Baking from home -regulations???

(35 Posts)
hollyhobbie Tue 30-Mar-10 14:53:28

I've been thinking about setting up a small business baking and decorating cupcakes for children's parties.

I've been trying to research this but I can't seem to figure out if I need to have any special hygiene certificates, etc. One friend told me that I need a stainless steel kitchen!

I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has set up a similar business... I think I need all the help I can get!

Thanks in advance.

PippiL Tue 30-Mar-10 16:09:09

Sorry can't advise - but I will also be interested in the info.

I've been baking for fun for a while now and since work sucks at the moment I'd give it all up in a second to set up a cake business!

PippiL Tue 30-Mar-10 16:19:48
hollyhobbie Tue 30-Mar-10 19:08:03

Hey PippiL, thanks for that, I've just skim-read it, but it looks really useful.

I've had a 5-year career break due to children etc, and I can't imagine going back to work full-time (which is what my sort of work would demand), but I can imagine that baking/decorating and going out meeting parents would suit me and my family.

We'll see...

trice Tue 30-Mar-10 19:18:19

I wanted to make sugarcraft cake toppers for my craft stall but I have been put off by the red tape. I would love to know how you get on.

hollyhobbie Tue 30-Mar-10 22:07:06

Hi Trice,
it's early days and the next 2 weeks' research will be slowed by the DCs being at home!
Think I will phone the council's environmental health dept to see what they say tomorrow.
I must confess I am scared of being self-employed and having to do tax returns, but I am not content being 'just' a SAHM, I need something creative in my life!

(will look back on that last comment when the red tape is weighing me down...)

Eddas Wed 31-Mar-10 18:10:44

don't be scared of being self employed or doing a tax return, if you keep your records up to date, all receipts in order then you'll be fine. HMRC's online tax filing is fairly simple IMO and easy for a novice to use. Or for a small cost you'll find someone that can do it for you. Don't let being self emloyed put you offsmile

Good luck

hollyhobbie Wed 31-Mar-10 22:42:50

Thanks, Eddas!
(I have actually been self employed in Germany and had to pay a hefty amount for a tax consultant as my German wasn't good enough to do it myself, maybe that's what putting me off!)

Research continues...

hollyhobbie Tue 15-Jun-10 10:59:56

For anyone on who replied to me and would like to know how I am getting on with the red tape etc:

• Through Business Link, I've been put in touch with an organisation in my area which helps women set up in business. It's been really useful to have this great advice. I'm doing a course with them next week to learn all about book keeping, paying tax, filling in self-assessment forms, etc etc. Also going on a networking lunch with them in July!
I have to say the best thing the adviser has said to me though is, "you're not thinking of doing this, you are doing it" - it was great to have someone affirm this to me!

• I did an online food hygiene certificate.

• I'm now registered with the council's environmental health dept. Because the food I produce is so low risk, I may well not have any inspection for years at a time.

• I notified my home insurance, but because I don't have client coming to the home and am still baking with a domestic oven, there is no change to my insurance with them.

• I've bought public liability insurance (probably my biggest outlay so far at £120).

• I registered with the Inland Revenue as a sole trader from the start of June. The only difference this will make now is that I'll prob start paying class 2 contributions, but at £2.40 a week, it's ok (and I could apply to not pay them, as I'm sure I'll be earning less that £5k a year!)

• I've set up a free business bank account with Santander.

• I've got business cards printed from MOO, stickers printed at a local company (to personalise my blank white cake boxes), and am currently designing postcard flyers to go in local shop windows, my son's childminder's other charges' bookbags, etc etc.

• The one thing I didn't do was inform my mortgage provider see this discussion about it

• So far I have set up a blog to showcase the baking I've been doing, but I need a real website too and that's in progress. The business advice people give me a grant of £80 and a free website, so once I have that website from them I can get building. Oh, I also already bought my URL and have that 'pointing' at my blog at the moment, so if anyone types it in they can see what I've been up to., phew! I am really officially a business woman now! Now I just need to get more orders and I could really do with the DCs not being off sick at the moment. I've just had them off school/childminder for 2 weeks for half-term and they've still not gone back, since they've both got diahorrea: great!


hollyhobbie Tue 15-Jun-10 18:08:59


well done

redhappy Thu 24-Jun-10 20:04:05

Can we have a link to your blog?

hollyhobbie Sun 27-Jun-10 19:49:34


...hope you like it!

just to add my experience, when you register as a food business, you may or may not have to have an inspection - I think it depends on where you live. I did have one but it was fine. You dont have to have a stainless steel kitchen (though i have now got a very inexpensive ss table from ikea now which i use for decorating my cakes on...but that was to make my life easier, not a requirement of my registration). You need to put some plans together to show how you keep everything food safe and the kitchen area clean, and fill in a form every time you work to say you have done all that the plan says. You do need a separate hand washing sink ,but this can be a downstairs toilet if close enough to the work area. The guy who did my inspection was lovely and really approachable, they are very, very helpful. Its really not scarey or hard to register so I would urge anyone who wants to, to go for it! Well done hollyhobbie, good luck with the new business, have you started supplying cupcakes yet and how is business going? I have had a quiet month but its about to get busy again so i am quite enjoying the break!

hollyhobbie Sun 27-Jun-10 21:23:28

I agree Geraldine, the environmental health people were great and not scary at all. I suspect that you and I have the same Ikea table to work on too! (again not essential, but I felt it's better for me to have my own place in the kitchen, plus I clean down my work area before baking/decorating and I don't have to do the whole kitchen)

I have only had 2 paying jobs so far (only been registered as a business from start of June). The next thing is to build my 'real' website (as opposed to the blog). Until I do that, I can't get out there distributing leaflets etc. I am also screwing up my courage to go to some local playgroups to give out sample cakes and try to drum up business. I hate the face to face side of marketing.

It can be nerve wracking, I agree. Do you have kids at school? a great way to get business (often from the teachers but from other mums too) is to send in lovely cakes when they have fundrasers, or at the end of term, for the staff room, at christmas and so on. Also, are you on facebook? I have posted all of my cakes on my own page, it works really well as all those random people that you add that you vaguely remember from school instantly think of you when they need cakes for an event....i think because they almost trust you a little more because they "know" you! I havent got a website, the majority of my work comes from facebook and the school!
Also, business netwworking groups can be helpful, do you have a Mums the Boss or Wire meeting near you? They can be a good idea for "Networking" - hideous thought but it isn't as awful as you might imagine, some of the people are really nice! Actually at the last one i went to they were talking about social networking and said that Blogs are actually more efficient than websites, as they come up quicker on Google (or something) a lot of businesss are now just getting blogs rather than websites, so youre actually cutting edge with yours! grin I started to make a blog a couple of days ago, but i am very slowwwwww at getting it done!

hollyhobbie Tue 29-Jun-10 19:19:45

Thanks Geraldine!
Yes, I sent lovely cakes into school when it was the spring fair, but haven't had any orders from them (they allowed me to put some cards nearby for people to pick up)
I've set up a facebook page that is separate from my personal profile (but the posts on there get linked to my profile so friends can see them too).

I'm due to go to a networking event in mid-July. We have Train 2000 here who in this area only support women going into business. I'll google the other organisations you mentioned though.

I guess what I hope of the website (that the blog doesn't do) is more detailed information: flavours, prices, delivery. All those things people might like to know before they order!

I'm also going to get my postcards distributed by DS's childminder. She said she often gets asked if she knows a cake maker, so I'm hoping she won't mind putting a card in each of her charge's bookbags. Plus, I'm screwing up the courage to go to playgroups etc with some samples, as seen on Mary Queen of Shops! (gulp!)

oh go for it Hollyhobbie, honestly, they will love it at the playgroups, what can possibly go wrong? I have found people have an almost insanely positive response to cake, particularly women, so going to the playgroups is a WINNER! Bet youll get some orders! I was also wondering today about getting flyers printed to put in book bags at school - Ive had flyers for magicians, circus and so on, I wonder if you can pay a fee for the schools to give out leaflets?
Also there is the magazine which comes out (cant remember what its called) a few times a year - primary times? I wonder how much an advert in there is....

anyway, good luck with your cakes!! Im sure they will be a great success when you do take them round the playgroups! grin

hollyhobbie Wed 30-Jun-10 12:55:34

I've never seen primary times, another one for my google list!

You can get 'free' postcard/flyers here ...they are not quite free, you have to pay postage and I opted to upload my own images, so that cost a bit more, and I opted for a full colour back, so that was more again, but they were still cheapish and good quality. Don't bother with their business cards though- I'm told they're rubbish!

I approached the local playgroup and have a date for touting my wares mid-july... gulp!!!

oh greatthanks for the tip!
well done for approaching the playgroup - dont worry, you'll be fine!! Take cakes, they will be putty in your hands!

hollyhobbie Thu 01-Jul-10 09:34:59


LoveBeingAsleep Thu 01-Jul-10 09:43:52

Just an idea but have you thought about approaching the venues people would be using,oftne they get asked about suppliers.

hollyhobbie Thu 01-Jul-10 14:01:17

ooh, good one. I'll check it out.

friendly Sun 04-Jul-10 22:48:33

Just looked on your blog, HH. Your cupcakes look fabulous. Well done. I am very keen to do something from home, not baking, but you've really inspired me.

hollyhobbie Thu 08-Jul-10 23:08:48

Thanks friendly. It's taken me a looong time to get inspiration myself, so I'm happy to help someone else out.

friendly Tue 13-Jul-10 14:51:20

I remember seeing some cupcakes at a deli near where my in-laws live in Suffolk. They were made by someone whose company is called Queen of Cupcakes I think (will check). Dd and I looked up her site and there was a bit of press coverage. Thought it might be worth looking at Hollyhobbie. Might give you some marketing ideas/ tips.

Just had a flashback to my childhood. My mother made me a Holly Hobbie dress and I had the dolls Holly and Robbie too. Wonder where they are now...And the diary. It's all coming back to me now.

hollyhobbie Fri 16-Jul-10 10:12:59

Thanks again friendly. I had a look at QoC site, always good to keep an eye on the competition!

Today I'm baking 18 cakes for a 3 year old's party. This for me is the best marketing, at a party for a child this age most of the parents will also be there and will get to see the cakes, and hopefully want some too...

(PS/ I chose Hollyhobbie because my RL name starts with H. Not really sure why I thought of it, I think she just popped into my head. Was she drawn by Sarah Kay? I have both those names in my family, so I felt a special connection there smile)

Cakesbyalice Tue 19-Apr-11 02:56:59

I'm just starting off my own cake business, and have found all of your info so amazing! I really thought I wouldn't be able to go through with it because of all the red tape! I'm about to be a first time mum and had to give up working with disabled people, and have been sat at home waiting for bump to arrive since! So knowing that I can go through with my project brings me a lot of joy your blog is gorgeous too, very inspiring! If you fancy peeking at any of mine, go to well done for powering through everything and setting yourself up! Xxx

bacon Mon 02-May-11 14:12:47

Is it profitable though???? Unless your knocking out a couple of cakes a day I cant see what income you are providing yourself.

I'd love to do it but the figures dont add up, nice as a hobby or adhoc but unsure whether it would pay the bills????

I'm not convinced that many people understand their costings and overheads on working from home.

richbrownowl Sat 23-Feb-13 18:13:06

This is really useful. I've done the hygiene course, and sent off the application to the local council, got all the cookware, packaging, business cards, personalised food labels, basic stock, reaching out to community links, shops, cafe's, etc. Next week I am going to take samples around to see if interested. Thereafter will do farmers markets and car boot sales. Then hopefully broaden my horizons to carnivals and festivals. Jamaican pudding cakes and street food. Thanks for the tips.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 24-Feb-13 07:29:06

I have no idea what Jamaican pudding cakes are but I'm salivating! grin

richbrownowl Sat 02-Mar-13 20:03:35

They are slow baked cakes, unique because of the spice mix. beautifully moist. the most popular kind is sweet potato pudding cake, which is akin to a moist carrot cake.

LittleOven Tue 25-Jun-13 22:09:31


i'm a new bakery and im too going through the process of setting up business but id like to share my website with you

iv'e been a pastry chef for ten years and worked under James Martin and now i want to bring cakes and bakery goods to people at affordable prices baked with passion and love

lynn360 Sun 31-Aug-14 05:51:23

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Newbusiness2014 Wed 12-Nov-14 20:43:23

Can I have your contact?

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