I am fairly new at the cake decorating scene. I started with my first class four years ago. I accomplished my first wedding cake three years ago. Then my work schedule made it difficult to continue with the cake world. Until now. I only work my day job Mon, Tues, Wed. Makes it handy to do cakes for Saturday weddings extra.
I have wedding in July and in Sept lined up already. I feel like I have lots to learn still. I don't have much in a portfolio to show people at the moment, so I am only charging people what it costs me to make the cakes. I figure experience is worth a lot in the long run.
To get to the point. I have a friend at church who may have an opportunity to rent some space in a building, his friend is setting up a law firm in. He has always wanted to have a desert shop. He makes things like truffles and cheese cakes, ets. He asked me this last week if I would be interested in sharing the rent and kitchen space with him.
At first I was very excited about the offer. Now I am a bit overwhelmed. Reasons are:
-I have a lot to learn still
-the gas prices make me want to work from my home kitchen instead.
-I am not sure I am ready for the demands of having a bakery in town.
It will be a few months before the building would be ready for us to move in. I have some time to think on it. I have not given him a definate answer yet, so I am not committed at this point.
We plan on adding on to our house within the next year or two. Which will include a new kitchen. I can't wait! I was hoping to have the kitchen made in such a way that I could have it liscenced as a home bakery.
So what do some of you more experienced men and ladies think? Would I be jumping in over my head if I were to take up the offer to rent in town? Or, should I continue working from my unliscenced kitchen until I have one I can liscence?
Sorry for being so lengthly.
I would say you need to rent the kitchen space until you are able to build your own. Even though you are only charging for the cost of ingredients you are still selling your cakes. Therefore, it is illegal to do it out of your home (in most states).
I would talk to your friend and let him know that this is something you would like to do but you can only commit to ___ months or years.
I would definitely build up to having a place of your own at home. I dream about this. I currently rent space from a bakery and while it is working out it would be great if I didn't have to leave home (I have a 4 month old) plus it would be mine and I could live by my rules.
My FIRST thought when you said you were only charging for ingredients was ... NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Your cost of ingredients better include things like the cost of the paper towels, electricity, wear and tear on your equipment, dish soap, laundry soap, gas for the dryer, etc. etc. etc. "cost of materials" is a misnomer because there are SO many hidden costs that go into a cake. Every trip is fuel used. You're going to make at least 4-5 trips to the different stores to pull off this cake, that's not including delivery. My trainer for another industry when I suggested to him that I go in cheap when I was starting up because I didn't have much experience yet reamed me a new one, and only now do I understand how valuable it was for him to tell me "If you're doing professional work in the industry, you DESERVE TO BE PAID AS A PROFESSIONAL!".. You're making professional wedding cakes, GET PAID LIKE A PROFESSIONAL! (you'll also tick fewer of your professional/local colleagues off, which until you get licensed, not a good idea to do)
The other reason is if you're planning to get licensed and legal, it's going to position you in the WRONG place. It's a lot easier to move up from $5/slice starting than it is to even THINK of moving from $1.50/slice to $2.00/slice with established customers.
Also, honestly, having BTDT with renting space, if you're planning to build onto your house, just start the project now and get that kitchen in there. Now is the perfect time to purchase used restaurant and bakery equipment for pennies on the dollar (we got commercial floor tiles at a going out of business sale at Home Depot, instead of the $30/box they were ... $8/box! O.k. do the math on a 24x30' room for cost savings by buying smart. If you're going to build it anyways, just get the job done and get yourself legal ASAP. Renting is a good start-out, but the thing to remember is that the space IS NOT, nor ever WILL BE, set up for YOU to operate efficiently out of it. It was 50 steps between the freezer and my mixer. it was 30 steps between my mixer and the oven when I was renting. That's a LOT of time wasted just walking from space to space instead of having things positioned so you can efficiently get from point A to B and save your feet.
My vote: start going through the paperwork now for your licensed building addition!
Another thing to consider on top of being set up innefficiently (sp?) is having to work around an share pace with someone else. BTDT also with a donut place. It means irregular work hours and and storage issues in order t stay out of each other's way. The other person is worrying but getting the dispay case filled and has cheesecake everywhere and you are trying to figure out where in the heck you are going to put the 12 cakes you baked for 500 people - that is if you can even get to the oven!
OMG your screen name threw me off for a minute! I too am Desiree and started out as cakes by desiree, i saw that at first and thougt, hey I didnt post this! Ok, now I will read!
thank you for all your tips.