Suggestions For Handling Cash At Farmer Markets Or Bake Sales?

Business By CharCakes27 Updated 1 Oct 2014 , 4:54pm by justdesserts

CharCakes27 Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:19pm
post #1 of 22

AHi everyone! I was hoping someone might have some suggestions or any feedback on how they handled cash at bake sales, farmers market, or street fairs. I will be attending a street fair in the next couple of weeks selling cupcakes and it will be cash only. Any suggestions would be fantastic! Thanks so much!

21 replies
CindiM Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:59pm
post #2 of 22

We have a Cupcake trailer at our Farmer's Market every week. 

 

When we started 6 years ago, in a tent, we used a zippered bag to put our money in and make change.   

 

Next we bought a metal cash box and now we have 3 cash registers, one is battery powered. 

 

Sometimes we have multiple events at the same time and have to use some of our tents, tables, etc.

Also, check out Square.com and you can take credit cards on your cellphone.    

BrandisBaked Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:59pm
post #3 of 22

AHow many ways are there to handle cash? I don't get your question...

CharCakes27 Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:10pm
post #4 of 22

AThanks CindiM! Congrats on a successful cupcake business. Hoping to get there one day ;) My husband wants to invest in a 'legit' cash box, but I'm not too excited about spending the money for the first fair unless it's worth it. Thanks for the tip on the Square.com thing as well. Do you find that customers buy more from your truck when they pay with a debit card?

CharCakes27 Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:21pm
post #5 of 22

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

How many ways are there to handle cash? I don't get your question...

In a Ziploc bag, an actual electronic cash register, cashbox, piggy bank, etc. There are multiple methods for handling cash transactions... just looking for what works best from others experience.

CindiM Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:33pm
post #6 of 22

You are welcome Charcakes!!!!  I also have a cupcake shop, wedding cake shop, etc. 

 

Back to your question, a lot of people do not carry cash these days!!! . 

So we take a credit card for a $3.50 jumbo cupcake.  Some people show up at the trailer and want a dozen for a dinner party or a birthday and they pay $39 for the dozen.  

 

The cost of the Square charge comes out of what they pay, and the rest goes into my checking account.  "It is painless!"  I love it!!!!!

 

Get the zippered bag at Walmart.   We had a bright green bag and we kept it right next to me.  When you make some bucks, get the cash box!  I believe in rewards!!!

CharCakes27 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:00am
post #7 of 22

AWOW Cindi you literally have my dream job, so I'm trying really hard not to ask you 500 questions haha ;) Ok looks like I will get the square setup... I know I am personally more inclined to spend money at fairs and such when cards are accepted, so hopefully that translates to more sales for meeee!

I'm going all in for my first street fair with approx 30k in attendance. I've read on other threads that the recommendation is to produce 10% of the foot fall. Have you found that to be true in your experience with farmer's markets? My goal is to produce and sell out of 1,000 cupcakes at the first street fair... 3,000 cupcakes is completely intimidating! Thank you for any feedback you have CindiM!!!!

CindiM Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 1:00am
post #8 of 22

AThank you, it is my dream job too! Ask me what ever you want!

We make less cupcakes, than we think we will need. I would rather sell out. I even have a sold out sign!

Until you get a feel for what you need, it is hard to guess. If you can find out what other sweets will be there and what your location will be, is important. We take the left over cupcakes to our local homeless coalition.

Where are you? I am in a resort, small town, older demographics area, so you may have a better shot than I do. I have customers drive over 3 hours from Orlando to buy our cupcakes! I just love what I do! Best of luck and have fun.

johnson6ofus Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 3:01am
post #9 of 22

Just be sure to secure the money. At one place, I saw they actually tied the cash box to a chair (harder to run off with). And periodically skim off the larger bills and put it in your pocket (I am already anticipating BIG $$$ for you!):-D

CharCakes27 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 4:32pm
post #10 of 22

AI agree on preferring to sell out Cindi! And I really like the Sold Out sign idea, I'm going to borrow that idea in hopes of using it ;) It's just me, myself, and I for now baking all these cupcakes in a commercial kitchen I'm renting. I live in a North Jersey and the clientele for the street fairs around here are typically high income with children. The street fairs usually are targeting families with kiddie rides, face painting, etc. My strategy is to have cupcakes featuring local ingredients (I can make a mean honey blueberry cupcake ;-p) along with attracting the kiddos with fun cupcakes.

That's AMAZING that you have such a loyal clientele base! I need that! What other types of desserts do you sell? I've walked several street fairs here and there hasn't been very many dessert vendors... one sold crepes ($4), another sold waffle muffins of some sort ($4 plain, $5 with toppings), and the typical deep fried oreos (did not get pricing). I went to a craft show and the most popular booth was the one selling cookies and whoopie pies... Which were not worth $3.25 but I bought 2 anyway. I feel pretty confident in selling cupcakes for $3 each. Barriers to entry into the 'baking market' are ALOT harder than I anticipated (from AZ with the great cottage food laws) so I'm assuming that's a big factor. But I've jumped through all the hoops! Now it's the to actually go to the fair!

Born and raised in AZ here and just moved to NJ a year and a half ago to relocate for work. I've literally been dreaming about selling cupcakes on a larger scale for years. Being across the country from everyone I know is rough but it has given me the opportunity to fill my time focusing on finally making this work out!!

CharCakes27 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 4:38pm
post #11 of 22

A

Original message sent by johnson6ofus

Just be sure to secure the money. At one place, I saw they actually tied the cash box to a chair (harder to run off with). And periodically skim off the larger bills and [U]put it in your pocket[/U] (I am already anticipating BIG $$$ for you!):D

Great idea thank you! Looks like I'm leaning towards buying a cash box for more security and I like the idea of holding the later bills in your pockets. Since it will just be my husband and I, in the event that we get overwhelmed I'll feel safer with a non-mobile place for the cash by securing to the table or a chair.

Thank you for the encouragement!!! I dream of making the big $$$! I'll post my results after the first fair!

CharCakes27 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 4:43pm
post #12 of 22

A

Original message sent by CindiM

Thank you, it is my dream job too! Ask me what ever you want!

My husband thinks I need only 3 flavors to keep it simple (he's not a baker, doesn't attend fairs, basically it's purely his opinion lol). I can feasibly do 6 different flavors. When you first started out, how many did you offer and do you see an increase in items per transaction when you offer more flavors in a dessert? I'm hoping the more flavors, the more they can't decide and end up buying multiples. That's how I buy cupcakes anyway! LOL.

Thanks!!

ellavanilla Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 6:09pm
post #13 of 22

You might think this is weird, but I like to use an apron for cash. I just put the money in there as I take it or disburse it and It goes where I go. 

CharCakes27 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 8:19pm
post #14 of 22

A

Original message sent by ellavanilla

You might think this is weird, but I like to use an apron for cash. I just put the money in there as I take it or disburse it and It goes where I go. 

That's a great idea Ella. I was planning on getting a cute cupcake apron, so now I'm going to make sure I get one with pockets. Thanks! BTW I see you're in Orange County... Love California :) Nothing like the beach, weather and good food in OC!

CindiM Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 8:55pm
post #15 of 22

Hey CharCakes,

 

We make 9 flavors and I agree with you, people like lots of choices.  And some customers say, Give me one of each!  Okay! 

 

I only sell jumbo cupcakes as most of my customers are older and buy them to take home for dessert.

 

Once in a while, I make cinnamon rolls, pumpkin muffins and crazy flavors.  Once I made coconut cupcakes and I thought I was real smart and put marshmallow cream fluff (which I was not used to using) on them for icing, and they looked great.  Ten minutes later they were floating in a pile of goo!  So we called them coconut disasters and the people went wild for them and we sold out of them and people asked for them for months! 

 

I just moved my bakery 6 months ago, to our 3rd biggest location in 15 years.  I know what you mean about the hoops, from large impact fees, to inspections on top of inspections, multiple licenses, and engineered signage, etc.

 

Take lots of business cards, my customers want to call me for birthdays, etc.  Be prepared for rain and wind, unless you are inside.  I take jackets in my car and we have folding chairs, a small cooler and cords for electric, if it is available.  We now have an air conditioned trailer just for markets.  We only do one right now, but we have done as many as 4 a week! 

craftybanana Posted 25 Sep 2014 , 12:54am
post #16 of 22

Like ellavanilla said, an apron with pockets (like waitresses wear). I've talked to some vendors at farmers markets and they use the apron with only a certain amount of cash, the big bills go in their pocket and the rest goes in a cash box in the bottom of one of their storage containers so it's not obvious to thieves.

 

What thieves like to do is one person catches your attention while your busy and the other grabs the cash box. Don't leave it where it can be seen, even from the back of your booth! We've had that problem when I was in college, someone ran off with the cash box (it was on the table, but behind stuff).

KatieKake Posted 25 Sep 2014 , 3:39am
post #17 of 22

Go with an apron, if you can sew, make it with several pockets across the front right below the waist, Use one pocket for change, one for dollar bills, and one for 5's and 10's, another for $20's.  Use a heavy material, denim,  canvas, take a piece of the denim at least 6 inches high, and the width of the apron. put a small hem at the top edge, and sew it to the apron, then make 4 pockets.  This keeps the cash on you and safe.

,

shanter Posted 25 Sep 2014 , 10:44pm
post #18 of 22

Google carpenter's apron: Very sturdy and you always have the money on you.

Alternative: fanny pack.

Either over a cute baker's t-shirt.

CharCakes27 Posted 26 Sep 2014 , 11:15pm
post #19 of 22

AThanks so everyone!! So looks like I'm going with an apron and also a cash box for larger bills. Appreciate all the responses! If anyone else has any other feedback on street fairs, bake sales and farmers markets, I'm all ears :D

justdesserts Posted 29 Sep 2014 , 3:20am
post #20 of 22

I have a booth at a farmers' market, and I use this money box. No, it's not a really high quality box, but it's worked for me through 3 years of weekly markets. The lock isn't really a lock at all, you can open it with your fingernail basically, but I love the coin and bill slots! I keep the box back behind my table, out of reach of customers, but I'm standing right there anyway to keep an eye on things. That part depends on your setup, if the cash box would be protected or not.

craftybanana Posted 1 Oct 2014 , 4:29pm
post #21 of 22

Quote:

Originally Posted by justdesserts 
 

I have a booth at a farmers' market, and I use this money box. No, it's not a really high quality box, but it's worked for me through 3 years of weekly markets. The lock isn't really a lock at all, you can open it with your fingernail basically, but I love the coin and bill slots! I keep the box back behind my table, out of reach of customers, but I'm standing right there anyway to keep an eye on things. That part depends on your setup, if the cash box would be protected or not.


You got lucky then, because that's how ours got stolen at the college.

justdesserts Posted 1 Oct 2014 , 4:53pm
post #22 of 22

Yeah, as I said, it depends on your set-up. My booth has tables set up in a U-shape, no way for anyone to get back behind the tables. :D

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