How Can I Figure Out My Pricing?

Business By CakeInfatuation Updated 26 Nov 2008 , 1:11am by CakeInfatuation

CakeInfatuation Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 7:42pm
post #1 of 14

My goal is to have my own LEGAL cake business in the next 12 months. My husband is all for it IF I do all my research and have things figured out. Pricing really has me stumped. I put a lot of time and effort into my cakes and I agree with him. If I'm going to do this, I don't want to sell myself short.

So doing this by serving size doesn't quite work. I have gotten a lot of feedback from people at events with my cakes that I should be charging more that I say I would charge if I were to sell a cake.

So... based on my skill level, amount of detail, and the fact that I don't want to be overwhelmed with too many cake orders at too low a price... What's realistic pricing?

Here are two cakes you can look at to help me figure.

The first cake is a 10" round on the bottom. Stacked on top of that is an 8" round, 2 layer cake.

All the detail is hand made.

This 2nd cake is 2, 8" round cakes. Again everything is hand made. Under the leaves is a layer of Twix crushed up.

For more help figuring, please just look in my gallery. I am really wanting to go legal but I have to prove to my dh that it is worth all the hassle and the start up fees!

13 replies
Mike1394 Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 7:46pm
post #2 of 14

Have you costed out a recipe yet? Have you checked out what the competition is doing? That will give a good direction to go in.


CakeInfatuation Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 7:53pm
post #3 of 14

It's really hard to price based on the competition when there really isn't anyone in my area that I can find that does anything other than standard tiered bakery wedding cakes and such.

I can't find anyone within 30 minutes of me that has a website or is listed on Super Pages, and does custom cakes like this.

Mike1394 Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 8:34pm
post #4 of 14
Originally Posted by shill

It's really hard to price based on the competition when there really isn't anyone in my area that I can find that does anything other than standard tiered bakery wedding cakes and such.

I can't find anyone within 30 minutes of me that has a website or is listed on Super Pages, and does custom cakes like this.

You have no competition any closer than 30 minutes? That isn't that far away though. I would expand that search to about an hour.


KHalstead Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 8:52pm
post #5 of 14

well, nobody can tell you what YOU should charge unless they're in the same area as you.......what I did when figuring my pricing (and trust me I'm more expensive now than when I started 2 yrs. ago), I called the local bakery, and another lady that has a "cake business" (she also has a store front, does work with fondant...wilton..yuck...but does no carved/3-D cakes)... One of them charges 1.50/serv. for buttercream, the other 1.00/serv......yes 1.00/serv. for TIERED wedding cakes. So initially I started charging $1.50, I was making a profit but barely. Then when I saw THEIR cakes, I upped my price to $2.00/serv. because their frosting isn't even smooth. Then I decided on $.50 extra per serving for fondant.
My carved cakes are my own price because nobody else does them and they're a lot of work
my base price is 3.00/serv. for bc and 3.50/fondant
all modelled figures are based individually and there is a minimum of 5.00 per figure, if there are more than 3 colos of gumpaste the price increases!
See, for your first cake.......I would charge a carved cake price on the bottom tier and a tiered cake price on the top tier and at least 5.00/each for the tent, tree, and guy, plus $.25/serv. extra for the fondant accesories all around.
So you're looking at $201.25 based on MY pricing and I tell ya I'm probably cheaper than anyone on here LOL I live in a small town in Ohio. I don't charge labor per hour because I've gotten much quicker at decorating, so I just figured a price I could live with. I could probably make that cake in about 3 hrs minus baking and cleanup I figure after expenses I'm still doin alright. I get enough cake orders that I'm not embarassed to tell them how much it's gonna cost anymore!!
I just had a lady call and ask about a barbie doll cake and I said it'll be 50.00 to start and more based on the details and I thought she's gonna be like....uh nevermind because the OTHER LADY in town does them for 20.00/each.........and she said"great, I'm gonna need 3 of them!" LOL
people ARE willing to pay for quality workmanship and if they're not willing then don't waste YOUR time and effort!

mandysue Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 8:52pm
post #6 of 14

You are amazingly talented! That means that you should be able to demand a lot for your cakes. However, that can be like building a mansion in a bad part of town...even if it's worth a lot, it doesn't mean anyone will buy it! I'm terrible with pricing and I know that I don't charge enough for what I can do. I would say that you should look up the pricing matrix that's available on this website and look at it. Personally, I don't use it, but I think it's a great tool and makes you think about how much more a cake costs than just the price of a cake mix and bag of powdered sugar! Pricing based on competitors is good too, but if you are offering cakes that are not even in the same league, it isn't a great deal of help. Just be fair to yourself. You should be making at least min. wage per hour on your cakes....$10/hr. is even the price of supplies and ingredients! Good luck! People should be paying thousands for your work. It truly is amazing! I wish I could do what you do.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 9:01pm
post #7 of 14

You're right, you can't price on a per-serving method on those cakes! THey are incredible. If you lived close to me, I'd buy cakes from you! icon_biggrin.gif

I would base an hourly rate on more like $25/hour. Master craftsmen make more than an apprentice ... and their work reflects their skill. Also, remember that out of that $10/hour, you'll end up paying employer's/employment taxes, both halves of the social security tax, etc. (It's a different ball of wax when you're self employed!)

Mike1394 Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 11:05pm
post #8 of 14

I do hope though you do have a market for the cakes. Your talent is awesome. The fisherman cake is outstanding. That baby better start somewhere around 500.


panchanewjersey Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 11:28pm
post #9 of 14

Whatever you do end up charging you deserve it they are awesome, I'd fly back east for a cake like that. thumbs_up.gif

gibson Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 11:31pm
post #10 of 14

Have you ever thought of purchasing cake boss? That helps you research. You have to go to the grocery store and price all your ingredients out and then figure out prices per cup, tbsp, tsp, etc. You input it into cake boss and it does the figuring for you! It's great! Really opened my eyes to how much I was undercharging. You also have to charge per hour and you can decide what you think your time is worth. It also allows you include overhead and material costs. It's really a great program and I don't know what I would do without it!

KHalstead Posted 21 Nov 2008 , 2:22pm
post #11 of 14

I second gibson's advice..........cake boss is the reason I jacked my prices don't always take into consideration all the dusts and colors and stuff that you're using they really add up!!

littlecake Posted 21 Nov 2008 , 4:23pm
post #12 of 14

when duff started, didn't his cakes start at 500.00?

with your talent and attention to detail....i'm thinking you are in that catagory...eggs and flour etc have little to do with the pay for the expertise.

beautiful work.

trumpetmidget Posted 21 Nov 2008 , 6:44pm
post #13 of 14

Shill, I have cakeboss and have loved it. It really makes you realize how much your cakes cost you to make. That being said - I charge $3 a serving to start, adding $1 serving for fondant and more for specialized cakes and fillings. It goes up from there - to carve a cake it begins at $1 serving, figures are a minimum of $20, unless they are super tiny and/or super easy. I look at my figures as if they are clay or porceline figurines you would by at a store. Your figure sculpting is far superior than mine, so I would probably charge more, if I were you. It is tough to figure pricing out in our area, because there are not many. I would check in the city if I were you, because you are close enough that that may make a difference.
Good Luck!

CakeInfatuation Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 1:11am
post #14 of 14

Thank You all so much for your kind words. I am going to continue to research and am seriously considering cake boss. Thank you for the advice and the suggestions.
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

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