Do you own a bakery or bake from home and you want to sell at a farmers market? If YES, here are 20 smart tips on how to sell baked goods at a farmers market.
Selling baked goods at the farmers market can be a big commitment. You have to first verify that it is right for you. Start by talking with some vendors at your market, particularly people you know personally, and ask specific questions. Peruse the website of your farmers market and read the vendor requirements.
Note that many markets require that your ingredients or product be produced in the state. Some markets require your commitment for the entire selling season; in many areas, it’s about six months.
Booth rental fees vary but expect to pay an average of $500 per six-month season. Also, note that some markets allow you to rent a spot weekly for approximately $20. Booths are about 10-by-10 feet; you can choose your spot on a first-come, first-served basis.
How to Price Your Baked Goods at a Farmers Market
The first step to learning how to set your prices for your home bakery is to figure out how much it costs you in ingredients to make your baked goods. It’s easy to figure out exactly how much it’s costing you in ingredients to make baked goods, but there’s some math involved.
Weighing recipe ingredients in grams is awesome because it will help you figure out exactly how much you’re spending on ingredients in every recipe per gram. This will help you to consider what each product costs you to produce, but don’t forget to add your overhead.
Once you’ve figured out your total cost of operation, you’re ready to price your goods for the market. Start by summing up the cost of the ingredients for each item you bake and add value for your time. Consider how much you would have earned if you were working in someone else’s shop.
Analyze the cost of the total quantity of bread, cookies, or whatever you are producing rather than a batch-by-batch figure to keep it as simple as possible. You can break it down into batches or individual pieces later.
Do not forget to include your overhead costs and the cost of marketing your goods for the market. These costs include indirect costs such as energy – gas and electricity – incorporation, insurance, supplies, and communication costs, including advertising. Total these and divide by the number of days you operate for a per diem cost to you.
Lastly, consider demand and prevailing prices. Many bakers make oatmeal raisin cookies, but fewer make macaroons – so macaroons can be priced a bit higher. Additionally, if you make gingerbread houses for the holidays, you’ve got a unique item that can carry a higher price tag.
3 Factors and Costs to Consider When Setting Prices for Baked Goods
It’s crucial you don’t forget the importance of overheads. Note that your overheads should be one of the most crucial things that influence the prices of your baked goods.
It is one thing to sum up the costs of your ingredients and labor, but if you don’t inculcate the cost of things such as your utility bills, maintenance of equipment, cleaning products, and marketing costs, you could find yourself operating with an insufficient gross profit margin.
Have it in mind that effectively managing overhead can help you keep cost percentages desirable. If your profit margin isn’t at a level where you can maintain the way of life you’re used to, you may have to rethink and re-strategize your entire Business model, or at the very least consider price increases on your best-selling products.
According to experts, leveraging a POS system to keep track of your direct costs is an ideal move and can help you save money in the long run. Using POS systems can reduce the amount of time you spend managing your staff and inventory, leaving you free to focus on what you love doing the most – baking!
Have in mind that the direct costs associated with managing your bakery include things such as the cost of your ingredients. The cost of the labor required to create your baked goods is also a direct cost that will impact the price that you should charge for your baked goods.
These costs can also impact the base price you need to charge for your baked goods, some of which, such as ingredients and labor costs, are covered above. Another variable cost to factor into the price of your products is the cost of your packaging materials and supplies.
Note that things such as ribbons, tape, and boxes are unarguably cheap, but as the volume of products you produce increases, so will the number of packaging materials that you need.
Hence, things such as boxes and tapes can generally be bought in larger amounts for a reduced price. This could allow you to increase the amount of money that you set aside for emergencies. Or you could reflect the savings on packaging materials with a small reduction in your menu prices.
Additional Tips to Prepare you for the Hassles of a Farmers’ Market
Selling your baked goods in a farmers market should be treated as a business because it is a business. You’ll want to start small and grow, selling more varied products as you tweak your business. Note that before the season begins, you must follow your city and state requirements for registering your business.
Additionally, you’ll need to apply for a state resale number and know how to collect and pay sales tax that’s required in your state. Just like any business owner, you must maintain accurate records of income and expenses to be prepared for year-end federal and state income taxes. Proprietors use Schedule C to record farmers’ market profits.
Prepare well for each season and each week to maximize sales and minimize stress. Also, you’ll probably need help each week at the market, so hire someone, such as a family member or a teen, in advance. Be sure to package and price everything and make signs.
Your prices need to be competitive with vendors selling similar items. On the morning of each market, arrive promptly, open on time, and dress appropriately. Remember a hat, sunscreen, sanitation gloves, and an apron, cash for change, and markers and labels if you’ve forgotten to price some goods.
Since you will be selling baked goods, many municipalities mandate that your goods be prepared in a commercial kitchen; some sellers tend to rent a church kitchen for this purpose. Howbeit, you’ll want to invest in a sturdy table that will survive when crowds hover over your goods, eager to pay you.
Consider buying a tent, about 10-by-10 feet, the size of many farmers’ market booths; a tent is good protection for you against sun and heat and helps define your area. If you’ll be giving out free samples — a great way to entice potential customers — be sure to have appropriate containers, as well as a nearby trash bin.
It’s crucial to have similarly priced baked goods as your competitors if you’re offering similar products of similar quality. That is why you have to ensure that your baked goods are priced appropriately to enable you to convert customers into regulars.
Have it in mind that most people will know what they want to pay for baked goods before they even approach your booth. Although they may not have an exact amount in mind that they are prepared to pay, you can surprise them by charging them less than expected. They will naturally be pleased and will be more likely to return.