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Question for those who bake and sell from home - Page 4

post #46 of 222
More than 40 years ago, when the laws concerning baking at home and selling the product were non existent-at least as far as I knew, I was asked more than once to bake for pay. My answer then was no way. Selling the product created a responsibility I wanted no part of. If some one got sick, how could I prove it wasn't my cake or pie that caused the problem. The liability was there before the laws. My kitchen is and was clean- even with the dog walking through and napping out of the traffic pattern. No one has ever gotten sick from anything I have made over the years. But... that doesn't mean I could not have been held responsible.

The laws, as strange and diverse as they are, protect both the baker and the customer. The baker can say, my product was produced in place considered sanitary by state laws; the consumer knows that the product came out of kitchen that wasn't crawling with cooties. (And no, I do not consider unlicesened kitchens to be crawling with cooties. Lord knows, my kitchen wouldn't pass inspection because of the dog, and I don't have either cooties crawling around or dog hair in my food.)
post #47 of 222
I have read this thread all the way thru and I live in AL. I have looked into all the laws that AL has. I found out that if I bake cakes and cookies for my family and close friends and they pay me money that it isn't illegal. BUT some areas in AL are different(this is just for MY area!) You can't sell to strangers! and you can't advertise in any way! I don't make anything for anyone unless I know them! I tried that once and I thank GOD I didn't get caught! All of my friends and family have been begging me to open my own place but right now I can't. I have every intention of owning my own place someday but I have great family and friends that let me experiment with new techniques so I get to learn something new with each cake I make. I have never given away cakes! I don't suggest anyone do that, they'll just expect it all the time! I do give discounts to certain people though. ie...my church and my family. I am slowly working on becoming legal! I have a place that I can rent if I really want to become legal quickly. I've looked into everything and know exactly what to do when the time comes. The only way I would be able to make any money and rent a place would be a very large wedding! and right now I'm not doing any! I've found that MOST people on here were very helpful to me when I needed it. I wouldn't know all that I know without finding CC. I'm hoping that by the end of this year I will be able to be legal, but it will only be possible with God's help! Thank you all for everything!
<-----The reasons I do what I do! Thank you GOD for all the GREAT gifts you've given to me and the opportunity to use them to praise you!
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<-----The reasons I do what I do! Thank you GOD for all the GREAT gifts you've given to me and the opportunity to use them to praise you!
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post #48 of 222
Thread Starter 
WOW icon_surprised.gif I cant believe that I started all this...LOL.

I have every intention of becoming licensed before selling my cakes. I was just wondering how everyone got their name out there. No one answered about the tasting, guess just got caught up in the leaglities of it all.

And, MIKE, I have been a business owner, a very successful one. I owned and operated 3 adult family homes. Had 12 staff under me and did everything, payroll, bills, shopping, and worked in the home full time as well. The only reason I closed up business was because my husband and I decided to move north. So, as for "learning to love owning a business" I already know all about it.

To everyone who was honost....THANK YOU! Im sorry that you may have felt bullied, but atleast we all got some info, right?

Oh well, thanks for all the responses. I try to take all the info in that I can. Have a good night, everyone.
Loving Wife of Kyle,
Momma to
Zackery~12
Nathan~6
Tristan~3/7/05-3/25/05~My sweet angel
Genesis~2
Kayla~6 months
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Loving Wife of Kyle,
Momma to
Zackery~12
Nathan~6
Tristan~3/7/05-3/25/05~My sweet angel
Genesis~2
Kayla~6 months
Reply
post #49 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaroxy

WOW icon_surprised.gif I cant believe that I started all this...LOL.

I have every intention of becoming licensed before selling my cakes. I was just wondering how everyone got their name out there. No one answered about the tasting, guess just got caught up in the leaglities of it all.

And, MIKE, I have been a business owner, a very successful one. I owned and operated 3 adult family homes. Had 12 staff under me and did everything, payroll, bills, shopping, and worked in the home full time as well. The only reason I closed up business was because my husband and I decided to move north. So, as for "learning to love owning a business" I already know all about it.

Very cool cause as you know the biz end is the hardest.

Why are people offended at the reason they can't openly sell to the public? There are laws in place to prevent the general public from getting sick. How outraged, and made to feel fragile when there is a food recall? Look at how the general public felt with the spinach recall. Look at what is happening with the imports from China.

Then you hear the arguement of how do I get started? You do like every other biz in the world. You save, scrimp, and beg for capital. Just because a cake is very cheap to make. That doesn't change any of the facts for starting a biz.

In MI it's very hard almost dam impossible for me to do this. If my house didn't have the floor plan that it does I would be able to do it. Is that a stroke of luck, sure it is. On the other hand though if I lived 60miles south things would've been a heck of a lot easier. There are nights where I just don't sleep wondering if I ran the gas lines correctly, did I tape the elec wires right. I sure hope that plumbing flows.

As I type this I'm starting to get offended LOLOL I look at the time, and money I'm spending, and then see people write how offended they are that thier state won't allow them. Well you know what folks to bad this isn't supposed to be easy. Where in your lil packet of life does it say it's easy?

There are two options get legal, or don't. If you don't, don't get offended when someone says your breaking the law.

Mike











To everyone who was honost....THANK YOU! Im sorry that you may have felt bullied, but atleast we all got some info, right?

Oh well, thanks for all the responses. I try to take all the info in that I can. Have a good night, everyone.
post #50 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrynscakesncookies

I have read this thread all the way thru and I live in AL. I have looked into all the laws that AL has. I found out that if I bake cakes and cookies for my family and close friends and they pay me money that it isn't illegal. BUT some areas in AL are different(this is just for MY area!) You can't sell to strangers! and you can't advertise in any way! I don't make anything for anyone unless I know them! I tried that once and I thank GOD I didn't get caught! All of my friends and family have been begging me to open my own place but right now I can't. I have every intention of owning my own place someday but I have great family and friends that let me experiment with new techniques so I get to learn something new with each cake I make. I have never given away cakes! I don't suggest anyone do that, they'll just expect it all the time! I do give discounts to certain people though. ie...my church and my family. I am slowly working on becoming legal! I have a place that I can rent if I really want to become legal quickly. I've looked into everything and know exactly what to do when the time comes. The only way I would be able to make any money and rent a place would be a very large wedding! and right now I'm not doing any! I've found that MOST people on here were very helpful to me when I needed it. I wouldn't know all that I know without finding CC. I'm hoping that by the end of this year I will be able to be legal, but it will only be possible with God's help! Thank you all for everything!




That's awesome kathryn..........I wish you the best of luck with getting your business going. You're right about giving cakes for free, that was my big problem for sooooo long. Unfortunately, my family and friends were spoiled by me doing this and now I think they feel like "oh, it's only flour, sugar, eggs etc., how much could THAT cost!" Oh well, it's my fault if I don't charge enough, I just really enjoy baking and it's an escape from my hectic day at the Salon.

To cohenandlilysmom...........I'm sorry you feel like this site has become a negative place for you. I disagree. I've met so many wonderful professionals and non-professionals on here and I've learned so much in the couple of months since I found it. We are all adults here (at least I assume there are no kids here) if we can't debate an issue with each other, which is what we've been doing, we'll never learn anything new. Constructive criticism is important and I don't think anyone who posted here did it in a damaging or degrading way. The great thing about living here in the US is that we have the FREEDOM to not only have an opinion, but also to voice that opinion. I don't think any of us would be willing to give that up.

CC rocks and so do the members thumbs_up.gif
post #51 of 222
I understand the legalities and safety issues, but it's so frustrating that the laws differ so greatly. If the laws are there for safety (and tax) reasons, they should be the same across the board. By letting each state decide what's right for them, it essentially downplays the health factors.

I've never heard or anyone getting sick from eating cake, but certainly of eating at big name restaurants; just because something is licensed, does NOT mean they all do things the right way. On the flip side, just because someone may choose to do something under the table (and I'm not condoning that, just stating it) doesn't mean they are NOT doing things right.

I truly believe in always doing things the right way mostly because I'm such a scaredy cat and I couldn't sleep at night for fear, which is why I'm using the opportunity to hone in on my skills while giving away my cakes. I may not get paid in actual cash value, but it comes back in other ways. Like the cake I'm delivering to a friend today; she bought a nice little cake stand to use for the party and is giving it to me afterward because she said I'll have more use for it than her. Certainly that doesn't fall under the "getting paid" category, does it? My cake is a gift to her because I love her, and her stand is a gift to me because she is so appreciative of the time and work I put into my cakes. Honestly, if I charged even a minimum wage what my cakes were worth in time, first off, no one would be able to afford them!

Secondly, I've run a business from my home in the past and had so many writeoffs (legal ones) that I never paid a cent in taxes. Well, at least until I went to sell my home in the same year that I had filed taxes while running a business; I had to pay about $14,000 in capital gains (that's more than I even made in that last year of running that business!). The loophole in the system though is, that had I not run a business from my home that last year, I would have avoided the capital gains taxes altogether. Much of the appreciation on our home came between the time we built it and I opened the business, and I had no idea I would ever need to document every penny we spent just in case I might decide to run a home based business and possibly have to pay capital gains taxes! My point is, as much as safety is an issue, and it is, I believe it's more of the govt. making sure to get their (fair or unfair) share or taxes.

Anyway, I've gone totally off the other side here, and I get mad every time I think about that money we had to pay, so I need to go bake a cake and calm my nerves! icon_smile.gif
Christine
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Christine
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post #52 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

You know what...MOST decorators do not have the money to risk on something they don't even know its gonna work. MOST decorators sell cakes to family, friends, word of mouth before thinking "Wow I'm starting to bring in some cash now, its time to get licensed."

To me, you don't just walk in cold turkey, spend money on a kitchen, licensing, and insurance...and expect people to buy from you. You lay low, you let word of mouth build your reputation, and then you go from there and get yourself legal.

I baked for many years before I had the reputation and money and business to become legal. I'm still not "slammed" with business but doing enough to compensate for the insurance and other expenses and a little profit. But you know what, when I first moved here and had one or two cakes a month...I'm not gonna get licensed for that.

I have heard successful decorators with large bakeries say the same thing. IMO you will know when "its time". When you start pulling in orders and you realize you are actually getting a decent sized profit that needs to be reported to Uncle Sam...and you realize that you have enough orders that you should probably be insured...then its time.

I know people on here disagree, and also state laws vary (my state is very easy to get licensed from home) but I just think its ridiculous to browbeat every home baker as if they should be looking behind their back as they make the neighbor's birthday cake for a little pay.

Its a service...and it should be paid for...and until you are actually peddling it as a business and having regular orders...I do not think we should be piling guilt on people for just seeing how the decorating thing goes for now.



I baked for years and years for friends and family and then for my office parties and for neighborhood parties and got a rep for being the Cake Lady. I never charged for anything, though, not even for ingrediants. People told me for years You should start your own bakery! I didn't do it full fledge, as I was lucky and could do it from home, but I STILL went legal the second I decided to charge, even though at first it was only 1-2 cakes a week. If you cant do it from home, find a legal kitchen and see how it goes. But charging is against the law if you aren't legal. And as someone else stated, it just morally isn't nice to those who have invested a ton of money and time into doing it legally. Everyone mentions Paula Deen started illegally...and google also started in someone's dorm. These are exceptions. The world is different these days, and if you really feel you have to do this illegally to put a couple of extra pennies in your pocket, then DONT advertize on Craigs list and put up web sites. Because you will get caught. It happens every single day. It doesnt take much money as business's go to start out...do it legally. Its worth it.
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post #53 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake_Princess

Please raise your hand if you started off selling cakes before you became "legal". Be honest now. This is interesting.



Sorry, but I never charged a single penny till my kitchen was fully inspected and legal. I did the monthly birthday party cakes for my office for many years and they even insisted on paying me for my ingrediants and I even turned it down. (I told them to use the cake money to get the bday people a present!)

My question back to you: If there is a guy selling sandwiches along side the road from a pickup truck, wrapped in wax paper, with no refridgeration. Would you stop and buy them without thinking twice? Or would you feel safer going to an inspected restaurant to buy your sandwiches?

I am not saying that people who are not legal do not follow food safely laws, but I see on here postings all the times of people who use mousses and fresh fruit in their cakes and they don't have walk ins or large commerical fridge to keep them food safe. They haven't had the training from thier health department or dept of argiculture and maybe just don't understand that fruit inside a cake can go bad in HOURS. Would you feel safe going to a wedding where the cake was made by someone who just "didn't know any better?"

these laws weren't made to slap the hand of those who want to make an extra buck. They were made to protect the public, and to honestly protect you from being sued.

I pay my taxes on the money I make. My taxes go to help better this country. A Illegal bakery makes 1000 dollars a year on a cake. They don't pay any taxes on it. Do you think that is fair to rest of us?

Just some thoughts to throw out to those who dont think they are "hurting anyone".....

And again, like someone said, if you post in the BUSINESS section of the forem, except Businesses to reply! icon_rolleyes.gif
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post #54 of 222
ok,
I've been reading this for a while and couldn't decide if I should post or not.
but here I am.

I want to be legal.
I read stuff I while back about licensing my kitchen and the wheels in my head started turning about how I would rearange my kitchen and label everything, about how it might be to be inspected and about the food safety courses to take. then I realized that I can't work at home in any way, shape or form. so then I started researching kitchens. I found a couple kitchens. one was 1.5 hours away and wanted $15-20/hour. the other was much more resonable, but still 1 hour away. I turned to my church and I have a lead on baking there.

I have a fundamental problem that I haven't been able to resolve.
my cakes average 10+hours to do. (this is mostly in part because each one is starting 'from scratch' with BC and fillings and baking in small oven with limited pans, etc, etc). I bake for friends and family and I charge the going rate, but even at that, I'm not covering my time at a decent hourly rate. now how do I tack on 10x$10/hour for kitchen rental for a party cake that reatils for $100?
I know that I could be more effecient and get enough orders to make it work long term, but that means a full time job. I have two little ones and I don't want a full time job until they are in school.

I can't decide what to do. sometimes I'm ready to stop making cakes, but I keep getting so many requests (I've actually turned down as many as I take) and I want to keep my skills up, but I can't really afford to do cakes for free. (I, of course, donate cakes to the school and church or whatever).

I have a pretty good idea about the work, money and time involved in getting legal and respect all of you that are legal! I just can't figure out how to make it work yet.

(btw, accepting the cake stand is accepting payment)

alright fire away.
'Why sleep when you can bake!'
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'Why sleep when you can bake!'
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post #55 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaroxy

WOW icon_surprised.gif I cant believe that I started all this...LOL.

I have every intention of becoming licensed before selling my cakes. I was just wondering how everyone got their name out there. No one answered about the tasting, guess just got caught up in the leaglities of it all.

And, MIKE, I have been a business owner, a very successful one. I owned and operated 3 adult family homes. Had 12 staff under me and did everything, payroll, bills, shopping, and worked in the home full time as well. The only reason I closed up business was because my husband and I decided to move north. So, as for "learning to love owning a business" I already know all about it.

To everyone who was honost....THANK YOU! Im sorry that you may have felt bullied, but atleast we all got some info, right?

Oh well, thanks for all the responses. I try to take all the info in that I can. Have a good night, everyone.




I have a suggestion for getting your name out there. If you post an ad on freecycle or on craigslist offering free cake for a certain number of people (nothing really fancy obviously). Just say you are considering opening up your own business and would like more practice so you are offering free cakes to x number of people. This will help get your name out there and you arent taking any compensation for it. Then those who get your cakes, like them, pass your name around and you can see if opening up a business will even be worth it. This is completely legal since you arent taking anything for the cakes and also make sure you discuss any potential allergy issues with the people first.
Just a suggestion....I dont make cakes for anyone besides friends and family but I know pople who have done the free cake ads and it has worked great for them.
post #56 of 222
Because of everything I've learned from CC, I got inspected before ever selling a cake. PA allows home kitchens, thank goodness, and it was easy to do. When I got inspected, the inspector told me that a lot of people don't know that you need to be liscensed. He said the he'll be driving along, see a sign in someone's yard, and stop to tell them they need to be inspected. It did not sound like a huge deal. Maybe different states are much more harsh on offenders. I don't know.

I'm quickly realizing that running a business is not all it's cracked up to be, even if you love doing cakes. The profit margin is just not there to really make it worth my time. Now that word of mouth is spreading like wild fire, I'd kind of like to go back to just being a SAHM. Does anybody else feel this way?

I understand you don't want to invest in a seperate kitchen. I wouldn't either. Start taking cakes to work, do you kids birthday parties, and donate cakes to your church. See what kind of response you get. Most churches have a liscensed kitchen...maybe they would allow you to rent it. Good luck to you.
post #57 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by TERESA77

So where does that leave the people wanting to open a legal biz but have no money???



Well, Teresa, I'm sorry to say...tough! I'm in the same boat, and would do anything to open a business, but I couldn't afford it. I'm not resentful about it, I'm realistic. And the way the economy is going and loaners are tightening their restrictions, it probably won't happen anytime soon. So, I could do what some on here probably do, and squeak around and hope no one that IS doing it "the right way" notices, AND no one gets sick or consumes an allergen that sets them off.

And after reading all of these posts, as angry as some of them sound, as scary as some of them sound...I'm not going to sell one more cake until I can figure out how to get that business of mine up and running. Not worth the hassle.

What I will continue to do, is what has made me happy so far. Baking for friends and co workers, and working on my entries for upcoming decorating competitions. That should keep my decorating/baking bone satisfied for a good while! Best of luck to everyone out there that wants to go legit...you are doing the right thing for everyone involved! icon_smile.gif
post #58 of 222
I have read almost all the eplies here and found it funny how most of the people replying are licensed bakers, where are all the unlicensed ones??? I read threads tons of them on how much to charge and how much much would you charge? so I know there are tons of unlicensed bakers out there.

I don't know why they are not replying to this post.

I know that selling cakes out of an unlicensed kitchen is illegal, but if someone chooses to do it anyways then they should be aware of the hefty penalties if caught just like any other laws, even licensed bakers have at some point in their life broken a law even a small one, not everyone but some of them so we are not all perfect.

So once aware of what can happen if you still choose to sell a cake here and there to survive this economy then so be it and hope for the best what the original post was really asking is if passing out cards was wrong yes so is selling cakes unlicensed but if you start advertising and passing out cards that's pretty obvious and she should becareful with that if she wants to continue to sell a cake here and there without the health department knocking on your door. We can be passing out free cake to everyone just cause we love to bake but don't have a license, cause once you have a licensed people will be used to getting free cake.
post #59 of 222
Well..... I bake cookies... and I sell cookies (for about 2 weeks now)... and thankfully NC is a "bake from home" state...

More thankful am I for this site, because I have learned so much - everything I need to know about getting licensed (which my appointment is next week!), everything I need to know about advertising, pricing, packaging, decorating - Just about everything but my own creativity I have either learned here or been directed to from here.

These are the most talented artists I have seen on the web - residing right here. Artists are very passionate people and I would never in a million years disregard or degrade any opinion. I fully appreciate all of them - even when one makes me go "oh darn, really?"

That being said... I had my equipment from baking as a hobby. In the two weeks (I know - a newbie) I have been accepting money here in my new hometown, I have spent that money to replenish edible and non-edible inventory. I will spend my own money on the license, inspection and insurance and pay myself back one day.

My dream? To open my own shop.
My short-term goal? To do this "job" I love to do and never "work" another day.
My reality? I'm not quitting my night job. icon_cool.gif

Good luck to all... and thank you!
In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure the rain...
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In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure the rain...
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post #60 of 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by notjustcake

We can be passing out free cake to everyone just cause we love to bake but don't have a license, cause once you have a licensed people will be used to getting free cake.



Thats why you tell people you are thinking about opening a business. Then they know any future cakes from you will require payment. My friend who did this did about 10 free cakes. EVERY person who got a cake from her asked her what her prices would be once she got started so no one expected anything for free in the future. Once she made the free cakes and she saw her name getting out there, she got liscensed. I mean seriously...whats worse, baking a few free cakes to get your name out there, starting a business that fails because no one knows about you, or just doing it illegally and getting into trouble. Ill go with the few free cakes thank you.
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