Ugh...where To Start?

Business By cakesherry Updated 5 Mar 2011 , 9:02pm by tigachu

cakesherry Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 6:16pm
post #1 of 16

Since moving to Ohio, and closing my catering business, I have bugged my husband about starting a home bakery. He is very risk-averse and worried about the liability, cost, etc.
I've 'catered' several of his breakfast, lunch, etc. meetings and have started doing cakes for his office as well. A successful business owner was at several of these meetings and asked my husband who his contact was. Anyway, after talking to this man for awhile, he is totally on board and excited for me to start a home bakery business, focusing on special occasion cakes.
Now my questions is...where to I start?
I sit down to work on the business plan, but then I think about organizing my cake pans, or buying extra storage and refrigeration. Do you get your kitchen ready first? Work on a website? How did you begin?

15 replies
emrldsky Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 6:30pm
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesherry

Since moving to Ohio, and closing my catering business, I have bugged my husband about starting a home bakery. He is very risk-averse and worried about the liability, cost, etc.
I've 'catered' several of his breakfast, lunch, etc. meetings and have started doing cakes for his office as well. A successful business owner was at several of these meetings and asked my husband who his contact was. Anyway, after talking to this man for awhile, he is totally on board and excited for me to start a home bakery business, focusing on special occasion cakes.
Now my questions is...where to I start?
I sit down to work on the business plan, but then I think about organizing my cake pans, or buying extra storage and refrigeration. Do you get your kitchen ready first? Work on a website? How did you begin?




Honestly, the first place I would start is your local health department or agriculture department, to determine what THEIR requirements are for a home-based bakery.

If you've already done that, great!! icon_biggrin.gif The next step would be the business plan. Make sure that it's a viable option, that you have the customer-base to support the business, etc.

And once you have your business plan in place, it will help guide you through your next steps.

Good luck!!!

elliespartycake Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 6:51pm
post #3 of 16

I agree, start with your local health department. Find out what the process is, what kitchen requirements they have and get a sense of how difficult/easy it will be. They could care less about your cake pans, but your sink/disposal/refrigeration etc will be a concern.
I was able to get by with my kitchen fridge and an extra Fridge/freezer I have in my basement. I am not in Ohio and every state/county/town is different. So check that first and then attack the business plan. Having been in business before you should have no trouble.
As to your husband's risk aversion, you can make your business an LLC and of course get liability insurance.

cakesherry Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 7:11pm
post #4 of 16

I've checked with the health dept. (my husband used to be an inspector!) and can sell under "cottage law" or pay a small fee and become a "home bakery", which will allows me to sell a larger variety of baked goods. Our kitchen, appliances and home are four years old so I think we will 'inspect out' well. Does anyone use their garage for storage, extra fridge, etc. Or does it need to be finished? I can't seem to find a straight answer.
I was so excited to start our business plan but, man, is it tedious!

bellaudreycakes Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 1:43am
post #5 of 16

Hi and congrats! Where about in Ohio are you from? I am also from Ohio and getting ready to open a storefront, nervous but soo excited!!

cakesherry Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 11:51pm
post #6 of 16

I'm so jealous! I hope to open a storefront when my youngest is in school - this will give me 2-3 years headstart. I used to work out of a restaurant, I'm already overwhelmed trying to organize everything!
I'm in Maineville, near King's Island. What about you?

bellaudreycakes Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 2:54am
post #7 of 16

I know the feeling my youngest just started preschool this year. I am from Toledo area not too far from you! Actually we were just at kings island last year. Kids loved it! Good luck with your home bakery! thumbs_up.gif

Newtothis Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 3:11am
post #8 of 16

You 2 need to come to the Ohio days of sharing in Columbus on April 2nd & 3rd. Look it up on the website. We have Zane Beg and Norman Davis coming to teach classes.

CAKELADIE1 Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 3:28am
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtothis

You 2 need to come to the Ohio days of sharing in Columbus on April 2nd & 3rd. Look it up on the website. We have Zane Beg and Norman Davis coming to teach classes.




LUCKY YOU!! I have been on two cake cruises with Zane and Norm and they are the BEST! Love them. They are so nice and you will learn so much. They are also a lot of fun. Ask them about Cake Cruising..

j0z1e Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 3:31am
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Quote:

the customer-base to support the business, etc.




I've seen this mentioned a few times and I'm curious how you judge this type of thing. Is it based on population size and/or other bakers in the area?

dreamsville Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 9:49pm
post #11 of 16

I'm from Ohio too also looking to open a business! I'm closer to the Canton area. I want to open a store front but am thinking of looking at the health dept. for info on home-based business until the building we want comes available (which we hear could happen sooner than later). Hope all goes well for you!!!

MimiFix Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 1:28am
post #12 of 16

Do a business plan first. That will help keep you on track. And talk with the folks who will inspect your kitchen. If you need a DBA (doing business under an assumed name) get that done, too. Many of the other items you mentioned are concurrent. Figure out your ingredient costs and then your product cost so you can get your pricing in place. If you need labels, decide how those will be done. Just get started and try not to think about the entire project or you will feel overwhelmed.

Many years ago I started a home-based kitchen business with no food service background and no business experience. I know how you feel. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time... But you'll do fine with such a great resource here!

Paperfishies Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 2:30am
post #13 of 16

Be careful with the "cottage laws" ...I live in Kentucky and we have cottage laws, HOWEVER...The kitchen you use can not be the main kitchen in your house, the kitchen has to have a 3 compartment sink with drainboards, the counter tops have to be an approved material and the list goes on. Speaking to an attorney, the health dept in my city and reading tons and tons of material I'm finding out that cottage laws are not all they're cracked up to be and can't be taken at face value.

Good luck in your venture! I hope everything works out the way you want it to!

tigachu Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 2:49am
post #14 of 16

Also check with your local zoning department

cakesherry Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 8:18pm
post #15 of 16

I hadn't even thought about zoning...I'll check that out. It seems like this county has cottage law and then the next step up is being a licensed home bakery (what I'm interested in).
I'm meeting with high school friends who own a chocolate/cake shop (very succesful) in my hometown, and with my uncle-in-law who owns a restaurant and does a ton of catering and wedding cakes. Then on Monday I have a meeting set up with some one from Score.
How do I find out about the Columbus classes? I'd love to go.

tigachu Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 9:02pm
post #16 of 16

I looked up the regulations for my local zoning department and I will need to go before the board for approval because I am not in a single family home. I was told it could take me at least 6 months so I am going to deal with that first and work on everything else in the mean time.

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