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Tentatively Considering....

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am a SAHM right now, and am not planning on returning to work (outside the home, that is) if I can help it. I have been throwing around - in my head - the idea of selling cupcakes for a couple of years, but am just now starting to think about it more seriously.

Nothing is really written in stone at this point. It's just an idea that is beginning to blossom. But I need help with seeing the "reality" of owning a home based cupcake shop. It's easy to get wrapped up in the "romance" (so to speak) of the idea, but another completely to actually DO it.

If I decide to go for this, I will take a small business course so I can do it smart. I also plan on investing in the CakeBoss software so I make sure I don't undercharge, and to keep track of everything. My "plan" is to offer nothing but cupcakes (so I would be a "cupcakery", I guess), because I don't want the stress of doing cakes. Cupcakes are something I am comfortable making, and have been baking them from scratch for years.

What sort of things would I need to invest in, supply-wise? What things are just frills, and not essential? I find myself looking at shops and tempted to buy lots of fancy cupcake liners, but I know that they aren't essential. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I want to look at this as objectively as I can, before jumping in with both feet!
~ Jaedyn ~
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~ Jaedyn ~
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post #2 of 19
I wish I could help you. I can't but it sounds like you have a good beginning in place.

Best to you!
post #3 of 19
I am currently in the same situation.
post #4 of 19
I have also been kicking around a very similar idea. I find myself wondering if the jump from thinking to doing will be as wonderful as it seems at the moment. My brain just gets filled with so many questions I don't know the answers to and it's a tad stressful.

I am far (far, far, far, far) from the most experienced person here, but I do have some suggestions. You may have already though of these, but I hope it's helpful... I personally would invest in good equipment that will hold up well. It's what I really want to do, but can't really afford at the moment. A good, sturdy mixer that can handle a variety of batter sizes is first on my list. Perhaps get a variety of cupcake sized pans so you could do mini-cupcakes or jumbo cupcakes? I would also suggest a nice variety of piping tips if you are thinking about possibly doing decorations like topping them with icing flowers or something like that.

When I think about cupcakes I have had from other bakeries, the liner is usually plain. I personally wouldn't invest in any fancy liners unless a customer wanted them, and I would charge for the upgraded liners (not a lot, but just to cover the extra cost of them). I too am tempted by the nice ones, but in the end they are just going to wind up in a waste basket! Don't forget about other paper products like boxes or liners for the boxes.

If any of this is wrong, I greatly appreciate someone calling me out (seriously, please correct me if I'm wrong)!

I wish you the best of luck and I hope everything works out for you!
post #5 of 19
Learning the business side of running a baking business is an important first step. So is understanding the legalities, and following the guidelines, in your locality. Write a business plan. It will walk you through many steps and help you to understand the reality of this new venture.

Think twice before purchasing cupcake pans in a variety of sizes. I have an attic filled with assorted pans that seemed like a good idea those many years ago.

Good luck to everyone here.

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post #6 of 19
The first step is always to checking your zoning/HOA, etc to see if you are allowed to have a home business. Then check with whatever agency of government regulates food service. (Health Dept, Dept of Ag, etc) and see if they allow home based businesses. Then it's all about inspections, sanitation courses, registering for all the local, state federal taxes, bookkeeping, advertising and marketing, and somewhere in there perfecting recipes. Oh and be sure to buy liability insurance and think seriously about incorporating to shield your personal income from your business liability.

I'd stick to standard and mini cupcakes. Dont' overcomplicate your work.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #7 of 19
Double check with the health department to see if it's changed, but a friend of mine in Sask attempted to do this last year and was told by the HD that she would need a kitchen that is completely separate from her home, or would need to rent a commercial kitchen.
Other than that, I think it would be best to start off with the basics - good quality cupcake pans, some icing tips and piping bags. As for liners, I would get the grease proof ones, they are the best!
Best of luck icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 19
When I was learning cake decorating we had zero help from any of the lessons which taught the skill of decorating but nothing about the skills of running a business. I had to learn the hard way - but was in a fortunate position of having small business experience around accounting and estimating so for me it was not so hard. If I was starting up without that background I would immerse myself in learning the best practices for running my business, to work out how much my overheads could be and how I would find customers etc. You need to work out how much in an ideal world you would like to earn per month/week and work backwards on your business plans from that figure. Good luck.
post #9 of 19
^ what Leah said.

+++++++

Life's too short to make cake pops.
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www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

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Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

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post #10 of 19
In addition to all of the above a few other things to think about. The cake boss software is fantastic so that is an excellent place to start. Find a good box supplier. I love www.brpboxshop.com , especially their cupcake boxes and inserts but not sure about the shipping to Canada. What will your minimum cupcake order be? Will you be doing pick up at your home or delivery? (something else to check with as far as HOA/zoning/HD stuff.
Non cake related expenses. In addition to insurance, you need to look into the cost of marketing, advertising etc.

When they passed the cottage food law in TX, I had my mom design me an adorable logo, to convert the sketch into an actual functional digital logo was a minimum of $250. Since I am not doing this is a full time business, I didn't want to be out that kind of money and have just used generic style business cards etc but if/when I decide to turn this into a full fledge business I would need to invest in proper logo, business cards, letterhead etc.

Also think about what kind of equipment and space you have,double ovens, large additional freezer space, extra room for storage of supplies and completed cupcakes? What is the biggest cupcake order you can make in one day? If that is limited, that will limit your income and that has to balance with your expenses.

Just some fun stuff to think abouticon_smile.gif
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Visit me at www.keeponcaking.com for tutorials and other cake stuff.
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post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz


When they passed the cottage food law in TX, I had my mom design me an adorable logo, to convert the sketch into an actual functional digital logo was a minimum of $250. )


That sounds really high. I'll give you the info for my graphic designer, I bet she can do it for far less.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz


When they passed the cottage food law in TX, I had my mom design me an adorable logo, to convert the sketch into an actual functional digital logo was a minimum of $250. )


That sounds really high. I'll give you the info for my graphic designer, I bet she can do it for far less.



Kelley, That would be awesome.

Thanks.
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Visit me at www.keeponcaking.com for tutorials and other cake stuff.
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post #13 of 19
I have operated from a licensed home bakery for several years now making custom decorated cakes, cupcakes and sugar cookies. Here is my 2 cents worth on cupcakes...

I live in Ohio. There are two ways to sell goods out of your home. You can sell goods with non perishable ingredients (like cream cheese icing) with no inspection, form filling out, fee... Or you can fill out 1 form, own no pets, have no carpet in the kitchen, pay $10 and get a license for your home. The license allows me to sell perishable items. The main reason I went ahead and got licensed was to tell clients "I operate from a licensed home bakery". The general public has no idea that you don't have to be licensed in Ohio or what the requirements are, but knowing I am licensed makes me stand out against other home bakers.

I use clam shell containers for the cupcakes. I use these for both pick up orders and deliveries because they stack 3 containers high without crushing any cupcakes. I order these:
http://www.papermart.com/Product%20Pages/Product.aspx?GroupID=35520
They have indents on the side of the cupcakes so you don't mess up the icing getting the cupcake out.

I suggest having a free listing on every website that allows one - especially those directed to brides. I pay for a listing on the knot which has worked out really well for me.

You must have a website. Keep it up to date. Only put professional looking pictures on the site. A picture of pretty cupcakes with a pile of laundry in the background doesn't sell.

There is a cake supply store by me that sells cupcake liners in all sizes and colors. They offer a liner that is in between a standard size liner and a jumbo liner. This is the liner I purchase for my cupcakes. During consultations I have a regular size liner and the liner I use out for the client to compare. This is another I stand out from other bakeries. My cupcakes are about 1 1/3 the size of other bakeries. Now, these liners only come in white. So if a bride wants colored liners then she will have to have standard size liners and the price is the same. Even though the cupcakes are smaller the colored liners are more expensive so my cost is the same - which means my price is the same. I have had 2 brides opt for colored liners, the rest want the larger cupcake. Now, if I used standard size liners I would offer colored liners I can get at the local supply store in my standard price. If the client wanted something else, like something I had to pay more per liner for and/or shipping, I would charge extra for that.

I charge the same price for all my cupcake flavors/fillings. I charge $20/dozen for unfilled cupcakes and $23/dozen for filled cupcakes. Decorations are extra; price depends on the decoration. I have the cake boss software (which I highly recommend). It really helps me keep my orders straight and make sure my profit is where I want it. For some recipes I make more $$ for other less $$, but I figure if people struggle figuring what 2 dozen cupcakes at $20/dozen will cost - having different price tiers will be a nightmere. I just don't want to mess with it.

I highly suggest you invest in a nice cupcake stand. I had a 5 tier wood stand built for me. The bottom tier has a lazy susan on the bottom so it spins. That way if the stand is against a wall guests don't have to try and reach behind the stand - they just spin it. The stand cost me around $475 (I can't remember now exactly how much) but it is a real selling point to clients - especially brides. I charge a rental fee of $40 and a refundable deposit for when the stand is returned of $175. You can see pictures of the stand in my gallery on CC.

As for cupcake pans...I haven't found any difference between the expensive pans and the cheap ones. There is a difference in liners. I would always do a test run on any new liners before you offer them to clients.

The best purchase I ever made was a true convection oven from Lowes for $1400 (including installation). It is a standard 30" oven/stove top so it fit in the same spot my old oven was. I can bake 6 dozen cupcakes at a time which is a huge time saver. I highly recommend looking into buying a true convection oven. Do you homework ahead of time. There is a big difference between convection ovens and true convection ovens on the market today.

The only minimum order requirement I have is that each type of cupcake/filling combo must be ordered 1 dozen at a time. What that means is...a client can't order 1 dozen cupcakes consisting of 1 chocolate cupcake, 1 lemon cupcake, 1 carrot cupcake, 1 yellow cupcake...

I offer over different cupcake flavors/fillings. I think that is one of the main reasons people order from me. They want variety and I offer that. I have a cupcake flavor/filling list that has cupcakes/fillings/icings already paired together that I give/send to them. They do NOT have to pick one these options, but it helps them know what goes well together since there are so many options. Most people pick something from the list, a few tweek one on the list and a few make up their own.

Since you are doing this out of your home, don't put your address on anything. My business card and website reads:
Cakes by Christina
Kent, Oh 44240

Otherwise people don't realize they are going to your home and want to stop by anytime to pick up cupcakes like they would if you operated from a store front.
"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311

The best purchase I ever made was a true convection oven from Lowes for $1400 (including installation). It is a standard 30" oven/stove top so it fit in the same spot my old oven was. I can bake 6 dozen cupcakes at a time which is a huge time saver. I highly recommend looking into buying a true convection oven. Do you homework ahead of time. There is a big difference between convection ovens and true convection ovens on the market today.


Can you tell us the difference between a convection oven and a true convection oven? And the brand, model number of your oven? I'm looking for a new oven. Thanks!

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post #15 of 19
I have a convection oven at home that has the option of regular bake and convection bake. If I select convection bake I punch in the temp I would use for regular baking and the temp is automatically adjusted (lower by 25 degrees).

When I had just a regular oven I baked my cakes at 325 degrees. With the convection bake I punch in 375 degrees, the temp is automatically lowered to 350 degrees, and I get the same results (moist cake, no "hump"). I have NOT noticed the baking time being shorter using the convection oven but I can bake so much more at a time by using all 3 racks in the oven.

I can bake an entire 4 tier cake (2 12" round, 2 10" round, 2 8" round, 2 6" round) at the same time. Takes about 1 1/2 hours (baking and cooling time).

The main thing you have to look for is a true convection oven
. Some ovens call themselves convection ovens because they have a fan, but they are not really convection ovens. The oven I have has a heating element behind the fan so the air that is blown into the oven is the same temp as the oven. This is really the only way the entire oven is the same temp causing even baking.

The only negative I have is sometimes (not every time) the top the cake gets hard, almost crust like. I trim the top off of each cake so it doesn't matter and it doesn't affect the rest of the cake - just the top. I think it is because of the fan blowing on it but I am not sure. Like I said, it is only sometimes this happens.

Cupcaks, cookies and pies bake wonderfully too.

There is also a convection roast setting that makes the beautiful crispy skin on turkey.

I own the Samsung FTQ38LWGX. I bought it from Lowes for $1400 including installation.
"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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