How Much Business Are You Home Bakers Getting?

Business By cakiemommie Updated 18 Mar 2010 , 5:40pm by Kiddiekakes

cakiemommie Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 9:07am
post #1 of 58

Hello all! I live in the midwest and trying to get my business to pick up. I am a legal home bakery and have been doing this for about 6 months now. I'd love to get to the point where I have at least one order every weekend, but it's been so slow!

I'm wondering how all of the other home bakers are doing... how much business are you getting and are you making an appropriate amount of money?

Thanks!

57 replies
Sandysdream Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 9:27am
post #2 of 58

I started about a year ago and at about 6 months I also asked this question. All I can tell you from my side is that it is not the same every month or week. About 3 weeks ago I had 8 orders and had to say no to 2 more. Last week I had 4 (2 free cakes for family), this week, so far, I only have 1. It seems that when you are busy, you are very busy and then you get the slow times. I also hope it will come to a point that I am busy every week. Good luck! icon_smile.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 10:27am
post #3 of 58

It does get slow at times.. I average about 5 a week and have to turn orders away. This is my 3rd year in business. The 1st year is slow and during certain months it gets slow. I actually just raised my minimum to $100 to weed out smaller orders. My focus is going to be more on weddings/large event cakes this year! Just keep trying to build up your clients and get a good looking website. I've always just used my website and word of mouth! Good luck!!

Pitchers_Bakery Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 10:50am
post #4 of 58

the way i like to tell my husband how my business is each month is; "honey, its like a rollercoaster, some weeks im up, some weeks im down, but every week im screaming for joy, because im loving this ride im on!" so hope that helps!

jammjenks Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 12:10pm
post #5 of 58

Just because I have my planner opened to March, I'll give you the stats for 2010 in reverse:

wedding cakes - 2
other cakes - 22
tastings - 4

Feb was:

wedding cakes - 1
other cakes - 25
tastings - 3

Jan was:

wedding cakes - 0
other cakes - 29
tastings - 4

I've had a legal business since 9/08 officially. I turn down orders sometimes too, but not that many. Most of my customers are referred by word of mouth, but I have found Facebook to be a great advertising tool as well. (and FB is free!!)

hisbird Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 12:56pm
post #6 of 58

I too am new to this business,Im building up my portfolio at present ready to start properly as a business in september when my children go to school full time. So far I have also found that all my customers are word of mouth and Facebook. Facebook is really good for this.
I did four cakes last week, I have 2 cakes for this week and 1 cake for next week. Not bad.x

KHalstead Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 1:03pm
post #7 of 58

Here are my stats so far this year. I started last year as a business

CakeInfatuation Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 1:39pm
post #8 of 58

I got licensed in November.

I have had between 1 and 5 cakes every weekend this year. I turn away a lot of business. I don't want to. But it always seems that people want to overload me on the same weekends.

It's the weekends I'm fully booked that I get multiple requests for more cakes. I've decided that it isn't worth taking them. The quality suffers and so does my family. I'm hoping to train my clientele that if they want to order, they have to order in advance or they don't get the date they want.

I am well aware that by turning them away, I may never get them back.

I also lose a lot of business by telling them I can't do licensed cakes. EEK! No Elmo, No Mario, No Mickey... I've lost a LOT of business despite the fact that I tell them I can make a beautiful theme cake and we can purchase the licensed toppers to add on. Oh well.....

So many things to sort through. It was most definitely less stressful when it was a hobby and I didn't care about losing business because it was for friends.

KHalstead Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 1:52pm
post #9 of 58

CakeInfatuation- I like you tend to get a TON of orders for the same date, and have to turn people away.........however, I don't know that it usually results in a lost customer! I had 3 people order birthday cakes last year (all before June) for dates in May of this year!! They said, last time they tried to order 1 month in advance and I was booked, so they wanted to make sure and get their orders in early. All I require is a basic idea of what they want, the date, and a third of the cost and they are guaranteed a cake on that date. Even if later on the design and such changes, they still have the date.

I will take on up to 10 cakes (depending on design) per day. I think the most I've done is like 15 cakes and 50 cupcakes all due either Frid. or Sat. the same week. that was insane!!!

Once word gets out about your business you'll be turning down orders, don't worry!! As long as your customers get a good product, they will tell everyone they know!

tarheelgirl Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 2:53pm
post #10 of 58

I eventually went up on my prices to remedy this! I charge more so I do less cakes for the same/more money. When I first started I would take anything from the smallest to the largest. It was too stressful and by the time someone wanted to order a large tiered cake I would have to turn them away because of the smaller cakes dominating my work week.

cakiemommie Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 8:36pm
post #11 of 58

wow.. i'm jealous! All of you are doing so well compared to me! I'm only doing maybe 2 cakes a month... I would KILL to have 3-4 cakes in one week!.

It seems I just can't get anyone who can afford custom cake... maybe i need to advertise better? any ideas? my minimum is only $40

kelleym Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #12 of 58

KHalstead, that is one fabulous looking chart! icon_lol.gif

xiswtsawluiix Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 8:59pm
post #13 of 58

Great thread! It really helps put certain things into perspective visually.

Dizzymaiden Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 9:02pm
post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

Here are my stats so far this year. I started last year as a business




I really like your graphs - it is such a wonderful way to really see what is happening. Thanks for sharing!

GGFan Posted 15 Mar 2010 , 9:22pm
post #15 of 58

I really like KHalstead charts too. Is that from Cake Boss software?

May I also ask the licensed bakers. How much on average does your rental kitchen cost? I live in California and the cost is so high. It's not worth it. Do you also know where can I found an info into renovating home kitchen to pass as commercial kitchen? All I know is you need a separate entrance from your house.

Thank you in advance.

jenmat Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 12:46am
post #16 of 58

I'm in the Midwest too, and in my second year. Jan-Mar is supposed to be my slow time, at least last year it was, but it hasn't been.
Last week I had 12 cakes, this week I was supposed to have 4-5, after today I took 6 more.
Soon I will have to implement a minimum. I don't want to though- even the cheap cakes are nice, because I don't have to do much to them, and there's no pressure!
Once my hubby stops working so many hours (end of April,) I hope to expand to 20ish cakes per week, but including wedding cakes.

cakiemommie Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 5:17am
post #17 of 58

jentreu see, that's what I'm wondering. How can I get 5 cake orders in one week? am i not advertising right? My biggest problem i think is finding people who can afford cakes..

meredith1851 Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 5:57am
post #18 of 58

I haven't started my home based baking biz yet as I am only in the beginning stages. Not sure if you already do this or not, but I joined facebook finally, connected with new and old friends from the past and created a photo album called my "baking pix." Everytime i make a new creation, I post it to Facebook and get lots of very positivie notes and people ask if I can do cakes/cupcakes for them. It is a GREAT free marketing tool as well as tease when people can see your work especially since social networking sites is the wave of the future right now. You could also mail/email out a flyer with biz cards to the neighbors and parets of children who go to your kids school as well as function facilities/hotels that do weddings. Not sure if this helps but it was the route I was thinking of going when I begin to start my biz.
Good luck!

cakiemommie Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 7:42am
post #19 of 58

thanks so much for the advice. yes I am on facebook! 75 fans and counting! i've been on there for about 2 months now.. but ZERO inquiries about cake. none. i post something every couple of days about what i'm doing.. i posted my pictures... but no.. can't seem to get a single customer.

milissasmom Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 8:16am
post #20 of 58

Cakiemommie, don't worry. You have only been on FB for 2 months! I have been on for 3 years and it has been wonderful. Keep posting and putting up nice pictures and people will start to inquire about your services. I Tweet as well and my Twitter page and FB page are linked so my posts show on both. You can get good business off these social networks! Good luck and God Bless!

cakemom42 Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 11:00am
post #21 of 58

I have had my business since 2003, out of my home. At one point I was doing 14 cakes a weekend on a regular basis. I took time out to go to culinary school and then we PCS'd (moved) again.. so am back to starting over again.. In our new location the ecomony is not very good.. after 8 months I started offering cakes in smaller scales that they could afford & that I was happy to work on.. While it's still not at the 14 level it's picking up because word gets out that you are wiling to work with peoples budgets & you are fair.. Also I started offering a variety of other baked goods that this community would buy & believe it or not homemade bread & cookies go along way!! Now the income isn't that great on those items but... again the word gets out... thus cakes are starting to come again..

Hope this helps :0)

creatingcakes Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 11:36am
post #22 of 58

I am turning down orders each week mostly because of internet searches directing people to my website. Having a website is a must, and really working with people and giving great customer service always gets me referrals and repeat business. I do have a Facebook page but tend to get people that want a break- HTH

bobhope Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 11:53am
post #23 of 58

i had at least 1 wedding cake (minimum of 3iers)& other occasion cakes for each month for this quarter....i also supply 3 coffee shops in the city who orders at least 2x a week...i tie up w/ wedding/event planners & they bring in clients aside from word of mouth clients...but i would say in my experience, first quarter is the leanest season of the year... i'm just thankful i have wedding cakes to do for april & may icon_biggrin.gif

KHalstead Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 1:12pm
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanisap

I really like KHalstead charts too. Is that from software?

May I also ask the licensed bakers. How much on average does your rental kitchen cost? I live in California and the cost is so high. It's not worth it. Do you also know where can I found an info into renovating home kitchen to pass as commercial kitchen? All I know is you need a separate entrance from your house.

Thank you in advance.




It CERTAINLY is........and I just don't know what I would do without my cake boss!! I can't tell you the compliments and comments from customers about how shocked they are that a home-based business is SO professional!! I am able to print out work orders (gives a run down of the cake order so I can have the pages in front of me while decorating), print out invoices (complete with a logo and all my info. and an itemized list of what they ordered and what they're being charged LOVE THIS)...............honestly, some weeks I don't even remember taking the orders or I'll lose the page I jotted it down on and low and behold it's in my cake boss! I could not operate my business without it. Not to mention how it took me 3 seconds to print out a list of all of my cake orders, my total costs, and total profits for the entire year to submit to my tax guy (you wanna talk impressed.....he wouldn't stop talking about how my "bookkeeping skills" were better than HIS) lol

Thank you sooooooooooo much Kelley......seriously, I could not operate without this program!

MissRobin Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 1:33pm
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanisap

I really like KHalstead charts too. Is that from software?

May I also ask the licensed bakers. How much on average does your rental kitchen cost? I live in California and the cost is so high. It's not worth it. Do you also know where can I found an info into renovating home kitchen to pass as commercial kitchen? All I know is you need a separate entrance from your house.

Thank you in advance.



It CERTAINLY is........and I just don't know what I would do without my !! I can't tell you the compliments and comments from customers about how shocked they are that a home-based business is SO professional!! I am able to print out work orders (gives a run down of the cake order so I can have the pages in front of me while decorating), print out invoices (complete with a logo and all my info. and an itemized list of what they ordered and what they're being charged LOVE THIS)...............honestly, some weeks I don't even remember taking the orders or I'll lose the page I jotted it down on and low and behold it's in my ! I could not operate my business without it. Not to mention how it took me 3 seconds to print out a list of all of my cake orders, my total costs, and total profits for the entire year to submit to my tax guy (you wanna talk impressed.....he wouldn't stop talking about how my "bookkeeping skills" were better than HIS) lol

Thank you sooooooooooo much Kelley......seriously, I could not operate without this program!




Very Impressive!! Is this program very expensive??

KHalstead Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 2:16pm
post #26 of 58

$149 and worth every penny!!! All the upgrades forever are free.......you get awesome tech support for free as well. So no........not very expensive especially when it's the difference between being able to operate and not being able to operate!

I set aside $10 from every cake order for a couple weeks and was able to pay for it! I honestly could NOT operate without it and I don't say that lightly!

I have 18 wedding cakes on the books this year...I recieve payments randomly from all these different brides out of the blue...all I do is open up their order, click on the "financial" screen and apply a payment...it keeps track of everything. I then can save an invoice (showing the balance due and reflecting the payment made) in a pdf form and email it to the bride all in a matter of seconds. This lets them know "I have recieved your payment" and also acts as a receipt for their records so they know what they have left to pay.

Honestly, this program is invaluable to me and I would have paid $350 for it if I had to!

kelleym Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 2:42pm
post #27 of 58

Small correction, while minor updates are free, major upgrades such as the recent CakeBoss 2010 may be made available for a fee. There is no service plan or annual fees, though, and updates are not mandatory. There will never be anything more that you are required to purchase. thumbs_up.gif

CakeCentral members receive 10% off, so the price for members is just $134.10.

birthday.gif

cakiemommie Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 4:25pm
post #28 of 58

cake boss is of no use to me right now... i'd have nothing to put on it!!

FullHouse Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 4:31pm
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Small correction, while minor updates are free, major upgrades such as the recent 2010 may be made available for a fee. There is no service plan or annual fees, though, and updates are not mandatory. There will never be anything more that you are required to purchase. thumbs_up.gif

CakeCentral members receive 10% off, so the price for members is just $134.10.

birthday.gif




Kelley, I love CakeBoss too. I haven't upgraded yet. Is the 10% discount applicable to the upgrade for the 2010 version? Thanks.

KHalstead Posted 16 Mar 2010 , 4:39pm
post #30 of 58

FullHouse, you gotta upgrade........I waited to upgrade until my pc crashed and I was without cake boss for 2 days and was totally freaking out about the upcoming orders I had and had no clue what they were!!

I figured as long as I had to reinstall cake boss, may as well get the newer version.....boy am I glad I did!!

there is a button on it called "dashboard" and it shows a split screen, left side is all of the orders going for the next 7 days, right side is all the payments due. So if you have a wedding cake that's not for a month but you require payment 3 weeks before...it won't show up on the left side of the screen (because you don't have to make the cake in the next 7 days) but it shows up on the right side, so you know to be expecting that payment in the next 7 days. It's so cool.

Also, the newer version allows you to print a "work order" which like I said above gives you all of the info for the cake, and you can print a "shopping list" which will list everything necessary for that order based on the recipes you've chosen.

You know how now with cake boss you click on what recipe you need for an order, well now it will let you print the list and will go something like this.....

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 box vanilla pudding
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1-10" cake box
1-10" cake board


i love cake boss!!!

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