Unofficial Checklist for Texas Cottage Food Operators

Texas continues to be one of the friendliest states for small business startups.  To start a cottage food business, there are no permits, fees, or licenses required beyond basic food handler's certification.

1. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED]   Read the basic rules of the cottage food law. Know the rules and your rights!

2.[HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Pick your product(s). Verify that your product is allowable under the law.

3. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Develop a business plan. How much does your product cost you to make, and how much will you sell it for? Where will you sell? How will you market yourself? Is there demand for your product in your area? How much competition will you have? How do the competition’s products compare to yours in price and quality? How long will it take to turn a profit?

4. [REQUIRED] Obtain your Texas Food Handler’s Certification. Cost – around $10.

5. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Check with the Texas Comptroller to see if your product is subject to sales tax, and if you need to obtain a Sales & Use Permit. Cost - free.

6. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Pick a business name and register it as a DBA with your county.  This ensures that no one else in your county can use your business name. This usually costs less than $20. Optional - you may also wish to conduct a national search to verify that this name is not in use by others, or trademarked by someone else.

7. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Speak with a tax or legal professional about how to structure your business, whether it be a Sole Proprietorship, LLC, or some other entity.

8. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] Open a business bank account.

9. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED]Set up a web site and Facebook page for marketing. Order inexpensive startup business cards from a site like VistaPrint or Zazzle.

10. [REQUIRED] Create your legally required food labels.

11. Start selling! Good luck with your new business!

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