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Legal home bakery vs store front

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have a unique, but great opportunity. The land we own and are building our house on is 3 acres, house being on back acre, I can build a small bakery on the front without worrying about it interfering with my home life. But, its obviously a lot more work and money involved...so I go back to thinking home bakery is best. As of right now, zoning laws arnt at issue, easy to get either bussiness started and the area is growing super fast, even in a down economy...hard choice to make! I know how people are. I want to be a "CUSTOM" baker, doing higher end, and specialty cakes. People are more willing to pay the price at a bakery than at a home bakery. Its the "atmosphere" they are buying from. What do you think, keep it small and simple, stay at home, or go ahead and build that small (still small) store front and draw in "regulars"?
post #2 of 15
If it were me, I'd want to have that separate space, if I had the option. It would make it easier for me to take time off (what's that again??) and separate the work from the personal.
Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

www.IndyCakes.com
http://indycakes.blogspot.com/
www.FaceBook.com/IndyCakes
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Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

www.IndyCakes.com
http://indycakes.blogspot.com/
www.FaceBook.com/IndyCakes
Reply
post #3 of 15
I'm a hobbiest baker but I will tell you my personal experience this past year. I am a lawyer by trade and mostly represent children who are in State's custody due to being neglected and elderly/disabled people who are hospitalized and their family is trying to take all they've got. This past year, I had to close my office after bringing home an adopted from overseas who unexpectedly had congestive heart failure. There were a handful of cases that I simply could not have someone substitute as counsel for me, so I continued working them from my home. It was TERRIBLE. I need to be able to separate home and work. My inability to leave the office affected my mood, my marriage, and my family life. I have located office space and am now about to move out into space again since my daughter's health has improved and she can attend daycare. I cannot wait. Honestly, this last year has been one of the hardest ever because of the work situation - for me, I NEED space away from home. I never met clients here, so that was never an issue but it was a HUGE issue for my mental health! If you can afford it, build the bakery!
post #4 of 15
We are in the process of moving out of our home kitchen to a small commercial space. The quality of life of having all the stuff in the house and the stress with the kids running around sold the idea to move it out.
With the commercial space there are other regulations that have to be followed but having everything at our finger tips is great.
Take the plunge and build the space. Even if you use it for storage or other purposes to start off with. It's easier now then later.
post #5 of 15
I would definitely opt for building a space for you to work in. You are only just down the garden, but you will find yourself more productive and efficient in a dedicated space for your work. For example you can leave things half done til the next day, and not feel like you HAVE to clear away because someone has to get on with making dinner for the family. It is a great opportunity, especially since you have the builders right there. I bet if you don't build now, you will regret it in a years time when your family is mad at you for filling the kitchen and the rest of the house with your cake stuff icon_wink.gif
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Either way, the kitchen space HAS to be separate from my home kitchen to be able to legally sell food from it. My main problem I guess was keep it RIGHT BEHIND THE HOUSE, or separate it more from the home, and put it on the highway, opening up to a more public bakery than just a backyard home bakery. I find myself fighting with my self (lol you know, the little voices in your head!!?!?? icon_confused.gif ) going back and fourth on if I want that "store front" style bakery or just stay small time and keep it in what would be our garage if I wasn't caking! For me, its not really about the money, but at the same time, once you open a business its a lot to do about money lol! Luckily, DH and I are in a place where we can afford either, and I am very blessed to have him say "what every you want sweetie" icon_biggrin.gif blah, I suppose I will go back and forth for a while icon_razz.gif Thanks for your replies though!
post #7 of 15
If it were me, I'd build my building closer to the road. For now you can use it for storage, a home bakery or a retail bakery. It gives you many more options down the road if you have it accessible to the road from the get go.
post #8 of 15
ConfectionsCC, your situation is similar to mine. We live in a three story house. The first floor is a finished above ground basement. I could either have the first floor, or a spot in my husband\\'s medical building which is owned by us and only one mile down the road. The retail spot would require more of a time commitment on my part. I decided to build in my first floor. It is fantastic. I have about 1000 square feet of bakery and we kept the living room where I can relax without coming upstairs (dogs, so I do not go back and forth). My life stays completely separate and I work when I want. It can never be a retail spot (customers can come here, but it has to be low profile). But, I have a store owner who wants to sell my baked goods. I bought a china cabinet, painted it pink, and I fill it with cupcakes, cookies, and bars. There are info cards and business cards advertising my other services. My real baking business is online and targets a bigger, neighboring town. This is just another option to consider.

Like anther poster said, I cannot get the back slashes out.
post #9 of 15
This is a great thread! I am very curious as to which ConfectionsCC will choose. I am trying to decide if I want to go down this path myself. Do I convert the guest house, which is literally 15â from the main house, or build a small building on the street, for a âstore frontâ. I am in the country, so the âstore frontâ wonât be a benefit, but it will separate home - from âworkâ. (Itâs a ¼ mile from the street to the house) My thought is, do I want customers/strangers coming to my home? I am usually alone all week, ¼ mile away from everyone, plus my driveway is gravel, so liability there. So many things to think about and not all financial!!
post #10 of 15
I have a separate commercial kitchen in my lowest level of my home. While I\\'m very lucky to have what I have, I would love a location that was not directly attached to my home. Like another poster said, it is hard to not be able to leave and go to work cause your work is always at home. When I am working I can still hear my family going on about life, I can hear my baby crying and lose my concentration.... I suppose when my kids are all grown and in school and I have the house to myself it will be awesome though! One other nice feature is that I do have a separate entrance so my customers do not have to go through my home to get to my shop/kitchen.

Someone else made a very valid point also about \\"regulars\\". If you have a building that has a sign and is viewable from a road then you will have people just stopping by possibly thinking you always have readily available goodies to purchase... Plus if you decide to have hours posted that you are open then you need to be there for those hours (no running home to throw a quick load of laundry in or something). If someone shows up and expects you to be there and you are not, they will not like it.

One downfall I have found about my home business is that people seem to think that I am around all day to pick up cakes... I know I need to be more firm, but I have customers show up 3 hours later then they were suppose to to pick up cakes and the whole time I\\'m sitting around waiting.... I think its hard for people to understand the by appointment only thing and that I do not run by 9-5 hours.

that got long... yikes!
post #11 of 15
I\\'m a legal home baker and I wouldn\\'t want a storefront that would need to be open to the public, but a seperate cake space is high on my list. Although I want my space attached to my home because part of the reason I work from home is so I am home when my older kids get home from school, can work during the baby\\'s nap and don\\'t have to travel, pay rent etc. I do not like having to work in my family kitchen though so hopefully this spring we will be building an extra garage with a cake studio space above it for me. (fingers crossed)

Either way I think you need to wiegh your options. Do you want to be open to the public? Why do you work from home and how would it change if you had a \\"storefront\\" on your property? Are those the kind of changes you want?

Whatever you decide- Good Luck!
post #12 of 15
Keep in mind that with free standing separate space, you\\'ll likely have separate utilities and overhead. So the monthly costs should play into your decision.

I wavered back and forth for a while but have ultimately decided that my goal (one day) is to convert my garage that is attached to my house.

My reasons...

1. I want to be home and available for my kids.

2. I want a separate door to walk through that says \\"Mom\\'s at work\\".

3. I don\\'t want the overhead of a brick and mortar that is separate from my home or in a store front.

4. I want space to meet with clients that is professional but not Starbucks!

5. I don\\'t want to be chained to store hours. NO MATTER WHAT, I want the ability to take a week off and not have to hire staff to \\"man the shop\\", I want to be here if my kids get sick, I want to run out for supplies and not worry someone will come while I\\'m gone.

6. If I\\'m in a super busy time and need extra help, I won\\'t have employees \\"in my home\\".

7. It\\'s less likely I\\'ll have to close up shop because of a bad economy or not enough business to meet my overhead costs. AND I can up my volume because I\\'ll have the space and the ability to bring in help when necessary.

8. I\\'m selfish... I value my time, my families, time, and I don\\'t want to \\"owe\\" other people.

So anyway... those are many of my top reasons for deciding that when the time is right, I\\'ll convert my existing garage and move my husband to a new garage. AND... if we ever sell the house... easy fix to have the shop converted to additional living space and still have a detached garage for the new buyers. Therefore maintaining the integrity of our home and its marketability.

Even the cake shops you see on Television (Amazing Wedding Cakes) have hours \\"by appointment only\\". Some of them work in a 2nd floor of a building...

Build your reputation, build your web presence, ask for referrals, post feedback and testimonials, and do everything you can to make yourself known. Take a fraction of the money you would spend on overhead for that free standing building and spend it instead on building your web presence. It\\'s well worth it as MANY MANY people start their searches online.
-Stacey
Truly Custom Cakery, LLC

Website: http://www.trulycustomcakery.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrulyCustom
Reply
-Stacey
Truly Custom Cakery, LLC

Website: http://www.trulycustomcakery.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrulyCustom
Reply
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow, Thank ALL of you for your wonderful responses. After talking it over last night with my husband, we decided for now, the "garage" bakery will be best while I allow time for the business to grow, and while the kids are still young. If the opportunity ever arises for expansion, we will do so later with a store front building and hire employees to help with the extra work load. Security was one of my concerns when talking about having a shop where people are essentially coming to my house. Our solution is to have a separate entrance with my business sign, as well as an electronic gate on our drive way with video where I can simply buzz them in, or keep them out when I do not want them in LOL! This way, I do not have to answer to unexpected visits by people. My website I create once the business is officially started will clearly state that consultations are by appointment only, and along with each consultation, I will make sure to let them know they have to make an appointment for pick up as I will not stay home ALL DAY waiting. (I will say it a little nicer of course icon_razz.gif ) Again, Thank you for your replies! I really appreciate seeing everyone's point of views and their reasons for why they do what they do icon_biggrin.gif
post #14 of 15
I should add that I only have one child left at home. She just got her license so she doesn't need me as much anymore. If I had little children, I would still want to have the bakery attached to my home. There is so much more convenience to the attached workplace. You just have to work out the balance with small children, the same as if you worked outside your home.
post #15 of 15
CC I know you've already made your decision, but after reading through all the responses I just had to throw my $.02 in.

When I decide that I wanted to start a cake business I went through the same dilemma. I decided on the home bakery/no storefront option and I now know I made the right decision (for me). I don't have kids, so I didn't have to include that in my decision making process.

First of all, I don't have to manage any (teenage) workers. If want a day off, I mark it off my calendar and take the day off. If I have to work on a cake until 3am (it happens) the commute from my legal kitchen to the bedroom is only a few feet away. I think the best thing from all of this that I never anticipated was the tax breaks! Holy cow, I never knew a "home business" had so many tax advantages. If you haven't read the Nolo book "Tax Savvy for the Small Business" you should get it.

When I talk to clients I describe my shop as a custom cake boutique built on to my house and that it is fully licensed by the health department. That takes care of most people's concerns. I don't feel that I have to charge less than retail because my shop is "less than retail". I price my cakes competitively for my area, but I am nowhere near the cheapest.

Congratulations on starting your new business and I wish the best for you!
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