Originally Posted by dkelly
My position has always been and will always be that I have worked too damn hard to build my Salon business and to build my dream home to risk losing it for a lousy $500 profit on a cake. That's the reason we moved to MA so that I could pursue this dream.
dkelly I do think you are still mixing up the two different aspects of this concept that often get commingled when discussing "doing cakes under the radar." Making an occasional cake for your mom, your sister and/or some close friends, and allowing each to pay you for it, does not constitute "running a business". As stated earlier, I think this is the intent behind these HD people who admit that they aren't going to go after people who do this. They recognize that they are talking to people who are NOT running a business.
To offer up an analogy: every time our buddies host a BBQ and ask all of us friends to reimburse them for the cost of food and booze, are they really operating an illegal food-service establishment and "selling" liquor without a license? If your son is great with cars and he fixes your leaky gasket, and you pay him for his time, is he now "operating a repair shop" in your driveway?
My sister in law is a hairstylist, but I don't believe that all of the times she gave my grandmother a haircut - and my mother slipped her a $20 bill - that she was operating her business out of my mom's house and that they should all be subject to business taxes and legal regulations FOR THOSE INSTANCES. Should my mom have been fined for operating a hair salon in a residential district? Is there truly no difference between providing a service for a family member versus for the general public? According to the HD that kelleym spoke to, there IS a difference where she lives.
I DO agree that liabilities exist when you provide food for others (whether or not they pay for it)...but that still doesn't mean you are operating a business. Even if nobody pays me for the bridal shower cake I make for my friend, I still risk getting everyone at the party sick, as does the friend who made the crabcakes, and the one who volunteered the caesar salad (Lord help me I hope she didn't use raw eggs in the dressing). Being reimbursed for the cost doesn't change that liability nor does it make any of those ladies "a caterer." If you are afraid of your friends or your brother suing you if your food makes them sick, you should definitely not be making food for your friends - for money or for free. I'm not being a smartypants here; I'm quite serious. Goodness knows there are people out there who WOULD do that and anyone who ever feeds another person needs to stay alert in case those people are in your circle of friends.
Please don't misunderstand - I totally agree with all of the professionals here who advise against trying to run an actual cake decorating business by finding loopholes to get out of being licensed and insured. I absolutely agree that trying to actually bake for the public as a business, under the guise of some other operation or "not really a business", is not acceptable, neither ethically nor legally. And I'm not sure I understand the HD folks who specifically state that as long as you don't advertise, they won't go after you even if you are soliciting the general public for orders
except as explained above (i.e. they are not offering their permission as much as they are admitting that they cannot possibly police people that they cannot find).
But again, my point is that THAT is a completely different situation than the ones kelleym is trying to outline.
I hope that my post makes at least an ounce of sense!