I periodically re-post this topic for new readers:
Across the U.S. more than forty states currently have a cottage food law that allows for legal operation of producing and selling food from your home kitchen.
But there’s way more to this venture than simply creating a Facebook page. And certainly more than just having fun in the kitchen.
If you want to run a legal, profitable business, I have a few suggestions:
1) Start baking or cooking and keep notes on everything you do. Look for uncomplicated, easy to make, great tasting recipes. Think about ease of production – you don’t want anything too fussy when you’re starting out. Think about shelf life – you want something to last at least a few days. And it’s best to avoid expensive ingredients when you’re new to the business side of food.
2) You’ll need a business name and a name for each of your products. Begin making lists.
3) Set up a bookkeeping system. Running a legal business includes keeping track of income and expenses and declaring your income to the IRS.
4) Learn to price your products. There’s no point in just pricing based on what you think customers will pay, or what the supermarket charges. It’s important to know how much each product costs you so that you’re not subsidizing a business with your personal money.
5) Write a business plan. If you want this venture to be profitable, it will help you understand the underlying issues involved in running a business.
Yes, I know it can seem overwhelming. For more help, read Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business . Read it through, but don’t let any of the business aspects scare you. When you’re ready, contact your local health agency, your state’s department of agriculture and markets, or use the links provided with my book. States and provinces have different licensing procedures, so be sure to follow the guidelines in your area.
Home-Based Baking at its Best! Important tip: Before you start a business, get used to the reality of daily food production. You may love baking cookies and brownies, but it’s different when you have customers and orders to fill.
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