I've been away for YEARS!!! I miss this site!
I closed up shop in 2008. Since then, I had another kid and we moved to a new area. In that time, I've made cakes for my husband and children only.
Then I lost all of my business supplies in a flood.
I couldn't stay away, so I am getting back in the game. I have my reopen date planned for June 2014, I'm starting from scratch in a new region with no customer base...
My competitors-to-be in this new area (even the legit place) stay in business with laughable prices, so I'm coming into this market at double their prices or more. Many places seem a little off, I suspect some illegal cakery is afoot...
I am excited, but mostly just worked up. I have a lot to do, but it's great to be back! :)
A"They ALWAYS come back..." :D
AWelcome back and best of luck on your reopening.
Everything was going smoothly - until I hit the township level. Gotta love local government. I'm going to go scream into a pillow for a while.
AWhat happened with your process? I'm sorry there's a snag. And if there is some illegal cake business going on, how do u plan on combatting that?
My township is small and unorganized. The fee stated in the zoning documents is $175, but then last week I was told by the person in the municipal building that it was $350.
Then I need to appeal in person at a township meeting, which is only held on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
I also need to get some clarity on which neighbors I need approvals from, and whether a signature will suffice for the zoning board.
The November meeting is tonight and I am not sure if I have all the documents I need or what the fee is, and I still don't know if my papers need to be submitted in advance of the meeting because the municipal building is only open during odd hours.
Since November seems to be a wash, I am going to have to wait until January because the December meeting is cancelled due to Christmas Eve.
I'm still within my anticipated timeline for a June opening, but getting the runaround is making me crazy.
No wonder there's so many illegal cakes around!
As for the illegal/underpriced bakeries... It's probably something I'll have to live with for now, because I don't have much experience yet and I don't know if there is a plan of action available. Making some local venues aware of my licensing is the best idea I've had so far. Maybe they won't want the responsibility of serving illegal cakes at weddings. Seems a bit underhanded to do that, but business isn't personal... I also want to focus on niche products - specialty cakes for dietary restrictions, or, ahem, adult content.
If anyone has any experience getting going in an undervalued market, I'd love to hear about it. I have no intention of bending to match their prices. I think that would be a trap I would never get out of.
I really value the advice given on this site. People here really know their stuff. Since I started this process, I've been getting "suggestions" and "ideas" from every person in my life, and mostly I have to smile and nod and say "Thank you! I'll consider that!".
This site rocks!
ACheck out the "Pricing, Market Value, and Economic Damage" link in my signature below for an article on how to deal with an undervalued market.
Excellent aricle, very relevant. And what a perfect term - Poisoned market - that's what I'm getting myself into. I've got my work cut out for me, but I'm going to go for it. I have to.
I found the right person to speak with. Yay! Everything is back on track. And in writing :)
Our local zoning requires for a home business:
$125 fee paid yearly to cover 1/1 through 12/31
registration paper including business name, location and owner
no more than 1 non-resident employee
zoning board will approve or deny at their meeting, owner does NOT need to show up
other regulations not relevant to a home bakery (electrical interferance, noise impact, etc...)
Tax ID and state registration included with application
Nothing about neighbor permission, I don't know what that was all about
This has been a learning experience, and I hope it can help someone out who is getting their start, too. It's a little daunting, but definitely can be done. (This is in PA, by the way)
Congrats welcome back!
We love helping bakers getting started so please let us know what you need and I would be happy to give you a 20% discount off your first order with Ultimate Baker website.
Once you speak with the right people, a challenging process becomes super simple. I'm pleased with how this went, the frustration was short-lived, and my outcome is better than I had hoped.
I will be legal and operational months ahead of schedule. It's such a good feeling.