For Those Of You Who Have Opened Up A Bakery...

Business By armywife1 Updated 24 Feb 2010 , 7:07am by cksweets

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armywife1 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:39am
post #1 of 12

I was just wondering a few things:

1. Do any of you have school aged children?
2. What hours are you open and how many days a week?
3. Do you find that you often have to 'burn the midnight oil'?

I was just curious how easy/ difficult it is. I have 3 children and a husband who is deployed to Afghanistan. I would like to have a store front some day, but not sure how to juggle homework, after school activities, etc. In our county, we are allowed to have a home based business, but I was thinking about how it would be to change to a business outside of the home. Maybe I could get some insight from CCer's. Thanks for your help!

11 replies
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shorty56 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:23am
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1. No, i don't have any kids
2. i am by appt only, but usually work half a day monday, and a full day tuesday-saturday. the times vary, but often its a 9 or 10-6 day. i easily work more than 40 hours a week, usually closer to 50.
3. no. everything is organized very efficiently. i rarely work later than 6, and usually only if i am meeting with a bride late.

not to be a downer, but i would never have opened my shop if i had young kids and a partner who was away. the only reason i did it was because i knew my partner's income would take care of all our living expenses and i could devote my entire business income into maintaining the biz and paying off the start up loans. i also knew i had the time to devote my heart and soul to the biz without young kids demanding my time and attention.

if this is a serious dream of yours, i would start saving up to open your shop and perhaps do some preliminary leg work to find out what is required (do you need a hood? what type of licenses and inspections would you need? etc). maybe in the meantime you can look for a job at another bakery to find out what its really like to run a cake biz. but i would wait to open a shop until your kids are older and more independent.

just my two cents icon_wink.gif

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littlecake Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:45am
post #3 of 12

i have adults...not kids lol.

it's my sole income...i work alot of hours the days i'm open.

it would be way too much for me if my kids were still small.

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Mensch Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 6:04am
post #4 of 12

1) We're child-free
2) Tues-Fri: 8.30-5, Sat: 10-4, Sun-Mon: closed. I sell coffee, rolls, breads, buns, brownies, cuppies, cheesecake, etc OTC.... I'm not a café - one can't eat in. Many people don't realize that your opening hours are not at all your working hours. Just because I'm closed on Sundays and Mondays does not necessarily mean that I'm off work. I' have worked every day since September 23.
3) when I first opened I worked 17-18 hours a day for months (doing everything myself and accepting all orders), now I'm usually home by 6 (I start around 6 am,, so my workdays are now only about twelve hours long) but I do have an employee, and we are both very efficient and have good routines and work well together.

Being able to bake good things and decorate cleverly is no guarantee that your store will survive. Folks always mention that they wish they had my job..... decorating cakes all day. Believe me, it is so not like that at all. owning a bakery, like any shop owner here can tell you, is about 85% cleaning, paperwork, customer care, ordering, paperwork, cleaning, worrying, errands, more paperwork, meetings, and, oh, did I mention cleaning? The actual decorating of cakes is less that 15% of my working day.

I posted this in another thread. There are most likely things I have forgotten/repressed, so you other bakery/storefront owners chime in.

These are just overhead costs, not even counting any baking ingredients.

monthly costs (some of these are once a year, or even just 2-3 times a year):

rent, insurance, loan payments, electricity, telephone (land-line + cell), broadband, website costs, cleaning supplies (floor cleaner, glass cleaner, universal cleaner, paper towels, dish soap, hand soap, hand disinfectant, dish detergent/drying detergent for dishwasher, toilet paper, toilet cleaner, mop, broom, dustpan, laundry detergent), credit card machine + fees, company credit card fees, assorted bank fees, sidewalk salt, alarm system costs, accountant/bookkeeping, garbage collection, office supplies (paper, pens, paper clips, staples, post-its, scissors, mat knife, paper rolls for cash register/credit card machine, ribbon for cake/pastry boxes, stamps, envelopes), edible image ink cartridges/sheets, packaging (cake/pastry boxes in different sizes, bread bags etc), cost for yearly HD inspection, garbage bags, advertising/marketing (business cards, brochures, website), bridal show fees, fees from city planning office for sidewalk signs, telephone catalog ad, take-away cups/lids for coffee drinks, light bulbs

basic start-up:

purchase of premises, renovating costs (plumber, electrician, carpenters etc), oven, ventilation system, telephones, refrigerators (3 are required); including a special 'dry' fridge for fondant cakes, freezers (2 are required), 2 hand sinks, cash register, credit card machine, double sink, commercial dishwasher, commercial espresso machine (2-group), commercial coffee mill, take-away cups/lids for coffee drinks, 20 qt standing mixer, safe, broadband, locksmith, alarm system, computer, printer, scanner, edible image software and printer, website costs, digital camera, phones (both cell and regular), office supplies (stapler, staples, paper, pens, paper rolls for register/CC machine, ribbon for cake/pastry boxes, stamps, envelopes), food handlers license (for me and all employees), cost for HD inspection, display cases, trays to display product, SS work bench (2½ meters long, special order), trash cans, garbage bags, recycling bins, marketing materials (business cards, brochures, magazine ads, website), work chairs (pony chairs, 2), counters, shelves, AC unit, rolling rack, microwave, hot plate, sidewalk signs (plus fees from planning office), signs on building (plus fees from planning office), flags, packaging (cake/pastry boxes in different sizes, bread bags, etc), telephone catalog, all different kinds of bowls and spatulas etc, hand mixer, storage containers, food processor, lighting fixtures, light bulbs, telephone catalog ad, fire extinguishers

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shorty56 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:32pm
post #5 of 12

mensch, i've never heard of a "dry" fridge, but i think i need one! i would love to be able to refrigerate fondant iced cakes. can you point me in the right direction for getting one?

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ShopGrl1128 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:41pm
post #6 of 12

I'm by myself at the shop.

1. No kids.

2. shop is open 9:00-5:00 Tue-Fri, 10:00-3:00pm Sat, Mon-Sunday closed.
I work Mon-Fri 8:00-6:00; Sat. 10:00-5:00 and I do food shopping and more cleaning on Sunday, normally 3-4 hours.

3. I try to be home before 7:00pm every day, otherwise I'd go crazy.
Once I'm home I make dinner-do some laundry-clean the house-feed the cat AND THEN I spend a couple of hours replying customer's emails or doing the business accounting, paying bills, etc.

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jillmakescakes Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:50pm
post #7 of 12

1. 2 kids-both boys- 10 and 3 (4 in April)
2. I have a retail storefront. Our hours are 11-6 Tues-Fri and 9-12 on Sat appt only on Sun
3. I stopped buringing the midnight oil after our 4th month open.

It is incredibly hard to do this with kids. I am lucky enough that my business partner comes in at 2 in the afternoon so I can leave at 4 to get my oldest off of the bus. If I need to come back at night, I can (I live 3 miles away) but I try to avoid that at all costs. I am 100% confident that I could not do this without DH here to support me.

I usually handle a little office work at home on the laptop though.

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adven68 Posted 20 Feb 2010 , 6:54pm
post #8 of 12

I agree with almost everyone kids are 7 and storefront is literally around the corner from my house, but it stil very difficlut to juggle everyone's schedules. I do leave my 10 yr old boy home for short periods at a time in the DAYTIME....but I won't leave my 7 yr old yet, so either she comes with me to the shoppe or I stay home till DH comes home or my paerents may be able to occasionally.

my posted hours are laughable...
sun-mon closed
tue-fri 11a-1p
sat by appointment.

I usuually am there by 9 or 10a and stay till 2.....but, just to give you an idea of what it's like...
last week I had 4 cakes for saturday....we also had a snow day and schools were closed on wednesday....that totally screwed up my schedule and by the end of the week I was FRANTICALLY working to get these cakes out....
I got it done, but it was extremely nerve-racking...

Having said all that....I still would reccommend finding a's extrememly rewarding as well....
Best of Luck!!

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armywife1 Posted 20 Feb 2010 , 10:38pm
post #9 of 12

Thanks everyone for the insight! Adven68, do you work by yourself or have a business partner? I know I wouldn't have a partner, so I'm sure that might make it even harder. We just moved from NY, so I definitely know ALL about snow!

Mensch: Wow, thanks for the list. That really does help!

Shorty56: You're definitely NOT a downer. LOL It helps to have perspective from all sides. icon_wink.gif

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JulieMN Posted 21 Feb 2010 , 1:49am
post #10 of 12

Mensch, what a comprehensive list! Thanks for your insight into what it takes to get (and keep) something going!

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adven68 Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 2:33am
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by armywife1

Thanks everyone for the insight! Adven68, do you work by yourself or have a business partner? I know I wouldn't have a partner, so I'm sure that might make it even harder. We just moved from NY, so I definitely know ALL about snow!

I am by myself...although I get DAILY requests for employees or interns! It's funny when you look at the stack of resumes I have accumulated. I agreed to have an intern come in for the beginning of the summer. I am reluctant though becasue of my own issues. i have a hard time letting anybody do anything I'm putting my name on....but I'll work it out! LOL

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cksweets Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 7:07am
post #12 of 12

thank you Mensch for such a great list to go by.

i, too, have cake shop owning dreams!! but my DH always tells me to slow down. it's hard bc i think it takes a "dreamer" to do this cake stuff. i'm in texas and we are not allowed to do cake biz....only for friends and family and not for $$. i have so many people ask me to do cakes and i can't...which makes me want to open one even more. I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old baby. both girls. i am way way way too busy to not be home. i have decided that it is better to wait than open and fail. so i am waiting...until then i am enjoying my lil girls bc they won't be lil for very long and i will never have this chance to see them grow up again. there will always be cake orders and parties that need something sweet.

thanks to the suggestion for the "preparing". i'm totally going to do that so i can be super organized so the "first few months" will be a little less hectic....

good luck girlie!! and a BIG THANK YOU to you, your husband and your family for all your sacrifices for our safety!!

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