Talk with others about the cottage food industry in Georgia
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- August 11, 2017 at 7:51 am #39120
I have been navigating this Cottage Food Establishment maze & the Dept of Agriculture & all it entails since March of this year. They certainly dont make it easy! Oh sure DofA website has a great section with check lists & FAQ but it doesn’t offer any county specific information & EVERY county is different!! I’d like to share what it takes to obtain your CFL in Lowndes County to help others avoid the mistakes & wasted time I have. Firstly, I learned that you have to be choosy who you take your food safety course with. The one that “says” it is the largest provider in our area postponed my class 3 times! You have a choice of doing the class online then booking an appointment to do your exam in person or doing it all in person in one 8 hour day. I prefered to do mine in person. You are looking at about $175 inc book & certificate. Then here you have to file a “Trade Name Registration” with the clerk of the superior court – $163, going along with the Trade Name you must publish it in the newspaper for 2 weeks – $40. If no one disputes the business name you are using you can go ahead. Then you go to Lowndes County Licencing & Tax office (new court house) & file affidavits proving you are legally allowed to operate a business in the US by being a citizen/legal resident (bring proof) & one stating how many employees you will have even if its just you. At the same time & place you file Occupation Tax Registration Application for Lowndes (their name for tax ID#) & pay tax on estimated gross sales for Lowndes fiscal year of June 1st – May 31st. This guarantees NOTHING!!! When you file this they do the approvals for zoning, fire marshall & building inspections if needed. I had already called these 3 & had them looked up & they were ok but it was redundant as they wont take my word for it. This step can take 10-21 days. Cost depends on estimated gross sales. All these things HAVE to be done for any & all small businesses in Lowndes County before you do anything else. At anytime you could be thrown a wrench too, like zoning or a name dispute. When these are complete then you can complete the Dept of Agr – Cottage Food Establishment License.
All that being said, I’m sure you are questioning whether it is worth doing it legally at all just as I did! Well, I personally prefer to do things legally & figure I can write off fees(hopefully) as well as lots of other household stuff. Not too mention, at every step they give you instructions & regulations to read stating the fines if you dont do it. I figure a couple hundred dollars & a few months of frustration & inconvenience is way cheaper than fines of $25,000 & possible jail time! I also figure we are helping pave the way for others coming behind us & hopefully it will get easier in the future!
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