Hi. I'm looking to sell cupcakes at a local flee market to provide some basic income (as I am currently unemployed) and would like to know exactly what I need to have to do so legally. I'm not looking to start a business, just sell to the locals. What do I need to be able to do so legally and how much do you think it would cost?
I live in Pennsylvania if that helps.
Thank you very much.
You would need to apply for a PA home processor license, here is the relevant info:
You'll also want to protect yourself with liability insurance and make sure you record all your income and expenses for accounting purposes so you can pay all your taxes, as well as putting together a business plan so you know how to market yourself, which products to offer, how to price your products, etc. Even though you're only selling to locals you are still starting a business here.
Any liability providers you could recommend?
If you are really only selling cupcakes at a flea market, I can't forsee any reason why you would need to purchase liability insurance. Just being honest. I know some people will tell you that you have to cover all of your bases in case of some crazy xyz scenario, but if you are unemployed and really need the income, I wouldn't get liability insurance right now if I were you. It's not mandatory.
It's not very likely that there will be a liability issue, but if there is one it can be catastrophic. State Farm and The Hartford can provide policies in many areas for $300-500/year, and since you will be building this cost into the price of your cupcakes it shouldn't impact your profitability...for example if you sell 5 dozen cupcakes a week this is an extra 10-15 cents per cupcake.
Some of these markets also require proof of liability insurance in order to rent a space.
As Jason said, once you begin selling, regardless of who you sell to, you are in business. But you're fortunate to be living in a state that allows home food processing. This means lower overhead and a low-cost way to start.
Some flea markets are not a good place for sales so check it out and see if there are additional venues such as farmers' markets and farm stands. Think about selling more than just cupcakes; perhaps cookies or brownies. Customers like to have choices. And the best of luck to you.
The flee market I want to go to allows the sale of food and has an extremely high volume. I'm hoping I can capture some of the comfort food market there.
My biggest problem is finding a location to cook. While Pa does allow for cottage cooking, it seems they don't allow if it you own any pets. So in my mind they might as well not allow it. I'm going to be contacting my state rep (democracy only works if you give it a kick in the pants!) but for the mean time it leaves me a bit up the creek as the old saying goes.
Any thoughts or ideas?
Where in PA are you? There may be a commercial kitchen in your area you could rent.
There may be a commercial kitchen in your area you could rent.
If not, an alternative and sometimes cheaper route is to find a large commercial-grade kitchen in your community, such as in a church, firehall, VFW, school, restaurant, deli, etc.
Philadelphia. Which can be a good and bad thing. Good because it means there are lots of locations (I can't walk 6 blocks in any direction without hitting a place of worship). Bad because I hear the Philly branch of the Department of Agriculture is a bit hypersensitive about people sharing kitchen space.
What would you say a good rate would be?
I am in Philadelphia also.
I was also told I had to have a license and insurance.
Which Flea Market were you planning on selling at?
I didn't know you could sell at flea markets, I was always told
to sell at farmers markets.
Well hopefully you will be more successful than I was when it comes to that.