Doing Professional Consultations From My Home???

Business By Twizzles Updated 1 Jul 2010 , 6:20pm by IsaSW

Twizzles Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 4:28am
post #1 of 13

I am in the process of getting my business on the ground. I have the option of turning our garage into a kitchen/shoppe or using my basement for the kitchen and doing consultaition from my sitting room which can be kind of shut off from the rest of the house if we added some doors and the basement door also opens to the sitting room. We do not use the sitting room for anything else and it is what our front door opens into.
The reason I am more gearing toward the basement/ sitting room is because the basement is plumbed and the garage is not which will save me a lot of money that I do not have right now.
I just am wondering if there will be drawbacks by doing it out of my home and not a seperate building.

Thanks

12 replies
Katiebelle74 Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 5:25am
post #2 of 13

I built onto my home. For me the pros out weigh the cons. I have gotten a couple customers who cancelled their consultations when they found out my bakery is attached to my home and not in a strip mall somewhere. However I have multiple friends who have cake shops in strip malls and are stressed out all the time about making enough to cover the overhead and make ends meet. I am perfectly happy right here, with a bigger kitchen and equal or more equipment than many of my friends in commercial spaces.

leah_s Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 10:34am
post #3 of 13

ditto. Exactly the same experience with me.

Loucinda Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 11:44am
post #4 of 13

Same here. I have been offered a retail space (a very good friend owns a lot of real estate downtown here) BUT, the set up that I have here works perfectly for me, I am licensed and legal, and have no overhead to worry about paying each month. I have no small children, a nice spot for consultations - the best of both worlds! icon_smile.gif (my kitchen is now 27x15 - we added on and remodeled the one I had to accomodate the cake business)

Twizzles Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 12:21pm
post #5 of 13

Thanks for the replies.
I know I can set up an nice area in my sitting room. I also thought of hanging nicely framed portraits of my cakes on the walls, (I'm a hobby photographer too), and display a dummy cake of my work in a case on a stand. What do you think?
Since the stairway to my basement kitchen lands in the sitting room, I will be able to take them directly to the basement if they want to see where I work.

Curious as to wether some of you also go out to consultations, like meet at someones house or nice restaurant?? (I may start a new post with that topic)

I will arrange for a babysitter when I have clients come over so that won't be a problem.

Katiebelle74 Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 12:53pm
post #6 of 13

My tasting area is in the corner of the bakery I built onto my home on that side of the room I have dummy cakes set up. (including some plain styrofoam ones with number of servings tacked on them which helps when brides want to play with designs and when you are trying to show options). I have a photo screen in the corner with wedding cake pictures in it. On the walls I have my degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, my certificates of continuing education and awards as well as pictures. I also have a little board where I put thank you notes from brides although most people email these days. Guess I should print up those emails and stick them up there! WEIRD thing is that once in awhile I actually have to explain that the dummy cake is a DUMMY CAKE and NO that's not where I would keep your wedding cake until delivery icon_confused.gif
I wish I had a sitting room like your set up that sounds awesome. Once in a while I get a groom who can't sit still and gets up and tries to wander through the kitchen without permission which irks me. Your set up is way better. I have met people in the local coffee shop a lot and it works great but I hate not having all my props for "show and tell" (cake plateaus, stands, styrofoam dummies for size etc...etc..)

Twizzles Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 1:20pm
post #7 of 13

Katiebelle74,
Oh, I would hate someone wandering through my kitchen without a tour, lol, and I could see what you mean about the coffee shop experience.

Thank you for the details in how you have yours set up, do you have your dummy cakes in a case or just stand alone? I've only done one dummy before and that was 12 years ago at a Wilton class, I flipped my 12 inch round pan over and iced iticon_razz.gif

I want to get all my certificates framed and hung up too.
I never thought yet of putting a board for comments of clients, will doicon_smile.gif

I am hoping the 'home sitting' will make them feel more comfortable but I also started another post on doing online consultations for those who wish to do that, does anyone do that, or is it an idea I should drop???

Mindy1975 Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 1:36pm
post #8 of 13

Well, you'll love this. I am also licensed. And we have our bakery and everything attatched to our home, and I do my consults in my nice dining room. My clients come through our home and sit at our big oak dining room table and when they come through they door they are greeted with deerheads and ducks on the wall. lol In fact when they sit at the table there is a deer head on the wall behind them! lol I've never really had anyone make a comment about it or anything. People around here usually are accustomed to hunting and fishing so it's no big deal. ANd I really wouldnt load up my samples and all that and go somewhere else to do a consult. That's just not necessary. I like the privacy of it, and I think the couple also likes to actually see the kitchen where their cake is going to be made. My child is old enough now that she knows to play quietly in the other room, and I don't have to find a sitter for the evening either. IT's just a more relaxed atmosphere. And a lot of the times, my husband breaks the ice because he is a teacher and somehow the couple will know someone or is related to someone who had him in school, so it's just a very relaxed social atmosphere. SO, you get all kinds of locations and social situations for cake consults! I really don't see a major problem with you doing them in your home, as long as you are well prepared, keep a good routine going, and have a good order of things so that you keep it in control and very professional. You just have to always remember that even thought it is at your home, you are in charge and it's up to you to make the sale and still impress them! Best of Luck to You!

cakesbycathy Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 3:09pm
post #9 of 13

I do them in my home also. They come thru the living room where I have tons of my kids photos so they usually comment on how cute they are icon_wink.gif and that's a nice starting point of conversation. I bring them into my dining room and they can see my kitchen from there so they know where their cake is being made.
For many people it feels like a little more of a personal touch, which is one of my selling points for getting the order.

KHalstead Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 3:21pm
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twizzles

Thanks for the replies.
I know I can set up an nice area in my sitting room. I also thought of hanging nicely framed portraits of my cakes on the walls, (I'm a hobby photographer too), and display a dummy cake of my work in a case on a stand. What do you think?
Since the stairway to my basement kitchen lands in the sitting room, I will be able to take them directly to the basement if they want to see where I work.

Curious as to wether some of you also go out to consultations, like meet at someones house or nice restaurant?? (I may start a new post with that topic)

I will arrange for a babysitter when I have clients come over so that won't be a problem.




I had a consultation with a home baker w/ a basement setup while shopping for my wedding cake. She had one of those divider screens, you know with the 3 sections w/ hinges that you can arrange to separate a room. Well, she didn't use it to separate the room it was behind the counter where we sat on bar stools but the whole thing had square sections where you could put photos in there, and she had it filled with cake photos she had done. I thought it was really cool, it was decoration in the room, yet served as an open album as well!


I meet at my local part store OR at the customer's house.....most people love the idea of me coming to them because they generally have several people tasting with them and this way they don't have to arrange for 4 people to come to me at a specific time.

I also can just leave kids at home with DH and not worry about everthing being spotless, so if it's right dead at the end of a busy baking day, I can forget the dishes and just leave and worry about them when I get home.

Also, I find out general shape (round/square) and number of tiers they're after and bring my cake dummies with me. I put them in a big paper shopping bag w/ handles, they always love the visual.

Marianna46 Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 6:03pm
post #11 of 13

I've been lurking on this post, because I'm hoping to get into business seriously soon. The information has been invaluable! I love the idea of having a "kit" of visual aids like dummies, portion sizes and a portfolio, whether to take on the road or to have on hand at a home tasting. Now I just need to think about what tasting samples to offer and how to lug them around!

Twizzles Posted 30 Jun 2010 , 6:12pm
post #12 of 13

You guys have really given some great tips.
Thanks and keep them coming pleaseicon_smile.gif)

IsaSW Posted 1 Jul 2010 , 6:20pm
post #13 of 13

Yes that separate space for the consultation is what I am dreaming about icon_biggrin.gif
It is a lot of work cleaning the whole house, because we are having a tasting, its more work than the actual baking.
I love that you bring them to your territory, but I also find my self, running up the stairs getting dummie cakes, ribbons, extra stuff. So I can't wait to have a separate room for consultation only. In my new house we will use the formal living room for this.

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