Sculpted Cake, Charge For What They Get Or What You Make?

Decorating By jessieb578 Updated 4 Jun 2008 , 9:12pm by TooMuchCake

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:43pm
post #1 of 19

I never really thought about charging for a sculpted cake. For instance if I cut down a 9x13 into another shape, am I charging for what they get or what I made to make that cake??

18 replies
KHalstead Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:48pm
post #2 of 19

some people charge for the amount they start out with.......I personally charge for the amount they GET. In order to figure that out I have to envision the cake and guess at the servings and I tell the customers that too!! Then I set my price accordingly to compensate for any wasted cake that I may have. Usually I can figure out cake pans to suit my needs without TOO much waste though. In case you're wondering my 3-D cakes start at $3.00/serv. Regular cakes are under $1.00/ser. and tiered cakes $2.00/serv. so you have an idea of the prices around here PRETTY DARN CHEAP!!

debster Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:49pm
post #3 of 19

You charge for serving, I just made a 9x13 into a Saxophone carved half the thing away and they paid 50.00 which wasn't enough in my book. Lots of work. I guess that's about right though cause it served about 10-12

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:54pm
post #4 of 19

Wow, I never thought to charge for different prices for differnt kinds of cake unless it was a stacked or a sheet, then I differentiate, but for sculpted cake, I take into consideration the time and I charge accordingly for that too.

Do you think that $65 is too much for this cross cake?? I usually charge $68 for a double layer 9x13 cake which this is what I used to make the cross.

When I cut the sides of the cross off, I added them to the end, so a very minimal amount of cake is actually missing.
LL

Starkie Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:01pm
post #5 of 19

I charge for the servings I believe they will get out of the cake. It's not like you can say, okay, here's a cake shaped like a unicorn, so according to the Wilton or Earlene chart you should get XX servings out of it. I start out with the amount of servings for the amount of cake I bake. Then I try to envision how much waste I will have (10%, 20%, etc.) and reduce the total number of servings based on that, and charge per serving from the reduced amount. I make sure my clients know that it is an estimate, but I do like to estimate on the high side, so there will be sure to be enough cake.

BTW, my sculped cakes start at $4 per serving (minimum of $65), and go up depending on complexity.

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:06pm
post #6 of 19

Unfortunately I'm in a pretty remote area that I can't charge too much for cakes. I start out at $1.80 for buttercream cakes and $2.00 for fondant covered cakes. Wow $4 for a scullplted cake!! Well, being there's no other bakers around here besides Walmart and Price Chopper, maybe I'll be able to bring up the standard for cake!

SweetResults Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:06pm
post #7 of 19

I don't really give a per serving price anymore for sculpted cakes - I do say they START at $5 a serving, but that each cake is priced according to complexity. That way I can take into account for any wasted cake, I add onto the price for extra details.

No that is not too much for the cross cake, I actually think you should stick with the $68 - remember it takes you longer to carve the cake, so even if they lose a serving or 2, they have to pay for your time.

poshcakedesigns Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:18pm
post #8 of 19

I charged by the serving $3 for sculpted (I estimate the number of servings and tell the customer this is an estimate).

CelebrationCakery Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:21pm
post #9 of 19

Hi Jessieb!
Used to live closer down your way....about an hour further north now.

You will definately need to take into account your time and the complexity of the work you will be doing. It is hard though, just remember you are a cake artist and sculptor and price accordingly.

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:32pm
post #10 of 19

Thanks for all the help, I'm very new to the whole sculpted cake thing and in all honesty have only been doing this just over a year actually pricing people.

Hi Christian! There aren't really any bakers around me now, you're probably the closest! Albany and Kingston are the closest and a lot of people don't want to go so far for a cake, so I thought I'd give a cake shop a try. Do you like where you are now?

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:32pm
post #11 of 19

Thanks for all the help, I'm very new to the whole sculpted cake thing and in all honesty have only been doing this just over a year actually pricing people.

Hi Christian! There aren't really any bakers around me now, you're probably the closest! Albany and Kingston are the closest and a lot of people don't want to go so far for a cake, so I thought I'd give a cake shop a try. Do you like where you are now?

KHalstead Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 4:39pm
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

Unfortunately I'm in a pretty remote area that I can't charge too much for cakes. I start out at $1.80 for buttercream cakes and $2.00 for fondant covered cakes. Wow $4 for a scullplted cake!! Well, being there's no other bakers around here besides Walmart and Price Chopper, maybe I'll be able to bring up the standard for cake!




everyone around me charges about $1.50/serv. for buttercream....I charge $2.00 another lady does fondant (not too well though, and she uses Wilton) and charges $2.00/serv. I charge $2.50 and she doesn't do carved cakes........I'm the only one doing them.....so I set the bar for them I guess and I have people ordering them even though it's $3.50/serv. covered in fondant and I tell them some designs require the fondant! I have an order for a 11x15 book with a grad cap on it and I told them the 11x15 is about 35 servings carved and another $15.00 to do the grad cap on top for a total of $137.50, and there will be VERY minimal carving for a closed book .....but it's not just the carving......it's the fact that NOBODY else does these 3-D cakes and it would have been the same price if it were a mustang, or whatever! If they want a cake that nobody else offers their only choice is to pay ME or make it themselves or DON'T have the cake! They didn't bat an eyelash......they actually were like....."oh good, we've set aside $150.00 for the cake, so I guess there will be a little bit left over for a tip for you!" go figure........I almost feel guilty charging so much, but I stuck to my price list and gave it to them straight and I'm so busy right now that I figured if they balked at the price and didn't want it then it was no sweat off my back because I'm already swamped and wouldn't feel bad having one less cake to worry about!!

TooMuchCake Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 5:00pm
post #13 of 19

I charge $5/serving for the amount they get. Although, I did charge a problem bride $60 for a six-serving sculpture of a dalmatian puppy to go with her groom's cake, and the mom wrote me a check on the spot. Go figure.

Deanna

TexasSugar Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 5:14pm
post #14 of 19

I think you just have to decide which way you want to do it...

Charger a higher price per serving fee and guess on the number of servings they will have.

OR

Charge a price per serving fee for the cake you bake and not the number of servings they get in the end.

Doing it either of those two ways ensures that you are not cheating yourself. If you do not charge any price difference and base it on the number of servings they are getting you are paying for part of their cake.

Example: If you charge $2 per serving for a basic cake, and they will get 15 servings in the end then you are charging them $30.

Say you the cake you baked that you carve serves 24 normally and you would normally charge $48 for it. Then you are losing $18 worth of your ingredients and alot of your time doing the cake for them.

If you charge them $48 for the cake you bake, and they only get 15 servings in the end you are still covering your waste that you had to trim off. Even if they lose 9 servings you still had to bake those 9 servings, that still cost.

Say your serving price for carved cakes is $3.50 and you base it off the number of servings they 'should' get in the end then this cake would be $52.20. So even though you are starting with a $48 cake you are making $4.20 extra on top of it, plus you have paid for the ingeredients that you baked and used.

When you put actual numbers to the ideas it helps you see what you have to do to still make money on the cake. The price before you start makes math easier. The higher price per final servings seems to give you a better price, as long you you price accordingly. If you use the same as above but only charge a $1 extra for a carved cake you are back to losing money on the cake, be it $3 but that's is still $3 less than they would pay for a flat sheet cake, and the carved cake should cost more not less.

jessieb578 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 6:39pm
post #15 of 19

KHalstead - I certainly hope that I can become so busy that I won't care either. I am the ONLY baker right now where I am, which you'd think would give me free reign to charge what I want, but in all honesty it makes me think I'm going to price myself right out.

TexasSugar, that definitely makes a lot more sense to price that way for sculpted cakes....I'll definitely have to account for ingredients lost.

I'm so nervous to price - I feel like I know I can make things nobody else can, I just don't have the confidence to price myself accordingly. Maybe as my work picks up I can price that way.

KHalstead Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 7:04pm
post #16 of 19

[quote="jessieb578"]KHalstead - I certainly hope that I can become so busy that I won't care either. I am the ONLY baker right now where I am, which you'd think would give me free reign to charge what I want, but in all honesty it makes me think I'm going to price myself right out [quote]

Belive me, it's not as good as it sounds.......I'm busy doing doggone sheetcakes ugh...I'm terrible at them and I don't make that much money. The reason people around here are willing to pay the extra for me over the other sheet cake competition is because of word of mouth about how good my cakes taste. When it comes down to it, you get what you pay for. When I first started selling to people that weren't related to me, it was hard...I was undercharged and hardly made a profit if ANY profit to speak of and it started to not be fun anymore. It started to actually feel like work and I was getting upset letting go of a 2 tiered topsy turvy cake that took me 30 hrs. of work for 10.00 more than it cost me to make it. So I decided to make up a price list I could live with and stick to it.......yea at first people were like oh no, that's much too expensive...but after a few people ordered and others went to the parties and a couple donated cakes at my kids' schools here and there people began to talk and now the local party store has asked me to start making all of their cakes which is why I'm so swamped. They let me charge what I charge and they don't make ANY profit from the cakes, but it gets people in THEIR store so it helps them too.

If you make too many cakes for too little money you'll wind up feeling bitter and not putting all of the love you should into each and every creation.

Kiddiekakes Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 7:11pm
post #17 of 19

I charge $4.00 a serving for 3D Cakes....$2.00 each for cupcakes and $2.00 per serving for slab cakes and small tiered cakes but the extra embellishments like a chocolate baby cradle and fondant accents add to the cost of the base $2.00 price.

indydebi Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 7:50pm
post #18 of 19

Texas Sugar explained it very well and I'm not sure I can really expand on that, but I'm going to respond from a business perspective and not from a cake decorator viewpoint.

Carved / 3D cakes are not the same as sheet or round or tiered cakes. I am not talented enough to do a carved cake, but I am smart enough to know that charging a flat rate for these pieces of art may not work out well for you because of the extra time and talent needed to create one.

In the manufacturing world, wasted raw material is costed out as "scrap factor". It is a legitimate business expense. Sometimes what we would call "special constructions" ... an item made to the customers specs (i.e. a carved cake) .... would involve a number of extra steps. When quoting this item to the customer, I'd have to factor in the scrap factor (material I'd have to buy and process, then end up throwing some or most of it in the trash) AND i'd have to factor in a longer than normal labor time for the extra steps the spec called for.

In business, when figuring your costs and expenses, you need to figure ALL of your costs and expenses and in this industry, your time and talent is the major part of your expense.

Unfortunately, it's the part that is frequently overlooked.

TooMuchCake Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 9:12pm
post #19 of 19

You're getting a lot of good advice here. I should have been clearer when I gave my price of $5/serving for sculptures. My normal per-serving is $1.50, so I more than triple my usual price. I've been doing this a long time so I'm pretty quick at it, and I know what sizes of cakes to bake to minimize my loss.

HTH,
Deanna

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