Opening a home bakery is much easier than opening a bakery at a retail location. You will save thousands of dollars on an expensive commercial location, and you’ll need fewer items to start up your business. Home bakeries are actually an ideal way to test the water before you jump into a full-scale bakery operation.
The first thing to do is determine where you would sell, and what you would sell. If there is a farmer’s market near you, that’s a good place to start. Small coffee shops and restaurants are also great places to ask. Bring a hearty portion of samples of your best baked goods and give them away for free in exchange for a chance to talk to the owner and see if they would consider selling your wares. They will probably ask you if you have a business license and a health permit — say you don’t yet, but that you are confirming that there is enough of a market to make it worth getting the license and permit. This is true because that’s the next thing to do.
Getting a business license will require a trip to your town hall. First, you should pick a name for your business and get an Employer ID Number, which you can do online in about ten minutes. To pick a name, make sure no one in your state is using the name you want, and that no one in the US is using the name you want and has a trademark on it. After you’ve gotten your business license, go get a business checking accountclick here to investigate.
Getting a health permit is a bigger task. You may be able to get around it depending on where you live, but really the proper way to start your home bakery is to be fully legit according to local law. Doing anything less could create serious, expensive problems later on. So find out what it will take to get your health permit and then go do it.
Now that you’re legal, you can go back to the coffee shop and restaurant owners and get real commitments from them. After that, you need to make your family kitchen into a little bakery. Most people end up separating what they use for their bakery from what they use for their own cooking. So if you have a closet that can be used for your bakery inventory — dry goods, packing materials, order forms and your accounting books — get that set up so you are ready to start fulfilling orders.
The next step is to balance out the life of your bakery within the life of your home. This is a fine art — what are you going to do if you have dozens of Thanksgiving orders to fill, and you are still having twelve people over for a family Thanksgiving? Some things will have to give. Many home bakers designate a few nights a week of eating out, just so they can have their kitchen to themselves. And almost anyone, after they’ve had a few successful years, ultimately moves their bakery out of their kitchen.