Help, Please: Pricing For "acquaintances" (& I

Decorating By SweetObsession Updated 23 Oct 2007 , 5:28pm by indydebi

SweetObsession Posted 10 Oct 2007 , 5:51am
post #1 of 12

Hi everybody! I'm relatively new and have some questions I hope you guys can help answer.

I have a reception cake and cookies due in a few weeks for a couple who eloped to Vegas. This is only my fourth tier cake, it's nothing fancy and since the mother of the bride is a friend of my sister, so I'm not looking to charge top dollar but do want some profit. I finally spoke to the mother (she's arranging and paying for the whole thing) and she gave me a few guidelines but is basically leaving the details up to me. She had a very casual "give me a call, let me know the price, I'll send whatever you need" type attitude. I can't figure out whether this is because price is no object or because she assumes I'm dirt cheap! icon_wink.gif

The cake will be a 14", 10" and 6", buttercream filling & icing and silk decorations. The "cookies" will be a mix of actual cookies (clothespin, thumbprints, buckeyes, peanut butter blossoms, etc.) plus foil wrapped chocolates and chocolate covered pretzels (probably celophane wrapped rods), 4-5 dozen of each item equaling the requested "300 pieces"

Pricing the cake is one thing -- in my area, they begin at $1.75 a slice and I would charge less -- but pricing the "cookies" is much more difficult for me. I almost called her tonight and blurted out "$250!" but lost my nerve. The $250 would be about 50% profit, give or take a few dollars either way.

So what do you guys think the total price should be?

And before I forget ... I recently made a small 8" birthday cake for my nephew. I used snow white BC and the frosting separated from the cake in one small spot on the side -- just pulled away and formed a bubble or pocket. What did I do wrong? I'm wondering if chilling the cake before frosting then again before transporting can sometimes cause this. (I'm worried about it happening with the reception cake!)

Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

11 replies
CakeRN Posted 10 Oct 2007 , 7:34am
post #2 of 12

as far as "pricing cheap" I wouldn't do that. Where in Ohio do they charge only 1.75 per serving? Just because this is only your 4th tiered cake does not make you any less professional. You need to charge at least 1. 75 per serving. How many people is she expecting? If it is 100 then make a cake that comes close to one hundred servings and charge accordingly. As far as the other things...cookies etc....I wouldn't charge any less than 50 cents each and maybe more depending on the size of the cookies..etc.

SugarFrosted Posted 10 Oct 2007 , 8:10am
post #3 of 12

Don't give cheap prices to anyone. When someone orders a cake from you, don't undervalue yourself. The mom may be nice and all, but you need a contract to protect you, not an open ended "give me a call, let me know the price, I'll send whatever you need." Too many times here on CC, we have seen talented cake decorators given that kind of free reign but when time comes to get paid, they get underpaid and disrespected because people think the decorator's fair price is too much. Like in one thread, the customer said "I saved $15 for you out of the budget because that's what I'd pay at Costco." People have no idea what goes into making a cake, especially a tiered cake. The nerve! Anyway, don't cheat yourself by cheaping out.

You've got 166 servings in your 3 tiers, assuming they are round tiers.
14" = 98 servings, 10" = 50 servings, 6" = 18 servings.
166 x $1.75 = $290.50 BEFORE you charge for the cookies!
300 miscellaneous cookies x .50 each = $150.00

$150.00 + 290.50 = $440.50... a bargain in my opinion.

And about your cake "bubble", that happens to me sometimes. It's pretty common. After the cake has a chance to settle, an air pocket can form under the frosting. When it happens, don't panic. Just fix it. Just stick it with a pin or a toothpick to give the air an exit and then smooth the icing back down.

froggyjustjumpin Posted 10 Oct 2007 , 8:29am
post #4 of 12

What she said. Never under cut yourself. It will be you standing in the kitchen for hours baking those cookies. With that many you'll be dead on your feet.
If you start out giving cheap prices, everyone else will expect it.

SweetObsession Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:52pm
post #5 of 12

Thanks to everyone who replied. My computer was down for a short time so I couldn't get back here until today. I REALLY appreciate your advice ... and really appreciate knowing the other people have had to deal with those darn air pockets!

There will only be, at most, 100 guests (which is what I'm charging for), but I'm sticking to my original sizes just because I like those proportions (14, 10, 6). It's all buttercream, both filling and icing.
The extras are the same -- 300 pieces, cookies pretzels and small chocolates.

I received a check for $300 and am so excited!!! icon_biggrin.gif
That figures out to $1.75 a slice (yes, it really is that cheap here in NE Ohio) and an average price for the extras of a little more than .40 apiece.

It's a fall theme and I'm using silk arrangements for the cake instead of edible flowers -- japenese lanterns, bittersweet, leaves, maybe a crystal encrusted pumpkin between tiers though I don't want it to look tacky so I may not use it all.
I'm tempted to wrap the base of each tier in ribbon, but I've never done that before and am terrified it will unwrap before the cutting.
I'd also like something a little different on the sides other than swags, etc. I was thinking of a swirl pattern on the bottom layer, dots of pearls (grouped in threes) on the middle layer and tiny swirls and dots on the bride's top layer. I was also thinking of doing the swirls with pearlized BC.
What do you guys think?
Thanks in advance for any opinions or suggestions.

indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 4:16pm
post #6 of 12

SugarFrosted,I think you looked at the wrong chart. Those numbers are for a square cake. Round cake servings for a 14/10/6 are 78/38/12. thumbs_up.gif

aswartzw Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:10pm
post #7 of 12

I can't help with anything else but I can with the ribbon. The ribbon is super easy. I used icing and just glued it to the cake where the two pieces overlapped. It didn't budge. I also lined it with waxed paper and used double -sided tape to line the ribbon. That was actually the hardest part! icon_lol.gif

gr8yf Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:27pm
post #8 of 12

My price is the same for family, friends, and customers! Every time I have given a discount or even a gift I don't even get so much as a Thank you card. I am done being burn by the ungrateful. It has no value until YOU set it. I did a cake twice as big as the one with pink roses and white fondant you will see on my pics and no Thank you note for the free gift. It had no value.

gr8yf Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 7:28pm
post #9 of 12

One more thing RAISE your prices!

SugarFrosted Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 9:36pm
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by indydebi

SugarFrosted,I think you looked at the wrong chart. Those numbers are for a square cake. Round cake servings for a 14/10/6 are 78/38/12. thumbs_up.gif

omg...indydebi, you are absolutely correct! icon_redface.gif I looked at the wrong list. icon_surprised.gif Thanks for watching my back! (now I am embarrassed...)

My apologies for my mistake, SweetObsession, but it seems as though you got it worked out anyway.

Next time raises your prices, though. You are worth more!

CountryCakes2007 Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 4:59pm
post #11 of 12

How do you find out what prices in your area per serving are? And, if you made the grooms cake too how do you calculate that into your total guests?

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 5:28pm
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by CountryCakes2007

How do you find out what prices in your area per serving are? And, if you made the grooms cake too how do you calculate that into your total guests?

"Hello, bakery? How much for a 3-tiered cake for 120? $350? Thank you!"

Divide $350 by 120 = $2.92 per serving

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