I live in Maryville, TN. This one is a little odd. I resigned from my job at the end of March. Due to stress I have not been well. I am now back in the job market, but I think one of my issues may hinder my future job performances, so I have been working on creating an at home business.
I would like to start up an online bakery business. I want to start small, selling (the most awesome)rum cakes. My plan is to build a small commercial kitchen in my backyard. With a separate kitchen I could set it up as needed for health and safety compliance. I have 3 cats, and my family in the home that wil be forever in and out of the kitchen, leaving tupicq5l family mess behind, as well as getting in the way.
My husband works 3rd shift in a manufacturing environment as building maintenance, specializing in refrihetation an HVAC. We have numerous home projects in the works that he has been trying to complete over the years, as this house was a nightmare when we moved in in 2003. These things make him a less than ideal person to help me with my situation at this time.
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to do something like this as low vost as possible. One of my thoughts was to get a prebuilt shed from Lowes/Home Depot, drywall it and renovate with ac/heat, electricity, and water, and turn it into an actual commercial kitchen.
Any suggestions on how to make tjis a viable plan would be great. I am not concerned with my backyard. It is still towards the bottom of the renovation list.
Thanks for dealing with my rambling.
I can't speak to the design issues but I am wondering if you should contact whatever state and/or local health authority will be inspecting the kitchen, as it's my understanding that on-site inspection would be part of any home business producing food.
That kind of authority might have some specific requirements for safety and cleanliness that you might need to incorporate into your design.
I'm assuming that you'd be electrifying and plumbing the shed, so I'd check on the inspection issues both at the state and local level, especially given that this is a shed, to be used for commercial purposes.
Local communities also typically have other requirements for home based businesses; you'd be adding a commercial function to what I presume is a residential neighborhood.
Make sure zoning isn't an issue - you don't want to discover that your kitchen shed isn't in compliance with any zoning issues. In fact you might have to get a variance.
Don't forget to check with your homeowners insurance agent as well; you'll want to make sure you can insure the shed. And the carrier may also have some mandated standards for kitchen sheds.
Perhaps the fact that you'll be selling online might make a difference in the inspection issues, but you'll still be producing the goods at home.
I'm wondering though it if wouldn't be easier to make the kitchen off limits to DH and the cats while you're cooking, especially since you've been off work for awhile and presumably w/o income. Just a thought...
Do you have a marketing plan to support the investment of funds into a commercial kitchen?
As usual, GS has hit on most of the important legal issues - and she's over 1,000 miles away from Maryville TN.
So I'll just add in my two cents worth - as it's been maybe a few days since I've been in Maryville (Murrvill to us locals). As GS points out, the most important first step is to verify that you can even do this on your property. Many residential lots are zoned for just a single family residence. Adding a second structure or especially a business either may not be allowed or may require a variance to do.
Your best bet for an inexpensive kitchen structure would be to start with one of the larger wood 'sheds' offered by Lowe's or HD. While you could get a decent sized one that looks like a little house in the $6,000 to $8,000 range, be aware that there will be a lot of additional costs to turn it into a finished kitchen.
First off, once it becomes 'living space' it is going to need a real foundation to pass code. This could be a slab or crawl space. Rough guess - $5,000.
Electrical service (best with it's own meter) will set you back at least $2,000 to $3,000 and could be more.
Plumbing in and waste out about the same as electric. Possibly more if you have some distance to septic or sewer.
Your cheapest H/A will be one or two in-wall or in-window units, but you're still going to spend $1,500 to $2,000. If you wanty to go with a small heat pump system, you'll pay two or three times this amount.
The interior finish will surprise you - insulation, drywall, floor covering, painting, trim etc will run $5,000 to $10,000 depending on how fancy you want to go and how large the area is.
And don't forget that you'll need cabinetry and countertops, plus appliances to make a kitchen. Very easy to spend $10,000 for this. More for real commercial grade appliances if that's what you need.
So just a real quick cost estimate puts this in the $35,000 range and possibly much, much more. I say this to be realistic - as you are currently unemployed I would suspect that the budget will be a critical factor.
So the two big things to check out early are the budget and if you can even build a separate commercial structure on your lot.
TO, there is an option to the full fledged outdoor commercial kichen for an online business.
Start small, start locally, do some test marketing, refine your product, take advantage of the summer farmers' markets to make adjustments if necessary while getting feedback on your product.
Simultaneously, you can also research to determine what competition you'd have with online selling, before designing or hiring the design of a website and determining the legal structure of your business.
You might also contact local grocery and specialty stores to see if they'll carry your product on a test basis.
The capital investment would be nominal and you could determine what the market is locally before epxanding to a broader based production and higher startup costs.This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
"small commercial kitchen" -- one-burner Viking?
I think you'll find once you talk to the licensing board that most surfaces will need to be stainless steel. you'll need hotter water than a home for cleaning, perhaps 150-160 degrees. certainly restaurant dishwashers have to be over 180 degrees.
it was temporarily illegal in Minnesota to hold a bake sale because home kitchens are not inspected and could not pass because of the requirements. and pest control. and sanitation control. and refrigeration requirements...
I think you'll find the startup costs are going to be double or triple what you think, and operating costs also pretty wild. although getting used fixtures at auction can help, it's worth looking around for a starving hole-in-the-wall bakery or restaurant that is looking for a way to sell out and retire. at least you have a base for one price, although you're likely to need to replace some items and do a lot of hard scrubbing to pass initial inspection.
you might find a supermarket getting rid of their bakery that will let you lease the space and use the equipment, provided you don't trespass their marks (for instance, Betty Lou's Rum Cakes from Gargantua Fresh Markets.)This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
There's a Michigan supermarket with half a dozen stores which features Michigan made products. Sometimes these "fairs" are held bi-annually, with a 2 - 3 dozen Michigan merchants displaying their products. They're always well attended, probably because there are lots of free samples.
Obviously cards and brochures on the companies are available on their tables. Setup is minimal; To wouldn't need to bring as much as she would to create a display at a farmer's market, which is another good way to test interest and get feedback before investing a lot in a start-up venture.
If any local Tennessee markets have similar events, that would be a good way for To to get feedback on her cakes, get her name at least nominally known, and start up slowly and safely.
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