Are you thinking of staring your own cake business?
Are you unsure about who to contact and where to get help from?
Do you know what the first steps are before you start?
Working for yourself is challenging, demanding and sometimes exhausting but it is also fun, exciting and fulfilling.
Setting up your own business is a daunting prospect and can put off many from attempting it. It will take a tremendous amount of dedication, energy and hard work but it can also prove to be a great way to take a passion to make a living.
I am hoping to help out some of you who are looking to start their own home based business. To simplify the process, I am outlining some of the legal steps to make sure you start on the right footing. I am not a business consultant or expert and I have tried to provide links to the right organizations that can guide, but, these are the things I have learned along the way and can maybe help others start.
The following is a list of things to sort out once/before you start.
1. THE LOCAL COUNCIL
As soon as you start thinking about setting up, the first point of official contact should be the local council. In the UK, council offices have separate business regulation departments to assist local start ups and risk assess food businesses. They will tell you about the council requirements, kitchen inspections, permissions, and health and safety requirements. My first contact at the Sutton council guided me about the food health and certification, about council inspections, kitchen standards etc. Often they will send you the UK food regulation guides, hygiene practices manuals and links to where you can get food Safety certifications. Council requirements and laws vary from council to council so it is best to contact your local office for more details.
In the UK, contact the HMRC (or your national tax office elsewhere if you are outside the UK). HMRC needs to be notified as soon you start trading. You must notify them of all the details, correctly and in time and keep them updated about any changes to the business or address etc. You will be registered as self-employed and put in tax bracket that is suitable. Their website is full of helpful information and should be referred to in detail to get all the official steps done correctly.
3. FOOD HANDLING TRAINING/CERTIFICATE
Almost all food handlers must undergo relevant food hygiene training. Most councils require you have an up to date Level two certificate in Food Hygiene for Catering. There are others you can do to increase and update your knowledge of safe food preparation and handling but this is the minimum requirement. You can either go to a training centre, where they hold workshops, classes or give you a certificate upon completion. This option is usually more expensive but great as you learn more by practice and demonstration. The other option, which is quicker and cheaper, is getting the certificate online. You study the course material, take the test and the certificate is emailed to you. Make sure you choose a certified course provider and select the right course suitable for your business.
4. CONTACT LANDLORD/MORTGAGE COMPANY
Make sure you confirm IN WRITING from your landlord or mortgage company that you are legally allowed to work from home. Often home insurance prices may change and some mortgage restrictions may apply. So get that sorted BEFORE you take cakes any further. Often mortgage companies will allow a sole trader to work from home if there is no customer footfall etc. As regulations vary, make sure you get in contact and get the details started before you start.
5. BUSINESS INSURANCE
Depending on where you live, it is not usually a requirement, but it is worth investing in Public and Product Liability Insurance. Hoping you don’t have to use them, but it’s a good idea to be covered in case something unfortunate happens. As with purchasing any other insurance, its best to gather a few no obligation quotes, compare and then choose one that suits you. Quotes may vary based on your location, size /kind of business. Hope the above helps and feel free to comment if you have suggestions or questions. HELPFUL LINKS
- HMRC website https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself
- Food Standards Agency http://www.food.gov.uk/
- Loads of helpful links http://startups.co.uk/how-to-start-a-cake-making-business/
- Help on self-employment https://www.gov.uk/topic/business-tax/self-employed