Is It Worth It?

Business By cakemama22 Updated 1 Feb 2012 , 7:32pm by KoryAK

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cakemama22 Posted 10 Jan 2012 , 11:45pm
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I'm currently a stay at home mom. 3 kids, one is in half day preschool, the other 2 are still too little for any kind of school. My husband and I have come to the decision that I need to find some work in order to help us save money. Ideally I would like to work in a bakery so I can work with cakes and continue to learn as I go. My question is for all of you who have employees in your baking businesses. Typically (I know it varies by area and the bakery), would I make enough to pay for daycare either half day for 3 or full day for 2 and half for 1, and gas to get to and from work (It will be about a 30-45 min job to any bakery other than grocery store or walmart bakeries), and still have some money left over to save?

I'm just looking to know what I'm getting into, without asking potential employers how much they'd pay me before I apply. I appreciate any help. You can PM me if you don't want to announce it in the forum.

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15 replies
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QTCakes1 Posted 10 Jan 2012 , 11:52pm
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This is a question that I don't think anyone could answer. Your pay would depend on your area, as well as your expierence. Also, you would have to look at your day care cost in your area, as well as your gas cost in your area. This is info. only you could find out in your area.

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BakedAlaska Posted 10 Jan 2012 , 11:56pm
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To put it bluntly. No.

Part-time cake decorators don't make much more than minimum wage around here. Maybe a dollar or two more per hour. But that's not going to be enough to afford daycare for 3 kids and the cost of gas.

If possible, perhaps you might consider offering childcare in your home. That'd save you the cost of your own childcare. And, you'd be able to make some money to save and keep the cake gig as a hobby.

Just a thought! Good luck....

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jason_kraft Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 12:09am
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Originally Posted by BakedAlaska

To put it bluntly. No.

Agreed...and if cake decorators do make more in higher COL areas, day care will also cost more, so it will still be a wash.

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LNW Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 12:59am
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My SIL is doing exactly what you are wanting to do but shes got help. She works only on the weekends when her dh is home. Occasionally shell work during the week but her mom or sister babysits for her, for free. But she doesnt do that very often.

When I took the Wilton courses there was a gal in my 2nd course that was getting her certification. She worked at Pricecutters and the bakery manager said if she got Wilton certified hed up her pay to $9.00 an hour vs the minimum wage she was making at the time. This was back in 2003 though so things have changed a lot since then but $9.00 an hour doesnt sound like much. When my oldest was in preschool (shes 10yo now) we paid $150.00 for a full week. So if were making as much as that gal at Pricecutters was making and still sending my dd to preschool Id have very little money leftover at the end of two weeks. Not really worth it.

Now if youve got someone who can watch your kids for free or at a big discount it might be worth it but youre probably better off looking for a job that will pay better, even if it isnt what you want. I made over $15.00 an hour plus commission working for CHASE in their bad card member accounts department. Awful job, hated every second of it but I bought a brand new car and paid it off in 6 months and we put a big chunk of it away in savings. That was even after paying for childcare. If you really need the money you may have to suck it up and take whatever job you can get.

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OhMyGanache Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 1:00am
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There are too many variables here to provide a useful answer.

Right now, I am making $13/hr. 40 hours per week and paying $155/week for childcare. I could have found less expensive care if I had wanted to - but this place was the closest to my home and that was more important to me. Most providers offer a sibling discount and are pretty flexible if you need less than full time hours.

I have plenty of money left over after paying for child care and gas - so it's worth it to me (financially anyway).

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Annabakescakes Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 6:35am
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I join the "no" crowd. I learned a lot from my bakery experience, one was that they didn't pay me enough, and that was with help from the state with the child care. I only paid $60 a week for all-day care of my toddler, and before and after school care for my twins. I made $7 and hour, and gas was just under $4 a gallon. After expenses, I made about $120 a week for a 40 hour a week job. That's $3 an hour, folks! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

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Unlimited Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 6:18pm
post #8 of 16

It can be worth it, but you'd most likely need to get a job in a union shop if you'd like the opportunity to be highly paid with journeyman wages. Each company's negotiated wages will vary according to individual union contracts. You might have to start out with apprentice wages (which is typically only $1 less than journeyman), yet you'd still be paid a great wage. Your title might be "cake icer", but you'll still get to decorate without the glorified title of "decorator" until a decorator position is available which you'll have to bid and test for.

I'd suggest that you call your local chapter Bakers Union~they'll be able to tell you who's hiring and where to go to apply. Once you're in the union, they'll even call you to tell you where to get your butt to (if/when you're out of work). In some cases, they might be able to "place" you in the job without formally applying first especially during peak holiday seasons. This situation could be for a temporary position, but at least you'll get your foot in the door and they may choose to keep you.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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Debbye27 Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 6:46pm
post #9 of 16

Have you looked into the cost of daycare in your area? In Florida I paid 80/week per kid (I have 2). I live in NY now and it's 175/week - older one is in kindergarten now thankfully! I would check into the cost of daycare/childcare first, and sit down and find out how much you need to make in order to cover costs for care/gas/expenses (lunches and work clothes add up too).
My guess is that it won't be worth it -but if you have figures to look at it will definitely help you decide.

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jason_kraft Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 6:51pm
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Originally Posted by Unlimited

It can be worth it, but you'd most likely need to get a job in a union shop if you'd like the opportunity to be highly paid with journeyman wages.

Interesting, I didn't even know there was a union. In the US it looks like the union is BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco, Grain Millers), part of AFL-CIO.

Most smaller bakeries probably aren't union so you might be closing off some options by going this route.

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jgifford Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 7:00pm
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When my kiddos were little, I always figured if day care didn't take more than 1/2 my salary, it paid me to work. Of course, when I became a single parent, it didn't matter. I had to work no matter what and do my candy at night - - I hadn't been bitten by the caking bug yet.

You'll find that most daycares will charge you whether your child is there or not (sick days, vacation) in order to "reserve their place" so you're not going to get much of a break from them.

You don't say where you are, but if your state has a Cottage Food Law, you might have to go that route and do cakes at night and on the weekend, just to stay in the business.

I sympathize with your situation and wish you luck.

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OhMyGanache Posted 11 Jan 2012 , 8:32pm
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I would like to add that in addition to any possible money you make, you will be gaining far more in knowledge than you know. Even working at the worst places taught me TONS (i.e. what NOT to do).

I guess it depends on what your end goal is. Working for someone gives you loads of practice and improves your skill and your speed - all on someone else's dime.

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djdoo Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 5:43pm
post #13 of 16

I am in the exact same position, I have two kids that need daycare and would like to make money to help out DH. So I went out and actually did interviews. No one would pay me more than min wage, or one guy went up by 50 cents!!!
That by no measure would cover my daycare expenses, gas and bus tickets etc. once more, they want you to come in real early, so I would have to wake up super duper early to get myself ready, my kids and run off to babysitter, if ones would take them in at 5 or 6 am. or get hubby to take them. its alot of work for a job that wont pay you enough. I decided its not worth it.
its something you have to decide to do. you wont get more than min wage, even though i made many great cakes at home and sold them, they dont consider it experience esp. since you didnt go to culinary school.
if your family is in on this and willing to sacrifice so you can grow in this buisness go ahead, but from someone whos in the same boat, and wants extra $$ it wont work!!!
back to the drawing-board!!!

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all4cake Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:00pm
post #14 of 16

DH and I compromised. When he worked, I had the kids/house and everything that goes with, cleaning. When I worked, he had the kids...they had the house...everything else was left to me. May not seem even to an onlooker but, considering his job was NOT flexible and his experience and his job earned him higher wages, it definitely balanced out.

Maybe discuss with your DH to see if maybe a job working opposite him would be something to consider.

I just never seen the point of going to work to pay daycare and having a smidge leftover to give to Ceasar (bills).

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jason_kraft Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:32pm
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Originally Posted by djdoo

even though i made many great cakes at home and sold them, they dont consider it experience esp. since you didnt go to culinary school.

Not all business owners share that mindset...personally I don't care if you went to culinary school or not if you can demonstrate the requisite skills and efficiency. And we paid considerably more than minimum wage.

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KoryAK Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 7:32pm
post #16 of 16

Yep, culinary school doesn't mean crap (on a resume as a title). My best workers were ones I trained myself with a natural artsy ability. I just fired an intern from a culinary school. Even working for free, they were too far below the bar for me.

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