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Question for those who bake and sell from home - Page 5

post #61 of 223
I did spend the money to get legal before I started anything.

I find this hard to believe. Maybe you were already in the baking business? I could see it if this were true and you already knew you had clients and how to charge for cakes, etc. I am in a completely different industry as far as my 'job'. How do you throw down umpteen dollars on a seperate kitchen, etc without having some sort of previous background and knowledge of the industry? I couldnt..that would be like you saying you wanted to draw house plans from home but have never done it, but you are going to build a seperate office, purchase a computer, programs, etc and havent a clue how to draw a concrete block. I think it is easy for some to say it is down right wrong and there is no way they would do it cause you must have a background with baking and therefore knowledgeable about the rules and regulations, risks, pricing, clients, etc. I just think it is a little unreasonable to start a business off of a whim you might like to do something.
Yes, I was a bit on the testy side yesterday because i felt like i was being attacked and scolded for baking cakes from home and accepting money for it. Someone else from Alabama wrote in and said you can bake for family and friends and accept something for it as long as you do not venture into the public and advertise. I guess I have been advertising in a way with my myspace and website and I should rethink that, but even with my website, I have only done cakes for friends and family. I dont advertise my website and only my 'friends' can see my myspace page. I plan on calling my health department today to get info from the horses mouth. I think i would love to become licensed and have a business card other than I do more than I can handle now. The scary thing for me is the 'seperate kitchen'. CLosing myself off in a seperate kitchen would take me away from my kids and that just isnt going to happen, plus the cost of doing something that may or may not continue. This could be a phase... I hope not, but burn out is possible! BTW, I have recommended this site to everyone I know that does cakes (as far as I know, illegally). I have had alot of help learning about new techniques. I am self-taught....or teaching...another reason that starting a business is just insane for me, cause i feel like i am learning and dont know enough about decorating yet to call myself a professional. If I bought from a bakery....I feel that i am buying from a professional! I do thank those of you who are like me and stuck your neck out to make me feel better about the situation. I appreciate all the information and also the new forum posts about the laws of each state. This will be very helpful to more than just me! Now that i have rambled and touched on about everything, I will end this post! REally, thanks everyone....even the nasty business just kidding!
post #62 of 223
Hi PSLCakeLadyor anyone with information, I am from FL as well, I was wondering if you know what is required to have home license, so far I have only bake and decorated cakes for my friends and family and havenât charged, because I figure itâs a leaning process, but I would love to sell the cakes, any advice on how to promote the cakes and obtain a license.
post #63 of 223
Good morning everyone! I think this is a great forum topic (really, I do!), and I respect everyones personal views on what they think should and should not be allowed, etc. I haven't had a chance to get caught up with reading other posts, but I did see a comment about how to get your name out there if you're just starting out, and ensuring the probability of success.

I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned, but that is one of the goals of a business plan. It is an awesome tool to help you determine the feasibility of your business desire, before you open shop. One of the aspects of it is to do market research and see who makes up your target market. There's also a cost analysis to help you identify all costs involved with running a business. It covers just about everything you can think of. It is also often requested by banks, if your business needs to borrow. I don't have one on-line, but I'm certain you can find an outline of one on the Internet to give you an idea. They are very time-consuming to put together, but well worth the effort when we're talking about the risk of success/failure. Keep in mind, too, that many, many, many start up businesses fail within the first year. So doing this work on the forefront could be crucial.

If you did get a business going, you could go out and offer free samples to places in your target market area, offer small discounts, or maybe a free set up/delivery within a certain radius, get a stand at a local fair, advertise (creatively! sell yourself!), word of mouth.

Hope this helps some of you...

And keep in mind that Uncle Sam (if he finds out about it) won't want to hear that you were building your profits to a point where you thought you could start a business and get licensed. I see that this touches nerves, and I'm certainly not trying to make enemies here. But it's true. That's the risk of starting a business. For anyone starting a new business, most anyone will tell you to have "x" amount of dollars set aside while you establish yourself. (Example, in my area, when you are starting out in the real estate business, it is suggested that you have about 1-2 years worth of saved "income" set aside while you're building your success.)

Sorry to sound so negative, but I do feel it's important to share this information with you. It takes time to get a proper business going, and it is a risk.

Best of luck to everyone & hope ya'll have a great day! icon_smile.gif

P.S. kweenofengland ~ You need to know that you have ALL my sympathies! It sounds like we want the same thing. But I did quite a bit of research on this, that's why I'm sharing it here. It may not appear "supportive" because it conflicts with your desires, but I really do have your best interest at heart. .... Good luck!
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post #64 of 223
I agree with Tcarra! To start a cake business (and not baking as a hobby from your home) is a whole different deal! I baked and sold cakes from my home for several years - until I was contacted by our county health department! Yes - someone turned me in. I do not believe it was a client, but someone else wanting to shut me (and a couple other cake decorators) down. It just takes one disgruntled person, and one phone call. Scared me to death! What it did was make me evaluate my situation. Just saying your opening a "business" isn't as simple as that. You need to do your research. You need to check w/ you local city or county health department on what is required. You also need permits, and licenses, insurance... these things are very costly - then you have rent, utilities, equipment to purchase... There are other alternatives to getting so heavily invested - you can rent kitchen space to satisfy legal requirements, yet not having to invest in opening your own shop. That's what I did. I did evaluate my client base, my sales, what I needed to sell, my prices, etc. and see if this would work for me. Still an investment, but less risk. Once "legal" and legitimate, I was then able to network with vendors, hotels, and all kinds of wedding professionals, to get my name out there - and it worked. That next year (though I worked my **S off!) was my best year. I started working on a business plan and planned to use this experience to evaluate my next steps... open a shop? ...stay renting... etc.

I don't think this forum or this topic has turned into a "ranting" session, I think there's a lot of helpful and useful information to those not informed or considering taking that next step! It can be done!
post #65 of 223
Hello everybody

I just want to say that I love this site and all of the awesome people giving tips , offering help , and sharing ideas. I'm amazed at what I've learned in the short time I've been here on cake central. This is a very important topic and i'm glad to be able to ask for some assistance from everyone who already knows whats going on.

I've read the whole thread because I really want to start a home based cake/candy business. Most things I've done have been free for friends or family , but I want to know how to become legit.

I tried looking for info on it from the dept of ag and the dept of health like someone had suggested and got some stuff but not really what I was looking for. Does anyone from CA have any info for me?

I want to know specifically if I can have a home based kitchen here in california , and what are the requirement on the set up , equiptment , all of the little details about the kitchen.

Also in I want to know that info for New Mexico because I will be moving there in a year or two and thats where I want to open an actual bakery.

This would be so much eaisier if things were the same in every state!

Also in my net search for info I came across a book called "Bringing home the baking" by Quincella C. Geiger. It's a step-by-step guide on how to start a home-based baking business , or so it claims. Has anyone ever read it? It's only $14.95. I was just curious if that would be a good reference even though it's based in I think AL or something like that.

Here is the website www. bringing home the baking. com , just remove the spaces.

I would like to know what everyone thinks.
post #66 of 223
The big problem here is that people are taking things personally. There is nothing personal about information. If you are doing this from home under the table, you have to take a step back and understand that none of this is meant as a personal attack. We are not saying that illegal home bakers are horrible rotten people who should crawl under a rock and die.. and that seems to be what things are getting twisted into.

The big thing here is that all of us who have gone through the process want to lay it all out there so that some of the newer members can know what is expected and not get burned because they didn't know the information. I can only speak for myself, but I put the info out there so that someone can read it and learn and not be caught off guard if the health department comes a knockin'.. or the IRS and/or state gov't comes looking for their cut.. or worse.. an angry customer comes with legal papers and the intent to sue. I want people to know what they can expect so they can be spared the horror of getting caught. I am not trying to guilt you into getting legit.. just letting you know the risks of not being so.

And I am sorry if some find it hard to believe that some of us actually made it a point to go through the steps to get legal before baking for profit. I did. In the state of NH it is very easy to get licensed. The whole process cost me less than $1500 including insurance for the year. Of course I baked before I was legal.. of course I honed my skills.. of course I made cakes for others to see if it was something I wanted to do.. but they were done as gifts for family. None of us who are legal have ever claimed to be perfect people or better than anyone.. all we want to do is let you know the consequences so you can learn from mistakes others have made and spare yourself from having to learn the same (often painful) lessons.

So try to read what we write as if it was coming from a helpful friend with a smile and not a judge with a scowl.. because we are not here to judge you. No one is attacking anyone.. at least I know I am not.
post #67 of 223
Pastry-Panda, you cannot operate a home based food business in the state of California. There may be exceptions, if your commercial kitchen is not in your home (i.e., somewhere else on your property). You can start finding out about what is required, by checking w/ your local city or county health offices. They usually have that information posted on their website, or you can call them and am sure they can direct you.
post #68 of 223
PastryPanda.. I know that Cali doesn't allow home kitchens to be licensed, and as far as I know New Mexico doesn't either, but I am not 100% positive on that. So you'd have to build a separate commercial kicthen (so long as town zoning allows for this) or rent space.
post #69 of 223
Wow, so much information!! It cost money to make money as my boss always says. I have always made cakes for family and friends but not usually for pay. There was just the once which was a wedding cake recently and the friend didn't even bother to pay me the $60 that was asked. Don't get bumbed out. Now days, every thing is harder and takes more time than we all want it to. If getting legal isn't something you can do right now then just do the once in a while freebie. If you're like me, my family and people I work with, love my practice cakes. I have learned lots of things from this sight and also rent off of someone else. My question is the insurance, the provider I have is now telling me they cannot insure a person if it is not their own baking sight because it is used by someone else for the same thing. Yikes, now to figure out what to do with this info. Can anyone help on this topic...
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post #70 of 223
Originally Posted by jkalman

The big problem here is that people are taking things personally. .

the information is not being taken personally, the rudeness is. There are some people here being almost hateful with their "information".
post #71 of 223
jkalman.........thanks, you always say it with grace and say exactly what I was thinking. icon_smile.gif

To all those trying to decide about opening a legal business.............I think one of the hardest questions you need to ask yourself is "Do I want this to be a hobby or Do I want this to be my job?" There really is a huge difference.
I knew that I could never make the salary doing cakes that I make doing hair/skin/nails, well I could but I'd be working a LOT more hours at it. That's why I've kept it as a part time business. I can still fulfill my love for baking, be compensated for it, but not be MARRIED to it. I honestly don't think I'd love it as much if I did it 60hrs a wk. I enjoy my 1 to 2 orders a week, and that's enough for me. Maybe when I retire from hairdressing, I'll take more cake orders.
I'm in MA and it wasn't that hard to become legal either, the inspector was really nice and helpful.

It is a shame that the rules are not the same across the board though. My Salon is in RI, I've been open 14 yrs this coming January, and I've only had 3 visits from the Health Dept. to inspect it. Their supposed to inspect every salon every year. This really pisses me off, because I am so diligent about sanitizing everything and keeping licenses and insurances current, and they don't bother to check. When I was opening the salon, I had an appt. for my final inspection before I could open for business. The guy came in, looked at my name, saw that it was the same last name he had and said sign here, I never met a "Kelly" I couldn't trust. He never opened a drawer or cabinet or bothered to check my sanitizing units. I couldn't believe what an idiot he was.

The inspector in MA for my baking business was so careful to look at everything, he opened every drawer and checked my appliances and exits. I was so happy that he cared enough about his job to do his job the right way.
post #72 of 223
It is only hateful if that is the way you interpret it. And if I was a legit baker down the road and knew that so and so up the street from me was selling cakes out of their home without all of the licensing and insurance that I was paying to be respectful of the law and protect my clients, I'd be steamed. So, take the advice here for what it is worth...I consider it a goldmine of information and am glad people have taken the time to share it.
post #73 of 223
Guess Im just a bit touchy today.Pms maybe. Im just saying there are some people who are rude with teir answers.
post #74 of 223
I am glad you spoke up Teresa77 cause apparently I interpreted some comments the same way. I type like I speak and I think some people just dont speak or type well, one or the other! Leaves alot for us to interpret. Throw a smiley or an 'lol' everyonce in a while to say 'hey, this is not mean, just informational! Oh well, i am about done with this topic!
post #75 of 223
Originally Posted by TERESA77

Guess Im just a bit touchy today.Pms maybe. Im just saying there are some people who are rude with teir answers.

Harsh maybe rude not.

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