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With Allyson Grant

The Completely Legal Way to Sell Home Baked Goods Online

Have you been wanting to learn more about selling baked goods online? Selling food items baked in your home kitchen is a great way to earn extra money and in this article, I’ll show you why you don't need farmers' markets to get started. You can make money today by learning how to sell your baked goods online!

Selling home baked goods on Facebook promotional image by baking expert Allyson Grant

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I only recommend products that I use myself and believe in. Your purchases help me to continue this blog and support my family. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is entirely up to you.

 

 

How do I get started selling baked goods online?

Although I’ve been selling baked goods for years, I recently tried selling food online. It was a huge success and I can’t wait to share what I did to bake from home and sell out in just a few hours.

 I’ll show you everything you need to know to start selling food online:

  • What to sell
  • Packaging your baked goods
  • Pricing your baked goods
  • Posting your treats on social media
  • Taking payments
  • Delivery and pick up of your orders. 

 

Whether you are just testing the waters, or you are ready to start your home bakery, selling online is a great way to sell baked goods on a budget.

 

What Is The Most Popular Social Media Platform For Baking Businesses?

When you own a home bakery you need to have a strategy for connecting with your ideal customers. Some bakers find customers at the farmer's market, but in this article, we’ll focus on selling online. 

Selling baked goods online is a great idea for finding new customers and taking the first step toward launching your small business. 

 

Should I start selling baked goods on Facebook first?

I recently asked home bakers if they get the most customers from Facebook or Instagram, and 88% responded Facebook!  The reason bakers love selling on Facebook is because of how easy it is to connect with your target market. You can sell from your personal profile, a business page, on the Facebook online marketplace, and in local community groups. Because of all these options, Facebook is the best way to sell baked goods online.

What about selling baked goods on Instagram?

Instagram is a popular social media platform for your baking business too. Instagram can help you reach local customers if you customize your Instagram bio and have a good hashtag strategy. 

I recommend following other bakers on Instagram and watching to see how they promote their home bakeries. 

 If you want to learn more about selling on Instagram, check out this recent Instagram blog post

My six-step process to selling food on Facebook

Here are the steps I took to get started selling online treat boxes locally. Feel free to deviate from what I did. This is just intended to help you get started. Of course, this is not a one-size-fits-all operation. It worked for me in my small town. I hope it works for you as well.

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Please use your common sense and be safe when it comes to dealing with the public and making home deliveries.

Before you start selling, know the cottage food  laws In your state

Selling home-baked goods is sometimes referred to as a cottage foods bakery. Your state will set guidelines that you need to follow. Some things they can regulate are: which ingredients you can use, who you can sell to, and where you can sell.

 

Will I need a business license to sell baked goods from home?

Every state is different when it comes to selling baked goods from home. You'll need to find out what the laws, regulations, and license requirements are in your state. 

 

Need help understanding the legal paperwork required to start a home bakery?

To learn more about what you need to know to sell from home, you can check my course: Home Bakery Regulations: Everything you need to start a legal home baking business in 60 days or less. 

Click here to learn more

cottage food laws for sellingt baked goods

How to decide what to sell as a home baker

Deciding what to sell is a difficult task for people who love to bake because, so often,  we like to bake everything!

You can ask your friends and co-workers which of your baked goods they like best, bake something that you're known for, or try something new.

Just remember that you can't be all things to all people. Once you find a few baked goods that sell well and make a profit, you can specialize in those treats.

I decided to start small just to get the hang of it. I included cookies, bars, and muffins in my first round of treat boxes.

What is the best packaging for selling baked goods online?

For my online sale, I started with a medium-sized box that could hold about 6-8 assorted treats. I planned to make assorted boxes with a few different types of treats inside.

Here is a picture of the type of box I used.

I like it because it is versatile and allows me to change the assortment each week.

Bakery packaging with Amazon links

Here are the Amazon links for the boxes and stickers I used to make my bakery treat boxes:

I also wanted to add a personal touch with a sticker. I didn't have a logo yet, so I used these cute stickers I found on Amazon.

Here is how my bakery treat boxes looked when they were full of treats. If you have a business card, you can attach it to the boxes for a personal touch.

Selling home baked goods on Facebook

Pricing your home-baked products

Price Your Products

This is the most important step and one that lots of people skip. It will set good habits for any future baking that you do, so take the time to learn to cost your recipes and make sure that you are charging enough.

I've got a full blog post on how to cost your recipes. If you haven't learned how to calculate the cost of your recipe and mark it up for profit, stop what you're doing and go read that article. I cover the basics like:

Calculate Your Variable Costs

Your variable costs are things like how much ingredients cost, the cost of packaging, and your labels. You'll need to save your receipts and add up how much it costs you to make your items.

Factor In Your Overhead Costs

Overhead for home bakers is usually pretty low. They include things like fees you pay to sell at a farmer's market, apps you pay for to help you run your baking business, and mileage on your car for delivery. Just be sure to add a little to each item you sell to cover your monthly expenses.

Create a Profit Margin

The next thing you need to do is to decide how much you want to make from each sale. This is called your profit or markup. It's different for everyone but you can average between 25-45% from each item for profit.

Here is the link to read my full article on Pricing Your Baked Goods. 

Set up Payment Options

I try to offer as many payment options as I can to make it easier for everyone. You don't need to invest any money here--this is just "getting your feet wet" when it comes to selling. For now, you can activate a free Venmo account, Paypal, or Facebook Pay (which works through Facebook messenger).

The goal is to make payment as convenient as possible for your prospective customers. Remember to secure the payment before you move on to discussing delivery or pick-up.

Down the road, you may want to look into something like Square for taking credit cards. To learn more about why I recommend using Square for selling baked goods, check out this recent article.

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Announce Your Treats on the baked goods marketplace

Before you list your items, get everything packaged and ready to go. Here’s what you should have done before you post your baked goods for sale online:

  • Bake your treats
  • Take a few good photos. (One of just the product, and one that shows the packaging)
  • Set your prices
  • Decide if you will allow pick up or offer delivery

Announcing a baked goods flash sale 

A flash sale is when you are selling items that are already baked. When I did my flash sale,  

I created a listing on my personal Facebook page and shared it with a local Facebook group.

I got my first online order about 5 minutes after posting it. I was glad that I had everything ready because people wanted their treats right away. 

Selling baked goods by pre-order

Another way you can sell online is by taking pre-orders. Taking pre-orders means that people order your items before you bake them. Flash sales are good because you don't waste any unsold products, but it also means you are only selling to people who plan ahead. 

You can try selling baked goods with a flash sale and a pre-sale and see which works better for you. 

If you want to read more about promoting your bakery treats online, check out this post on Three Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Bakery Sales.

Don't post photos of other people's baked goods.

When you're just getting started, it can be tempting to borrow photos from other bakers. Especially if you don't have any good photos of your own just yet.

Don't underestimate your own talents, even simple and rustic desserts can sell well. Start simple and get in the habit of adding to your photo gallery little by little each time you post items to sell.

Borrowing other peoples pictures isn't a good practice for two reasons:

  1. you're not giving credit to the baker who worked hard to bake, style, and photograph that shot.
  2. It's misleading to the customer who will be expecting the same thing from their order.

Be careful posting photos of trademarked images

A quick scroll through Instagram will reveal loads of amazing baked goods that re-create characters, sports logos, and popular shoes and purses. All those recognizable brands are protected with trademarks.

Making a cake that recreates a trademarked image for personal use is fine, but selling the cake to a customer is illegal.

You'll need to decide if you are willing to take the risk of making a licensed image-baked good.

In my own baking business, I worked around d this by using edible prints of officially licensed brands and characters. You can see a great selection of licensed image options here.

For more tips on taking great photos with your smartphone, check out this recent blog post I wrote.

Here is an example of my first treat box post with pics:

Sellling baked goods online promotional image

Here is the photo I posted for selling baked goods on facebook

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Take Payment and Deliver

After my first post, I added a few additional payment methods. Not everyone uses Venmo, so I added Paypal and payment via Facebook Messenger Pay as well.

I just placed my treat boxes in a plastic shopping bag for my delivery and delivered it to the address that the buyer texted me.

Since this took place during the COVID Pandemic, I wore a face mask and did a contact-free delivery. I set the treat box on the customer's porch, went back to my car, and messaged them that it was there.

I didn't have any problems with this delivery method, although bakers who live in bigger cities often choose a public place like a Starbucks or Walmart parking lot to make their drop off.

After my first round of treat boxes, I was excited to make more and try it again!

Several of my recipients messaged me, told me how much they enjoyed them and wanted to know when I would be doing it again.

We received a box today from my mom and LOVED everything! Do you by chance have any more of the square bars? I don’t know what they are but my kids freaked out!

Lindsay

Here are a few questions that bakers Are asking:

Which is better, selling at farmers' markets or selling online?

Some bakers start their businesses by becoming vendors at farmer’s markets. It helps get your products in front of more customers and allows you to talk to more people about what they like and don't like. While this is a great way to grow your business, you don’t need to sell at local markets to get started. As you can see from this article. You can also start your home bakery business by selling online. 

 

My idea was to sell cheesecakes but my state doesn't allow me to use cream cheese. Is there any way around the cottage food laws?

It can be really discouraging when you learn your state doesn't allow the food products you need to make your favorite baked goods. I wouldn’t recommend trying to find a way around it and breaking the law and selling cheesecakes from a home-based bakery. Instead, you might want to look into renting a commercial kitchen and getting a different type of food business license.

Conclusion: Is It Illegal to Sell Food on Facebook?

As long as you understand and follow your cottage foods laws for bakers, it's perfectly legal to sell your home-baked goods online!

The best thing to do is start with a solid plan. Begin by choosing which items you will bake and how much you will sell them for. Don’t be tempted to guess at your prices. Take some time to  cost your recipes the right way. Next, you should invest in packaging and presentation because customers love the little finishing touches.  

Set up your payment method, bake, photograph your product, and then announce your treats online. Be ready to make a sale and remember to get full payment before you deliver.

 

Selling baked goods online can be a good business idea, and a great way for you to connect with your local community!

 

Let me know in the comments how you did!

For more about the items I used in my treat boxes, check out the recipes here: Ridiculously Easy Blondie Bars, Magnificant lemon poppyseed muffins, and Homemade Double Delicious Chewy Chocolate Cookies.



13 thoughts on “The Completely Legal Way to Sell Home Baked Goods Online”

  • I love these tips. I’ve been wanting to start selling my cinnamon rolls but wasn’t sure exactly how. I’m definitely going to try this. Thank you!

  • Hi Allyson! I am trying to start a pastry business and I really love your tips on how to market my products. Thank you for sharing. God bless

  • Hi Michelle, so glad you enjoyed this article. Best of luck with your pastry business!

  • Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for your comment. It makes me so happy to know my articles are helpful to you! Wishing you the best of luck and tons of success with your pastry business!

  • Hi,am from East Africa.I want to start a home cake business and after searching,I learn a lot from this article.Thank you for providing us with this information.

  • Hi Leticia, I’m so glad you found this article useful! Wishing you the best of luck with your cake business in East Africa!

  • I loved your article… I too run a small home bakery but I am not able to sell.. I will definitely try the above tips to sell my bakery products

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips for selling online. It was very thoughtful of you. I truly appreciated it. It gives me a good starting point.

  • I bake breads – yeast and sourdough. I fidddle with sales but today I give away (church and local hospital staff) about 80% of what I make. II picked it up after about 40 years as a CPA (not tax – but accounting and auditing). I have some comments on your page- some facts, some typos. I don’t see an address to send to you directly, but I will try info@bettterbakerclub.com and see if it works. I think we can learn from each other. I appreciate your energy. dan

  • Thank you for these tips! Which category do you post baked goods on Facebook marketplace? I didn’t see a category for baked goods specifically, so I tried “miscellaneous” but it would not allow me to have an option to ship like other categories do.

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