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I am trying to get together a cost estimate for starting a small chocolate making business. Nothing too fancy - basic dark and milk chocolates in low volumes for starters.

I am located in South Africa and am attending a chocolate making course in June, after which I am hoping to start a chocolaterie.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Landia

Tags: business, chocolate, chocolaterie, cost, costs, making, set, start, starting, up

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There are a number of factors that can influence your startup costs. With a few thousand dollars you can definitely get a good small operation going.

Small scale melters, maybe two to start, can go from $450 to about $1200 (Mol'd'art, Hilliards, or others) each depending on size and brand.

You could go with hobby grade molds if you want to do bars and other shapes, you can get pretty well set up for a couple of hundred dollars with molds. For professional grade polycarbonate molds, you can easily spend several hundred, if not several thousand dollars, pretty quickly.

You'll need dipping forks if you plan to hand dip, these run about $10/each.

Stainless steel tables, an immersion blender, cuisinart, and several other items are handy to have around the shop. Sheet pans and a pan rack are also handy to have around, no matter how small you are. A hot plate or gas burner and some good stainless steel cookware for making caramels come in handy. Let me know if you need more detail or ideas and I'd be happy to contribute.
Hi Jeff,

Thank you so much for your feedback. Very helpful indeed!

What's an immersion blender and how much would one of those cost?

Will we need air conditioners?

Where are you based?

Thanks for the help :)
An immersion blender is like a blender, but on a stick. The motor and control is mounted on the top, you have a rod that extends down from the motor, and at the base are the blades. You immerse it in whatever you're blending. A good commercial one starts at $150 or more. The home ones burn out too fast in my experience.

If you can have a work environment with stable temps between about 60-68F, or 16-19C, it's ideal.

I am based in Quito, Ecuador. Just let me know if you have any other questions!

Hi. You should probably investigate the health department regulations in the area you plan to work. Some states in the US (like California) do not allow commercial food production in home kitchens. This can drive up your costs because you may have to rent commercial kitchen space and/or become a certified food handler. I've worked in California and Massachusetts and found the licensing, certification and kitchen rentals generate several hundred in expenses. Good luck!!
Hi Susie,

I need to check up on that. We're in South Africa, so I'm hoping the restrictions will be less stringent.

Thanks for the advice!

Hi Landia,
Best of luck with your chocolate project. My drum teacher always said,"less is more." I'm in my second year of my chocolate project and it is difficult to follow that advice. There are a lot of people willing to sell you just about anything. My advice is to collect information and share information with other chocolate makers. A fair equal exchange can save you some money. Spend slowly and wisely.

Best of luck.
Paul Mosca
Hi Landia, My name is Gerhard. I live in Pretoria and are interested to do a chocolate making course. Could you offer advice on who to contact. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Gerhard
Hi Gerhard,

This studio is said to be excellent:
There is also a course in Jo'burg that's not as expensive.

Shout if you need more info :)

Hi Landia,

I am so excited i somehow went to this page, I am interested in chocolate making, small production for starters as well. I am based in Botswana and would like to attend a course somewhere nearer to Botswana. Johannesburg will be ideal, kindly advice of other places one can get training.



Hello Landia,

where are you going to open your chocolate business?

We do chocolate in Cape Town, we offer support to all our customers that want to know about chocolate!

Hi antonino,

I will be setting up in Botswana.




Great, best of luck with your new business!

Will you produce bean to bar or become a chocolatier?

If you are into chocolatier, you can contact us, we make organic chocolate here in SA.


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