Can I Really Make Any Money Baking At Home?

Business By bethasd Updated 2 Aug 2010 , 10:41am by Yum2010

bethasd Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 12:18pm
post #1 of 32

In the past year I have done the basics - got my kitchen licensed, registered with state & IRS, designed & loaded a website www.cakezilla.com. I have a great word of mouth base and am ready to do some real marketing - ads, postcards, etc. My problem considering is the time it takes to make everything from scratch - batter, filling, SMBC and then the time to decorate - I end up making very little on the cakes.

I have 2 children (8 & 11) and want to be able to do this from home but the little amount that I am making doesn't seem worth the amount of time it takes from my family.

I will say this though, most of my orders have been on the smaller side and it does seem that the larger cakes do not take up significantly more time but you can charge much more.

Any advice? Does anyone say, "sorry, I only do large cakes?" I hate the idea of turning away business.

31 replies
Doug Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 12:26pm
post #2 of 32

1) LOVE LOVE LOVE LOL that logo!!! so cute!!!

2) yes -- and why can't you have a minimum order amount. all the pros do. don't be ashamed to say -- I won't turn my oven on for less than $xxx (oh say $300!)

3) recalculate your costs -- including your labor!!! paying your self at least 2x minimum wage so about $15/hour) and then reset your prices -- I bet they're low right now.

4) doing #2 & #3 -- does limit clientele -- but limits it to the ones you REALLY want. The ones that will pay you to create a visionary cake masterpiece and not try to have you make a grocery store style cake at grocery store prices.

costumeczar Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 12:32pm
post #3 of 32

Yes, you won't get rich but you can make money if you run your business like a business. I agree with Doug, the pricing is the first thing to examine. What are you charging now? You have to figure out how much your time is worth, then charge for it.

Doug Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 12:41pm
post #4 of 32

ok back from looking at your pics on flicker and on your site.
http://www.cakezilla.com/
http:[email protected]/sets/72157620875186863/


W O W ! -- you do wonderful work. So clean, so precise, so beautiful (that tie-dye shirt is excellent!!) I could go and on raving about your cakes (those beach chairs are perfect!!)

so, now I edit my advice to say:

$500 minimum @ $5/serving minimum. Considering the quality, I think you could go even higher per serving! Your cupcakes should be at least $4/each!

minicuppie Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:03pm
post #5 of 32

Ditto, Doug. Amazing work! Raise those prices, GF! Get with some of the more exclusive event planners in your area and show your stuff off, and maybe even look at hiring a manager to get you connected with some of the "custom" bakeries and showcase those flowers.

Karen421 Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:08pm
post #6 of 32

I can't help with your question, but I wanted to tell you, your cakes are stunning, and everything that Doug said too!!! thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

Abbiedal Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:35pm
post #7 of 32

Your cakes are absolutely fantastic !!!![/b]

Redsoxbaker Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:47pm
post #8 of 32

bethasd,
Your work is incredible !! Some of the best looking cupcakes I've seen icon_smile.gif

cutthecake Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:58pm
post #9 of 32

Your website says you serve the greater Philadelphia area, so you have a big city market. As others have said, price accordingly. Your cakes are beautiful!

CookieD-oh Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:58pm
post #10 of 32

You do beautiful work!!!!! Raise your prices. (And your logo is the BEST!)

klkoop Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 2:21pm
post #11 of 32

You are such a talented artist! You should really go on Cupcake Wars or Challenge on the Food Network!! icon_smile.gif

mamawrobin Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 4:06pm
post #12 of 32

To answer your question..YES....YOU can certainly make money baking from home or wherever you choose to do so. thumbs_up.gif Your cakes are absolutely stunning and your work clean and flawless.

My goodness...you are one talented lady icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 5:39pm
post #13 of 32

Sounds like you may have some organizational issues rather than cost issues (although I agree with Doug, I'll bet your prices are low).

While I'm a box-mix baker, I do make chocolate cake from scratch (the Hershey recipe) and leah came to my shop once to show me how she makes her scratch cakes. Seriously, I dont' see that scratch takes any more (or not MUCH more time) that what I do with a mix. If there's any time difference at all, it's about 5 minutes worth. That shouldn't be enough to impact your profit level.

Do you have all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go before you get started? All of your tools handy? Stopping even for a few seconds to hunt and find something really adds up and impacts your time.

Do you clean as you go? Is there a wet washcloth at your side at all times? Do you wipe down after every step? (crack eggs ... wash counter. Measure flour .... wash counter. Add vanilla ... wipe counter.)

Do you have a big bowl/container or a piece of wax/parchmnt paper on the counter to accumulate your used utensils in for easy clean up at the end? Do you have a trash can right next to you so you can dump trash in it right away WITHOUT walking even one step? (It adds up!)

Adopt an assembly line method to your production and you'll be amazed at how much time you save.

(I should do a seminar on this! It's my biggest soapbox speech! I'm such a lazy person that I hate stretching a job out any longer than it has to be so I always find the fastest/quickest way to do something!))

CookieMeister Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 5:58pm
post #14 of 32

I don't have much to add that hasn't been mentioned about saving time and adjusting your pricing, but I just wanted to say, I love the tag line! Cakezilla - Killer Sweets! AWESOME!!!!!

PiccoloChellie Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 6:10pm
post #15 of 32

Your cakes are lovely. thumbs_up.gif

Check your pricing structure!! Goodness, at first I was like "Okay, $35 for a 6" round, that's pretty good, just under $3 a serving." and then as I went down your list I got very confused.
By the time we get to a 10" round, you're charging $1.71 per serving, and 12" rounds are $1.52 per serving! And cupcakes for $1.50 each? WAYYYYYY too low, most especially at your skill level!!!
No wonder you feel like you're not making any money! You're not!

Reevaluate how you price those cakes of yours. Decide on a set per-serving price and keep it consistent across all sizes - and that price needs to be much higher than a buck fifty per serving.
I see by the area code on your site that you're in the Philly region. That market can definitely support much higher prices than you're charging. First calculate how much you spend to make a cake and include a decent hourly wage for yourself. Don't forget all the little things like paper towels, dish soap, utility use, gas/wear & tear on the car, and so on.
Then review the prices being charged by the other cake shops for comparable cakes. You're good and I hope you realize that. Look at the prices on the *good* cakes.
Now take all those numbers and come up with a per-serving price that is in line with other decorators in the area and that also covers ALL your costs and your hourly wage. Don't think that something in the $5/serving range is too much because, for you, it's not.

samarinbooboo Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 6:19pm
post #16 of 32

Very cute cakes.. keep up the good work.

bethasd Posted 23 Jul 2010 , 9:04pm
post #17 of 32

Oh I wish I had been notified that you all had sent these wonderful responses!!! I thought no one even looked at the post - my mistake. icon_redface.gif

Agreed, my pricing needs work. Thanks for the thoughts on this. I need to expand beyond my word of mouth business too which would bring in the larger orders. Contacting event planners in Philly is at the top of the list.

I am pretty streamlined in my process - ingredients lined up, clean as you go, etc. I know I get into trouble when I answer the phone/check email. Note to self - take it seriously.

At this point I only have one oven & one fridge so part of my problem is capacity. I guarantee it takes longer to turn out cupcakes with only one oven! Here's an equipment question for you - I have a 6 qt. mixer. Do you have more than one? Extra bowls? Does that speed things up?

Thank you again for all the ideas & advice. I just LOVE CC! thumbs_up.gif

samarinbooboo Posted 23 Jul 2010 , 9:07pm
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bethasd

Oh I wish I had been notified that you all had sent these wonderful responses!!! I thought no one even looked at the post - my mistake. icon_redface.gif

Agreed, my pricing needs work. Thanks for the thoughts on this. I need to expand beyond my word of mouth business too which would bring in the larger orders. Contacting event planners in Philly is at the top of the list.

I am pretty streamlined in my process - ingredients lined up, clean as you go, etc. I know I get into trouble when I answer the phone/check email. Note to self - take it seriously.

At this point I only have one oven & one fridge so part of my problem is capacity. I guarantee it takes longer to turn out cupcakes with only one oven! Here's an equipment question for you - I have a 6 qt. mixer. Do you have more than one? Extra bowls? Does that speed things up?

Thank you again for all the ideas & advice. I just LOVE CC! thumbs_up.gif




I have 2 Kitchenaids... Sometimes I wish I had a Hobart... One day.

Doug Posted 23 Jul 2010 , 9:22pm
post #19 of 32

1 KA w/ 2 bowls. ahhhhhh.

cutthecake Posted 23 Jul 2010 , 9:26pm
post #20 of 32

1 KA, two bowls, several beaters, dozens of rubber scrapers, multiples of just about everything else. No need to stop and wash things as I go.

sister340 Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 12:53am
post #21 of 32

I've been getting by with a small KA and a 6 qt. Then I found this great second hand 20 qt Hobart for $800. (That is high, but a good price). Had one oven, again bought 2nd hand and now have 3. Warning: be very careful if you search for second hand, I have seen so many absolutely used to death appliances out there for sell. Mine are in excellent shape and much lower prices, but it took me a while to find them. Can you knock out a wall in your kitchen and expand?
Your stuff is lovely! Good luck.
j.

Uniqueask Posted 24 Jul 2010 , 2:03am
post #22 of 32

Your cakes are amazing, Good luck with your business.

minicuppie Posted 27 Jul 2010 , 10:36am
post #23 of 32

You can set up your acct to notify you of all the topics you are participating in.

Yum2010 Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 12:46pm
post #24 of 32

Debi!!!! Do a seminar on streamlining like you mentioned!!!!!! I would SOOOOO go!!!! I was just thinking about this last night (well really this moring at 2!!!) while I was cleaning my disaster area of a kitchen. I got so into decorating a cake, I swear I am like a mad scientist, sometimes, that I completely neglegted the kitchen for a while and it took exactly 2.2 seconds for my kitchen to go from "pretty neat and organized" to "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN HERE!!!!!" My DH walked in and he said that it literally looked like ground zero and that I got in a fight with the corn starch. I have gotten ALOT better than I used to be about cleaning as I go, but I think I could use some tips. I even thought about getting on CC and starting a thread about this very subject. I spent another whole hour cleaning at 2 am when I could have been in bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IsaSW Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 6:29pm
post #25 of 32

1 KA w/ 2 bowls, does make a difference.

I am thinking of a trash can next to the counter top. What took me so long to get this one, I don't know, I had a little bag, but it was too small.
2 steps and opening a door to get to the trash can it's not working for me.

Love your work, you are very talented.

After my cake last night, I was thinking of a bottle with a spout for the vanilla, it seems like I opened and closed that bottle a million times in the last week.

I agree, we should start a thread on tips to cut time while you are baking and decorating.

Bskinne Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 6:47pm
post #26 of 32

OMG - Those hamburger cupcakes are toooo cute!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 6:52pm
post #27 of 32

Coming from a different business background, definitely work on your pricing as I believe that's probably quite low. Your work is awesomely beautiful and you can definitely set your boundaries as to the type/size of cake projects you want to take on. I wish you much success! icon_smile.gif

P.S. Wow, indydebi! You're quick! It takes me quite a bit longer to do scratch cakes versus box mix (considering all ingredients at right temperature). But then (and I'm not being facetious) I am factoring in the time it takes to measure out, sift, etc. to get the ingredients ready as this, to me, would equate to the time taken to put the box mixed ingredients into the mixer. .... I think I need to come to IN for some Indydeb training!!! icon_wink.gificon_biggrin.gif

carrywilsonhome Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 7:24pm
post #28 of 32

$100 minimum. Now.

carrywilsonhome Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 7:24pm
post #29 of 32

And that shouldn't be for a cake much bigger than a six inch round.

mkirby Posted 31 Jul 2010 , 8:02pm
post #30 of 32

Talk about timing... I was just wondering what most people are getting for their cakes because someone asked me why I charge so little. I think it's because I've never had formal training so I feel like only the "pro's" can charge more than a grocery store. I have certainly learned a lot and have become somewhat proficient over the last 35 years decorating COUNTLESS cakes but I think what has happened is so much of what seemed so hard has become easy and I feel guilty charging people to pay a large amount. Does anyone else know what I mean? Really, some people think it's a big deal that my borders are even and my writing is staight!!! If I really, really try, I think I can remember the first time I picked up a decorating bag and tried to squeeze frosting out consistently! So anyway, I'm now learning to say no more often to people who "only want a cake to feed a few people but I can't afford to pay a lot'. My time is worth something and I won't do a cake for under $60 any more.

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