Help, Pricing A Cake!

Decorating By diane Updated 1 Mar 2005 , 12:08pm by flayvurdfun

diane Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 6:44am
post #1 of 20

hi all,
i am making a 16x16 square cake, all customs designs. i was wondering how much should i charge? does anyone have any suggestions?

19 replies
briansbaker Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 2:06pm
post #2 of 20

It really depends on where you live. Search bakeries in your area and go from there..Good Luck! icon_biggrin.gif

diane Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 2:25pm
post #3 of 20

well, i live in italy, at an airforce base. the only bakery is the local commissary, which orders all cakes from germany and they arrive frozen. there is two or three others that do cakes here,(my competition) icon_mad.gif and the italian bakery, which is nothing like american bakeries. our cakes taste better. so, as you can see, i'm still in need of some help!

MrsMissey Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 2:29pm
post #4 of 20 still would be helpful to know what the commissary and your competition charges! I would think you would want to be somewhere in between...not the highest and not the lowest! Happt baking, Missey

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 2:39pm
post #5 of 20

It seems like your missing the USA a lot! I wonder what part of Italy you are in. I visited northern Italy (travelled for 19 days from Milan down to Rome) 2 years ago and found the pastries, cakes, and desserts to be wonderful! You have to remember Italians do not go in for heavy desserts like us Americans. As an Italian-American raised on Italian-American pastries, going to Italy was like a breath of fresh air. I'm also curious as to how your cakes are received by the Italians. I've often dreamed of opening an "American " bakery in Italy!

briansbaker Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 3:17pm
post #6 of 20

Wow Italy, I can only dream to go to Italy one time. I love Italians. I guess the T.V. version of Italians. Because I've never known anyone from Italy. And If Rome is what it is in pictures and on T.V. I want to be buried there!! LOL lord knows I can't afford to go alive! cookieman,
"I've often dreamed of opening an "American " bakery in Italy!". From the looks of your photos it would not take you long to sell your masterpieces and get your behind baking in Italy!!! thumbs_up.gif

diane Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 4:36pm
post #7 of 20

italian pastries are great, but i don't like their cakes. i am an hour from venice. yes, i've been there and pisa and florence. rome will be in the summer, lord willing. italy is a great place to visit, but i want to come home! icon_cry.gif your right, i do miss the u.s.a. i won't see it though, for another four years!! icon_eek.gif well, the commissary here charges $25.00 for a 1/4, $35.00 for a 1/2, and i'm not sure how much for a full sheet cake. everyone here says that their cakes taste like cardboard, so there's no competition there!..and all of their cakes are the airbrushed kind, no custom designs! i guess that's why i'm doing so good here. i have not however had any italian customers, but i've only been doing this for 6 months now. word will get out, i'm sure...anyway, back to my original question, how much should i charge? icon_cry.gif

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 8:08pm
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by diane

hi all,
i am making a 16x16 square cake, all customs designs. i was wondering how much should i charge? does anyone have any suggestions?

Use your matrix

diane Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 8:10pm
post #9 of 20

what is that??? icon_confused.gif

dragonwarlord1969 Posted 3 Feb 2005 , 11:04pm
post #10 of 20

how much does it cost to make? then add that to decorating labor costs. As far as what to charge for labor, that one you will have to experiment around with.

HEY! one thing you could do is to call the other people who decorate cakes and see how much they charge.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 4 Feb 2005 , 5:44am
post #11 of 20

I agree with all of the other posts, but I have to say the thing with the pricing matrixes is always the same issue for me and that is adding on the labour charges. Lordy at a nickel an hour, I would still be working for free or close to it. When you get into some of the really labour intensive things like gumpaste roses etc., you can spend weeks doing these and you certainly could not add on this cost into the price of a wedding cake. Anyway, that is just my opinion but it also explains why some of those wedding cakes you see are thousands of dollars!
So here is my suggestion for what it is worth, figure out your costs and if they are really well under what the commissary charges and you really want someone's advice, then I would say go for 1.5 times their price. Because if their cakes are that horrible, people would be happy to pay even double what they are charging easily. Anyway, quick solution, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
I can't remember if Dawn has the pricing matrix here or just on her site, but it is a formula or system for figuring out prices.

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 4 Feb 2005 , 7:10am
post #12 of 20

My matrix gives you a choice of using either "by the hour" labor charges in addition to your cost OR your cost times whatever you want (I usually do about 3- but you can plug in whatever you want). It's very user friendly and gives many many choices.

You have to email me ([email protected]) for it and specify whether you want the Excel or Works format. I don't have a way of posting it on my site. I think the one Jackie has here is the old one. The new one covers scratch cakes or box mixes and you use your own recipes for costing out the cakes and icing. The old one did not.

The old one also did not give you a choice on which method to use when charging.

I spent a lot of time on this making it friendly to everyone, even if you have never opened a spreadsheet before in your life.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 4 Feb 2005 , 6:34pm
post #13 of 20

Hi Dawn,
Hope you realize that my comments weren't meant as a criticism of your matrix.
The point I was making is this. Even by following your matrix, 3 times the cost of the cake or setting an hourly wage is a difficult thing to do. Even at 3 times, if you work out the amount of hours that you spend on some cakes, you would be working for a fee of next to nothing.
And that is where the whole system of pricing breaks down for anyone that is involved in an artistic process.
So I do believe that with some cake designs, you just have to figure out what you will do it for. You work out your costs and then add on a fee.
I know that I cannot use the three times method for a lot of things because my costs are high to begin with. And still even if I was to get that 3 times it still wouldn't be any kind of compensation for the hours spent.
That is why you really have to love doing it! And that is why when I see the prices of some wedding cakes by some well-known designers, I figure the prices are well-deserved!
Only other decorators understand this.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 4 Feb 2005 , 7:25pm
post #14 of 20

I understood what you were saying. I just feel strongly that we all need to at least refer to a matrix of some sort. Many people (especially newbies) do have a realistic look at their costs, and they have to charge at least that if they even want this to be a paying hobby. We cannot support the world in cakes.

A matrix is a good starting point for deciding what to charge. I don't always charge what it says I should (and it's my matrix LOL!!), sometimes less, sometimes more. But it gives me a good reference point to make sure I'm charging at least all my realistic costs.

I don't charge by the hour for many reasons. But the biggest is because I love decorating and I'll never be able to command the type of charges required to cover my time. I don't work outside my home. I make my own schedule. If I want to spend all day decorating 1 or 2 or 10 cakes, I have that luxury. I don't have to charge for the time. The task is not taking me away from anything else. Its just simply how I spend my time.

ABrunath Posted 7 Feb 2005 , 8:55pm
post #15 of 20

Wow, what a lot of discussion about pricing, all very informative. I'm sort of new at this (and this site too) so I'm still trying to get a feel for what is appropriate pricing. I usually try to figure costs first, then add 30-40% based on the work that goes into the cake. (Heck, if I'm going to be up till 2am making sure that it's perfect, I deserve a somewhat handsome fee!) I've gotten repeat business and word of mouth business, so I don't think I'm too far off the mark. The question is, am I figuring the costs correctly and including everything I should? I'd really like to learn more about this Matrix that is talked about, if you're willing to share, Dawn. Let me know.

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 8 Feb 2005 , 12:01am
post #16 of 20

You just have to send me an email and let me know which version you need, Excel or Works. You'll be surprised... I betcha you're not charging enough nor covering all of your costs. Most of us don't realize what ''our costs" truly involve until we see it laid out.

[email protected]

SquirrellyCakes Posted 8 Feb 2005 , 3:17am
post #17 of 20

Hi Andrea,
Cali4Dawn left her E-mail address a couple of her posts up on this one.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

trisha1972 Posted 8 Feb 2005 , 3:57pm
post #18 of 20

Cali, I don't have your matrix. I have an old one from someone else. The problem I have with the one I do have is that if I charged what it figures out the cost to be, I'd never sell a cake in my area. It says I should charge (if I am remembering correctly without looking at it) $45 for a 2 layer 8" round cake!
I think you have my email addy, would you send me a copy of yours in either format is fine?

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 8 Feb 2005 , 10:36pm
post #19 of 20

trisha, I don't save anyone's address unless we chat on a regular basis. Otherwise I would literally have hundreds in my address book.

My matrix allows you to charge in many different ways, or just to see your cost. So I think it will help you.

email me and I'll reply with the matrix.

flayvurdfun Posted 1 Mar 2005 , 12:08pm
post #20 of 20

If I am not mistaken the commissary in Italy bring cakes in from the same place as they do here in Germany commissaries (Gruenstadt)
The ones you can order through the shoppette are around 40 dollars for a 9x13 with very slim decoration. I have to say the Europeans here dont get into alot of things we Americans do, their sweet is not sweet to us its more like the bittersweet choc you taste they look great but taste is very minimal. Then the commissary sells 9x13s undecorated only iced for 9.99 to 12.99. Our commissary here never had good decorating. Two of my friends did some decorating and it left lots to be desired with the people buying the cakes, so much that they wouldnt end up buying it so then they put the cake in the freezer and hoped someone would buy it.
So anything Diane does will be so far up the realm of interesting, attractive that she would have Aviano community drooling at the mouth.

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