Ok so bare with me, this is going to be long and with a lot of questions.
I feel that I am at the point where if I want to take my business to the next level I need to open a storefront.
And when I say "next level', I mean a legitimate source of income for my family and a "real" business.
Sometimes I don't feel like I am actual business because I rent kitchen space, I don't even have an address on my website because the space I rent isnât mine, and customers cannot stop by.
I always have to meet customers at a local coffee shop or at their house; they canât come by my shop.... because I don't have one. And I don't want them at my house.
Iâm really ready to take this whole cake thing full time.
I want to be the proud owner of my own custom cake shop, and I don't mind busting my butt for the next 10 years or so to get there, but I've reached my max where I'm at right now.
Right now I make cakes on the weekends, I average about 5-8 cakes a weekend with an income of anywhere from 500$-1000$ a weekend. Thatâs not profit though; I have to pay rent, utilities, ingredients and all the other stuff that goes with that.
I am limited to how many orders I can take and handle because I do only work on the weekends and at night, and I rent kitchen space so anytime I work I have to haul all my stuff back and forth.
In order to be able to take more orders I need more space and working time.
I really feel I would be able to take more orders and be more productive if I had a storefront/bakery of my own and I could work everyday, anytime of day I wanted, or needed.
Am I correct in thinking this?
Also, I do not have the money to build a new kitchen of my own, or an addition on to the house; basically I have no start up money.
So my next question is, would I be crazy to simply find a place that is already built (doughnut shop, pizzeria, sandwich shop etc.) and pay a monthly rent on it?
I want to find some place that already meets the basic requirements for licensing, Iâm not really interested in whether or not it looks pretty, just needs to be functional and affordable.
I turn down orders on a daily basis because I just do not have the time, or space to complete them, if I had a kitchen of my own and was able to work on a daily basis I wouldnât have to turn orders down.
So I figure if I had my own place I could take more orders, therefore make more money, meaning I could not only afford the rent and other costs but also possibly turn a profit?
Also the place I rent from does not allow customers to pick up cakes there, I have to deliver all my cakes. So I have to factor that into my available working time, and sometimes a single delivery can take up to 2 hrs (sometimes more, Houston is a big city). I would love to be able to have customers just pick their cakes up so I don't lose any work time.
I wouldnât need anything too big, or in a prime location, like I said before it would just need to be functional at this point.
So if your where me would you continue renting just kitchen space (no storage space, no customers allowed to pick up cakes, only work at night and on weekends), or would you find yourself your very own hole in the wall to expand and take the next step?
And am I overlooking something, or is the solution really that easy as to just rent a space and start working full time?
Like I said before bare with, I am business impaired so any and all business advice is greatly appreciated!
I think you'd answered your own question.
I used to have a legal kitchen at home...2nd kitchen in the basement...anyway, first I drove to meet with my brides...before gas went up it still cost a fortune and lots of time. I then rented a small room in a business to meet with the brides.
finally an opportunity opened itself up, a bakery that the owners where wanting to retire and rent the building/bakery. it worked perfect! my overhead is way more than it used to be, but I am not running to make a special appointment to meet with a customer all the time. they come to me.
they pick up there cakes. and I can bake when ever the heck I want too.
the only down side is, that overhead is more.....but I love it!!!
But although your overhead is more were'nt you able to increase productivity and bring more money in to cover the increase in overhead?
Thats what I'm thinking will happen, I will have more bills but I will also be able to make more cakes to cover those costs.
Yes, with more space, double convection ovens, bigger 'frig and freezers, a larger freezer, eliminating the time you spend hauling equipment back and forth, adding the ability to order your supplies direct and get truck delivery pricing instead of grocery store shelf pricing .... yes, you can increase your productivity.
Been there .... done that! It's a fine balancing act between increased income and add'l overhead, but your thinking is correct.
totally! my over head is more, but I am able to make more cakes to pay for it....plus some. it is mine, mine, mine.
I can work as hard as I want, take as many orders as I want, bake when I want.
renting someones kitchen would get so old.
just don't want to to go into it blind, thinking your going to make soooo much more money.....remember overhead is more.
....I didn't think that trough when I first started. haha
I didn't think of the jump in electric bill....payed nothing in my home kitchen, now bills are around $450 per month,
then there is phone...didn't pay that either...hubby did, and trash pick up, and rent, and insurance, and advertising, it goes on and on. but yes, you make more cakes and sell more cakes, bills are more.....so basically is it what you want? it is really very much more convenient for me so that makes it all worth it for me.
hope this helps,
Reading your post was as if I had written it myself. I am in a similar situation. I don't have to rent my kitchen. I have a completely seperate kitchen in a cottage on my property. Right now I would have no problem working out of it, in fact I love it. My problem is, it is getting so costly ( both in time and money) to go meet these brides. Since I live in a tiny tiny town, I have to drive about 45 minutes to an hour to get work. I don't mind the drive because the work is good in this town, but I am tired of not having one location where the brides can come to me.
I am looking for a space to have a showroom to meet my brides. For now, that would work for me. But your right, my ultimate goal would be to work towards having it all together in one spot.
I think you should go for it! Your way of thinking is right. I look forward to hearing that you made it happen for you!
At one time I could have written your post myself. I rented kitchen space, but found it awkward and unworkable for all the reasons you mentioned. Here's something you said that stands out to me:
I am limited to how many orders I can take and handle because I do only work on the weekends and at night
I turn down orders on a daily basis because I just do not have the time, or space to complete them, if I had a kitchen of my own and was able to work on a daily basis I wouldnât have to turn orders down
Is that because of your kitchen rental situation, or because that's the only time you have to work away from your kids? I only ask because evenings and weekends were my only time to work on cakes away from my *extremely* active 2 year old boy. I wonder how your pregnancy and your new baby will affect the time you are able to spend on cakes? It would be heartbreaking to make the leap to a shop of your own, but find you didn't have as much time as you thought to generate revenue to cover the overhead.
These may be issues you've already thought through, but since I am in the same boat as you (pregnant with small kids) it stands out to me as a primary concern. Best of luck to you with whatever you do!!!
I'm in a similar situation. I currently rent space from a caterer. It's a 25 min drive to work each day. I am able to bring my kids (6 & with me when they're out of school. I work 3 or 4 days a week. I do mostly wholesale, no wedding cakes. I have my own shelves for pans and dry goods and share refrigerator and freezer space. I am making a profit. But, I have to deliver EVERYTHING, including individual (retail) orders. I can't hire help because I don't know when the caterer will be in and we'll be dancing around each other. I also can't expand or grow because there's just not enough room for that. Sometimes my refrigerator space is nill when they're super busy. It's so far to drive every day to work.
I have the opportunity to lease a space down the street from me in a great location, super busy and growing. It would be $1200/month plus utilities. I believe I could do it and still make a profit, but I don't know if I want to have to hire that much help and be open those hours and you know that your first xxx amt of cakes each month goes just to cover bills. It's a tough decision. And even though they would build out most of what I need, you would still have out of pocket costs for specialized equipment that you'd need. When you're dealing with needind to increase productivity, you have to have the right tools for the job. And there may be some guildlines from the city or health dept specific to a bakery that you need to check into. Also, rent for an already finished and fully equipped restaurant will probably be quite high. And what about the kids? All things to think about.
I'm facing the same delima minus the youger children.
I found a place but I'm just scared on what to do if the sales don't follow me like I think they will. I'm doing good and I am turning away sales for lack of space and time. Good luck - let us know what you decide.
I planned on bringing the kids to work with me.
Don't know if that will actually work out but I was going to give it a try.
I would still work at night on the weekends because it is easier that way but I would have the freedom of working during the day if I had to.
Also I could have customers pick up cakes from the shop.
I spent from 10am to 5pm Sat. making deliveries and from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm today making deliveries, that could have been time spent working or with my family, but instead it was spent in the car driving all over town, between yesterday and today I put 300miles on my car!
My oldest will be starting Kindergarten in August and I have also enrolled my second in preschool, so I will still have the two youngest with me.
But I figured I could work with them during the day (if I had too) but only between the hours of 9-2 (school hours).
I would also be open by appointment only for consultations and pick-ups.
I am worried about being able to make the rent and other costs associated with my own place but I am willing to bust my rear to make it work.
I do have some time to think about it, I am due in Sept and I would wait a little while before looking for a place but its been on my mind for awhile now.
It is kind of a bummer I havenât been able to take full advantage of the âbusy monthsâ because I simply cannot handle the volume of orders in my current situation.