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Calling VA "legal" home-based bakers

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
Okay. I have been reading the different posts about getting a home-based kitchen licensed in VA. For those of you who have gone through it, I have a few questions.

1). Is the licensing and inspection done by the state or by the county you live in? Do you have to do one or the other, or both??

2). How difficult was the process? When did you get licensed?

3). Are any of you in Richmond, or more specifically, Chesterfield County?

Thanks,
Sandra
post #2 of 87
I, too, am curious, but I am in Fairfax. I called the county and someone said as long as I am baking cakes, cookies, pies, etc, I don't need to have my kitchen inspected unless I plan on doing catering. All the threads I've searched for home bakeries in VA have not indicated this. So I am a bit confused. Does anyone live in Fairfax county know what needs to be done?
post #3 of 87
I'm in Fairfax county too. I have started the process. There are state requirements, but counties can have things too. For instance, the "state" says you need a double basin sink in the home, separate supplies for cake and for home cooking, and a separate shelf for cake stuff in the refrigerator - not sharing the butter with home, etc. ALSO, you cannot make/sell items that need to be refrigerated from home (so technically no IMBC).

Now, I asked about the double basin sink since I have a big deep single basin sink with granite countertops (we bought the house this way). I was told that in VA you can use two containers (like rubbermaid) in the sink to act as a double basin sink. However, a gal here (hope she pops in) was told that no, she indeed needs a double basin sink to be legally licensed despite being told otherwise herself at an earlier date by the state... I can't recall what county she's in.... I think she lives in Ashburn?

For now, I'm not legal. I make like a cake a month, so it's not worth it for me, but if I ever get my name out there, I'll do it because it is VERY doable and easy in VA to get legal.

Melissa
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post #4 of 87
I'm in Fairfax county too. I have started the process. There are state requirements, but counties can have things too. For instance, the "state" says you need a double basin sink in the home, separate supplies for cake and for home cooking, and a separate shelf for cake stuff in the refrigerator - not sharing the butter with home, etc. ALSO, you cannot make/sell items that need to be refrigerated from home (so technically no IMBC).

Now, I asked about the double basin sink since I have a big deep single basin sink with granite countertops (we bought the house this way). I was told that in VA you can use two containers (like rubbermaid) in the sink to act as a double basin sink. However, a gal here (hope she pops in) was told that no, she indeed needs a double basin sink to be legally licensed despite being told otherwise herself at an earlier date by the state... I can't recall what county she's in.... I think she lives in Ashburn?

For now, I'm not legal. I make like a cake a month, so it's not worth it for me, but if I ever get my name out there, I'll do it because it is VERY doable and easy in VA to get legal.

Melissa
Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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post #5 of 87
That was me about the 2 basin sinks. It is super easy to get legal. The only hiccup I had was the sink and you can still do cakes and frosting with the one sink basin. The inspection is done by the county, he did say they are getting ready to switch to US laws instead of VA laws but wasn't sure how that would affect things. I did hear too that Fairfax was easier than Loudoun but that was kind of just a rumor from the guy at Home Depoticon_smile.gif HTH, Kristin
post #6 of 87
I'm so glad I ran across this topic--I'm printing everything right now to complete my packet to become legal in VA (VA Beach area). I didn't realize you couldn't sell anything that needs to be refrigerated--so no cream cheese frosting on carrot cake? The ingredient labels took me forever! Any pointers before I finally send this thing off tomorrow? Thanks!!!
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarepair

That was me about the 2 basin sinks. It is super easy to get legal. The only hiccup I had was the sink and you can still do cakes and frosting with the one sink basin. The inspection is done by the county, he did say they are getting ready to switch to US laws instead of VA laws but wasn't sure how that would affect things. I did hear too that Fairfax was easier than Loudoun but that was kind of just a rumor from the guy at Home Depoticon_smile.gif HTH, Kristin



I'm confused, if you could do cakes and frosting, what CAN'T you do with the one basin sink?

Melissa
Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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post #8 of 87
I was never told that I couldn't sell anything that needed refrigeration. My inspector even checked the refrigerators and that I had a thermometer in there and a separate instant-read thermometer for checking things.

The only thing I found strange about Chesterfield Co was that they will not issue a business license for a home bakery, said that they do not require one. But I've been inspected and registered a business name. I guess in a way I assume I'm legal.
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My mission is to fatten up everyone else around me so that I look thinner!
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post #9 of 87
Which just shows how unregulated it really is! Interesting about the refrigeration! huh!

I wonder if there will be a grandfather clause (should be grandmother in this case since most home bakers are female) if and when they do change these home baking regulations? That would stink to be legal for 20 years and then all of a sudden, boom, you can't sell from home any more without the worry of the state coming after you!

Melissa
Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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Sweet Melissa's
Custom cakes made from scratch using organic ingredients
http://www.sweetmelissas.net/ http://sweetmelissas.blogspot.com/
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post #10 of 87
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the good input ladies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VACakelady

I was never told that I couldn't sell anything that needed refrigeration. My inspector even checked the refrigerators and that I had a thermometer in there and a separate instant-read thermometer for checking things.

The only thing I found strange about Chesterfield Co was that they will not issue a business license for a home bakery, said that they do not require one. But I've been inspected and registered a business name. I guess in a way I assume I'm legal.



VACakelady: since you are right in my "neck of the woods" so to speak, it would be great to get together and compare notes on this and other issues. I also registered the name "Sweet Memories" in late 2005. (Do you know how long this is good for? I need to go into my files to check to see if I have to renew it.) I was also given that same type of information about not requiring a business license but how do you get a vendor ID then? So the state is a separate thing from the county? I guess I need to do both, huh? Have you ever given any thought to opening a small shop with a partner sometime in the future??
post #11 of 87
They never said how long the business name registry was for, didn't think much of it. I don't have a vendor ID either. When I started this it was just something to do out of boredom, then it snowballed and I'm up to my ears in cake on top of my FT job. Getting together could be interesting, but I wouldn't know when. I work nights and do cakes on my days off, hardly have time to do anything else these days, it's nuts!!! I'm so much more on the business side of this, the cakes are just money to me, not a passion by any means.
My mission is to fatten up everyone else around me so that I look thinner!
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My mission is to fatten up everyone else around me so that I look thinner!
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post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica1817

I'm so glad I ran across this topic--I'm printing everything right now to complete my packet to become legal in VA (VA Beach area). I didn't realize you couldn't sell anything that needs to be refrigerated--so no cream cheese frosting on carrot cake? The ingredient labels took me forever! Any pointers before I finally send this thing off tomorrow? Thanks!!!



Can you give me the link where you found that information? I called my local health department and they gave me the number to the department of agriculture which is the department that actually regulates the baking. If I can find it online, I won't have to call them and wait for it to come in the mail. I would appreciate it so much!!

I am in the Richmond area. I'm currently in the process of looking for a kitchen to work out of. I feel that would be much easier than trying to make modifications to my current kitchen. I live in an older house and I think that a commercial kitchen would allow me much more room to work. I also found out something that I would have never known hadn't I called the Health Department. I assumed that if I rented a commercial kitchen currently licensed and used for food prep, that I wouldn't need to have another licensing inspection. However, this is not the case because the agencies which license for food and baking are two separate entities. Just wanted to mention that in case anyone else was looking for a kitchen like me. Someone also mentioned the catering thing, in Richmond, you can't legally cater out of your home kitchen, you have to have a separate one. I would think that the rules would be the same accross the state.

As far as the business license, I would still get one, even if they say you don't need it for baking. Just list your business under something like Hospitality services. The reason I say this is that sometimes, certain venues will not deal with you if you don't have a business license. So this is just insurance that you won't run into that problem ever and have to turn away a bride who is dealing with that type of venue. For instance, the University of Richmond is one place that will not allow anyone to utilize the services of a person without a business license.

Additionally, I was told that it is in our best interest to get insurance as well. I was told that the Hartford offers the type of insurance that we would need for this type of business and it's around $350/year.

And really, I can't see how a chang from county to US law would be possible or make a difference because the Dept. of Agriculture is a US agency right?

Just wanted to give all of the info that I have obtained, maybe it will help!
Accountant by day....Masked baker by night!
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Accountant by day....Masked baker by night!
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post #13 of 87
It is so funny finding this post from Richmonders right before I was going to call Dept of Agriculture today on my lunch break. I have a FT job and make cakes on nights/weekends/vacation days... I can't believe I actually have to turn people away. I mainly make cakes for family & people at work but many others have asked. I want to do them (although I have no idea when I'd find the time... who needs to sleep anyway!?) I just want to be legal so I can advertise even in my neighborhood newsletter and so my clients won't have trouble taking my cakes to reception sites...
post #14 of 87
Thread Starter 
Even after all this great input, it's as clear as mud, huh?? I still can't figure out how to get a vendor ID number for wholesale purchasing, if I need to be licensed by the state even though Chesterfield County doesn't require it............etc. etc. etc. What part of town are you in susgene??
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by formerbuckeye

Even after all this great input, it's as clear as mud, huh?? I still can't figure out how to get a vendor ID number for wholesale purchasing, if I need to be licensed by the state even though Chesterfield County doesn't require it............etc. etc. etc. What part of town are you in susgene??



Get the business license app for your county and just take a look at the different categories under which you can file for the license. I don't think that it would be inaccurate to describe it as somewhat of a hospitality business or something to do with events or event consulting. Have you gotten a copy of the application to see what information is requested? I just pulled it up, I will attach it. I think you could probably just classify it as a professional service or perhaps peddler-edible perishables.
Accountant by day....Masked baker by night!
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Accountant by day....Masked baker by night!
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