Starting a Homemade Pasta Making Business
The first thing that you should know if you are starting a homemade pasta making business is the basic process of making fresh pasta. This kind of pasta is made from fresh ingredients and has a shorter shelf life compared to the commercially made or dry pasta.
Manufacturing fresh pasta is better because the business owner can tailor fit it to the consumer’s needs and demands in terms of the shape, size, color and flavor of the finished product.
Below are some suggested steps in starting a homemade pasta making business, categorized into: Initial Stage, Regulatory Compliance and Marketing.
• Create and perfect your own recipe that you think will sell and will come out the same way every time you prepare it. Have your family and friends taste them and ask for feedback.
• As in any business, when you are starting a homemade pasta making business, prepare a business plan which would contain the goals and business projections that you have set. This will guide you in the actual running of the business and to help you gauge if the business is doing good or not.
• Purchase your ingredients and supplies like bags and packaging supplies. Decide on how you intend to package your homemade pasta. You could pack it in a freezer-safe bag where the consumers can freeze it, refrigerate it or eat it immediately. It could also come in cellophane bags. You could search online for bulk suppliers for these items. You will be able to save money and will help create a professional and consistent look. Design your own labels on your computer and print them out or you could ask a professional designer to create them for you and order your labels in bulk. Make sure to include the cooking and serving instructions in the labels.
• Purchase equipments that you don’t already have to make the preparation of large batches of your recipes a lot faster and easier.
• Determine a wholesale price list for all your products. Factor in all the cost that you will be incurring in producing you homemade pasta like the ingredients, facility cost, packaging and labor cost. This should be drawn up in a spreadsheet form which would include the retail as well as bulk prices for each of your product. This information will be useful to your future retailers because it will show the proof of the profit they will be making if they sell your homemade pasta in their stores.
• Since you will be starting a homemade pasta making business and producing a food product, you need to get in touch with your local and state health departments to inquire about permit and licensing requirements.
• Make sure that you could sell the products that are produced from your home kitchen because different states have different laws regarding homemade food products. These information are available online from your state’s Department of Health website or you can ask for a copy. Try to check on local zoning laws if operating a business from your home is allowed. As of 2010, only 13 states allow the operation of home-based cooking business and they are: Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Utah. So it is important that you check into these before starting your business.
• Most states allow the sale of homemade food products at farmers’ markets and flea markets without the necessary state licensing and inspection. They allow the sale of these products at these places only. Before starting a homemade pasta making business and deciding to sell your products in these venues, make sure that your state does not have any label requirements, like this label for example, “Made in a home kitchen and not inspected by the (insert state) Department of Agriculture.” The label should indicate the product name and the ingredients that you used and check the cottage laws of your state about the requirements of home labeling.
• Most of the home based cooking operations are either sole proprietorship or partnerships. If you plan to make your business as a source of livelihood, a DBA (Doing Business As) license would be the best route if you will name your business. As of 2011, the registration fee is between $25 and $35. The DBA registration is not required though if your business name contains your legal name. Your state may also have other food processing licensing regulations which are peculiar to your homemade pasta making business.
• Your main competitor in the homemade pasta business is the commercial pasta. Therefore, it is not a good idea to compete with these manufacturers in the supermarkets and groceries because this is not the right avenue to sell your products. You must do the traditional and tried and tested marketing strategies to attract your customers like posters and handing out flyers. Make your business be known in your community by giving out samples of pasta dishes with your fresh pasta or give them for free at community gatherings or meetings. It is also good to custom-made your fresh pasta during these events in order to cater to the individual needs of the customers. If you are into making healthy pasta, you can try selling your products at your local health stores.
• Other possible places to sell your products are the local farmers’ markets, craft fairs and flea markets. A lot of people like the taste of homemade goods like fresh pasta but just doesn’t have the time to prepare them themselves. You can give them that homemade taste that they are looking for. During holidays and special occasions, many people love give local and homemade food products as gifts.
• You can also market your food products by creating your own brochures, catalogs and price lists and offering your products at retail outlets that sell local products. Draw up a list of your target retailers in your community with the name and contact information of the person who is in charge of purchasing.
• Try to ask if your local Italian restaurants purchase pre-made pastas because this could be a possible joint venture between your business and their restaurants.
• The internet is also a good venue to feature your products on a national scale. If possible, you could build your own website to help your business grow.
Hope these steps will help you in starting a homemade pasta making business.