I Need A Kitchen Or I'm Gonna Go Nuttso!

Business By yeastconfection Updated 31 Mar 2008 , 3:10pm by TheButterWench

yeastconfection Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 3:26pm
post #1 of 21

I so badly want to be legal! I live in Rockford, IL and I have to find a kitchen soon! Please someone tell me about renting kitchens? How much do you guys pay? Is there some way to rent "by use" and not a monthly set price? If so, how much sounds right? Where can I find these magical rental kitchens? I can't sleep at night, cake just keeps taking over my brain, I've got the "cake disease", and I need to make cake NOW! I don't like sneaking around illegally in the shadows, delivering cakes in back alleys. Someone help me.....

20 replies
indydebi Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 3:51pm
post #2 of 21

I'm not in Illinois, but as a kitchen owner who plans to rent out her dead time, let me give you my viewpoint.

It's common to find space that charges you by hour (assuming that's what you mean "by use"). I've seen some suggestions on paying a percentage of your sales for the rent (i.e. $300 wedding cake ... you'd pay the kitchen $30), but as a kitchen owner I would NEVER do this deal.

I'm letting you use my $45,000 worth of equipment, my gas, my electricity, my refrigerator space ..... and you make a cake for $50, you're in my kitchen at least 3-4 hours, use up a dollar's worth of soap in my dishwasher (it costs me $0.50 operating cost per cycle), plus my utilities, and you think handing me a five dollar bill will cover it?? icon_confused.gif

I don't know that you are a good or bad business person who has a good pricing structure in place for her products. I am not going to take a percentage of a bad pricing structure.

I plan on charging a monthly fee, with a one-year agreement. I have no interest in keeping track of how many hours a person is in there or trying to anticipate what my rent income might be from month to month, based on how buysy you may or may not be. As a business owner, I need to be able to project income and expenses.

I am doing this to help other cakers, who want to get legal, get started. So I'm looking for people who are SERIOUS about becoming a business. I've seen the comments about "I don't want to pay rent if I have no cakes that month." Well, guess what? That's what *I* have to do! I have no weddings in April, but the landlord still expects his rent check and the bank still expects their payment on the equipment loan. It's called "Business" and that's how it's done.

So first thing you need to do is decide if you are going to do this as a business or at the level of a paid hobby. If you're doing it as a business, then you need to expect to do the volume that can support the expenses of a business. A cake here or there is a hobby ..... if you're renting a kitchen, you should be busy ALL the time so you can justify and pay the business expenses.

It's a terrible catch-22 ..... you can't get the volume until you have a legal kitchen and you can't get a legal kitchen until you get the volume.

But renting kitchen time is a very good start. The $300 or $500 a month that you pay to enable you to get your name out is WAY cheaper than the $75,000 investment I had to make.

To give you some ideas, I have a caterer friend who made a bargain with a church. She cleans their church at no salary and they let her use their kitchen at no rent.

TheButterWench Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 10:45pm
post #3 of 21

OMG, well said.

I have been tossing around renting my space back and forth but every time I bring this up when I network I hear the same thing.

They want to use my kitchen, equipment and yes even my supplies and give me a % or pay me by the hour of usage.

And I'm like, Um, noooooooooooo

It's not worth my while to inconvenience myself, yes, because I'd have to come in and unlock the doors and turn off the alarms and sit there until they were done and out of the shop for someone to pay me 50 dollars a month because that month they only used my kitchen for 5 hours.

And when things become hard and lean, they will walk away leaving me high and dry.

SO, IndyDebi, Well said!!

fmcmulle Posted 30 Mar 2008 , 2:13pm
post #4 of 21

Indydebi, I would gladly pay you your monthly fee. There is only one problem, I live so far away...... I agree with everything you said. I would not dare ask someone to rent a kitchen to me and expect just to give them a percentage of the money I make off my cakes .
I am so ready to make the career change and I know it will happen one day and when it does I know it will be the right time. I would so like to meet you one day.
Thanks for all of your business insight Indydebi.

yeastconfection Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:59am
post #5 of 21

I really want to keep my mouth shut but I just can't! I asked these questions because I really didn't know what to do and it seems like you guys ganged up on me and decided to rant about how awesome you guys are because you made your dreams happen and how people like me are like parasites that that want to suck off of your success. I basically was hurt that I put myself out there and asked a question and I was made to feel like an idiot for asking....
Remember, some of you who have "made it" with your $75,000.00 bakeries were once like me - starting out with nothing and hoping to figure out a way to make this dream happen!

iamlis Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:16am
post #6 of 21

Whoa, WHOA! Please don't disrespect Indy Debi like that. She is saying, she HAS to pay rent whether you can or can't. Grow up a clientele first, then transition into a kitchen rental. She is saying she had to PAY $75,000, NOT she had it sitting in the bank from all her cakes, PLEASE have some respect.

chqtpi Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:22am
post #7 of 21


I think IndyDebi gave you that advice becasue if I remember correctly..she as others have been in your shoes and she was speaking from personal experience. And in MY experience, there is no better person to ask on this site than her! and the advice she hands out, she could clearly charge for in a consultation position and yet doles it out for free...so I for one consider myself lucky!!! I'm sorry you felt threatened but I can guarantee you, thats not what was meant.

indydebi Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:23am
post #8 of 21

No one is attacking you. I'll have my 50th birthday in January. It has taken me a lifetime to achieve this dream. I didn't have a CC with lots of good resources to help me see alternative methods other than the regular "find a lot of money and get your own place" advice. I had no idea about renting kitchens, hourly rates vs. "commission" rates, or flat monthly rental fees. I didn't know about exchanging services for kitchen use.

Had I had access to the experiences others had in the process, it wouldn't have taken me 25 years to get here.

Please don't make it sound like I reached into my piggy bank and pulled out $75K one day when I got bored or something. I have worked long and hard to get where I am and I have put everything I own and more at risk to make it happen.

Not only did I give you suggestions on what might work for you, I also gave you advice on what NOT to offer as you try to find kitchen time, so you wouldn't be disappointed and so you wouldn't insult the kitchen owner.

We do NOT consider you a parasite. If we used the word "you" in our post, I assure you it was the generic 'you' and not 'you' personally.

If we didn't want to help, we wouldn't have shared our experiences with what works and what doesnt' ..... from BOTH sides of the fence. I will admit that sometimes I can sound gruff, but I call it a reality check. I've read threads in which someone thought it was horrible that someone wanted $200 a month for kitchen time. The reality check is that $200 a month is WAY cheaper than investing in all of the equipment and rental expense when you're just getting started.

I think I can safely say that everyone on CC wants every CC'er to succeed .... no matter what the level of their dream.

mommyle Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:27am
post #9 of 21

Ok, everybody calm down. Breathe. I am absolutely sure that no harm was meant, and that an old married couple just stepped in. You know, he says something and it could be taken one of two ways, and she immediately takes it the wrong way. Come to think of it, it's ME and MY HUSBAND!!! And we ONLY celebrated 2 years!!! HAAHHA!
Debi is only telling your what you might hear from someone else who owns a shop that you might try renting out of. Helpful. Because this way you can go there and say "Okay, well, I know that you might not want to rent by use because of.... But would you consider renting for $xxx a month?"
So, Breathe, and just know that nothing bad was meant by it.
Take care and good luck with your business endevor!!!

mommyle Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:28am
post #10 of 21

ooops. I spelt that wrong. and that too. oh dear. time to go to bed!!!

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:37am
post #11 of 21

I'm not getting involved in any argument, but I'm just going to put this here as I just saw this post a few minutes before seeing this one and it applies. Here goes: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-580847-.html.

yeastconfection Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:41am
post #12 of 21

It's not disrespect! Its saying I'm disappointed in how she replied! She basically said some people rent by the hour (and that was the info I needed) but then went on to unload her very negative feelings about doing that. Then everyone proceeded to have a conversation about how they would never rent by use to me. If we were standing in a room all together and this occurred can you see how uncomfortable this would make me? But because were online you tell me to have respect for the forum superstar?

iamlis Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:57am
post #13 of 21

For once in my life...I am speechless. Wow, well good luck finding an hourly kitchen rental in your area. You have to sometimes expect people to tell you things you don't want to hear. I worked a 65 hour week, and did cakes in my spare time for 3 years before I turned a profit above what I had invested. Cake decorating is a lot of work, a lot of cake classes, a lot of late hours. And in the end...we all want liscensed bakeries/kitchens. I now make enough money decorating cakes and teaching classes that I can have my own space. You have to be humble and beg just about every one you know about space to rent, but expect people to ignore your request, or worse...tell you no. Some want to see business plans, some may ask you about your average monthly income. I personally spent $1,000's on my equipment, imagine working so hard and buying those things over the year and renting that space to others. It is YOUR baby-your sweat that bought that 4 compartment sink. I am not going to argue on this sight, I will tell you the same thing I would say to your face, straight up, listen and heed advice from your elders. IndyDebi is my forum superstar for the same reason you critisize her, she gives you straight up advice and usually doesn't sugar coat it. Like the addage says, be careful what you ask for....You might jsut get it.

indydebi Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:58am
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by yeastconfection

She basically said some people rent by the hour (and that was the info I needed) but then went on to unload her very negative feelings about doing that.

Just to clarify, I said some had suggested renting based on a commission basis, based on the renter's sales, and as a kitchen owner, I would never do that because it's not financially responsible from my side. And I explained WHY it was not financially responsible so a potential renter would understand there was logic and reason behind the decision and the reasoning was a little more than "just because".

Anyone is always welcome to disagree with anything I say. I only ask that they quote me correctly when they cite their reason for doing so.

beccakelly Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:59am
post #15 of 21

yeastconfection: i am renting kitchen space to run my business, and its the best thing i ever did! i hope you can find a good kitchen to rent from! i can be honest when i say renting for a flat monthly fee is in my best interest too, not just the owner. for example, i pay $350 a month. yesterday i did a wedding with 54 mini table cakes (never again btw) and i spent about 35 hours in the kitchen i rent. at the lowest reasonable hourly rate ($10) i would have spent the same as my whole months rent in one weekend. but, instead my $350.00 paid for the other 5 weddings i had this month as well. i used to pay hourly to an artisan bread bakery (things just didn't work out there) and i always felt rushed to finish my work because the longer i took, the more money i lost! now i can spend what ever time i need and my bottom line is the same.

cheer up, we all want you to succeed! i can safely say renting monthly works out best for everyone involved, renter and rentee (is that even a word?lol)

playingwithsugar Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:05am
post #16 of 21

yeastconfection -

you have not mentioned licensing and insurance. I do not believe that anyone would rent a kitchen to you for purposes of profit without proper paperwork.

If I had a kitchen that I could rent out, I would only ever rent it to people who were fully licensed and insured, and willing to write up a release of liability on my behalf, in case there is a problem with their product.

I am going to suggest that you investigate these avenues before trying to obtain space, as it may turn out to be space that you won't be able to use without being a legal business.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

yeastconfection Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:10am
post #17 of 21

Thank you beccakelly...You got your point across, and it was kind and encouraging!

LeanneW Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:12am
post #18 of 21

here are some links to give you an idea of something to look for in your area.

A shared use kitchen is probably something to consider. Also consider baking in the off hours of a local bakery or restaurant. It might be hard to find but some restaurants will let you bake in their kitchen after they are closed, yes this means baking at 2am but it's a place to start.

Shared kitchens are good too because you can just rent as much as you need it. You have to have all your ducks in a row first, Business Lisence, Food Handler Permit, City or County Lisences and whatever for your area.

Good Luck.


flowers40 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:35am
post #19 of 21

I think you felt the comments where directed personally at you, because the subject and responses hit so closely to home. After reading all responses, I didn't get the impression that anyone was talking down to you. I think I can see it with fresh eyes, probably because it wasn't me who asked the question. I say take all advice and disregard any perceived attitudes. It's great to have a resource such as this, and believe me the responses I read didn't seem catty at all. I've read catty responses on this site before. But, the worse feeling is when no one cares enough to repond and share their advice. So, see, people cared enough to share and we all learned a thing or two in the process.

step0nmi Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:11pm
post #20 of 21

ok...ALL I have to say is Indydebi is right. She meant no harm in her post...when she writes on here its as if she is writing to everyone. so I guess you can look at the YOU as in "everyone here on CC". I can understand why you would feel the way you do though. Indydebi has many years of experience and when she puts it out there.....SHE puts it out there! In plain and simple words that may seem harsh.
But yes....I too have been one of those people that she is HELPING! and I mean helping because any time I write her an email she has something to say to keep me grounded. I think what happens with all of us is that we are so excited to do what we do...and when you have someone with a lot of wisdom they are able to say something to knock us down a peg...that's only because we REALLY NEED to think about what type of situation we are getting ourselves into.

I am going through the same thing you are. I am going NUTS thinking that "I" need a kitchen to work out of. Well, you know what...that MAY not happen! AND health departments don't LOOK for people to shut down out of their homes...they only go looking when someone complains! yeah, that is the truth. But! I DO know there is someone on this site right now that was working out of their home and got a fine...I think the first offense was $300. So, you can look at it as "I need to get my clients first and then rent a kitchen" OR "I really need a kitchen so I can build my clients up but then I might need to raise my prices!"
You have to ask yourself~ How high can I raise my prices AND can my area afford me?? Because if you can ONLY do 5-10 cakes each month and you make $500 dollars...then this endeavor is not worth it. It's better worth the stress to keep doing it out of your home!

and guess what! These are all things I have learned from people on CC! They are my "voice of reason" at the moment. Because if it wasn't for them I would've already quit college and TRIED to open a business full time....well, I have no money and I probably would've lost my husband! icon_lol.gif not really but they are my grounded angel...especially Indydebi!

TheButterWench Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:10pm
post #21 of 21

I have my space and there are many days ( like last Saturday) that my phone doesn't ring once and I'm tempted to rent out the mornings.

But I would never do it for an hourly or commisson basis.

If I rent out to someone and they can use all my equipment, utilities and storefront to display their wares and the only thing I would as is for them to bring any Specialty equipment or ingredient then I want 1/2 my rent up front and a 6 month agreement from them.

Case in point.

There is a drought here in the county I'm in, the water system was recommended to be replaced over 20 years ago, not updated, not fixed---------TOTALY REPLACED!

The water dept. was talking about a one time water meter increase of $74.00 and then an increase of about $30 dollars a month.

One of the new businesses that opened around the same time as me just got their water bill and they went from $30 something a month to a whopping $300 + a month.

It's not a restaurant, it's a small designer clothing boutique.

Unplanned increases and things of that nature would not be covered by someone using my space for 10 hours a month here and there.

I agree with the posted that said you have to beg and plead your case.

you have to sit down and look at your business potential in a realistic fashion and then figure out how much you can reasonably pay someone to trust you enough to help build YOUR business.

With that said, I guess I'd better go check out Craigslist, lol

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