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home businuss or store front

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

okay so i am opening my own cake bakery. but i was wondering what you guys would recommend...

which do you guys enjoy better? having a home based bakery/commercial kitchen or a store front bakery??

please help me guys! i just can't decide! 

post #2 of 33

Hello! I am facing the same dilemma myself, and have been going back and forth for over a year! I understand what you are going through...


I think the choice depends on a lot of different variables (Overhead Cost, Clientele and demand, Location, etc.) But overall you have to decide what is best for yourself. Starting a storefront has it's advantages of course, foot traffic will obviously help advertise your business. However, it is five-ten times more expensive to start off with a storefront (staffing... oy vey.) While being home-based may be a slower start, you will be able to build a customer base and eventually expand into a storefront with more stability. So I think you can tell what I would lean towards to start off with. However, if you have already built up a strong clientele and can afford to be stable through the slow months of having a storefront (because we all know the day-to-day sales that come from a bakery rarely actually pay the bills) than absolutely go for it! 


Here are some great references I have found quite helpful:


Good luck to you and know that you are not alone out there! 

post #3 of 33

I would agree with CaptainCupcakes, especially if you are just starting out and don't have a client base yet. Opening a storefront is a HUGE investment of time and money. I would start out doing it from your home (or a commercial kitchen depending on where you live) and see if it's even something you want to do full time! Once you have invested all of the money to build out the shop, buy equipment, sign a lease, etc. you are pretty much locked in and you're in it for the long haul. 

Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #4 of 33

P.S. Just so you know, I have a storefront, so if you have any specific questions about running a storefront bakery, I'd be happy to help! 

Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #5 of 33

I would say that, first, you have to decide what kind of baking you are planning to do. Are you planning to sell lots of everyday cakes, like would be found in a walk-in shop? Will you be making mostly custom orders like decorated birthday and wedding cakes? If you don't plan on having regular hours where folks can just drop in, I would lean to the home-based commercial kitchen. For the record, I just became an official, inspected, commercial kitchen (in my basement) a week and a half ago.


I will be doing mostly custom cakes. I will not have regular hours, as it is just me, working alone, and I wouldn't want Jane Doe to just show up thinking I had an hour and a half to drop whatever project I am working on to answer all her questions on her "maybe" wedding cake. Plus, I wouldn't want visitors to my work area when I am up to my eyeballs in mixing fondant, etc... I plan to run cupcake decorating classes, and basic and intermediate cake decorating classes in the early week, like Mondays and Tuesdays, as the most cake-time-intensive days are later in the week. I may take orders for X-number of such and such a cakes here and there if I need to fill in a little work (until I have lots of orders. Unfortunately, I could not take orders until the kitchen was approved, so here I am, ready to go, and only now can I take orders. Most brides book well ahead, so maybe I will be getting those last-minute ladies for awhile.


For all this, it was a much better deal in MANY ways to build a second kitchen in my home:

  • Whatever the project, I can be at work in 30 seconds.
  • No gas money running to and from work.
  • No rent/lease...low overhead.
  • I couldn't rent a store front bakery for even 6 months for what it cost to build my commercial kitchen.
  • My house value goes up, now that I have a 2nd kitchen.
  • The square footage, and the kitchen's share of the utilities, etc. (in addition to appliances and materials) are business expenses, and having this home-based business is a good thing when it comes to taxes.
  • There is no "forgetting that paper I scribbled on" either at home or at the bakery.
  • In the winter, all the oven heat from baking can help to heat my house. :) Of course, there is the summer... might need to add some a/c to the kitchen then. We'll cross that bridge next summer.
  • I can run upstairs to throw the wash into the dryer, put the dogs out, feed the chickens, etc. without driving home at lunch or needing someone else to do it for me.
  • Since my customers will be walking through my living room to the stairs to go down to my kitchen, I will always need to have my house clean and the dog hair off the floor in our house area, so I am forced to keep my own housework done. :) You might look at that as a HUGE negative, but for me, it is good. I'll feel good that it is always presentable, and my hubby loves a nice clean house. BTW I choose to bring them in that way. I do have an outside entrance to the basement... it is just much nicer to walk down the steps from inside the house...right past my nice cake display on the landing.
  • I only need to pay for internet, cable, heat, etc. one time, and not double. This is huge!
  • There is no locking up the bakery downtown at 2 am, and hoping I am the only one in the alley.


That's enough of my thoughts. I have a facebook album of the building of my kitchen. You can see it here:


I hope you make the best decision for you... and if you build, don't forget Craigslist, the newspaper, and Ebay. You can get great deals on used cabinetry, shelving, etc., and keep the costs down.

post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

thank you guys so, so much!

i think i will go with starting at home businuss i will be specializing in cakes and cupcakes, catering and like wedding and birthday cakes.

i knew i could rely on you CC's thanks a lot in advance!


debm1 your kitchen looks great hpefully i can have one like that!, how long did it take to make, and how much did it cost? cheers


sophymalik xx

post #7 of 33

Hi, Sophymalik,

It took about a month to do. We had to build 3 walls, close in the stairway, and create a hall at the bottom of the steps (just because I don't want customers to see the rest of the basement, not because I had to make the hall). Then there was lighting/electrical, plumbing, etc... I put in a grease trap (to save our sand mound/septic system), and I had to have a pump installed to move the waste water UP several feet to the sewer line. We hired a contractor to build it and install the cabinetry, counters, drop ceiling, etc... A plumber did the plumbing work, but blessed us with his time, and only charged for materials.


I got my big triple sink and stainless steel work tables for free from a contractor who works for a shopping center. The grocery store bakery was throwing them out. That saved a bunch. My cabinets were 475.00 USED on Craigslist. The drop ceiling was torn out of another place by our contractor, who salvaged it for me. I did the floors, and my husband did the trim. The doors were used, and bought from a private school. I bought the fridge and convection range new, after checking all over the area, finding the best deal, and buying it on a one year same as cash deal. I'm buying my drawer/door pulls/knobs on ebay, at a great price.


If you start looking for used deals now, you can save a LOT of money, but you will have to find a place to store it. I didn't have to use regular cabinetry, but I prefer keep it nice looking and organized. I will be running classes some, and having customers there occasionally. We got a $10,000 home eguity loan, and it covered everything, with a little to spare. I didn't have to buy much equipment, as I've been growing that collection for years. I chose to buy edible ink and a printer, and cakeboss software, though I wouldn't HAVE to start out with either. The cakeboss software looks like it will pay for itself in all kinds of ways. So glad I bought that.


If you plan to airbrush, I would recommend a vented corner with laminate on the walls, like I built. I like it better than a portable booth, and it serves a dual purpose as my mixer area... all that powdered sugar can also get vented outside. :)


Enough for now. If you have questions, feel free to message me with your phone number (as long as it's a USA number), and I'll be happy to call you...or send you my number.


Wishing you all the best and success on your new venture!


post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 

wow, thats awesome!. ad really handy they where throwing those benches out! thank you so much! :)

unfotunetly i'm in new zealand so i cn't call you, but thank you so much for your help! 

post #9 of 33
This is great! glad i found this site!!! looking into a kitchen or storefront as well.
Remember to do what you love in life. It's too short to do anything else.
Remember to do what you love in life. It's too short to do anything else.
post #10 of 33

Before you start a home based business you need to make sure your state allows it.  Also you will need to find out what they want as far as where you can bake out of and the type of appliances they require.  Here in Fl. we can bake out of our home without a separate area needed as well as the fact that the stove has to be those that you use at home, not the industrial ones.  Good luck!

Cake brings out the inner child in you.


Cake brings out the inner child in you.

post #11 of 33

 I also started a home based business, my kitchen was just finish a couple of months ago. I wish you the best of luck!  the pictures of my kitchen can be found in facebook under Sweet Tales Cake Boutique. Let me know what you guys think :)

post #12 of 33

Having done cakes out of my home for 16 or so years, I can tell you that I LOVE LOVE LOVE that I opened my own bakery and now my home is my home and my place of business is my place of business.  If I ever decide to shut down my bakery, I will NOT be doing cakes out of my home again.

~ Sherri
~ Sherri
post #13 of 33


Your kitchen looks amazing! The ground floor access will be wonderful!

post #14 of 33

Thanks so much Deb, this little shop of mine is been a dream for a while. I worked for so many pastry chefs in the past 8 years that I decided to do it. I took my garage and made it into a kitchen. I decided to use marble for the oversize island as we temper chocolate and marble has great cooling factors. The floor is actually stain concrete, I was asked by my town to have a floor drain, so it had to be concrete.  Thanks for stopping by, I also ck your kitchen and it looks great! is so nice to meet someone is been through the same path.


Elizabeth Houde

post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 

wow sweettales your kirchen looks awesome!(: and you have a gift with gum paste flowers!(:

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