Cake Business Start Up Question - Uk

Business By Stepht08 Updated 24 Sep 2015 , 3:21pm by GinFabul0us

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Stepht08 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 11:55am
post #1 of 15

Hi everyone! I am looking to start up a small cake business. To be honest I love making cakes as a hobby and would just like to get an idea of whether I could make a little part time business out of it. Of course with the rules and regulations you can't just have a go and see! Lol

My problem is I am currently in rented accommodation and my lease says I cannot run a business from the property. My other problem is the landlord is not easy to deal with, I've never had direct contact with him but the agents say he isn't very reliable and really only cares about the money coming in each month. I therefore doubt he would be willing or motivated to change his home insurance etc to support a business, plus he may put my rent up if he thinks I will be earning a lot more, and I really just want to start up and see how it goes.

So to my question! Do people know if I can have environmental health approve my kitchen for making cakes etc in my rented property but I register the business at my mums address?

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)


14 replies
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-K8memphis Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:18pm
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i'm not in england but you don't want to do that even if it is possible because you could get shut down in a nanosecond and then how will you fulfill the orders you have already taken -- not to mention risk being evicted --no do it right -- you need to move to a hospitable location and in the meantime just keep up your hobby and enjoy it

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Snowflakebunny23 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:32pm
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We are very lucky in the UK in that the only thing you need to do to sell a food product is have your kitchen inspected by the council which is free.  While you should have it, there is no legal requirement to be insured either (disturbing as it may be).  If you work in the wedding industry though, many venues won't work with you unless you are insured.  What do you mean by 'registering' your business?  Unless you are going to become a limited company, there is no business registration process required.  If you are a sole trader, you have to provide your 'trading address' on all your paperwork but it is not registered with anyone as such (accept the council for the purpose of the food hygiene inspection).  You must of course also tell the inland revenue that you are self employed (as well as employed if you are working a day-job too) and full out a tax return at the end of the year.

Your landlord is a whole other story though and unless you can clear it with your landlord, I wouldn't even consider it.  The problem with insurance is usually regarding people visiting the property for consultations etc so you could possibly ask if he would let you run the business on the condition that you visit your customers, rather than they visit you.  If you do this, you MUST get public liability insurance but it's probably a better place to start.

We are fortunate actually in that setting up a cake business is completely free and many people do do so to 'see how they go'.  I kindof did that when I started but you have to do a lot of research to make sure that you are ticking the boxes that you need to still.  Also bear in mind that you need to charge properly so as not to devalue the market in your area. Good luck x

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Aleks-LPCB Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:41pm
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Your first issue is your lease. If it states you can't run a business and you start one up you are contravening your lease and the landlord could/will throw you out.

Your second issue is the council and the registration of your business. You must register which address the business will be run from and its that kitchen that will be assessed. So in short don't even contemplate what you were suggesting.

Either look for another place to rent or think about moving back to your mums and running the business from there at least that way you have a landlord who's supportive :-).

Hope this helps,


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Stepht08 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 4:03pm
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Thank you for your replies, I certainly want to make sure I do everything above board, just wasn't sure if I'd found a loop hole so to speak, as if I were to rent a kitchen space from another cafe when they weren't using it, my registered business address would obviously be different from the kitchen I was using as I wouldn't be part of their business, but you are right although I would only be using the kitchen and not seeing people at the property it's not worth the risk. 

Thanks for your replies :) appreciate your time x

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Shockolata Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 4:35pm
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You cannot register the company at your mother's address and run it from your rented flat because your contract prohibits running a business, period. What you can do, however, is look at renting a kitchen that already has all the necessary permissions in place. It could be a professional unit or a church hall's kitchen. Only problem is that you need to cart your stuff around with you each time and you cannot bake at a whim but have to book in advance. You will need to be ultra organised and methodical to make the best use of the rental time. Please also bear in mind that you will need special car insurance to use your car to deliver cakes to clients - another headache, as most car insurance is for private and recreational use (sorry, don't remember exact term, but it means it is OK to use it to go to the supermarket to buy your groceries, and to drive your children to school and to access museums, parks, holiday places, etc, but it does not cover you for carrying people and goods, so if you were to be picking up kids from school and taking them home, you wouldn't be covered, either.) Another idea would be to buy a mobile kitchen and do all your baking there. But I suspect it will end up costing quite a lot.

Why not use your mother's kitchen and get it approved by her local council, instead? The only stipulations are not to have pets entering the kitchen, not to wash clothes whilst preparing food and for the fridge to be operating at the right temperature and be loaded properly, i.e. uncooked meat on the bottom shelf and cakes on the top, nothing with strong smells of course. The council will be making regular spot checks to ensure the kitchen is maintained at a hygienic way and that your processes are safe, your products are within date and stored safely... such things. They will also look at you, whether you have your hair tied back and wearing a hairnet whilst cooking, whether you are cooking with nail polish on (a strict no-no!) and of course you will be required to show your Food Safety certificate (but the course is short and easy to pass.) Hope I haven't forgotten something.

Good luck!

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Shockolata Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 4:42pm
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@Snowflakebunny23  it actually costs to get the Food Safety certification unless you have it from working at a food establishment in the past... And there are costs of opening up a business account and hiring an accountant to do your tax returns and modifying your car insurance to cover business use and to buy a name and create a website and advertise. I would advise anyone who wishes to start up a business to consider everything as you might spend to get everything ready and not get any orders to write off the cost. 

@Stepht08  forgot to say that you can also sell from a market stall but then they will want to see you are registered and have passed environmental checks and secondly it will be necessary to list every single ingredient on the things you sell in ingredient volume order (biggest to smallest amount contained.) So start writing your recipes down from now :) You can do it, if you really want to, you will find a way to make your dream come true, but you must have some money to begin with and time and energy to go through the red tape. 

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Stepht08 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 5:27pm
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Thank you for your reply, I have done my certificate already so that good to go.  I can't do it at my mums as she has cats and the kitchen is placed in a way that they need to go through it to get to their food and to go outside. Have wondered about converting the garage at mums into a kitchen but other than that it is a no no. Will look into the other ideas you have suggested though, and thank you for the words of encouragement, I agree if you put your mind to something and want it enough something will turn up :) 

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Shockolata Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 5:57pm
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Converting the garage sounds like a good idea! You could ask the council whether they would require the kitchen to have a window. If not, it should not cost too much and you wouldn't need planning permission. If the garage has a side door, then you are in perfect condition as you could go and work anytime you felt like it without disturbing your mother. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that you find the solutions you need to make it happen. I love a good success story! :)

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eatsprinkles Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 8:25pm
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Hello Steph,

I have just recently started a business and I'd suggest you give the council a call and have the health officer come over to check your mother's kitchen. 

I wasn't sure if our kitchen would be suitable for a home business, as we also have two cats. I gave the EHO a call and asked if it is possible for him to stop by to have a chat with no strings attached. He was really helpful and gave me advice on what I actually need (he wanted to see my public liability insurance papers when he came by for the 'proper' inspection - so I guess it varies from health officer to health officer). But if you are unsure whether you mom's kitchen is okay, I'd have him have a look. 

Our cats eat in the kitchen and also go through the kitchen to get in the garden so he told me to keep the cats out of the kitchen when I bake for customers.

As for business accounts: I had a talk with my bank and they suggested I start with a simple current account, maybe that would work for you? Business accounts are expensive especially when you are just getting started.

Hope that helps.

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Snowflakebunny23 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 9:07pm
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I'd investigate your mums kitchen as well.

@Shockolata  I was thinking about the kitchen inspection by the council which is free (atleast it is in my area?).  You will have to pay for training to do a food hygiene course if you want to but again, I do not believe that's obligatory.  I did mine online for a pretty small fee.  You have to prove you know the food hygiene 'rules' during your kitchen inspection but that all comes with the info packs they send.  It may be good practice but not essential.

There are obviously a lot of other costs which can be spent but to begin with and to 'test the waters', providing you have the baking equipment, you can build up slowly and for next to nothing.  Facebook is free, many website companes will offer dirt cheap hosting and use free website builders.  Business cards are a cost but again, they can be very cheap.  Insurance is the biggie but again, depending on circumstance, you may not need it for your car (collection only) and public liability is a should have, rather than a must have.

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Shockolata Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 10:04am
post #12 of 15

@Snowflakebunny23  How does one deal with benefits and starting up a business though? Because they will want to stop all benefits once you go self-employed and will expect you to pay your NI contributions rain or shine. OK so you may not have to pay tax if you do not earn above the threshold but it could be precarious if one is relying on benefits to keep a roof over their head and food on their plate. Would it be possible for you to make a step-by-step guide for starting a baking business from home and post it here? I am sure lots of people would benefit from that. Thank you.

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Snowflakebunny23 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 8:14am
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@Shockolata  I don't know how it affects benefits to be honest but the fact is that if you are running a business then you are self employed and, by law, you have to declare that to the tax man.  To run a business and not declare the income (especially if still claiming benefits) is tax evasion and I'd guess, fraud.  I'm sure people do it but that doesn't make it legal.  You can however apply for NI exemption though if your earnings are small amount.  I don't pay NI for my cake business.  You have to fill out a form and then are exempt from paying for 2 years (i think?) then you complete another if you are still below the threshold.  Your tax return does not have to be completed by an accountant either, you can do it online.  I have an accountant do mine to same me time but you don't have to.

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Shockolata Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 6:27pm
post #14 of 15

Thank you. 

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GinFabul0us Posted 24 Sep 2015 , 3:21pm
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It's great that you decided to start business. At 1st make a website (you know that to conduct it online is much better and easier ). If you don't know how to create it I think you will find a lot of website builders. Then you need to attract more customers and make it profitable. So you can use a CRM bpmonline  system (trial version). I have online store too and I boosted my sales in a month. PS hope it works for you.

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