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During the last few years, interest in home baking has soared. This trend grew exponentially in early 2020, as the coronavirus panic closed many restaurants and limited commercial foodservice operations. Along with sanitizers and toilet paper, flour was another commodity that began to disappear from store shelves. Some people entered the home bakery business to share their culinary pursuits. Others sought a temporary solution to supplement their income during a difficult time, while a large number hoped to develop a home-based business to forge a new path.
Whatever their reasons for becoming cottage cooks, these new home bakers encountered a variety of challenges. Some jumped head-first into the batter without investigating applicable cottage food laws in their state or local ordinances that might limit how home bakeries operate. Even those who researched the legality of home-based baking businesses may have overlooked whether electronic commerce restrictions might prohibit them from selling their products to out-of-state customers without having a mechanism in place to collect sales taxes.
Cottage food laws and regulations vary by state, county, and municipality. Inexperienced home-based entrepreneurs may have questions about labeling requirements for baked goods, the frequency of health inspections in their residential kitchens, or if restrictions exist on distributing free samples if not properly packaged.
States often limit the types of products one can sell, as well as the location, or the amount of revenue one may earn from these activities. A loaf of bread baked in one county may be sold at a farmer's market in one jurisdiction, but prohibited at a similar location in a different jurisdiction. Some locations may require a permit to operate a cottage bakery, while others expect the permit to be displayed.
Once clearing these hurdles, the home baker must secure appropriate insurance, acquire the beginning inventory of food products and ingredients, and other necessary supplies.They have to condition themselves to track mileage and other information essential for business deductions and taxes. The home baker also has to forecast financial projections, consider the best marketing options for their baked goods, and become aware of competition in the area.
These challenges a home baker may face illustrate the importance of having a bakery management system in place. Long before they proof their first loaf of bread or bake their first cake, cottage cooks with the best software for bakery business management can track orders, prepare documentation, manage inventory, plan for special events, and handle a number of other tasks. The days of trying to keep file cards or handwritten notebooks as a way to manage a home-based business have passed.
If you’ve ever looked into running your own home bakery business, then you have probably realized that outside of baking your delicious goods (the most fun part of your job), running a business is a lot of balancing work. You need to be able to keep track of your inventory, monitor stock levels, track customer details and preferences, take online bakery orders, and so much more.
If you’re as good with Excel and other programs as you are in the kitchen, then you may be tempted to tackle managing your home bakery with a spreadsheet and some coding. However, Excel has its limits when it comes to bakery management and there are far better tools to be used in specialist home bakery software to run your business. While that might sound expensive, but you’d be surprised by the affordable options available that will over time give your business a higher return on investment. Plus, software will enable you to stress less and have more of your most precious resource- free time.
So, what options are available as the best apps for home bakers? Home bakery apps vary quite a bit in both what they offer and what they cost. Here are some tips to help you find the best home bakery app for you.
When you’re managing and creating multiple products, you need to know what products you’ve got left in stock- and so do your customers.
Choosing a bakery app that allows you to set the quantity for each product that automatically updates each time you sell an item is ideal. That way, you can rest assured that customers can’t order a sold-out product. If you try manually tracking this, not only will you end up with a headache, but customer service issues may arise if you have to tell a customer that you can’t meet the order they just placed.
Our recommendation: Save yourself the hassle and get a bakery online ordering system that will keep track for you.
When selling a variety of baked goods with different options, it’s far more convenient for customers if they can select toppings, fillings, and other customizations themselves online.
Be on the lookout for an app to sell baked goods that both yourself and your customers find easy to use. If the features on an app aren't easy to use or limit the control over the customization your customers need, it is not worth it. Thankfully there are softwares that can meet this need! A bakery app that will make this easy for you will likely have a feature that sends you an order notification with all the details conveniently organized at your fingertips.
Some of your customers may be allergic to certain food items, such as nuts and dairy products. When you have repeat customers, you don’t want to have to rely on your memory or manual entry in a spreadsheet to provide this key piece of information about your client.
Get your hands on home bakery software that allows you to keep customer details and notes on any allergies they have. This reduces the chances of any errors and keeps your customers safe! When you take extra care, it will also keep customers coming back because they can trust that you will cater to what they want and need.
Most businesses nowadays take payments online for their goods. In fact, we've all been there- it's frustrating and unusual when a business doesn't. Taking payments online is a professional touch you should add to your home bakery with an app that lets you easily take payments online.
You’ll find it makes your business smoother to run, and customers will be happy to thank you for an effortless and easy transaction. In addition, you can take the stress out of managing sales tax in different states by finding an app that will automatically do that for you when you take payments online.
You started your business so you could create beautiful and tasty baked goods- not so you could spend all of your free time investing in learning web design. Spend your time where it counts, and go for a home bakery app that will help you create a stunning website for your business in just a few clicks.
Your website is your storefront on the internet, and you want to present the best possible version on your business in this place to land a solid impression with potential customers. This is why website software that’s intuitive and easy to use while giving you great results is a must.
When you are running a small business, it is understandable that you need access to the money you make off of an order immediately. Your budget is likely tight, and you need access to those funds to continue fueling your business (or continue living your life). Some online e-commerce apps only pay out once a month and some even pay out less frequently than that. The fact is, you need healthy cash flow to keep buying ingredients and keep your bakery going. Having your well-earned money tied up in an app's software for weeks isn't an option.
In order to pay your bills, restock, and take care of any other business that requires money, you need access to your earning instantaneously. When looking into different home bakery software apps, be aware of this and make sure you fully understand the financial policies of an app before you use it. We recommend finding a bakery app that will let you withdraw your earnings once a week,. This way, will will struggle less to keep your cash flow going.
If you’ve got questions or need some help, it’s really important that your home bakery app is backed by the very best in customer support.
Take your time and chat to customer support before you pick a bakery app. There will likely come a time when you need assistance through customer support. Previewing it before you dive into using an app will ensure that you receive the customer service you need when that time comes!
Other important things to look out for when choosing home bakery software include:
It’s worth taking your time and asking yourself all of these questions on behalf of your business before picking your new bakery app to select the best option available for your store.
So where can you find all of these features in free home bakery software? Current options include apps like Bake Diary or Bakesy, each of which require a monthly subscription. There services ma be strong, but remember that there is a chance that you could find yourself paying out for the app before it's made you any profit.
An alternative to these apps, however, is Castiron. With a free trial, this software is initially a free app for bakery orders that enables you to build yourself a website quickly while also checking all of the boxes of the suggestions above and more. Castiron a one-stop-shop to get your bakery off the ground that will help you manage every aspect of your bakery business while also being run by real humans who really care about the success of you and your business.
Ready to take the next step with you bakery business? Sign up and take a look around the site - we think you’ll love what we have to offer. A community of creators is waiting to meet a baker just like you!
Today, smart bakers who operate from their homes understand the value that high-quality bakery software brings to their business. When considering the best apps for home bakers available on the internet, you should evaluate how the features and options can be customized to meet your business needs within the location you operate. The bakery software should offer an intuitive, interactive way for you to manage your bakery business.
Getting some traditionalists to transition to a computer is a big step. Others comfortable with computers may rely on software they used years ago for different purposes. For either of these at-home bakers, counting on yesteryear's software may cause more frustration and difficulty than they expect. Keeping recipes and nutritional information on a word processor, contact information on a spreadsheet, inventories on a database, and upcoming special orders on a separate calendar program will have the baker spending more time on their computer than in the kitchen.
An app for home bakers offers a single location to manage these and other facets of a home bakery business. Castiron offers free home bakery software available to everyone, one that allows culinary artisans to organize various facets of their business on a free and convenient bakery app so they can devote time to their passion of baking, build and extend their networks with like-minded creators and satisfied customers, and create a profitable and empowering enterprise.
Features available in the baking apps free download portal at Castiron meet the needs of most home-based bakers. The home bakery inventory feature allows you to track ingredients, supplies, and manage recipes. You have an accurate estimate of the supplies on hand, so you can purchase or order from your suppliers the necessary supplies and materials you require to meet your anticipated demand.
This software allows you to set the cost of each order, manage inventory, and keep track of customer information. You can manage custom order requests if you're a baker who specializes in complex cakes or cookies, or you can simply sell a set line of products that customers can check out with instantly.
You have a single location to examine forthcoming orders and deliveries on your calendar. When tracking online bakery orders, you can review order history, add annotations regarding customer preferences, and describe templates or designs for orders as a point of reference for future orders.
Castiron's free bakery software has both a public face and a restricted portal where you can manage the behind-the-scenes processes for your home-based bakery business. Our company offers software solutions for a variety of cottage industries, and we understand that time spent on an app should benefit your business directory rather than waste your time. Similarly, our bakery software, free for you to use, offers a platform that allows your loyal customers to have positive interactions and offer an inviting online presence for new customers interested in products available from your at-home baking business.
The free home bakery software from Castiron permits you to manage many facets of your home-based business. The bakery inventory management system allows you to track supplies and ingredients internally to keep sufficient stock on hand and reorder wisely, while also allowing you to specify the number of products available for sale. This feature externally notifies customers when an item has sold out, so you do not have dissatisfied patrons who order a product that is no longer available.
The online ordering system for bakery products allows customers to review available inventory recently baked in your oven. You can describe available products as vegan, ketogenic (low carb), Kosher, or appropriate for other types of diets. Our labeling system and online portal give you the ability to identify items that have dairy, eggs, nuts, or other ingredients that may have common allergens.
The Castiron app benefits home bakers who operate in a variety of settings. Some bakers perform all business functions from within their homes. Others may sell products at a farmer's market or as part of a larger catering service. Regardless of your home-baking business plan, Castiron's free app for bakery orders facilitates ease of communication between you and your customers, other vendors, caterers, or foodservice businesses.
The customizable Castiron online ordering system for bakery products is tailored to the needs of a cottage industry baker. Our app maintains relationships with already-established customers by recording their order details and preferred methods of fulfillment. The app encourages flexible fulfillment options and keeps track of special orders by customers. The bakery order tracker allows for back-and-forth communications for custom orders, as well as ways to track messages and develop invoices. The Castiron app's functions allow for enhanced marketing, email communications, and automated notification.
While making bread in your home's oven, Castiron allows you to manage the "bread" you earn through your cottage bakery business. Castiron's bakery POS software handles point-of-sale transactions, online payments, and allows you to see a breakdown of prices, fees, and taxes. Staying compliant with taxing authorities is imperative, and the Castiron app allows you to collect local and state sales taxes as you market your home-baked products.
In developing and running your home-based baking business, you may want to consider other platforms that offer bakery accounting software. Some cottage bakers prefer to handle bookkeeping for bakery business activities themselves, while others contract with an outside party to manage their bakery accounting transactions.
Although Castiron does not provide accounting-specific tools through our home bakery software app, the various ways it permits you to control inventory, coordinate marketing and outreach, and handle transactions will streamline your business process. This is true whether you choose to handle accounting in-house or with an outside firm. Our bakery management software gives you the organizational tools for all facets of your home-baking business, so you can organize and quantify sales and inventory with whatever bakery accounting spreadsheet free or for purchase you choose to use for accounting purposes.
If you choose to perform accounting functions at home rather than with an accountant, consider the best software for small bakery functions that matches your business model. Assure that you can clearly enumerate entries for credits, debits, and the cost of goods sold. Seek an accounting package that permits you to transition any handwritten ledgers or paper invoices and receipts into a software program that organizes financial information into categories that make sense for your home-baking business and taxing authorities with which you file returns.
Ensure that this accounting software offers remote backup of financial records, as well as the ability for you to maintain records through any audit or other external review that may occur. By matching the best accounting software or hiring an accounting professional to keep your financial books in order, you will have the icing on the cake for your bake-at-home business.
My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!
The Whimsical Cookie
Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.
Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets
Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.
Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.
I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!
I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.
Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.
Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s website builder was created to help you grow. Create a website in minutes with our templates, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.
Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.
Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.
No code required. Add pages, sell your products, build order forms, and show off your beautiful work. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.