Ok, so here's a totally new request for me--
I had someone ask me for a 3ft artificial cake for a 50th birthday party. They are willing to let me choose the design incorporating cream and gold. They also want to know if they can return the dummy afterward because they don't want to just toss it.
I'm ok with doing it because I am hoping to open shop in the next 6-9 months and a 3ft display cake would be a great window display, but I"m a little unsure how much to charge. I've figured that it will cost about $50 just for the dummies (I don't currently have 9 extras).
Any thoughts, suggestions, contract clauses, or tips would be appreciated!!! Thanks!
Usually the consensus is that it takes just as much work to decorate a dummy, and they're not cheap to purchase either, so you should actually charge the same as you would for a real cake.
I know I'm in the minority, but I don't think that you should charge EXACTLY what you'd charge for a real wedding cake. Using dummies you're eliminating all of your baking time, so I'd deduct for that. I'd start with the cost of the dummies (and shipping, etc. if you have to order them), then I'd figure out how long it would take me to bake the cakes and subtract that from my overall work time, and that would be the only deduction. Other than that, decorating the dummies is going to take you the same time as decorating a real cake, so you should charge the same for that. In the end it IS going to be almost what a real cake would be, but not exactly.
The customer might not like it, but don't underprice yourself just becasue she's been reading magazines that say dummies are cheaper! They're only cheaper when they're depreciated over time and rented out over and over. If you're making one from the begining it's all about your time and how much that's worth to you.
My speech to those who ask about styrofoam cakes:
"It takes the same amount of icing to decorate a fake cake as it does a real one. It takes the same amount of time to decorate a fake cake as it does a real one. It takes the same amount of space in my van to deliver a fake cake as it does a real cake. It takes the same amount of gas in that van to deliver a fake cake as it does a real cake. Working with 6" styrofoam cakes is more work than working with 6" real cakes. I've checked the costs ... I will spend more on styrofoams than I will on cake ingredients. So..... um ..... I'm sorry, you're suppose to get it cheaper WHY?"
That said, I will do fake cakes or fake tiers for 80% of the cost of the real cake.
I have the numbers on my FAQ page to show a bride how getting a styrofoam cake AND sheet cakes can end up costing her way more than just getting a regular real wedding cake.
I agree with indydeb!
You can get cake dummies here for a great cost and shipping
I agree with everyone else that the cost should be pretty close to the same as a regular cake because it does take just as long minus the baking. The only thing I might consider on this is giving them a slight discount because they are going to return it and you said that you would be able to use it again as a display piece in your shop. Normally I wouldn't give a discount for them returning it because really what am I going to do with it If you can use it again though you might want to consider that. Not a big discount though!!!!
psurrette, since it blocked the name, could you please email me or pm me the info? I want to buy dummies, and I get that they're not cheap to ship, but the shipping on some is nuts!
How come it came up blocked? We can tell people where to get things?
I guess I didnt know
We can.. it's just that D allas F oam is blocked and no one knows why. It's silly.. they are a great company to work with.
My thought is that it costs me as much if not more for dummies (if you factor the shipping) and that's with the lack of baking time included since it doesn't cost a ton to run an oven. So a custom made dummy cake.. the same amount as a custom made real cake. If they are giving it back.. then you could take that into consideration and deduct the cost of the dummies including shipping.. but that's as much as I could do.
Here's what I offer with dummy cakes.
I end up doing a lot of them for photo shoots and bridal fairs. If the bride wants to rent them it's $150, plus the cost of the party cake ( what we call a bigg-azz filled sheet cake). No cake from us...No dummy. They give us a deposit in the amount of the full price of the cake, and damage is deducted. If it is a big wedding, they will save some money, but the reason brides have done it in the past are: Outdoor reception and want to safely display the cake, want a much bigger cake than the servings they need, and fell in love with one of our magazine cakes, but can't spend $1000 on cake.
I can totally see that for already done dummies.. I'd offer something like that too if I had a bunch lying around.
Ok, so here is the update - after figuring how much fondant/dummies/ royal icing and time it would take to make a 9 tier cake for a birthday, I came up with a price of $600 and offered to refund $100 if the cake was returned in original condition. My "customer" called to tell me that was out of their budget.
Was my price unreasonable, or was their imagination bigger than their budget?
Imagination bigger than budget, I'd say.........9 tier??? That's a lot of work, don't they understand that, maybe you should have them over for a demo
Ditto what Jenni said. If it takes you 10 hours, that's only $6/hour, not counting supplies.
Smile and walk away.
What sized tiers did she want?? A 9 tiered cake for your birthday?? And $600??????? Unless it was a micro cake.. tier's 1"- 9". Did she have a vision for this monster cake??
I agree.. be glad you didn't end up doing it.. you would have kicked yourself at that price.
They wanted a 3ft tall cake to make a big presentation for a 50th birthday for a pastor of a large congregation. The only reason that I was OK with the price was because I would use the cake as a display in my shop. Either way, I'm perfectly OK with not doing it. I don't have the space to store a 3ft cake until I open my doors.