Hi everyone! Im new to cake central and I am in hopes that someone can give me advice with running my business from home. I have been in business for about 3 years, I have all necessary licenses and permits to do so. But I just don't feel like I am managing it well, in regards to time. I accept payments/deposits via paypal, I email invoices/receipts, I usually pick up materials on Monday for the following weekend orders, and I do not freeze my cakes. I guess what Im needing is insight on how any of you run your cake business?? I am thankfully booked every weekend, I take about an average of 8 orders per weekend. I also make cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and cake shooters. I do absolutely everything all by myself, well sometimes my hubby drives on my Saturday deliveries. Can anyone tell me how your run/organize your business from home??
I am a firm believer in routine and sticky notes. I no longer have a cake business since my DH and I bought a small restaurant, but some things carry over.
I kept a LARGE calendar on the wall with sticky notes on each date with the items scheduled for that day. If anything changed, I could move them around as needed. I also had an erasable marker board for quick notes, items for my shopping lists, etc.
I developed routines and always, always did things in the same way and in the same order. That way it was more like auto pilot on some of the less-complicated jobs and I could save the major concentration for the items that really needed it. I only have a limited supply of that.
However, all that being said, if you've been doing 8 cakes per weekend for 3 years, I would say you've pretty well got your act together.
There is nothing wrong with freezing the cakes for a few days. That could help with your schedule.
O thank u for responding! The large calendar with sticky notes is a great idea! I have been using the calendar in my zip up agenda. I then on Mondays I write down all my orders and materials needed on a notebook and take it with me. I don't know why I feel so unorganized! I do have a routine with everything, but I guess I feel that theres an "easier" way to run my business.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about pre baking my cakes and freezing them. Ive read that they are a lot easier to work with while being frozen. Im just worried about them having that "freezer" taste.
Sounds like you are doing great! I bake at the beginning of the week and freeze for a few days, makes life much easier!
Aww thank u! Maybe im just getting overwhelmed with everything. Its really hard to get materials, bake, decorate, make/send invoices, answer emails-txts-instagram msgs, and phone calls. Also, do tastings and meet with customers. When you freeze your cakes, do u wrap them in saran wrap and foil?
Freezing is a life/time saver, especially if you have a stand alone one. I find they do not impart a freezer taste. If you use the one attached to your fridge a few days is fine. You can also freeze batters, cookie dough and buttercreams. Eliminates so much waste.
Freezing is your friend, as is labeling them well. Yes, wrap in saran wrap, freeze solid, then rewrap in foil and place in ziplock bag. Stays fresh and even better than "fresh". Try a side by side taste test...really. You cannot tell the difference. FREEZER BURN--- that's a whole other story. I use a "dorm" size freezer with NO DEFROST (manual defrost) so it is always cold. That is best for cakes. A manually thaw it every two months or so.
Communications are my enemy. I learned to set aside time period to do calls and paperwork. When the phone is always going off, it interrupts everything! I feel much better when I start my day by answering calls/ emails (9AM), and then again after lunch (1PM) and once more at 430PM. In between those times, you can wait. My work flow is much smoother when it is uninterrupted. If you answer all day long, it may only take a minute, but it SEEMS like you are "always on" and that is a burn out.
It sounds like you are pretty well under control! I am just getting back into the "bus", but when I was really busy, I shopped on Monday, baked Tuesday and Wednesday, and decorated Thursday and Friday. Freezing ahead of time is not an issue.
Have you thought of investing in Cakeboss software for your business? I did not use it for the first few years, but once I started using it, it was a lifesaver. It helped organize everything, it made really professional looking invoices for those cash orders (I also use Paypal, but not everyone wants to pay by credit/debit). Just a thought! :-)
Raise your prices a little...If you only have 7 cakes per weekend but make the same amount of money overall it will cut down on your hands-on time spent baking and decorating.
I do pretty much the same thing marmalade1687 does. Monday is paperwork, Tuesday is shopping, Wednesday is prep, Thursday is baking day, and I decorate on Friday for Saturday weddings. If you make a schedule of things that you do every week and just assign a specific day to them it will keep you organized.
I'm with costumeczar - raise your prices: fewer cakes, same income, less work.
I had no idea batters and buttercream could be freezed! I make the buttercream and fondant and it takes so long to make! And im exhausted after making the fondant....my right arm sure has toned up! lol!
That is nearly how my schedule is as well. Before I would start on tues, but now im taking in more orders so I must start on Monday...Sunday is my day off.
Slowly I have increased my prices, but i know i need to increase even more. I live in Bakersfield, Ca. and i believe the start for most bakeries is about $3-$4 dollars. I start at $2, but i always emphasize to the customer that my servings are big and all that good stuff. But Ill tell u..many times my $10 delivery fee has made me loose orders. So now I always ask if delivery is needed and incorporate the $10 in the entire price without telling the customer and everyone always seems to fine with it...go wonder!? I am definitely going to look into the cake boss software! Thank u so much!!
Slowly I have increased my prices, but i know i need to increase even more. I live in Bakersfield, Ca. and i believe the start for most bakeries is about $3-$4 dollars. I start at $2, but i always emphasize to the customer that my servings are big and all that good stuff.
Possible red flag -- Your servings shouldn't be big, they should be Wilton industry standard (8 cu. in.). It's not good stuff if you're giving away extra servings for free that you could have been paid for... that's also undercutting others in the industry along with bringing down the value of what it's worth (which is what others have worked so hard for to build for their business profitability). If you compare apples to apples on serving sizes, you're actually charging less than $2 per serving, which is way too cheap--especially for California, IMO. I'm sure others would chime in and agree.
I agree with @CWR41 ... Please don't be an undercutter.
@cwr41 I NEVER thought of it in that way! I know I still have so much more to learn. Everyone's replies have given me such a better insight of things and I really appreciate it!