How To Start A Pie-Making Business

I bake pies and am creating a delivery only business.  I have ADHD (but, I find I am not alone). I can’t seem to “finish” my business plan.  Is this project ongoing or is it me? I would like to sell my pies on craigslist.com.  I plan on keeping my job so I meet my business obligations.  I have several people to help with the baking and delivery but I have a problem with being afraid of people ripping me off. Are these all normal concerns?  I have a lot of family and associate support.  Were do I put my foot first?

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Jay’s Answer:  Your concerns/fears are normal. Keeping your job going is also a very smart move. So how to proceed?

  1. Make sure you’re using a commercial kitchen. Your local health department has the information you need to understand why it’s necessary (both legally and from a safety perspective).
  2. Form a legal company. You’ll want to either talk to a lawyer or at least do your own research (starting with Nolo Press – http://www.nolo.com). The point is that if someone were claim to have gotten sick from your pies, they might sue you. And you don’t want to lose your house because of your pies. The right company structure can help protect you financially. (Note: I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice).
  3. You’ll probably need a business license to sell your goods (again depending on where you live). Getting your license to sell your baked goods will also probably necessitate working with your local Health Department to ensure you’re following packaging and food safety regulations.
  4. You’ll want to make it easy for people to pay you for your goods. These days, an easy way to solve in-person payment is a mobile credit card processing machine. People could then pay you either in cash or with an instantly validated credit card.
  5. Since you’re delivering the pies, you’ll probably want additional insurance to protect the pie delivery vehicle and driver. You’re operating a business, and if there’s a problem, your normal auto insurance provider might not be too happy.

The last steps were all to protect you and your business. Now, you need to market your pies to the public. Craiglist is the easy way to sell something, but it might not be the most efficient/effective. How about your local Farmer’s Market? Or, working with your local charity (they take orders for pies, they get payment up-front, you deliver).

All of these steps take time and money. Taking shortcuts might save you time and money short-term, but may cost you dearly long-term.

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