I'm Torn... What To Do? (Sorry, Long)

Business By CakeInfatuation Updated 2 Nov 2008 , 10:45pm by SugarFrosted

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CakeInfatuation Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:22pm
post #1 of 8

So here's the thing...

I only bake for fun. It's a hobby. I'm still a newbie and have lots to learn. So as far as confidence goes, I'm confident in what I have done but not at all confident that I can do what people want. Especially if I've never attempted it before.

Working at a bakery although a fantastic idea that would really improve my skills, knowledge, speed, and overall ability... it's just not going to happen. I can't pull it off with the time I have available and a 3 & 5 year old.

Lately though, I've been getting a lot of pressure from people who want my card, pricing, and other information.

Generally I tell them that I don't have any of that. I just do this for friends and family. BUT you know how it is... I would just LOVE to get paid for my work! (minus the stress ha ha ha)

And I'm also afraid that I'm going to turn into the local rug. I mean... "Stacey does great cakes! You should call her." Then because I'm not legal and don't officially have a business, I end up doing it as "a gift". They get a deal and I get walked on.

I've been told by a few lately that I really need to look into the legalities and charge what I'm worth. My husband said today if I'm going to do that, then I need a shop, I need an assistant, I need set hours so I'm not doing this all hours of the night....

Back to square one. I don't want or need all of that right now. For those of you who bake out of your homes, how do you do this? Can I do this?

I already know it will cost met at least $535 to get my license. My township charges $500 for the variance and the Dept. of Agriculture is $35 for my license.

I love to bake and make yummies. How do you overcome the obstacles and naysayers? How do you keep a positive and yet realistic point of view?

Can I bake cakes for friends and family and charge them? Or am I stuck in one of those rock and hard place spots where I do all the work and foot the bill and they are happy or I don't get to do it at all? Because quite frankly, my family and my butt doesn't need that much cake!

7 replies
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cylstrial Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:30pm
post #2 of 8

So will you be licensed to work out of your home then? Honestly, if I could bake out of my home with an initial cost of $1070..I would totally do it. Unfortunately, in my state, you can't be an at home baker.

So basically I'm doing what you are doing. Making cakes for family and friends. I have the exact same issues as well. People want a business card, flyer, etc...but I'm not legal so I don't know if that is the right thing to do.

Goodluck! You definitely shouldn't make cakes and give them away for free. That's not fair.. you work hard and deserve to be paid.

I'm gonna keep looking back at this thread because you have asked a lot of good questions.

Thanks again!

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mom2spunkynbug Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:33pm
post #3 of 8

Well, of course it is up to you...

I work from home in a licensed home kitchen. I also became a member of a local wedding referral company. I have a 6 & 10 year old, and I work part time as a Wilton Method Instructor at Michael's at nights.

It's not easy!

If I have a cake coming up, I TRY to prepare ahead of time, but most of the time something comes up and I end up being up all night pulling an all-nighter.

You have to make sure you have the time and the desire!

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-K8memphis Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:36pm
post #4 of 8

I don't know--you have to be able to wear different hats. The most important one is, The You Must Pay Me Substantially Hat.

But your variance is a bargain--is this a zoning variance? In my county here in 10 C you would pay five or six times that amount and they are very clear that they have never granted one either. You pay all that and they say no.

So you gotta deal going there. I mean you gotta get your ducks in a row. But go for it if you can be a businessperson.

Can you say 'no'? <<< That's a prerequisite.

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Kitagrl Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:41pm
post #5 of 8

Wow your township is more expensive than mine! icon_surprised.gif I got insurance, too though... but the township fees were alot less than yours.

I just baked via word of mouth before getting licensed. Not legal, but my choice. I wanted to make sure I would have some sort of customer base before jumping out and becoming legal...because then, in being legal, I wanted to be sure that spending money on advertising and other things would pay me back. So I wanted my name out there. I also have four boys and do not have time to go to alot of bridal shows or make dummy cakes and etc.

Its your choice....if it were me, I'd probably bake for who you can and save up "cake money" to pay for the licensing. Its really easy to get the Dept of Ag to license you...it only took me a few weeks start to finish.... so just go word of mouth long enough to earn the money to do it.

Good luck!

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gr8cakemaker Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 10:04pm
post #6 of 8

well, I am in a similar situation. I now work from home and I am legal and licensed. I have a 2 year old that I put in part time daycare, from 830 am to 1200 pm monday through thursday. That gives me enough time to get my baking in and also work on my advertising/marketing etc.

It works out really well because I get to still spend alot of time with my son and still have plenty of time to get my baking done, do paperwork, make phone calls...all that jazz.

It is just me working...no assistant, although I have a friend who is just learning and asks to come over and help me when I have way too many cakes for the week. She has been a big help. Although I had been working alone for almost a year.

I hope this helps and good luck!!!

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Mike1394 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 10:11pm
post #7 of 8

What stood out for me was what hubby said. Running a business isn't a part time job. There will be times where you will be late, and have to start early. That is if you want to be successful. There will be times where a kid gets sick. What are you going to do cancel the cake? These are things youn have to look at. If you can do it, and hubby is on board cool, wish you the best.


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SugarFrosted Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 10:45pm
post #8 of 8

I have baked from my home kitchen for family and friends (and friends of friends) since 1988. I am not licensed. In my state, home kitchens can't be licensed. I did read a post from someone in my state who stated she was getting licensed here with a separate kitchen at her rural home. That is not an option for me.

This began as a hobby, doing cakes for my son's birthdays and then later for school activities. My son's friends parents saw my cakes and asked for a special cake for their child. No one ever expected one for free because I never gave them a chance to think I'd do that. I have done a lot of free cakes as gifts or donations, but only by my own choice.
My rule has always been: If I offer a cake, it's free, but if you ask for one, you pay for it.

I don't advertise per se, but I do give cards to my friends, and they know I will only accept an order from someone they recommend to me. Anyone who calls me must tell me who recommended me and their relationship to that person before I will discuss a cake. I have a website which serves only as an online photo album for my friends. It plainly states "NO email orders!"

I know there are a lot of others in my state who do cakes "under the radar" like me. I've read a lot of posts here on CC which tell me lots of people do it without a license. I know what I am doing, and I know if I get caught, I would not be able to continue. But if you feel comfortable being "under the radar" too, you'll be in good company, because there are thousands of us all across the country and around the world.

Your cakes are beautiful, by the way.

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