AHi all...I'm a stay at home mom and wanted to start a hobby business decorating cakes out of my home. I love it and I think I have a bit of talent in it. I was all excited until I started reading articles on how much trouble I could get in with bylaw and health. Now I don't know what to do. I was very excited until tonight :0( Any thoughts?
ACall your local health department to check about cottage food laws. Also VERY important, work on a business plan & costs of running a business. Jason Kraft has, in his signature line, a link to some articles about business. It's good stuff. Good luck!
Contact your local health dept and ask what the rules and regularions are for home baking, I know BC is very strict about illegal home baking, but no idea on how Alebrta is.
The USA has the cottage food laws in a lot of states, they might have something similar.
That at least gives you a jumping off point.
ADo you want a hobby or a business? You can't have both.
Jason, it's a hob-business!!!
Sounds like what I do. Basically, you should contact your local board of health and zoning board to register your kitchen. Here in MA, some towns allow the CFL (cottage food law) and others do not. You will also need a food safety course, and many recommend liability insurance. I don't pay for marketing or a website. I use Facebook and word of mouth. In a good month, I will have made only 2 cakes per week, which is just my pace. It is not a business that will pay my mortgage, but it's a business that will earn me extra money for all of my other hobbies and let me take my husband to dinner once in awhile... I also charge market value for my cakes, so no undercutting. Not that I could even do that, the nearest decent bakery is about 20 miles away. In my demographic it's me or the supermarket.
The CFL certifcation is about $200 and the food safety is about $180. Those are one-time costs with nominal renewal fees. It really is not difficult or complicated to make yourself legal once you have the health inspector's guidelines.
I will never be a big-time baker, I don't want to do that. I just love making cakes and want to be able to use all of the supplies I have purchased. So no huge profit, but a little extra money.
AA quick check of Google says you need a separate kitchen and food storage in your home to sell food out of it in Alberta. Not sure how much of an option that is for you, there are members here who have done that in their homes and made it work but it's not cheap. Your business plan will tell you whether it's worth making this kind of investment or not.
You can also try to find out if there are any groups calling for cottage food laws in your area, most of the US cottage food laws have come from everyday people putting campaigns together.
I didn't realize you were in Alberta. Kikiandkyle is right, you should find a way to enact a CFL there. It would take some time but you sure would meet a lot of people and learn about how laws are passed! Otherwise, it is simply not worth the risk to sell to the general public without a certified kitchen.
I was extremely nervous when I was in your situation and I only felt better when I put in a proper kitchen. I am in Ontario and the rules might be different from where you are. Here is a link to the list I had to follow:
Hope this helps, and doesn't scare you more!