Do you love to bake? Are friends and family always asking for your goodies? Then starting a home bakery might be the way to turn your talents into a business. You will need ample storage for baking supplies, packaging materials, a way to deliver your home-baked goods and the proper licensing. Be sure to check with your state, city, and county for specific licensing requirements for your location. Your local Small Business Development Center can assist you as well.
Virginia is a state that has a cottage food law Cottage Law which allows its citizens to operate a home bakery or food processing business. For details, you can call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804-786-3501.
Licenses Needed for a Home Bakery Business
There are many licenses needed to start a home bakery business in Virginia. Use QuickBooks Licenses, http://licenses.intuit.com, to help you find out which ones you need.
Typical Licenses Required
- Business License – gives you an EID which allows some tax benefits for your home bakery
- Business Registration – registers your home bakery name
- Food Handler’s License – gives your home bakery clients peace of mind
- Catering License – check your local rules and regulations – you may not need this one
- Kitchen Inspection – could fall under the Health Department or Department of Agriculture
Things to consider:
- Sales Privilege License if you’re going to be selling retail. You may need to collect sales tax if this is the case.
- Zoning Laws to be sure you can operate a home bakery business out of your home. If your clients are picking up products from your home you may need a special permit and this is why FREE delivery is a great option.
- If you are in a homeowner’s association be sure to check the rules and regulations. You may find that operating a home bakery business is not permitted.
Food Safety Regulations for Home Bakery in VA
- Every place used for baking, packing and storing products should be properly lighted, drained, plumbed and ventilated.
- Every place should be kept in a clean, healthful, and sanitary condition
- Trash and leftovers should be removed daily.
- All pans, containers, racks, tables, shelves, and all knives and other utensils should be thoroughly cleaned daily.
- Smoking is prohibited in workrooms of food-producing establishments.
- No animals are permitted in an area used for the manufacture or storage of food products.
- If transporting food product be sure your vehicle is clean.
- Should contain the place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
- Must contain the common or usual name of the food.
- Must contain the common or usual name of each ingredient.
- Be sure to identify artificial flavoring, artificial coloring or chemical preservatives.
- Do not label a product kosher or halal without indicating the person or entity authorizing such designation by providing the name or symbol of the authority.
These laws and regulations are administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and enforcement of these requirements includes regular periodic inspections of food establishments (including private homes). Additionally, establishments that are subject to periodic inspections are required to pay the agency an annual fee of $40.00.