Acquiring a home business license for your cooking or any food-related business at home is now a requirement for most states regardless of your revenue amounts or whether your business is full time or part time. The requirements for getting your home-based food business registered may vary from state to state, but listed below are the common standards.
It should be a priority to determine whether your food-related home business is allowed in your state; you may have to check which home businesses are permitted or not in the zoning laws. There are several areas where one is not allowed to operate certain kinds of home businesses. If this is the case, there is no way for you to acquire the necessary permit in your town or city. If you insist, you can file an appeal, but you may have to wait for a few months to know the results.
After determining if you are allowed to operate your desired home food business, take the time to comply with the requirements concerning facilities. A separate area should be dedicated to food processing; there should be a clear demarcation line between the production area and personal space such as the family kitchen and living room.
The utensils and storage areas such as refrigerators used in the manufacture of food products should be a different set and should not be used for personal use by the household. In some states, pets are not allowed in a home where commercial food products are manufactured.
Food Handling Courses
Taking classes of state-approved food handling courses is another standard requirement that you may have to comply with. Many of these courses are available online and range from days to weeks to finish. The subjects tackled include correct sanitation procedures, proper food storage, heating and cooling procedures, and basic food production processes.
After complying with the facility and course requirements, you can request for a state inspector to visit your home business. The inspector will ensure that you are strictly complying with the state laws regarding food handling and sanitation. He will also check for clean work surfaces, the presence of labeling and storage problems, and proof of the recent food handling courses you took. Be prepared to take several physical exams as well.
After being notified of passing the inspection, you can file an application for the license and pay the required fees. These fees usually vary by city or town. Make sure to keep the receipts--you may be asked to display them in the vicinity of your facility, together with the food handling permits and inspection certificates.
Obtain Additional Licenses
You may want to obtain additional licenses before or after you receive your license to operate. These licenses include a resale license to buy equipment and ingredients at wholesale price and a DBA (doing business as) license to operate as the sole proprietor. Being the sole proprietor is the best and also the least expensive option when running a home food business. DBA licenses usually cost less than $45 each.