Questions

What licenses or permits would be necessary to legitimize a business where I make food in my home to sell to local businesses for the holiday season?

3answers

This is a tough one.

When I started my prepared meal delivery service in Toronto, there was no way to make it legit working from home. I also was a vendor at a farmers' market and the only prepared products that were able to legit be made in a home kitchen were products made on a farm. Otherwise, everything needed to be made in a commercial kitchen.

Most small food businesses start out of a home kitchen until a time when they can kitchen-share with a restaurant or it becomes worthwhile to rent commercial kitchen space at a commissary.

My gut says that there likely isn't a way to make it legit, but it could depend on what city you live in.

If you were doing in-home/private chef services, this is a different story, as the food is being made onsite. This type of service requires a standard business license and food handling certifications. A permit would be required if you had a food cart or truck, as well.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions relating to this with a complimentary call. Contact me if you're interested.

Jacinthe


Answered 6 years ago

I am a home based mompreneur and I own Expert Estates LLC. With home baked goods, you are going to have to clear all levels of government for your licensing. You will need to register your venture with your state and county government; there could be local laws that affect how you operate as well. Make sure you obtain appropriate food service and general business permits. Some local food and farming groups have commercial kitchens available that members can use, which might be a good starting option for your business if there is one available. Your county's public health department is another place to look for guidelines on what you need in your area.


Answered 6 years ago

Hi! Every state will be a bit different and I don't want to confuse with license numbers in case I have them wrong.

But here are some basic steps you will probably take or should take as you legitimize and grow your business:
1. Check with local jurisdiction for tax licensing. Depending on the 'final product' or service and the state you might not require a tax license. (you may or may not need an llc)
2. Get an EIN, usually need this before getting a Tax license and sometimes available during the same process. Free and acts as a social security for your business.
4. Share on your Facebook that your launching a food business. {Get marketing effort going that way...}
5. Get your food handling card. Usually a registration fee applies and you get a study booklet and can take it up to 3 times.
6. Share on social media that you just got your FH card so your all clean and approved to go! {...marketing again...}
7. Start looking into a nicely designed and mobile friendly website that makes you look professional. {I can help you with that at www.unthink.me or www.arizonawebstudio.com }
8. Apply for an inspection of your home kitchen. Some states require this, some don't and some do only for certain foods.
{Your city's office of business development should be able to guide you to all needed places, phone numbers of links to complete these steps.}
9. Familiarize yourself with the FDA regulations. I have provided some links below.
10. Open a bank account. Look for one that has no minimum balance required and has a ton of ATMs or at least give you a refund of the ATM fees you might pay for. {you never know}
11. Share on social media about where you are... get that anticipation going.
12. Look for possible local events where you can cheaply or free put up a tent and treats for people to try. {important for seasonal foodies}
13. Strategize a good marketing plan for your business as you don't want to waste time with the learning curve and miss the season with a ton of lost potential.
14. Continue being a rockstar.

Best of luck!
The FDA has a great list of things to consider:
https://www.sba.gov/blogs/starting-home-based-food-production-business-making-your-culinary-hobby-your-job
Familiarize yourself with this website and its contents:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance

Also look into this link:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm


Answered 6 years ago

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