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  • Getting started… laws etc

    Hello all

    I’m not sure I’ve posted this in the right section but I’m hoping someone can give me some honest advice.

    I took up cake decorating and sugar crafting in September last year, mainly because my family were asking me to make cakes and paying me for ingredients so I thought I’d learn more about it. Since then I’ve had one order from a friend of a friend so my first order from a “customer” who paid me what I think is a proper price. Since then I’m starting to get more people ask me for cakes as my sister set me up a facebook group and people are joining that and asking me through there. Most of the cakes I do still I give as gifts for friends/family birthday etc.

    People asking for cakes seems like a natural progression with this hobby as obviously you can’t eat everything you make yourself or keep it to look at, but it worries me that I may be breaking some laws & I obviously don’t want to get caught out.

    I phoned the tax office last week and he told me that as long as I wouldn’t be making £2,500 profit in my first year I had no need to register as self employed. I can tell them how much profit I think I’ll be making (which I very much doubt will be anything in my first year as I’m spending so much on equipment and courses and I’m only adding on an extra £30ish on top of ingredients for every cake I’ll do) and they will add it onto my existing tax code (as I already work full time). So I was planning to ring the tax office today and have another chat with them and register myself as having a second income. But i’m wondering what else will follow… e.g. health & safely inspectors, advertising (on facebook) laws..?

    Just wanting some advice really, I suspect theres some laws out there that I can’t sell food I’ve cooked from home without my kitchen being inspected and I’m just wondering if its all going to be worth it. Its still a hobby, I’m pouring much more money into it than I’m making and I don’t want to start having to turn down making cakes because its illegal for me to charge for them, seems a bit silly and its quite a depressing thought as i love doing it

    feel a bit lost and in need of some advice

    xx
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/gr...7916695&ref=ts
    http://twitter.com/_emsworth_

  • #2
    You are on the right lines with the IR and as you said if you are already working and on PAYE the first £2500 is not counted for NIC, which you should get an exemption certificate for (this lasts 3 years but you have to let them know if you exceed the £2500).

    With food I think you will need a food hygiene certificate, this should be available to take at an evening college etc and yes I think your premises will have to be inspected. If you have animals I know this can be a problem as my neighbour went down this route and because she had a dog she needed separate kitchen and fridge/freezer facilities. These courses also cover the law about food preparation, they are about £25.00 plus vat so not that expensive if you want to go down this route, or for juct getting some info.

    Good Luck with your venture
    Last edited by Caroleecrafts; 09-01-2009, 07:15 AM.

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    • #3
      I think the food selling regulations are quite strict. I looked into it a little last year but to sell packaged food. I think cooking the food as well is even more strict.
      To have food that is sold/stored on the premises you will have to register as a food storage/preparation business with your local council. That is the council in which you live not where you might be selling. And I hate to break it to you I think you are supposed to do this 3 months before you start trading. I guess this is to give them time to do an inspection or sort out the paperwork or something. You have to store the food somewhere clean, dry and hygenic... I'm afraid I didn't get any further down the road of doing this as the regulations all looked a bit complex compared to small time crafting and my local market said they had too many food stalls already so i couldn't trade.
      My guess is that is depends how hardcore your local council is about food premises but I would be looking into it quickly if I were you as if you're planning to register as a food business then you might need to have all the paperwork in place before trading!
      Good Luck - don't let the paperwork put you off, yummy & beautiful cakes are always popular! Mmmmm!

      portfolio: www.suzielda.co.uk

      buy online: www.mooart.com

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      • #4
        And yes Caroline is right food hygiene certificate is essential when dealing with food for sale to the public. They are easy to get - i think its usually a day course at the local college...

        portfolio: www.suzielda.co.uk

        buy online: www.mooart.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by emsworth View Post
          Hello all



          I phoned the tax office last week and he told me that as long as I wouldn’t be making £2,500 profit in my first year I had no need to register as self employed.
          xx

          I believe that may be incorrect. You need to register as self employed if you are receiving money or reward in exchange for service or goods. It must be done within three months of your start up.
          You would be elegable for a NI exemption certificate and would need to apply seperatly.
          full time mum and very very part time crafter.

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          • #6
            sorry misread the bit about registering, you do still have to register as a business as bead by design said, not sure why the IR told you this but if you are PAYE you do not have to pay NIC for up to £2.5K

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            • #7
              there is a helpful guide to starting a food business here: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/startingup.pdf

              portfolio: www.suzielda.co.uk

              buy online: www.mooart.com

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              • #8
                Thanks for all your advice, i haven't even thought of myself as a trader yet, let alone registering myself as a business o_O All seems a bit scary
                Everyone i've spoken to about environmental health has said they've had no trouble getting the licence so I shall look into doing that in the next couple of weeks. I guess there is insurance as well which I hadn’t even considered.

                Thank you for the government food info, I shall have a read through that. I’ve also ordered a book from amazon on starting up your own cake decorating business so I’m hoping that will guide me along the correct lines.

                It just all seems a bit daunting, I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen this quickly

                xx
                http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/gr...7916695&ref=ts
                http://twitter.com/_emsworth_

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