How to start a confectionery business from home

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Whether it's chocolate, fudge, toffee, pralines, brittle, gum or hard candies, the confectionery industry has something for everyone. Candy is big business---according to the National Confectioners Association, the billion-dollar industry saw a 3.7 percent gain in 2009. If you love to bake sweet goodies and love the thought of working for yourself, start a confectionery business from home.

Things You'll Need

  • Licensed kitchen
  • Food handler's permit
  • Business permit
  • Sales tax license
  • Supplies
  • Ingredients
  • Contact your local health department to learn the food regulations in your county and whether you need a food handler's permit. Depending on the type of goods you make and the temperature at which they must be stored, you may be eligible for a home establishment license. Generally, however, you cannot prepare and sell food from your home. If you cannot have your home licensed or it proves costly to do so, you will need to rent a commercial kitchen where you can legally prepare your confectioneries. Churches, halls, clubs and community centers may have a licensed kitchen you can rent.

  • Contact your zoning office about setting up a home business. You may be limited on the amount of employee traffic you can have in your home and the amount or size of signage in your yard. Additionally, you must adhere to any neighborhood association regulations. Review your homeowner's policy for regulations affecting your home business.

  • Select a catchy name for your business that can be used as a domain for your website. Then register your business, obtain a sales tax permit and purchase liability insurance. Purchase a website for your candy shop. Place high quality images of your offerings on your website.

  • Purchase supplies: edible decorations, candy molds, picks, novelty decorations, marzipan molds, boxes, foil, cellophane, ribbons, candy eyes, trays and transfer sheets. Purchase baskets, mugs, vases and other containers to house candy sold as gifts.

  • Select packaging materials that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Team up with a food-packaging designer to create custom, FDA-approved containers and packages for your goods. Contact a nutrition labeling company to provide labels. Contact both UPS and FedEX to obtain quotes on overnight or express shipping for your confectionery.

  • Compete with other retailers who provide large quantities of candy by providing quality, selecting the best ingredients. According to the National Confectioners Association, the future of confectionery may lie in environmentally friendly packaging, healthier confectionery, flavor fusions and candy with international influences in dark chocolate. Carve out a niche by implementing any one of these into your business.

  • Purchase quality ingredients for your confectionery. Purchase conservatively until you've established a clientele and know which goods will be most popular. Then begin making one-of-a-kind creations. Make a handful of samples of each recipe and give them to friends and family members. Give yourself extra advertising by hosting a free sampling at a community center or school, where the public can try your goods and offer feedback. Send out fliers and contact local radio and news stations to inform them of your sampling event. Take pictures of the event to post on your website.

  • Implement a system for tracking inventory, supplies and food waste. Detail all costs in a spreadsheet. Then determine how much you need to charge for your candy in order to make a profit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once your business expands, contact florists and gift shops in your area about selling your goods in their stores.
  • Don't limit yourself to candies. Create seasonal pies and cakes.
  • Always look for inexpensive rental space for a storefront. Eventually, it may be advantageous to open a physical confectionery store.
  • As a self-employed person, you will be subject to quarterly self-employment taxes. If you establish a limited liability company or corporation, you will be required to submit business taxes. Consider hiring an accountant to help you learn the ropes. Otherwise, contact the IRS and ask an employee to guide you through your tax liability.
  • Once you hire an employee, you will be required to pay FUTA, SUTA and FICA taxes on their behalf, as well as purchase worker's compensation insurance.

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