A Thougt...bad Idea?

Business By icesk8ermom Updated 14 Aug 2010 , 12:06pm by MikeRowesHunny

icesk8ermom Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 8:28pm
post #1 of 19

Hi all thank you in advance for reading and giving your input....

I am in the lovely state of CA where home baking is not aloud....bummer! I currently only bake for family and friends. Never taking any money; boy does that piss off the hubby! It is a passion and I really enjoy it; however, I currently work full-time and go to school full-time trying to go into nursing. My co-workers are seriously trying to convince me that I need to open a cake shop. So I began to look into it and learn about lovely CA baking laws. I have checked into renting a commercial kitchen and find they are pretty high; $40.00 an hour minimum 4 hours. It does however come with a personal assistant. Not really sure what all that entailed; I think, cooking, cleaning, safe-serve certified etc I am really considering this but.I do not have any cake orders to make it worth my while or to even break even.

So my thoughts where this..do some self marketing first; however, I am not sure what I am thinking is something I can even do or if I am taking huge risks etcinputs please??


I thought I could make several cakes and take to local businesses, friends to take to works etc; giving them out for free. Along with the cake I could include some sort of a letter introducing myself informing them I am looking to start a new business but need feedback on quality, flavors, pricing and would they consider ordering etc. Using either a faxable feedback form, survey monkey (not sure about how to get their e-mails to send to them?) or have them send me an e-mail. In the meantime I get feedback and hopefully can collect contact info on people so I can inform them when I open shop or rent a kitchen. (I of course I would also include an ingredients list)

18 replies
cdgleason Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 9:02pm
post #2 of 19

I'm in the same boat as you are, 'cept I'm in Indiana, and I actually worked at a cake shop for a while! I was working for someone that I liked and got along with really well, but the nature of that particular business was completely different from my own way of 'wanting to run a business'. I prefer to be organized and in control of all apects, from proper paper work to knowing about every order that is placed... this shop that I was at was so unorganized... cake orders were almost always wrong I got tired of it an left!

Now, I would love to be able to do the same thing that you're doing... I actually just did a google search for 'commercial kitchen rental' in the area!
I can't wait to see what kind of response you get from this topic! I want to be able to sell cakes, but I want to do it in a way that I can be completely legal!!
goodluck!!

metria Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 9:19pm
post #3 of 19

sounds like you've got a lot of stuff going on in your life already w/o cakes! if you want to keep caking just as a hobby, can you have your friends/family buy the ingredients for you? if you want to really go in to business, it might mean you have to sacrifice a lot. a lot of my family members are nurses and it doesn't seem like they have lots of time on their hands!

qubanqtee Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 9:29pm
post #4 of 19

I live in California too....unfortunately we aren't even permitted to give away cakes baked in our home....now I have never had the food police ever try to track me down as you can imagine every cupcake a Mom made for her child's school would have to be confiscated. BUT, there is hope! I became a legal baker (actually a caterer) just last week and rent a commerical kitchen in a nearby city, obtained my business license for my home since it's where all adminitration will take place and obtained my seller's permit. My liability insurance in in process and I obtained my Servesafe over the internet by a Health Department approved site for $20.

So, it can be done...the liability insurance is the most expensive part for me at $500 per year, but something you have to have renting a kitchen space.

Don't give up but be careful in pursuing clients/future customers as the one you least expect it from will turn you in.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 10:13pm
post #5 of 19

Unfortunately, in states that bar commercial home baking, you really have to decide if you want to aggressively pursue this business, or keep it as a hobby. It's simply too expensive to sustain a casual food service business long-term.

You may want to look in your area for smaller established custom-order baking businesses that need help if you want to keep it casual.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 10:16pm
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by qubanqtee

I live in California too....unfortunately we aren't even permitted to give away cakes baked in our home



Sure you can, you just have to give them away as personal goods in a non-commercial transaction (so you can't say "these were baked by my business").

Quote:
Quote:

My liability insurance in in process and I obtained my Servesafe over the internet by a Health Department approved site for $20. So, it can be done...the liability insurance is the most expensive part for me at $500 per year, but something you have to have renting a kitchen space.


The most expensive part by far is the commercial kitchen rental, you can look at paying roughly $500/month in CA. Plus $700 or so for the health inspection, plus $800/year for LLC tax -- you do have an LLC to shield your personal assets from business liability, right?

qubanqtee Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 11:13pm
post #7 of 19

thanks for the input ... yes I do have LLC to protect my personal assets. I don't pay anywhere near that amount in for Kitchen Rental...I pay $25 dollars an hour for whatever hours I need and I gave them $250 deposit in case I don't clean up when I leave. My health permit was $363. So for a start-up it's worked for me. Hopefully OP can decide which path to take and be successful in which ever she chooses.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 11:31pm
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by qubanqtee

thanks for the input ... yes I do have LLC to protect my personal assets. I don't pay anywhere near that amount in for Kitchen Rental...I pay $25 dollars an hour for whatever hours I need and I gave them $250 deposit in case I don't clean up when I leave. My health permit was $363. So for a start-up it's worked for me. Hopefully OP can decide which path to take and be successful in which ever she chooses.



I'm curious, how many hours do you use at your commercial kitchen per month? Even on slow weeks we use at least 4 hours, which would be a minimum of $400/month if we paid $25/hour.

qubanqtee Posted 11 Aug 2010 , 11:44pm
post #9 of 19

because I've only become legal to cater I have the kitchen for just 4 hours for the whole month of August....but September is a different story. When I reach 20 hours per month I will become what's called an anchor tenant and then my status will change with the kitchen. It's a good setup for me because I'm literally starting. September increases and I'm recieving calls for October bookings as well. If all goes well, I could max out for November and December orders. Since the majority of what I do is catering I anticipate that my orders will decrease after the holidays and then level off thru Spring and begin to increase again for late Spring and Summer. I only cater Cuban food, so my orders are market specific. More the reason this type of set up works for me.

minicuppie Posted 12 Aug 2010 , 1:09pm
post #10 of 19

You didn't mention how long you had been in school, but don't stop your education for any reason!
I probably sound like your mom, but a college degree will always put you ahead of the pack.
When I retired from nursing I was pulling down 70K per year, and this is Texas (no union) and you are in CA (union)!
Stepping down.

leah_s Posted 12 Aug 2010 , 1:15pm
post #11 of 19

I agree with minicuppie. Don't leave nursing school. It's a career for a lifetime that you can change as your needs change. From surgical to floor to risk mgmt to admin, there's something in nursing for everyone. CA's a hard state to break into the cake/food biz. If you're ready to jump in with both feet and a lot of $$, then go for it. Otherwise, keep this a hobby, become a nurse, bank some serious $ over a few years and as the economy recovers, you'll be better positioned to trying caking.

I spent many years in the corporate world before I landed here.

bethola Posted 12 Aug 2010 , 1:25pm
post #12 of 19

Let me tell you as a mom, former nursing student to nursing instructor, and now cake decorator. I've never opened my own shop but did help my cousin who catered. It comes at a price. Sometimes this price is family or school. Leah_s is absolutely correct. Don't give up school! Keep honing your decorating skills and then try a shop of your own.

Just my opinion and like a nose...everyone has one!

Beth

icesk8ermom Posted 12 Aug 2010 , 7:35pm
post #13 of 19

Thanks everyone....Sorry I forgot to mention I am 41 and a mom of 2 girls (16 and 20), married with a VERY supportive husband. I am 3 classes away (but because of the demand of the bio classes more like 3 semesters away) from applying to nursing school and because there are so many people getting into nursing now it is hard to get in. However, I am carrying a 3.77 GPA so my chances are good!

I have a very boring job at the moment but it does allow me the opportunity to do my homework while I am there. I really do not want to give up my dream of completing nursing school it is that sometimes I get discouraged a little because it has been so hard to get the bio classes I need. I did tell my co-workers that I was serious about looking into this but still want to finish school! It is that I just keep hearing from several people.co-workers, friends, my own daughter and even my hubby last night said are you sure you dont want to go to culinary school? You are so happy when you cook and bakeand youre good at it! I catered my second marriage (150 guests), made my cake and did all of my flowers so yes I am a crazy woman!

I do understand that being a nurse would give flexibility in what area/scope of field I want to go and will have the potential to make good money. In addition, it is a career that can transfer to pretty much any state if we decide we want to move. I was thinking that maybe if I got something like this going then I could maybe have something that will allow me to have an income while in school (when I get into the nursing program) and set my own hours.

Can someone please wave that magic wand for me??

minicuppie Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 11:02am
post #14 of 19

Sorry, no magic from my wand.
I was a single mom the entire time I was seeking my degree.
Classes (and clinicals) Mon-Fri (kids in school) and worked almost every nite Mon-Fri plus almost all day on Sat (kids at mom's).
Waitressing in the most expensive restaurants that would hire me (read hire woman) and bartending private parties.
You are lucky to have good support at home, and this is one thing the admissions board will ask in your interview.

costumeczar Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 3:10pm
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Unfortunately, in states that bar commercial home baking, you really have to decide if you want to aggressively pursue this business, or keep it as a hobby. It's simply too expensive to sustain a casual food service business long-term.

You may want to look in your area for smaller established custom-order baking businesses that need help if you want to keep it casual.




I'd agree with this...Don't start a business just because your colleagues are telling you to do it. Will they lend you the start-up money to open a shop? It's one thing to work form home in a state tha allows that, but opening a shop or using a rental kitchen come with different issues. (The shop obviously being bigger issues than thte rental kitchen!)

MikeRowesHunny Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 3:30pm
post #16 of 19

[quote="minicuppie"
You are lucky to have good support at home, and this is one thing the admissions board will ask in your interview.[/quote]

I thought that line of questioning became illegal long ago, as it's something aked pretty much exclusively to women (and therefore discriminating)?!

costumeczar Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 4:06pm
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRowesHunny

[quote="minicuppie"
You are lucky to have good support at home, and this is one thing the admissions board will ask in your interview.




I thought that line of questioning became illegal long ago, as it's something aked pretty much exclusively to women (and therefore discriminating)?![/quote]

It probably is illegal, but they find tricky ways to phrase things so that you can't accuse them of it!

minicuppie Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 11:35am
post #18 of 19

You are right, it is illegal to ask the race, religion or creed questions, BUT there are lots of applications to file and one is "psycho-social" in nature. Kind of like the apps for law enforcement. Nursing is a field that requires "good mental health".

MikeRowesHunny Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 12:06pm
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by minicuppie

You are right, it is illegal to ask the race, religion or creed questions, BUT there are lots of applications to file and one is "psycho-social" in nature. Kind of like the apps for law enforcement. Nursing is a field that requires "good mental health".




Right, but I bet you they wouldn't ask a question like that to a male applicant!

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