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Cannot license at home in AL - so what can I do?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hey CC'ers. I just confirmed that the state of Alabama will not license a home based baked good business. I just bake on the side. I have a full time job and not enough cake business, time, or capital to quit and open a business at a seperate location.

However, I want to expand my business a little. I wanted to do a website and maybe a facebook page - mainly I wanted a place to showcase what I have done and publish my prices and what types of items I do. I came up to use the name "Sweet Dessert".

So....all that said, my concern is.... If I put a website out that looks like I have a business, but I really can't (literally), then am I sticking my neck out and asking for trouble? Or, am I being a worry wart unneccesarily?

Appreciate any advise....please!
post #2 of 37
I've looked into it a few times as well. Putting up pricing and all is illegal. You are not allowed to sell any home baked goods out of your home at all. So yes, you would be sticking your neck out there. Even if you are not advertising as a business it is not legal to sell items you bake at home.

Sorry!! We are hoping that the Cottage Food law passes here next year so it is legal.
post #3 of 37
Yep. I would say it would be sticking your neck out. It is illegal to sell here in AL. I wish it were not so but...it is. I have however made one cake and only took money to buy ingredients. I know...shouldn't do it but it was for my boss who really really wanted my cake and I couldn't afford to make it for her.
post #4 of 37
You already know the answer to your questions. You can't sell cakes baked from your home, period. You can rent a commercial kitchen and bake there and sell those cakes. Or you can open a storefront. And you can join with others to lobby your legislature for a Cottage Foods Law. But you can't have a business out of your home and you seem to have validated that information with your state.
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post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. It really is a bummer!
post #6 of 37
I thought Alabama was a cottage law state
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
The state department of health will not allow selling baked goods from your home. It has to be a seperate structure. icon_sad.gif
post #8 of 37
It's pretty easy to get started in a rented commercial kitchen or incubator kitchen, most will let you pay by the hour...the trick is finding one in your area. Church kitchens could be another potential solution.
post #9 of 37
So I checked into the same thing. You will have to find somewhere commerically setup to bake. (Bummer, meaning you will have to learn there oven, etc.) In my small area there are a few cake decorators that do sell custom cakes out of there kitchen with fb pages and business cards floating out there. I was told to check into calling yourself a cake consultant instead of technically "putting yourself out there as an actual business." It is all fuzzy to me, a question I must find out soon. I was asked by a friend to bake a cake for over 60 people in the upcoming weeks........
post #10 of 37
It's not always ethical; but I have a friend who 'sells' the cardboard box that the cake is in. That way she isn't selling baked goods, she's 'giving' them with the box.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mactrio

It's not always ethical; but I have a friend who 'sells' the cardboard box that the cake is in. That way she isn't selling baked goods, she's 'giving' them with the box.


That sounds clever, but the authorities would see right through it.

In fact, your friend could get in even more trouble by doing this, since she is obviously aware that it's illegal to sell baked goods from home and she's deliberately trying to circumvent the system.

Although unlikely, she could face charges of fraud due to her intentional deception. She also faces serious penalties from the IRS if she's not paying taxes on the sale of her "boxes".
post #12 of 37
Alabama is a cottage law state. I too wanted to start my own cake business so I contacted Public Health in Montgomery and spoke to Ron who said I could sell from the Farmer's Market however would not be able to be licensed from my home unless I converted my garage into a commercial set up. So I contacted the Alabama Farmer's Market Authority who gave me the contact information to my county.

I contacted my county's farmer market and was told I needed to get a grower's permit to be able to sell at the market. I now sell my cakes at the market by taking order there and delivering the cakes to a different location. I have different flavor free cupcakes, my portfolio, and business cards.

I don't know if this is legal however I have tried to contact my local business license place to get clarification with no luck. They will not call me back.
As far as finding a commercial kitchen for rent, I have only been able to find one which is located near Mobile.

My question for the state would be, if I am allowed to see from my house to the farmer's market, why not make me legal so I would have to pay business and state taxes on the products sold?
post #13 of 37
peaseofcake... why do you think that you are not supposed to be paying taxes on your farmers market sales? If you have an income from ANYTHING you MUST PAY TAXES! No one is exempt from taxes. You claim it on your state and federal tax returns and you pay the tax rate based on your total income. By the way, if you get caught, the IRS will look at your bank account, see the amount of checks you deposited, and arbitrarily decide how much cash you may have taken in.
post #14 of 37
scp1127 - I apologize if my post did not come out the way I meant it. I understand if I make more than $400 during a calendar year (fiscal year) I have to claim it on my tax return as income. I do have Bachelors in Business with a concentration in Accounting and do understand that federal and state income taxes do have to be paid. icon_wink.gif

I was talking more along the lines of the local (city/county) taxes that are associated with the business to include local sales and use taxes and license and permit fees which go help fune my local community.

I do not get the same privileges of being able to file as a business since my state does not recognize me as a business. I hope this cleared up what I meant.
post #15 of 37
I'm very leery of the advice you were given. I'm not familiar with farmers market growers permits here in AL but I can tell you from my own personal experience that because you use fresh eggs, a protein source, in your product that you are classified as a class 3 and need to be inspected in a licensed kitchen by your county health dept and have your ServSafe certifcation.

Business licenses and taxes are separate from your food permit. You will need your food permit to get your business license and if you deliver your cakes they may even require a transient license along with it. There's a lot of hoops to jump thru in the process but it's not impossible to find a kichen to rent and have the peace of mind that you are legal. Pam from Bama
Jeremiah 29:11. If you build it they will come. Do what you love, and love what you do!
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Jeremiah 29:11. If you build it they will come. Do what you love, and love what you do!
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