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Starting a Homemade Food Business

Category Business
With proper licensing, your own culinary creations can be developed and made in your own kitchen. This guide is about starting a homemade food business.
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March 6, 20170 found this helpful

A jar of homemade vegetable relish.

If your home kitchen passes an inspection by the Health Department, you can become eligible to sell your homemade food products to the public. This is a guide about selling homemade food on eBay.

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March 2, 20170 found this helpful

A professional looking jar of homemade preserves.

If your home kitchen passes a Health Department inspection, then you can sell your homemade food products to the public. This is a guide about selling homemade food products in stores.

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February 27, 20170 found this helpful

Jars of an orange homemade condiment.

Selling homemade food, like condiments or snacks, can be a great start-up business. However, your home kitchen will need to pass health inspection first. This is a guide about selling homemade condiments.

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August 18, 20160 found this helpful

Scones and loaves of breads laid out with prices on a table

This is a guide about selling baked goods at flea markets. One way to expand the market for your small baked goods business is to sell your product at the local flea market.

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August 18, 20160 found this helpful

Plates of baked goods on crates with cards in front listing names and prices

This is a guide about selling home baked goods. Turn your love for baking into a small business concern.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
April 19, 2016

I live on Long Island and have been cooking and selling food by word of mouth for years. I'm looking to put my name out more and fill more bellies! Unfortunately I'm not sure of the rules and regulations to start an at home food business. Anyone with a kick in the right direction I would be happy for any advice. Thanks in advance.

Answer Was this helpful? 1
Anonymous
April 21, 20160 found this helpful

I will thank you it will be a start :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
April 21, 20160 found this helpful

That's a great idea asking a church thank you :)

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March 13, 20150 found this helpful

How do I start a homemade food business?

By Nikita

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March 14, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I do love entrepreneurs, Nikita. Life would be boring indeed if innovative souls such as yourself didn't shake up the marketplace with new ideas and products.

You'll likely want to start with just a whole bunch of research at city hall. Do you need a business license? Are you preparing foodstuffs at your home to sell to retailers or are you going to sell the products yourself. Either way, chances are you'll need someone to inspect your facilities and approve your preparation area. Health inspectors will have a number of questions and forms for you.

While not wanting to put a damper on your idea, you'll want to start writing a business plan. Google can help with that if you look into templates and / or guides. Think about such things as the clients you want to attract and how you're going to do that. Do you have a company name? Will you build a website? If you're going to market your product online, you'll want a domain name which - ideally - will be the same as your company name. Do you have enough money to get started or will you talk to your banker about a loan. If you're going to borrow, the business plan is essential. The more thought and preparation you put into planning the business, the more likely you are to succeed.

Do you have a good line of supply? Have you talked to suppliers about discounting for volume purchases? Have you given any thought to unique and appealing packaging?

Check your local library for how-to books on starting a business. The more information you have, the better.

Last not least, if you live in a city or town with a university or college where marketing classes are taught, get in touch with a professor or two and ask if they might like to get their class involved with a real-life marketing project. You'll get bright minds working with you for no cost.

Wishing you every success,

Rose Anne

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0 found this helpful
August 30, 2015

I have noticed the number of growing international community members in my neighborhood, since I live in a city with big universities. I want to prepare meals and sell them, since students don't usually cook and always end buying from shops. I could put up fliers and ads on Craigslist to get the word out, but I need to know if I am allowed to just make a meal in my apartment and sell it straight up. Any regulatory/compliance and tax issues I need to take care of? And how do I do so? Who do I contact to help me get started? Thanks!

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August 31, 20150 found this helpful

They are all right. However, if you find a local school or church to let you rent their certified kitchen, you can circumvent having a kitchen of your own. Good luck!!

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August 31, 20150 found this helpful

Google will probably provide a few basic pieces of information, Rahul. Laws vary between regions / states / counties, but the start-up costs are not inconsiderable. Like any food outlet, you'll want a business license, health inspection certificate and liability insurance. (I'm considering the same kind of service for busy professionals and have done some research, too.)

Look into incorporating (which you can do yourself) to limit your liability (again, depending on the laws which govern your state or povince)? If someone sues you, blaming you for an upset stomach (yes, we all hate imagining the worst; plan for it, just in case), "limited liability" means they can't take your personal assets, just those belonging to your company.

Research / inquire about "catering?" Different rules may apply.

Wishing you every success!

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0 found this helpful
April 14, 2016

I became a widow and I am looking to from home. I want to know how I can market homemade food and where? What are the conditions if I want to sell homemade food products?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 28, 20170 found this helpful

I am pretty certain that you need special licenses to sell homemade food officially. Aside from that, you can just do an old fashioned bake sale sidewalk sale and sell that way.

Alternatively you can contact friends and people you know and tell them you are doing catering. I knew a woman who made money selling baked goods and food to live auction events, cakes for weddings, and who also cooked for an older man, and I'm pretty sure she had no sort of license.

But if you want to go big or have a store, you need a license and a special licensed kitchen, which is not easy or cheap to get.

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March 1, 20170 found this helpful

There are strict regulations to selling food. Contact your local department of health.

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January 3, 20150 found this helpful

Every Christmas I sell cookies, pumpkin rolls, and pies to my co workers and friends. They love my food and think I should start my own business baking for weddings, parties etc. How do I start? I am planning to set up a separate kitchen. I live in Ohio. I want to try, but I am afraid of failure!

By Norma

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January 3, 20150 found this helpful

I think you better check with local and state officials. Some places require you to have a separate kitchen from the one where you live and other licenses, etc.

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January 3, 20150 found this helpful

Before you actually start your business, I suggest you take one or two local courses in small business development and management. You can usually find this type of course at adult education schools, local colleges, etc. Some colleges, etc., offer more specific courses in opening a retail food shop.

You will find that you need much more than the interest and hard work to open and maintain a small business. There are many federal, state and local rules and requirements that you must learn and comply with to start your business.

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0 found this helpful
September 16, 2015

What's the best way to choose a brand name for my homemade food and drink products?

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September 17, 20150 found this helpful

Hmmm....think about what makes YOUR products unique and worth buying over someone else.

Words that connote homemade, fresh, organic...

Decide if you want your name to be lighthearted and young or professional and serious, homemade more important or healthy.. Who is your target market? That helps determine the name.

look at your competition for impressions you get from names...

Good Luck!

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0 found this helpful
November 9, 2010

I need a name for my signature bag of little cookies that I am selling. The main shape is a circle (icing varies depending on season), however I also make bags of seasonal mini shapes. Any creative suggestions for "Bag of ?"

By Deb from Saskatoon, SK

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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

Deb's Delights -- Sweet Sacks -- Tiny Treats -- Happy Sacks

Munchkins. Whatever you decide, I wish you great success!

--sarsi

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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

When I saw your pretty cookies I thought Holiday Stardust. They are beautiful!

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0 found this helpful
November 24, 2008

I am thinking of making homemade cakes for sale during the holidays. Does anyone who does this have ideas for pricing? I plan to make pound cakes, carrot cakes, red velvet, chocolate, and caramel. Maybe others. Does anyone have any suggestions or other good tips? Thanks!

Nana from GA

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November 25, 20080 found this helpful

There is a bakery near us that sells some of the type of cakes you are interested in selling. Maybe this will give you some ideas of pricing:

mikesfarm.com

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November 26, 20080 found this helpful

I did not mean to offend anyone by pointing out that you need a commercial kitchen to prepare food for resale. It certainly does not bother me, as I enjoy buying from bake sales. I have just recently tried to get a license to make and sell my squash pickles and have been disappointed, because I find that I cannot do it from home.

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January 5, 20150 found this helpful

I have a florist shop and I would like to start selling home made cakes as well, but I don't know the pros and cons of what to do. Can anyone tell me if I need a license to do this or can I just sell them? Thanks.

By Karen from Barnsley

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January 6, 20150 found this helpful

You should check with your city and state to see what the requirements are.

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December 14, 20140 found this helpful

I make awesome cashews. I want to try selling them on eBay, Amazon, or Flipcart. Have you done anything like this? The only thing I know so far is these sites. Please help me.

By Manimaran s from Kanchipuram

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 17, 20140 found this helpful

Some of these sites will allow sellers to list "homemade" edible foods but they have very strict rules that you have to follow. Etsy is another site to research.

I believe you need to research your own county/state for licenses etc. before going any further as every state seems to be different and you may have to find out which states will not allow foods like this.

You can Google your questions and you will find lots of information - but - be careful as some "answers/remarks" may be several years old. Ask questions in several different ways to receive the most info.

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0 found this helpful
August 6, 2013

I am a working woman, interested in starting my homemade food business with my mother's cooperation. My product line will include homemade jams, baked, cooked, and semi cooked food, and organic eggs.

I'm confused about how I can manage the production, marketing, purchase of raw materials, sales, budgeting, and delivery, as well as, product line test and quality packaging, etc. Could someone please suggest, for these unlimited activities, how can I manage all these in a way to achieve the interest of customers to want my product? And what type of marketing should I use? I'm thinking of using my own contacts and FB for my products marketing. If you can suggest some ideas I would appreciate it.

By Mehreen

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 8, 20130 found this helpful

The first step is safety. Your local food handlers class/license will help you with all the regs. Your kitchen has to be certified, or you can perhaps rent out a local church/school.

Then make sure you know what you are cooking/making. Make up a batch and have your friends over for a sample party. Don't tell them you made it if they don't already know, and if they give it a thumbs up you are golden.

Start out small so your initial output is small, just in case. No one likes to fail at an attempt at a small business, but to lost a ton of money hurts worse.

Once you have a solid base, ask the local farmers market if anyone would consider "piggybacking" you with your product but their costs, etc. Offer to give them a percentage so they get something too. Or, if you have a license, ask a local market if you can set up a sample booth to give out a taste of what is new.

If all that goes well, advertise in the local paper, facebook, and setting up a website if it all goes well is super simple nowadays.

Remember assembly line thinking always helps. If your kitchen doesn't currently have a safe/pet free/smoke free place to work, make one. If it does, set up you process line from A-Z. In other words, you wouldn't want a sandwich bar to have condiment, pickles, meat, veggies and then bread would you?

So think of what is first, second, and more.

Invest in some food handlers gloves and wear them. Fingernails and what gets under them are out of this world germ ridden. One person getting sick is one thing...an entire store of people getting sick on your samples will end you before you can show you shine.

These will help.

http://www.sba.  uction-business-

and http://bakingfi  startandrun.html

Good luck. I hope this and all the other sage advice you get from us will help.

If you get it off the ground, let us link to you??

PBP

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August 11, 20130 found this helpful

Hi - my daughter started her own business and received a lot of help from our local Better Business Bureau. There are a lot of rules and regulations where food is concerned as well as laws about business licenses (state, city and county) and in some instances you may have to collect and submit sales tax.

You will have to make an appointment and they should be able to tell you all the "things" you will have to do before you "start cooking". Most states do not have the same regulations especially with food and also with how and where you can ship.

May be a long process and even slower getting this type of business off the ground but may prove worth it.

And - most of the same rules will apply when selling to your friends and co-workers as food has to be "approved" before any sales. (I am referring to actively selling not just a sale here and there.)

Food and plants have some of the most stringent rules when it comes to selling and shipping - but it can be done!

Good luck and be sure to let your Thrifty friends know as you progress - we may be potential customers!

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February 7, 20140 found this helpful

Can I make a logo and put it on the boxes in which I sell homemade macaroons? I love making macaroons for myself, and I thought I could sell them. I was wondering if I could make my own logo to put on the boxes that contain them.

By Gaby

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 8, 20140 found this helpful

You can but first you need to make sure you adhere to local and state laws regarding making food in your home. Without that, your other things would be like putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

Other than that, it sounds wonderful and I wish you luck.

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January 9, 20150 found this helpful

I have a, passed down, cheesecake ice cream recipe from my grandmother; how do I automate it? It takes me about 45 minutes to make 3 gallons. Is there a company or factory that I could work with to produce the recipe?

By CJ

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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Business and Legal BusinessSeptember 6, 2013
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Plates of baked goods on crates with cards in front listing names and prices
Selling Home Baked Goods
Jars of an orange homemade condiment.
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