To Renovate Or Rent?

Business By pintsizecakes Updated 12 Sep 2015 , 10:10pm by peachcake

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pintsizecakes Posted 14 Jul 2015 , 4:25pm
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Hi Everyone! I'm extremely new to the cake baking world! I started out submitting desserts in our local BBQ competitions and bringing my cheesecakes to my friends and family events and get togethers. With a little support from all of them I have decided to go for it.

After extensive research I have realized I'm not able to break even financially if I rent a commercial kitchen. So, I'm wondering what would be the logical choice to make here, either rent a kitchen and hopefully find a place in my area where I can pay by the hour instead of by the month or hold out for a year save up the money and renovate a small (very small) bakery in my finished basement? That way I can get all of my certifications/permits to be a home bakery in the state of GA.

Any advice on how much this will cost me to renovate a small bakery? I only offer one item which is cheesecakes so I don't need a lot. Just a way to get certified so I can bake from home. I was thinking it'd be about $10K for the renovation, equipment included. Does that sound unreasonably cheap? 

I'd really love to do this but the idea of renting a kitchen and not breaking even after I sell my cheesecakes and pay the rent is absurd to me. But I also want to be legal and not have to worry about uncle sam knocking on my door. lol :) Any advice you can give me will much appreciated!!! :) Thanks everyone! Happy Baking! :) 

11 replies
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peachcake Posted 14 Jul 2015 , 4:50pm
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Hi! I too live in Ga. I had been trying to decide the same thing myself. My sil and I had started a bakery about 5 years ago,I left about a year ago due to health but she is still trying to make it work. We started with 10,000.  Rented a place but it is easier with more money to play with. The inspector said they inspect once and that's it. You won't have the overhead in your basement we did and make sure you have everything to make them happy. I do miss it so we will see what happens. Good Luck, hope this helped some. Contact me if you have any thing I might help you with. Peachcake

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-K8memphis Posted 14 Jul 2015 , 5:10pm
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if you can do it from home go with that would be my advice -- not paying additionally for rent is huge -- but you'll have other increases in overhead like more taxes, insurance and utilities of course --

question for you -- do your family and friends order from you now or want to order from you -- who would be your customers -- i'm only asking because it's some kind of cosmic rite of passage for anyone who successfully bakes to be told they need to open a business -- just goes with the territory -- and as you have already deduced it won't pay the bills and provide an income unless you are plenty crafty -- nobody's getting rich baking --

but yeah like *peachcake said (oh how *Georgian :) find out what is required in your area -- focus especially on the plumbing and zoning

best of the best to you

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pintsizecakes Posted 14 Jul 2015 , 5:45pm
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Thank you *peachcake and *K8memphis for your words of advice! I truly appreciate it! Yes, my friends and family tell me I should sell my cheesecakes, currently I'm just giving them away as I don't want to get in trouble for not being licensed. However, at my good friends bridal shower recently I had a woman ask me if she could hire me for a baby shower, while I was tempted to say Yes, I hesitate b/c I'm not licensed.

My strategy would be to start out on social media and build up a following. Maybe create a youtube channel and build up some interest that way too. That way when the renovation is complete and all of my permits are in place I can slowly start taking orders and building steam. Just an idea though...not really sure if that's practical.

I think it would still have to be a part time thing for at least the first few years, I work full time now and am able to do this on the weekends. So I would try to ease into it slowly. Then (pipe dreaming now) maybe someday I could own my own retail space. But that's years and years and years from now. lol 

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peachcake Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 1:23am
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I did that years ago when I lived up north. Worked full time and did cakes for relatives  part time. Lots of wedding cakes. Tough but fun. I say check out all u can and get what u need, u never know where it will lead. I did a couple jobs for The Vampire Diaries just because we got lucky when they needed a bakery. Nice folks.

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Webake2gether Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 8:24pm
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You've got the right idea about starting out that way. That's exactly how we are doing it now actually happened by accident for us. I don't know if you can do mini cheesecakes but one thing we do is giveaways once we reach a certain amount of "likes" you could so something similar while your getting everything to code and legal. Doing mini's gets it to more people and possibly more cost effective for you. Once your legal and able to advertise then pick a couple of charitable events to donate to that gets the word out big time. There are lots of ways to build up your name for free word of mouth is the best I think. One last thing if you do create a social media page make sure that you don't advertise like a business definitely don't put any prices on there, be very clear that you are not taking orders and that you are not open to the public yet  but are in the process. Good luck!! 

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pintsizecakes Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 9:01pm
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Thank you so much for all of your advice! :) This is so helpful! I just updated the website with the notice of "not open to the public", GREAT suggestion! :) 

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goodvibrations Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 9:44pm
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We're not allowed to do cheesecakes in Texas. Are you sure that they are allowed in Georgia?

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pintsizecakes Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 10:03pm
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@goodvibrations  I know the refrigeration requirements will put me out of reach for the Cottage Food Act but I'm trying to verify with the city/state and dep't of agriculture that if I renovate a 2nd kitchen that I would be able to do this. There are so many hoops to jump through just to get a Yes/No answer. lol 

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Jul 2015 , 11:45pm
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pintsizecakes -- yes that is correct -- lots of hoops and some oppose others and once you jump through a bunch you'll notice one of the first has either collapsedmor caught on fire -- it's just how it goes --

each specific locality combines with your specific speciality to actually create a whole new situation -- so just be prepared for the confusion and keep moving it along don't get discouraged --

but yeah cheesecake is a hazardous food like good vibrations said -- I think it would be a good idea to handle it frozen to your customers -- in order to make it more appealing to the powers that be to allow it

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-K8memphis Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 12:03am
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what i'm trying to say is that you'll need to show a greater degree of safety/sanitation for this to fly -- no leaving the oven door ajar to allow them to completely cook off -- you might want to consider a servsafe class in the meantime in order to show yourself fully aware of all the facets -- especially you'll want to be aware of how to get and what a HACCP is a hazard analysis control point -- how it ensures safety

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peachcake Posted 12 Sep 2015 , 10:10pm
post #12 of 12

Good Luck with all, let us know how it goes. Especially me,I'm not sure what I'm going to do now but thinking of doing maybe part time.

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