How to set up a successful baking business from home
During the initial stages of any home baking business, there are many factors to organise and plenty of potential complications that could arise. A lot of thought, effort and planning goes into the run-up of the opening – there is far more to it than simply bulk buying ingredients.
Whether you are planning to set up a small catering business or are considering selling cakes from home, there are a number of food hygiene and safety regulations which you must ensure you are compliant with. Whether you are just selling food in your spare time or you are effectively a supplier to a small customer base, it is important that you register your business correctly and prove that you are fully compliant with these regulations before you begin to start selling your food products to the general public. Our short guide below outlines the necessary steps to take in order for your business to become compliant with food safety legislation:
Register as self-employed
The first step when starting your business is to notify HMRC that you have become self-employed. Even if you are running your home baking business alongside another job, or are only working part-time, HMRC still need to be notified so that they are aware you intend to pay your tax through their Self-Assessment system. Registering as a sole trader by informing the HMRC is the quickest and most straightforward route, whereas registering as a limited company can take slightly longer. There are many benefits of registering as a limited company; you might be eligible to pay less tax, you could receive funding where required, plus you can ensure your company name is protected.
Register your premises
You are legally obligated to register your premises at least 28 days before you start selling anything. This can be done by contacting your local authority’s environmental health service and is a fairly straightforward process. The good news is that your registration cannot be refused – plus, there is no payment or cost involved to you. An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will set a date to visit your home or premises for an inspection, so that they check your food preparation area to ensure it complies with the appropriate food hygiene regulations, as well as health and safety standards. Click here to read about how you can prepare for a home kitchen hygiene inspection.
Consider home baking insurance
Business insurance is essential for most home businesses as it covers you for a variety of different scenarios. If a customer develops an allergic reaction, gets food poisoning or falls ill after consuming one of your products, public liability insurance will protect you should that customer decide to make a claim. Similarly, this insurance extends to instances such as accidental damage to someone’s property whilst delivering food to their home. If you decide to hire staff to support your home baking business, employers’ liability insurance could also prove invaluable.
Obtain a food hygiene certificate
While your home baking business will not be held to the same standards as a more commercial premises, such as a restaurant, it is still essential that you prove you have completed a basic food hygiene course. Virtual College are the market leaders in food hygiene and food safety courses and have been established since 1995. You can take a course online at your convenience and you will receive a City and Guilds food hygiene certificate afterwards from Virtual College, which acts as proof of your cleanliness and the food safety level within the kitchen. The certificate can then be displayed in your premises – or in your shopfront if you have one. Virtual College’s food hygiene courses helped Patrick Drake set up as The 60 Second Chef and have been taken by well-known baker Sarah Profitt. (Link to her interview?)