Possibilty Of Becoming Licensed!!! Need Opinions!!! Long

Business By sugartopped Updated 22 Sep 2005 , 8:46pm by ThePastryDiva

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sugartopped Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 3:59am
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Ok, I've been thinking and researching and calling just about every one I know and all the different departments asking questions about how/what I can do to get licensed in this darn state--FLA. icon_confused.gif

Anyway, can't convert garage b/c it has to be completely separate from living quarters. So I've tried other routes....I called a couple people about possibly renting some kitchen space...waiting for a return call (I'm not holding my breath).

But now to the good part!!! I was talking to my husband about everything and how I would really like to do this legally and be able to advertise, but I don't want a bakery type business....just need a kitchen I can bake in. So.....he said why don't we just build a small building (~15' x 15') in the back of our lot and use that!!! icon_eek.gif I went through EVERYTHING this building would need.....plumbing, heating, air, foundation poured, electrical, ect. Plus all the equipment and stuff I would need to meet the rules. He said if I was willing to work w/him on it and wasn't expecting anything in less than a year...it could be done!! We have few friends that work in construction and remodling...so we could get them to do the work at reasonable prices.

We figure we would be spending $20,000-$25,000 for the ENTIRE thing....building, equipment, etc. Hope we're not under pricing ourselves though. Which is ALOT of money for us....but if I had the kitchen I could advertise which would help. I wouldn't work anymore, just do cakes...which would give me more time to do more cakes.

Would you guys take your husband up on the offer?? I didn't waste anytime and already called zoning and planning and they said it was doable as long as I didn't post signs on the property and didn't have customers at the house (would have to deliver everything)....and the Division of Food Safety said that would be acceptable, and would even work with me on some of the requirements (stove, fridge, restrooms) since I wasn't going to have 'retail' type shop with customers coming to the kitchen.

I'm very excited about the possiblity....just nervous about spending all that money....but I would LOVE to have license and feel this is the only way I'm going to get it!!!

What do you guys think?? Should I call our friends and have them start drawing up plans and getting quotes? Are thinking the cost is about right??

17 replies
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alimonkey Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 4:06am
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How lucky you are to have such a supportive husband! I would go for it, if you think you can really justify it. I wish I could do the same. Where I live, you can't build anything that is specifically for operating a home business, and you can't sell food out of your kitchen. However, for any home business, you can have people come to the house, as long as it's not more than 3 in a day.

Good luck, and don't forget to build the construction, etc. into the cost of your cakes!


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sugartopped Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 4:13am
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Well, both departments who regulate this type of activity said I wouldn't actually be considered a business if I don't allow customers to come to my kitchen/house...no signs in yard...and can't put my address in advertisements, just phone #. I was so happy to hear that!!!

But I was surprised that all the agencies I talked to today (some more than once and twice and three times icon_redface.gif )...but they were very helpful and nice...and even gave me tips to help me out. I was expecting to get the run around and just keep hearing the drededed "NO"!! But instead I got...well that won't work, but this will!!!

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lastingmoments Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 6:14am
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i think thats ounds great my husband would love to build a seperate building for me but being that we atre military I tell him its not worththe money...well just move anyways ....he already coverted the garage into a studio....but thats different ..because in a sense its just another room.....

good luck !!

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JoAnnB Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 7:47pm
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I converted 3/4 of my garage to a kitchen. We had to put in a floor (they wouldn't approve cement) walls, bathroom and ceiling. I used premade cabinets, a custom counter and I already had a refrigerator. My cost was nearly 25,000. However, I had special circumstances for the plumbing. They had to put in a new sewer and water line which required trenching across the front yard. That was probably 6,000 of the 25,000.

I was able to use household appliances (cheaper). And I got a deal on a 3 part sink.

When I do a bit of remodeling, I will add two wall ovens and a super exhaust fan-that small room can get really HOT.

I was able to roll the debt into a refinance of my home, and I have not once regretted the cost.


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Sangria Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 7:53pm
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How much is it for your own shop? I guess I'd rather have my own shop than just working out of my home. That way you could advertise with more than a phone number. Plus what if laws change? Or if you move?

However I have no idea on price differences.

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sugartopped Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 8:23pm
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JoAnnB....luckily, the Division of Food Safety (who will actually approve and issue the permit..i think...i'm getting them all confused)...said they would work w/me on not requiring a bathroom b/c I can't even allow customers on my property (do to county zoning). So that is going to save me some, not sure how much though....b/c I still have get the water hookuped for the sinks. And they said some of the other requirements could possibly be waived b/c they wouldn't consider me a 'retail' type business. Once I actually find about the cost of constructing the building I will discuss it more with them.

And we will eventually move, but with the housing market in this area (houses are selling for a lot more than they are worth...a friend bought their house for $60,000 three years ago, probably worth $80 - 90,000 and they are selling it for $200,000 and actually have offers!!!!! CRAZY)...we're not moving any time soon (we figure 5+ years). Plus I LOVE my house, only bad things is our lot is small, so this building is going to make it seem even smaller. But this is the only way we see I will be able to actually do cakes and still work from home. This way I can be w/my son during the day and work on the cakes at night...or whenever I feel like it!!! Can't beat that!!!

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melodyscakes Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:13pm
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before you do too much, talk to the zoning people!!!!! that is the first step, and pretty painless but it takes forever to get zoned....but you have to have that first. i just got special use permit for the kitchen we have built in our basement. it was a 90 day process just for the zoning!!!! no kidding!!!!! but i had to do that first before i even deal with the health dept.
glad your husband is on board with so many of you! mine is too, but wouldnt be if it cost $25,000!!!!!! we were remodeling the basement and putting two bedrooms and a bath room with a small front room for our teenage boys, and my brother did all the work, so i got my little kitchen and storage room. its not done yet....but soon!!!!!
good luck to us all!!!

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ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:27pm
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Pink Bunny, I"m soooo excited for you! One more thing that I'd put into the plan..well 2, put some drains in the floor, we have them at school and believe me, it's so much easier to trow some soapy water on the floor, use a broom to scrub the floor and then hose it down. We squeegy the floor dry.

Also, I KNOW that you won't have customers coming to the house...but....you may need a little area to have "BRIDAL CONSULTATION". Maybe just a small table and chairs in a prettily decorated area with your pictures on the wall and maybe some cake dummies..you can use an acordion door to separate your kitchen from this part and a 1/2 bathroom "powder room" you don't want your customers in your house....BELIEVE ME!!

Or a nice used sofa draped with a pretty throw, a coffee maker for your bridal tastings.

One more thing, if you wanted to, you can use one of your "slow" days to invite your couples over for "cake" tasting!

And another thing..(hehehe!) Make sure that you thank your zoning people with a nice gift of cake! for helping you out.

I have found that keeping "service industry" happy with me I get a LOT of information, help with a smile and a LOT of recommendations! Never forget the people that get you were you are going.

As far as the hubby thing is concerned? JUMP on it, you'd be surprised that before you know it, you will have your building!

You will be so excited and happy and if you ever sell your home...well you have added value of having an "in-law" studio.

Go for it and keep me posted! I wish you the best, take loads of photos as you build and have a big celebration when you're done, eighter with the hubby alone..(lol) or all the people that helped you get it off the ground!

Woo hoo..on your way!

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irislady Posted 21 Sep 2005 , 5:09pm
post #10 of 18

I was thinking- if I ever decided to do baking as a "part/full" time employment we would see about purchasing a prefabricated storage shed... maybe 24 feet X 16 feet and having plumbing/electrical all put into that structure. I know in our area (southern KS) you can buy storage buildings that are unfinished on the inside so you can put your electrical where you want it, your plumbing, etc plus they are moveable structures. If you unhook the electrical and plumbing you can sell the business more or less. Does anyone understand what I am talking about?

One suggestion I have is make sure you have a nice big window so your son can be playing in the backyard while you are baking or atleast cleaning up.


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butrcup Posted 21 Sep 2005 , 6:01pm
post #11 of 18

this is just a question that kept popping in my head while I was reading this...if you can't have customers there how can you do bridal tastings, etc? I would think if youre going to do it as a business, do it as a business-I think I would rent over building and avoid all the permits, laws, etc

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twindees Posted 21 Sep 2005 , 6:23pm
post #12 of 18

I agree with butrcup. I was wondering the same thing. You will have a business but not really.

Just my 2 cents.

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ThePastryDiva Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 6:27pm
post #13 of 18

You usually don't schedule couples to come all at once, you can "get away" with simple tastings by "inviting friends over for coffee and cake"..lol

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sugartopped Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 7:15pm
post #14 of 18

Trying to rent/lease a commerical space will not work for us. All the afforable space (cheapest we could find was $700/mo) was in pretty bad shape and I wouldn't want customers coming there anyway. But not only do we not want to spend that much money on something we don't own or even like, but the only way we could afford the monthly lease, plus fianancing the remodeling would be for me to become a bakery and offer more than just cakes. And that would require me to work ALL the time. I'm not ready for all that!!! Plus having a commercial space doesn't allow me to be home w/my son....which is most important for me right now!!!

With building the kitchen on our property it will allow me to be at home and work when I want. And when/if I'm ever ready to move on to a commerical type business......we will still be able to use the building for other things. And we can afford to finance the building on our property even if I don't end up doing cakes or making much money. But we will have the benefit of doing whatever we want with it if things don't work out w/my cake business.

I'm still new, so my client base is still friends/family/coworkers (who are keeping me surpisingly busy!!! thumbs_up.gif But once I can advertise and hand out cards I will get more business.

And I was going to do as PastryDiva suggested....have 'friends' over for coffee and cake!!!

It seems like a lot of money to just spend on a kitchen (as alot of people keep telling me) but I actually found something I really LOVE doing and could see myself doing this in 5 yrs....10 yrs!!! So whats a measly $25,000 if it's something you like and you want to do right!!! icon_redface.gif

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twindees Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 7:24pm
post #15 of 18

Right. Go for it.

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cybourg Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 7:32pm
post #16 of 18

pinkbunny, I say go for it. If it keeps you home with your son, your husband is on board, and it is something you really want to do, then do it. Like you said, you can always use the building for something else if you decide baking isn't for you or you want to try something else down the road.
Hhmmm, I've been telling my husband we need a storage shed for all his junk, maybe I should change that to all my junk and a kitchen. lol
Good Luck!

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JoAnnB Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 7:37pm
post #17 of 18

The "no customers" thing is really a protection for the neighbors. As long as the traffic is limited, (and customers don't park in your neighbors driveway) there is rarely any complaints. The zoning people want to avoid the extra traffic, but a scheduled appointment with a customer would be unnoticed. And unless they get complaints, the powers that be won't care. Unlike the health department who will fine you if you are caught illegally selling home baked foods to the public.

Working from home, with a license, is a dream. Just remember, it always cost at least as much as you budget, and always takes longer than you think! icon_wink.gif


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ThePastryDiva Posted 22 Sep 2005 , 8:46pm
post #18 of 18

Okay dokay...here go the figures..

If you're going to put an out building on your property and it's going to cost you about..25000.00 and you're planning to stay there for about 10 years..here is your breakdown...

25000.00 divided by 10 (years)=2500.00 divide by 12 (months) =208.88 a month...divide this by ...25.00 and it's 8 cakes a month JUST to break even on the building.

Doable? I think so...

So, if you go into your building making 10-15 cakes a month and just ONE wedding cake a month...you could be breaking even.

That's how I figure on what I need for storefront....I add up ALL my expenses...power, light, lease, phone, water, phone, trade associations ( Joining the Chamber of Comerce is a MUST!)..etc, etc, etc....whatever I need to run my business for a month..( or the year)...I look at that figure and freak myself out..lol

noooo..what I do is then, divide it by the cheapest cake I make...so I know that to pay my bill and to keep myself in business that is the MINIMUM of cakes I need to book per month.

Anything else I book is profit...( ha..right!!!!)

This is a VERY simple and quick way of guestimating how much work you need to produce to keep your "doors" open..to be more accurate you do the figures to the penny.

Some business proposals will allow you to "guestimate" others want everything up front down to the penny.

well anywy...you all get the idea!

for those of you doing this at home....you MUST know the square footage of your home...then subtract the square footage that you use for your "home based" business....you figure out how much mortgage (or rent) you pay for your square footage....

for example...I had a house...1200 square feet...let's say I paid 601.00 for my house, and I used 450 square feet for my home based business...so, I'm figuring about...1.99 a sq. ft? a little less than 450 dollars a month to have that area pay for itself? Get the idea??

My math may be all off, I'm a cake decorator not a math major...so PLEASE feel free to correct me..lol

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