Cake Price...was I Being Unreasonable?

Decorating By iluvjay829 Updated 25 Sep 2008 , 3:12pm by BCo

iluvjay829 Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:13pm
post #1 of 52

Please tell me if my price was reasonable. A friend from high school contacted me to do a cake for her little boy's 3rd birthday. It is a construction themed cake...two tiers, 8" and 10" marble cake. It had hand made trees and his name out of fondant. It also had construction trucks on it which I had to pay for, $15. She also wanted 20 cookies and I was going to make them into a cookie bouquet in the back of a plastic dump truck. I quoted her $100 for the cake to feed 50 and the 20 cookie bouquet. Was this unreasonable? She contacted me and asked if we could cut the cost somehow. Please advise...

51 replies
-K8memphis Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:26pm
post #2 of 52

Utterly unreasonable. You totally low-balled it. Tell her sure you can work with her on the price--You can do a sheet cake to serve 70 for a hundred and forty bucks. She can get some refrigerated cookie dough by the canned biscuits at the grocery store & make them herself. By the way, she owes you fifteen bucks already not to mention your time & gas.

Repeat after me, "I charge $2 a ser-ving"

signed,
nearly exasperated

miss_sweetstory Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:33pm
post #3 of 52

Agreed! You aren't charging enough. Now is the time that you have to "be strong" and kindly let her know that with the cost of materials, ingredients, and your labor, she is already getting a deal.

janebrophy Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:33pm
post #4 of 52

LOL k8memphis! I agree. It's really hard to charge only $2.oo/serving, and that is ridiculous! Sounds like it's going to be an amazing cake! Don't budge on your price, it's not worth doing it for any less.

leah_s Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:34pm
post #5 of 52

Agreed. You are wacky low on that price. My price for a tiered cake with any fondant work at all is $3.25 per servings, plus an equipment fee, plus delivery if applicable, plus a fee for each tree (handwork.) I don't usually do cookies, but the going rate on CC for decorated cookies is always quoted at $1 per inch.

KHalstead Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:40pm
post #6 of 52

okay, I start at 2.50/serv. for tiered cakes and even at my rediculously low prices that cake is 137.50 without the hand molded trees, toys, or the kids name...my 15 cookie bouquet is 50.00 too......so I would say you gave her a heck of a deal to say the least. She better just figure on a sheetcake!

DebraDough Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 10:53pm
post #7 of 52

I just had to weigh in on this one. I have given most of my cakes away or done them for cost...why? Because no one could afford what I would charge. Just lately I've been charging people and they say "Really?" and I say "Really." I could not care any less than I do if they buy or don't. I've been thinking a lot about this on-going debate here on this site about how much is too much. I am an artist and I keep thinking about my originals. Folks there are three kinds of art. Mass produced, the kind you buy at K Mart. There are numbered prints you buy that are limited and signed by the artist. And then there are originals. an original is always worth way more than the others. So...how does this fit in with cakes? If they want K Mart cakes they need to go to K Mart. If they want a signed print...go to a super market and pick one out of the book...you know...one of twenty styles, mass produced with a limited selection of flavors and oh yeh it's "personalized." If they want an original then let them go to a cake artist and pay the artist for their time, talent and supplies. Ladies and gentlemen...we create edible art! I've been working on a birthday cake for a good friend and I cannot even believe the time I've put into it and the supplies. The more cakes I sell the more expensive they get. And believe it or not if you just go slow and build a client base you will make money at it. Think of it this way. Would you rather make 30 cakes for $3.00 an hour or would you rather make 10 cakes for $10.00 an hour? Me...I haven't worked for $10.00 an hour for probably twenty years or so. The point is though that you may make less cakes but probably make the same amount of money for less than half the time invested. And then you are building a client base that knows what to expect when they call you. And if they refer you to someone they usually will say something along the lines of "she's really expensive but worth every penny". Then the new folks know what to expect when they call. Just my two cents folks..that's all..just my two cents.

Blessings to all, Debra

indydebi Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 11:11pm
post #8 of 52

My pricing is in line with what leahs said. My 15 cookie bouquet is around $85 ... and I'm about 20% cheaper (+/-) than the nat'l chain.

DebraDough, i love your post ... a very good comparison.

janebrophy Posted 21 Sep 2008 , 11:55pm
post #9 of 52

Very well put Debradough!

summernoelle Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:11am
post #10 of 52

I had a "friend" do this to me once-she wanted a 2 tiered gift box cake with the lids open and then tissue paper coming out of it, etc. I told her $50. She said she was going to make a diaper cake herself instead.
Some people are just cheap. Period. There was NOTHING wrong with your price-I doubt you were barely covering expenses with that!

DebraDough Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:16am
post #11 of 52

I guess other people take smoke breaks....me I take CC breaks now. I had a story that kind of goes along with this theme. Many years ago I did craft shows. I made this one tea stained snowman with a suede top hat and vest to match. He was really cute but no one seemed to want him. I packed and unpacked him for a couple of years and each time I would mark down his price.The last Made in Alaska Trade Show I did I fondly unpacked him and told him he had been with me so long I thought I wanted to keep him (yes the winters are long here and I talk to my imaginary friends). I marked his price up triple what I first asked for him. HE WAS SOLD IN THE FIRST HOUR. People sub consciously think if it's inexpensive then it is cheap. Don't ever let anyone confuse your quality of work with the supermarket slop that they pass off as professional cakes. Stick to your guns by golly!
Best of luck to all and tons of blessings, Debra

angelatx Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:22am
post #12 of 52

I think its always a bit sticky to do cakes or cookies for family or friends, cuz they expect you to give them a discount or for free at that. I think what Debradough said is a great way to put it. Have a great evening!! GO COWBOYS!!!! HEHE icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:22am
post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebraDough

People sub consciously think if it's inexpensive then it is cheap.



I have a photographer friend who has a great range of prices ... he starts at about $2000 and he just added a $10,000 package.

He told me he added the $10,000 package because one groom said to the wedding planner, "If this guy is only $6,000 then how good can he be?" icon_surprised.gif My friend said to me, "I am NOT losing another wedding because someone with a deep pocket thinks $6000 is CHEAP!"

I was quoting a catering once and it was a spaghetti dinner type of thing. Well, pasta is so inexpensive that I told hubby, "man, I can give them a low price and still make money!" Hubby said, "Then you need to raise it. If they are price comparing, they will look at how much lower your price is and they'll ask themselves, "Hmmm...hers is really cheap ... wonder what's wrong with her food?"" So I raised my bid by $2/serving and got the job.

dmhart Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:27am
post #14 of 52

I agree with all that have posted here. I would not do it for as low as you are doing it for. It they want the type of work you are doing that kind of work COST. If they want a cheap cake go to Walmart or elsewhere.

Your are doing an art piece. Not to mention the amount of YOUR time that it takes to create that art.
No you are not being unreasonable!!

Stick to your Guns!

bobwonderbuns Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:29am
post #15 of 52

You know I'm glad this came up because lately I've been told I'm "way too expensive" when a client I did work for some years ago contacted me for 15 6-inch cakes with basketwave and flowers, etc. etc. for some benefit she was doing. Fine, for all that work it's $20 per cake. "$20 for a six inch cake??? icon_eek.gif That's too expensive. There are bakeries around here who will do that commission for free!" My response "then that's where you need to go." icon_twisted.gificon_biggrin.gif Honestly, the nerve of some people! icon_rolleyes.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:35am
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

.... There are bakeries around here who will do that commission for free!"




Oh sure .... that's why she came to you instead and asked you how much you would CHARGE her for them ... because she didn't want the FREE ones! icon_confused.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:41am
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

.... There are bakeries around here who will do that commission for free!"



Oh sure .... that's why she came to you instead and asked you how much you would CHARGE her for them ... because she didn't want the FREE ones! icon_confused.gif


ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Yep, she also wanted a 6-foot wedding cake for free, but I charged her anyway! icon_twisted.gificon_biggrin.gif

AmandaPanda Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:46am
post #18 of 52

I agree with the others, your price was actually too low. I did a cake to feed 50 and charged $125 for just the cake and I am not in a pricey market. Stick to your guns if she wants a less expensive cake tell her SHE needs to cut the costs not you.

Tlloyd Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:52am
post #19 of 52

Let's not forget that Walmart etc. get their materials a lot cheaper that we do. We have to drive around to buy it (gas) stand on our feet to prepare the cake and then clean up and wash cake pans, tips etc.

cylstrial Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 12:55am
post #20 of 52

Figure out what it would cost with CC pricing and then tell her that you already gave her a discount. For example, "I've already given you a discount. Normally, I charge $150, $200, (whatever it is). I'm sorry, but this is very labor intensive). Or something like that. Goodluck!!

dmhart Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 10:59am
post #21 of 52

bobwonderbuns, Hey I with you!!! If they can get that type for work for FREE then that IS where they need to go. Some people kill me. Go down the road if you can find someone to do quality work you want for the Price you want, which is normally free or dirt cheap.

People want quality work but they don't want to pay for it.

Jocmom Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 11:23am
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelatx

I think its always a bit sticky to do cakes or cookies for family or friends, cuz they expect you to give them a discount or for free at that. I think what Debradough said is a great way to put it. Have a great evening!! GO COWBOYS!!!! HEHE icon_biggrin.gif




Odd concept, isn't it? Do I show up where they work and ask for free stuff? My sister works for an insurance company - no free car insurance for me. My brother works for a local utility company - yet I still have to pay to heat my home. My sister-in-law is a teacher - she hasn't offered to tutor my kids. I have a good friend that's a nurse - no free health care.

But cakes? We're expected to give them away.

AbouttheCake Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 11:26am
post #23 of 52

I agree with the others. Granted, it does depend on where you are, but for the cake alone it would be $216.00, not to mention the cookies, which would be another $40.00-60.00.

Cindy20 Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 11:55am
post #24 of 52

Hello Everyone, I'm new to posting so I hope this comes through. I was also glad to see this topic come up. I live in a small town and there are only 2 or 3 decorators within 40 miles of here. In the past I've often heard "I can get a cake at WalMart for less" and have learned to say, "yes you can". While my prices are a bit lower here than when I lived in a major metro area they are still higher than Walmart and the grocery chains but quality costs and I've learned to stick to my price.

springlakecake Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 3:20pm
post #25 of 52

yeah, she could cut the cost by cutting the guest list by 20 or 30 people.

7yyrt Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 3:38pm
post #26 of 52

She can get Twinkies for $1.49 a pack...

dmhart Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 4:47pm
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

She can get Twinkies for $1.49 a pack...


HaHa.....too funny!!

iluvjay829 Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 4:47pm
post #28 of 52

Thanks ladies for reassuring me. I always underprice, but I was trying to do her a favor since she was my friend. I really need to learn to stick to my guns!

Kitagrl Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 4:59pm
post #29 of 52

Indy is right....you want the customers willing to pay boutique prices for truly "boutique" work (in cake!). If you undercut, they will think they are just getting cheap work or nasty cake. I have never been happier since I raised my prices, and in some cases I am still raising prices. I want the hours I spend working on this stuff to be WORTH it.

And yeah, doing for friends is a bummer sometimes...I don't mind the ones I volunteer, but I really hate being asked by someone I know!

smbegg Posted 22 Sep 2008 , 5:04pm
post #30 of 52

My story from this weekend: I do not normally sell cakes, only a few. I made an 8inch square strawberry cake w/ cream cheese BC and 8 inch round german chocolate cake for a dessert meeting. We never discussed price. When asked at the end of the meeting what I would charge I said $20.00 a cake. She said that was way too little and handed me a folded check. When I got home, opened it to find $100!!!!

So I guess that I can charge a little more than I have been!

Stephanie

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