One stipulation w/ the county in baking from my home property is that I cannot have customers come to my business...it is used solely for baking. Even though for me it wouldn't produce a lot of traffic (I'm in the country), I'm sure that is why they have the stipulation in place.
I know for consultations a lot of you meet at another location outside of your home (coffee shop, customer's home, etc.).
For delivering, though, I'm wondering do many of you always deliver, no matter what the event, say at the customer's location or maybe an arranged meeting spot?
I'm also wondering about delivery charges. If I do not offer pick up, I'm thinking I will offer delivery no-charge in my small town but charge a mileage rate each mile out of town limits. I don't think it's right to charge mileage when I do not allow the customer the option to pick up their product. Sound right? I just wonder too (having small children and a husband that, in season, works many hours) how risky it would be to just have someone come and pick up a small cake order when I don't want to worry about getting a baysitter or taking my kids with me. Thoughts?
I have to use a commercial kitchen to bake, but I prefer they don't pick up. Just because I have to deal with them transporting it, and you never know how that will end up. I will let them pick up if they make a stink about delivery, but for the most part, I really try to push delivery. I charge $.55 per mile (round trip)
I haven't started my new business yet but do plan to in the next couple of weeks. I'm just getting my t's crossed and i's dotted before launching. I charge $1.50 per mile round trip outside of a 15 mile radius of my home up to 49 miles. 50 miles or more will be $1.00/mile round trip.
I will try to push for delivery for the same reasons as yummy, however, if I have a client every now and then that wants to pick up, I will do that also. I just don't want to have a lot of people knowing where I live. I was thinking of having certain delivery days to help defray some of the costs for my clients, for example, delivery on Wed and Fridays and Saturdays exclusively for wedding or larger celebrations. Reason being is because I also make pound cakes and those are most of the time of less importance.
In the city I live in I can not have customers come to my home and pick up the cake. I have no issue with this as I bake out of my home and I prefer customers do not know exactly where I live. I value my privacy and saftey as some of these are strangers to us.
Just remember the cost associated with the delivery. If you don't, you could end up with no profit or in the negative. Consider the gas, maintenance, and the COMMERCIAL insurance. If you don't carry commercial insurance, they can refuse to pay a claim. The cost of delivery can really add up, especially with higher gas prices.
Your delivery needs to be in the cost or separate. But to ignore it is a very bad business decision. This should be taken into account in the business plan.
My HBV guidelines are customers HAVE to pick up, I can't deliver. I hate it. No matter how many times I tell transportation guidelines they show up with small car and plan on putting on slanted front seats. Grrrrrrrrr
I understand that you want (and maybe need to) to offer free delivery in town since pick up isn't an option. I would suggest having a minimum order amount that makes free delivery worth your time, gas, insurance... As for out of town orders, charge a fee on top of the order total for sure.
I charge $1.25/mile each way (so $2.50/mile).
Could customers with smaller orders (non tiered cakes, cupcakes...) come to the end of the road. They wouldn't be coming to your house, but much closer than having to drive to their house. Maybe if the customer can come to the end of your road there is no delivery fee - otherwise, delivery fee applies.
I like cai0311 idea if it's a small order. Delivery doesn't mean all the way to their location. Pick a meeting place close to your home like a Starbucks or something. Feel free to explain the statute states that people are not allowed to pick up the cake from your home. This also gives you the flexibility to set places that work for both people. For example "free delivery" within a 5 mile radius or something like that.
Thanks for all the replies. Definitely things to ponder and sort out. The main shopping section of town is pretty much straight up out street, about 5-7 mins away so planning a meeting spot would not be that hard.
I am in London UK and have only ever been requested to deliver once. (And that was painful) All the rest of my customers come and pick up from me. Certainly not only the mileage and wear and tear on the car needs to be taken into consideration, but possibly the effect on the car insurance, using it for business use too. Also the time element needs to be added too. How many other cakes could you be making in the time you have taken out to deliver the product? If ensuring that your home address remains secret - then factor in a meeting locally. However, this means that you are relying on your customer being on time and not delayed. What happens if you have priced for the cake and the delivery - and then they are late. Do you then have to add more money onto the bill for your waste of time - or waiting time??? Something to think about...... Also in UK we have Congestion Charging in some cities as well as high rates in order to park a car. And this is also something that needs to be thought about when offering delivery. A parking ticket for illegal parking is not something you wish to get.
I actually do both pick up and delivery. I have a minimum delivery charge of $5 and then charge $0.50 per mile round trip. But now after seeing these posts I may up it to $1. I prefer to deliver because I personally don't like people coming to my house. That or I live 1/4 mile from a fairgrounds and will meet people there. I also live in the country so it makes pick up difficult during the winter because of the snow on the road.
My "bakery" was built into my basement because I needed to have a seperate kitchen per NYS code. To be honest, I don't like when people come here because I feel like I need to have my house super clean and that is difficult with a 4 and 2 year old.
Well..I do pickup only because I two have kids and it's a pain in the ass to jump in the car and drive all over especially in lousy weather.I also live in a city of over 1.6 million and trying to get anywhere fast is a joke.You spend more time in traffic and construction zones and I suffer from anxiety anyways so..No Way...Of course I have people ask to deliver or want me to Courier it over but I refuse...In 10 years I have never had a customer complain or not show up to get a cake.That being said..I guess do what is comfortable to you but make sure you charge enough to cover the time you are out delivering and the wear and tear of your vehicle and gas ,insurance etc....