What type of license do you need to sell cakes from home?

Updated March 23, 2017

The idea of selling cakes from home may seem like a simple, fun way to make a living. However, unlike other industries where working from home simply means moving a desk into an extra bedroom, creating a commercial kitchen at home may take major costly renovations. Before you start a home-based cake business, it's vital to understand the many components involved in such an endeavour.

Commercial Kitchen License

Contact your state's health department to find out what the requirements are for licensing your home kitchen as a commercial kitchen. Each state maintains its own requirements. Commercial kitchens in homes must be separate from kitchens for personal use and sealed off from the rest of the home. You will often need to take special precautions with plumbing and sanitation.

Food Handlers Certificate

In most states, you are required to have a food handlers certificate if you are preparing foods for sale. To obtain a food handlers certificate, you must study sanitation guidelines, pay a fee and take a test. Your local health department will be able to direct you to the appropriate resources for taking the test to get your food handlers certificate.

Business License

Since you'll be selling your cakes, you must get a business license for your transactions to be legal. Contact your local Small Business Administration to obtain the appropriate paperwork for your home bakery. You will not be able to start selling your goods until you're registered with a business license.


Before investing in a new kitchen, you may consider using a community commercial kitchen instead. Most of these kitchens offer hourly rates with spaces that have been approved for cooking and baking goods for sale to the public. Doing so allows you to establish a following for your business before making a major investment in a home-based commercial kitchen.

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About the Author

Joy Uyeno has been writing about travel, food, fashion, culture and finance since 2005. For three years she wrote a column for the "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" aimed at young and first-time travelers. Her writing has appeared in several local and national publications, including the 2008 anthology "Honolulu Stories." She holds a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College.