Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state

Posted by Damian Roberti on

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

 

Well, that is a great question. If you're looking to create a home-based food business and you live in Washington state, I'm gonna run down the specifics as to what you need to get, and you might be quite surprised as to how much you can sell under Washington state's cottage food laws. So we're gonna dive into that here on "Cottage Foods" right now. All right, so welcome back to "Cottage Foods Laws", this is YouTube's premier food entrepreneur channel, dedicated to the homemade food entrepreneur. My name is Damon Roberti, I have been a food entrepreneur for over 14 years now. My wife and I operate multiple e-commerce food businesses. I've been in the food industry for 30 plus years, and I love to help people get their food business up and running. So if you're in Washington state, I'm gonna run down several things you need to understand before you actually apply for the permit. Yes, you actually do need to have a permit in order for you to sell food from home or homemade food. That's actually unusual because a lot of states, believe it or not, like even Florida, does not necessarily need to have a permit or license, you can simply get up and running. They're very lenient on their law in Florida.

 

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

There's several other states where you don't need a permit or license, but Washington state is one that you do. Now, Damian, how much is this permit that I need to sell food from home? Well, it runs, the application fee is $230. That sounds a little steep, but to be honest with you, once you get this up and running, that's just a fee that you renew annually. Now you gotta understand too, that this is a non-refundable application fee, so, you need to be sure that you want to move forward with your home-based food business because diving into a $230 permit and then changing your mind later is a little bit of a costly endeavor. Now, really quick note, too, when you start a business from home, be sure to keep track of all your expenses, because if you do, make sure you take them to your accountant. There's a lot of expenses when you operate a home-based food business, and selling food from home, that can allow you the opportunity to take tax credits and tax benefits. Talk to your accountant about that, of course, I'm not an accountant, but I mean, of course I file taxes every year, and I've been in the food industry for quite some time, so I'm pretty familiar with some of the benefits of starting a home-based food business.

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

So, definitely check that out and be sure to run it by your accountant when it comes time to do your taxes. We keep track of all your expenses, guys. Now, next up you wanna verify, too, that the food product that you want to make is allowed before you submit your application. Don't go in there thinking, hey, I'm not sure what to make, and if you're not sure, by the way, you can check out some videos we have here, on our YouTube channel for Washington state that go into more specifics. And, below this video, there's a description with the links there take you over to our blogs to help you understand that in even more detail. So be sure to understand what food you can and can't make. Now, cottage food permit must be issued before you sell the product, so the permit actually is valid only, by the way, for you specifically. So if you're applying for the domestic resident's identification on the application, you wanna make sure that you are identifying yourself as the owner, and you're the one who's applying for it. So that means basically you couldn't go apply for your aunt or your cousin or a friend or something like that.

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

You've gotta be the one that's on the application as well. Now, keep in mind too, if you up and move, and you go to another location within the state of Washington, you have to start the whole process over. It's not necessarily a permit that's kind of transferable, if you will, so keep that in mind. Now, how long does it take to get this Damian? Well, once you apply, it only takes between four to about six, maybe even seven weeks, for them to process it and then get reviewed and such. Your products can only be sold directly to the consumer and not wholesale. So basically you can't be selling them to restaurants or selling them to grocery stores, you'd have to sell them directly to the customer, and that would be like through farmers markets and such. Now, they do also in Washington state, limit the amount of products you can make, but, it's 50 products specifically known as what they call master products. So if you come up with 50 variations, or 50 items, and you have variations of those 50, that's totally different. So let's say for instance, mixed nuts, you come up with 10 different flavors of different types of mixed nuts. That is a variation on the 50 master products. So if you come up with 50 ideas, you can do that. They do try to limit that because you don't want, they don't want people to turn their homes into basically manufacturing facilities for food. It's really meant for small production. Now, the only thing that's really kind of crazy about Washington state, is the limit, the annual limit's only 25,000, which is really not that much, to be honest with you.

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

 

There's several states, actually, in the United States that are unlimited, you could sell $1,000,000 out your front door if you wanted to, but they do have a cap on it, and it's $25,000. So, all in all, this really quick video, I wanted to inform you that if you're looking to sell food from home and create a homemade food business in Washington state, you can, and you do need to get a permit, okay. And at $230, like I said, it's definitely a big investment, so make sure that you're positive you wanna do it and then move forward with the application process. So, check out these videos here, here are some additional videos for the cottage food operator, to help you understand how to get up and running, and if you haven't subscribed to our channel, definitely subscribe, we're gonna have tons of great content. And we have other YouTube channels here on YouTube as well, down below for food entrepreneurs. Check those out. I'll see you on our next video.

Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Washington state?

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