While home bakers in approximately 31 states, which include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, can sell home baked goods for profit, ones in other states cannot. If you live in any of the states where home baked goods sale is illegal, do not despair. You can still make a profit using your skills without owning a bake shop.
Sign a Petition to Pass the Cottage Food Law in your State
If you want to sell baked goods from home, try to petition your state legislators. Check and sign petitions online for your state. For example, California home bakers have signed the CA Home Bakers Law Petition that will allow them to bake and sell baked goods from home. However, while over 1,500 petitioners have signed the petition to date, it may take a while before the petition comes to fruition. In the meantime, avid home bakers who want to start their own business should find another location to create and sell their baked products aside from their home.
Rent a Restaurant Kitchen
For someone who's just starting out or who only wants to bake part-time, renting a commercial kitchen is the way to go. You can do this a couple of ways. Find a restaurant that's fully licensed and has passed health inspections and then rent it. Some restaurant owners rent out their kitchens to caterers, bakers or culinary students to help with their own expenses in operating their restaurants. However, one major downside is that you may have to use the kitchen only when it's not in use. You may not be able to bake while the restaurant is open. So, if you have a wedding cake order for Saturday, you can only start baking when they close shop the night before. You may not meet your deadline, especially if the wedding cake is multi-tier and elaborate.
Lease a Commercial Kitchen
Another option, which may be a better choice, is to find a commercial kitchen for rent that's not operating as a restaurant. Plenty of options are available to meet your specific baking needs. Find one that's fully equipped so that you don't have to bring major appliances. A commercial kitchen is exclusively yours for the time you have reserved it. Choose from a monthly or hourly lease. If you're just starting out or if you don't have plenty orders on a regular basis, the hourly lease should work best for you. Find one that leases 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that you can reserve at any time you prefer. To save money, find out if the rent is cheaper during the night time hours.
Meet the Requirements
Whether you're leasing a restaurant kitchen space or commercial kitchen, you'll still need to meet certain requirements before you can lease these locations and sell your baked goods. You must be responsible for complying with city, state and federal regulations about food-related businesses that include licensing, food safety, sanitation and taxation. You'll need business license, health permit and commercial liability insurance. The insurance should list the commercial kitchen or restaurant as the additional insured.
Convert your Home Kitchen into a Commercial Kitchen
Check the possibility of converting a space in your home into a commercial kitchen. Unfortunately, this project can be costly and time consuming. It also involves permits and inspections similar to building a bake shop outside of your home. Different cities, counties and states have different zoning requirements. Therefore, check with them first before thinking of renovating your kitchen for commercial use.
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