Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Do you enjoy baking and decorating cakes? It is a fun hobby that you could easily turn into a part or full-time business if you wish.
The Food Network has made all types of cooking sexy again, and cake decorating has certainly enjoyed a rise in popularity. One fan-favorite show is “Ace of Cakes”, which is loads of fun to watch even if you couldn’t pick fondant out of a line-up.
The Food Network also hosts many contest-type shows about cake decorating now. You can watch practiced chefs and bakers create everything from castles to cartoon characters to fabulous wedding cakes, using a wide variety of styles and techniques.
If you enjoy creating confectionary masterpieces, you can turn those skills into a quite profitable business. Here are some common considerations and solutions:
Finding a Commercial Kitchen
Many cake decorators shy away from starting a business because of the need for a commercial kitchen, but you need not let that stop you. Many commercial kitchens will rent time, space and equipment to you. This will save you considerable start-up costs and let you explore the business without a huge financial outlay.
Start with businesses which are closed during certain days of the week or times of the day. For instance, some restaurants are closed on Mondays, some close after lunch, and some are not open until lunch or dinner. Other options include hotel restaurants or church kitchens. You can find very affordable rental prices if you agree to clean everything up when you are finished. It allows the organization to make a bit of extra money, too.
Legalities and Liabilities
Some people do start cake decorating by making cakes in their homes without business licenses, health department inspections or liability insurance. This is not recommended and can lead to serious legal and financial trouble. Check with your local government about what is required in your area. My article on Business Licenses will show you how to find your local contact information.
For food businesses, your local health department is another source you need to contact regarding commercial kitchen information.
As to questions about home-based business liability insurance, ask your insurance representative. Be sure to mention it is a food business because those have different liabilities than non-ingested products or services.
Most cake decorators start their marketing with word of mouth advertising, by making cakes for friends and family in hopes they will send referrals. This is a good way to get some business in the beginning, but you will need a real plan for marketing your business, too. Business cards are an affordable and effective way to start. For more info on business cards, read the articles below in the “related links” section.
You can also use networking. Many restaurants, wedding planners and hotels often are asked to recommend bakers for parties and weddings, so take cake samples and business cards around to them.
Learning the Trade
If you need additional training, consider working for a local bakery that makes decorated cakes. This is a very affordable way to learn and practice a craft. If you are lucky enough to find a great baker/teacher in your area, you can apprentice for her and learn as much or more than you would in school.
If you cannot find a mentor, you may decide to go to a school for pastry chefs to learn advanced skills. Ask other cake decorators to recommend schools, and then check out their recommendations by visiting the school and talking to other graduates and students.
Cake decorating can be a fun and rewarding career, as well as a lucrative business. If your dream job is making fabulous cakes, it could be easier than you think!
Sweet (business) dreams!
Click Here to Discover How to Become a Cake Decorator