Need Advice...please

Business By FH_Cakes Updated 20 Aug 2009 , 8:45pm by andrewj

FH_Cakes Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 3:55pm
post #1 of 16

So here's my dilema:

I started Cake Decorating this year as a hobby, howerver I soon found I have a real talent for it. So I started up a little business not knowing it was actually illegal. I have been keeI am afraid I will have to stay illegal.ping it all under wraps (just friends/family) but I desperatley want to grow and start advertising. In the state of WA you can't bake from your home unless you have an entirely seperate kitchen. So here's what I found: I can rent a Commercial Kitchen to do all of my baking/decorating at leagally, the kicker is the expense of all of it. It will cost me $400 to get a permit, then $244 per year to keep it. Then I have the cost of Licensing, Insurance, Driving to the kitchen, the kitchen rental and of cource all my supplies. So in the end I will have to charge $10 per serving just to even out. I am so torn....What do I do? I hate the fact that they make it so hard for me to provide for my family but at this point I am afraid I will have to stay illegal. What do I do?????

15 replies
indydebi Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 4:01pm
post #2 of 16

All of these expenses are what business owners deal with every single day. It's the cost of being in business. The key to reducing costs is to increase volume. In a commercial oven, I can bake three 3-tier cakes all in one shot, about an hour's time. You're going to pay the same rate for that kitchen whether you bake one cake or 18 cakes.

At least you're not paying $2000 a month rent for a comm'l kitchen PLUS the loan payment on $40,000 worth of equipment PLUS any contracting bills to build out the kitchen PLUS the monthly utilities etc etc.

you're still coming out ahead.

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 4:05pm
post #3 of 16

This is one of those really hot topics around here and don't be surprised if people tell you things you don't want to hear.

Where I live, home kitchens can't be licensed either. It's tempting to go ahead and sell cakes. I know people who do it and they make some money doing it. The couple of times I've made a cake for someone and they've given money, it's definitely a pleasant feeling. The thing that really keeps me from doing it is that I wouldn't be able to get insurance, and I wouldn't want to get sued. But then again, last summer we were so broke we could barely afford food (sometimes we just fed the kids and we didn't eat) and I'm not doing that again, so if I get to that point and I can't find a job, then I'll get over my hesitation and go ahead and do some cakes.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 4:14pm
post #4 of 16

You could do what I do and launch and manage a bookstore.

icon_biggrin.gif

loriemoms Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 4:51pm
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

All of these expenses are what business owners deal with every single day. It's the cost of being in business. The key to reducing costs is to increase volume. In a commercial oven, I can bake three 3-tier cakes all in one shot, about an hour's time. You're going to pay the same rate for that kitchen whether you bake one cake or 18 cakes.

At least you're not paying $2000 a month rent for a comm'l kitchen PLUS the loan payment on $40,000 worth of equipment PLUS any contracting bills to build out the kitchen PLUS the monthly utilities etc etc.

you're still coming out ahead.




I agree completely. Welcome to owning a business!

leah_s Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 4:54pm
post #6 of 16

The answer's really quite simple.
1. Get legal or
2. don't

If you choose (2), then know that you're putting your home, car, bank accounts and family's welfare on the line every time you sell a cake. If you get sued and you are running an illegal business, everything you have could be taken in the settlement.

If you are truly trying to provide for your family then you will choose (1), or take a job in a bakery or somewhere else and save your money until you have enough to open your own place.

Also with (1) you show your children, if you have them, that playing by the rules is simply the right thing to do. As is saving for your dream.

Larkin121 Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 11:27pm
post #7 of 16

I'm in WA, too, looking at the same things. Curious - what does the kitchen you are renting want you to pay? In my calcuations, renting at $20 an hour, I can price cakes at $5 a serving, and that's with everything from scratch, and fondant, too. And that includes my per hour labor charge.

Yeah, the licenses and permits cost a decent chunk, but divided up per month, they aren't all that much. Insurance, at least for me when I called, is $350 per year... not much either.

But then I'm looking at renting on an as need basis rather than a set amount per month, so if I don't get an order, I'm not paying for kitchen time.

Maybe your kitchen rental price is too high for what you are trying to do? Have you tried finding another option? I know they don't come easy - I only really have one good prospect right now, and even that one isn't quite perfect, but it'll do...

umgrzfn Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 11:37pm
post #8 of 16

What part of washington are the two of you in? I as well am in Washington and doing the same thing. However, my hubby built me a kitchen. I am still looking to go in with someone for a bigger space if either of you two are somewhat close to me!!! I live by Tacoma.

Larkin121 Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 11:48pm
post #9 of 16

I'm in Puyallup. The kicthen I'm considering is actually a catering company's and it's in Tacoma.

How AWESOME that your hubby built you a kitchen!! That is like my dream come true, but it would be years and years and years before I could come up with that kind of money. Ah well, I can dream. icon_smile.gif

If you, or anyone else in WA, finds a place and needs to share or wants to rent it out by the hour to another baker, do let me know. I need it to be within 30 min from me as I have two tiny little ones at home and can't work at a kitchen until after hubby is home from work, which means I need as little driving time as possible.

To the OP, not sure where in WA you are, but if you are closer to Seattle, there are 2 shared kitchens up there that rent out time for a really decent cost, and there is one in Lynwood, I think, and another I've heard of in Kirkland. All too far from me. There is one in Renton, too.

Someone needs to build a big shared kitchen in the south Sound, 'cause I have found nothing like it south of Renton!

FH_Cakes Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 12:51am
post #10 of 16

I am in Vancouver, WA. The kitchen I was going to rent was doing a barter deal at first until my business picked up. I do not do cakes enough to justify all of the expensis.

Larkin121 Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 3:43am
post #11 of 16

You may not do them enough now, but do you WANT to do them more? I mean.... wouldn't the point of looking around for a place to rent be because you want to make this a business? And if so, wouldn't your goal be to increase the number of cakes you are currently doing?

The bartering deal sounds amazing. I wish I could work that out. Sounds like it would cost you very little - just the start up of the license + permits... which is a lot less than most business start ups cost.

I get how you wish you could just do a few cakes for friends and friends of friends and make a little money legally - I wish that, too. But I also dream of doing this beyond that circle, and that's why I need to be legal and have a place to work out of.

I intend to do this part time only, at least for another 5 years til my baby is in school. Therefore, I plan to do only 3-4 big cakes (or maybe a couple more smaller) per month. Doing that, with my math and my costs, I can make a pretty decent addition to our income while doing something I love.

I hope you can find something that works for you! It just seems like something like a bartering for kitchen space arrangement should easily be paid off by just a handful of cakes. How many cakes would it take before you paid off the permit fees? And if you are bartering instead of paying a rent, would it really be so much that you'd have to charge $10 a slice? I just can't figure out how a cake could cost that much to make (not that I think no one should charge $10....but that would be for the skill and labor as far as I can tell) if you aren't paying a monthly lease or something.

umgrzfn Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 4:14am
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larkin121

.

Someone needs to build a big shared kitchen in the south Sound, 'cause I have found nothing like it south of Renton!



I'm with you!!!!! Same with cake supply shops! I mean...REALLY?! We live in such a "known" area, by that I mean Seattle but yet we have TWO, yep, TWO cake supply shops. I DO NOT mean Joanns or Michaels!!! And those two, well, one is in Seattle (1+ hour away) and the other is in Kirkland (1+ hour away). They aren't big by no means!!!!!!! Paying the S&H on line is just a killer and isn't an expense that we should have to consider when pricing our cakes!

Ok, Larkin....if you need/want to share the expenses of the kitchen in Tacoma, please let me know so we can proceed with a plan! Feel free to PM me if you want to set something up. I have a 5 y/o and am thankful she will be in school this year. Not cause I want my baby to grow up, but I understand what it's like when you can't just pick up and do errands or anything especially when you have to wait for your spouse to get home so you can have some much needed "mommy time"!! Please, please, please let me know if you want to get together!!!!!
Forgot to mention...the thought of a convection oven (especially with my weekend problem red velvet cake) and a reach in/walk in fridge is like heaven!!!!

FH_Cakes Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 3:00pm
post #13 of 16

Thanks to everyone for the reponse. After much deliberation I made the decision to wait until both my boys are in school so I can take this up full-time. By then I should have enough money saved to pay for all of my start-up costs. Thanks again, you are all wonderful!

mikimouse Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 4:19pm
post #14 of 16

Thanks umgrzfn for the confirmation that there are only two supply stores in this area. I know of those two and have tried in vain to find more (they are small and hit or miss...but I love them as well). Now I can quit looking and get back to baking icon_smile.gif. On the otherhand... I'm in love with Central Market for ingredients, they carry basic stuff at reasonable prices as well as the fantastic fancy high-end ingredients for really fun baking. Don't know if they are in the South Sound yet but it's a fun place to go and dream. There are so many cake bakers/decorators in these parts...seem like there's a market for a supply store / rental kitchen combo...

Larkin121 Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 4:23pm
post #15 of 16

I've only been to the one in Kirkland, and they don't carry much, and I've heard the one in Seattle doesn't either.

I lived in Lake Stevens last year and used to go to Central Market now and then... it's a great store. We don't have any in the South end, though. We do have Metropolitan Market and they carry all the high end chocolates for baking.

So, now all we have to do is find somebody who has lots of money and wants to invest in building a great cake supply/kitchen rental place, with two locations: one north and one south! icon_smile.gif

andrewj Posted 20 Aug 2009 , 8:45pm
post #16 of 16

We manufacture cookies and are also looking for kitchen space in the Tacoma area. I live in Auburn. The closest facility we have found is in Renton, but they only have some night spots available. That's too difficult with kids. So please let me know if you find anything.

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