Is It Possible To Mail Cupcakes?

Baking By mom2my3girlz Updated 12 Nov 2011 , 11:13pm by jason_kraft

mom2my3girlz Posted 8 Nov 2011 , 3:14pm
post #1 of 34

I was just wondering is it possible to mail cupcake orders? I have never done it but just curious how to do it.

33 replies
chocolate_luvr Posted 10 Nov 2011 , 3:43am
post #2 of 34

Im not sure if its possible or not? Id be interested in hearing peoples comments as well.

Bridgette1129 Posted 10 Nov 2011 , 4:44am
post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2my3girlz

I was just wondering is it possible to mail cupcake orders? I have never done it but just curious how to do it.




I know Georgetown Cupcake mails theirs. I have no idea how but this is what the site says:

Georgetown Cupcake ships to physical addresses within the lower 48 states. The minimum order size for shipping is one dozen cupcakes. Shipping fees are $26 for the first dozen and $15 for each additional dozen shipped to the same address. All orders must be placed by 12 noon on the day prior to the desired delivery date. Saturday delivery is available for a $10 surcharge.

Georgetown Cupcake ships all of its cupcakes overnight via FedEx.

KathysCC Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 1:16am
post #4 of 34

Someone just posted a thread about a mailed cake here the other day. The USPS is apparently not the way to go with this. You have to pick a carrier who knows how to handle shipped cakes or your package could be man-handled and the product arrive destroyed. You might want to contact the package delivery companies to find out their policies on this and if they would attempt it.

MimiFix Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 2:07am
post #5 of 34

Some people ship cupcakes as kits. They box unfrosted cupcakes, an icing bag filled with frosting, and sprinkles.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 2:18am
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridgette1129

I know Georgetown Cupcake mails theirs. I have no idea how but this is what the site says:

Georgetown Cupcake ships to physical addresses within the lower 48 states. The minimum order size for shipping is one dozen cupcakes. Shipping fees are $26 for the first dozen and $15 for each additional dozen shipped to the same address. All orders must be placed by 12 noon on the day prior to the desired delivery date. Saturday delivery is available for a $10 surcharge.

Georgetown Cupcake ships all of its cupcakes overnight via FedEx.



I have no idea how they can afford this...standard FedEx overnight service starts in the $60 range.

scp1127 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 2:44am
post #7 of 34

You also must have an FDA approved kitchen or you have committed a federal offense. The reason that GT Cupcake charges that amount is that it complies with FDA requirements for safety in shipping.

Bridgette1129 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 4:29am
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridgette1129

I know Georgetown Cupcake mails theirs. I have no idea how but this is what the site says:

Georgetown Cupcake ships to physical addresses within the lower 48 states. The minimum order size for shipping is one dozen cupcakes. Shipping fees are $26 for the first dozen and $15 for each additional dozen shipped to the same address. All orders must be placed by 12 noon on the day prior to the desired delivery date. Saturday delivery is available for a $10 surcharge.

Georgetown Cupcake ships all of its cupcakes overnight via FedEx.


I have no idea how they can afford this...standard FedEx overnight service starts in the $60 range.




Seriously?! Wow...

jason_kraft Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 4:44am
post #9 of 34

That's the price for FedEx overnight across the country anyway. The price can drop to the $30 range for closer deliveries, so at best they might be breaking even with the $26 shipping charge if the customer lives nearby but they are losing quite a bit for everyone else.

The only thing that makes sense is if they are actually using FedEx 2 day shipping, which starts at closer to $30 even for cross-country packages.

We looked into offering shipping for our cupcakes, due to the nature of our business we get many requests to ship products across the country. We were planning on shipping them 2 day, frozen in plastic clamshells with insulated packaging) but you once you take everything into account you are looking at charging at least $40-50 for shipping and packaging alone, plus the extra FDA overhead. It's not worth the hassle for the few customers who are willing to pay that much.

scp1127 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 5:19am
post #10 of 34

Jason, that was my plan too. It didn't cost me any more to comply with FDA requirements because that is the code of my area (less the actual licensing issues and registration). But adding just the analysis for each recipe gets up there at about $125.00 each. Now we have narrowed it to our few most popular items and it is still on the back burner. That still puts the label information to close to $1000.00 for just a few items. That's hard to make back unless you commit to it as a viable part of the business. There is a company close to my other home that is a small business and she has been very successful with national mail order. So it can be done, and done well, even in a small company.

The FDA license does have some great information. It prompted me to put into place a recall protocol.

Cakery2012 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:06am
post #11 of 34

Hi, Im new and have been reading here for awhile. It doesn'tmatter if you send something UPS,FEDEX,USPS ect. I know for a fact it will be bounced. Around for hours, dropped,thrown and evetything in between. They are not going to carry any package specially.It will be on conveyors and trucks with.100s maybe 1000s of others. sorry for mybtypos Im using my.cell and cant read my.reply while typing.

scp1127 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:18am
post #12 of 34

Cakery, we know that, but it is done successfully every day.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 5:45pm
post #13 of 34

I always see the opened boxes/cartons of Georgetown Cupcakes at my job. We're in NY. The cupcakes are perfect. I just wish one day I would get to see in person when they open the boxes. I always arrive too late for that. There's a sturdy carton on the outside with pictures of cupcakes all over and then there's a smaller pink box with a dozen cupcakes inside that I'm sure is perfectly cushioned inside the other one. I'm not sure if there's yet a third box on the outside. I always saw the boxes already in the recycling bin.

In case anyone needs these links, I'm posting them here.

http://dailycookie.net/2011/04/delicious-decadent-georgetown-cupcakes/

http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/2008/02/lessons-in-cupcake-shipping-from-sweet.html

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=715053&sid=cd073a15a56dc75438fdf79dc9d5f46f

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=711942&sid=f9a230befb24ff8d7b14791603714946

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-7211613.html

http://www.boxby.co.uk/sending-cupcakes-by-post.asp

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2010/12/how-to-ship-cupcakes.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703444804575071441405453122.html

http://lepetitesweetcupcakes.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-to-ship-cupcakes.html

jason_kraft Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 5:53pm
post #14 of 34

Shipping them frozen in an insulated container is pretty much the only way to make sure they will still be intact after being thrown around trucks and processing facilities.

I still don't see how they can make money doing this, overnight shipping from DC to NY alone is at least $32 and you're looking at a minimum of $5-10 in packaging.

scp1127 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:05pm
post #15 of 34

Maybe they have a strong enough east coast following that it is profitable. They could also have a bulk contract. The packaging gets much cheaper in higher quantities when you order in the thousands.

For those of us still in the infant stages and the planning stages, I know I would need to market it to my regular customers for about 6 months before the holidays next year and decide on about three or four items. This way I can control the startup. I was approached by a national company to sell my cakes, but I'm just not committed to the issue. It's kind of like the CC member that wants to supply all of the bread and desserts for a restaurant. Once there is a contract and an obligation, the control is gone. I'm not at a time in my life where I want to kill myself with work. It could be a bust, or it could be too much work. I'm still considering the offer, but it worries me.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:12pm
post #16 of 34

"Georgetown Cupcake ships to physical addresses within the lower 48 states. The minimum order size for shipping is one dozen cupcakes. Shipping fees are $26 for the first dozen and $15 for each additional dozen shipped to the same address. All orders must be placed by 12 noon on the day prior to the desired delivery date. Saturday delivery is available for a $10 surcharge.

Georgetown Cupcake ships all of its cupcakes overnight via FedEx."

(From their website)

Price for a dozen Georgetown cupcakes is $29. They must have a good discount with FedEx.

MimiFix Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:23pm
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagenthatnj

I always see the opened boxes/cartons of Georgetown Cupcakes at my job.




Imaginethatnj, what kind of office do you work in (Wall St, legal firm, etc)?

MimiFix Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:30pm
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I was approached by a national company to sell my cakes, but I'm just not committed to the issue. It's kind of like the CC member that wants to supply all of the bread and desserts for a restaurant. Once there is a contract and an obligation, the control is gone. I'm not at a time in my life where I want to kill myself with work. It could be a bust, or it could be too much work. I'm still considering the offer, but it worries me.




Susan, you're just too logical. Many CC posters would ask for advice then jump into it with no business plan and no understanding that they risk losing everything.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 6:38pm
post #19 of 34

Hi Mimi. Publishing, big celebrity magazine. I think the editors must like Georgetown cupcakes.

I'm enjoying reading your book. Just got it.

MimiFix Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 7:22pm
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagenthatnj

Hi Mimi. Publishing, big celebrity magazine. I think the editors must like Georgetown cupcakes.

I'm enjoying reading your book. Just got it.




If it's the business book, feel free to email me any questions. If it's the baking book, feel free to send me samples icon_biggrin.gif

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 7:46pm
post #21 of 34

Ha! business book. You're so clear on everything that I doubt I'll have many questions. I'll read it twice and then we'll see! Thanks for the offer.

What SCP suffers from must be contagious (buying books) because I just got 7 baking books, except I have no time to bake...maybe I'll just read those too!

Ok...back to shipping cupcakes...

ReneeFLL Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 8:39pm
post #22 of 34

They must get a mass discount or something to be able to ship overnight for that price.

I shipped a package by FedEx overnight half way across the country. It normally would have cost eighty something dollars, but because of a "certain" discount that I get it only cost me $25.00.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 8:46pm
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReneeFLL

They must get a mass discount or something to be able to ship overnight for that price.

I shipped a package by FedEx overnight half way across the country. It normally would have cost eighty something dollars, but because of a "certain" discount that I get it only cost me $25.00.



Can you elaborate on how you got this discount?

ReneeFLL Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 9:00pm
post #24 of 34

Hi Jason,
I get the discount because my husband is a pilot for American. It can only be used for personal use and not business.

I have a friend that used to get a large discount from FedEx when she had a flower business in Hawaii. I know that she shipped alot of flowers. I did not ask how much the discount was, but it seemed like alot.

scp1127 Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 9:44pm
post #25 of 34

I just mentioned Mimi's book on another thread about the GT Cupcake book. I'm reading it too.

Mimi's book has already saved me multiple hours of time on just one tip. I'm not new to business, but new to the bakery business. I started this company as a small batch artisan bakery. But when a larger order comes in, it's nice to pull from the pros and learn how to handle these jobs efficiently. Higher production wasn't in my plans, but as my business ages, I'm getting more inquiries (that have turned into orders) as if I'm a higher production bakery, for corporate events and corporate gifts. Thanks to Mimi's and Buddy Valastro's books, I have learned some great time management practices that make a little company able to handle larger orders without much more work.

Yes, I have said it before, I am obsessed with cookbooks. I always have been. Lately I have been going back to my roots and I've been reading my 25 year old Junior Womens League cookbooks. They are still amazing... just no pictures.

MimiFix Posted 11 Nov 2011 , 10:28pm
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I just mentioned Mimi's book on another thread about the GT Cupcake book. I'm reading it too.

Mimi's book has already saved me multiple hours of time on just one tip. I'm not new to business, but new to the bakery business. I started this company as a small batch artisan bakery. But when a larger order comes in, it's nice to pull from the pros and learn how to handle these jobs efficiently. Higher production wasn't in my plans, but as my business ages, I'm getting more inquiries (that have turned into orders) as if I'm a higher production bakery, for corporate events and corporate gifts. Thanks to Mimi's and Buddy Valastro's books, I have learned some great time management practices that make a little company able to handle larger orders without much more work.




Just to clarify, the baking tips Susan is referring to are from my second book, Home Baking for Profit. My first book is about starting a business. I say this because a reader recently ordered the wrong book and gave me a poor rating - she expected to learn business and was quite annoyed with me for not providing her the business how-to's. Sorry, don't want anymore angry reviewers.

ReneeFLL Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 3:27am
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I just mentioned Mimi's book on another thread about the GT Cupcake book. I'm reading it too.

Mimi's book has already saved me multiple hours of time on just one tip. I'm not new to business, but new to the bakery business. I started this company as a small batch artisan bakery. But when a larger order comes in, it's nice to pull from the pros and learn how to handle these jobs efficiently. Higher production wasn't in my plans, but as my business ages, I'm getting more inquiries (that have turned into orders) as if I'm a higher production bakery, for corporate events and corporate gifts. Thanks to Mimi's and Buddy Valastro's books, I have learned some great time management practices that make a little company able to handle larger orders without much more work.

Yes, I have said it before, I am obsessed with cookbooks. I always have been. Lately I have been going back to my roots and I've been reading my 25 year old Junior Womens League cookbooks. They are still amazing... just no pictures.




Does her book talk about how to mail cupcakes?

scp1127 Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 3:54am
post #28 of 34

Renee, to mail cupcakes, you must have an approved FDA kitchen and then jump through numerous, expensive hoops to get licensed. It is a long process. The FDA requirements are some of the highest and most expensive. You must have the drains in the floor, for example. After all of that, you then must meet the safety requirements for shipping the particular item, again, according to FDA specs for safety. It's not a quick fix.

Not complying is a federal offense, and on the internet, you have pretty much signed your confession.

By the time you would go through the construction, licensing, and then compliance with the safety codes, packaging would then be considered based first on safety and then on keeping them looking nice. They are all shipped quickly, frozen, in dry ice, packaged once to keep them looking nice and then to keep them food safe.

The larger companies have custom packaging made just for their items. They are molded cardboard from what I have seen. As Jason pointed out, plastic containers would be the best place to start for small businesses.

ReneeFLL Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 2:31pm
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Renee, to mail cupcakes, you must have an approved FDA kitchen and then jump through numerous, expensive hoops to get licensed. It is a long process. The FDA requirements are some of the highest and most expensive. You must have the drains in the floor, for example. After all of that, you then must meet the safety requirements for shipping the particular item, again, according to FDA specs for safety. It's not a quick fix.

Not complying is a federal offense, and on the internet, you have pretty much signed your confession.

By the time you would go through the construction, licensing, and then compliance with the safety codes, packaging would then be considered based first on safety and then on keeping them looking nice. They are all shipped quickly, frozen, in dry ice, packaged once to keep them looking nice and then to keep them food safe.

The larger companies have custom packaging made just for their items. They are molded cardboard from what I have seen. As Jason pointed out, plastic containers would be the best place to start for small businesses.





Susan thanks for the info. I am not looking to ship any bakery products, but I was refering to the OP question. She had asked about shipping cupcakes and your answer seemed more about your business and didn't mention anything about shipping cupcakes. That is why I was confused. I had no idea that so much was involved. Sounds way to complicated and expensive even for a decent sized bakery.

Looks like I should order some of these books just to read. There seems to be a ton of stuff in them that most people would not even think of.

MimiFix Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 5:15pm
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Some people ship cupcakes as kits. They box unfrosted cupcakes, an icing bag filled with frosting, and sprinkles.




Shipping kits is great for sending to friends and family. But I've seen people advertise their cupcakes (etsy, Facebook, etc) by showing beautiful photos. Their shipping details explain the products are sent as a kit. Susan, I didn't know the federal rules are so stringent. I would assume that all these "businesses" are illegal and therefore don't play by the rules.

And FYI: Every semester I have students who have their hearts set on a mail order cupcake business. Once we talk about the practical applications of finding customers (customers who are willing to pay shipping in addition to purchasing cupcakes that can be bought fresh and local) my students invariably drop the idea.

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