I have had a suggestion that I could get started by renting a kitchen which is certified from a local organization like a Church or VFW. How much would I expect to pay or offer to pay to use a kitchen like this? Would it be a set fee for each day I use the kitchen or a portion of the price of the cake I am contracted to sell? What are the other concerns with regards to this kind of cake decorating?
According to most people I've read about on here, they pay either a set price for the time, or they pay a monthly fee and are allowed to use it during certain hours--and you pay whether you use it or not. It seems to vary a bit depending on the arrangements they make. The only place around here that I have found to rent requires a 2-hour minimum (which is no problem when you're doing cakes, of course), but it's $50 for that time. If I need a kitchen for a long stretch to do a big wedding cake I can't even charge enough here for the cake to cover my expenses, never mind get paid for my time. I'm still looking around, or since they don't normally have people rent it for lots of time I may see if I can cut a deal for longer stretches on a regular basis. The charge at this kitchen seems pretty middle of the road for most places, but some people have found less expensive kitchens.
Check in your area and see if there's an incubator kitchen. The closest one to me is over 300 miles away!
I am actually renting the kitchen of a donut shop. It works for us because she works in the morning and since I still work full-time, I am working at night. I work my day job Mon - thur for 10 hour days and that leaves most of Friday for decorating. This is a new arrangement and I will make my first cake there next weekend, providing she has the refrigerator fixed. We looked at places that were small businesses and did mainly breakfast or breakfast and lunch. The first place we talked to actually agreed to the arrangement almost immediately.
We did a formal lease agreement drew up my our lawyer that she also took to her lawyer. It protects her and us. Because we weren't sure what kind of business we might have in the very beginning with a small rent per month and a percentage of each cake. It guarantees her income and the more cakes that I make, the more money she makes. And, I'm not limited to the number of hours I can work, I can work as many as I want to.
We all feel like it's a great agreement for both sides. Once I've been there for a couple of months, I'll give an update on how it's working.
Great thread. I am hoping to find go this route as well!