Soprina Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 4:46am
post #1 of

Okay so a photographer wants me to make smash cakes and birthday cakes for pictures for her photography. I'm not a biz i'm trying to start a biz, and she knows that. right now i am a stay at home mom and she said she'd help me promote my biz also when i do a cake by mentioning where the cake come from. I spoke to all the right people before hand so i didn't get introuble and have been told by the health department if she were me and she were just starting out so start small and when i start getting business and start branching out i need to give them a call back to talk about makin things legal. The photographer knows all this and is okay with it and wants to know how much i'd charge for a smash cake. I have no idea. I know some use 4" pans and torte em i know some do a single layer 6". Honestly i have only done 2 smash cakes and both were 6" singles but i used the same batter as the birthday cake i had .. you know "left overs". I dont know how much batter it takes to make the 4" i dont have the pans for that either yet. I thought of chargin like 10-15 is that too much? this is my website so ya'll can see some of my work. I've only been doin it for fam and friends so far and teachin myself the whole way any input you all can tell me i'd sure appreicate :) www.facebook.com/mycakingobsession

34 replies
costumeczar Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 7:03pm
post #2 of

Those little cakes are a pain in the butt. I bet she doesn't want just a plain cake, either, does she want you to decorate them to be super cute and photogenic? I'd check with her on that, but I wouldn't charge less than $30 for a 4" and $40 for a 5" round, undecorated and iced plain.

MimiFix Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 7:28pm
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soprina 

I spoke to all the right people before hand so i didn't get introuble and have been told by the health department if she were me and she were just starting out so start small and when i start getting business and start branching out i need to give them a call back to talk about makin things legal.  

Greetings Soprina, You have some lovely cupcakes and cakes on your Facebook page! Best of luck to you in moving ahead. I admire your calling the health department for help; the entire process can be overwhelming. But your statement above caught my eye. Whoever said that to you has given poor advice. When seeking necessary legal permits and licenses to operate a business, this step must be done before any products are sold. (Sorry, I don't write the rules, I just repeat what they are.)

SammieB Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 7:46pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

Greetings Soprina, You have some lovely cupcakes and cakes on your Facebook page! Best of luck to you in moving ahead. I admire your calling the health department for help; the entire process can be overwhelming. But your statement above caught my eye. Whoever said that to you has given poor advice. When seeking necessary legal permits and licenses to operate a business, this step must be done before any products are sold. (Sorry, I don't write the rules, I just repeat what they are.)


Not to be contrary, because I know most places what you said is true, but I am in Murfreesboro, TN, and my health department, planning commission, zoning department, and lawyer all told me the same thing she was told. She's based in IN, so she could have completely different rules, but it's not completely unheard of. Our cottage food law was amended last year and no longer requires having a health department inspection, so they are much more lax now. I am in the process of getting set up to sell legally this fall, but they honestly didn't care if I were to sell something over the summer.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 7:54pm
post #5 of

A

Original message sent by Soprina

I spoke to all the right people before hand so i didn't get introuble and have been told by the health department if she were me and she were just starting out so start small and when i start getting business and start branching out i need to give them a call back to talk about makin things legal.

Is this person from the health dept willing to give you this advice in writing? If not, I would not follow it.

-K8memphis Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 8:19pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soprina 

Okay so a photographer wants me to make smash cakes and birthday cakes for pictures for her photography. I'm not a biz i'm trying to start a biz, and she knows that. right now i am a stay at home mom and she said she'd help me promote my biz also when i do a cake by mentioning where the cake come from. I spoke to all the right people before hand so i didn't get introuble and have been told by the health department if she were me and she were just starting out so start small and when i start getting business and start branching out i need to give them a call back to talk about makin things legal. The photographer knows all this and is okay with it and wants to know how much i'd charge for a smash cake. I have no idea. I know some use 4" pans and torte em i know some do a single layer 6". Honestly i have only done 2 smash cakes and both were 6" singles but i used the same batter as the birthday cake i had .. you know "left overs". I dont know how much batter it takes to make the 4" i dont have the pans for that either yet. I thought of chargin like 10-15 is that too much? this is my website so ya'll can see some of my work. I've only been doin it for fam and friends so far and teachin myself the whole way any input you all can tell me i'd sure appreicate :) www.facebook.com/mycakingobsession

 

well if you can't trust the people who have the authority who you do you have left to trust?

 

(who yah gonna call-- ghostbusters!)

 

say worse came to worst and you got busted which means you receive a cease and desist order/letter/whatever--

 

they give you time to get your sh*t together and you can carry right on anyhow if you meet the deadline

 

the gov't likes taxes--the more you make the more they get--it's a win win--they want you in business

 

they do allow for people to start small

-K8memphis Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 8:20pm
post #7 of

meth labs no

 

cakes?

 

it's gonna be ok

Soprina Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:34pm
post #8 of

I thought smash cakes aw thats easy! now i'm thinking...wait what kind of smash cake does she want so i wrote her back and asked if she was looking for a basic design or something personalized for each occassion or whatever, still waiting i gave a low base price, i'm still not confident in my stuff...as of now i have only done cakes for friends and family. My health dept told me she's really not suppose to be saying what she did but because i'm not widely known and really am not making anything I dont need to worry right now, she said when i start getting business to call back. There were other recomendations she told me about but none of them are a option cause we dont have money for it. I may advertise in the local farmers market this year. If i continued to work from home and made it legal I would have to have it ok'd by the code enforcer to build a seperate kitchen area to work in but it can't be commercial. She only recommended it that i start out slow if it were her, to "test the waters" and that was talking from one person to another not as a health inspector. I can rent out a space and cook or sell my stuff at the market as long as no perishable things are sold like cheese cake stuff or anything that would go bad in the elements or the health dept would have to inspect that other than that they dont get involved. thank you for all your input and concerns i do appreciate it, i am a total newbie thats for sure.

Soprina Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:36pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

meth labs no

 

cakes?

 

it's gonna be ok

that is hilarious and true!

Soprina Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

Greetings Soprina, You have some lovely cupcakes and cakes on your Facebook page! Best of luck to you in moving ahead. I admire your calling the health department for help; the entire process can be overwhelming. But your statement above caught my eye. Whoever said that to you has given poor advice. When seeking necessary legal permits and licenses to operate a business, this step must be done before any products are sold. (Sorry, I don't write the rules, I just repeat what they are.)

thank you very much for the wonderful wishes and compliments and yes it is overwhelming! and thanks for the input!

Soprina Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

Those little cakes are a pain in the butt. I bet she doesn't want just a plain cake, either, does she want you to decorate them to be super cute and photogenic? I'd check with her on that, but I wouldn't charge less than $30 for a 4" and $40 for a 5" round, undecorated and iced plain.

do you do single layers usually or do you torte? I hate charging so much for an itty bitty cake I know its money to make including my own electricity and all, maybe i just should have said no lol

jason_kraft Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:56pm

AThe problem with operating an illegal business "under the radar" is that you can be shut down at any moment by the health dept (which would cause problems for any outstanding orders) and liability insurance won't cover you, so if there is a health issue caused by food you sold you could be out thousands of dollars for lawyer's fees (even if you win the lawsuit) and potentially much more if there is a judgment against you.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 12:41am

no no no  i got it

 

get a white hazmat suit with a full face shield

 

and when the photographer snaps the picture

 

run around waving your arms

 

shouting "toxic waste toxic waste toxic waste"

 

to alert people to the dangers

 

icon_lol.gif

 

optional--you could squirt a nearby fire extinguisher for a dramatic effect if necessary

 

but i don't want you to over react either

 

i know maybe just point it anyone who tries to eat an illegal godforsaken  bite

 

icon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 1:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

The problem with operating an illegal business "under the radar" is that you can be shut down at any moment by the health dept (which would cause problems for any outstanding orders) and liability insurance won't cover you, so if there is a health issue caused by food you sold you could be out thousands of dollars for lawyer's fees (even if you win the lawsuit) and potentially much more if there is a judgment against you.

It's not just this...If the state shuts you down you could be liable for fines and back taxes. I know a caterer who turns in unlicensed cateres that he comes across because he gets a percentage of the fines they collect on them.

 

I wouldn't operate without everything in place legally, it isn't worth the risk. Having a health inspector telling you off the record that you should test the waters is worth absolutely zero. And sometimes you'll get different answers from different people in the health department. It just depends on who happens to answer the phone when you call.

 

To answer your question, I wouldn't bother doing anything special to a smash cake since it's just going to be smashed by a little baby's fat mitts. Slap some icing on it to glue the layers together and don't worry about doing a special filling or anything like that. I just know that when photographers want them it's usually for photo shoots featuring babies and overdecorated backgrounds, so they'll want the cake to be decorated to coordinate.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 2:12am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soprina 

Okay so a photographer wants me to make smash cakes and birthday cakes for pictures for her photography. I'm not a biz i'm trying to start a biz, and she knows that. right now i am a stay at home mom and she said she'd help me promote my biz also when i do a cake by mentioning where the cake come from. I spoke to all the right people before hand so i didn't get introuble and have been told by the health department if she were me and she were just starting out so start small and when i start getting business and start branching out i need to give them a call back to talk about makin things legal. The photographer knows all this and is okay with it and wants to know how much i'd charge for a smash cake. I have no idea. I know some use 4" pans and torte em i know some do a single layer 6". Honestly i have only done 2 smash cakes and both were 6" singles but i used the same batter as the birthday cake i had .. you know "left overs". I dont know how much batter it takes to make the 4" i dont have the pans for that either yet. I thought of chargin like 10-15 is that too much? this is my website so ya'll can see some of my work. I've only been doin it for fam and friends so far and teachin myself the whole way any input you all can tell me i'd sure appreicate :) www.facebook.com/mycakingobsession

 

i don't think you can get in trouble for not starting a business if you don't have or want a business.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 2:26am

A

Original message sent by -K8memphis

i don't think you can get in trouble for not starting a business if you don't have or want a business.

If you provide products or services in exchange for compensation you are running a business.

costumeczar Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 2:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soprina 

do you do single layers usually or do you torte? I hate charging so much for an itty bitty cake I know its money to make including my own electricity and all, maybe i just should have said no lol

Be careful, since you have prices posted on your facebook page it will be hard to argue that you're not running a business already.

 

Remember that a small cake takes as long to deal with in terms of shopping and kitchen time for you than an 8" cake. You still have to wash the same number of pans and mixer bowls, etc. so your work time isn't that much less. Then you have to ice the stupid thing, which can be more difficult if you're not used to dealing with tiny tiers. You're also likely to have more ingredients left over that you may or may not be able to use up. if you charge $10 for it you'll be paying her to let you make her a cake.

Soprina Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:21am

I thank you all so much again right now I'm pretty sure i'm ok cause my client list is a whopping number of "0" lol I dont have anything against going legal if i can afford to build an add on to my house to make it legal, it would be a dream for sure!

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:30am

AAnother option is renting an existing commercial kitchen or church kitchen. If one is available near you there is usually very little in the way of startup costs, and the cost of renting the kitchen on an ongoing basis is passed on to your customers.

crushed Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:31am

It would just make sense to take the "pricing" tab off your website until you're ready to charge. 

DeniseNH Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:31am

As soon as you start profiting from your cakes you need to be "legal".  There's no "trial period".  As soon as the photographer starts publishing photos of your cakes and giving you credit, the Department of Health and Human Services will find you, fine you and ask you to cease and desist.  Because now you're advertising.  In other words, tell the photographer to try you again in a year when all your ducks are in a row.  It's just not worth it.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:49am

maybe i misunderstood

 

i thought that you were doing some cakes for a photography shoot

 

and that you did not want a business

kikiandkyle Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 5:15am

ALooks like you already are in business on your website, I think what you mean is you're not registered as a company right now?

-K8memphis Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:02pm

i misunderstood this whole thread and i apologize

 

i clearly believe in being legal illustrated by the fact that i never opened a home cakery here when i found out it wasn't allowed some 25 ish years ago although i can't say i haven't dreamed/nightmared about it for that long too

 

all that to say--yes you do need to re-think your situation and become legal to advertise and take orders

 

now some of us think differently on this point--that i think most of the local health & business authorities would not take action against you for taking payment for doing a birthday cake for a neice or an uncle or your bff--some of us might think that is already a business--i do not

 

but i def think going beyond that requires you to do it right legally to protect everyone especially yourself

 

sorry i was confused -- didn't intend to give bad/erroneous advice

 

birthday.gif

JimmyBoombats Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 3:41pm

I would just call them hand crafted props and call it a day. Put the money you make toward getting your business up and running.

 

That's just me, take care and good luck!!

 

Jimmy

Soprina Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 4:04pm

yeah I'd like to start a biz, the photographer is a friends friend, we dont have the finances to do anything right now. The lady hasn't even got back to me yet so I dunno if its gonna take place or not. I might go to city hall and fill out thier paper work and see what its gonna cost to build on to my house as its the only option i would have, if its too much i'll forget about it....we are financially in trouble and may loose everything soon if things dont start lookin up which in that case we're moving to a completely different state lol....anyway this whole thing has got me depressed lol argggghhhh ah well life goes on!

jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 4:22pm

A

Original message sent by JimmyBoombats

I would just call them hand crafted props and call it a day. Put the money you make toward getting your business up and running.

That would probably work as long as OP took the cake with her after the photo shoot to make sure no one eats it.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 5:05pm

ohio is great for home cakers--most of tn ain't bad either

Soprina Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 3:16am

Great news I called the health dept today again to ask further questions of what exactly i need in my home or on my property to legally sell cakes and i must have misunderstood the first time, they said as long as its a legal agreement between me and the other party and nothing is sold commercially i can bake from home!! So its great to know. I did decline the photographer before i found this out but either way now i am going to call city hall and inquire more on liscencing and get some insurance. I really dont see anything getting big I mean around here its hard to compare to the supermarkets with thier cheap cakes no one like to pay for quality even if i was great. I'm going to keep my page the way it is on fb until i get liscenced and insured and if i ever to start to make profits maybe open a store but like i said that is slim to none cause we are poor lol anyway thanks again to all!!

Soprina Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 3:17am

i didn't mean "legal" agreement between me and the other party I meant "personal"

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