Need Help With Pricing...

Decorating By tamrick Updated 21 Sep 2008 , 12:35am by dmhart

tamrick Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 11:02pm
post #1 of 22

Hi Everyone! First off, I am fairly new to decorating, little over a year. I've basically been giving "freebies" to family functions as gifts, just to get my name out. Now, I am starting to get people interested in ordering from me, but I have no clue as to what to charge! I know that you charge by serving, serving usually go by Wiltons. I comprehend that concept, especially for wedding cakes, but what about birthday cakes, or the like? For example, a 8" cake serves 24, at say $2.00/serving would be $48.00. I live in a very rural area, and most people would rather to the Save Easy and get one for $20.00! How do I justify the price difference? (My own family would go for the cheaper one!)

Also, if say $2.00 is the base price, does that include say flowers, transfers, etc? Or are they extra? I know this has all been discussed before, but I am just not grasping it!

I have an order for a 5X7 oval, basket weave with fondant leaves and a couple of pumpkins made from cake balls. Do I just charge the $26? My cost for the cake alone is $14.00. I use WASC and IMBC.

Any help would greatly be appreciated, and I am sorry if I missed a topic already on this!

Tammy

21 replies
indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 11:35pm
post #2 of 22

I dont' care what they call it .... wedding cake, birthday cake, kiss my butt cake ... it's the same work, same cake, same price.

Why would a 2-tier highly decorated cake cost less just because they CALL it a birthday cake instead of a wedding cake? icon_confused.gif

It's time to bust the myth that "birthday cakes cost about 20 bucks". That's true ONLY if you buy a twenty dollar cake.

But don't come to me asking for all the bells and whistles, wanting a cake that looks like a Duff cake, and then stand there all shell-shocked when I tell you it's going to cost way more than twenty bucks.

Some people can't afford me ... and that's ok. They won't find walmart prices on my cakes .... and they won't find cakes like mine in walmart.

check this thread for info on walmart pricing: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6099927-.html#6099927

tamrick Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 11:51pm
post #3 of 22

Thank you indydebi. I will stick with the $2.00/slice for all occasion cakes as well. But would you charge extra for things like flowers or fondant decorations, or is that all included in the price? icon_cry.gif is how I feel with the pricing, lol.

Tammy

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2008 , 11:59pm
post #4 of 22

I don't charge extra for BC flowers ... I don't do fondant flowers or gumpaste flowers. I would definitely charge extra for gumpaste. I'm just starting to play with fondant, so it would depend on how involved they are.

I only have one cake that I charge a design fee for ... it's my City Skyline cake where the skyline is hand-cut from sheets of chocolate and it took me over 4 hours just to cut out the chocolate. Otherwise, I haven't run into anything that really merits an add'l charge (although my aging hands are casting their vote for an extra fee for chantilly lace on large tiers!)

bobwonderbuns Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 12:23am
post #5 of 22

As always Indy saves the day! icon_lol.gif

Naturepixie Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 12:23am
post #6 of 22

I also gave my cakes to family and close friends as gifts. I'm in the same boat with you tamrick...People are starting to call and I have no idea how much to charge... It makes me nervous when they ask..lol So all the advice is welcome.. icon_biggrin.gif

Deb_ Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 12:38am
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamrick

For example, a 8" cake serves 24, at say $2.00/serving would be $48.00. I live in a very rural area, and most people would rather to the Save Easy and get one for $20.00! How do I justify the price difference? (My own family would go for the cheaper one!)
Tammy





Tammy, you justify the difference by saying "my cakes are custom designed and fresh baked masterpieces". I doubt these people can buy the same quality cake at Save Easy..........if quality isn't important to them, than direct them to Save Easy.

Save Easy, Sam's, Wal-Mart, BJ's and the like are not the businesses you should be comparing your product to. Not everyone will be willing to pay your prices and you shouldn't worry about lowering your price to match theirs. By all means don't work for pennies, if you don't place a high value on your work than others won't either.

BTW, Where in MA are you? I'm in SE MA, I've never heard of Save Easy, what is it?

tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 12:55am
post #8 of 22

Ok, it's clicking now, lol. I guess that was part of my problem too, I didn't want to under charge myself either, as hubby likes to point out, there's no sense in making them if I am not going to make any money. lol

Now, I am thinking about going with mainly IMBC, should I charge a little more for that? Like $2.00 for buttercream, $2.50 for IMBC and $3.00 for fondant? Does that sound reasonable, or too confusing?

Tammy

tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 12:58am
post #9 of 22

Oh, and thanks for all the help getting this into my blonde head, lol.

dKelly, I am in New Brunswick, Canada. SaveEasy is a local grocery mart.

Tammy

Cake_Princess Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 1:13am
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamrick

Hi Everyone! First off, I am fairly new to decorating, little over a year. I've basically been giving "freebies" to family functions as gifts, just to get my name out. Now, I am starting to get people interested in ordering from me, but I have no clue as to what to charge! I know that you charge by serving, serving usually go by Wiltons. I comprehend that concept, especially for wedding cakes, but what about birthday cakes, or the like? For example, a 8" cake serves 24, at say $2.00/serving would be $48.00. I live in a very rural area, and most people would rather to the Save Easy and get one for $20.00! How do I justify the price difference? (My own family would go for the cheaper one!)

Also, if say $2.00 is the base price, does that include say flowers, transfers, etc? Or are they extra? I know this has all been discussed before, but I am just not grasping it!

I have an order for a 5X7 oval, basket weave with fondant leaves and a couple of pumpkins made from cake balls. Do I just charge the $26? My cost for the cake alone is $14.00. I use WASC and IMBC.

Any help would greatly be appreciated, and I am sorry if I missed a topic already on this!

Tammy




This thread might help.

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tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 1:59am
post #11 of 22

Cake_Princess, the address didn't show up...

bcake1960 Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 2:23am
post #12 of 22

tamrick.. I live in a rurak area as well. I charge $2.65 a slice for buttercream and 3.25 a slice for Fondant or cakes with fondant accents. You are right some people will not pay those prices.. BUT SOME WILL! AND NOT EVEN BLINK.. You have to make it worth your time. Otherwise it wont be fun anymore.. even at these prices sometimes I feel I should be charging more... I tell everyone my cakes START AT $55.00. no matter how small I wont do a cake for less than $55.00 That usually elminates the ones looking for a good deal right away.. Usually they "Ill call you back I have to check on something" Sometimes I get surprised and get called back as well.. Anyway you will gain a loyal following.. in my town I am known as "The cake lady" and people know "That was one spendy cake..." but it is a work of art as well! Hang in there its uncomfortable at first but stick to your guns.. it is well worth it.. sorry for rambeling.... got to go bake cakes... have 2 for Sunday..

ladyonzlake Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 2:27am
post #13 of 22

Indy said it very well as usual icon_biggrin.gif ....You have to remember you are a specialty cake decorator. There will be some people who think your cakes are too expensive and that's okay...they go to Walmart. People who appreciate your work and your custom flavors will be your customers. It is best to have a base price in mind so that you can say my cakes start at xx.00 and go up from there depending on design.

Personally, my base price includes a IMBC frosted cake and a border. Everything else is extra. I currently have a $100.00 minimum order. I'm renting a shared commercial kitchen so I need to make it worth my time.

Good luck in your venture!

tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 3:09am
post #14 of 22

Thank you, I appreciate everyone taking the time to help. I am feeling better now about the pricing! Just have to decide what I am going to charge now, lol, but you guys are great and have helped alot! And you guys are right, if they want a custom cake, they will pay for it, if not, then they can go get the $20 one at the grocery store! I wasn't thinking of the custom made part before, just the sizes.

Tammy

ladyonzlake Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 2:42pm
post #15 of 22

Tammy, I forgot to add that when I first started what I did is some research on what the local bakers were charging. I went to bridal shows and picked up some of their brochures and business cards and then went online to find out what they charge which gave me an idea of where to start. You could also google this information.

poshcakedesigns Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 3:08pm
post #16 of 22

You prices sound more than reasonable. I am in a rural part of town too - most of my business actually comes from the other side of town. As word spreads about your cakes customers willing to pay your price will show up. It's a slow process at first but as you build your clientel loyal customers will come and will highly recommend you. I actually have some customers that are friends that now 'compete' for the best birthday cakes for their kids. Each year the cakes keep getting bigger and better and each year they pay a bit more because they get more eloboarte with their request. And yep they both know they use 'me' as their baker but I don't dare share their party secrets with the others. It's actually pretty funny.

You have to remember your time is money - if you don't make money you want enjoy what you are doing.

Oh and as Indy said 'cake is CAKE' I don't care what the occassion my time is no different for a wedding or birthday cake.

tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 9:52pm
post #17 of 22

Actually, I've tried getting prices from others. There are not very many in my area that do cakes. The first one won't give me any prices, even though she is trying to get out of it. All I know with her is that a barbie cake made with the wonder form, is around $20! hmm, not worth it to me, but that's what got me thinking if I would be asking too much. Another lady in the area, Her prices are not consistant, so I assume she charges by the cake itself. And, her 8" is only $25.00! That is barely $1.00/slice. I do value my time more than that! lol So I guess that is why I was so undecided before. But now, I am going to set my prices, and if I get the orders than great! If not, well, I guess I'm not wasting my time! (and will have to keep doing the freebies for my family to practise, lmao)

Tammy

kakeladi Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 10:41pm
post #18 of 22

I tend to disagree somewhat w/Indydeb icon_smile.gif
I do NOT put as much effort, time &/or work into a b'day cake as I do a wedding cake.
Remember now, I am no longer making cakes for the public (selling). I stopped that about 3 yrs ago.
I know prices for ingredients have gone way up but today if I was to sell a cake I still would charge less for an 8"x4" round cake than wedding cake prices.
When I last sold a cake I was charging $25 for that size cake w/basic decos (roses & writing). I would guess w/todays inflation I would be getting $30.

Now if they want a special request (fondant figures, gp flowers, sculpted etc) the price *would* go up to wedding prices or higher.

Wedding cakes use more filling (torted); take much more time to be perfectly iced and decorated *plus* enginering to put it together and delivery.
Most of the b'day cakes I made were less than 20 servings....usually a single layer 10" round; torted w/filling; b'cream & simply decorated.
Yes, I do put more time and energy into wedding cakes so it should cost more.

indydebi Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 11:02pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamrick

... All I know with her is that a barbie cake made with the wonder form, is around $20! hmm, not worth it to me, but that's what got me thinking if I would be asking too much.



I think you're looking at this wrong. You're looking at the prices of others and considering them the "right" prices, so then you're looking at your prices compared to their prices and thinking "My prices are too high".

*I* say .... you look at your prices and compare them to their prices and you should say, "Wow, their prices are way too low!" icon_biggrin.gif

Kakeladi, I know exactly what you're saying, but a 2-tier wedding cake with ribbon wrapped around the base is way less work than a 2-tier birthday cake wtih all kinds of BC decorations all over it. Plus I've noticed that I spend more time chit-chatting with birthday moms over a lousy $60-$80 birthday cake than I do with a bride to discuss her $450 wedding cake. (had one mom that I spent a total of 82 minutes with her over a 2-day period for a $60 cake!! I lost money before I even turned on my oven! icon_cry.gif )

Deb_ Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 11:22pm
post #20 of 22

When I started doing cakes way back when, my first Wedding cake order gave me many sleepless nights. Than one of my instructors told me to think of it as making 4 Birthday cakes. So, that's what I did. Instead of stressing about making a huge 4 tiered cake, I thought about it as, 6", 10", 12", and 14" separate cakes. She was absolutely right, they're just 4 birthday cakes that you happen to stack.

Even today I face it the same way. A lot of today's Wedding cakes are very simplistic in design, unless they are covered in 200 BC roses, I charge the same per serving as my all occasion cakes. Any extravagant designs I price accordingly. I use the samecake recipes and amounts of filling for all of my cakes so that's not the issue for me.

I VERY rarely get the supermarket standard Birthday cake order of just BC icing with a rose spray and Happy Birthday on the top. Everyone wants custom this and custom that, I almost always spend more time on Birthday cakes nowadays than I do on a Wedding cake tier of the same size. I agree with indydebi on this one thumbs_up.gif

tamrick Posted 20 Sep 2008 , 11:53pm
post #21 of 22

You are right. thumbs_up.gif I have to keep repeating "Custom, Custom, Custom" lol That is the difference, I make Custom, designed to order cakes, not grab the first one and go! lol It's starting to sink in, ever so slowly. As you probably can tell, I am a very indecisive person. icon_redface.gif

Thanks again, you guys are great!

Tammy

dmhart Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 12:35am
post #22 of 22

I have had this same problem. I am located in a rural area and most people do not want to pay the price I need to charge. I have figured my cost and supplies numerous times and I know my prices are correct. But I still get the "I will get back with you" and that use to bother me. But I have gotten over it. I have done lots of cakes for little over my cost and after killing myself to keep up with my orders I have realized if they don't want to pay for my cost AND my time ...go to Wal-mart, Sams or where ever. That would have hurt my feelings at one time but not anymore. My time is valuable and if they think my price is to high then find someone else that will do it for less or better yet do yourself. I do fresh made cakes with quality ingredients that is made specially for them and at the time when they order it.

It took me a while to learn to figure my time as a cost in determining my price. But it is a lesson learned.

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