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Starting up on my own

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Im seriously thinking on starting up in business on my own. I have had lots of compliments from family and friends on my own homebakes, and I even have orders already for Christmas cakes.


I am currently experimenting with different flavours of cookies, and a friend of mine who has a burger van is going to give out samples to customers to see what they say. I only use free range eggs etc and there are no artifical colours or flavouring in any of my cakes, including nuts, as I am allergic to nuts!!


There is a local Sunday Market beside us and for £14 a week I could hire a table for the day.


What I am after is any info that I would need to start selling foodstuff to the public?

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This can be fraught - as the food supply chain has lots of regulations you need to comply with to ensure trouble-free retailing.


Since it will be the local Trading Standard dept that will be checking - why not contact them, and ask what their requirements are (especially for the sale, marking and labelling of the goods).

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hi & good luck


i sell jams, marmalades & cakes at local food fares and markets.


i phones up my local council and became a registed seller of food. they did say they may have to come and check my kitchen but two years on they have yet to do so. i think this depends on the type of food you cook but as its cakes i don't think you will have a problem.

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EEEEK just heard from the place I was looking at, and she has basically told me that I need all the safety certs(ok fair enough, I was going to do my food Hygiene anyway) and Public Liability Insurance, and as there are a few 'bakers' there she might not be able to offer me a stand!


So Im now looking into that, Trading Standards are getting back to me, and I shall see where there are local farmer's markets etc in the area.

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Have you actually costed each product? You need to know the cost to the nearest penny so should include every single thing that contributes to those production costs. that should include everything even including the washing up liquid used to wash up the pans afterwards.


Using free range is just one way you are increasing the cost of production and that will have to be shown in the selling price, but will the mention of using free range eggs make them better sellers? your customers will not notice any difference.


Do research, lots of it, by looking in shops and stores to see how much they are charging for a similar item and cost yours to see if you can match those prices.


Don't just jump in because some friends and family praise you.

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Strange good things do happen, I was delivering some bakes to my mates in the garage opposite, and there was a regular in who runs the local farmer's market.


He tried a couple of different cookies and then proceded to ask me if I would be interested in a stall!!!


So going to sit down and work out what I could sell, ie, packs of scones, cookies, buns etc. I'm even thinking on trying large cookies to eat on the go. Then I have to email the guy tomorrow and he will get back to me, as at the market there is only 1 more person selling homebakes and he feels there is a need for competition for her.

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But you still need to cost them. It's no good selling at the same price or knocking a penny off the price of the competition. Unless you know how much, taking into account every single thing involved, they cost to produce then you haven't got a business.


Work at the research and don't jump in too soon, that is why the majority of startups don't last more than a few month let alone years.

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I have worked out all the costings on a spreadsheet, for all the different kinds of homebakes and have prices them at a reasonable price, but what I intend to do is go round to the local market at the weekend and see what prices other bakers are sellign thier goods at.


I dont want to be out of pocket, but dont want to overcharge either.


I also have an appointment with my advisor at the Jobcentre as well to make sure Im doing everything legal, and she is going to have a look at any start up grants or help that may be available to me.

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Sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs... but,

it's not just the individual cost of the cookies, cakes and biscuits that you need to figure out in terms of how much flour and eggs etc you use.


it's also the cost of the electric or gas you're using to bake them, (as you'll have your oven on longer). possibly all day if you;re really successful at it!

the cost of the packaging,

the cost of any labels on the packaging,

the cost of the ingredients that don't make it into the bowl (like the flour for rolling out pastry or something).


then you have to consider wasted stock,

what if you bake 20 cakes, but only manage to sell 10? if you don't have high enough profit margins then you'll loose out there, and if you keep them till the next week you'd soon be the stall that no-one goes to as you're selling old and stale cake.


I wouldn't worry about what other people are selling at, after all you're talking about 1 farmers market, if they go to 7 they can afford to not sell a cake on Saturday and take it to a different market in the afternoon or Sunday morning, maybe even Monday, whilst you probably can't take your stock back to the market a week later on the following Saturday morning.

their prices will be cheaper that yours as they aren't going to waste as much stock into the bin at the end of the day.


plus there will be the costs of getting your safety certs and liability insurances that you were advised that you needed.


you might also have business cards on your stall and say that you can make birthday cakes to order or something, then you'll have to consider the costs associated with taking your orders by phone, and your phone bill for calling someone back to tell them their order is ready etc... (and the cost of having cards/flyers printed).


(the list just goes on!)


when you say about looking what others are selling theirs at, only use it as a guide. I mean if they are selling a cake for £2, then you might be able to sell cakes for £2.50, nobody is going to worry about 50p if your cakes look (and smell!) tasty enough... or you might Have to sell your cakes at £2.50 because that's your cheapest unit cost.

similarly, nobody is going to buy yours just because they are £1.90 rather than £2.

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  • 1 month later...
hi & good luck


i sell jams, marmalades & cakes at local food fares and markets.


i phones up my local council and became a registed seller of food. they did say they may have to come and check my kitchen but two years on they have yet to do so. i think this depends on the type of food you cook but as its cakes i don't think you will have a problem.




I work alongside a women who makes cakes up here in Lincs and the concill did come round to inpsect for that. :rolleyes:

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I have been told the council will inspect my kitchen, but I have no worries about that anyway.


Unfortunately due to other circumstances at home, Ive had to put the whole project on the back burner at the moment, but Im still baking up new recipes and planning things :D

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I see no one has wished you Good Luck yet so I will GOOD LUCK


home bake and home grown is a good thing and sadly their is not enough of it these days times of old are long gone so in my view it needs a revival.


As the posts above point out it has been killed by red tape but it can be overcome with the right products and a good forward thinking mind.


So GOOD LUCK as I hope it does work out for you.



If I have been of help to you please feel free to click my scales to the left Thanks.:)

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R.I.P BOB aka ROOSTER-UK you have always been a Gent on these boards and you will be remembered for that.


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I have been told the council will inspect my kitchen, but I have no worries about that anyway.


Unfortunately due to other circumstances at home, Ive had to put the whole project on the back burner at the moment, but Im still baking up new recipes and planning things :D





When things pick up go for it. You can sometimes have your cake and eat it! :rolleyes:


He who dares wins and all that. :D

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No bragging or nothing but my baking is so popular that when I ask folk what they want for a pressie for a birthday they usually ask for some cookies or scones, and I have an elderly neighbour who I pop in 6 scones and 6 fruit buns every week to her, and her daughter asked me if I would make some for her.


I even have an early order for 2 Christmas cakes already, and thats from my Landlady, she says she wanted in first LOL :D

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I've done some very similar ventures, although not with food. I did research into it a fair bit though, just other things took priority.

Just remember the important things like immaculate kitchen hygiene and labelling the food to the correct standards. Also if you have your own stall at a markets theres a good chance you will need public liability insurance, if the market itself doesn't cover it (most won't). You will definitely want this anyway in case something happens (literally, anything. someone gets sick from your food, or trips over your stall. honestly, its a necessity). Try searching for insurance that caters to small crafts businesses - there's at least one company that specialise in it and the costs aren't nearly as bad as anywhere else I've seen. I can't recall it at the moment though.


If you really want to make a go of it, it really will help you to write a full business plan. I hated writing mine, but seeing everything laid out on paper does wonders for you and makes sure you research the important things.


Good luck :D


edit: don't forget to draft contracts if you're taking orders for occassions and things. Make sure you don't get your time wasted :)

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