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home based business: customer pick ups or deliver??

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm opening as a legal/licensed cake bakery out of my home within the next couple of months.  My question is, do I have customers pick up their orders at my home or do I deliver?  I can see pros and cons to both, but I would like to get some input from others.  I think it would be more convenient to have customers pick up orders at my home, but when I think of customers coming to my house, it makes me slightly uneasy.  What do other home-based bakeries do??  Do you just deliver everything?

post #2 of 17
It might depend on what the health department requires. They require us to deliver he, since they don't want people having a steady stream of customers in a residential neighborhood. You could always meet people at a local Starbucks or something to pass off the goods, but delivery, and charging a fee for it, is easier. That way you make sure the cake gets to where it's going in one piece.
post #3 of 17

I have people pick up their cakes, unless they have arranged delivery and set up, for a fee of course. I also tell them how best to travel with the cake and have them sign the receipt, that the cake was perfect when they picked it up.  I also let them know I am not responsible for the cake once it leaves my possession.  I haven't had any problems.  I don't want to be driving all over the place.  Seems like a hassle. 

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow!  Quick responses!  Thanks for that!  I do worry about the hassle of driving all over the place.  The thing is, I'm offering a set menu of cupcakes that can be ordered by the dozen, plus I'm offering a set menu of dessert cakes as well.  I'm not just doing wedding/custom cakes.  I originally thought I would deliver and just build that into my prices, including it with set menu orders.  I guess I'm just trying to make sure it will be feasible to do deliveries each day.  I'd set a specific time each day to do these.  Lately, I've been pondering if it would work to have customers pick up orders at my home.  I think that creeps me out a little though...safety wise...Not sure...

My health department is fine with customers picking up at my home, as long as I don't have parking issues.  The volume won't be that large though.  Just trying to figure it all out!  I really do appreciate any additional input!  Keep it coming!  what do you all do?

post #5 of 17

I do both. I know what you mean about the pickups being slightly awkward. I get antsy when I have pickups scheduled. I have 2 small kids and while my kitchen is always in good order, sometimes the rest of the house.... um, not so much :)

 

I usually prefer delivery mainly b/c than it's more on my schedule (i.e. I'll deliver between 10-10:15am). When it's a pickup, even if I give a 15 minute window, people are always running late and I wind up hovering around waiting while trying to keep the kids behaved and the house clean. I just feel like with delivery, I'm more in control. Plus if it's a tiered cake, I usually prefer to assemble onsite so another plus on the delivery column.

 

I offer free delivery within a specified local range and tack on a charge after that. I also have order minimums (so I'm not driving around for a dozen cupcakes). And I typically only do 1-3 orders/weekend if that matters. If I had more volume, I'd probably feel differently about delivery vs. pickup.

post #6 of 17
I recommend allowing pickups for everything except multi-tier cakes, with the option of delivery (we charge $1/minute for delivery, round trip). I wouldn't worry too much about people knowing where you live, if you have a licensed business it is usually pretty easy to find your home address anyway.
post #7 of 17

I do both, pick up and delivery.  I also have 2 children and know exactly what you mean about trying to keep the house looking neat waiting.  You will have those that are late which is a pain.  If people want me to deliver a dozen cupcakes, I will for a fee or if I meet them at Tim Horton's same thing, a fee.  If they want your products they will get them.  The only cakes that I have people really pick up are sheet cakes.  All the stacked cakes, I deliver.  When I do consultations, however, I usually meet people at Tim Horton's because I too have the safety thing in mind.  Having strangers, sit in my house.  I don't like that especially if my husband is not home. 

post #8 of 17

I deliver because I don't want the cake to be damaged in someone else's car.  I have not had any orders from far away, though, and if I do, I will charge .50/mile outside of town limits.  If people do pick up the cake at your house, maybe you can bring it to the door.  I have the same issue...my house isn't exactly spic and span a lot of the time!

Delivery also gives me an advantage over other cake shops in the area--I provide an extra service to people and it's appreciated.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

I love this site!  Everyone is always so giving in their responses!  Thanks everyone!  I think I'm leaning towards delivering for now.  I'll see how it goes.  Maybe deliver "free" within a certain radius and add a delivery fee outside of that.  I'm definitely leaving the door open for people to pick up cakes though...If delivery gets too time consuming I may start offering pickups.  I will insist on delivery though for stacked cakes!  Thanks again!!

post #10 of 17

I offer both, but most people pick up. If you have a weekend like when the church is doing first communion or high school graduations, deliveries aren't going to happen. If there are a dozen cakes going out for the same event, you will end up with overlapping people all arriving to pick up their cake on the same day. If you are a licensed business, you'll be fine.

post #11 of 17
I live out of the way for pick ups. But, when I went to the planning department to check about opening my business, I had to tell them no customer would come to my house. It's all about the ADA requirements. Wider door frames, ramps, etc. Not sure if anyone else was told about those rules, or if they are applicable to every city/county/state.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

good point, cfao....graduations, communions, busy days like that could get difficult with deliveries...

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

IAmPamCakes....my area has told me it's fine to have pick ups at my home.  I just can't have a huge amount of traffic, which I won't.  And I can't create additional parking space.  There's no way I'd be doing that  icon_smile.gif  I'm on limited funds here!

post #14 of 17

I just did a local delivery and the woman who got the cake said it was the best thing ever to have it delivered.  Definitely a selling point!

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Norasmom...yes, I was thinking it might be a big selling point for me.  No one else in my town does this.

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