It may seem quite daunting the thought of setting up a cake business but it really isn’t hard and does not take as long as you may think!
There are a few things you need to do beforehand so that you are ready for the future. I will list what I have found useful whilst setting up my business 8 years ago.
- “This is essential” write down what you want from your business, where do you see it going over the year? What do you want to get out of it. Manifest yourself a planner.
- Think of a good name for your business. Make sure it does what it says on the tin, so that your customers know you are a cake company.
- You are your brand so make sure it shouts you!
- You will need a logo as again this is your branding. Make sure however you use to produce your logos gives you the ?
- Make sure no one else has that name otherwise this can cause complications later down the line. Be unique!
- How many days do you want to work? Some may be doing this as a side line business, others full time.
- How many hours do you want to work? If you have a young family you may have limited time to produce your orders so be sensible and realistic. And always remember family comes first.
- What are you going to offer? Don’t have 20 different cakes and bakes available when you first start out. Keep it simple so you can be realistic and not stress you out.
- Are you going to offer delivery? I don’t personally unless it is very local or for a wedding, in which case I add a delivery charge to the wedding order. Don’t let weddings stress you out they are very profitable because you are piping multiples of the same flowers.
Now you have decided all of the above you then need to do the following:
- Contact your government and to register your business. Set yourself up as a sole trader. They need to know you are business regardless of it being a sideline business or full time.
- Contact your local council to let them know you are a cake business. You will then be contacted by your EHO Environmental Health Officer. Please don’t get in a tizzy about this, they are actually there to help us, they want small businesses to start and are very helpful. Because of what we see on the TV it makes us scared but please don’t be.
- Lucky for us, bakers are classed as low risk!
- You don’t need to get rid of the family pet! You don’t need a separate room or fridge. If you go onto your local government website it literally tells you what you need to put into place before your EHO inspects your kitchen.
- There are different rules for different countries so please do your research if you are not in the UK as to what you need to put into place.
- Get yourself insured. I have public liability and business contents insurance.
- If you are planning on delivering your cupcake creations you will need to let your car insurance provider know too. If you have an accident and you have goods in your car your insurance is null and void. My insurance went up £10 by adding the for business purposes element.
- You will need Level 2 in Food Hygiene. Very simple common sense online course for around £20.
- Get clued up on Allergens.
Once you have all of this in place you are ready to rock and roll.
If you are going down the cupcake bouquet or floral cupcake route then please listen to my tips of supplies that you will need.
- Don’t go crazy on supplies, you only need one roll of cellophane. One colour of tissue paper (natural) for all cupcake bouquets. One type of green acid free tissue paper for assembly. One colour of the pull bows I use green again because it goes with everything you pipe.
- Minimal piping nozzles don’t go crazy to start with you only need the ones for the flowers. Don’t buy random ones unless you know what they are for.
- One of set of gel colours.
- If funds allow then I would recommend a stand mixer it doesn’t have to be a Kitchen Aid. All stand mixers do the same job, it will just save your wrists.
- A couple of spatulas, pallette knives, scissors and a sellotape dispenser.
- If you are investing in courses for piping flowers then remember to look at the return on investment. For example if you’ve purchased my beginners bundle for £99 you could potentially pipe two cupcake bouquets and you have your money back. Win, win….
- Have ‘TERMS AND CONDITIONS’ you need to cover your butt for any eventualities. I have a Terms and Conditions available on my website.
If you are wondering how you are going to price your work I have a PDF download to guide you with your pricing. Please remember this can alter dependant on where you live. For example I have a student who charges triple what I do in Canada because she can! She lives in an affluent area.
VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION
When it comes to customers placing orders there are a few Do’s and Don’ts:
- Take full payment up front upon ordering. Don’t take deposits! Its a waste of your time checking they’ve paid their deposit, then chasing them for the balance.
- Remember time is money!!!!
- Pick collection times that suit you. Don’t be open ended as to when they can pick up, make an appointment time for them to collect. Make it clear to your customer, for example I send a text the night before to my customer saying “Just to confirm your appointment tomorrow at 10am prompt to collect your cupcake bouquet” you don’t want to be spending most of your time looking out of the window waiting for them. I give my customers a 15 minute window if they don’t collect in that time then I do go out if I need to and they then have to contact me to arrange another collection time.
- Remember it is your business and you dictate what happens.
- If customers are asking for a certain specific colour for their cupcake bouquet order make sure you ask them to send a photo or image of the colour required. Its amazing how different peoples perceptions of colours are! To me Lilac is purple to others its pink. Clarity is key.
- If customers have a complaint? if you have taken my advice and got yourself Terms and Conditions in place then the customer would need to bring the order back to you so you can see what the issue was. If they’ve eaten it all but are complaining then tough. Also couldn’t of been that bad if its all been eaten! Don’t you think?
- Don’t take on more than you are comfortable with. If you are fully booked then you’re fully booked. You won’t lose customers over it they will just need to be quicker next time.
- Prep, prep, prep. My biggest “DO” set yourself aside a day a week to prep for the week ahead. I don’t work Mondays because this is my prep day. I bake hundreds of cupcakes and freeze them. I make approximately 10 double batches of buttercream. Pop it in a container with a lid and put in the fridge. Remember buttercream will last in the fridge for as long as the expiry date on the packs of butter.
- You could assemble a few bouquet structures. Make your bows, put your boxes together, cut your cellophane and tissue paper, so if you get a last minute order ‘which you will’ then all you have to do is pipe.
- Last minute orders were my bread and butter.
So yes it may seem like a lot to think about but it really is very simple to set up your cake business. Be confident at all times and be proud of your product. If you are not confident in your product or your brand how do you expect your customers to be….. Confidence is key!!
Anyone can do this!