I've been trying to rent some time with a commercial kitchen and the first (and only) reply I've had so far said:
"Not sure how this would work on an hourly basis with utilities, repairs and maintenace on equipment and fixtures and possible damage to equipment. What is your proposal?"
It's currently an unused kitchen space in a property that is up for sale. I asked them if they were open to renting it on an hourly basis to a (licensed) home baker and if so what their terms and rates would be. ha, I don't know how to reply to this response. I think they expecting more than I can give (a few hours of time a week + some refrigerated storage). I don't know what to say about maintenance and damage. Has anybody signed an agreement that includes these provisions?
An additional question for those who have used commercial kitchens. Is it possible to bake cakes at home and just do the frosting/assembly and storage in a commercial kitchen? The most labor intensive part of my cakes are the cake itself, not the icing, so if I just made sure the perishable/potentially hazardous ingredients were all handled in a licensed kitchen it would help a lot.
Hope my next post will be regarding my first cake sale...
What do your local laws say about baking at home? If it is allowed why rent a kitchen? I use a commercial kitchen but my daughter owns it so don't pay rent. The local community kitchen charges $50/hr for a minimum of 3 hours.
I've been having a conundrum with that actually. The cakes I specialize in are very light European sponges always filled with real cream and fresh fruit. I have spent a year experimenting, but can't find a decent alternative to the fresh cream (and even if I could, I think the addition of fresh fruit nullifies it anyway??). So cake biz idea has hit a brick wall at this point. Ironically, the biggest part of the labor for me is in the making of the cake (not the filling/frosting). Ideally, it would be great if I could bake the cake sheets, transport them to a licensed kitchen, and quickly fill and store them for delivery) but I feel this probably isn't legal. I'm willing to run it by the health board anyway, because it never hurts to try. :)
Definitely something you would have to check locally..
AIf you don't have a cottage food law in your area, the health dept typically requires the entire cake to be baked and decorated at the commercial kitchen.
With a rental agreement, generally the tenant is not responsible for utilities or equipment breakage/damage (unless caused by the tenant's negligence, covered by an upfront security deposit), and rates are usually in the $10-30/hour range depending on location and what's included.
If the property is up for sale, the new owner may or may not want to continue renting to you, so that's something to consider. If you want to move forward I would talk to a local, reputable commercial real estate attorney to help draft a contract.