I've seen the old threads regarding this question but wanted to start a new one in hopes to get updated information.
I would like to start a home based baking business and Im hoping that some licensed bakers out here in the Fairfax are can help me. I would like to sell cakes form home but I would also like to sell cookies online ( not sure how the different type of business transaction would affect the process)
1. I have seen conflicting info regarding getting your kitchen licensed. Does anyone now is this is still a requirement.
2. If so, is having a double sink still a requirement and has anyone found a way to work around that. I rent therefore altering the kitchen is not an option. I think I meet all other requirements as i have all my baking supplies separate form my home things but the double sink thing would be a deal breaker :(
3. Is getting insured expensive? Im really scared of anyone suing me for some dumb reason but Im planing on doing this part time and cant really justify a huge expense to be covered.
4. Lastly, does anyone know of a church or other location willing to rent out very cheap space. The only place i found so far is OpenKitchen in falls church but its cost prohibitive for a starting part time business.
Any input you can offer would be greatly appreciated!!
Are you in Fairfax Virginia? That will make a difference in the answers you get! In VA you need to call the state Dept of Agriculture, they're the ones who inspect home food businesses.
I can tell you that if you want to sell cookies online and across state lines you're getting into FDA territory, which is an entirely different animal. There are a lot of people who do sell edibles online and a lot of them probably aren't licensed correctly, but you need to make sure that you are. The labelling and production laws for interstate food sales aren't the same as in-state, so you'll need to investigate that before you start sending things out.
Oh...details :) Yes, Fairfax, VA.
I tired calling Dept of Agriculture but was passed around a few times so before giving up on them so I figure I get some basic information from other sources before trying them again.
Ask for their information packet for new home-based food businesses. They have some kind of stuff they send out if you ask for it. They'll pass you around for sure, but they're the only ones who can give you the right answers because a lot of counties have different laws about whether you can ever bake from home or not. Ask for the people who do inspections on food businesses including home-based baking, and be persistent.
If the Health Department is not too far from you you might just want to go there and ask for the packet. That's what I did. There was no line, no big wait, just here! and off I went.
Thank you all for your comments! I downloaded the documents from the website... hoping it will workout!
There a culinary incubator where you can rent commercial space from Frontierkitchen.org
At may last inspection with VDCAS the inspector told me as long as I keep my inspection up to date, I can sell wholesale and online. There a a couple of other things you'll need to do before getting an inspection. First step getting approved by HOA and then a home occupation permit from the zoning and planning office. Be careful, some places in Fairfax County does not allow home-based bakery.
Don't second guess insurance, do it-- protecting your investments in the biz and your family. My insurance is on the higher end because a few of the places I sell to require $2M in coverage, your premium depends a lot on your coverage. I'm paying $570 a year. Build the cost of insurance and legal fees and stuff like that into your pricing.If selling on line, factor in the cost of taking credit cards in your pricing too, it's not a small expense. I have been asked for proof of insurance by a few places, so it can't limit what you do if you don't have it. Having corporate accounts is steady work, but they won't buy if you don't have an inspection or insurance. I also sell to some caterers and at farmers markets and the requirements for insurance and inspection are the same.
When they said "sell online" do they mean sell food to other states online, or just take orders within Virginia online? if you sell across state lines there are more rules to follow with the FDA, and they can get pretty complicated.
Oh yes, there is a difference. I don't ship online orders, only for pick-up or delivery.