Vendor Shows...should I Do One Even Though I'm Not Licensed?

Business By Meg72 Updated 11 Sep 2007 , 12:24am by SweetConfectionsChef

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Meg72 Posted 8 Sep 2007 , 10:15pm
post #1 of 24

I have recently been invited to "advertise" my business at a local vendor show. I work out of my home and am not licensed by the state. I am new at decorating and am wanting to get more business, but worry that doing a vendor show will invite problems with health inspectors, etc. Any advice from those of you who have an established business and work out of your home? Thanks for your input. icon_smile.gif

23 replies
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apwagner Posted 8 Sep 2007 , 11:33pm
post #2 of 24

Check your state laws.
If you don't have to be licensed to sell food items from your home. Check into cottage food laws and see if you can work with that.
I would be more worried about the IRS!

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countrycakes Posted 8 Sep 2007 , 11:34pm
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Just my opinion: If you are required to advertise and must have a license to do are taking a really bad chance of getting caught illegally. And the fines and problems that might bring would be more than what you would make that day........again, just my opinion. icon_smile.gif

Check the thread on what the rules are for each state....and best wishes. icon_smile.gif

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TPDC Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 5:56am
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BE CAREFUL!!!!!! If you have licensed decorators in the vendor show, they could turn you in. You never know who is going to be the person to turn you in.

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melysa Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 6:12am
post #5 of 24

though tempting,i wouldnt. texas is very strict with it.

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justme50 Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 6:17am
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I wouldn't do it.

It's a pretty competitive business we're in and you can bet if any other decorators found out you weren't legal they'd turn you in so fast your head would spin.

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vickster Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 5:14pm
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Risky. Looks like you're in California and I'm thinking the California folks are saying you have to be lisenced.
Personally, I don't have any problem with someone who isn't lisenced doing cakes for friends and family and getting paid for it. As a friend or family, your trust comes from your relationship and knowledge of the person being concientious and sanitary.
But just recently someone locally started advertising. She has a kind of gift store and is now advertising she does "specialty" cakes. I am pretty sure she is not lisenced. I'm spending about 10K getting a place set up to meet health codes and it bugs me that someone might be selling out of a retail store without a lisence. I've thought about "turning her in", but I don't really want her to get in trouble, I just want her to get lisenced or stop. I probably won't do anything. I figure I'm going to make it or break on my own flaws and merits.

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Meg72 Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 7:58pm
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Thanks to all of you for your advice. Looks like I'll be sitting this vendor show out. icon_cry.gif

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meancat Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 9:21pm
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If you are in Frisco TX, I would say a big NO.... only because it is illegal. And no offense, but I'm in TX and just went though the whole ordeal and spending $$$$ to get legal and if I found out you were at a show, I would turn you in. Just because of the simple fact that I went through the trouble of getting my customers legally.

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justme50 Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 11:27pm
post #10 of 24

I rest my case....there's always someone more than willing to cause you all kinds of trouble.

Not everyone has the means to become legal. Personally, I think the fact that in one state I can bake to my heart's content yet in another I have to go to ridiculous lengths just to be able to sell 1 or 2 cakes a week is ridiculous.

When I finally get legal myself, I won't begrudge anyone else who hasn't been able to make the leap yet.

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cakelady45 Posted 9 Sep 2007 , 11:51pm
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Hi there, I am in PA and have been licensed since the end of January this year. I waited a long time to be able to do this. There are a BUNCH of people in and around my area that are doing cakes and baked goods that are NOT licensed and you have to be to do it legally in this state! (Some of them even have animals in their home running around!) My husband thinks that I should report them too but I just can't bring myself to do it. I also attended a cake class in which the decorator said she definitely would report anyone that she knew was not licensed in her area because she felt they were taking business away from her. I look at it like this...when I advertise, I STRESS that I am licensed. People around here know by now that my cakes are good and look nice. I feel that I can get enough business (like someone else said) on my Own merits and don't need to be the bad guy to do it. Thanks for reading my thoughts!

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Tiffysma Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 12:29am
post #12 of 24

some people in my state got turned in by a legal person by being at vendor's shows. I wouldn't take the risk.

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sbcakes Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 12:42am
post #13 of 24

I agree with everyone else-It willl be your competition to report you. Its just how it is. How hard is it to get licensed where you are?
Here in PA, it isnt that hard at all. You should make a call to your local dept. of Ag and go for it. Then you can do the show with confidence knowing you are legal!!!

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vickster Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 1:03am
post #14 of 24

I'm with you Cake Lady. I don't plan on turning anyone in. I still don't think it's a deal to do cakes for your family/friends and get something in return. I know how it feels from both directions. We've had to hire a commercially lisenced plumber to do the plumbing for our cake shop even though my husband is fully capable of doing the work. He's done the plumbing in every house we've built/remodelled (five of them). But because this is commercial he can't even put on the faucets or set the toilet. It's not even so much having to pay him the money--it's that we've been on hold for six weeks now and counting for him to get over here and do his thing. icon_confused.gif
I kind of feel like there should be a law for part timers. You know, if you make under fifty cakes a year. Something like that.

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justme50 Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 1:34am
post #15 of 24

I'm in the same boat vickster.

My husband has been in the bakery business for 30 years. He knows inside out what we need and what needs to be done, but our laws also require licensed people to do all the work.

Some of the rules are utterly ridiculous such as a separate bathroom when I have one within 10 feet of what will be my licensed kitchen and I'm the only person who is going to be baking there with no customers on site, ever. And just how many sinks is it that I really need? One triple sink, one hand washing sink, a sink in the bathroom, a mop sink...sinks, sinks, sinks!!!!

It took an act of congress to get to bypass the requirement for a commercial vent-a-hood (translation-thousands of $$$'s) when I won't even be frying anything. I'm not even going to have a stove, just an oven. Where the heck would a vent-a-hood go????

But I'm blessed that my husband indulges me and we can afford to do all this for what is not really a huge money making venture. Not everyone is so lucky and I'm not about to go after them.

Personally, I think it shows a lack of confidence in your own work when you feel the need to try and run other people out of business.

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Meg72 Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 1:56am
post #16 of 24

Again, thanks to all of you for your feedback. It's great to have a group of people to bounce ideas off of and offer some direction. I am extremely new at this and don't know all the legalities of running a business out of a home. I am in Texas and from what I've read in everyone's posts, Tx. is a toughie with licensing. So...I will start checking into it.

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southerncake Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 2:09am
post #17 of 24

I just wanted to add one more thing. When I did my very first small business expo several years ago (and I am legal), there was someone from the health department who stopped by asking the "legal" questions. If I hadn't been legal it would have been awful!

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DelightsByE Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 2:14am
post #18 of 24

I wanted to add too - the organizers of the show itself might require you to produce a copy of your license in order to register.

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vickster Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 4:25pm
post #19 of 24

The health department folks were pretty nice about the vent a hood. They told me I didn't need one from the get go. The one thing I don't see in the codes is whether they're going to make me get a commercial fridge. I'm going to take the don't ask don't tell approach and see if I can get away with not getting one of those.

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justme50 Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 6:25pm
post #20 of 24

Any appliance I use has to be commercial grade. For us, the requirements are the same as though I was opening up a sit down restaurant or huge commercial bakery. They make no allowances in the rules for home based bakeries.

I have to say, our health department has been as helpful as possible. The person I'm working with is almost apologetic about how silly some of these regulations are, but there's nothing they can do about it.

You know what's crazy? I don't have to have a refrigerator at all, but if I want one for nothing more than to put cokes in for my personal consumption, it has to be commercial. icon_rolleyes.gif

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vickster Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 9:13pm
post #21 of 24

If they do make me have a commercial fridge, what I'm thinking about doing is just get one of those small under counter ones and bring my stuff in from the house fridge as I need it. They have some small ones that aren't too expensive.

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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 11:13pm
post #22 of 24

Just an can buy a commercial grade fridge at Lowes for about $500.

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Laura102777 Posted 10 Sep 2007 , 11:28pm
post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by SweetConfectionsChef

Just an can buy a commercial grade fridge at Lowes for about $500.

What size is that?

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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 11 Sep 2007 , 12:24am
post #24 of 24

Commercial grade has nothing to do with size but NSF...whatever that is! I think it's just a way to get more $$$ from small businesses! tapedshut.gif

Anyway, the fridge is 21 cubic foot (I think)...I have two in my shop. They are frigidaire brand and white in color.

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