Trying To Figure Out Costs...couple Of Questions.

Decorating By sweetcravings Updated 13 Jun 2008 , 12:34am by LeanneW

sweetcravings Posted 11 Jun 2008 , 7:35pm
post #1 of 22

Well, i've finally decided that it's time to start figuring out how much my cakes and cookies cost. It looks like i will be heading into selling my stuff and i want to be prepared. I sat down and figured out how much my recipes cost to make but i've hit a little bump in my progress. Since i only make cakes here and there I really have never sat down and measured how much icing i needed to cover a cake, or how much mix i need per pan size. Does anyone have a list they would be willing to share with me? I really don't want to have to bake up every single size and shape pan to figure this all out. It's bad enough i'm trying to loose weight, without having all this extra cake and icing around the house.
If you have a chart that would help me it would be greatly appreicated.

suzanne

21 replies
abw2005 Posted 11 Jun 2008 , 7:49pm
post #2 of 22
indydebi Posted 11 Jun 2008 , 10:48pm
post #3 of 22

For larger cakes, I eventually figured out how many 2-lb bags of p.sugar I used per cake mix.

An 8" round took one cake mix and 1 bag of p.sugar with leftover icing.
A 12" round took 3 cake mixes and 2 bags of p.sugar ... sometimes with leftover icing.

For a 3-tier cake for 100, I used about 4.5 bags of p.sugar to 7 cake mixes.

Knowing what my cost was per batch of icing (i.e. per 2-lb bag of p.sugar) and then figuring "about" how many batches per cake(s) helped me alot without having to know exactly how much for every cake.

sweetcravings Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 2:15pm
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by abw2005

http://www.wilton.com/cake/cakeprep/baking/times/wedding_2inch.cfm

Hope this helps you!



thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif You Rock!! That's exactly what i needed. This is going to make it so much easier to figure out now.
Thanks for the help.

suzanne

LeanneW Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 2:57pm
post #5 of 22

you sure are on top of this. i had my husband go to the store with a list of all the ingredients I use and write down the price and also the size of the item he wrote down, I still haven't done anything with that info.

i'll get around to it soon.

sweetcravings Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 3:54pm
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by leannewinslow

you sure are on top of this. i had my husband go to the store with a list of all the ingredients I use and write down the price and also the size of the item he wrote down, I still haven't done anything with that info.

i'll get around to it soon.




It really is alot of work! I went to four different stores in the area around a month ago with pen and paper and price compared every possible ingredient i would need for my cakes, icing, cookies. It had been sitting on my desk for over a month. I just didn't know where to start. Then i was called a few weeks back to make a cake for someone, and i think i really undersold myself. It upset me enough to seriously start thinking i must get moving so that it doesn't happen again. So this week i started tallying all the ingredient costs per batch. Today i've been trying to figure out how much each size cake would cost with my labor. The chart the above poster shared has been very helpful. BUT>> I'm sooo confused and am overwhelmed..thus me coming here for a break. When i figured out the cost of a 18"square, not filled, not including board and box and i'm coming to around 75.00. I'm not sure if that's right or not. Math has always been a weak point for me. I just emailed my husband and told him he needs to help me out. I'm sooo not good at math, and this is just confusing me. I'm second guessing all my figures. I don't want to undersell myself. I put my wages at around 15.00hr. I dunno. Maybe i can get this done by the end of the month if i keep working at it. icon_confused.gif
It would really take the stress out of it if i had numbers to give people upfront. But there are sooo many variables when it comes to cakes and cookies. fondant or buttercream, filled or not, gumpaste decoration or buttercream and on and on and on. How can i possibly figure every little detail out? icon_cry.gificon_confused.gif Now i know why i have put it off for so long.

suz

abw2005 Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:03pm
post #7 of 22

I purchased Cake Boss as I was having many of the same problems you are having. You can create costs for your recipes, and when you go to take orders it will tell you your profit and your overhead as well, I've found it really helpful!

LeanneW Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:12pm
post #8 of 22

how much is cake boss? do they have a free trial period? i am afraid I won't like it if I buy it.

kelleym Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:20pm
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Quote:

I purchased Cake Boss as I was having many of the same problems you are having. You can create costs for your recipes, and when you go to take orders it will tell you your profit and your overhead as well, I've found it really helpful!




In addition, CakeBoss users are entitled to a bonus spreadsheet I developed to solve the enduring mystery: If I buy a 20 lb bag of flour, how much does that mean a cup of flour costs? If I buy 16 oz of vanilla, then how much is a teaspoon? thumbs_up.gif

Quote:
Quote:

how much is cake boss? do they have a free trial period? i am afraid I won't like it if I buy it.




CakeBoss is $99.00 and all CakeCentral members get a 10% discount. We also offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can request a refund for any reason within 30 days. See our FAQ here. icon_smile.gif

lmn4881 Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:43pm
post #10 of 22

KelleyM - I don't have that bonus spreadsheet. Is it only available now to new users or for all Cake Boss Customers?

kelleym Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:44pm
post #11 of 22

Any CakeBoss user is entitled to the spreadsheet - if you don't have it, please email me at [email protected] icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 5:59pm
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcravings

It really is alot of work! I went to four different stores in the area around a month ago with pen and paper and price compared every possible ingredient i would need for my cakes, icing, cookies.




I used to do this quarterly ..... all info compiled on one giant spreadsheet.

now ... with prices changing DAILY, I have to update the spreadsheet with every receipt and invoice I get.

You've got to stay on top of these price changes..... especially now with the market so volatile.

southerncake Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 6:01pm
post #13 of 22

I agree with the others that I LOVE CakeBoss. I honestly don't know what I would do without it!!

Kelly -- I also don't have the spreadsheet! I'll be emailing you!

blue123 Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 6:20pm
post #14 of 22

Do most of you charge by the slice for everything, or do you just do that for wedding cakes? I have been charging base prices for regular cakes and per slice for weddings. I haven't gone up in base prices in 5 years, so I'm planning on changing that next month. Little scarry icon_eek.gif

mommyle Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 6:27pm
post #15 of 22

I hate to undercut CakeBoss, but I have a spreadsheet that you could pm me for, and it's free. But it's only a spreadsheet, and you still have to do some figuring for yourself. My DH made it for his business, and I changed it to fit my needs.

sweetcravings Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 6:39pm
post #16 of 22

I tried convincing my DH to agree to let me buy cakeboss but he feels that it's an expense we can do without right now. He figures since i'm just starting out it's cheaper to figure it out ourselves, once i get busier we'll consider the cakeboss program. It does sound wonderful though.

indydebi Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 6:47pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue123

Do most of you charge by the slice for everything, or do you just do that for wedding cakes? I have been charging base prices for regular cakes and per slice for weddings.




It's almost just a case of semantics.

Let's say you charge $3/serving for wedding cakes, and you charge $35 for a 10" round, 2-layer. If you divide the number of servings in a 10" round (35, per the wilton chart), then you are charging $1/serving for the 10" round .... (unless they tell you it's a wedding cake and then you are charging them $3/serving icon_rolleyes.gif ).

JenWhitlock Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 7:31pm
post #18 of 22

I have been modifying alice's price matrix.
in an excel wookbook, I have a sheet with all my ingredients. I enter the cost I just paid at the store then I have some conversions into common units, ie cups, tsp...
then I have sheets with cake recipes, frosting recipes etc.
I also have a sheet with box and board prices.
then there is the front sheet where I add up how much I need for an order. don't forget your waste. if you have to make more batter than you need, it still costs you.

btw, a standard BC box mix is about 4 1/5 cups, and WASC is a little more than 6 cups.

blue123 Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 8:32pm
post #19 of 22

It's almost just a case of semantics.

Let's say you charge $3/serving for wedding cakes, and you charge $35 for a 10" round, 2-layer. If you divide the number of servings in a 10" round (35, per the wilton chart), then you are charging $1/serving for the 10" round .... (unless they tell you it's a wedding cake and then you are charging them $3/serving ).

_________________

That's exactly what I have been doing. Anything that requires construction is considered a wedding cake. Fondant is of course a whole other story.

TexasSugar Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 8:56pm
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcravings

When i figured out the cost of a 18"square, not filled, not including board and box and i'm coming to around 75.00. I'm not sure if that's right or not. Math has always been a weak point for me. I just emailed my husband and told him he needs to help me out. I'm sooo not good at math, and this is just confusing me. I'm second guessing all my figures. I don't want to undersell myself. I put my wages at around 15.00hr. I dunno. Maybe i can get this done by the end of the month if i keep working at it. icon_confused.gif




Maybe I am looking at this as an easy way out, but can't you just figure out your price for ONE cake and not how much you spend on every cake? Once you know how much you spend for a basic size cake you can figure out how much you need to make on that cake, and then figure your price per serving. Even if you want to charge a per cake price rather than a per serving, you really should know your per serving. Other wise your prices won't be consistant.

Those that have sat down and done there prices, is this correct or am I off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcravings

It would really take the stress out of it if i had numbers to give people upfront. But there are sooo many variables when it comes to cakes and cookies. fondant or buttercream, filled or not, gumpaste decoration or buttercream and on and on and on. How can i possibly figure every little detail out? icon_cry.gificon_confused.gif Now i know why i have put it off for so long.




Yes it does very much take the stress off when you don't have to pull out a number off the top of your head or you have time to sit and talk yourself in to charging less. With a price list you will be more set in your prices and not cheat yourself.

While I do think there are variables that do need to have different prices, I think keeping it simple is your best bet. You don't want to confuse yourself or the customer if you are going getting very nit picky or have a added/seperate charge for every little thing.

When I buy a donut, I want to know the cost of the donut as a whole. Please don't tell me it will be $2 for the donut, $1 for the glaze, and $.50 for sprinkles. I just need to know the donut costs me $3.50.

Indy always says her prices are the same no matter what flavor or decorations. She does all buttercream so that does factor in, but the idea, in general, is a good one. If you have a really simple cake with very little decorations and a more detailed cake with lots of buttercream roses, then in the long run it evens out. The simple one takes less time, there for more money for you time, and the other would take more time, giving you a little less money for that time.

I (personally) do think that fondant does deserve a higher price because it does add to the cost of making the cake.

I wouldn't charge more for a 'filling', because you are using something in between the layers, either buttercream or fillings. So I would just factor that cost into the cake. If your fillings cost a little more than buttercream does, then when you use buttercream you are making extra on the cake.

I don't think you should charge extra for all the different types of decorations with a few exceptions.

In general I wouldn't have different/additonal charges for the little design details. You don't want to go well if you want basketweave the cake will be xxx and if you want the same size cake but no basketweave and roses it will be yyy and if you want the same size cake with basketweave and roses it will be zzz. You want to say, a 10in round cake with decorations is aaa.

If you are doing an extreme amount of detail you may want to add an addition cost. If you are doing alot of fondant details, molded figures or something along those likes you may want to add an addition cost. If you do gumpaste flowers then you may want to add an additional amount. The differences in those is that some of them take a much longer time to do, talent and so on. It is something above and beyond what they could get on the average cake. You can't walk into walmart and get a gorgous gumpaste bouquet on top of the cake.

You can always have a "Please note prices are based on basic decorations. Very detailed or intricate designs may have an additional fee" at the bottom of your price list. That way if you do get a cake that the design work is going to take you 3 times longer than what a normal cake would be then you can factor that in.

sweetcravings Posted 12 Jun 2008 , 9:27pm
post #21 of 22

Thank you texas sugar..you have given me alot to think about. I have to say i agree with you on it. I guess maybe i was making this more complicated than i needed to. The less math i have to do, the better. I just gave up on it this afternoon and went flower shopping. That always cheers me up. Thanks again for all the great information.

suz

LeanneW Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 12:34am
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar



While I do think there are variables that do need to have different prices, I think keeping it simple is your best bet. You don't want to confuse yourself or the customer if you are going getting very nit picky or have a added/seperate charge for every little thing.




I used to agonize over pricing, I made a list of every possible detail like fondant swags, fondant pearls, brush embroidery, etc. and what would charge per tier for each item. it was crazy, even I couldn't figure out how much a cake would cost.

I also didn't want the brides to feel like they had to have less polka dots on the cake to save a few bucks.

my DH suggested that I offer 2 prices, one for "simple" and one for "intricate or elaborate" then determine what fits into those categories based on the amount of time it would take.

I feel so much better talking about pricing now b/c I can look at a cake and say " I would do that for $x.xx/ serving.

I have much more confidence when it comes to quoting a price now. Obviously I have times when I wonder should I have considered that simple or elaborate and then what about a cake that is "super elaborate"?

Nothing is set in stone though, thats why my pricing says "starting at $x.xx/serving"

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