If you live in Pennsylvania and enjoy baking, opening a home-based bakery might be the business for you. Imagine the scent of fresh-baked bread wafting through your house daily. You might be gaining pounds while you're earning money, but at least you'll be able to pay for a gym membership. Learning the ins and outs of how to make it work gives you a leg up on success, and within a short time you might be crowned the new Pennsylvania baking queen.
Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture for complete details about home-based baking businesses. While the State of Pennsylvania allows for home-based bakeries, certain type of foods that could become a contamination hazard, such as pumpkin pie or cheesecake, require a kitchen that has been inspected and certified.
Become a legal business. Choose a business structure, such as an LLC (limited liability corporation) or a sole proprietorship, and obtain a tax ID--many suppliers won't sell to you without one. Register your business with your state agency and get a seller's permit.
Write up a business plan. Even a small, home-based business can benefit from selling out all of your activities and mapping out a plan to get started. It will help you clarify your goals and objectives and figure out what steps you need to take and when. Through financial projections you will also get to see the general profit potential of the business. You can get help from the Pennsylvania branch of the Small Business Association.
Invest in any necessary equipment. If you are starting small, whatever you already have in your kitchen may be enough, but you need high quality appliances in order to guarantee consistently high quality results. A commercial oven is a good investment, as are premium quality pots and pans. You might need a refrigerator for certain ingredients, so if you won't enough room in your home refrigerator, you'll need another one. If you will be getting your kitchen inspected (see step 1,) you may need other items as per health guidelines and recommendations.
Decide on a product lineup. Speak to friends and network with community members to see what people crave. You can post requests on community forums such as Talk PA.) Get advice on what sells and what doesn't, and work that into your current repertoire. Figure out what you do best--breads, cakes, pies and the like. Based on all of this information, develop a line that utilizes your talent and creativity and meets the needs of your community.
Market your products. Advertising in local papers and magazines such as House and Home, which serves the Philadelphia area. Network through friends and be sure to have business cards handy wherever you go. Bake for charity auctions and offer promotions to get your business off the ground and raise its profile.
See what other bakeries are missing and fill in the niche. Get suggestions and comments from customers and keep perfecting.
Don't get discouraged if it takes a while until sales start moving. Sometimes it starts slowly.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images