Did you know that Martha Stewart started her career baking out of her basement?
If you have aspirations to become the next Martha, it’s time to think about starting your own home baking business.
What’s more, anyone can start a home-based baking business in this digital age.
Plenty of entrepreneurs have found success in selling baked goods online.
If you are ready to become a full-time home baker, you probably have lots of questions. After all, starting and managing your own home bakery will require a lot of time and effort!
In this post, we discuss how to get your home baking dream off the ground. Keep reading for insight!
1. Check If It’s Legal
First things first, it’s imperative to see what your state’s home bakery laws are. Believe it or not, some districts may have strict regulations for selling food out of your home.
These are called “cottage food laws,” and they are specified by the U.S. Department of Health. These laws can regulate all sorts of things.
They will likely specify how much money you can make per month with your home bakery.
Cottage food laws also may regulate where you can sell your items. While this is particularly pressing for people selling produce, these laws can also apply to baked goods.
Before you start planning cupcake displays, check to see what your state’s cottage food laws entail. It’s also wise to inspect local zoning laws, as these may differ from state-wide jurisdiction.
If you have any questions about the legality of your home bakery, you may also wish to confer with a legal consultant.
2. Know What Certifications You’ll Need
As a home baker, you will likely need a certification or two before you can legally sell food to customers.
This is fairly standard — don’t worry! The U.S. food industry is tightly regulated for a reason.
Without these laws and requirements, it would be so much easier to transmit foodborne illnesses.
Check to see what your state’s certification and licensing requirements are for home bakers. You will likely have to acquire a business license.
Home bakers may also be required by state law to produce their products in a certified kitchen. In most states, this means using an industrial-grade kitchen that passes a health inspection.
This can be tricky for some home bakers. Keep in mind, however, that you can upgrade your existing kitchen to conform with state requirements.
You may not have to completely replace your appliances with expensive industrial-grade ones! Your state’s laws will let you know what you have to do.
But it is possible to pass inspection by creating designated food preparation and storage areas, implementing proper ventilation, and installing extra sinks.
It is also possible to rent space in a local industrial kitchen.
Lastly, you will likely have to acquire a food safety certificate. This ensures that you are offering goods to your customers prepared under “safe” conditions.
3. Anticipate Costs
One of the most important things any small business owner can do is calculate starting costs.
This can be vital if you anticipate needing to request a business loan.
For most home bakers, the bulk of initial costs comes from licensing, insurance, and kitchen upgrades or renovations. These can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars at the outset.
Of course, once things get going, you may quickly be recovering these costs.
Nonetheless, do your best to craft a business plan that incorporates anticipated expenses and early revenue.
How are you going to pay for those starting costs? What is a good goal for starting revenue?
Detail all of these in a comprehensive plan, and keep revising as necessary.
4. Know Your Starting Inventory and Your Market
Now comes the fun part: choosing what goods you are going to make and who you are going to sell them to!
Figure out who your market is right away.
Are there other home bakeries in your city? Who is your competition? Where is there a need for a certain kind of baked good?
Learn more about performing a thorough market analysis here.
Identifying market demand can give you a sense of what type of goods your community will savor. For example, you may want to start a cupcake-only business if one currently does not exist (but the demand is there).
In this health-conscious age, it’s also wise to consider offering more speciality goods for dieting individuals or those with food allergies. An entirely gluten-free or vegan home bakery, for example, may be in high demand in certain urban areas!
Identify your starting inventory as a result of your market analysis. This can also help you craft a plan for where you’ll source ingredients.
Here’s a big hint: buying in bulk can be great for bakers looking to save!
5. Get Ready to Advertise
Every home-based company needs to get noticed somehow. Whether you’re managing an online boutique or starting off as a freelance copyeditor, you’ve got to get the word out!
One of the best ways to do this is to craft a website. Websites act as the ultimate business cards, adding an extra layer of professionalism to your business.
You can easily build a website on your own, at very little starting cost. Check out this post to learn more!
You’ll also want to take advantage of other digital marketing techniques suited for local businesses.
These include search engine optimization (SEO), which can boost your visibility in Google search results. In particular, local SEO can help you get noticed by community members online.
It’s also essential to register your business on Google. This can give online searchers more information about your bakery without requiring a website visit.
Learn more about ways to get your home business noticed here.
6. Use the Right Technology
Even though you’ll be spending most of your time working with flour and spices, you’ll still need to use technology as a home baker.
This is particularly important if you start building a hefty inventory and need help staying on top of it!
Food industry management software can be vital in this regard, especially if you anticipate more growth. Click for more here.
Starting Your Home Baking Business
You can start your home baking business in no time, provided you follow the steps outlined in this post. Just be sure to follow all of those tricky legal steps, as annoying as they may seem!
Now you know all about starting and managing your home baking business. What comes next?
Well, it may be a challenge to keep your house clean while you’re also running a home business. Learn more about staying on top of that here!