I'm currently looking into starting a cookie business with the possiblilty of adding cakes, cupcakes, and cakepops. But I'm in PA and I have a dog and children in my home. So running a business out of my home is not an option because of having a pet according to PA laws. So I'm thinking about renting/leasing either a commercial space and putting in a kitchen, which I don't even know if that's allowed. Or just renting a house/apartment as a space I can bake and decorate at. Has anyone else looked into this option and can give me any tips?
I want to keep my cost as lows as possible so I don't feel like I'm working to just be able to keep working, if you know what I mean :)
All I feel I need is an oven, refridgerator, sink, some tables/counter space and lots of shelves.
I also would like to have the option of selling cookies online and shipping out of state. Is there anything additional I need to do to get approval for that?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
you will not be able to operate legally and do all that -- going over state lines is major -- just renting a second residential place is probably not allowed legally --
you don't need a store front per se but you need commercial space if you cannot use your home -- renting on top of another business is one possibility but I know that's not allowed in my area or at least the establishment would have to be brought up to current code which can be costly -- but just find your own commercial property and build it out to code and doing it that way is not low cost --
you have a lot of homework to do -- all these things are governed locally -- start with zoning and the health department or dept of agriculture
I'm in tx so home baking may be sold local, no Internet sales. If I wanted to get off the ground here doing cookies to start and not at home. First I would call the health department as I would be under them at that point.
Probably look like this:
Get a food managers license/ insurance and find a commercial kitchen that rents by the day or hour.
Business would be online and delivery only.
Some questions come to mind for health inspector:
Can you store cookie dough in freezer at your home? Would a commercial refrigerator at home be allowed?
What about storing finished product between baking days?
This is exciting and I wish I could make the leap!
Have fun! If you haven't, I would suggest working at cookies by design or similar for a month just to see the ins and outs.
Here in Illinois you can rent a commercial kitchen but you have to have a sanitation license and the kitchen has to be inspected and current. To have a commercial kitchen or any business for that matter in a residence it has to be your main dwelling. So you have to live there. Also we are to be delivery only no customers can come to our home at this point (I plan to petition to re-zone for pickups much like in home daycare drop off and pickup a limited number per day) . We are almost finished putting a commercial kitchen in our home bc that was the most cost effective way for us and also allows me to work around my life. However it was still very expensive and there is a lot of work involved when converting a space to a commercial kitchen. Keep researching and don't be afraid to ask the health dept questions. The best way to go about doing something like that is learning all there is to know about it before diving in. We spent 8 months researching, asking questions, learning about how to run a business, getting all our ducks in a row before we decided to go forward with it. I think that prepared us well. Hope you are able to find a way that works best for you!!!
Honestly I didn't realize Illinois allowed a commercial kitchen to be attached to your main dwelling, I thought it had to be detached. I also didn't know that some states didn't allow home bakers to have websites. Yes, ask your local health department questions. I wish you luck
My county does I don't know about all counties in Illinois. But it absolutely can not be detached from the house so we converted our lower level to a commercial kitchen. It can even be a garage if it's attached and converted to code. My kitchen is held to the same requirements of restaurants. I'm not entirely sure about the pets part bc I don't have any and won't so it doesn't pertain to me. I know different states and counties have different rules on them but I don't know ours.
Oh and we can have websites and take orders online here just no shipping baked goods anywhere.