Is One Better Than The Other? Home-Based Or Seperate Shop?

Business By lish1904 Updated 17 Aug 2009 , 3:10am by lish1904

lish1904 Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 5:50pm
post #1 of 42

I'm curious as if there is a better option of having a home-based business or having a shop, for those that have the option. I know that every state is different. If you had the option, how and why did you make your decision. The start up costs are obviously different but does more income come in from having a seperate shop? The possibility of opening a shop is still 10 years away but I think about it all the time and am constantly curious about what it takes and how it feels to own your own business. icon_biggrin.gifusaribbon.gif

THX for your help

41 replies
leah_s Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 9:42pm
post #2 of 42

Well, I always say that the BEST thing about working from home is that you're always close to work.

And the WORST thing about working from home is that you're always close to work.

My state regs give me the option. I'm still at home in a licensed kitchen after 10 years. I get the bug to move to a storefront, and then I remember I wouldn't be able to drop everything and run an errand in the afternoon, or take a nap, or whatever. I like the flexibility of working at home.

blu_canary Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:19pm
post #3 of 42

I think I'm with you, leahs. I'm just starting to get my name out. And NOT taking on wedding cakes yet. BUT working from home is great for the convenience.

Unfortunately, neither family nor friends seem to understand when I am working, I really am working. I'm not messing around in the kitchen with cake, ready to drop what I'm doing at any moment. Still working on that one.

-K8memphis Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:31pm
post #4 of 42

Well long ago it would have been nice to work from home legally because I had kidlettes to watch and raise.

Then it would have been nice to work from home to keep overhead down so I could be choosey what work I did--could say no to some clients. Plus keep the business at a low roar--not having to hire a bunch of people and juggle payroll like Indy and SnarkBuddy and many others.

Leah, are you solo there? You have some help doncha?

Now then it would be nice to work from home because said kidlettes have their own places and my health is not perfect and I still don't want a full blown retail bakery business. Still just wanna do the artsy fartsy stuff but legally.

We should move huh.

Wow you are in Havana? What are the requirements like there???

lish1904 Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 10:52pm
post #5 of 42

Thanks for the comments! Having a home based business versus store front does sound nice. I like convenience icon_surprised.gif)

In Havana I sell only to the diplomats. Because Cuba is still a communist country I can't and won't even try to sell to the locals. They average out making $20 a month!! But I asked for opinions because my husband is in the military and we have our options about where to retire. So moving to a state with the option to have a home based business will be a big deciding factor for us. But while living here for the next 2.5 years I plan to get as good as I can at cake decorating. But you wouldn't believe how hard it is not having supplies available.

-K8memphis Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 11:02pm
post #6 of 42

Ok gotcha. Yeah I was freaking out. I just want to hug the Cuban people and pray they get a better life.


So think of it this way though--please don't think of it as a state where you can be legal--drop it all down to the exact city and county because for example it seems legal in the state of Tennessee but it is not.

Just an idea for you.

Another thing about a home based business is you can not only get a nap in like Leah said you can take off a month and not have the meter running on ginormous overhead with no income to offset it.

lish1904 Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 11:13pm
post #7 of 42

That is a very good point K8 about taking time off. Also thanks for telling me to be specific about city/county int he state. I thought any law would apply to the whole state

Doug Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 11:18pm
post #8 of 42
Originally Posted by lish1904

That is a very good point K8 about taking time off. Also thanks for telling me to be specific about city/county int he state. I thought any law would apply to the whole state

State laws can be overruled by local (county, city) laws.

small example:

in NY State -- right turn on red is legal.

in NY CITY -- not on your life -- what you wanna get dead!?


just like certain national laws can be overruled by state (example how California has stricter car emission requirements)


and at the city level -- there's this little thing called ZONING.

in this part of the city you can do xyz, but in this other part - no way.

leah_s Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 11:40pm
post #9 of 42

Nope, no help. Well, DH is great for helping with deliveries, but no baking or decorating help.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:14am
post #10 of 42
Originally Posted by leahs

Nope, no help. Well, DH is great for helping with deliveries, but no baking or decorating help.

So while you shoulder the whole ball of wax, you have no payroll checks to write, and all the other falderal, taxes, social security etc. No extra people to have to hope you can depend on.

But then you probably have key person insurance too. You break an arm and up the creek we go huh. (I'll drive over--call me!)

So I love that you have such a great basic setup. I mean of course it goes without saying but I'll say it anyhow you work your toosh off. But yours is the kind of business set up I'd like to have.

Deb_ Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:39am
post #11 of 42

For me I love having a separate licensed kitchen in my basement. I can't tell you how many nights I'm down there til 2a.m. or later working. It's nice to just shut the door turn off the lights and go upstairs to bed when I'm through.

Move to can even have your family kitchen licensed here! I need local cake buddies! icon_biggrin.gif

lish1904 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:57am
post #12 of 42

Sorry dkelly but MA is to cold for me lol. I want to live near a beach and warm waters. I've been trying to look online for info on Jacksonville,FL but besides phone numbers I can't find much. The other option we are considering is MS bc that's where parents live and having a separate kitchen is allowed.

Deb_ Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:00am
post #13 of 42

Awww shucks, we have beaches......Newport, RI is only 45 minutes away, Martha's Vineyard (Obama is going there in a week or so), Nantucket, Cape Cod.......plenty of beaches........although the water temp is about 70 degrees icon_lol.gif

I don't think you can have a licensed home kitchen in FL.

Motta Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:26am
post #14 of 42

In my very limited research, I think storefronts are making a bigger "splash" than the home-based cake businesses. They are a larger presence and are generating volume and more income so...more profits hopefully??? I guess it depends on how rich you want to be and how busy you want your life to be. BUT, all the conveniences of home are soooo enticing.

cheatize Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:18am
post #15 of 42

I'm still slow at decorating right now so I cannot imagine the number of goods I would have to create day after day to even break even in my own storefront. I just don't think there are enough hours in the day.

CakeForte Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:37am
post #16 of 42

I don't think one is better than the other, it just depends on your business/personal goals. My goal is to have a huge operation, not necessarily a walk in retail place though. The funds though....still working on that one!

SandraVB79 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:55am
post #17 of 42

FWIW, imho, the water in MA was way warmer than the water in CA! icon_smile.gif (the sea water that is)
Cape Cod is SO pretty. Think of all the lobster, clam chowder, scallops, ... and cake of course!
I need to move to MA. Damn that green card and work permit.

grandmom Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 10:03am
post #18 of 42

For my circumstances, home-based will be better. I'll be retiring from my day job in a few years, so I don't want a big booming business, just a small one. I am a homebody by nature, so staying in the house would be just great.

I'm currently talking with our HD about the requirements for a licensed kitchen in the basement. It pains me to have to build another kitchen when I have already spent a gazillion dollars on a very nice remodelling of our large kitchen in our 100+ year old house. But I'll do it if I can.

My biggest worry is how to get cakes out of the basement! I would have to carry them up a spiral staircase, and not a very wide one, or out the exterior basement door, which is a walk up/out. By that I mean you have to walk up three steps to get out. Then there is a small enclosure that is actually under an overhanging back porch on the main level. So the cake would have to be carried through that. then through the yard and out of a gate and up a sidewalk to get to the vehicle. Big pain and treacherous pathways. Guess I could redo the stone walkways to make them wider and smoother so that a cart could be used once past the three steps.

Or put in a dumbwaiter - but that's expensive too!

cfao Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:02pm
post #19 of 42

I am also in Ma. and we converted our entire basement to a cake bakery and bridal showroom. We have a business down there instead of a family / game room. Like dkelly says, when you're done working you're already at home. The family has learned once mom shuts that door, it's the same as me "going" to work. I am a one person shop so I can ask the boss anytime for time off. My son is 17 and a high end bowler, so this year I took 6 weeks off and just posted on my web site I was booked those 6 weeks. It was wonderful to spend that time with him, we went to Philly, D.C., St.Louis, Indy and Florida. I couldn't have done that if I had a regular job or a storefront bakery unless I had a lot of hired help.

My parents have their own business that was always them, myself & my brother when we were growning up. When we were teens, they decided to build a larger location and hire help. They went from the 4 of us to 15-20 employees for about 10 years. They really didn't clear any more money than they did when it was just the family. Payrole, taxes, insurance and everything else that goes with having hired help ate up any extra profits they brought in so they have downsized to just the two of them. They are back to being happy and can take time off whenever they want to again.

lish1904 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 8:01pm
post #20 of 42

That's another good point cfao about your parent's busines. Even though they were pulling in more money they had to give out more. There is no right or wrong answer to my question, but I like hearing the pros and cons. I admire business owners so much because it is such a scary venture. All the time, money, sweat, & tears you pour into it with no guarantee it will succeed. But at the same time I would hate to go through life wondering What If?

Motta Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 11:34pm
post #21 of 42

grandmom- I have the same issues about stairs! I love dumbwaiters but way too expensive and some contractors have never heard of them.

Yes, no right or wrong answers.

Lish1904 - great question and one I've been pondering for a while. These responses have helped me to decide that I'll do a home business for a while and see how I like it. THanks for posting this.

Cascades Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 5:15am
post #22 of 42

Does anybody have a separate store front just for a showroom and a place to meet potential clients?
I have a licensed home based kitchen but would love a small storefront to showcase my. Cakes. I am finding brides a little hesitant without a storefront.

Loucinda Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:13pm
post #23 of 42

I have the best of both worlds here in Ohio. Home based here. I have been offered the opportunity (twice!) to have an actual storefront - and after crunching the numbers, NOT worth it to me. I have the flexibility to turn down orders if I so choose, which if I had a storefront, I wouldn't be able to do. I have a completely remodeled kitchen here now (27 x 15) and half of it is the "industrial" side. My kids are all grown and gone, so I don't have any distractions for when I need to concentrate! I love my new kitchen and I have my tastings right here so the folks can SEE where and how my space for baking/decorating is. I am on the smaller scale for now, but business picks up more and more each year.

Carolynlovescake Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 4:23pm
post #24 of 42

I've done both.

I like the ability to lock the shop door and leave it at the shop. If a customer comes by and the closed sign is up, to bad so sad.

If you are from your home you get customers who don't care about business hours. They don't care if you are at the table at 6:00 eating with the family, if you don't answer they continue to ring the door bell and bang on the door for you to open it so they can discuss their order/potential order/contract etc. If you are home you need to help them period. Not all are like that but many are.

My business hours are my business hours. At 6:30 I want to be having family time, dinner, working on the kids homework etc. not having you arrive to pick up your child when you should have been here easily by 5:45 then look at me, look at the family eating and say "why didn't you just start on dinner and feed my precious child too since you knew I'd be so late."

My business hours are my business hours. At 8:45 I want to be tucking my kids into bed, reading them a bedtime story, and saying their prayers not answering the door and having you say "I we were just out for dinner in the area and I wanted my fiance to gt a taste of your cakes really quick since he couldn't make the tasting, do you mind if we do a quick sampling." "Oh we were in the area and wanted to review our contract really quick" etc.

Other than the disrespect of a few being home based is a great thing.

leah_s Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 4:53pm
post #25 of 42

You have got to be kidding. In 10 years, I have had one person knock on my door without an appointment. No one "drops by." Hmmm . . . maybe it's that strongly worded statement on my website on the Read This First page.

Kiddiekakes Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 6:18pm
post #26 of 42

I love being home based for many of the reasons already stated..I can come and go as I please....take my kidlettes to school and pick them up at 3:15..I can volunteer at the school for a few hours if I like....I can stand and watch the TV for a moment without being yelled at and I can pick and choose what I want to do for orders...I too am a home body and I enjoy my time alone.This year for the first time in 8 years both my kids are in school all day so it will be nice.I am the only one so I don't have to pay out all the wages etc...If I were to open up a store front it would be very we are talking hundreds of thousands...since this is a large city there is no space available to buy but you have to lease..Leasing space in a strip mall in a new area or anywhere is like $5000,00 a month for 1000 square feet.Then you have to hire a contracter to build the store layout inside as most of the space is completely empty.Equipment and all the other stuff that creeps up so to just get started would be about $250,000 here...Just not worth going into debt with the banks for that! Lots to consider....

cfao Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 6:20pm
post #27 of 42


You have been VERY lucky to only have 1 in 10 years. I have everywhere we are by appointment only, but about 20 a year just show up - happened to be the neighborhood. I even had a couple pull in driveway the day of my son's first communion. They said great, you're here, and I said I'd be glad to make an appointment for them, but in case you couldn't tell by the 30 cars in the yard and the 100 people on the lawn, I'm not open right now! I even have on my web site the week of Thanksgiving is family week: no cakes, no calls, no consultations in big letters. You just know somebody will call or email to please make the exception just for them - and then they'll show up after I've said no.

IsaSW Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 7:30pm
post #28 of 42

Another thing about a home based business is you can not only get a nap in like Leah said you can take off a month and not have the meter running on ginormous overhead with no income to offset it.

I like the idea of the nap and the one month off. All for it.

leily Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 7:51pm
post #29 of 42

I also think this questions really depends on what you are selling and hwo you want to sell it.

If I had a store front most people around here would expect me to have items ready to go out the door when they walk in, so I would have to have a case or two with cookies, cupcakes or other sweets in single portions. There are additional overheads with this also. If I had a store front i KNOW I would not be able to do it alone so I would have to hire employees. With the extra work of keeping the place up and having additional items on hand..... I don't think I would get to do as many special orders as I would want.

Being at home I can do only special orders (which is what I want to do, at least for now) so I can keep my strict 2 week notice policy, or if I have time or want the money I can decide that too. (special orders I can still do with a store front though, but most people don't understand that for some reason - wal-mart mentality I guess)

lish1904 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 7:58pm
post #30 of 42

I'm loving everyone's posts! The more I read the more I want a home based business. I told my husband we have to retire somewhere that allows me to have a seperate shop on our land. The option of having your own business and being flexible how you choose is great.

Quote by @%username% on %date%