We are just starting our business, and we plan to start slowly. We pulled $1000 from our tax return, and we're making about another $500 with a few cakes for family in the next month. I know it would be different for everybody, but knowing what you know now, how would you spend your first $1000 (we can go a little over since we have money coming in this month)?
Our situation so far: My husband has been a pastry chef for almost 10 years, so we have most supplies like cake pans, a good mixer, spatulas, turntable, etc. We also traded a birthday cake with a friend who is going to do a starter website for us and host it. We expect to spend $15-$20/hr. to rent our kitchen space. I think that's it.
So I'm thinking our main starter costs will be ingredients for sample cakes and dummy cakes, our business license, insurance, maybe some advertising.... I know there's tons I'm not thinking of and I know we could (and will) spend way more, but please help! How would you start?
What kind of business do you want to do?
Strictly one of the following or all of them?
All occasion cakes
Tiered? 3D? Sheet?
will you be doing other items like cookies / brownies etc?
Since your husband is a pastry chef will there be anything else on the list to sell?
Oh to answer the question of where would I start?
Have you talked to your local health department yet? Sometimes they have certain things that they require in your kitchen or certificates for you and the employees. That is where I would start.
What state are you in?
Oh, yeah, sorry! I guess that's good to know! Thanks.
We'll be doing cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Possibly truffles as wedding favors.
We'll be doing all that you mentioned: wedding, birthday, special occasion. Tiered, 3-D, sheet. All of it.
Before you even buy ingredients make sure that all your permits are in place. They can eat up a big chunk of that 1,000.
We even had to have a fire inspection.
Each county, state and Kingdome ( tee hee ) is different.
Some just require the Dept of Heath and or Agriculture to give you the ok, or in my case I had a parade of inspectors including building, electric, fire and code compliance along with health and Dept of Agriculture and each of them handed me a bill.
I made sure I had NOTHING edible on premiss until I got the ok from everyone.
O.k. That $1000 is going to be GONE in a finger snap!
Where the bulk of that money is going to go... $15-20/hr!!!! How long does it take to wash dishes???
O.k. once you've got your licenses in place with the space you're going to temporarily be renting (it's cheaper to put money down on purchasing a space or building on than it is to rent because you're going to have the same expenses whether you rent or own, except with owning that money builds equity)... From there... $300 into advertising with your LOCAL area phone books (the local ones, NOT the big ones! - the local ones people don't get overwhelmed by so are more likely to use them)... $400 for a LOCAL bridal show (they may be smaller shows, but to get established in the community, they're the way to go)... and... with that $300 left over, it'll go POOF! so fast you'll never know what happened to it!
i spent 1000.00 on my first food order, and i spent 1000.00 at decopac for my first order...sounds like a lot...but it's not if your starting from scratch....you'll need all your colors for airbrush, and gels, and you'll need cases of boxes and boards...they keep going up.
i had the health dept inspection, the fire marshal, the building inspector,and plumbing inspector had to come thru before i could get my permits...if the plumbing inspector has to come.....he will more than likely make you get a greasetrap....that's 500.00....or it was 6 years ago.
good luck!..staring out is exciting!
i know that everyone seems to think that renting hourly is a good idea. i highly recommend against it. i was renting hourly when i first started. it sucks up your profit!! and you feel rushed to finish, which meant i didn't always do 100% on my work. i usually have 2-3 weddings each week, and i can easily spend 30 hours between thurs/fri/sat working on them. thats actual baking, cleaning (takes a lot longer than you think at first), torting, icing, decorating. not prep work (display boards, flowers etc). at your rate of rent, thats $450-600 A WEEK!! think about it. offer your rental kitchen a flat monthly rent. i've NEVER regretted it. i pay $350.00 a month in rent, and its been the best. i would even be willing to go as high as $5-600 without even blinking because its way less than doing all those cakes hourly. now, i'll be honest that booking weddings is the best way to start off doing monthly rent. i spent the past 6 months booking weddings, all of them for after march. that way i could start paying rent in march when my weddings started rather than right away. party cakes people will spring up on you with short notice, but a wedding is booked 6-8 months in advnce, at least. and they aren't very likely to cancel on you. thats just my two cents!
oh and back to your original question. $1000 is a drop in the bucket. if you have no ingredients you'll easily spend $500.00 on start up food and boxes and cake boards. you'll need storage containers for all that stuff, which could take up quite a bit more. (i spent $450 on ingredient bins). make a list of everything you need. and i mean everything. then put it in order of most important to least. start at the top of the list, and work your way down! you'll be amazed at how often you'll add things to that list though. after you have the essentials you start thinking of all the extra's that would be nice. cake plateaus, gumpaste flower tools, classes, cake dummies, etc.