List Of Must Have's & Money Needed To Open A Shop?

Business By multilayered Updated 15 Sep 2010 , 6:32pm by Rachel5370

multilayered Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 3:11pm
post #1 of 30

Hi I know this is asking a lot, but I really need an idea. I Live in Long Island NY, and I think I may have an investor to open up my Cake Studio!!!!!!!! I was wondering if anyone has a list of what I absolutely need to start. I know some things but I would just like to hear other opinion from those who truly know. I know having my own shop is a huge undertaking. I would really appreciate some help from the experts here on CC. I know this is usually a tricky question but I was also wondering how much would be a good amount of money to start with?I know people say you need at least 6 months float money, is that enough? And by float money that is referring to that many months worth of rent,utility,supply money..right? I appreciate any advice you can give this is my dream and it's the first time it's even come CLOSE to coming true..I just want to be prepared. Thank you so much, Andrea

29 replies
malene541 Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 3:24pm
post #2 of 30

I have no idea the answers to your questions but I wanted to throw out there that I'm super excited for you! Congrats on getting to this point and I hope everythings goes well!! (I also wanted to help your post get some answers) icon_wink.gif

amycakes22 Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 3:43pm
post #3 of 30

multilayered, congrats!!!

Will your studio be equipped at all or are you starting from bare walls? I am planning a space from scratch and in materials and equipment I'll (hopefully) be staring at a number between $50,000 and $65,000. Do you have a solid customer base already? Are you going to be a custom only shop? I am starting with 6 months of cushion. here's a link to a handy business startup cost calculator I found on the SBA website. It gives you costs until you become profitable which is awesome. Hope that helps!

http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/startup.htm

CWR41 Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 4:19pm
post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by multilayered

I was wondering if anyone has a list of what I absolutely need to start.




I have a list, but someone else's start-up list isn't necessarily going to be what your start-up needs are. There are so many variables. I'd suggest making your own list from everything you've ever used that you plan on purchasing again, plus everything that you have on your "want" list. It's all part of the process when writing your detailed business plan.

leily Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 4:53pm
post #5 of 30

plus everything that the health dept and fire dept will require

scp1127 Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 5:16pm
post #6 of 30

Right leily, they have quite a long list.

LindaF144a Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 6:11pm
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by leily

plus everything that the health dept and fire dept will require




Ditto on what Liely said. That will actually be more important and the first thing you should check into. A call to your local board of health will have the answers. You are in NY and so am I, but different counties. I think the only similiarity is that for a RETAIL business, you will be dealing with the board of health. If you are doing wholesale, it might be the board of agriculture. It is in my county, but that part will vary in your county. So I would call them and start there. I would also ask them point blankly if they include in their list anything that your local fire department recommends of is required. If the answer is no, try and get a phone number or department of who to contact.

Always ask, is there another department I need to contact for any more requirements. The person you talk to may or may not have the answer.

Here is an example why: In my county I can sell through wholesale or farmer's markets with a Home Processing Permit. I mentioned to the guy at the department of agriculture that I was looking for large cases to store the cupcakes in and then I would put them in other containers to give to the customers rather than individually saran wrap every item. It turns out that if I repackage a product then I am considered a retail bakery (just for putting from the container to a package!) and would no longer qualify for the permit I have. So be sure to ask, ask, ask. Nothing is a stupid question.

Having said all that, I was thinking yesterday of the bare bones I would need for a kitchen:

At least 1 convection oven, if not 2 -3 depending on the volume of business.
2 Stainless steel counters. One each for the various stages of cupcake prep. I currently use two different counters at home, so this is why I think two would work.
A refrigerator - commercial of some kind, a reach-in one is preferable
A small freezer - upright.
2 mixers - one for cake and one for frosting and again depending on the volume maybe more. Or a large Hobart too would work (I think).
This is for the prep area. This doesn't include the cleaning, washing up area, the store the cupcakes equipment, the display equipment (counters, display stands, etc.)

As you can see there is a lot to consider. What I would do is close your eyes and imagine what your work place would be like and what you would use. The imagine the same thing for the front of house. Search the web and look for commercial kitchen photos. Start writing everything down that comes to mind, right down to the spatulas you would use.

Hopefully this will be enough to get you started on your path to your own research. Good luck and enjoy!

1234me Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 10:53pm
post #8 of 30

invest in a large hobart mixer - you will NOT regret it! Good luck with your venture!

JustGettinStarted Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 11:30pm
post #9 of 30

Congrats ...I have no idea what to say to help

Motta Posted 10 Sep 2010 , 11:35pm
post #10 of 30

how big a Hobart do you recommend for those starting out? 20 qt, 80 qt?
And would that be for the batter only or one for batter and one for frosting?

multilayered Posted 11 Sep 2010 , 12:26am
post #11 of 30

Thanks everyone for the advice and the kind. I know people have different needs but I was just curious what the not so obvious "must haves" are. Thanks again.

bakingpw Posted 11 Sep 2010 , 6:53pm
post #12 of 30

Congrats!! I would suggest a 20 Qt. Mixer - 2 would be better. Don't forget exhaust system and fire suppression systems, if they are not already installed in the space. These can be VERY expensive but are required in NY. My start-up costs were $140,000.+ for the "build-out, security, permits, insurance and necessary equipment and supplies and also included 6 mos. expenses.

loriemoms Posted 12 Sep 2010 , 12:23pm
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by leily

plus everything that the health dept and fire dept will require




I agree..and be prepared for some things you never thought of and are quite pricey. You will probably have to put in a grease trap if you dont have one already, and a hood. Both very expensive items. One thing I found for "hidden" costs is even if you have a sprinkler system in place, the fire marshal will require it to be serviced and inspected. Ours was about 1200 bucks. (they have to drain it to inspect it) We had to put everything in handicap accessible, even our hand sinks, because of the labor laws protecting the handicapped, which of course is more expensive. Make sure all your shelving is NSF, They will check that too. Our health department inspector also came on by for a "pre visit" and I showed him my plans and he gave me suggestions and changes...really really helped a lot! OH and another expense we had that was like Give me a break! Because we were using ovens, the adjoining walls to the buildings next door had to have special fire caulking in all the openings where pipes ran, etc, to protect next door (we are in a strip mall) Took my contractor 2 days to apply and the materials itself aint cheap. Luckilly we already had a firewall...but that would be required too. So as you can see, YES, invite these inspectors over FIRST.

Then of course, the oven, tables, triple sink, refrigeration, etc. (do get a 20 quart, with 2 bowls, you dont need two 20 quart mixers right off, and there are brands that are a LOT cheaper then hobart that very well made! ) I would also start with one oven, but leave room for a second, till you know your volume, and plan out your tables very well, as they are also expensive. Are you just doing private consultation, no store front? Remember a really nice table and chairs to talk over things on, and maybe a couch..the presentation is really important too. And don't forget your pans, spatulas, and shelving!!! That part of the list just depends on how you are doing things now....and what you have on hand.

Good luck!!!! And enjoy the excitement now, don't mean to damper things for you later, but this is NOT a fun experiences! haha!

scp1127 Posted 12 Sep 2010 , 9:30pm
post #14 of 30

Before I started this process, I didn't know about the 500 gal grease trap tank to be buried in the ground. Do you need this and is it possible in your location?

littlecake Posted 12 Sep 2010 , 10:56pm
post #15 of 30

the laws are different everywhere, i got by with an under the sink greasetrap...about 500 bucks 9 years ago. also didn't need a sprinkler system.

we didn't need an exaust fan ($$$$$$$$$$$$) if we used an electric oven.
i have a 30 qt for the icing...20 for the batter(got it on ebay 4 200.00 don't hate me lol).

the only way to find out what exactly you will need is to talk to the peeps in your area.

i know i girl who lived in a less restricted place...and opened for 5 K.
it was years ago...but i opened for around 30K/

loriemoms Posted 12 Sep 2010 , 11:25pm
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

the laws are different everywhere, i got by with an under the sink greasetrap...about 500 bucks 9 years ago. also didn't need a sprinkler system.

we didn't need an exaust fan ($$$$$$$$$$$$) if we used an electric oven.
i have a 30 qt for the icing...20 for the batter(got it on ebay 4 200.00 don't hate me lol).

the only way to find out what exactly you will need is to talk to the peeps in your area.

i know i girl who lived in a less restricted place...and opened for 5 K.
it was years ago...but i opened for around 30K/




The laws have changed SO much in the last couple of years, because of environmental issues. Some communities aren't even allowing garbage disposals put in houses anymore because of damage to rivers and lakes...We could have gotten away with a under sink grease trap too if we had done this like two years ago! We couldn't even put the door to our bathroom from the decorating area, because we were working with food! Its crazy the laws now! (we decided to put an office between the bathroom and the decorating area and that solved the problem) They require a hood now even if you aren't doing any kind of grease as it saves energy. (it helps reduce your A/C bill) Our area requires we put in all energy saving devices. So yes, you never know!!!!

tripleD Posted 12 Sep 2010 , 11:32pm
post #17 of 30

Sit down with a pen and paper and write what equipment you use from start to finish. You will then need that in commercial with NSF. rating. Then go online to your states laws. Every state varies. I just opened my shop (Ohio) this week. it took 6 months of prep and stress and lots of money. I have been from the industrial commission to the EPA. Pumming, Fire,Health inspectors and more.
Its a lot of work but its worth it. When the health inspector left my shop with the O.K. to open. I cried all the way home. The stress this summer was high. Yesterday I baked all day. Now tommorrow I am going shopping for the things I never thought of. I havent had a open house yet. I wanted to get the feel of the kitchen first. But I have booked 4 Weddings already. So I think I 've done something right.
I purchased a lot of equipment from ebay.
Good luck,

Marianna46 Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 12:21am
post #18 of 30

Thanks for posting the SBA calculator, amycakes22. This will be very helpful to me since I'm on the verge of setting up a business myself. Actually, I'll be buying a house that I'd likie to equip from the outset for a cake consulting business (no store front). The health department, etc., requirements are very different here in Mexico and cottage baking is allowed, but having led a very sheltered life, businesswise, this list of things to take into account will be great to have as I go along. Mostly, I need to just make sure I have the space for future expansion, because I'll be starting off very basically. If the business makes a go of it, it will get larger. If it doesn't, I can't really afford to have thousands of dollars of debt to pay off, since my retirement income is good, but fixed. I wish the best for everyone who's trying to go into business at this unsteady time in the economy, and especially to you, multilayered. May we all succeed!!!

scp1127 Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 12:22am
post #19 of 30

My license is for a full kitchen with no restrictions so I have to have the 500 gallon tank in the yard. The tank is only $700, and since my husband is a builder, we have a backhoe (something I didn't know). But we still went through a sanitation inspection and approval for the tank on the site. We have all of our approvals, just doing construction and opening in October. I just looked on Cupcake Girls (the show) and their estimate for opening a store is $345,000. Take a look at their website. A lot of people don't like that show and I hate all the fake drama too, but they touch on some interesting topics hidden in the garbage.

mom2spunkynbug Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 4:06am
post #20 of 30

Great question! Loved reading all the responses too! I'm in a similar situation...I have soooo much to do on my business plan...but I just have to sit down and do it!

LindaF144a Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 11:54am
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

My license is for a full kitchen with no restrictions so I have to have the 500 gallon tank in the yard. The tank is only $700, and since my husband is a builder, we have a backhoe (something I didn't know). But we still went through a sanitation inspection and approval for the tank on the site. We have all of our approvals, just doing construction and opening in October. I just looked on Cupcake Girls (the show) and their estimate for opening a store is $345,000. Take a look at their website. A lot of people don't like that show and I hate all the fake drama too, but they touch on some interesting topics hidden in the garbage.




Do you have a link where I can find the website you talk about here? I don't get WE channel so I can't see this show, nor do I know which website I should look at - the one for the show or the one for the shop. Thanks!

cutthecake Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 12:44pm
post #22 of 30

I'd talk to a CPA to discuss the entire money end of the endeavor before I did anything else. You'll have to comply with Federal, State, county and local regulations. A good CPA will properly set up your bookkeeping system; aim you in the right direction for filings (quarterly NYS sales tax, ID#s, payroll, tax returns, etc.); and help you determine the type of entity your business should be. You'll need a lawyer, if you don't already have one. And an insurance broker.

Those of you in New York--where are you located? I'm in Westchester. Unless I win a BIG lottery, I could never afford to open a shop. Real estate costs are prohibitive around here.

I read an article about Philadelphia's Cupcake Lady, who operates a cupcake truck, but bakes in a rented commercial kitchen. She said her start-up costs--without a storefront--were about $50,000.

littlecake Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 4:15pm
post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

the laws are different everywhere, i got by with an under the sink greasetrap...about 500 bucks 9 years ago. also didn't need a sprinkler system.

we didn't need an exaust fan ($$$$$$$$$$$$) if we used an electric oven.
i have a 30 qt for the icing...20 for the batter(got it on ebay 4 200.00 don't hate me lol).

the only way to find out what exactly you will need is to talk to the peeps in your area.

i know i girl who lived in a less restricted place...and opened for 5 K.
it was years ago...but i opened for around 30K/



The laws have changed SO much in the last couple of years, because of environmental issues. Some communities aren't even allowing garbage disposals put in houses anymore because of damage to rivers and lakes...We could have gotten away with a under sink grease trap too if we had done this like two years ago! We couldn't even put the door to our bathroom from the decorating area, because we were working with food! Its crazy the laws now! (we decided to put an office between the bathroom and the decorating area and that solved the problem) They require a hood now even if you aren't doing any kind of grease as it saves energy. (it helps reduce your A/C bill) Our area requires we put in all energy saving devices. So yes, you never know!!!!




i hate hearing this....i'm planning on doing the oppisite of what ya'll did...i'm planning on building onto my home and closing the shop...sick of the overhead.....geeze i hope i don't have to put in a giant greasetrap...and hood....ugh...guess i got some asking to do too!

jason_kraft Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 5:39pm
post #24 of 30

Another good resource is a culinary incubator, they typically provide rented commercial kitchen space to help businesses get started, and they can also help with financing and navigating local/state/fed regulations.

Here is a map of incubators (and private kitchen rentals) across the US:
http://www.culinaryincubator.com/maps.php

And for a more detailed example of what a typical incubator offers, check out La Cocina in San Francisco:
http://www.lacocinasf.org/incubator-program-2/

scp1127 Posted 13 Sep 2010 , 9:18pm
post #25 of 30

LindaF144, it is cupcakesonline.com

And as for grease traps under the sink, my area does not approve them anymore. The health department said that because I have no restrictions on my license, I have to have one. This is a separate home kitchen, but it must comply with all requirements. I think the reason the health department blow people off is because they get home kitchen questions all the time and they don't waste their time if someone hasn't done at least some research and is not committed to the time and expense.

loriemoms Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:04pm
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleD

Sit down with a pen and paper and write what equipment you use from start to finish. You will then need that in commercial with NSF. rating. Then go online to your states laws. Every state varies. I just opened my shop (Ohio) this week. it took 6 months of prep and stress and lots of money. I have been from the industrial commission to the EPA. Pumming, Fire,Health inspectors and more.
Its a lot of work but its worth it. When the health inspector left my shop with the O.K. to open. I cried all the way home. The stress this summer was high. Yesterday I baked all day. Now tommorrow I am going shopping for the things I never thought of. I havent had a open house yet. I wanted to get the feel of the kitchen first. But I have booked 4 Weddings already. So I think I 've done something right.
I purchased a lot of equipment from ebay.
Good luck,




I was so glad to read your post, as I am still feeling so drained about our experience of getting the shop going (I went from a home bakery to a shop and I was trying to get weddings out while doing the uplift) 6 months of hell. We have been opened a couple of months now and we are still adjusting, but we are getting there. But I too sat and down and cried when it was all over..from the stress and exhaustion. You gotta be strong for this kind of thing and have a REALLY good marriage!

Rachel5370 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:25pm
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

how big a Hobart do you recommend for those starting out? 20 qt, 80 qt?
And would that be for the batter only or one for batter and one for frosting?




Hi, I would recommend getting one 20qt Hobart ($1500 to $2000 used) and two 6 qt Commercial grade (look for NSF label) Kitchenaids or smaller commercials mixers of another brand. Unless you are doing large batches of bread dough, you don't need the huge ones. You can fit a 10-12lb batch of icing or batter in the 20qt. That makes quite a bit of cake! Then if you need to flavor of color your icing, use the smaller mixers. Get extra bowls and attachments for more flexibility and productiveness. ~Rachel

Rachel5370 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:27pm
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

how big a Hobart do you recommend for those starting out? 20 qt, 80 qt?
And would that be for the batter only or one for batter and one for frosting?




Hi, I would recommend getting one 20qt Hobart ($1500 to $2000 used) and two 6 qt Commercial grade (look for NSF label) Kitchenaids or smaller commercials mixers of another brand. Unless you are doing large batches of bread dough, you don't need the huge ones. You can fit a 10-12lb batch of icing or batter in the 20qt. That makes quite a bit of cake! Then if you need to flavor of color your icing, use the smaller mixers. Get extra bowls and attachments for more flexibility and productiveness. ~Rachel

Rachel5370 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:28pm
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

how big a Hobart do you recommend for those starting out? 20 qt, 80 qt?
And would that be for the batter only or one for batter and one for frosting?




Hi, I would recommend getting one 20qt Hobart ($1500 to $2000 used) and two 6 qt Commercial grade (look for NSF label) Kitchenaids or smaller commercials mixers of another brand. Unless you are doing large batches of bread dough, you don't need the huge ones. You can fit a 10-12lb batch of icing or batter in the 20qt. That makes quite a bit of cake! Then if you need to flavor of color your icing, use the smaller mixers. Get extra bowls and attachments for more flexibility and productiveness. You can always get more later, but only get what you absolutely need to start. ~Rachel

Rachel5370 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:32pm
post #30 of 30

Sorry about the duplicates! I got a message saying it didn't post twice- so I tried again. It posted 3 times! oops icon_redface.gif

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