How to Sell Crafts and Homemade Baked Goods in Maryland

Maryland regulations cover different kinds of baked goods.
Maryland regulations cover different kinds of baked goods. (Image: Steve Baccon/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Small towns and cities in Maryland provide hundreds of outlets for sales of crafts and homemade baked goods, so finding customers may be the easiest part of the process. Not having the proper licenses, or neglecting to report sales tax, may jeopardize your enterprise before you make your first sale.

Learn the regulations. Maryland classifies baked goods as having potentially hazardous ingredients or non-hazardous ingredients. Hazardous ingredients include toppings and fillings that may spoil, such as custard or icing, that have to be refrigerated. These require a processing license from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). Baked goods that don't require refrigeration, such as bread and cakes, do not require a processing license as long as sales are under $40,000 annually. Non-hazardous baked goods can only be sold at farmer's markets or from a farm stand on your own property. The kitchen used for baking them must have potable water and a sewage system.

Apply for a license. Maryland requires anyone selling goods to have a sales and use tax license. As of 2011, tax on craft sales was 6 percent. Food taxes are a little more complex, but, in general, baked goods sold at farmer's markets are subject to 6 percent tax. Obtain an Exhibitors Affidavit or a Trader's License to sell at craft fairs, though there are some exceptions such as a fair sponsored by a church group or volunteer fire department where an affidavit isn't required. Check with your county or city to see if it requires a business license for selling baked goods or crafts. Some jurisdictions also have zoning laws in place that prohibit homeowners from operating a business from their home.

Label your baked goods. Products sold in Maryland must have a label with the name of the product and your name and address. They must also have a statement detailing the weight or quantity of the product. Create a distinctive logo that's relevant to your product and use it on your labels so your customers remember you.

Find a venue. More than 100 farmer's markets operate annually in Maryland and there are hundreds of craft fairs and festivals with craft booths. Sign up for your local farmer's market and plan to set up your booth every weekend to encourage repeat sales. Research the sorts of items sold at craft shows and festivals to ensure that your craft appeals to potential customers. Keep in mind that fairs and festivals charge an exhibitor's fee and may have strict rules on the size of your table and how it's set up, when you must be present at the fair and when you can set up and break down.

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