Do you enjoy baking or have you got a flare for cooking up sweet treats? You could make money selling cakes from home. Here’s our ultimate guide on how you can start earning some extra cash for your cookery talent!
Whether you sell cupcakes at the occasional car boot sale or bake every day as a full-time business, there are lots of ways you can make money from baking.
How To Make Money Selling Cakes From Home
- Getting Started
- Car Boot Sales And Local Markets
- Get The Essentials Sorted
- Working Out Your Costs
- Baking And Cake Decorating Courses
- Market Your Business
- Top Tips
- Case Study: Susie Sue’s Cakes And Cupcakes
Before you start, have a think about what your unique selling point is. Baking and selling cakes is very popular, so you need to stand out from the crowd. For example, you might specialise in organic baking, gluten-free, or colouring-free cakes. Or perhaps you make a type of cake that no-one else does?
Do your research. Whether you want to sell at upmarket cake fairs, cheap and cheerful car boot sales, or perhaps sell direct to cafes and shops, you need to know your audience and what will sell.
Ask the cake sellers at local markets how their sales are going, see how much they’re charging and how competitive things are in your area.
Make sure you have good judgement on the taste and presentation of your cakes. Test your recipes on family and friends and perfect your unique selling point.
Start Off Small
In most circumstances, if you take part in a community bake sale less than 12 times a year on a casual basis, you don’t need to be registered with the Food Standards Agency. (However it’s advisable to check with your local authority, as some councils have different rules).
A local bake sale, car boot or farmers’ market cake stall are all good ways to start out. It’s a good way to gauge the popularity of your products.
If you want to start selling cakes from home on a regular basis to make money, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take. These include contacting your local authority, getting a food hygiene certificate and liability insurance. See below for more details.
Car Boot Sales And Local Markets
Car boot sales are a great way to start selling cakes. Getting a pitch normally costs no more than £10 – you can find your nearest car boot sale at CarBootJunction.
When selling at car boot sales and local markets you need to consider the wastage you may get. It’s often hard to estimate how many cakes you may need at these events, how busy it will be on the day, and the likely demand for your yummy treats.
Think about how much money you’ve put in to produce your cakes, how many you’ll likely to sell and the profit you’ll make.
Getting The Essentials Sorted
Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate Level 2
Food hygiene and safety is really important when selling cakes from home. You’ll need to follow the rules and receive training from your local authority in order to gain the Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate Level 2 that’s required. There are websites that provide fast track training for £20 (plus VAT).
Local environmental health service inspection
Before opening for trading you must register your premises (or the kitchen you’ll be baking in) with the environmental health service at your local authority at least 28 days before you open. It’s free to register – the first step is to get in contact with your local council who will talk you through the process.
Requirements vary depending on where you live, but obviously, you must ensure that your kitchen is super-clean and tidy. (For example, it must be free from clutter that could collect dust).
Also, bear in mind that if you’re delivering your cakes, your vehicle will need to be inspected too.
Register as self-employed
Whether you ‘re looking to go full-time or part-time with your cake baking business, you’ll need to let the tax office know. Contact HMRC who will issue you with the right tax code and get you registered as self-employed.
Want more help?
- The Gov.uk website takes you through the basics of setting up your own business
- HMRC have a useful (and free) e-learning course to help answer all your questions about tax and your business.
Set up a separate bank account
When setting you cake baking business, you may want to look into opening a separate bank account. This will make your life much easier when it comes to filing tax records and keeping tabs on how much money you’re actually making day-to-day.
It’s a good idea to set up a separate bank account for your business
As long as you’re a sole trader (not a limited company) you don’t need to open a business bank account – you can just open another personal bank account and use that. (There’s nothing stopping you opening up a business bank account if you prefer – but bear in mind these accounts normally charge you for each transaction, whereas personal accounts don’t and are free).
Make sure you’re fully covered and firstly give your home insurance company a call to let them know you’re baking and selling cakes from home. You’ll also need to take out product and public liability insurance. Compare these online to get the best deal.
Decide on a company name
Once you’ve decided on a company name you can check its availability online here and register it online (although this does not give trademark protection).
It may also be useful to buy your website domain name at this point too.
Working Out Your Costs
If you’re looking to make money selling cakes from home, you’ll need to start by estimating the cost of setting up your business.
Work out how many cakes you’ll need to sell your cakes to make a profit.
You’ll need to consider the costs of:
- Setting up a stall
- Stall hire
- Travel to the location
- Baking equipment
- Energy costs
You could use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate out costs by grams. Take into account charging for your time and skills.
It may be wise to start with your prices higher. If the cakes don’t sell, you can always lower the price. It’s easier than putting the prices up!
Use your spreadsheet to keep a record going forward of your income and outgoings.
Baking And Cake Decorating Courses
Improve your cake baking and decorating skills by attending an evening class or short course in your local area. Take a look at what’s on offer near you.
For the super skilled baker
Perhaps you want to expand your business and skill-set? There is often more money to be made from detailed wedding and celebration cakes and decoration.
A four tier wedding cake can be sold for upwards of £350 and can be a more lucrative business model. However, you should take into consideration the additional equipment, skills, and time needed to create them.
Market Your Business
Take photographs of every new cake you make. Use these photos to build a professional looking portfolio to show to customers and prospective clients. It’s a great way to show off your skills and hard work!
Remember how important presentation is. Your cakes may taste delicious but if they aren’t presented well then it could put off customers.
Use your fabulous array of cake images on your website and Facebook page to promote your yummy treats. More on this below…
Get some business cards printed with your company name, logo, telephone number and email address. Have a few of these in your purse or wallet to give out to potential customers.
Ask if you can leave a few flyers or business cards in your local shops and businesses. For example, if you provide wedding cakes, hand them out at Bridal shops, or for kids’ cakes, at soft play areas.
Business cards and flyers are also useful to have on the stall if you’re doing a car boot or local market.
Facebook and social media
Set up a Facebook page for your company when you start selling cakes from home. It’s completely free to set up a Facebook page and it’s the ideal place to market your business.
Show off your portfolio of cakes and treats by posting images and offers, and connect with a wide range of potential customers (who may well ‘share’ your offers with their Facebook friends).
Pinterest is another fantastic social media website you can use to draw in customers. Post images of your cakes on relevant boards and if Pinterest users like your designs they can pin them to their own boards and click through to get in contact with you.
Twitter is an easy and quick way to communicate with all the cake lovers out there. Tweet about your delicious cupcakes and any special offers you have coming up. Use popular hashtags like #baking #cupcakes and #weddingcakes to get found. Retweet and follow potential customers and local businesses.
A website is an important way to market your business. It’s the easiest way to attract customers to your company selling cakes from home.
Display your services, prices, a picture gallery of lovely cakes, contact information and a section telling the customer all about you and your story.
Remember to include your location on the website and use keywords that customers will be searching for to find your business. E.g. ‘homemade gluten free cakes’, or ‘cake catering for parties and weddings.’
Draft in a technology-savvy friend to help, or look at the free web design and hosting services online.
Had some satisfied customers? Get them to write a short review or testimonial and post it on your website. Happy customers will help to drive more sales and trust in your yummy cakes.
Pitching to local businesses
If you’re looking to progress into catering for local businesses like cafes and coffee shops, soft play areas and children’s party venues you’ll need to get pitching! Approach them and ask if they have any opportunities, present them with samples of your cakes and negotiate a deal that will work for both of you.
Local and national press
Getting your name in the local paper, on websites and magazines will help spread the word about your amazing new company. Perhaps you’ve made a particularly unusual cake, catered for a popular local event, made cakes for charity or have a great story as a case study.
When you start out you may be looking for ways to cut costs. However, that needn’t be a reason to cut the quality of your equipment.
TK Maxx has a fantastic range of baking equipment that is very good quality, but at cheap prices.
Measuring is something you’ll need to get right, so don’t scrimp on a decent set of scales. Electronic scales are best, but keep some batteries handy in case they run out!
Buying brand ingredients
To ensure good-quality you may want to opt for big brand ingredients. Shop around before you buy – and remember that shops like Home Bargains and Poundstretcher often stock big brand ingredients at lower prices.
Avoid buying cheap eggs! It might be tempting to opt for the cheapest eggs on the shelf but low-quality eggs make a real difference to your cake. Check out locally sourced farm shop eggs and supermarket deals.
Buying in bulk
Once your business grows it may be worth buying your ingredients in bulk (if you have the storage space and you are turning over enough stock).
Stores like Macro and Costco sell ingredients in bulk and this can be a good way to cut costs. Do check that it all adds up, though – sometimes it may seem a good deal, but when you break it down and compare to other stores, certain items can be cheaper elsewhere.
Bake double batches
When baking things like butter icing, save time and make a double batch. You can then just pop it in the freezer until you need it.
Need some inspiration? Look to your favourite bakers and chefs. Perhaps Mary Berry and the Great British Bake Off is the cherry on the top of your list, or if you’re a cupcake fan Primrose Bakery and Hummingbird Bakery may be more your taste.
Flick through their recipe books and look around Pinterest, Facebook groups, baking forums and Twitter to connect with others. You’ll soon meet others just like you who are looking to make money selling cakes from home. It’s a good way to pick up top tips and share advice.
Case Study: Susie Sue’s Cakes And Cupcakes
Sue Wray, founder of Susie Sue’s Cakes and Cupcakes, started up her own business selling cakes from home. She tells us her story:
“Baking and making cakes is something that I’ve always loved. I started out just baking for friends – but after facing redundancy from a good job in London, I chose to turn my hobby into my business. That was five years ago now.
“From an early age I spent many a Sunday morning with my mother, watching and helping her as she baked all manner of cakes for the family.
“I gained valuable advice and experience that is still put to good use every time I bake – thanks, mum!
“Now it’s me who’s rarely out of the kitchen… Whether it’s making a batch of fresh cookies for tea, trying out new ideas for cupcake toppings or even just thinking of new creations, there’s always wonderful enjoyment in creating cakes of all varieties.
“Running your own business is tough. I had to learn quickly and my biggest challenge was income – getting people to pay! I overcame this by putting terms and conditions in place and having a system for ordering which requires a deposit at the time. I learnt quickly when people wouldn’t turn up to collect their order that I had to take deposits.
Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them
“My practical tips for anyone looking to start selling cakes would be:
- Get good systems in place. Diaries, order forms, terms and conditions and a pricing structure.
- Don’t take on too many orders when working from home – it is easy to lose your evenings due to work!
“In 2013, I was businesswoman of the year finalist at the Colchester Business awards. I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
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We hope you enjoyed our guide to making money selling cakes from home. Do you have a baking business? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.