I live in Arizon and im a stay at home mom. I would like to make some money but not have to lose out on family time with getting an outside job. so i was thinking about starting to do cakes and cookie bouquets out of the home. I know i have to have a health inspection and i was wondering if you lovely people have any pointers about what the health people look for? Cleanliness is not a problem but do they look for organization or how about i have 3 dogs will that be a problem? I keep my house very clean have a hint of OCD with cleaning lol. I was just hoping you guys could give me a lil incite on how this all works.. it makes me nervous!! I plan to do it ASAP so please anything will be helpful! Thanks Everyone!!
Maria AKA gummy buns!
There is lots and lots of good info in the Business Forum. Here's a good link to start you out, "States That License Home Bakeries": http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-32550.html
Hopefully some Arizona CC'ers will pop in here for some hands-on info for you!
O.k. think of it this way, you're going to get far more quality family time taking a job at the Walmart bakery or the local grocery store decorating cakes for 10 hours/week than you will owning your own business which is a 24/7/366 job. You'll also make FAR more money working for someone else even at minimum wage than you will your own home based kitchen because of business realities and the "you know you're successful because now they tax the HE** out of yoU!" factor. You also will be able to take time off to go to your kid's parent's night working for someone else. Taking time off owning a business is sometimes an 18mo task.
Most states are very particular about licensing for home based food business'. You need to check with your state, county, and local Department of Agriculture, trade, and consumer protection as well as the health department. They are VERY specific about everything down to the sinks and floor tiles (you know, those tile kitchen floors you look at and think WT Heck was the person thinking that picked out THOSE??? - they're required by the state and cost about 4x as much as the prettier ones). It's also likely going to mean your dogs are going to find new homes (many people are VERY allergic to dogs and cats, there is also the issue of pet dander/hair in the air, and pets do not understand the concept of food safety or hygeine)... Even if you're OCD on cleaning up after pets, that's not to say they aren't going to find your dessert delicious sometime and take a bite. Also, kids add to the stress of getting this stuff done. It's not like baking cookies for them to take to school or have tonight as a snack. You'll be working on deadlines and trust me, when a 4yo (or even a 12yo) see's Mommy's attention diverted someplace other than to him/her they discover just how many ways they can pull your attention away and stress Mommy's sanity.
I don't want to be a downer, it's just that if you want to spend time with your family an in-home baking business is NOT the way to pull it off because you'll be working far more than you would if you just went to work for someone else part time.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that AZ allows home based baking businesses. There are only a handful of states that do. So then your only option is to do it illegally/under the table or to find a commercial kitchen to rent out by the hour.
I've thought about trying to do the home-based thing, but I just really don't want to risk being illegal and it doesn't become worth my time if I have to rent out a kitchen.
There are definitely a lot of factors that you'll have to consider.
I disagree with you couture... I bake from home and I bake duing nap, bed and girls with daddy time... Or I make an extra cake and let the girls "help" me decorate... they have theirs and I have mine... it works out GREAT! I think time management and not taking on more than you can handle is much better advise for some one wanting to get started... also she needs to factor in the cost of childcare if she works OUTside the home... for me with 3 kids that is $300 a WEEK (cause they don't care if the kids come for 5 hours or 50 hours... you pay full time to guarantee the spot)... I would have to make $30 an hour at 10 hours a week if I worked at a local bakery...
It's all in time management, I don't disagree, however when business takes off that daycare time is an absolutely essential expense. Also at a certain point kids no longer take naps. When kids want your attention work comes to a screeching hault, and sometimes not at the best time in the baking/piping process (think "MOMMMMM, I'm DOOOOOONE!" - which means time out to stop what you're doing, go take care of the process, then the time to wash your own hands thoroughly)...
There are other reasons that the expenses outweigh any potential profits is because of the materials expenses, gas expenses, vehicle expenses, cleanup expenses, advertising, and the overall value of time. There also are the loans and interest to pay for that licensed space in many cases.
In any case, I should have mentioned that it may be more valuable to the OP to do a brutally honest business and marketing plan with her family's lifestyle as a primary portion of the plan. A regular college business plan isn't going to include a lot of additions to the cost like business insurance, etc. Also, what happens when the worst case senario happens and the business skyrockets off and out of control busy (most people believe it or not DON'T take the time to plan for when the business gets too busy for their tiny at-home kitchen to handle and have the savings built up to support the transition to the new space)
I have an in home business and a three year old. It works out great! I know his schedule and I work around it. Sometimes he is up while I'm working and it still isn't a problem. It is not a big deal to stop decorating and help your child. Plus in the winter it keeps you from going crazy with boredom. I also let my son decorate or use the fondant like playdough. He loves it! He already knows what Fondant and gumpaste are and a lot of other decorating stuff.
I also have a Dog. In my town as long as you have a gate to keep the Dog from the Kitchen then you can have one. They can't get to your stuff if the gate is in the way.
It can work. I'm living proof. I just don't take on to much and it's fine.
In my state It's up to the city to decide if you can have a cake business in your home. (the state law says you can but then the towns can make amendments) Two towns away you have to have a separate kitchen to do it legally but in my town you don't have to.
I say if you can, go for it!
I know everyone's experiences will be different, but here's mine.
I work out of my home kitchen and have two children, BUT, my 6 year old has been in a full day holiday club over the summer on Wed-Fri's and my daughter goes to nursery 4 full days per week. I couldn't do it without childcare - where I live, small children and animals are not allowed in the kitchen while I'm working (though the actual kitchen requirements were limited to a stainless steel sink & a half and easy-to-clean surfaces).
The maximum amount of orders I will take on is either:
2 weddings or
5 celebration cakes or
1 wedding plus 3 celebration cakes
I used to work nearly FT plus had an awful commute of 3-4 hours per day round trip, so for *me*, cake decorating from home is an improvement on my family time beyond belief. It is also incredibly flexible. I can bake my cakes at the crack of dawn or late at night and so free up some time during the day. I do a lot of gumpaste models/flowers and they can be picked up and put back down when it suits me. I can work my hours so that I'm available for school events etc. It's far more flexible than my previous corporate existence, however, if you are a SAHM and don't have childcare or if your kids aren't in school, depending on the amount of cakes you're intending to take on per week, you might have the opposite experience and find you have less family time. It's all down to how you can schedule your working week.
Oh, and if you don't have a laptop, get one! I spend an *awful* lot of time dealing with customers via e-mail/looking for design ideas/updating my website, and I tend to do it in the evenings sitting on the sofa while my husband watches TV, instead of being shut away in a room upstairs on the PC.