Pricing...where To Start?

Decorating By mama5kiddos Updated 25 Jul 2008 , 10:42am by Mike1394

mama5kiddos Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:11pm
post #1 of 8

I am just starting out, and not sure how much to charge. I have read alot of posts where people charge $2.25-4+ per serving, etc. Do most of you ONLY charge per serving, or do some charge based on the size of cake (and detailed work). I am mostly going to specialize in "party" cakes, until I build my confidence up for wedding cakes.

I have my website up, but am nowhere near where I want to be on it. I had to put something up for pricing, and I just put down what I thought was fair. Over here in my "neck of the woods" people are so used to paying Walmart/Cosco pricing on their nobody wants to go over at all. (even family that i offered to make the cake for FREE they just have to purchase supplies/ingredients...they declined and said they would go for the $15 costco cake!)

Please check out my website and give me any needed tips on pricing (like what would you charge for the cakes i have made? All of them were gifts to family or for my kids so far) and/or website layout help.


7 replies
indydebi Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 9:03pm
post #2 of 8

Ok, first, stop taking pics of cakes next to your sink. Some ideas are to drape a sheet over your counters and tape it up onto the upper cabinets, then set the cake on the sheet. Or have someone hold the sheet up behind the cake (I have my daughter do this sometimes).

I dont' care that everyone is "used to" walmart pricing. They can't get your cakes at walmart so stop comparing yourself to walmart. Your work is very good and merits a good price.

You point out that your serving size is twice what the wilton chart recommends. If you are giving them twice the amount of cake, then your rate should be twice. Cake Civilians won't notice that your price is for a bigger piece of cake .... all they'll see is "wow ... her 12" cake only serves half the number of people! I get twice as much cake with walmart's 12" cake!" (yes, people ARE that stupid!). With the serving size and the price you are charging, I think you're leaving money on the table.

I suggest you clarify if your cakes are single layer or double layer. What exactly are they getting? Because when I saw your 12" served about 25, I didnt' know if this was a single layer cake or not (since I tell customers that a 12" cake serves about 50).

mama5kiddos Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 2:34am
post #3 of 8

Thank you so much for replying! You had a few good points. Oh yeah, and the pics next to the sink. I got rid of my table and have nowhere else to put it so the kiddies dont grab it...but I am working on photoshopping a background for the ones I have already made...good eye though I thought the same thing once I saw the purty cakes with a nice drape behind them! Oh and all my cakes are double layered and have fillings...and yeah, I think what you said is true, they might only think that my cake "feeds less". So maybe I should just charge "per serving"...or atleast double my serving amounts to the Wilton chart.

Do you still think that "per serving" applies when it is just party/3D/birthday cakes though and not many wedding orders? I just cant see how I am going to figure this out other than what I THINK a particular cake would cost. Say my elmo cake. That sucker took me FOREVER to make, ingredients alone were around $55-60. I would charge atleast $130 for it (but from the looks of it, maybe I should charge way more? It seems as though just a basic 1/2 sheet (and no 3D work) might go for that rate?

Or do you all suggest I just do the wilton "serving" chart, and make my "per serving" rate a little less? I just cant imagine paying $2.25 per serving, when I know there is no way (say a 9" round, no way would that feed 32 people, in my opinion LOL)... for a 9" round I would pay $72. I can see doing it for $1/serving though, and making $32. But again, decorations are on top of that. And for a wedding cake, I believe how it needs to be at perfection, $1/per serving just isnt applicable there IMO.

Any help is greatly is all so confusing as any other newbie has said too. LOL

loriana Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 2:44am
post #4 of 8

Hey mama icon_smile.gif

I like the beginnings of your website. I have a little bit of advice as to pricing, pictures and setup. Maybe something may be helpful:

1. I would shrink your pictures a bit or give people an option of looking at a thumbnail before clicking on the large picture. Large pictures can take a long time to load. Check out my website gallery for example.

2. It seems like your cupcake pricing is really low at $.75 a piece. Since a cupcake is basically 1 serving, I would price it at 1 serving, like $2.00 per piece.

3. Speaking of pricing, when you are first starting, make sure you charge enough to cover yourself and a bit more to make it worth your while, but... don't take this the wrong way, but don't expect to make as much as people with a lot of equipment and experience. I would personally not charge $4.00 per serving. You will probably have to figure out your expenses and then charge enough to make $8-10 per hour on top of that. Figure out what that would equate to in terms of price per serving and then stick to that. Period, no discounts. Just explain to people that your cakes are made fresh and are custom made, unlike Costco (or whatever other example people are comparing you to)

I hope this helps; I made a pricing matrix for "home and hobby" use, it is under the matrix thread. This will help you figure out your costs. I also agree with indydebi on re-doing your standard of a serving size since customers are ignorant of how you price things and it will make it easier to justify your "very fair prices" icon_smile.gif

melodyscakes Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 3:17am
post #5 of 8

also, change the wording from "my skill level" that just seems like your still unsure of yourself.....and if Your unsure of yourself, then the customer will be unsure of yourself.

also, I'd take off the practice cakes.
you only want to display your best work on a website, not your first! first are never as good

also, is this for family to look at or customers?
are you a legal baker? if not, you don't want a web site...could get you into trouble.
if your not legal, still do a web site for family and friends to look at, but take prices off!

hope this helps!


ladyonzlake Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 3:19am
post #6 of 8

When I first started out selling cakes....2005, I went around to my grocery store bakeries and picked up their wedding cake brochures. I also pulled up some local baker's websites to see what they charged.

I suggest to never charge less than what your grocery store bakeries charge for wedding cakes...I'm not talking about their display and already made cakes. Ask for their brochure and it will list their prices.

I never compare myself to Walmart or Costco. You have to remember you don't pump out the same cake for everyone. You are a "custom" baker and should charge apropriately. As your experience grows you can increase your prices. When I first started my BC cakes started at $2.25 per serving and fondant was $3.25 . I've since increased that to $3.50 for BC and $4.50 for fondant. My carved cakes start at $5 per serving.

I recently took a class with Bronwen Webber and she made a statement that stuck with me. It's 80 percent confidence and 20 percent talent.

Your website should sound confident and sound like you've been baking for years. I wouldn't put on there...this is my first cake...ect...

Also, my tip for photos...I'll use a cardboard tri-fold board...the ones the kids use for school projects. It makes photoshoping much easier.

Good luck to you! icon_biggrin.gif

melodyscakes Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 3:23am
post #7 of 8

went back to your site, and your cookies are amazing!
I'm very impressed.

about the flavors, give them and idea of the flavors then let them know that you can customize any flavor they'd like.

and don't sell cakes to family....let them eat nasty Sams cake...others will pay what your cake is worth.


Mike1394 Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 10:42am
post #8 of 8

For pricing here is what I consider.

Your market, or target consumer.

The cost the cost of making cake, icing, I.E. ingredients, gas, electric. Not your time.

What your competion charges. This will give you insight to what your market will tolerate.

Your talent level.


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