This post will cover how to start a bakery from home, the laws you will need to cover as well as how you can attract customers to your door.
How to Start a Bakery Business From Home
Starting a home bakery business is a lot of work and there will be many things you will need to consider before you ever kneed the dough for your first orders. Fortunately, this is a step-by-step guide that will help you make each decision along the way so that your grand opening will be a success.
Step 1: Decide What You want to Sell
The first step you’ll need to take is to determine what type of product or service that you want to offer. This could include bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, etc… Once you know what products you want to sell, check out other bakeries in your area to see what they offer and how much they charge. Will you be able to compete with their prices? Are your ideas unique? Will you be able to create a better quality product?
If you are unsure of what you should sell, ask friends and family members what kind of products they’d like to see available. If you frequently bake for those you love, they will have a good idea of where your strengths lie. This information could help you determine where to locate your new business.
Step 2: Look Into State Cottage Food Laws
In order to open any business, you must ensure that you are in compliance with all of the laws of your state as well as your county and city. You may need to get proper permits in order to open your home bakery. There will be more information about this later in this post.
Once you have reviewed your local laws, review whether or not you will be able to create your favorite baked goods to sell. You may have to slightly alter your plans until you can get a larger commercial kitchen.
Step 3: Set Up a Business Plan
Before you open your doors so to speak, you must first set up an effective business plan. This includes writing down what products you intend to offer, how you’re going to market yourself, how you’re going pay any expenses, extra utilities, insurance costs, taxes, inventory needs, marketing strategies, etc.
You don’t necessarily need to write everything down, but having a general idea of what’s involved in running a small business will help keep you organized as you go forward.
Step 4: Decide if You Will Sell Online
The next thing you will need to consider is whether you plan on selling online or locally. There are pros and cons to each option so make sure you understand both before making any decisions. For example, if you decide to sell online, you may not be able to deliver your baked goods right away, meaning the product won’t be as fresh when the customer receives it.
On the other hand, if you choose to sell locally, you won’t have to worry about shipping costs which means you’ll save money overall. It’s also easier to find customers when you’re close by. So depending on your situation, either choice has its advantages.
Don’t forget that you will still need to follow ordinances. Many states will not allow home businesses to sell online unless the product can be picked up or delivered in person.
Step 5: Gather The Right Equipment And Supplies
Once you have decided on your business plan, you’ll need to get all the necessary equipment and supplies needed to run your home bakery. While you may already have a lot of tools on hand, you may need to buy smaller items like baking pans, mixing bowls, measuring cups, spatulas, whisks, oven mitts, cookie cutters, rolling pins, pizza stones, parchment paper, etc.
Depending on your area ordinances, you may be required to upgrade things like refrigerators, freezers, mixers, stoves, blenders, ice cream machines, bread slicers, pastry bags, piping tips, etc.
Finally, you may need to purchase packaging material, labels, business cards, and other marketing materials that you will use to make your product look more professional.
Step 6: Advertise Your Business
Even if you make the best cupcakes in the world, you will never get a single order unless people know you exist. Use marketing strategies that work well in your area. You can also ask your friends and family to help you out by letting people know you are opening a home bakery. Check out the marketing strategies later in the article for further help.
Step 7: Serve Your Customers With a Smile
Once you start getting business, it is important to remember to go the extra mile to make your customers happy (especially in the beginning). You want positive buzz around town about your business and the products you have to offer.
What You Need to Start a Home Bakery
In order to open a successful bakery, you will need both specialized skills and supplies. Here are a few things you may need:
Skills You Need to Open a Home Bakery
If you are interested in opening a home bakery, you should have the following skills:
Ability to cook and bake
It is very difficult to find a home baker who can only bake and not cook. Cooking and baking are art forms, and to be a good baker or a cook, you must have a keen sense of taste and smell. Fortunately, you don’t have to have a culinary degree to be a good baker or cook (though certification does look nice on your wall). Rather, you just have to have developed your own skillset.
Creativity and Innovation
You need to be innovative and creative to create baked goods that stand out from other products on the market. Create fresh and unique flavors and work on your decoration skills so that you can present a valuable product to your potential customers.
You will also need a strong eye for detail and a keen sense. If something seems off, you may need to rebake a product so that you aren’t selling anything that is inferior and would give your brand a bad name.
Work Ethic and a Mind for Business
Opening a home bakery is not like opening a regular business, where you can hire a person to do something you’re just not good at. You have to do everything yourself, from baking the cupcakes to decorating them. If you can’t bake something good, it’s not going to sell.
If you manage to open up a home bakery, then you should be able to manage finance and you need to have business know-how. You will also need business sense, or else you’re going to lose your investment and waste a lot of time.
The most important thing you’ll need is passion. If you don’t love baking, it’s never going to work long-term.
Items You Need to Open a Home Bakery
When opening up a business it’s important that you have all of the necessary equipment in place before beginning operations. Fortunately, if you already bake, you probably already own the majority of the items you need. These items include things like:
You will definitely need a kitchen with an oven or stovetop, a refrigerator/freezer, a mixer (unless you plan to do everything by hand… which could become difficult very quickly), a cooling system (if required), and freezers (if required).
Some of the kitchen accessories you may need will include cutting boards, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pans, baking sheets, a bread machine, oven mitts, safety glasses, food storage containers, and gloves.
You may need to have some disposable or cleaning products on hand, such as paper towels, disposable gloves, and cleaning supplies.
To run your business, you will likely need a computer, a phone line, internet access, insurance coverage, proper licenses, signs, order forms, advertising materials, a cash register, a receipt system, and a credit card reader.
Home Bakery Laws
You will need to follow some rules and regulations while establishing your business which will likely vary by state. Check with your local government to find out what zoning laws and regulations are in effect. Depending on the size of your prospective business, you will probably want to operate under cottage food laws as they are typically require fewer changes to your home kitchen.
What are Cottage Food Laws?
Cottage food laws vary by state. But in general, cottage food laws allow for certain foods to be produced in the home for sale directly to consumers, through farmers’ markets, and at local events. These are typically food items such as baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles, and dried fruits.
Certifications, Licenses, and Health Requirements
Once you have researched the laws and regulations of your state, you will need to obtain the right certifications and licenses. While some states will require very little, others may require you to have a kitchen inspection before you begin.
You may need to also check in with your city council or county board. Some cities and counties require special approval for new home businesses while others simply ask that you follow existing rules and ordinances.
Most jurisdictions require that you register your business name with the appropriate government agency. Depending upon where you reside, this could mean registering your company’s name with either the Secretary of State or the Department of Revenue. Once registered, you will receive a certificate of registration that identifies your business’ legal address and telephone numbers.
Changes to Your Kitchen Layout
Depending on the laws of your state, you may have to make some adjustments to your kitchen. While it isn’t always necessary, some things that may be required in certain states may include installing an additional sink or a sprinkler system. You may also need to create a better way to ventilate your kitchen.
Costs of Starting a Home Bakery
Building a successful home bakery business will require substantial planning, but it can be a very lucrative business. First of all, you want to be sure you are complying with local zoning requirements for home businesses and even consider getting a retail home business license. The cost of actually opening a home bakery will depend on what type of bakery you plan to have. A cupcake business, for example, can be started for about $200, whereas a more traditional style bakery may start at a much higher cost.
Before opening your business, you need to fix a budget for your bakery. This way, you will know if you are on track and making money. While you will likely lose a little money in the beginning while you are investing in supplies, keeping track long-term will help you know if you should stay in this business venture.
You should also plan for the future of your business. Not only will you need licenses, but there are also hidden costs like maintenance and inventory. It is better to make a conservative estimate of your expenses and use some money as reserves. You will also want to budget in some money for marketing.
The nice thing about opening a home business is that you will likely already have several of the items you already need. You may need to invest in baking utensils, commercial mixing and kneading machines, cooling racks, oven mitts, pastry bags, and more. The nice thing is that many home bakers often get away with buying second-hand baking tools. If you want to be extra careful, you can also invest in a fire extinguisher and a refrigerated display cabinet. Of course, you’ll also need to buy some flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Home Bakery
Home bakeries offer many advantages over conventional brick-and-mortar stores. They allow people who live in rural areas to enjoy fresh baked goods without having to travel long distances. Many people also like to support local businesses and enjoy eating freshly baked goods.
As a business owner, you will find that there are a lot of pros and cons when owning a home bakery that you will want to consider. If you know that the disadvantages will not bother you, it may be the perfect business venture for you.
Benefits to Running a Home Bakery
Some of the pros of running a home bakery include the following:
Difficulties to Running a Home Bakery
In addition to the above benefits, there are also some things that can make running a home bakery difficult. These things will include the following:
How to Attract Customers to Your Home Bakery
The best way to attract new customers to your home bakery is through word of mouth. This means telling friends and family members about the delicious homemade goodies you make. When buying “handmade,” people generally prefer to purchase from someone they know they can trust. As you build up reviews, you will be able to expand your marketing strategy.
Here are a few more things you can try:
Another good idea is to place flyers around town announcing your availability. It’s important to note that this strategy works better when you already have established relationships with potential clients, but if you have a social media presence or a website you can direct them to, the flyers will help with the initial presentation.
Discounts to Regulars
You could also try offering discounts to regular customers. Many grocery store chains give out coupons to loyal shoppers. So why not use these same tactics? Offer special deals like free birthday cake slices or half-price desserts on certain days.
Another option is to advertise online. There are generally numerous local websites or Facebook pages where you can post ads for your services. Some sites charge fees while others let you list your ad for free. Make sure to include photos of your finished product along with any other relevant details.
Work With Local Shops
If the laws in your state allow it, take some samples to some local coffee shops (or other businesses) to see if you sell some of your product there. They are likely to take a commission.
Similar Work at Home Jobs
Some similar work-at-home jobs to being a home baker may include the following:
A personal chef cooks for the benefit of one or more individuals, typically in their home. They may also make meals to freeze and store for later consumption to be reheated in a conventional or microwave oven. These professionals will typically cook special meals for a client based on their specific dietary needs or preferences, or may take over all meals for the household. The number of meals prepared each day varies according to the clients’ preferences and the time of the day. Meals for the next day are often organized and prepared in advance.
In the past, people who liked to cook had to rely on local cookbooks or the TV for recipes. Now, with the help of the Internet and the advancement of technology, recipe bloggers can easily share their favorite recipes with the world. A recipe blogger, also known as a recipe developer, is a person who creates recipes for cooking. The recipes can be for different types of cuisine and can even include photographs of the finished product, as well as the ingredients list and the ingredients themselves. These bloggers write a recipe blog, take photos of the recipe, edit them, and respond to their readers.
YouTube Cooking Channel
YouTube is a video-sharing website, where members of the site can upload their videos. If you are passionate about baking, you can create a YouTube channel that will share recipes, baking tips, and more. These channels are a great way to share your love of cooking with others. While it takes a while to get a YouTube channel going (as you need to draw in new viewers), when you get enough traction, you can earn passive income on your old videos while continuing to create new content for your viewers.