How to Lower Startup Costs for a Home Bakery Business
One of the many benefits of owning a home bakery business is that the startup and overhead costs are relatively low compared to brick-and-mortar businesses. With that being said, there are still a number of initial costs that can quickly eat away at your budget. When starting a business, every penny matters!
For instance, when I started Belly Rubs Bakery, I spent over $400 on items and services that were unavoidable, including LLC application and certification fees, a P.O. Box, and a farmer’s market space. Since I was investing my own money into this business, I couldn’t afford to spend money on anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
Free Services to Help Lower Home Bakery Startup Costs
Thankfully, there are a lot of great free resources out there to help small businesses hit the ground running. So instead of investing in a fancy point-of-sale system, paying a web designer to build your website, or buying all new equipment, you can cut costs and still provide essential services your business needs to take its first customers!
I’ve put together a list of resources that I’ve personally used or ones that are similar, as well as ones I wish I had used or known about at the time. So if you find yourself in need of the aforementioned point-of-sale system, website, or additional equipment, consider using one of these services before paying someone else to do it for you.
By the way, none of these are ads or sponsored…just my first-hand experience or we’ll-researched info on these services and products.
With tons of premade templates to choose from, even those with no knowledge of graphic design can create beautiful graphics for social media, websites, and other online platforms. You can even quite easily create a logo for your business or materials for print, such as flyers, brochures, menus, t-shirts, and a lot more.
I’ve used Canva for years and it has only continued to get better. When I started my home bakery business, I paid to have someone create a logo and it just didn’t meet my expectations. I used it for a short time and ended up creating one that I was much happier with on Canva.
I loved using Canva to create social media graphics, especially for holiday menus or specials I wanted to promote. Rather than pay for someone to do this for you, you can do it yourself for free and still create high-quality content to help legitimize your business.
This may be obvious, but maybe not. Don’t underestimate the power of social media for your business.
I’m not alone in preferring to work with small businesses that have an online presence. In fact, according to Sprout Social:
55% of customers learn about new brands on social media
68% of consumers say that social media allows them to interact with businesses
78% of clients are willing to buy from a business after having a positive interaction with them on social media
The numbers don’t lie, using social media benefits your business. While most social media platforms have paid add-on services, you can create and post to an account without spending a dime.
Social media platforms that are useful for home bakeries include:
Depending on your familiarity with the platforms, you could also try YouTube if you know how to make videos, or LinkedIn if you fulfill a lot of orders for corporate or enterprise clients who may be more active on the site.
If you’re totally lost when it comes to social media, see if your local library offers introduction classes for social media novices or find someone who is willing to trade their knowledge of social media for a baked good.
While it may seem like a daunting task, building a website for your home bakery business can help set you apart from the competition.
According to this study by Top Digital Agency, only 64% of small businesses have a website. This is important because having a website will make your business easier for new and returning customers to find.
While word-of-mouth is a great marketing tool, it can be hard to rely on when your business is just getting off the ground. Having a website allows people to find your home bakery organically and, just like social media, helps legitimize your business to potential customers.
Most website builders offer a completely free version that allows you to build a site with at least some basic features. When you’re just starting out, it’s still better than not having a website at all.
I have personally used Wix and WordPress and find them both to be user-friendly and easy to build with. All you need is to start with a homepage and you can build out from there. Use a premade template and just make sure to include contact information, a little bit about your business and what you offer, and links to your social media accounts.
Other website-building platforms include Weebly, GoDaddy, and Squarespace, though I’ve never personally used these, so I can’t vouch for how easy they are to use or the quality of the sites they produce.
Creating an email address for your business is essential, as it offers a means for customers to contact you without having to give your personal phone number away to everyone on the internet. It is also a good option for people to reach out who prefer not to talk over the phone.
There are tons of free domains to create an email account, but Gmail is the industry leader, according to Tech Radar. Gmail is what I used for my home bakery and what I use for this very blog. It’s easy to use, has a solid app version for mobile use, and gets the job done.
If you’re looking to expand on your email communications, consider using an email marketing company to help you send newsletters, updates, or anything else worth sharing from your business.
There are some free versions out there that will be able to support your needs when first starting out. If you end up growing your subscriber list, you may need to pay, but by then it should be well worth it to budget for a service that will help you convert sales.
Both MailChimp and Constant Contact have been around for a long time and are used by businesses small and large. I used Constant Contact many years ago and it was super easy to use to customize emails, add links, pictures, etc.
Using an email marketing product like MailChimp or Constant Contact is something I wish I had done when I owned a home bakery. I relied mostly on social media to share newsworthy updates, but would have reached a larger audience using email as well.
People are using cash less now than ever. A Pew Research study from 2022 showed that 41% of Americans say that none of their weekly purchases are made using cash and 42% say they don’t worry about having cash on them at any given time because they believe there will be other ways to pay for purchases. On a personal note, during a recent trip to Boston, I visited a few places that didn’t accept cash at all, which seems to be a growing trend.
These statistics are especially crucial for any home baker planning on selling goods at farmer’s markets, pop-up events, or similar spaces where you’re likely to get customers making an impulse buy. If another baker at the event accepts alternative payments, but your business only takes cash, you’re losing out on potential sales.
Venmo, Square, and PayPal are all point-of-sale/mobile payment systems I’ve used at one point or another. I should point out that, to my knowledge, Venmo is the only service that doesn’t take any fees from transactions. Both PayPal and Square take a small percentage of sales, but are trustworthy payment systems that will still make it worth being able to make a sale rather than not being able to make one at all.
There’s a good chance that when you’re just launching your home bakery business, you’ll be in need of a full range of items and equipment to fulfill orders. This is especially relevant if you plan on selling goods at events that will require some sort of mobile setup and space to sell. But it really could apply to any number of things you’ll need when first starting out.
These groups are having a bit of a moment. If you’re unfamiliar, Buy Nothing Groups stem from the Buy Nothing Project. The idea is for people to give items away that they no longer have a use for in a group forum setting where local community members can indicate their interest. It not only prevents household items from heading to the dump, but benefits folks nearby who could get a lot of use out of the item secondhand.
These groups exist across the world and are popular on Facebook as well. A simple Google or Facebook search will find the group nearest you or you can check this list from the Buy Nothing Project.
If your area has a robust Buy Nothing network, you may be able to find some much-needed items right in your own neighborhood for free. This could be anything from kitchen necessities like cake pans, mixing bowls, or a food scale, or farmers market and event items such as a pop-up tent, folding tables, chalkboards or letter boards for signage, table clothes, storage containers, and coolers. You might even find administrative/business necessities like a printer, label maker, or filing cabinet.
If you don’t see an item you’re looking for being given away, you can always share an ISO (in search of) post in your local Facebook group and list the things you’re looking for. Sometimes generous folks have these things lying around and they’re happy to give it away to someone in need!
That's all..for now
I could go on and on, but this blog is getting long enough and there is a lot of information to take in! If you’re interested in learning about even more resources to help keep startup costs low, leave a comment below or send me an email at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!