I am new to the business and thinking of starting a home bakery in Denver, Colorado.
I am not sure where to start.
It would be great if anyone has some advice/tips!
On a second not has anyone purchased the CakeBoss Software? If so how do you like it and would you recommend it?
This is a good place to start reading if you haven't already :) making sure you know your in's and out's are always godo to know so call your local health department, etc. I do not use the CakeBoss software but, I know other's on here do so hopefully they can help you out some :D
Thank you for the link.
I will defintley take a look at it.
I am not a proffessional. I have toyed with the idea and did some research and here is what I got from it. I hope it helps! Best of luck!
1. Make a contract and use it. Spell out the details on what the person wants (as specifically as possible), how much and when the payment is due, the date the cake is due, and when the last date they can make changes is, who is responsible for delivery/ pick up and all those sorts of details. Put in a disclaimer that you are not responsible for damage done after delivery is accepted. If you are doing all the transactions by email and they can't sign, at least make them reply to the email by saying they have received and read it.
2. Pricing matters. Know your costs and know your market. Don't be the cheap cake lady, you will just burn yourself out. And people are weird. They don't appreciate it, more times than not. I think some people think, hmm, if I can get it cheap, I can get it free.
3. Don't turn on the oven until you are payed in full. If they are disatisfied, or something happens that you feel a discount is owed, you can control it. Trying to force someone to pay is nearly impossible. Taking people to court is pretty much useless and just costs you more money. If remainder is due at time of delivery and they are making excuses, don't be afraid to take the cake and walk out. You can always drop it at the nearest police or fire station or homeless shelter where at least it will be appreciated. There are too many horror stories of people nit-picking the cake upon delivery just to avoid paying the remainder due, or people never showing up to pick up a completed cake.
4. Don't let family take advantage of you. If you had a cousin who was a general contractor, your family would not expect him to supply all the materials and labor to build a new addition on their house. You choose what you do for friends and family.
5. If you deliver to a venue, take pictures! People at the venue do not always take care or follow instructions. If they leave the buttercream cake on a table in direct sunlight in a room that is 90 degreees, because the venue is cheap and only turns the A/C on 10 minutes before the party, let them pay for the customer's lost cake. It is best if the person who ordered the cake or his/ her designee can meet you at the venue and sign.
6. Don't take unhappy customers too seriously. They watch too many TV shows and can be unrealistic in their expectations. Often times they are just looking for free cake. But, on that note...
7. Know thyself. Be honest about your cake. Don't downgrade your cakes or pick your work to pieces. However, when you have a screw-up (and everyone does) don't make excuses, just try to make it right. Don't shy from challenges, but don't promise something you just can't deliver (see cakewrecks.com if you never have and you will see what I mean). You will be stressed and your customer will be unhappy. Not everyone is a Ron Ben-Isreal, but most people can't afford those prices either. Don't be afraid to say, no I can't match that work, but let me show you something along those lines and within your budget.
A round of applause for ladyhawke.
I will add, it is a "bakery business" and the difficult part is often not the "bakery" part but the "business" part. It is a lot of work to figure out and implement the business habits, procedures and processes that help you make a profit. Your focus is often (or should be) on the "business" part--- licenses, inspections, paperwork, taxes, supplies, food costing, schedules, emails, quotes, etc. and much less on buttercream and sugar flowers.
If, like many you, you've been baking "since you were a kid" and the "easy bake oven"... think of the practice you have had! Rarely, have you had that much practice on the mechanics of running a business (yes, even a small one). Not to discourage at all---- just be prepared to learn new things!
Yes a round of applause for ladyhawke!!1
Ladyhawke - You gave me a lot to think about and some really good advice
Johsnson6ofus - The business part is always the most difficult and I am totally expecting to run into some bumps along the way as a learn my way around. You are so right about people practicing the baking part but the business part not so much! I also contacted thes mall business development division for my city to set up a consulation so I am sure they will be able to get me on the right path for all the paperwork stuff!
Thank you to both of you for the advice I appreciate it
P.S. Ladyhawke - my husband and I checked out cake wrecks and it was so funny and sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing the link