bittersweety Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 2:55am
post #1 of

ATo all you established cakers out there, how long were you in business before you had a steadily busy schedule? Just curious! I'm still young as far as business goes and sometimes I wonder if despite all my efforts...will I ever be really busy?! Arghh !

29 replies
costumeczar Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 3:08am
post #2 of

I probably took about three years before I was what I would consider "fully booked." Then after a few more years I found out what "fully booked" really was, and after 14 years I'm trying to cut back because I was so fully booked last year my back still hurts.

bittersweety Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 3:11am
post #3 of

AUgh...12 years to go I guess.... but thanks! :)

jason_kraft Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 3:37am
post #4 of

AIt took us about 2-3 months after launching before we got busy, then another 2-3 months before we were consistently booked and had to turn away business. Due to the nature of our bakery (customers had different combinations of food allergies) we accepted a max of 10-15 orders per week, mostly birthday cakes.

andreamak Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 4:13am
post #5 of

I run my own bakery with no employees aside from my husband. I was really busy after about 8 months, which was when I started turning people away. I usually take a max of 10 cakes per week (thurs-sunday)

costumeczar Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 11:30am
post #6 of

A

Original message sent by bittersweety

Ugh...12 years to go I guess.... but thanks! :)

I forgot to mention that I only do wedding cakes, so you might be faster getting going if you're also doing other types of smaller cakes!

tdovewings Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 1:37pm
post #7 of

I'm not established, I launched my business in October 2012. My goal was to get 4 orders per month total. I know it is not a lot, but for me that is busy. I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2-year old twins, and a 4-year old. I don't do anything until they go to sleep and I wanted at least one week with no orders to spend time with hubby. Since the week I launched I've had 2-3 orders per week, and hardly ever a weekend off. Picked-up much faster than I thought. My market is food allergy and I do cakes mostly for kids. But I consider this too busy, while others would say not busy enough. What are your goals quantity wise and revenue wise? 

bittersweety Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 1:43pm
post #8 of

i am the only employee at my bakery. i do all sorts of cakes, including wedding cakes (my true passion), and i also do pastries and cookies. I live in a small town, so as far as foot traffic goes, i'll take what i can get, but i'd really love more cake business!  i feel that im in one of those "walmart cake" demographic areas, but i'm really trying to change the locals minds as well as reach out to the two near big cities that lay on either side of my small town (about 15 miles away each)  its just so tough getting the word out!  but i think i'm doing all i can so i'll just be patient and wait for the word to spread :)

de_montsoreau Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 2:04pm
post #9 of

I do mainly wedding cakes and other stuff only off season when I have time and am inclined :-)  The first year cakes were only part of my business so it was fairly quiet (about 3 cakes per month). The second year I was fully booked for most weekends during wedding season, but it was slow in winter. Last year I had to turn away almost as much business as I was able to take on and I am also busy during winter. Going into the fourth year now, January bookings are almost double from last year.
So the famous 3-year-rule applies to me for sure :-)

melanie-1221 Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 2:33pm

I am also in a " Walmart cake" demographic. I have to be competitive with my pricing due to this, I'd LOVE to get $9.00 per serving but $4.00 is about all people are willing to pay here. Anything beyond that and quality is no longer an issue for most, it's just not affordable and they go to Walmart.

 My business picked up pretty quick though. I would say 3 years and now I have to turn some away. Word of mouth advertisement and posting my cakes and cupcakes to facebook is what really built my clientele. 

You will be busy in no time as long as you provide a consistent , quality product. You also have to make sure your marketing strategy targets the right people. 

Good luck! thumbs_up.gif

jenmat Posted 30 Jan 2013 , 9:03pm

Took about 6m-1yr to get full of celebration cakes, and about 2 years to book up every weekend on weddings. I went to mostly weddings and I book up for every year by about March. This year seems a little slower, but that's ok because I'm cutting back too- my back is fine, but my head still hurts from the last busy season!

andreamak Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 12:32am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdovewings View Post

I'm not established, I launched my business in October 2012. My goal was to get 4 orders per month total. I know it is not a lot, but for me that is busy. I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2-year old twins, and a 4-year old. I don't do anything until they go to sleep and I wanted at least one week with no orders to spend time with hubby. Since the week I launched I've had 2-3 orders per week, and hardly ever a weekend off. Picked-up much faster than I thought. My market is food allergy and I do cakes mostly for kids. But I consider this too busy, while others would say not busy enough. What are your goals quantity wise and revenue wise? 

I have 2 year old twins and a 4 year old as well! :) Makes baking a little difficult sometimes.. 

bittersweety Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 2:38am

AId like to have 5-6 cakes per week and at least 1 wedding cake per month. Id be content with that for now. I have lots of pastry and cookie orders too as well as walk in business but its the cakes I really want to bump up.

Danilou Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 2:47am

To those with children how do you fit it all in?

I had a crazy year last year (especially with all my trialling of recipes) and I found that my kitchen was always a mess with chocolate and buttercream splattered everwhere and my children and housework sadly were a little neglected. I've made the decision to back off for a while and put my 3 children first and catch up on all the housework. My husband is only home Friday nights to Sunday arvo (works away from home) so unfortunately its all up to me. Plus also I put on a lot of weight, so I'm trying to loose some of that as well!

Annabakescakes Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:11am

My twins are 12 now, my daughter almost 9 and my baby almost 4, so it is getting easier! My young one used to come in the bakery (attached garage) and wrap his arms around my legs and look up at me with his big blue eyes, and then started sitting on the steps with his blankie...It was terrible. Now I can get him to play on his tablet for a while so I can work, but I still work mostly at night. I am 33 now, and it is getting harder and harder to be up all night and all day, for 3 days.

 

I have been in business for 18 months and get about 2-4 birthday cakes a week, and 3-4 wedding cakes a month, but I want 3 wedding cakes a week, and no birthday cakes under $200, or someone else to do them. 

jason_kraft Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:17am

A

Original message sent by Danilou

To those with children how do you fit it all in? I had a crazy year last year (especially with all my trialling of recipes) and I found that my kitchen was always a mess with chocolate and buttercream splattered everwhere and my children and housework sadly were a little neglected.

That was my concern as well. When my wife got pregnant we started scaling back, and we sold the business shortly after our daughter was born.

Raising a kid is basically the equivalent of two full-time jobs (at least until they go to school), and running a business is also two jobs (one to actually make the product and one to manage the business/handle overhead). Since I also had a full-time job there was no way the two of us would be able to handle 5 jobs between us without dropping the ball somewhere.

I'm planning to revisit launching a new business once our daughter is in school full-time, especially now that California has a CFL.

the_sweets_lady Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:19am

 I also have 3 children. Yes the house work piles up! And the kids dont get my attention all the time. My husband puts in 65 hours or more a week at work, and I have a part time job of 22 hours a week. I work on my cakes after the kids go to bed. Most nights I get only 4 hours of sleep. My husband trys to help with house work, but we never get everthing done!   

 

I turned my hobby into a business this last fall. I started out slow. about 1-2 cakes a week. Now I have 3-4 a week. I have cakes booked all the way into November for this year already. My goal is to have 6 cakes a week then quit my part time job.
 

All of this is hard work, but I knew it would be. I had set goals to work up to, I'm just getting there faster than I ever thought!

 

I post pics daily on my facebook page. And word of mouth has definitely increased my clients. It also helps that I have a wonderful family that keep getting my name out there!

Norasmom Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:27am

I know that I could do a brisk business with proper marketing, but right now it is mostly a hobby with a certified kitchen.  If I did have a normal business, it would take about 1 year to get going.

I have a little girl and I don't like to work at night, so I'm limited.

Danilou Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 11:13am

I don't really like to work at night either. By 8pm when all 3 kids are in bed I can't wait to plonk my butt on the couch and have quiet time after finishing the last of the housework. I can't think of anything worse than having another mess in the kitchen to clean up!!!

tdovewings Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 1:55pm

Yes, the lack of sleep is less than ideal, but I find cake decorating and baking a stress reliever. Some what of my way to escape. We'll see if with time that changes. 

 

As far as the logistics of it, I do have a system.   I cook big meals for the family on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday so they can mix and match leftovers for lunch/dinner Wed. - Sat. I really only bake and decorate Wed.-Sat. nights so there is less to clean-up in the kitchen.  My husbands get's home around 6:00pm every day, we have our family time, then he takes the kids to get them ready for bed at ~7:30pm. I usually start cleaning  then, and my baking/decorating gets underway by 8pm.  On Wednesdays I make frostings and fillings and any fondant and gumpaste decorations. On Thursday I bake, stack, and fill.  On Friday I ice and decorate. 

 

As for how the housework gets done, everyone pitches in. The kids pickup their toys every night before bed, when they are eating lunch and breakfast in the daytime I get some cleaning/housework done. They are also at the age where they want to help with everything so I take advantage. I give them chores. They help load the dishwasher, sort the laundry, vacuum, pick-up toys and books. Th major stuff gets done Saturday night and throughout the day on Sunday. The dishwasher is always running in my house. I brought one that sanitizes and it was approved by the health department for sanitizing my cake stuff so that helps out a ton. 

 

But yes, during the day it's all about the kids. We go to the park, library, do arts and crafts, and even have "school" a few times a week. I've found that keeping them busy during the day wears them out so they are in bed early, which give me more time to play at night.  

 

I'm getting faster at cake decorating the more cakes that I do, so that helps to. Before I would be up until 3am working on cakes, but now I usually can get everything done between 8pm and 12am.  But I sneak in naps during the day, if the kids nap, so it gives me a bit more energy at night. 

 

I don't think if this wasn't so much fun for me, I'd do it, because it is quite demanding!

Brettley Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 2:32pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdovewings View Post

Yes, the lack of sleep is less than ideal, but I find cake decorating and baking a stress reliever. Some what of my way to escape. We'll see if with time that changes.

 

I am the same way. I put my headphones in, get working and truly escape.

 

I have one, and she is 7. During the week, I DO NOT work when she is awake, after she goes to bed I spend about an hour with my husband then I get to work. I still have a part-time job, 2 days a week, so on the days that I do not work there, my husband will take our daughter to school so I can get a little extra sleep BUT as a rule, I usually get up anyway. On weekends, she is at the age where I involve her in what I can. She sifts my icing sugar and colors some fondant etc, that way she doesn't hate it or me, and remains interested. My hope is that we will do it together someday.

 

My husband and I have split up the housework, and my daughter is at the age where cleaning is fun! Keeping up is not the easiest, but we do a pretty good job so far I think. I have learned to accept that it cannot be perfect. Laundry gets done once a week instead of daily or every day, dishes get done once a day instead of 2-3 times things like that. We sacrifice where we can.

 

I have been a hobby baker for a few years, so only took family and friends. I became officially licensed December 1st and I am booked solid, well I think so. I can honestly say I had NO idea it would come this quick. But, what I do is  very unique in comparision to everyone else in the area. Anyway, my summer has 1 spot left for a wedding for a total of 24 and that is enough for me for now I think. I am averaging 5-7 custom cakes a week, 1-2 weddings a month in the off-season so far, plus I supply a local restaurant their desserts; 2-1/2 sheet black forest cakes a week. I am working on landing a couple more restaurants, same kind of idea to have them delivered on Wednesdays and hopefully cover my overhead, and hopefully have an employee for next summer!

bittersweety Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:11pm

i also have two little girls, 2 1/2 and 15 months.  since my bakery is a storefront, i get up at 5am and go to work and open by 7:30. husband takes the babies to daycare about 9:00. he goes to work and gets home about 5. i work at the bakery until 2pm when it closes, go to the gym or run errands for work and then go pick them up at daycare at 3:30 when they are done with their naptime. then we go home and have family time until they go to bed at 8:00 and then husband and i bust out the netflix and wine and relax!  then we go to bed and when the alarm goes off REPEAT!  its a lot of work and with my husband also owning his own electrical business which is still fairly new, it gets tough.  With overhead costs of owning a storfront, i haven't even been able to pay myself in over a year since i opened and that causes some strain on us at times.  im really hoping to get business going soon so that i can at least contribute a little $$ to our family.  stressful. i've had those moments of despair where i thought maybe i should close the bakery and just go get a desk job somewhere but nebraska doesn't have a CFL and i wouldnt be able to run my home business after my day job without it being hush hush.  I want a full on bakery business and my dream is to one day be a well known baker in my area.  fingers crossed :)

tracyaem Posted 31 Jan 2013 , 3:42pm

I just opened last year and average 0-4 orders a week. The weeks with none are actually a welcome relief nowadays! Next weekend I have 5 cakes and 10 dozen cupcakes and I'm already stressed over it :)

 

I work full-time and this is just a side business for me. I also have 2 boys that are 3 1/2 and 2. I do most of my caking at night. I can usually rush home from work and toss my cakes in the oven while I'm making dinner. By the time dinner, baths, playtime, etc is done and the boys are in bed (usually around 7:30pm) the cakes are cool enough to work on. Obviously Thursday and Friday nights are my busiest. I use a LOT of spreadsheets to plan my days and figure out the time needed to complete orders. I have turned orders down because there's just not enough hours in the day.

 

Sometimes it's hard to keep up, but I love baking and decorating and like others have said it is a stress reliever. My husband is very supportive and we have a cleaning lady which are both big helpers. I'd love to look into baking full-time and possibly having a storefront in a few years, but it would be a huge leap of faith to give up my current salary. Maybe when the house is paid off! :)

bnbmom Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 6:47pm

AI cannot wait to have just one cake order. Getting my name out there is very hard for me. I have been giving out samples to salons and banks and dealerships, but still no orders:(

I just need to keep trying I guess.

costumeczar Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 7:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

My twins are 12 now, my daughter almost 9 and my baby almost 4, so it is getting easier! My young one used to come in the bakery (attached garage) and wrap his arms around my legs and look up at me with his big blue eyes, and then started sitting on the steps with his blankie...It was terrible. Now I can get him to play on his tablet for a while so I can work, but I still work mostly at night. I am 33 now, and it is getting harder and harder to be up all night and all day, for 3 days.

 

I have been in business for 18 months and get about 2-4 birthday cakes a week, and 3-4 wedding cakes a month, but I want 3 wedding cakes a week, and no birthday cakes under $200, or someone else to do them. 

I was doing up to 6 wedding cakes a week in the busy season, and I'm cutting way back now because it takes a physical toll on you. My etsy shop is making up the difference, so income-wise I'm pretty much staying where I am even with fewer cakes.

 

My daughter used to stand at the door and cry when I went to deliver cakes. i guess she was about 2 then?? My husband said that she'd stand there and cry tragically that she wanted me, and then right before I would get back she'd calm down. So I would come home and see her sitting nicely on the couch watching tv or playing, and say "oh look how good she's been!" while he was pulling his hair out the whole time, hahahaha!

Annabakescakes Posted 1 Feb 2013 , 10:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

I was doing up to 6 wedding cakes a week in the busy season, and I'm cutting way back now because it takes a physical toll on you. My etsy shop is making up the difference, so income-wise I'm pretty much staying where I am even with fewer cakes.

 

My daughter used to stand at the door and cry when I went to deliver cakes. i guess she was about 2 then?? My husband said that she'd stand there and cry tragically that she wanted me, and then right before I would get back she'd calm down. So I would come home and see her sitting nicely on the couch watching tv or playing, and say "oh look how good she's been!" while he was pulling his hair out the whole time, hahahaha!

HAHA! I can see her having a meltdown until right before you walk in the door! I can't imagine 6 weddings a week, there is no way I could do that. I have degenerative arthritis and slipped discs and crooked hips. Plus, I just can't get motivated that well!

costumeczar Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 12:10am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

HAHA! I can see her having a meltdown until right before you walk in the door! I can't imagine 6 weddings a week, there is no way I could do that. I have degenerative arthritis and slipped discs and crooked hips. Plus, I just can't get motivated that well!

Last year I started to feel a weird clicking in my lower back after I'd been standing up too long. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like something popping into place in a weird way, so it doesn't feel "right," know what I mean? I decided that it isn't worth making as much money if I'm just spending the extra profits on the physical therapist. So this year I'm cutting way back and only doing two wedding cakes a week. I might have time to clean my house now, hahaha!

Annabakescakes Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 7:39am

AIf I was doing 6 wedding cakes a week, my house would be spotless because I'd have Merry Maids in there 3 times a week! I'd rather spend half my profits than clean up after our family of 6;-)

rosech Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 12:54pm

AI do cakes part time. This is my second year doing cakes for sale. I have turned away birthday cake orders a few times. I wd prefer doing wedding cakes only but that breakthru takes time. If only I can get 2 weddings per week I wd be happy. Most people here are still into fruit cake for weddings so no problem there. I am confident I can handle them. Baking 1 to 12 months in advance, making decorations in btwn. Marzipan 2 wks before, cover with fondant one wk before. Place decorations during the week. Way relaxed than making 2-4 cakes, buttercream and decorations within one wk. People here are willing to pay more money when it comes to wedding cakes than birthday cakes anyway. My daughter helps with the baking. Sons colour fondant and do cutouts. Live in maids are affordable here so washing up is taken care of. Facebook has helped in reaching out but even there people want to see testimonies from several people. I have advertised in an annual bridal magazine for the 2nd time despite way less enquiries than FB last season. Wanna see how it goes. Still to decide on whether to participate in one wedding expo this year. I want to have time to participate in my kids' activities, exercise and other social activities eg visiting my parents once in a while.

rosech Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 12:55pm

AI do cakes part time. This is my second year doing cakes for sale. I have turned away birthday cake orders a few times. I wd prefer doing wedding cakes only but that breakthru takes time. If only I can get 2 weddings per week I wd be happy. Most people here are still into fruit cake for weddings so no problem there. I am confident I can handle them. Baking 1 to 12 months in advance, making decorations in btwn. Marzipan 2 wks before, cover with fondant one wk before. Place decorations during the week. Way relaxed than making 2-4 cakes, buttercream and decorations within one wk. People here are willing to pay more money when it comes to wedding cakes than birthday cakes anyway. My daughter helps with the baking. Sons colour fondant and do cutouts. Live in maids are affordable here so washing up is taken care of. Facebook has helped in reaching out but even there people want to see testimonies from several people. I have advertised in an annual bridal magazine for the 2nd time despite way less enquiries than FB last season. Wanna see how it goes. Still to decide on whether to participate in one wedding expo this year. I want to have time to participate in my kids' activities, exercise and other social activities eg visiting my parents once in a while.

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