I am a newcomer here at Cake Central and have shared the love of baking & decorating for many many years. Now, especially through these past years, have been frequently commented about considering to take my baking to the next level of being a baker and having my own business. My supportive husband has been closely listening to all these wonderful positive comments and is now too nudging me into seriously considering starting up my own home based business. I never considered myself such an experienced "bakery style baker", I've always baked for fun. Now I'm finding myself truly considering to take what has been my passion, hobby & love of baking and creativity to a whole new level. I have 2 small children one of which is a special needs child which takes a great deal of time, so I would have to make my start as a home based ,"Made to order" type of business.
I have much yet to learn about being a baker and the whole process along with it. It would help me a great deal if those of you who have your own business, started your own business, or have been considering as I am, to give me some feedback and or pointers of how to start, what to do, or just tips of the trade. I have managed to find out that the Bureau of Food and Safety & Lab services from the state of which I live does require one to fill out a Plan Review Process Application and is required to file a Home Food Food Processor Food registration and renew annually. I don't want to start any of this process until I've felt I did all my homework and am truly positive I want to take the plunge and go through with this new venture. So please, I need all the help & support I can get and it would mean so much to me if someone who's been there done that or someone who's just started, or in the same situation I'm in now, would share your thoughts, insight, tricks of trade, etc.
I know we would also have to come up with a name & my family and I came up with a few possible business names. If you could point me in right direction and let me know if you like any (please don't be shy I can take criticism) and/or if you have any suggestions to any new names....
I also realize that I'll be needing some type of way to advertise my baking, if anyone could give me some pointers on how to get started there. I want to also look into some type of accounting system, that will help me track my costs and provide invoicing or receipts...does anyone know of a good program? What is Cake Boss like? I'll also be looking into online suppliers as my area doesn't really have much in terms of retail and baking supplies so I'll be open to any suggested sites that you may favor.
I realize I have written a handful and really hope to get some replies. It would mean so much to me to hear from others who share that love of baking weather your a professional or just a mom in the kitchen as I.
God Bless & Happy Baking
i think cake boss would be invaluable for you because it does so much of the thinking for you
and the cb site explains what it offers
but you still would want accounting software -- i like quickbooks -- or anything where you get some hand holding built in.
qb gives you lists of qb pros in your area who can help in real time--mine would drive over for big things -- and i paid her substantially priced mileage too -- or she would login to my computer remotely and straighten me out. often just answer a quick question for no charge
having a cake biz means unbreakable and stress inducing deadlines so be sure to have good backup in place to help care for your special needs child
a cake biz would be very good for you to have an outlet that you can immerse yourself in on a regular basis--however everyone who does cakes or bakes sugar cookies from outa the refrigerator rolls from the grocery store gets told to open a bakery -- as you know-- so much more to it than 'can she bake a cherry pie, charming billy' as the old song goes
i encourage to peruse one of my hero's Earlene Moore's site, www. earlenescakes.com
Hi there, so nice to hear from you..thanks for your reply. I will look into the Cake Boss Program & see all it has to offer this way I can add it to my wish list if i decide to go through with the business. As for the stress & deadlines...as a beginner in all of this I would only take on what I can manage at a given time...My interest is quality not quantity and I want to be able to take my time with details & such because I want to be remembered and thought of as not only a good baker who delivers a cake on time but one who makes a beautifully crafted and fantastic tasting cake whether it be a simple cookies, cupcakes,apple pie etc, to an occasion cake like a birthday. This is also why I want it to be made to order cakes only. Like you had said about anyone being a baker baking just outta the box store bought rolls....I want the person who has my baking to know for a fact that every bit of my baked goods is from my heart and creativity and 100% good old from scratch homemade goodness. If I plan this correctly, my special needs child may not be such an issue in terms of care. I just have to do careful scheduling of what gets done at certain times of the day whether she's home or has her day at preschool. Hey what did you think of the names...any likes or dislikes. Do you have any pointers or suggestions for me about this whole matter? Take care
my point about the store bought cookie dough is that i'm sure someone told the person who made them that they should open a bakery business.
almost anytime anyone bakes almost anything someone tells them they should open a baking business--
it's just the way we are what we do -- for example:
- "oh you know how to open an oven door, you should start a bakery."
- "oh you looked inside a bag of sugar, you should open a bakery."
- " oh you lived down the block and across the street from someone who once ordered a birthday cake and even though they forgot to pick it up, man you should open a bakery!"
i like those cookies they are good with lots of icing.
so the reason you might open a bakery is to feel good--nothing wrong with that
if you do one birthday cake you've got stress and an unbreakable deadline
i'm at a loss about names--don't know
i think names that include your location are good and taglines are just as important as names
yes i suggest you do searches on here --tons of great info in the business section
Hi, just wanted to chime in and wish you luck. I started a very similar business (home-based, custom order only) last year and I have two small children with my youngest being special needs as well (cerebral palsy).
It sounds like you are on the right track as far as getting legal. For names, I would recommend googling and checking the lists of registered businesses in your state to make sure the one you want is available. Also see if the website domain is open so your site can be easily found. I found Legal Zoom to be helpful in setting up an LLC (they also checked the name availability, registered with the IRS, etc.). And obviously you'll want to look into liability insurance - your current homeowner's provider should be able to help or you can call around.
Aside from the "official" stuff, I think the biggest thing is for you to make a menu and a price list. This should definitely be in place before you start advertising. You mentioned cookies, pies, cakes - that's a big range. How many varieties of each will you offer? In how many flavors? Having a home bakery, I think it's wise to come up with a set list of offerings. It's ok to handle the odd customer request, but not having a commercial operation (and the wonderful storage space that probably comes with it!) you may not be able to keep everything on hand at all times and frequent trips to the store for small ingredient quantities eat into your time and your profits. And the price list is a must! I understand custom cakes have to be priced individually, but you should know what your general range is (i.e. $3/serving for buttercream, $4/serving for fondant, $2.50/cupcake, etc). My biggest problem starting out was being consistent in pricing, but once I sat down and made a detailed chart I felt much better. Now when someone calls/emails I can easily look up their size cake and get a base price to which I can add any extras if needed.
For accounting, I'm lucky that my sister is a CPA so I hand over my receipts and sales slips and she does the hard work :) I use Excel for all of my internal tracking of orders, supplies, etc.
But anyway, good luck with starting out. There's a lot more work involved than I initially thought. I too got the "your cakes are awesome, start a bakery" comments and that's what got me started. The licensing, insurance, website setup, menu development, blah, blah was exhausting but I now feel like I have a pretty good system in place. I still have my full-time day job, and just bake at nights and on weekends. I limit myself to 2-3 orders per week depending on their size so I can make sure I'm not too overwhelmed. Some weeks (this week) I have nothing and it's a nice break. But the week before Christmas I didn't sleep b/c of all the last-minute orders!
If you have any questions, let me know. I'm still a newbie too, but sounds like our situations are somewhat similar.