- By Anjana Lath and Akhileshwari Anand Raj - Updated on 27th July 2019
Do you enjoy baking? Are you looking forward to becoming a home baker and starting your own home bakery business from your ability to bake yummy treats? Still confused about when and how to begin?
Breathe! You’re at the right place.
This step-by-step guide will help you venture out in the home-based baking business.
Before we begin, there are a few things you need to know in order to make your part-time cake business a success.
Most of us have often thought of starting a home-based business. But due to some issue or the other, it has always remained a plan and never been implemented. The first and foremost step is to decide on the kind of home-based business you want to start. Make sure that you have identified what you’re really passionate about and have the zeal to begin your journey towards your businesses inception.
For me, I absolutely love and enjoy the art of cooking and baking. So, I started my journey to become a home baker for eggless and sugar-free cakes, cupcakes, cookies and chocolates. I am in love being a home baker today and am able to make a living from it. Ultimately, it’s your passion that counts.
DECIDE ON THE TYPES OF CAKE YOU WANT TO SELL
You may start your business with a basic range of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and subsequently expanding the range as your cake baking business becomes more successful.
Most of the bakers can bake any type of cake, beyond our imagination. Whereas, some specialize in selling cupcakes from home. Some are only into baking gluten-free cupcakes, while others focus on creating amazing wedding cakes.
The idea is simple. Identify your strengths and work towards it. Being different is the key to success, so offer something which helps you stand out from the rest.
GO FOR A PROFESSIONAL WORKSHOP OR CLASS
A lot of home bakers start baking by following YouTube videos and trial and error. But if you are looking to become a commercial home-based baker and serve real customers, then its recommended to attend professional workshops or classes from renowned academies or established top bakers or cake artists. Make sure that you have got the right skills to serve better than bakeries. If your delivery will not be as per the client's expectations, then it will lead to loss of goodwill and will hinder your business progression.
Some of the academies or established professionals you can refer are:
- Academy of Pastry Arts, India - Highly Recommended
- Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts, India
- Whitecaps International School of Pastry
- Fondbites School of Sugar Art - By Subhashini Ramsingh - Highly Recommended
- Cook and Bake with Deepali - Highly Recommended
- The Dream Cakes - By Ashwini Sarabhai - Highly Recommended
GET REQUIRED GOVERNMENT PERMITS AND REGISTRATIONS
The Food and Safety Standards Authority of India requires any petty business person dealing with food, even if they make less than Rs. 12 lakh per annum from the business, to register their business. This registration is therefore mandatory for everyone who starts a baking business even if it is from home.
The FSSAI License is not required unless you are a big food business with employees under you, so it is not something to worry about when you are just starting out. But ensure that you get registered so that you will not face any problems in the future - the FSSAI can levy heavy fines if you run a business without registration. For more details on FSSAI registration and license, refer our article on "FSSAI Registration & Licensing For Home Bakers – All You Need To Know".If you're interested in applying for one, then we can apply for you on your behalf. Click here to register.
Another registration to consider, but not mandatory, is the Trademark registration. It is always useful to keep your brand protected so that no one can use your name. While it might not be very useful early on, it is something to consider as your career progresses.
GETTING THE RIGHT RECIPE
Cakes are the star of the show; that’s the reason people order cakes from home bakers so that they can customize it as per their preference. Choosing the right cake recipe, therefore, is vital to the success of your home-based baking business.
Test out your recipes on family and friends. Ask for their honest feedback so that you can make necessary improvements before advertising. Repeat this process until your cakes are the best they can be and becomes the most delicious cakes you’ve ever tasted!
When choosing your basic cake recipe, try to find a simple and proven one to work. Here are a few cakes suggestions to get you started:
- Plain cupcakes with different icing variations;
- Flavoured cakes;
- Wedding and celebration cakes;
- Themed birthday cakes; and
- Tray-bakes and bars.
SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS
It is very important to ensure you get good quality ingredients and for the best price possible. In India, online stores offer very competitive prices for basic ingredients like flour, sugar and even essences. But some baking specific items like cocoa powder, sprinkles, butter paper and other ingredients are usually cheaper in local baking supply stores and are much cheaper than commercially available ingredients. If you are a healthy baker, your ingredients are best sourced from organic supermarkets since they offer pure ingredients and often work directly with farmers. Check out this page for special offers on Baking Raw Materials.
THE WEAPONS- KITCHEN EQUIPMENT
Before you can start selling baked goods, you’ll need the right equipment. If you love baking enough to turn it into a part-time business, there’s a good chance that you’ll already have most of the equipment you need. But there are a few things you may need to purchase.
Here are our top 10 essentials for all cake makers:
- A good quality electric food mixer;
- Non-stick cake trays (enough to bake at least 2 batches of cakes);
- Digital scales for accurate measuring;
- Cooling racks;
- Measuring spoons;
- Mixing bowls;
- Wooden spoons;
- Rubber spatula for easier handling of cake mixture and icing;
- Cake cases; and
- A good oven.
Stock control for a home-based cake business need not be a complex process involving copious hours of work. Essentially, you just need to ensure that your ingredients don’t go out of date, and you maintain accurate records of items purchased. A simple spreadsheet will be sufficient for most bakers selling cakes from home, but you may want to invest in a simple stock management system once your business starts growing.
COSTING AND PRICING - AN ISSUE FOR MANY
One big hurdle that new and experienced bakers face is getting the pricing right for a cake - the general rule of thumb for easy calculation is that your selling price should be 3 times the cost of the ingredients used. This is because the selling price will account for ⅓ cost price, ⅓ electricity and ⅓ value of your time and effort. While this is just a general rule used, you could always use your own formula - ensure that you take these three criteria into account while setting a price. HomeBakers.co.in have designed a detailed Baker's Pricing Calculator, that's reviewed and approved by Ms Ashwini Sarabhai, one of the Top Cake Artists in India as per Cake Masters. It's available in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheet versions. You can purchase both the versions from us just for ₹500. If you're interested, click on "Buy Now".
Many people tend to price their cakes much cheaper when they start out so that they can gain expertise and clients. However, this will not be sustainable in the long run because you will become known for cheaper cakes and therefore your clients will not be willing to pay later. Always value your time and effort no matter what expertise you have in baking.
Delivery is an issue with most of the home bakers. Most of the bakers deliver the cake personally or have clients picking it up from their doorstep. Some have resorted to radio taxis for delivery. Some of them have tried other delivery services too. However, delivery still seems to be a problematic area.
MARKET YOUR OWN PRODUCT
Your first impression matters a lot. The presentation and taste of the Cake will help you mark your first impression. If you happen to gain one satisfied customer, that will lead to many more. A satisfied customer is essential; this is an industry that thrives on word of mouth marketing which, other than the internet, is the primary source of marketing. Facebook is the most popular among home bakers, closely followed by Instagram and Twitter.
A small percentage of home-bakers indulge in some more marketing. Some bakers send out mailers to their client list built over the years, others put up stalls in schools, apartments, flea markets etc. to promote their bakes. Overall, the marketing may appear to be very rustic, but it works.
Some well-established home bakers are taking their business to the next level by having their websites up and running. Those with an IT background manage it themselves, others have learnt to manage basic changes and updates while some have family members who handle the website for them.
The images of cakes that home bakers create are usually posted by them on popular social media channels or their facebook pages. A large number of home bakers click the pictures themselves, some have learnt the art of photography over time and others have family members and friends helping them.
Another important aspect of this is branding. Ensure that your orders go out with your business card and customize your boxes & other packaging so that your logo and brand name are clearly visible. This leaves a lasting impression on people and they will be more likely to remember your brand and recommend to others.
Digital Marketing requires skills and experience to make it work effectively. Even if you build it over time, it can take a lot of your bandwidth which you can spend in baking more cakes. HomeBakers.co.in offers Digital Marketing exclusively for Home Bakers for as little as ₹5000 a month. If you're interested, then email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE YOUR SKILLS CONSTANTLY - NEVER STOP LEARNING
For home bakers, trends are very important to follow and learning never stops. Whether you learn by watching videos on YouTube or by attending workshops and classes, make sure that you constantly keep your skills up to date. Clients also keep up with trends and if you don’t know how to make an item that they want, it will lead to loss of goodwill and will hinder your business progression.
FEW MISCELLANEOUS TIPS
Try to find an event planner or a wedding planner in your friend circle. Partner with them and you will always get their orders for any event they organize, whether it is a 100 person birthday party or a 1000 person wedding! Another way to kickstart your business is to reach out to local businesses like supermarkets and other grocery stores, or even bakeries that don’t make their own produce and contract to sell them a specific dish on a daily or weekly basis as per their needs. This will ensure a steady income for you and will help you carve out a niche.
The best way to begin custom orders is by telling your friends and family that you take orders, and to post on social media. Ask your personal circle to spread the word and leverage that to retain clients. Always ensure that you have a social media page dedicated to your bakes, both on Facebook and Instagram. This way, potential clients can see your previous work.
Using an online platform like HOMEBAKERS.CO.IN is also a great idea, since it removes the tension of looking for clients and getting orders. You only have to focus on your craft. Hope this article helps you with your endeavour towards baking.
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