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Starting a cake decorating business from home..

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Over the past few months I have been decorating all sorts of cakes out of home and making a fairly good profit off of them..I have also started a fb page that gets a good amount of attention. Here's the thing.. I am not licensed and have no idea how to go about this! I don't need a separate kitchen to make these do I? I will gladly get licensed and have an inspection and all of that good stuff I just don't know where to start. Please help I don't want to get in trouble and want to be official!
post #2 of 22

It depends on the state you are in and whether or not there is a Cottage Food Law enacted.  Then, it depends on the town you are in to give you approval from both the zoning board in and the Board of Health.  Call your town's Board of Health to start the process, they will meet with you and give you the specific rules for your state.

post #3 of 22
In the US health depts are usually at the county level.

Where are you located?
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm located in Joplin, Missouri in Jasper county.
post #5 of 22
MO does have a cottage food law, but the rules can vary by county. Contact the county board of health for more info at 417-358-3111. You'll also want to make sure you have business liability insurance to protect yourself, your current insurance provider should be able to refer you (State Farm and The Hartford are two popular providers). You should contact Joplin city hall as well to see what the rules are for business licenses and zoning for home-based businesses.

If you haven't already done so, you should put together a business plan to work out pricing, marketing strategies, etc. and either hire an accountant or set up a program like QuickBooks to track your income and expenses for tax purposes.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Wow I appreciate all of the information Jason!
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Also Jason..what exactly is the cottage food law?
post #8 of 22
It's a law that allows people to sell food made at home (with some restrictions) without having to follow some or all of the rules set up by the state/county health dept. Usually a home-based business operating under a cottage food law will be able to make only certain types of non-potentially-hazardous food (e.g. food that does not require refrigeration), be allowed to make only so much per year, and label their food with a warning stating that the product was made in a non-inspected kitchen.

In MO each county is required to have their own version of a cottage food law so the specific restrictions vary from county to county. There is a bill working its way through the MO legislature that would establish standard rules across the state if passed:
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Okay Jason.. So I called my counties health dept and the lady firmly said no you cannot bake and sell anything out of your home in Missouri without a separate kitchen. I mentioned the Cottage Food Law and she said no there isn't one and it's against the law......
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
What do I do?? I have about 20 cakes I have said yes to in the next month or two!! And I want to do this more than anything!! icon_sad.gif
post #11 of 22
Your best bet would be to follow up with the state dept of health, it's possible that the person you spoke with at county did not have all the necessary information.


In the meantime I would find another baker to take over your orders until you are licensed.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you I will call them!
post #13 of 22

After a google search.....


I found this: "  The Cottage Food Industry Act became a law on January 1, 2012, and is going to allow a person who produces non-potentially hazardous foods in their own home kitchen to sell those foods at a farmer’s market. Previously, sellers at farmer’s markets were only allowed to sell fresh fruits and vegetables.  Each food will have to be labeled as follows:  “This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspections that may also process common food allergens.”  A list of ingredients,along with the producer’s name, address and the date it was produced, also has to be on the label. The producer fills out a registration form before selling and the only time the health department is involved is if a buyer gets sick and/or makes a complaint."




If this is Jasper County, Missouri


I also found this, saying the same thing:


You may be limited to selling at Farmer's Markets, some states limit baked goods sells in this way.


Also, it's in your best interest to ALWAYS write down what you are told, from what office and the NAME of the person who told you.  For years people have told stories about having one person say "Yea, sure." and then having another say "Heck no, are you nuts?"  Get a notebook and write down the time and day you called, the full name of the person you talked to, their title etc.  If you are going to have a business, get in the habit of putting everything in writing.  :)



Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of your research and good idea! So is that saying I can't sell it directly out of my home?
post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by Hannahscakes View Post

Thank you for all of your research and good idea! So is that saying I can't sell it directly out of my home?

The bottom link above (the top one is for a different state) says that each county can set their own rules as to how they interpret the MO cottage food law. If you can get more info on the state law and what counties are and aren't allowed to do, you can take that back to the county and see what they say. You may have to escalate within the county to find someone who is capable of independent thought. I find that visiting the govt offices in person can be effective if you can't get anywhere over the phone.
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