Anyone Have An Office Space For Consulations Only?

Business By cakeschmake Updated 28 Oct 2011 , 3:30am by godsgood

cakeschmake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 5:44pm
post #1 of 24

I have been thinking lately that I am years away from being able to open a full cake shop, but I really want the "presence" of a storefront. I wondered if I can't just rent an small office and set up to meet with customers, have them pick up orders, etc.

I don't like strangers coming to my home, some do but I'd rather deliver so they don't have to come to my house. Last week I ran myself silly meeting people and delivering cakes. I charge delivery fees, but most don't want to pay that when they can come and get it themselves. I won't force customers to pay for delivery if they'd rather pick up.

My main reason is that I live in a small town with a very quaint downtown area full of small businesses and I really want to have a storefront there for exposure. Our city really stresses "shop local business" so people will not drive 40 miles to the nearest big city.

My idea is a small office, with a window display and a consultation area and open by appointment only. By the way, rental space here is very reasonably priced, so I think the boost in business would make up for the costs invovled.

Anyone else do this, or have any ideas or opinions????

23 replies
mommicakes Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 6:11pm
post #2 of 24

I did just that exact thing. I am licensed to bake from home, and I was needing to expand some. So my DH & I found this space right on main street, and I rented it. It is just large enough to have a small office space for my computer in the back and a little bit of work space if needed. I also have a HUGE display window, it is wonderful. I have a consult space on one side of the room and a desk with a laptop so we can browse the internet. It has more than paid for itself in advertising dollars. My rent is very reasonable and I couldn't get the results I am with print advertising. Exposure is everything. I have actually have gotten so busy, that I needed to cut down the hours I physically spent there during the week, so I can do the baking for the orders that keep coming in. I am only open M,T,W, from 10-2 and other hours by appointment. I have to totally say that it has helped me, I would look into doing it if I were you. I also have to say that my baking is done at least 4 miles from the village, (so no real exposure here) but the studio on main street in the bigger town (15 minutes from my house) is a wonderful investment. icon_biggrin.gif

cakeschmake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 7:11pm
post #3 of 24

Mommicakes, your set up sounds exactly like what I want to do. I am glad it is working out for you! That really gives me a boost icon_biggrin.gif

Anyone else out there have an opinion or see any cons to this?

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 7:55pm
post #4 of 24

Don't I wish! Mommicakes it sounds like you have my deam set up. I think it's a great idea and will really add to your overall professional look. That is my ultimate goal, a very small big front window office. Yup, thats what I'm gonna call it my big window office/studio. If the rent is cheap and you can do it. I say go for it! Ah...((sighs wistfully))...one day...

CakeForte Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:05pm
post #5 of 24

that's what I do as well (I rent from a separate kitchen). I think it has helped w/ bookings as it has a different image from a home baker. It's also nice to have everything set up in one place, w/ some separation from home.

cakeschmake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:08pm
post #6 of 24

Thanks LaBellaFlor! I am still sighing wistfully myself everytime I drive thru our downtown. icon_smile.gif
I want to really sit down and work out a plan so I wanted some opinions, see what others thought about the idea.

cakeschmake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:30pm
post #7 of 24

I agree CakeForte, I want to appear more professional. My area is full of homebakers who aren't legal, so I think this will separate me from them.

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:34pm
post #8 of 24

Just show pics. when you get it all set up! icon_smile.gif

mommicakes Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 9:42pm
post #9 of 24

DH wants to take some pictures of my studio from the road and post on my website, and I will post here too to show you all what my set up looks like.

tapedshut.gif But I have to wait for it NOT to be Raining!!!

cakeschmake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 10:37pm
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommicakes

DH wants to take some pictures of my studio from the road and post on my website, and I will post here too to show you all what my set up looks like.

tapedshut.gif But I have to wait for it NOT to be Raining!!!




Great, I can't wait thumbs_up.gif

mommicakes Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 12:55am
post #11 of 24

Hey Becky: here is the photo of the outside of my studio. Today the sun was out and we were able to get a decent picture. icon_biggrin.gif

It isn't that big of a space, but it is right on the corner of Main Street & Center Street.

Directly across the street (where we were standing to take the pic) is a STOP SIGN, so you can't help but to see my studio and wait for traffic. icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif
LL

LaBellaFlor Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 1:01am
post #12 of 24

Thay have to stop in fromt of your shop?1 How lucky is that? thumbs_up.gif

mommicakes Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 1:26am
post #13 of 24

icon_lol.gif Yeah, not very nice is it???? I just cringe when the cars actually take the corner by the building. I have seen a few close turns. I have to be careful not to put anything to dramatic in the window. I don't want a crash in the middle of town. lol.

icon_lol.gif

cakeschmake Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 3:20am
post #14 of 24

Your display is so pretty! Sounds like you have a great spot!

I'd be flattered if I were you and someone wrecked because they were distracted by the window display icon_biggrin.gif Assuming they were okay, and so was my window icon_lol.gif

I may be able to make it happen sooner than I thought. I ran the idea by my sister... she is a photographer and we may share a space for both of our businesses and share the expenses. Lots to work out first though!

LaBellaFlor Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 4:39am
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by beckyw321

Your display is so pretty! Sounds like you have a great spot!

I'd be flattered if I were you and someone wrecked because they were distracted by the window display icon_biggrin.gif Assuming they were okay, and so was my window icon_lol.gif

I may be able to make it happen sooner than I thought. I ran the idea by my sister... she is a photographer and we may share a space for both of our businesses and share the expenses. Lots to work out first though!




Oh what a great idea! That would be bringing in business for both of you. Even if someone comes in looking for the one service, they'll see the other one there. Okay, so just keep us posted. I'm not gonna delete this thread. Isn't it exciting when you see someone grow and become succesful?!icon_biggrin.gif

mommicakes Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 1:14pm
post #16 of 24

icon_smile.gif Thank you Becky! I was very nervous at first, but now, I know it was the right thing to do!!

I hope that you and your sister can do it!!! It would be such a wonderful thing. Especially if your sister is a photog. you may even be able to work off of each other, and offer package deals. icon_biggrin.gif

I would look into it seriously, what could it hurt? I wish you super luck. If not right now, then, I am sure that something will just drop in your lap. We walked right into this one. The right time will come. icon_wink.gif

Keep me posted, and if you need to bounce ideas around, pm me & I'll try to help.

Donna

cakeschmake Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 8:50pm
post #17 of 24

Thanks for the encouragement ladies, I appreciate it!

We are going to do some shopping around and see what we can find.. I will keep you posted for sure!

supakiki Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 4:21pm
post #18 of 24

This is a brilliant idea!! Would anyone mind telling me how much they pay for their rent? Sorry, am I too nosey? just wondering how much money is not too much that is a great investment for the business.

cakeschmake Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 7:00pm
post #19 of 24

Supakiki,

I found a spot here for $650 per month, there are others for around $550-$600 too. For just me I may not be ready to take on quite that much, but I am going to share space with my sister and split the rent/utilities, that makes a big difference!

KMKakes Posted 15 Oct 2011 , 4:27pm
post #20 of 24

So am I understanding this correctly: You will have a legalized kitchen at your home yet the office and consultant part of it will be in a small store front? If this is correct, I love it and it is a brillant idea.

costumeczar Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 4:57pm
post #21 of 24

Wow,this is an old thread...I share space with four other wedding pros who also work from home. I use the office for consults only, and pay $95 a month. Totally worth it.

godsgood Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 9:36pm
post #22 of 24

Mommicakes,

I am actually getting ready to do this very thing, and I wondered if you could answer a couple questions? When I started 5 years ago, Michigan did not have the Cottage Foods Law, and so I used the kitchen at my church, which was health inspected every two years, and I have a business license. Last year Michigan passed the Cottage Foods Law, and now I want to just do it from home. I have always wanted a shop, and just last week one kind of fell into my lap. It does not have room for the baking, and I don't want to have to deal with setting all that up and permits and inspections and whatnot. So I am going to be doing just what you are doing. I wondered if you have to have insurance? And also, so you have any pics of the inside? What do you do there while you're open the few hours a week? Do you sell anything on the spot, like cupcakes or cake pops or anything like that? Did you have to have a business license to open that? And have you had to have any permits or anything from the city? Any advice you could give would be great, because we are planning to be opening in two weeks. Thanks!

cakeschmake Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 4:43pm
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Wow,this is an old thread...I share space with four other wedding pros who also work from home. I use the office for consults only, and pay $95 a month. Totally worth it.



I am working on finding some other people to share the space with me actually, Im glad it works out for you! I have just found over the last year that Im not using the space as much as I thought and there is plenty of room for others, plus some help with the rent would be nice

Quote:
Originally Posted by godsgood

Mommicakes,
I am actually getting ready to do this very thing, and I wondered if you could answer a couple questions? When I started 5 years ago, Michigan did not have the Cottage Foods Law, and so I used the kitchen at my church, which was health inspected every two years, and I have a business license. Last year Michigan passed the Cottage Foods Law, and now I want to just do it from home. I have always wanted a shop, and just last week one kind of fell into my lap. It does not have room for the baking, and I don't want to have to deal with setting all that up and permits and inspections and whatnot. So I am going to be doing just what you are doing. I wondered if you have to have insurance? And also, so you have any pics of the inside? What do you do there while you're open the few hours a week? Do you sell anything on the spot, like cupcakes or cake pops or anything like that? Did you have to have a business license to open that? And have you had to have any permits or anything from the city? Any advice you could give would be great, because we are planning to be opening in two weeks. Thanks!



Maybe Mommicakes can give some advice too, but since its been a year since I opened the studio it has been great for business. Having the studio is more professional, I am able to distinguish myself from the illegal home bakers in the area. As far as insurance goes, my landlord suggested it to protect myself so I dont know if it is required or not it may be something that varies from state to state???? I had planned on being open for walk in orders but I stopped that pretty quickly for a few reasons, but mainly because Im lazy!!! LOL I like the little bit of free time I have at home so not being able to decorate at the studio because of the licensing requirements I decided that I didnt want to spend all day there and then have to come home and work on the cakes at night. Plus, my 5 year old is with me during the day and he got bored pretty easily sitting around my office. I also decided that for now I would not sell anything to walk in traffic, the local people have gotten used to that and I have to explain it some but they get it, I only do custom orders so Im only open by appointment. Ive been tossing around the idea of doing cupcakes several days per week but again, dont want to give up my free time just yet I feel like it would be two jobs for me and I didnt want to neglect custom orders for cupcakes. I already had a business license when I started that covered me where I live in the county, but the studio is in city limits so I had to get a separate license for the city too. I hope this helps! Good luck!!

godsgood Posted 28 Oct 2011 , 3:30am
post #24 of 24

Thank you, that helps so much! I'm hoping to be open by the end of next week (well, my next consult is Wednesday, so hoping to be able to do that there). My 5 year old is in all day kindergarten, so that helps me out with the amount of time I have available, but I do have my two year old all day. I don't think I will be open to walk in business at all either, at least at first. I did end up getting insurance because the landlord required it in the lease. Can't wait to see what it will do for my business, I really hope it's worth it!

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