out of the box and set it on the plateau. In and out in 10-15 minutes and that's with taking pics. That's why it does not make any sense. The rental company is dropping off their stuff and they are not required to have city license. They'll be on site for longer while unloading and loading than I ever be.




if this is really only a requirement that came for YOU...then I would be leery about this bride. Sounds like she's had buyers remorse and knew she couldn't get out of your contract with a simple "I found someone cheaper". icon_wink.gif

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:48pm
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if this is really only a requirement that came for YOU...then I would be leery about this bride. Sounds like she's had buyers remorse and knew she couldn't get out of your contract with a simple "I found someone cheaper".




No, it's for all her vendors. I know her florist and dj. That is why she is freaking out

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 2:54pm

I'd keep trying to get a hold of the venue (I'm sure you're doing that) to see what's happening. They certainly can't allow some vendors to operate without the license and require that others have it. The only exception I can see would be maybe because you deal with food?

I'd also advise bride to go over every.square.inch of her contract with the venue in case the requirement is actually in there and she just didn't realize it until they reminded her. If it is in there then it's really the bride's fault for not being more careful when choosing her vendors.

If it's not in there then (and this is in no way meant to be sexist!) I would have either the groom or FOB or FOG start calling to raise a ruckus. Chances are they will be more willing to help them than the hyserical bride.

As far as ponying up the $$ for the license...if this is a place you think you will deliver to in the future it would probably be worth it.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 3:09pm
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As far as ponying up the $$ for the license...if this is a place you think you will deliver to in the future it would probably be worth it.




I'm thinking about it. The license is over $100 and it is annual. I don't have any weddings there in 2012 other than this one, so that part is not beneficial. However, if they have a preferred vendor list and the license will allow me to get on it, especially if there is only one other caker on it, I'll call it a cheap advertisement cost, LOL

CiNoRi Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 3:09pm
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Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Tell the bride to raise all holy hell with the venue since this was not something that was required when she booked.




I agree.. if her signed contract with them does not state this rule... then they can't do anything at this point.

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