How To Get A Cake Business Going When I Cant Advertise??

Decorating By ltj2010 Updated 19 Feb 2010 , 1:55am by KPCakes

ltj2010 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:23am
post #1 of 28

I recently contacted my local health department. And they told me I can have a cake business from my home kitchen as long as I didnt do it more than 3 days a week and didnt do any paid advertising. How can I get started without advertising? I know word of mouth is the best advertising but I have only made a couple cakes and dont know a lot of people

27 replies
kater82 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:27am
post #2 of 28

take around some free cakes. I know it sounds like advertising, but, when people see your work and taste it, there is no better thing!!

oh oh here is another one. Go to a office or something and do a drawing for a free birthday cake. (of course limit size etc..) but that would help to.

ncox Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 4:48am
post #3 of 28

Do you have a facebook or myspace page? Make a personal page and posts your cake pics on there. Do not solicit and you will be surprised at the people who will contact you. Can I ask what state you are in?

cheatize Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:01am
post #4 of 28

If you are on Facebook or Myspace, create a photo album of your work but set the permission so anyone can see it. Otherwise, only your friends will be able to view it.

JanH Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:09am
post #5 of 28

I would definitely get confirmation of these statements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltj2010

And they told me I can have a cake business from my home kitchen as long as I didnt do it more than 3 days a week





If you're industrious and can crank out thirty 12x18 sheetcakes every three days which would be over 120 cakes a month or over 1440 cakes a year - would that still be okay? And is there a dollar amount that you can't exceed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltj2010

and didnt do any paid advertising.




When they say "paid" does that mean "involves any cost on your part" because that would limit you strictly to word of mouth.

Or does that mean you can't pay any third party to advertise on your behalf (radio, tv, magazines, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kater82

take around some free cakes. I know it sounds like advertising, but, when people see your work and taste it, there is no better thing!!

oh oh here is another one. Go to a office or something and do a drawing for a free birthday cake. (of course limit size etc..) but that would help to.




How is this NOT advertising when you're seeking out people to gift with your product (cake) in hopes of obtaining future orders.

And in the second recommendation, you're soliciting their names for a contact list of potential customers (in exchange for an opportunity to get your product/cake for free).

HTH

BarbieAnnPlaysWithHerFOOD Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 10:44am
post #6 of 28

craigslist..
i see people advertising on there all the time.. home bakers ect.
I am 99.9 % positive it is illegal in my home state ( WA.) no matter how many cakes you do per week... as far as I know, you have to be a liscenced kitchen PERIOD (which requires a whole other kitchen from your regular one)
but regardless, i STILL see a lot of listing on craigslist.. which is free to post.
you can post a flyer on telephone poles maybe?
myspace and facebook were great ideas, although i havnt gottn any offers off of there (except from a somebody that i already knew )
and flickr is free too...

noahsmummy Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 11:17am
post #7 of 28

facebook. also just take random cakes to random things. take for example today i took a thankyou cake to my sons kindy (its his last day) along with some mocha cake truffles. I got 3 "orders" requested. I also took one to my study group last week, got a whole lot of other request and was asked if i was ok with my name being passed to peoples friends.

now unfortunatley im not in business. =( quite impossible where i am ive recently discovered. so i had tot urn all these lovely people down. guess i have to just stick to making cakes for friends bday's and such.

quick question thats on my mind, if i only charge someone for the ingredients of the cake, thats all, like pass them the reciept of what i had to buy and they just reimburse me.. or even have them bring the ingredients to me.. does this still constitute a business? and require me to meet all the rules and regs? i love making cakes, and have free time.. but i cant eat so much cake dammit! nor can i afford all the ingredients to just be constantly handing out free cakes... =(


Good luck tho!

Sherry1030 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 12:14pm
post #8 of 28

I am mostly a hobby baker, just for friends, etc, but lately word of mouth has been picking up. I agree, Facebook is a great outlet, especially since you can post your pictures. Do you have kids? I always make sure to send in cupcakes/cakes to my daughters' schools and cheer team for their bdays, most times the other kids are quite impressed and tell their parents they want one too. Also, I donate a cake in raffles/auctions for their school/team fundraisers which gets my name out there and also gives me an opportunity to bake for 'strangers' who will then serve it to more potential customers. Baking for church functions gets your name out there as well... Word of mouth is key - especially if you can't advertise! Hope that helps a bit - good luck!

KHalstead Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 2:54pm
post #9 of 28

I just wanted to add that I "advertise" at about 20 different online sources and hand out business cards, and through word of mouth (best advertising)......and I pay $0.00 for all of it.

got the business cards for free even through vista print.......so would that all qualify?

Kitagrl Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 3:18pm
post #10 of 28

Website and Word of mouth are the two best friends I have!

Seems like the more I've paid for advertising, the less results I've gotten. Including a recent bridal show. *sigh*

ltj2010 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 3:37pm
post #11 of 28

This is exactly what the health department emailed me.


It is possible to have a commercial food business in the home. In most cases, a separate kitchen not the family kitchen - is required for the food preparation area. We have several businesses that operate from a kitchen in the basement or in a separate room.

Some concessions are made for home bakers. A person that bakes on three or fewer days per week, does not advertize, and sells to the ultimate consumer would not be licensed and inspected by this department. This allows the occasional home baker to bake a wedding cake a couple of times per year, for instance.

Any foods that would not be sold to the ultimate consumer must be prepared in a licensed, inspected facility. For instance, a home baker would not be able to package cookies and have them sold on the retail grocers shelf.

What do you mean by cant advertise? What type of advertising?


Normally we mean printed advertisement such as a newspaper, flyer on a board.

JustToEatCake Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:32pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I just wanted to add that I "advertise" at about 20 different online sources and hand out business cards, and through word of mouth (best advertising)......and I pay $0.00 for all of it.

got the business cards for free even through vista print.......so would that all qualify?



To me a business card nothing but handing out your phone/contact number to someone who has already inquired so it's not advertising. I mean what is the difference between writing your name and number on a piece of paper and handing it to someone.

sadsmile Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:42pm
post #13 of 28

I would probe more into it as a couple times per year and a few times a week are two very different things. Sounds iffy.

ltj2010 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:46pm
post #14 of 28

When they said making a wedding cake a couple times a year, It was just an example since some people dont do wedding cakes as often. I have talked with 2 people from the health department as well as the department of agriculture. And the no more than 3 days a week is what it is, Unless I have a separate kitchen.

jhay Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:54pm
post #15 of 28

ltj2010,

which state do you live in?

ltj2010 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:55pm
post #16 of 28

Nebraska

tiggy2 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 5:59pm
post #17 of 28

"Normally we mean printed advertisement such as a newspaper, flyer on a board" Sounds to me anything written is advertising. I don't see anything about paid or otherwise. We have the same thing here in NE.

TexasSugar Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 8:49pm
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltj2010



Some concessions are made for home bakers. A person that bakes on three or fewer days per week, does not advertize, and sells to the ultimate consumer would not be licensed and inspected by this department. This allows the occasional home baker to bake a wedding cake a couple of times per year, for instance.




I read this to say that the hobby baker that does cakes here and there through out the year. That is not the same thing as doing a cake all the time. I would think that those that do cakes often would fall under the first part of that where it takes about a seperate kitchen.

I'd also take the no advertising to mean the same thing. To me by advertising you would be taking in more business and there for to them be a business, not just a home or hobby baker.

I would write back to them and ask them to explain the above further. There is a big difference in doing a couple of wedding cakes a year and getting some money from them and baking 3 days a week every week as a business.

Again that is just how I read it.

ThreePrinces Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 9:24pm
post #19 of 28

I only consider myself a hobby baker, certainly no expert. I get "orders" all of the time..mostly from people at church and then from their friends. I had someone I don't even really know call me and order a bunch of cupcakes for an event; turns out they are a friend of a friend. So really for me it's just word of mouth.

I see people advertising all of the time on Craigslist too and I know it's not allowed in my state (Colorado.)

Deb_ Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 9:45pm
post #20 of 28

Boy talk about gray areas huh?

I tend to agree with Sadsmile and Texassugar. "less then 3 days per week" and "a couple of wedding cakes per year" are at 2 very different ends of the spectrum.

I wouldn't take 1 order until I had firm confirmation in writing that I could indeed run a part time weekly baking business out of my un-inspected and unlicensed home kitchen.

One thing I'd ask him/her is....if indeed this is a possibility, can you carry liability/business insurance to protect your family's assets.

Justforfun751 Posted 17 Feb 2010 , 9:58pm
post #21 of 28

So would this mean you could sell cookies or baby cakes at various craft shows and happen to have cake pictures and a couple of dummy cakes on display? Just a thought...

prterrell Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 7:46pm
post #22 of 28

If you've only done a couple of cakes, why are you planning on going into business? You need a lot more experience than a couple of cakes.

ltj2010 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 7:53pm
post #23 of 28

But if your making cakes and selling them, by definition that is a business. Even if your only making a few

tiggy2 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 7:53pm
post #24 of 28

If you're in NE I know for a fact you can't advertise in any way, shape or form. I believe there is also a certain $ amount you are allowed to make each year.

tiggy2 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 7:55pm
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justforfun751

So would this mean you could sell cookies or baby cakes at various craft shows and happen to have cake pictures and a couple of dummy cakes on display? Just a thought...



I would definately check with the Health Department before doing that. Not a risk I'd be willing to take.

zdebssweetsj Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 10:01pm
post #26 of 28

I've inquired with the HD in Al wanting to get licenced, the inspector told me that with recent changes in regulations it would cost me a fortune to get set up. He also told me that he was not concerned over my small business as long as I wasn't canning anything. I work a full time job (very good job) but I love to decorate cakes. I'm limited to about 2 weekends a month that I can actually do any weddings. But I'm still moving toward that dream I already have two kitchens(4 ovens) someday I'll get to retire and do what I want. Maybe

JustToEatCake Posted 19 Feb 2010 , 1:55am
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by zdebssweetsj

I've inquired with the HD in Al wanting to get licenced, the inspector told me that with recent changes in regulations it would cost me a fortune to get set up. He also told me that he was not concerned over my small business as long as I wasn't canning anything. I work a full time job (very good job) but I love to decorate cakes. I'm limited to about 2 weekends a month that I can actually do any weddings. But I'm still moving toward that dream I already have two kitchens(4 ovens) someday I'll get to retire and do what I want. Maybe



In my state they worried about it either. They consistently do newspaper spreads on home bakers who sell and aren't licensed. I know someone who has been caking and wedding coordination for 13 years without being licensed with advertising. She said they have never questioned her. Evidently our state is fairly lax. I know for a fact that you don't need HD certification if you are selling already prepared items....so technically if one were just interested in decorating and selling their decorated cakes they could buy them premade and premade icing and go to town with no problems. But it's easy to get licensed in my state if you wanted to go that route. I don't, only want it as a total hobby for fun.

KPCakes Posted 19 Feb 2010 , 1:55am
post #28 of 28

ltj2010- I would like to commend you for finding out what is the right thing to do in your state. I completely understand your frustration. There is a lot to think about before you go into this business. It took me many years to make the decision on what I really wanted to do. I still sometimes think twice "what am I doing?". It took me 3 years to get enough of my own money together to add a licensed kitchen to my home and now I have had my licensed for 4 years now. I don't advertise like shows or bridal magazines where I have to pay big bucks. I am not over flowing with requests, so I can make it my own pace and my choice to who I want to advertise too. But being licensed makes feel fair to other decorator and know that what I do is correct.

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