I am in the process of starting a small bakery business to sell cupcakes and jams and jellies at farmers markets. Has anybody started their bakery business in this way? If so any tips as what to be sure to have for the first day of operation? Also any recommendations for figuring out pricing my products, spreadsheets or formulas that have worked? I don't want to sell myself short on pricing, and I also want to be sure to be prepared for the first day of the market.
Most people sell cupcakes for at least 3 dollars or 3.50. If your cupcakes look like they are not selling fast enough you could mark them down towards the afternoon just to get rid of them. Most of the children who see cupcakes will beg their parents for a cupcake. Heck, I would probably buy one myself if I saw them at a farmers market. Who doesn't love cupcakes?? It wouldn't hurt to have cookies wrapped in saran wrap for sale also.
As to how many cupcakes to make I will let the experts here tell you because I only bake for fun and as a hobby. Good luck and I wish you well in this endeavor!!!
I don't know where you live, but here, there are vastly different rules for selling baked goods and selling home canned items. Make sure you contact your Health Depart for clarification.
The only way to set your prices is to clearly know your costs and labor involved--- from shopping, to baking, to decorating, to cleaning... and in this case, the set up and selling time at the market. Every regional area is different so no one else can figure that out for you.
Best advice I saw was to be prepared with cash change and charge options (even on smartphone), have options to "eat here" or muti-packs "to go" and price accordingly, and pay attention to the display so it is appetizing yet out of the reach of small children. .
Oh...and what Leah said.
I began selling baked goods for the first time (cookies, caramel corn, cupcakes, small cakes) at our farmers market last summer. I know all regions are different, but here are some things I learned:
- Sample. Especially on the first day. It was very rare that someone would not buy once they had a sample. (As the summer went on, I sampled items that would be for sale the following week-- and people came back for them! Sampling is also a good way to test a new product-- tell people to be honest and they will.)
- As far as pricing, figure out what it takes to produce-- every single thing like johnson60fus said, and then look at the prices of the same things/quality in your area. You want to be fairly close to the same price. Its tempting because you are just starting out, but don't undersell!!! For figuring pricing, I just use an Excel spreadsheet with each item's recipe (along with all packaging costs) on its own sheet. I also keep a separate master sheet with prices for every little thing on it-- broken down into price per ounce or teaspoon-- whatever a typical measurement is for your recipes. Every time you buy a new ingredient, record its cost-- saves time when you need to cost out a recipe.
- Judging the quantity for baked items is always hard. If the market manager can tell you how many customers normally come through that would be helpful. On a different thread in CC, someone had advised that you can count on selling only to about 10% of the expected attendees. And then that is divided by the number of vendors selling a similar product. I used that info and then also decided that for me, it was better to sell out than to have so much left over. Most of our other vendors felt the same way. But I would not get in the habit of reducing the prices later in the day-- it becomes expected and that's when folks will come by to buy.
I know this is very long-winded-- but hopefully, it is helpful. I just learned sooooo much about retailing and customers at our market, the experience was invaluable to a newbie like me. It felt like an internship at a bakery! But I did try to stick to what you were actually asking about :) Good luck-- you will do well!
I started out this way to get the word out, I needed a copy of my home bakery license. One thing I did not consider was the bees were attracted to my cupcakes. I kept them in a closed vehicle which helped but you don't want to have them out. In our area it didn't take long for the bees to figure out there was something sweet out there. My cupcakes were priced at $2.00 each and discounted if they bought more. Good Luck!