A love of baking, a few good recipes and a desire to work on your own can amount to a profitable business. Whether you decide to bake one thing or many, there is never a shortage of consumer desire for delicious bakery items. Baked goods are also good gifts for any occasion, and can be sold locally or made and shipped to customers all over the country. Baking out of your home will help you keep your overhead costs down and enable you to start your business part-time without losing income you already receive.
Call your county health department and find out what the requirements are for operating a bakery business out of your home. Some states have few requirements for home kitchens, while others have extensive inspection requirements. There are some states that won't allow home-based kitchens at all, unless there is a second kitchen and it's completely separate from the home kitchen.
Practice baking your recipes. You want to make sure you have them consistent and great-tasting every time. Practicing will give you time to vary your recipes if you want and improve their taste and appearance. Give your practice versions to friends and family and ask for their feedback.
Gather your equipment. One of the benefits of having a home-based bakery is that you probably already have all of the items you need to get started. Look to second-hand stores and classified ads for used equipment to save money on anything else you need to buy. If think you need more pans or other bakeware so you can bake in bulk, look to restaurants that have gone out of business, or browse online auction sites. Some auction sites specialize in restaurant equipment.
Obtain your ingredients. You can contact local restaurant suppliers, local farmers and online sources for wholesale, bulk ingredients like flour, sugar, and eggs. You may have to order some ingredients, like chocolate and vanilla, online. Or you could find a distributor for a brand you prefer.
Invest in quality packaging materials like cake boxes, treat bags, ribbons to tie it all up, labels. Labels can be designed and purchased online in bulk, as can boxes and bags. Create a clean image of tasty home-baked items.
Price your baked goods fairly, but don't underestimate them. According to Jack McQuarrie, a home baker, "There's so much prepackaged and machine-made food on the market these days that genuinely mouthwatering goods are welcomed with open arms. If what you have to sell is really in demand, don't be afraid to ask a premium price for it."
Market your baked goods. Develop a website and sell your items online. You can also sell your items through online craft sites. Some major retailers will accept small business items in their catalog. Place a sign or magnet on your car, advertising your business. Go to farmers' markets or craft fairs and set up a stand. You can sell items directly and take orders for more or for custom-baked goods (cakes, for example). Take samples of your bakery items to area restaurants and see if they are interested in purchasing and offering your baked goods to their customers.
- cakes in bakery display image by nextrecord from Fotolia.com