Build Clientele Before Getting Licensed?

Business By jg21410 Updated 10 Sep 2012 , 6:09pm by jg21410

jg21410 Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 7:59pm
post #1 of 6

Hello everyone! I have enjoyed baking and decorating cakes for as long as I can remember. I have always just made them for friends and family at no cost. But my friends and family alway ask me why I dont turn this into a business. I would love to do that. People are telling me to do this on the side and build clientele before taking the business aspect further as far as getting a business license and my kitchen inspected. Is it ilegal to do this? Im confused, it seems a lot of people started charging for their cakes prior to doing these things. But I would think doing things that way would mean you cant advertise or make business cards up and things like that. I really want to do things right, but everyones in my ear telling me since I would likely not have many orders in the begining theres no need to got there yet.....sorry so long. Im just confused. I would love to hear how others got started. Thanks!

5 replies
kelleym Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 8:06pm
post #2 of 6

It depends on your local laws. Call your local Health Department or Department of Agriculture (if you are in the US) for your local regulations.

jason_kraft Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 8:23pm
post #3 of 6

If you are giving away cakes for free you are not running a business as far as most health departments are concerned (although it would be wise to call your local HD and confirm). It's probably better to just wait until you are legal before starting to advertise though, since the clients willing to "buy" a free cake from you may or may not end up as paying customers.

In the meantime you can work on your business plan and put together a pricing and marketing strategy (not to mention a web site) so everything is ready to implement once you are licensed.

Which state are you in? Some states have cottage food laws that allow home bakers to legally sell their products with some restrictions.

jg21410 Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 8:32pm
post #4 of 6

Im in massachusetts, we do have a CFL here, i just need to find out the specifics and requirements. Im hoping my Kitchen will pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

If you are giving away cakes for free you are not running a business as far as most health departments are concerned (although it would be wise to call your local HD and confirm). It's probably better to just wait until you are legal before starting to advertise though, since the clients willing to "buy" a free cake from you may or may not end up as paying customers.

In the meantime you can work on your business plan and put together a pricing and marketing strategy (not to mention a web site) so everything is ready to implement once you are licensed.

Which state are you in? Some states have cottage food laws that allow home bakers to legally sell their products with some restrictions.


scp1127 Posted 10 Sep 2012 , 4:03am
post #5 of 6

I did charities that were in my target market. I also did a lot of extra cakes for my daughters, friends birthday parties, snacks for sports teams, etc. Basically any opportunity to have people try my product. When I opened, I had a ton of ready-made clients. I never sold a cake before I was licensed.

When giving away cakes to people you do not know, such as charities, most health depts have specific rules that apply, such as a label stating that it is from an uninspected kitchen. The label must be in plain sight. My HD also required that we did not give to groups of the very old and very young, as these are the groups that are most succeptible to food issues.

jg21410 Posted 10 Sep 2012 , 6:09pm
post #6 of 6

so i put in a call to the health department this morning, and the man was very nice. he explained all the requirements for my kitchen and it really sounds possible. i was pretty nervous, he told me i need to take the serv safe course before i apply for him to inspect my kitchen. im excited to get the ball rolling icon_biggrin.gif

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