Price Opinions Wanted. . .please Play Nicely

Business By jonicca Updated 5 May 2008 , 10:48pm by MichelleM77

jonicca Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:03am
post #1 of 23

Ok guys, I'm hoping that this post does not turn sour. I've read a little of a few recently and I don't want to start any price/don't price - licensed/unlicensed drama. I' ve been doing some research into pricing. . .I've calculated my costs, I've looked into costs at local bakeries. My concern is the cost of a regular birthday cake, say 8, 9, or 10 inches. If I charge per serving, the cost seems somewhat high to me. In my area most bakeries charge a set price for these and sheet cakes. . .and it's not that high, $20 - $40. If I make a cake at that price, I'll be making little to no money, but if I charge more I may turn people away. What would you do in this situation?

22 replies
MichelleM77 Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:23am
post #2 of 23

What I've learned on CC is to not compare yourself to the local bakery. Unless you can churn out tons of cakes every day, you can't set your pricing up the same way. They also have less waste and the ability to throw a cake in the case if someone cancels, they make too much, etc., whereas you lose money. They are also buying in bulk which enables them to save money and in turn charge less.

Believe me, I'm having the same problems with pricing that you are, which is why I haven't gone the cake route just yet, but I'm slowly learning to not compare myself to the local bakery when it comes to pricing. I'm not a bakery, I'm a one-woman show baking to order. It's almost like having a personal chef, and it costs more to have something done in smaller batches than if you were producing a large amount.

Oh great, now I can't get that "personal dancer" song out of my head. I don't know who sings it, but my husband sings it in this high-pitched silly voice when he is being a goofball, which is like every 10 minutes. icon_smile.gif

jonicca Posted 5 May 2008 , 4:43am
post #3 of 23

LOL. . .are you talking about Private Dancer by Tina Turner? That's hilarious. Back on topic. . .you and I know that it would be different than a bakery, but Joe Schmo just sees that my cake is more expensive and the other guy makes a good cake too. I guess I just gotta step my game up and make SURE I offer a kick-butt product! Anybody else???

FromScratch Posted 5 May 2008 , 4:50am
post #4 of 23

I agree.. you can't compare yourself to a local bakery.. cakes aren't what they make their money on. Not only are they churning out other treats, but they can buy ingredients in bulk but customers don't have as many options when it comes to cake. You are offering a completely custom cake creation from the foundation up. Not just a pre-made cake that you can write happy birthday on. icon_smile.gif

Bottom line is that you are not offering just a cake.. you are offering a cake that can coordinate with any theme and that is baked fresh and carefully executed. And please don't include WalMart and the grocery store when you are talking about a local "bakery". They are so not a cake shop.

Pricing is hard.. but if you market yourself right you will be able to sell your cakes for what they are worth. icon_smile.gif

diane Posted 5 May 2008 , 4:52am
post #5 of 23

while i was in italy, i did cakes for the base. they did have several places to purchase cakes, but what made them come to me was not only the look, but more the taste. if you have a better product, they will come and they will pay what it's worth. if they don't want to pay that price, then they will get what they pay for.

FromScratch Posted 5 May 2008 , 4:53am
post #6 of 23

And to add to the silly..

"I'm your private baker.. I bake-a for money.. do what you want me to do. Your private baker.. bake-a for money.. any occasion will do."


Children Posted 5 May 2008 , 5:15am
post #7 of 23

You know I was having this same problem earlier. I had made a cake earlier that I was afraid after I priced what it was worth I might have a hard time selling it. Here's my theory though - if people aren't willing to pay what they are worth then they can go down to the local Walmart or where ever and get what I call a fluff cake. People who appreciate good quality flavors and designs have no problem paying what you ask for it. Stick to your guns - quite frankly if they aren't willing to pay what they are worth then you shouldn't spend your valuable time and hard work making it for them. Your time is valuable - don't forget that. Hope this helps....sorry it was so long. thumbs_up.gif

ladyonzlake Posted 5 May 2008 , 5:32am
post #8 of 23

Nope, you're right on...your prices will be higher than grocery store cakes...that's not what you're making. You need to compare your prices to the specialty and wedding cake makers in your area. My 13x9 sheet cake starts at $48 and that's with just a simple border on it. My average 13x9 decorated is about $72.

And you're right...we can't make cakes and sell them for $ costs me more in ingredients and time than that.

sarahnichole975 Posted 5 May 2008 , 5:34am
post #9 of 23
Originally Posted by jkalman

And to add to the silly..

"I'm your private baker.. I bake-a for money.. do what you want me to do. Your private baker.. bake-a for money.. any occasion will do."


Now it's stuck in mine...but not the regular version, it's this silly version. I know I'll be standing in the kitchen baking this week singing this.... icon_lol.gificon_confused.gificon_rolleyes.gif

Exactly what everyone else said. My mom was expressing this point of view to me recently. If you just need a purse, you can go wherever and get one really inexpensive. Now if you want a Prada handbag.....

And no one goes to get a Prada handbag expecting to pay Walmart purse aisle prices.

ladyonzlake Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:31pm
post #10 of 23

You said it perfectly!

michellesArt Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:43pm
post #11 of 23

i'm totally in the same delima but i found that even though i inwardly cringe at the price i charge my clients (customers seem to belong to "fluff cake" places) definately see the QUALITY and realize it takes more time to do these cakes. i try to find a middle area where i'm comfortable charging what i charge but i'm still not cheap-if you want cheap go to the grocery store! (not if only i would take my own advice more often...) on a side i have a potential bride who...i'll post my own q-don't want to take up your question with a sidetrack icon_smile.gif

cocorum21 Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:44pm
post #12 of 23
Originally Posted by jkalman

And to add to the silly..

"I'm your private baker.. I bake-a for money.. do what you want me to do. Your private baker.. bake-a for money.. any occasion will do."


Thanks for that! icon_rolleyes.gif It's gonna be stuck in my head too now icon_biggrin.gif

LanaC Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:56pm
post #13 of 23

I think this is a common problem. I baked three cakes this weekend for teacher appreciation. When delivering them to school, everyone wanted to know if I sell cakes, and for how much. My first answer was, "I'm not a licensed baker, but give me a call." As for the price, I'm stumped. I know that after doing the detail on the three this weekend, you couldn't pay me enough to do that again. Of course, I could certainly change my mind.

My husband wanted to break it down for the price of ingredients, plus $30/hr for the amount of decorating time, well that's just not reasonable because with fondant work, you have to wait so long for stuff to set. If you do it by serving, you'd be killing yourself for the detailed fondant work.

Perhaps I should price based upon the anticipated number of quarters that will have to go into the "cuss jar".

Mandica12182 Posted 5 May 2008 , 1:57pm
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by jkalman

And to add to the silly..

"I'm your private baker.. I bake-a for money.. do what you want me to do. Your private baker.. bake-a for money.. any occasion will do."


TOOO FUNNY!! icon_lol.gif LMAO

Mandica12182 Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:02pm
post #15 of 23

I am actually having that same delimma.....I have a post going right nwo about a bride orderign a 6 tiered cake...bottom line pricing and still wanting more!!

Of course I could up my prices....I know I should too!! But, the problem is....there are soo many people around me that will do it even cheaper than my cheapest, I new slogan on my website is going to get what you pay for!!

My point is...I understand what you are's soo hard to find the right pricing that will please both your customers and your pocketbook...without being a well know designer like Collette, or Nick Lodge or such!!

poshcakedesigns Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:11pm
post #16 of 23

Definelty don't compare yourself to a local bakery that can churn out many cakes.

I think for us small one shop bakers it's all about how you market yourself.

You have to make people believe that you are worth what you are asking for. LOl don't mean charge $10 per serving but you can charge a bit more if you do it right. It's about quality cakes and customer service. When you meet with a potential bride you need to act as excited about her wedding as she does. Show her a genuine interest in her request. People like to do business with people that make them feel special. You sure don't get that at your local discount store. They rush you in and rush you out and it's onto the next person.

mcook1670 Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:14pm
post #17 of 23

I used to work at a grocery store decorating cakes in the poorier area of town and people would come in and complain about prices for stuff... $3 for a cheese cake or how much is this cake... 17.99 for a 1/4 sheet cake that's a lot of money. I'm thinking holy crap I'm never going to make it doing cakes... I charge a lot more than 17.99 for a 1/4 sheet cake, but I don't have 50 cakes in the freezer waiting for someone to come pick it out. Quality vs quanity.. baked fresh vs 2month old cake. Yes they keep cakes frozen for upto 2 month, can anyone say nasty dried out cake

jonicca Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:21pm
post #18 of 23
Originally Posted by jkalman

And to add to the silly..

"I'm your private baker.. I bake-a for money.. do what you want me to do. Your private baker.. bake-a for money.. any occasion will do."


LOL!! My children think I'm crazy cuz I just literally LOL.

Thanks for the responses everyone. My DH seems to think that I should sell "regular" cakes for a lower price than the decorated cakes. A lot of his co-workers just want a german chocolate cake without all the frill and he thinks they won't pay $30 to $40 for a "plain" cake. But that's still my time, my resources, and the ingredients. . .not to mention that GC is one of the more expensive cakes to make. The pecans alone can be $7-$10!! I told him I don't think so, I'll pass. Cuz "I'm a private baker. . ."

cocobean Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:36pm
post #19 of 23

Just wanted to add my two cents. I have pricing dilemas also. I always feel like I need a sign around my neck that says, "Will bake for free". I usually make about 1.50- 2.00 an hour after my ingredients, because I'm always baking for friends or family. (I give a 25-30% discount) I have learned A LOT in the process but someday I hope to make some money doing what I love. Anyway one thing that I do when a give my friend or family member a billing statement that shows what I would charge if they weren't friend or family is, I always write on the top of the statement "Custom such and such cake" then below, "custom handmades bees" or custom handmade... I feel that they can see the difference between my cake and one they would buy through Sams or such. Using the word "Custom" and "handmade such and such" is a great way to get the difference across. That way when someone is at one of their parties wants to order a cake like theirs they could show them the statment and let them know that "they"got a discount ONLY because they are friend or family. icon_surprised.gif Anyway, that makes me feel better writing the billing statements like that!

cocobean Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:40pm
post #20 of 23

...oh I forgot to add my good friends and family members usually give me an extra tip! Let'ts me know that they do appreciate my work!

lu9129 Posted 5 May 2008 , 2:51pm
post #21 of 23

I never say a cake is 50 dollars. I always just say I charge so much per serving. How many servings do you need? Then the person sits there and figures it out. I usually get a go ahead and do the cake out of them. For some reason, a full amount for the cake seems to throw people for a loop. But if I just say per serving they almost all of the time will say, that's not a bad price at all. Go ahead.


CakeDiva73 Posted 5 May 2008 , 3:21pm
post #22 of 23

I know I am probably the minority but I have set prices for the sizes of cake and two different "serving" #'s listed - For instance, my 8" will serve 15 party or 22 wedding. Then I used to same formula to calculate all the other pan sizes.

I too was leary about charging per serving for single tier cakes - if I did, my 8" would be $44 and no one around here would pay it so I price each size and then charge $2 for tiered cakes - this included local delivery and I use the 'wedding serving' to calculate price. I don't want to charge more for weddings but I DO want to charge more for tiered/stacked cakes so this give me a good reference.

I know alot of people here think it's way too litte but I was comfortable with it. If they want premium flavors, elaborate decorations or separate flavors for each tier, I charge a bit more.

As me for losing business because I charge too much - pishawwww! I would feel worse spending all day baking and making no money then having the occasional cake that I don't feel sick to death and taken advantage of after its completed, ya know?

MichelleM77 Posted 5 May 2008 , 10:48pm
post #23 of 23

Yep, that's the song. LOL!

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