Advice For Starting New Business In Florida

Business By SweetSullivans Updated 26 Jul 2010 , 2:36am by mason255

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SweetSullivans Posted 31 Mar 2010 , 6:43pm
post #1 of 14

I am in the N.E. Florida area and would like to start my own Wedding Cake Business. I am pretty sure you cannot work from home here so I am curious how others may have started their businesses without having to take out a loan or putting tons of money out to get up and running. I currently work full time and don't know how much I could expect to make in this business. In this economy I am trying to be very careful. Are other Wedding Cake businesses every open to letting you intern for them? Is there a guideline as to how much you should be making on each cake or somewhere I can go that will give me all of this type of advice? Also - I am pretty much self taught at this point, is it worth my time and money to go to the Wilton School (not the Michaels versions) or go to Pastry School? Looks like the closest pastry school to me is 2 hrs away and over $24,000.
I have been trying to get experience while still working another job and I feel like I am running ragged-just don't know when to jump! Any advice?

13 replies
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lacie Posted 31 Mar 2010 , 7:12pm
post #2 of 14

hello fellow floridian
i rent kitchen time from a local catering company.
it took me 1 1/2 years to find a place that would let me rent their place. i rent out space from a caterer, i pay $50 per personal use. they also use me for all thier deserts and i charge them a discounted rate.
you have to get your own licensing and permits for your own business, if you were an employee you would be covered under theirs.
i do not have a written agreement per say, i have emails back and forth with them. they are a nice couple and everything is working out well for me and them. I would suggest a written contract though. I have free use of thier kitchen, equipment and tasting/meeting room (they do not charge me to meet with clients only for kitchen use)

here is what you will need to be a legal baking business in Florida:
1. food managers class and cert $150
2. find a kitchen, i use catering companies kitchen $50 per use
3. get a tax id number and file your business corp papers, we used a cpa to do this $250
4. get the kitchen inspected by the department of agriculture for you food license, inspection is free but the license cost me $530 per year
5. get an occupational license from your city zoning board/department, you will need to have the place you are using fire inspected and sometimes building inspected. they then give you the paper work to get your local city tax info $50
6. liability insurance $550

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SweetSullivans Posted 31 Mar 2010 , 7:59pm
post #3 of 14

Thanks so much-that bit of info was a great help. The info online from the state is a little confusing. I have a friend who owns a catering business and has her own kitchen. She is kind of afraid of letting me share space because for some reason she thinks the agriculture dept requires a utility sink(i think) where her licensing does not. Can you really make money paying $50 per usage?How many cakes are you usually making per week? Are they mostly Wedding Cakes?

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Sweet_Guys Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 1:11am
post #4 of 14

I'm surprised your friend would not need a utility sink. When we went to get inspected for using our friend's kitchen, the stipultion for sinks was hand-sink, mop sink, and multi-compartment sinks for washing/rinsing/sterilizing.


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lacie Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 2:51am
post #5 of 14

the catering kitchen i use doesn't have one. the inspector said as long as they have a separate area that has access to water they were fine. its outside the back door of the place. the inspector was fine with it for my business as well.

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Sweet_Guys Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 3:42pm
post #6 of 14

It goes to show how there is no consistency in Florida...I've heard that even in central Florida you can get multiple responses to specific questions.


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cakegrandma Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 11:03pm
post #7 of 14

I was inspected for my usage at a place in Tampa that serves food and since it does I have to have a caters license. The Dept of Agriculture does not cross over and vice versa into the Hotels and Restaurants licensed areas. You may want to see which license they have and check with the state so you don't "chase your tail" so to speak and find out you have contacte the wrong dept. I hope this has helped you

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Sweet_Guys Posted 5 Apr 2010 , 12:56am
post #8 of 14


Back to my first post about consistency: I was inspected through the Dept of Agriculture in a place that H&R licensed.

Weird, huh?!


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SweetSullivans Posted 5 Apr 2010 , 3:56pm
post #9 of 14

Wow-it is so hard to get the right answer here in Florida. Thanks for letting me know about everyones experiences. The kitchen I would be using is licensed for Catering so I will check to see which direction I should go in here.

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cakegrandma Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 10:32pm
post #10 of 14

Paul, that is weird! When I spoke to Dept. of Ag they told me that as long as the Dept of H&R was licensing them they would not "go into their territory", that neither one will oversee 2 business in the same location. Thus the Dept of H&R. Actually the H&R told me that I had to get a letter from the Dept of Ag stating that they would not be overseeing my business. Of course, when I called Ag, they said they don't give letters like that. icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif Back to the drawing board and told H&R the results, they weren't too happy but I got inspected and my inspector was soooo nice.
Oh, forgot to tell you that when I had sent my license in no one could find it after a month and the last time I called them it came back to me denied. It had my business name all over it and all the correct papers and they sent back the denied letter to some taco business. DUUUUHHH! Had to resend them and it was fine the second time. I guess I got someone tht could read.

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cakesbyclark Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 3:18pm
post #11 of 14

I also live in North Florida and I am looking to start a bakery the websites are so confusing and everytime I call they refer me to there website

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leily Posted 17 Jun 2010 , 4:17pm
post #12 of 14

I can't help with the legalities in Florida, you usually have to deal with your county or city Health dept (as others have mentioned)

As for the business part of it, i HIGHLY suggest doing a business plan. There are templates out there or you can talk to an accountant about one.

This will help answer your questions about how much you need to make. There is no guidline, except you need to make enough to have a profit. And for everyone their bills (electricity, ingredient purchases, hourly rates) are different. Doing a business plan will REALLY lay this all out and help you see what the true cost of doing business is.

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BORIKS03 Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 5:02pm
post #13 of 14

I'm new at cake decorating and would like to one day be able to have my own business. I have a name in mind and have researched to see if there are any businesses under that name and so far no. I'm just wondering if I'm able to at least register the name only even if I won't have a business yet?
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

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mason255 Posted 26 Jul 2010 , 2:36am
post #14 of 14

Check out the following website from Sharpe Properties that should help you navigate trying to figure out obtaining a Certificate of Use as well as an Occupational License from your City and County. The website provides links to places directly in Miami-Dade and Broward County, but it should at least provide you with some guidance even if your business is not located in those locations.

To view the information, click below:

Here is the direct link to the section on the certificates and permits:

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