Is a License Needed to Start a Home Baking Business in Singapore?
Has the thought of transforming your baking hobby into a lucrative side hustle ever crossed your mind? If so, you may be wondering if you'd need a license to turn your home baking business dreams into a reality.

Well, fortunately, the answer is no, you don't need a license!
1. You can't register your HDB flat address as a business address
2. Advertising depends solely on your social media clout
3. Friends and family can help if they are staying in the same household
4. Keep the volume of baked goods small
5. Keep sales of your bakes online
6. Be considerate, don't give your neighbors a chance to complain!
7. Foreigners have to seek approval before starting a home baking business
Under the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), residents are allowed to prepare and sell small quantities of homemade food without applying for a license.

But wait! Before you excitedly head off to set up your own bakery, there are several guidelines from the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme that you should be aware of. Luckily for you, we've done the hard work of combing through the regulations.

Here's a comprehensive summary of the scheme's key points:

1. You can't register your HDB flat address as a business address

While you are allowed to grow your baking empire from the comfort of your home, your HDB flat is still strictly for residential use, so you can't register it as a business address. On the other hand, you may do so with a private residence address, provided there's no material change in use of the residential premises.

2. Advertising depends solely on your social media clout

Displaying business signboards on doors and windows or paying for advertisements in newspapers and on online platforms like Google, Instagram and Youtube, are a no go. Instead, set up a social media account and grow a loyal cult-like following for your bakes. Alternatively, you could choose to go old school and spread the news of your goods via word of mouth!

3. Friends and family can lend a hand, but only if they are staying in the same household

You can employ members of the same residential household to assist in the preparation and delivery of your baked goods, but when it comes to engaging the help of friends and family living outside your home, the situation gets a little more complicated. If you wish, you may pay them a small sum of money for their efforts but these payments should not be treated as a form of salary. Perhaps a better alternative would be to buy them a coffee!

4. Keep the volume of baked goods small, no loading and unloading of goods from vans and trucks

Your home baking business is strictly meant to supplement your income, not serve as the main source. Hence, you shouldn't be producing your goods in large volumes and requiring vans/trucks to make bulk deliveries. Transport small quantities of your bakes via car or public transport instead!

5. Keep sales of your bakes online/to your home

As the name suggests, your home baking business should be run entirely out of your home. You're not allowed to supply your home-baked goods to eateries, or set up physical stalls at events and food fairs to sell them. Taking orders online and arranging for pick up/delivery is a good enough way to grow your business!

6. Be considerate, don't give your neighbors a chance to complain!

At the end of the day, your residence is primarily for living, so make sure to be considerate of your surroundings when carrying out business activities. Avoid causing nuisances such as excess smoke, smell or noise, that could adversely affect your neighbors' living environment and disrupt their daily activities.

7. Foreigners on a Dependant's Pass in Singapore have to seek approval before starting a home-based baking business

If you're a foreigner on a Dependent's Pass who'd like to start a home baking business, you'll have to register your home bakery as a company in Singapore and apply to the Ministry of Manpower for a Letter of Consent to begin working in the company.
Food Health and Safety Standards

Now that we've gotten the home business side of things out of the way, you may be wondering, what about a license to sell food? Would your home bakery also be subject to the same graded system of appraisal as food establishments when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness standards?

Well, once again, while you do not need a food license to sell baked goods, there are some food hygiene guidelines by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) that you should adhere to if you wish to ensure the health and safety of your customers.

Although the guidelines are intuitive, basic hygiene practices, it's still good to review them! Here are some important reminders:

1. Practise personal hygiene

Yes, saving water is important, but so is washing your hands! Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after the food preparation process. If you visit the restroom or handle waste products while baking, do wash your hands after as well. Also, don't bake or handle any baked goods when you're feeling unwell.

2. Ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of your kitchen

A bakery based in your own home is all the more reason to ensure the cleanliness of your baking environment. Make sure your food preparation surfaces and equipment are cleaned and sanitized before and after every session. After all, you wouldn't want your baking hobby to be attracting unwanted housemates in the form of cockroaches and other pests!

3. Ensure that your ingredients are safe to use

You should check that your ingredients have not passed their expiry dates and ensure that they have been obtained from approved sources before mixing them in.

4. Store your ingredients and finished products in a suitable place

When it comes to storage, raw food items should be separated from cooked food and all your ingredients and finished products should be stored at the right temperature, in the right place. You should also take note of how long leftover ingredients can be kept safely in different conditions!