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Aug 05

Make money selling cakes, jams and sweets

Reading Time: 7 mins

Make money by selling cakes, jams and sweets at local car boot sales, markets and even shops. If everyone loves your homemade sweet treats it’s likely that you could make money from them!

Take a look at our guide to making and selling your delicious creations below, and see some of the great comments from readers too. They’ve left some helpful tips and links for you!

 

make cash from selling cakes

Woman baking a cake
The beautiful thing about earning by baking is that it’s straightforward and flexible. It isn’t something that you necessarily have to do regularly – if you’re a little short of cash one week, it’s easy enough to hunt down your next local car boot sale and get baking. All you’ll really need is to have a good few recipes under your belt and a reasonable idea of what people would buy.

You don’t have to be qualified for this, but there are hundreds of baking/cake decorating courses you can go on which are likely to benefit the quality of your products. You can find courses at LearnDirect. The Food Standards Agency has also got some useful information on starting up a food business if you decide that baking is the business for you.

Here’s our foolproof six-step guide to help you make money selling cakes, jams and sweets:

 

Step-by-step guide to help you make money selling cakes

Step 1: Research

Young people buying sweets at a market stall
Take a trip to your local car boot sale or farmers’ market and look for which food stalls are the busiest. If it seems like jam is the ‘in-thing’ and there aren’t that many stalls that sell it, you’ve found your product.

If you’re at a car boot and there aren’t any stalls that make money selling cakes or other food, then it’s a good idea to take a look at the people that are there. Are they the sort who would prefer to buy upmarket, fancy, homemade produce or a couple of 10p fairy cakes to nibble on while they have a browse for basement bargains? Make the kind of cakes and sweets you think you could sell easily.

Ask your family and friends what they’d like. Try to ask a wide range of people and see if you come out with any unanimous decisions. Also, speak to any cake sellers you see at fairs and markets and ask them which cakes sell best.

It’s also important to make sure you keep on the right side of the law. Legislation says that all food businesses must register their kitchens with their local authority unless they operate on a “casual and limited” basis only.

Laptop showing baking website

If you’re simply selling cakes once in a blue moon at a car boot sale or market then you don’t need to worry. However, if you are planning on doing this regularly, contact your local council and ask them what the rules are. If you do have to register your kitchen, it’s totally free to do so.

Be aware that if you want to make money selling cakes or other food produce regularly, the FSA has a range of free information on its web site to ensure you can do this safely and stay on the right side of the law. There‘s plenty of good hygiene advice too on the NHS Choices web site.

 

Step 2: do your Costings

Bakers working out costs

If you want to make money selling cakes and other produce, you need to do some basic costings.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. You’ll need to take into consideration:

  • How much ingredients cost
  • Cost of the sale location fee (car boot sale/farmers market fee) if there is one
  • Cost of travel to the location
  • Cost of the food packaging (keep it simple to start with – clingfilm will do in some places)
  • Initial cost of food hygiene training (if you’re planning on regular sales)
  • Cost of labels/general stationery/invoicing pads
  • Extra cost of gas or electricity for your oven

Once you’ve worked out how much all of this is likely to cost you, you should be able to work out how much you’ll need to sell your cakes, sweets and jams for to break even and then make a profit.

While you do your research, you should be taking note of other stallholders who make money selling cakes and foods, to get a rough idea of how much you can reasonably expect to charge.

If you have to price your products extortionately just to make a profit, see if there’s anywhere you can cut back on costs. Shop around for cheaper ingredients or look for different locations that aren’t as pricey.

 

Step 3: Experiment with recipes

Lots of different flavours of fruit tart
Once you’ve got a good idea of the kind of people you’re going to make money selling cakes to, it’s time to get your product sorted. You’ll need to come up with a range of different products to make this work.

If you want to sell jams, then make taster pots of all different flavours and try out different variations of ingredients. For you to make money selling cakes, you need to try out different methods, ingredients, flavours, and fillings. With sweets test out different recipes. You could try focusing on one area, like chocolate, fudge, or maybe even health food!

Get your friends and family to try all your samples out and find out which are the most popular choices. They’ll likely be more than willing to help!

Little girls happily eating cakes

It’s worth knowing that at farmers’ markets, you’re not likely to make money selling cakes unless you use local, organic ingredients. People who go to these events look for traditional homemade foods and one of the pros of shopping for food at a farmers’ market is that you’re able to ask the stallholder precisely where the food is from and how it was made.

Stallholders at farmers’ markets should be prepared to give honest, credible answers to customers – so factor these more expensive ingredients into your budget. Remember that people are usually willing to pay for high quality.

 

Step 4: Get the right location

Location pin on a map

Before you decide to make a real go of this, it’s advisable to give it a few test runs somewhere that isn’t going to cost you the earth.

Try out a stall at a car boot sale first, because it will only cost you between £5 and £15 to set up there. You can find your nearest car boot sale on Carbootjunction.

For more information on car boot sales you can read our full guide here.

Once you’re more established, you might consider going a little more upmarket, although if you have cracked the car boot market you could also simply increase the number of cakes you take with you and let your business grow that way.

There are a number of other outlets that will let you make money selling cakes or other goods, such as the Women’s Institute, which runs country markets around the UK. It costs just 5p to join, and they’ll take about 10% commission on sales to cover the costs of the market.

To join, all you need is to pop down to your local market and have a word with the controller. You can find the contact details for your local market on the website or you can call their head office on 01246 261508 for more information.

To set up a stall at a farmers’ market and make money selling cakes, you need to find one local to you. You can do this by searching the Local Foods website for your nearest market. The website doesn’t deal directly with the people who run the markets so you can contact them via the details they provide on the site.

 

Step 5: Get the presentation right

Making plum jam
Presentation is important, particularly if you sell at an upmarket venue. Consider your customers: are they going to want something ‘cheap and cheerful’, or posh-looking homemade produce? Funnily enough, some of the more expensive jams and cakes have ‘the rustic look’: you could find yourself charging a lot for produce which looks especially homely!

Packaging can affect your sales in a big way. Ribbon is cheap if you buy in bulk from a haberdashery store, and can neaten up any edges around your cakes. If you want to make money selling cakes and jams, it’s worth getting some fancy labels printed, or spending some time decorating your own. You could experiment with themed packaging around holidays like Easter and Christmas, and for days like Valentine’s Day and Hallowe’en.

Whatever you use to package your products, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with food. This means that you are limited to certain types of packaging depending on what food you’re selling. It’s mainly the use of adhesives which is restricted but again – you’ll need to contact your local council for more information.

 

Step 6: make money selling cakes a serious business

Baking business card

A simple way to get some repeat business is to get some business cards printed off.

If you’re making cakes, you could then advertise the fact that you bake to order for parties and events (if your kitchen can take the strain!)

Pop into local cafés and coffee shops (not the chain outlets), hand them your card and make your services known – maybe even provide them with a few samples.

 

If you thought this article on how to make money selling cakes was sweet, we think you’ll also love…

 

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Ashley
Ashley
9 years ago

Hello. This is a great article. As an entrepreneur it is important to know how to prepare and present a price to a client. I’d like to suggest reading this article : timedoctor.com/biz3.0/how-to-prepare-quotes-for-clients-that-get-accepted/ , to be guided on the do’s and don’ts on selling.

Cheryl
Cheryl
9 years ago

Hi,

I would love to sell cakes and fruit pies at a local car boot sale or market. I haven’t done this before and wondered if anyone would be interested joining me?

It would be great having someone else on board. So if there’s anyone who’s interested selling cakes and pies with me in London please contact me.
cherylcthomp@aol.com

Marie
Marie
9 years ago

Hi

I run a small business hiring vintage china in Leicestershire. I am thinking of setting up a vintage tea club once a week for a couple of hours in our village hall and would like to provide home made cakes and cookies. I have an old food hygiene certificate would this still be valid or as its only once a week would I need one?

many thanks

Marie

Jules Pringle
Jules Pringle
9 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Hello. To sell cakes to the public you will need a current food hygiene Level 2 certificate (retail) and you have to register your business with the local council – Environmental health where they will come and check where you will be baking from. Even though cake baking is low risk there are a few hoops to jump. I am just going through the process now to have a cake stall at a local craft fair. Next thing I need is insurance but don’t know which one to get. some are very costly!

Regards

rob
rob
9 years ago
Reply to  Marie

hi if anyone is interested in selling cakes,biscuits in a local London market please kindly drop me a line
robs331@hotmail.co.uk

Samantha
Samantha
9 years ago

I want to start my own small business of chutneys and I did little research the Flavours I want to make is not in market , how can I start , I just have my grans recipes and £50 .

Roland Mclean
Roland Mclean
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

hi sam try dragons den… or your local enterprise trust enquire about that from your local jobcentre , helps small businesses set ups ..ive even thought of a good name for your jams ..(SAMS JAMS) if you need any help via advice etc please feel free 2 contact me on BURNLEY 01282-429282 MY HOME TEL NUMBER..im hoping to look at a new business , selling flowers, fruit n veg here in lancashire on an antiques fair..i would happily like to purchase some of your new recipes..also u can fine me on facebook type in ROLAND MCLEAN MACHESTER not the 1… Read more »

rob peters
rob peters
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

are you in the london area perhaps we could share costs?
I am looking at cupcakes, cakes, and biscuits

BRIAN SU
BRIAN SU
9 years ago

Hello

Anyone can share ideas about cake baking and selling? I am based in Redhill Surrey.

At the moment we are renting a coach house so I was told no commercial baking allowed due to insurance and landlord policy. What is the best option if I want to make my cakes and sell them on weekends and sell online?

my email: briansu31@yahoo.co.uk

Please share

Brian

Jules Pringle
Jules Pringle
9 years ago
Reply to  BRIAN SU

Hi Brian I am currently going through the procedures to be able to run a cupcake and fudge stall at a local craft fair. Both very low risk but still need to get the go ahead. I live in rented accommodation and have just registered with the local council – environmental health, they actually came around today and it was quite a smooth process. They can randomly check stalls and markets and other places so this is law. I have also just completed my Level 2 food hygiene (retail) which I did online to make life a bit easier. Apart… Read more »

Peter
Peter
9 years ago
Reply to  BRIAN SU

Hi,

great idea, if you want to sell your cakes online, try websites like gigzon.com where you can offer products for up to 100 and even sell locally.

Hope you like it, I do sell stuff there and it is great.

Ladypezza
Ladypezza
9 years ago

Hi everyone,

I’m an avid baker in Blackheath and people keep telling me I should start selling my cakes but I really don’t know where to start and would ideally like someone to collaborate with!

I work fulltime as it is so wouldn’t want this to take over my day job but would love to be able to sell the cakes I make as a hobby.

wayne
wayne
9 years ago
Reply to  Ladypezza

Hi,

would you consider working with someone in Thames Valley area who has knowledge of food industry?

be great to hear from you if interested

evans_wayne@hotmail.com

Liz Allan
Liz Allan
9 years ago
Reply to  wayne

Hi Wayne, I know that this post was back in November but please let me know if you are still interested as I am looking for help with my allergy friendly home-based bakery just outside Reading.

Joe
Joe
9 years ago

Hi I am thinking of selling sweets in cellophane cones. Do I need to be registered and require insurance. I don’t know if it will take off or not so worried I don’t want to end up in debt before I even start making any money.

Rebecca Mays
Rebecca Mays
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Hi,

Selling sweets is a pretty low cost adventure.
As for insurances etc that you are enquiring about it all depends where you plan to sell them and if you are manufacturing your self. Contact us at shop@rebeccamays.eu we’re an existing sweet shop business and will be happy to advise – we also sell bulk and wholesale sweets and candy

rob
rob
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe

hi read how to set up a business in 7 days by James Caan to see whether you ideas would be feasible . Also check out competition buy a biscuit or cake and ask them whether they make a good living

kim
kim
9 years ago

Hi is anyone in the hampshire area looking for a partner to start a cake business? I would love to take the leap but would have more courage with someone else, would love to hear back from anyone interested

Ellie
Ellie
9 years ago
Reply to  kim

Hi there

I’m in the Hampshire area and have an avid passion for making cupcakes and would love a small business eventually.

Here is my email address if you want to have a little chat over email 🙂

eli.damico85@gmail.com

Be nice to chat 🙂

Ellie 🙂

kristy
kristy
9 years ago
Reply to  kim

Hi there Kim where abouts in Hampshire are you? iv been wanting to start my own cake/baking business and would like someone to go in with. kristy

WAYNE
WAYNE
9 years ago
Reply to  kim

I would be interested to assist with this if possible?

currently work in food wholesale/retail field, so have some working knowledge of how to bring a product to market along with the concept.

feel free to email me if you’d like to have a chat

evans_wayne@hotmail.com

Wayne

Diane
Diane
9 years ago
Reply to  kim

Dear Kim

I could be too late, as I have only just started looking on the website, but just wondering were you are in Hampshire as I’m looking to find someone to go with to look at selling cakes in my local area.

Or if there is anyone else out there still looking I live in the Southampton area, if you are looking for some help let me know diane.lillie@hotmail.co.uk is my address.

I bake a mean carrot cake and I have been told I should look at selling it, so I thougt I would try

Diane

Kristy
Kristy
9 years ago
Reply to  Diane

Hi

I live in Southampton and I keep getting told I should sell my cup cakes, and would really like some one to go in with.

My email is kristy16_7@msn.com

I look forward to hearing from you

Kristy

kat
kat
10 years ago

This tool is great for calculating the cost of ingredients, profit and how much to charge for your cakes really help me out! cakebaker./cake-recipe-pricing-calculator.html

Jasmine
Admin
Jasmine
10 years ago
Reply to  kat

Wow that’s a brilliant tool! How clever. Thanks for letting us know.

Jessica
Jessica
9 years ago
Reply to  Jasmine

Yes, agree totally with the above. This site is a dream find. Many thanks for taking the time to put it together!

Chonette Taylor
Chonette Taylor
9 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

a simple calculation is to add the cost of all he ingredients and multiply it by 3 an then add your profit, if you have to go out to sale your cakes you have o add the transport and rent as well.

1= cost of ingredients
2= cost of labour
3= cost of premises, kitchen, electricity etc.

Then on top f hat you add your profic

Jasmine
Admin
Jasmine
9 years ago

Nice simple calculation. Thanks for that Chonette

paula
paula
10 years ago

Like many people I too need to make a little money to improve matters at home maybe even purchase a new pair of shoes , at last a web site stating facts and figures about a helping hand in this day and age, too much jargon and red tape stops so many community’s from getting to know one another. A big thank you

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