Friday, 24 August 2012

Start Your Own Cake Making Business?

Have you got it what it takes to start you own cake making business?

Many people dream of starting their own business, you may be making cakes at home for friends and family and dreamed about opening your own business.

Well in today's tough economic climate, many people are starting registered businesses from home. With the surge in home baking, pushed by TV shows, such as The Great British Bake Off, more and more people are doing just that.

So what do you need to do.?

The first thing to do is make sure that you are doing everything in the correct way, safely and the quickest way. Consider enrolling at evening class for a cake decorating course, many colleges and private courses offer basic cake decorating courses, and some, such as Penningtons, even offer courses in starting a cake business from home.

The key to any successful business is pricing to be profitable. We hear time and time again from cake makers quotes such as "well I only do it as a hobby", "I only charge for ingredients", "I'm not really professional", "I charge £20 a cake" etc etc.. You really need to sit down and work out exactly what a cake costs you to make. so Make and 8" cake, how much greaseproof paper did you use to line the tin, how much flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and any other ingredients did you use. Work out ingredients to a cost per gram, so that you can scale it up or down for bigger or smaller cakes e.g. if your recipe for an 8" cake asks for 200g of butter, 250g costs you £1.40, then 1g costs you 0.005p, so the butter in the 8" cake is 200 x 0.005, is costing you £1. Do this for all your ingredients, even things like icing, jam, sugar glue, cake box, board and ribbon.
Once you have done all of this, you will be able to see that your 8" cake costs you e.g. £15 to make, this is before the cost of wages and profit! To work out profit you need to decide how much money you would like to make on your cakes to be profitable, so if you have any hidden costs such as advertising, you need to add this to the £15 pounds before you start. If you want to make 30%, add 30% to the £15 - this is a very low figure, most business would increase the trade prices by times 2.5 - so £15 would be £45 - however this then makes your cake quite expensive. Take a look at what other people are selling their cakes for, work out how much your cakes cost to make, and decide where you want to be - there is nothing wrong with being slightly more expensive than other people, and nothing wrong with having similar price.

You also  need to add in the cost of wages, take a look at the UK minimum wage, and decide what you would like to be paid for your work from there. If a cake takes you 4 hours to make, and you want to be paid £6.50 an hour, you need to add this to the cost of the cake.

Stay Legal!
Staying within the law is essential, you must take a basic food hygiene course, you can do this at most local colleges, it's usually a day course, *(half day tutoring, and a quick tick box exam), these are relatively easy and nothing to worry about, but it means that you know the basics of keeping your kitchen up to required standards.
Register with the local authority - you must do this, or else you will be breaking the law! If you get paid for your cakes you must be registered with the local authority, phone and chat to your local environmental health office - they are usually friendly people and will want to help you! Your premises will be visited to check that they meet the standards, if they don't you will be told what you need to do to correct it - easy!
Making an income - make sure you declare what you sell for tax purposes, missing this out can lead to big bills and fines! Visit HMRC to find out more. Set yourself up a business bank account, really easy to do, and most business account managers can advice you on what you need to do - that's what they are there for!
Get insured - you can do this cheaply through the british sugarcraft guild.

Enjoy it 
Don't bite off more than you can chew, if you've never made a wedding cake and you get asked for a 7 tier cake on pillars, think about whether you have the skills to do it successfully - the last thing you want to do is let someone down on their big day.

Don't take on too much, working through the night is not conducive to great cake decorating skills and ability, if you've got to do 8 cakes by Saturday morning and each cake takes 2 hours to decorate - you're really pushing it!

Make sure you are fully aware of what a client wants you to do, it's a good idea to design an order sheet, so you right down exactly what the client wants and get them to sign it - so everyone is clear on what has been agreed.

Word of mouth is the single best piece of marketing you can have. Printed advertising saps money and can lead to very few enquiries. Get into the local schools, offer to make cakes to sell at fetes, but give out your own leaflets for party cakes. Do Wedding Fayre's (make sure you cost exactly how much this is going to cost you and whether is will be worth it i.e. how many cakes would you need to make to cover the cost of the stand. Do markets - investigate your local town market - could you have a stall, how much would it cost, how many cakes could you expect to sell? How many orders could you expect to take?

Cake Decorating Supplies
If you are buying lots of supplies each week, make sure you are buying from best sources - check out your local shop - if you are buying over 10kg of icing a week and 12 boards a week, and everything else, then they may offer you a discount, don't expect a discount though if you are only making 2-3 cakes a week!

Also check out online suppliers for discounts - but remember you will pay shipping on this, although if you order a lot, most companies offer free shipping!
Cake decorating supplies from


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