Hi everyone, my husband and I have been talking about starting a small custom bakery in maybe about a year. Which will give me another year of cake experience too. I am just in the research stage right now business plan will follow. We were thinking about building a small building next to our home on our property, with bathroom, small consulting area and kitchen, office is not important because I have that in my home which is close. There is a market for custom cakes here, there is no other as far as I know within 100 kilometer radius, with a large population within here and there. I am now only doing cakes for family and friends but have gotten alot of calls regarding cakes and have told them I am only a hobby baker. A few questions I would like to ask are, what kind of insurance would I have to have for the bakery, how big of a building do you think would be sufficient, just something small and efficient with me and probably another employee, for the large appliances would be better to check for restaurants that are closing or hotels, etc. or buy new, I wanted to start getting all this information now so that within a year I can be well prepared. I have been soaking in all the wonderful information here on the boards and what I can find on the internet. Any information that you can give me to help would be greatly appreciated
If you are looking to the future, I would suggest checking the zoning in your neighborhood. That, out of almost everything would take the longest to arrange if you need to. (as you will be working with city hall and bureaucrats, LOL) Business plan (which should include the size and kitchen "stuff") financing, insurance are all subjects that will take thought and study and quotes. I think this is sound "dreaming" to think this far ahead, as once I get the ball rolling on something, I find it hard to slow things down for educated decisions.
I would STRONGLY recommend having an office space. It doesn't have to be big, just someplace for you to file your orders, receipts, etc. You will need a computer in the meeting space as well as a printer to make copies for the client's record. It would seem a little unprofessional to have to say "excuse me while I run to my house to make this copy."
Call the city offices and ask what you need to get started. Find your county's health code and read it. I actually printed mine out and highlighted the sections applicable to me.
Next, start looking at restaurant auctions NOW!! I got a great deal on my double oven, but had to drive 300 miles to get it. Even with the gas, still a great deal.
As far as kitchen size, think about how many cakes you will be doing to start and how many you want to work up to. will you want to do 3 wedding cakes plus 10-12 occasion cakes per week? If so, will you have enough room for not only the completed cake, but the cakes when they aren't stacked? It is amazing how much room 4 tiers can take up before you stack them. My storefront space is 1250sq ft with 750sq ft being kitchen. I love that amount of space, but it might be a bit big for a small building.
Did I throw enough at you all at once??
Thank you so much for both of your quick responses, minicuppie, I sure will have to check out the zoning in my neighborhood, I hadn't thought of that, also, jillmakescakes, you are so right, I should have space for an office, would be unprofessional to have to run to house to do paperwork and you have definitely given me alot to think about and do research on, thanks!!
One of the things that I did that I found to be INCREDIBLY helpful was to make a reverse timeline.
I started with my Grand Opening and worked backwards. I put approximate timeframes on each task (for example, 4 months worth of construction time, 2 months to purchase supplies) and then I put in actual dates based on my desired open date. this helped me to know if I was on track with my plan.
also, I kept a spiral notebook of notes, lists, contacts, and other related info. I still have it and look back often. I made notes of my favorite cake websites, supply companies etc.
Keep us posted!
I'm not in business, so I can't help with most, but I would suggest keep a list of all the people who have (and will between now and when you are able to open) contacted you about making cakes. That when, just before you do open, you can send out notices to them (maybe with a coupon included) to let them know you are now available.
I am making notes of all this valuable information, thank you so much ladies
I'm trying to start a small custom cake biz a moment. The first step you should take is to contact your county DHEC (In SC, thats our Department of Health and Environmental Control). I was told if I wanted to add a separate building on my property it would also have to have its own well and septic. My county DHEC is has been pretty good to get along with. Every time I find a new place to rent they come out to tell me if it would pass inspection and what improvements would have to be made before I rent. Hope that helps.
Oops addressed last comment to wrong person. I see it was sugarlicious asking the question. sorry.
I'm in the same position right now.
Contact your municipality to get your zoning requirements. Find out if you can get a varience if you need to. Also contact your local health dept. they should be able to provide you with a list of requirements. If you have a local small business centre near you contact them - they may be able to provide you with some resources. We have also had to go through our hertitage dept as we live in a designated heritage area. Good Luck and work on that business plan!