How Much Money Do You Make A Month? Cottage Food Law

Business By karenamr95 Updated 3 Sep 2015 , 4:59am by johnson6ofus

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karenamr95 Posted 2 Sep 2015 , 9:42pm
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i just want to hear stories , i know it differs i hope to make atleast 500 and  more

1000 a month would be great i just want to have money so which i can start putting aside for a business.

My oven is getting fixed or might even buy a new one so i havent started selling yet but the whole you might not even get customers thing scares me.

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costumeczar Posted 2 Sep 2015 , 10:48pm
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Is there a limit on how much you can make as a cottage baker? I'm licensed so i don't have limits so I don't know.

When I first started out I made $580 after taxes and expenses, woo hoo! At least it was a profit. After 10 years I was probably making about $60-65,000 a year before expenses doing full-time wedding cakes. Last year I did more than that but it was a combination of cakes and selling gumpaste flowers etc. online. This year I'll do less because I'm cutting way back to try to finagle a better result on my kids' financial aid for college flushed.png

I think that realistically the $50-60,000 ceiling is pretty much what you can expect to do if you work full-time by yourself from home. I know people who are making a lot more than that (well over a million a year) but that's with a storefront, full staff, etc. If you're making a ton more than that JUST doing cakes, the prices in your area must be really high, and i'd be willing to bet that expenses are higher too. These days most people who are doing cakes are also doing something else (tutorials, teaching classes, whatever) to supplement their income.

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mccantsbakes Posted 2 Sep 2015 , 10:54pm
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I am not sure that any cake professional is going to give you access to their P&L on a public cake forum.   It's like asking a stranger to show you their underwear.     

And what other professionals make really has nothing to do with your business venture as so many factors determine the success of a business.    What I would do, if you are really serious about doing this the right way, is look around your market and do some research on the trends of cakes in your area.   Actually, you kind of have a little leg up on this as your profile says that you worked in a bakery in your home town no?  from that experience, you kind of should have somewhat of a grasp on what a storefront in your area gets in traffic.  You should kind of have a close guess on where prices are.    Was the bakery you worked for profitable? Just because it may have been busy doesn't necessarily mean it was profiting.   

I think based on the several inquiries you have made over the last several days that you have a lot of work ahead to make your dream a success.     But you can do this if you really prepare yourself.    Take a business class at your local college.....get the fundamentals down.   Tighten up your decorating skills as best you can so that when you are a totally prepared business professional, your product shines and people HAVE to have it.    Learn as much of the not fun stuff such as tax laws, contract verbiage, food handling, insurance options, customer service skills,  payment structure, pricing.....and the list goes on and on of NOT FUN business stuff that you HAVE to know to be successful.    You should be a sponge right now absorbing every article, resource and nugget of info that you come across.   Use the search feature on this site....SO many have walked this path and their knowledge is priceless. 

Good luck to you in achieving your dream

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costumeczar Posted 2 Sep 2015 , 11:15pm
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Totally agree with @mccantsbakes  on the tips about learning the business side of it. But I do think that bakers should be more open about what we realistically make! I posted a question on my facebook page relatively recently about what people would WANT to make to feel like they were making enough, however they described that. I thought most people seemed to have a decent idea about what you can realistically make working from home, but some people were saying things like $150,000+...If you did that by yourself at home you'd never sleep. I know that there are a lot of "facebook famous" decorators who give the impression that they're a lot busier and are earning a lot more money than they actually are, so people really have no idea what a realistic income for a home-based cake business is. If everybody just told what they make (even a neighborhood, not the exact 1040 form!) it might clear the cake industry out a little as people flee screaming from the low profits. 

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maybenot Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 12:28am
post #5 of 10

You can find information about the cottage laws in each state at  There are income limits in various states.

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Norcalhiker Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 2:00am
post #6 of 10

have you considered other baked goods?  I originally thought I wanted to do cakes. But some research revealed a conflict between my states cottage food laws and the type of cakes I want to bake and what the market here demands (organic and seasonal ingredients).  Legislation limits cottage bakers to use shortening icings.  Where I live in the epicenter of the organic farm to table movement. I reside on a property that is also wedding venue, so I see industry standards--and a shortening cake just isn't going to find a market here.

 So I revised my business plan.  I noted more than 8 Farmers Markets in the area. And that didn't include   What's available in San Francisco. I also noted stores like whole foods and our local equipment in the area. I'll have a focus on local sourcing. So i'm developing recipes to sell to the farmers market: handheld pies cookies, granola, granola bars etc.  I purchased some of the baked goods sold at the local farmers markets to assess the standards.  My cookies needed no improvement to compete in that market. My granola is completely different then the granola vendor so while similar, we have a different target customer.  I am working on my pies now. The biggest pie company in the area fortunately for me, I guess, makes a really terrible crust.  One of the benefits of the farmers market business is you can see everyone's prices. knowing the prices helps me develop products that are delicious, competitive in the market place, and profitable. 

All this is to say if your goal is to make income to save towards a storefront, you may want to consider other markets in the cottage bakery industry. I was forced to redirect my dreams, but I am not in the least disappointed. I can still bake all the cakes I want as a hobby. I give them away to friends they appreciate it and  never forget to invite me to all their parties.

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costumeczar Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 2:07am
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@Norcalhiker  if you want me to be your taste-tester for your practice pies, I'm available!stuck_out_tongue.png

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Norcalhiker Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 3:29am
post #8 of 10

Lol Costumeczar, I just may send you a box of pies!  Im amazed at the reception my pies are getting from family and friends.  I just wanted a portable baked product, so I thought hand pies would be good.  Much to my surprise, everyone loved them, especially the roasted root vegetable pie--even my friends 6 yr old son likes it better than the fruit pies. I guess I'm going to be the old pie lady instead of the glamorous cake lady:)

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karenamr95 Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 3:39am
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I just thought i would stick to cupcakes ,cakes, cakepops, cookies and pull apart cakes especially since noone does any pull apart cakes besides some grocery stores  

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johnson6ofus Posted 3 Sep 2015 , 4:59am
post #10 of 10

One way to look at it as well, is to see "How many cupcakes must I sell to make a $500 profit?" That helps you price with profits in mind and realistically see the work load.

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