I’ve mentioned several times that I used to sell homemade bread. You can read here why I gave it up. Each time I’ve mentioned it I’ve had someone ask for more information about it. I decided to write a post and give you an overview. I hope it helps those of you considering it. Feel free to post any follow-up questions in the comments.
Are you really, really good at baking something? If you’re good enough, people will pay a good price for things like bread, rolls, pies and pastries. There’s a lot of work to it though, so you have to have the time available to commit to it. I enjoyed a nice part-time income while I was selling my bread. Here’s what I did.
1. I mastered a few recipes.
You must have your recipes down pat so they come out exactly the same every single time. If you want people to continue to buy from you then you need to have a consistent product.
2. I made my recipes cost effective.
I was using about 40 pounds of flour per week when I was up and running with my business. Buying 5 pounds at a time at my local grocery store would have drastically cut my profit. You can make more money if you can get your ingredients to cost you less. Look into buying ingredients in bulk or whole sale. (Words of warning – don’t compromise the quality of your recipe for a lower cost ingredient)
Once you figure out how much it costs to make each of your products, then you need to price them. You may have to adjust your price later on but create a price list that makes you money.
3. I got a license.
I live in New Hampshire, so I can’t speak for other states (or countries) but I’ll tell you what I had to do here. I had to apply for a Homestead license, which gave me license to sell food baked from my home kitchen. It cost $25 and lasted for a year. A health inspector came to my home, inspected my kitchen and asked me a bunch of questions. I know it sounds intimidating but it isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds. I passed the inspection easily. The whole process took a month or two though, so start it before you want to sell.
Many people will want to skip this step and just sell it out of their home without a license. I don’t recommend it. If your business gets big enough that you want to sell it somewhere else then you’ll be stuck until you get the license.
4. I began drumming up interest.
I am SO not a salesperson. I really don’t like it. It makes me want to gag. I did it though. In the beginning I gave loaves away and started gaining some interest in my product. It worked. People liked it and talked about it to other people. Soon, they were asking me if they could buy it.
5. I created a logo.
I am also not a graphic artist. I am jealous of the people that can just whip these things up. However, you need to have a recognizable brand. People need to be able to immediately identify your product at a glance. Create something that will look nice and print up labels (from your home computer). If you’re not very good with graphic design I am SURE you have a son/daughter/grandchild who would LOVE the opportunity to help you out.
Also, it seems like there’s an allergy for everything out there. With that in mind, be sure to list the ingredients on your labels (and don’t cross-contaminate anything with nuts, etc.)
6. I found a place to sell.
Through a friend, I heard our local Farmers’ Market had an opening for a person to sell bread. It was perfect timing. I sold my bread every Saturday from June through October. I had to buy one of those easy-up shelters (it rained or was very hot some weeks) and a folding table. I sewed a pretty table cloth and made a sign to hang at my tent. I sold between 20-45 loaves of bread every week just by showing up (depending on weather and time of year).
By October, when the market closed, I had enough of a following that people wanted to continue to buy through the winter. At that point I created an email list of customers. Each week I sent an email to the list and told them what I was offering then they would email back their orders. I had a 4-hour window of time when they could pick up their orders each week from my home. Using email rather than phone calls was MUCH more time efficient for me and for my customers. If you aren’t big into email you could certainly just make phone calls. My orders went down for the winter (remember where I live – freezing) to 10-15 loaves per week. It was still worth my time though.
7. I kept track and paid taxes.
Don’t be silly and register with the state then NOT pay them taxes. If you are registered then they know you are making money Keep track of what you sell and keep the receipts for ALL supplies (don’t forget about the tent, the table, the license, etc.) to make it easy when tax time comes. I’m not a tax expert AT ALL but we (not we, my husband) still do our own taxes so it isn’t that complicated.
Selling homemade bread was a lot of work but it really helped us through some tough financial times. It was great for me because I could still be home while I baked during the week and I even brought my daughter with me to the market on Saturdays.
I hope this lays out the steps I took in a clear manner. I welcome any follow-up questions and will do my best to help you out. If anyone else has any further advice or experience on this topic I’d love it if you added to the conversation.
Why I do what I do ~ Chloe loves her bath time. She stays in the water until I pry her out or the water turns cold. We’re talking 30-minute bath times.
Me- “Chloe are you ready to get out?”
Me- “How about now?”
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