Hi! I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on how to start a cake making buisness. I am a surgical nurse by day, and have no clue on where to start with making my hobby into a buisness. I started making cakes about a year ago for family and friends, and now I get so many people asking me to make cakes for them. I have a hard time excepting money for my time since I love to make cakes, so I only ask for the cost of ingredients (which is really not much).
It is getting where I have been making more elaborate cakes for people, which takes me hours and hours to do, and really want to make this hobby into my career because I honestly love to do it. I still have a lot to learn, but would really love some advice/encouragement/etc.
Do you want to do this from your home? You need to find out if you can do so legally in your state. Some states require seperate buildings or commercial property.
That's your first step.
I actually would rather not have the buisness out of my home. I have a kitten and a golden retriever and keeping them out of the kitchen while I am making cakes for my friends and family is a huge pain.
I was thinking of possibly doing it from my inlaws house. They have a seperate kitchen in their basement.
Thanks for your information. It looks like I will have a lot of research to do.
Contact the state dept. of agriculture in your state and your local heath dept. - both of those will have the info you need to see what is required.
I always recommend that you check your zoning first. All the other is moot if you are going to get shut down by your neighbors for the extra traffic.
Run the numbers first. Get a good feel for how many cakes you will need to do to cover overhead.
I agree with all the suggestions the others have posted and I have something to add. You have wonderful cakes and decorate beautifully but, you have a difficult time taking money for anything other than the cost of the ingredients. Not trying to discourage you, your customers have found an INENXPENSIVE place to get fabulous cakes. How many clients are you going to have when you get licensed and are trying to make a business pay for itself and you start charging what your cakes are worth. If you are able to be a home baker then I would try that with my new prices before opening a storefront. Either way, good luck on your new venture.
1. Make a fleasbility plan - different from a business plan, but can serve as a starting point for that.
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH - Marketing, cost, finances, industry, costs, competition, costs, local spending habit, costs, target market, costs, federal/state/city rules & regulations, costs, pricing etc...did I mention costs?
3. Be realistic! Running a business is 80% running the business and 20% talent
I agree with ccr03. RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! Very little of my time is actually spent decorating - the rest of the time is running the business. Between paperwork, taxes, buying supplies, cleanup, marketing (VERY important), networking - the decorating part is almost the least most important part of it. I"ve been full-time dayjob and part-time cake business for 6 months and I'm worn out but I told my bosses today and I'm going part-time dayjob so I have more time to work and grow my business. Be prepared to have no life beyond work for a while. I haven't had a day off in over a year except 2 weekends - one was a family wedding and the other was a cake competition.
One way that I decided to see if I was ready to handle the stress of making cakes for a living was to take on way too many orders in one week for extremely complex cakes, charged a ton of money for each one, spent all the money on bills, then waited to see if I would have beautiful finished product that met MY standards as well as the client's, OR, if I would have to refund all the money (that I didn't have anymore) because they all sucked!
Lucky for me, I was able to get them all done, on time, beautifully, AND had time left over to deliver them!!
That's when I knew I was ready for anything LESS than that on a consistent basis! Which...is kinda like what having your own bakery feels like at times.