What Should I Charge?

Business By mrsclox Updated 2 Jun 2009 , 3:54am by Renaejrk

mrsclox Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 11:48pm
post #1 of 19

I'm very new to this business. I just finished my classes in November and thus far have only made 10 cakes. I feel like my prices should still be low being that I'm very much a newbie and am not yet very experienced. I'm looking for pricing suggestions. What would you recommend I charge for a cake like the one in the attached picture? The lady I made this for has asked me to do a Strawberry Shortcake one that will be similar in size.
LL

18 replies
-K8memphis Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 12:21am
post #2 of 19

I think that $6 a serving is the least anyone anywhere should ever charge for a 3-d sculpture. I mean if you're putting a bow on an 8 inch cake and 'making' it into a box, I mean yes it's 3-d but not like doing a 2 foot clown type 3-d sculpture. kwim

It's so hard to be a newby and not know how to do every technique (I mean not that anybody really does but you know what I mean) and get a grasp on market value of your work.

See the huge huge ginormous biggie is you gotta play nice with the other kids. I mean of course nobody wants to underprice the market because you need the market to be there for you.

Like remember when those brothers bought up all the silver years ago and the prices flatlined and it has never been the same since?

Well while you are getting yourself all up to snuff on everything you still need to do the market justice.

To me I think six dollars is just barely holding our head up respectable and the absolute bargain basement lowest anyone can go with a 3-d sculpture end of the world.

$8 a serving sounds so much better for a minimum. And a $150 minimum is about as basic as we can get. Fair market value.

These are not prices to attain to. These are the ones to charge to be on the up and up with fellow cakers across the globe.

Honestly (don't mind me I'm on a roll waxing eloquent icon_biggrin.gif lol) but we all need to be legal sure we do. But more importantly we need to be true to each other. United we stand. Underpricers repent icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
<insert grinning gleeful smilie face>

-K8memphis Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 12:22am
post #3 of 19

Not to mention I love your cake. It's well worth every penny of $8 bucksa or $200 minimum.

cylstrial Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 12:29am
post #4 of 19

Your cake really is super cute!

-K8memphis Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 2:03am
post #5 of 19

But are you in the US?

mrsclox Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 6:11am
post #6 of 19

I'm in Utah. And, this neighbor of mine isn't ordering these cakes to actually serve at the party, she serves sheet cake from walmart or somewhere. She just wants her kids to have a special cake all for themselves. Kinda strange, I know. So, I'm not really doing these based on serving sizes, so I really don't know how to figure my price. Although, I hadn't even thought about a 3D sculpted cake being priced differently, but it makes sense. They really are more work. Would you put a topsy turvy in that category also? I just don't know what to do...

sayhellojana Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 6:22am
post #7 of 19

Mrsclox-
I am also a newbie and just started selling my cakes. I made a free website using webs.com and got some business cards from vista print. Post ads on craigslist - those are soooo effective! So far as pricing, look up bakeries in your area that do custom cakes. Base your price on what their price is. Yours should be less, but not drastically less. Doing it by serving size is the most fair and efficient way to price a cake and I suggest you do it. Use Wilton's serving chart - I've found it to be very accurate. After a few cakes, if you feel like it, raise your prices a bit. I started at $1.50 per serving and am now doing $2.25 per serving plus more for fondant/fancy flavors (so really most cakes end up more like $3 per serving). That is what worked for me. HTH

pinkpiggie78 Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 1:07pm
post #8 of 19

I too have been struggling with pricing as a newbie in the middle of opening her own business. I started pricing per cake and then switched to per serving to make the prices consistent. I definately do NOT want to be the cheapest in the area, but I don't want to be the most expensive either. For those experienced bakers out there, what would you have charged for my magic cake? I am in VA, about halfway between DC and Richmond on 95, in a small city.

The cake is a 9x13, single layer white cake with buttercream, coins are chocolate foiled, and everything else is gumpaste/fondant mixture. I had about 3 times as many stars as pictured, but I didn't stick them in for the quick picture.
LL

suzylynn58 Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 1:28pm
post #9 of 19

That is a cute cake!! I set a minimum for 3D cakes because people say "oh I just need about 10 servings". It takes as much time and effort to do a 3d for 10 as is it does for 50, so make sure you compensate for your time no matter how many servings.

bakerfairy Posted 20 Jan 2009 , 4:45am
post #10 of 19

How do you know how many servings there are in a 3-D cake? With the charts, it's easy to figure out for a basic round or square cake, but how do you determine the number of slices are in an odd-shaped cake?

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jan 2009 , 5:04am
post #11 of 19

Number of servings question: check the wilton chart again and see the cups of batter column? Use that. Or for example each recipe or box mix makes approximately 24 cupcakes. Just multiply.

But no it's not exact--there's some cake discarded after carving--but give it a good guess. And servings generally go by the footprint of the cake but not with a sculpture. They have to be creative cutting and serving a sculpture. I always err on the side of more servings than requested --I never plan on getting close with a sculpture. I go over.

Ayanami Posted 20 Jan 2009 , 8:02pm
post #12 of 19

I learned from selling a certian "pink" cosmetic if you buy it for $1.00 sell it for $2.00, if you buy it for $20.00 sell it for $40.00. You are going to have to replace whatever it was that you just sold, so you need the money for replacement, plus you need money for profit. Labor is all up to you though baby! Whatever you feel your time is worth. You skill is exceptional, so don't short yourself there. Just try to remeber to look at the clock before & after the job so you know how much time you put into it so you can price labor accordingly. (learned that one from my tattoo artist!)

-Tubbs Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 2:23pm
post #13 of 19

You may be a newbie, but your cakes are already great!! You are obviously very talented, so don't sell yourself short!

ThatsHowTcakesRolls Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 2:35pm
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I think that $6 a serving is the least anyone anywhere should ever charge for a 3-d sculpture. I mean if you're putting a bow on an 8 inch cake and 'making' it into a box, I mean yes it's 3-d but not like doing a 2 foot clown type 3-d sculpture. kwim

It's so hard to be a newby and not know how to do every technique (I mean not that anybody really does but you know what I mean) and get a grasp on market value of your work.

See the huge huge ginormous biggie is you gotta play nice with the other kids. I mean of course nobody wants to underprice the market because you need the market to be there for you.

Like remember when those brothers bought up all the silver years ago and the prices flatlined and it has never been the same since?

Well while you are getting yourself all up to snuff on everything you still need to do the market justice.

To me I think six dollars is just barely holding our head up respectable and the absolute bargain basement lowest anyone can go with a 3-d sculpture end of the world.

$8 a serving sounds so much better for a minimum. And a $150 minimum is about as basic as we can get. Fair market value.

These are not prices to attain to. These are the ones to charge to be on the up and up with fellow cakers across the globe.

Honestly (don't mind me I'm on a roll waxing eloquent icon_biggrin.gif lol) but we all need to be legal sure we do. But more importantly we need to be true to each other. United we stand. Underpricers repent icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
<insert grinning gleeful smilie face>




Unfortunately, I have to respectfully disagree here. While you make some excellent points - the cake in question, while it is a 3-D cake, it is not one of the more difficult ones and certainly would not be worth $150 in my opinion. It is a beautiful cake and I think the OP did a phenomenal job on it but it is not that large at all! Now, perhaps I'm misjudging the size here but it only looks to be 6" - 8" round to me. If it is larger I could justify charging so much for it but seriously, having talent does not justify overpricing to triple your profit. I would personally feel like I was ripping someone off to charge $150-$200 for that cake and I feel that I'm on the upper end of middle pricing in my area.

I know it does matter what area you are in but I can't believe anyone would pay but I think the degree of difficulty in the design has everything to do with price and if someone asked me to do that cake I would only charge $5.00 - $5.50/slice max. And, if that only serves about 15-20 people as I suspect that would make it $110 (20 svgs/$5.50 slice).

I think everyone when they first start out would love to start charging top dollar but I also feel that charging top dollar is earned. You have to prove yourself and start building a reputation. You don't want to sell yourself short but the profit should be pretty high until your overhead goes up - then you start adjusting your prices. At least that's how I did it...

Anyway - that's just the way I see it - Good Luck in your pricing and know that we all struggled in the beginning until were able to get a good grasp on everything that goes into our creations...

Tammi

-K8memphis Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 3:34pm
post #15 of 19

Tammi, what I think is important is that you and I are in the same ballpark. You are saying $5 to $5.50. I'm saying $6 as the bargain basement--that's close enough to the same page.

There was a thread recently where someone is doing a sculpture for two and three dollars a serving and patting themselves on the back. To me that's just wrong. That's totally gonna make it harder and harder for decorators to charge fair market value unless you're a rock star.

Non-cakers do not see the differences we see. Just because a sculpture is easy doesn't mean it's not sugar art.

We have to be careful to uphold each other, united we stand divided we go bankrupt.

It's not just about selling yourself short it's about selling me short and you short and her short and him short. If we continue to dumb down our prices then we will make less and less money. Someone thinks 'Oh that's easy because I've done that a few times. I can cut my price.' NO!!! Make the money and enjoy your time you earned it.

I mean I can't tell how big the cake is. I'm just saying if it's got supports in it it's a tier cake. If a random person tried to make that cake they'd never get past the domed top. And it would cave in to boot. To get the proportions right takes expertise that we routinely sell short short short short.

We need to build our markets not bulldoze them with underpricing.

Please please please everybody reconsider doing sculptures if you're gonna underprice and dumb it down for everybody else. Let's leave that up to Kroger.

And Tammi, I have no difference of opinion with you at $5 or $5.50 per. I just want to raise consciousness with folks at $2 and $3 per for 3-D sculptures.

And that's why I said $150 minimum. So by your standard if someone wants a pair of shoes in a shoe box cake sculpture to feed five they get it for $30? Shoes are easy. Boxes are easy. That's why I tossed out a minimum. Sculptures should cost more because it's art.

Nobody thinks Duff and Colette are price gouging for their prices. Nobody needs a cake sculpture. Let's re-consider selling ourselves short.

If cakers don't want to price accordingly for sculpted sugar art--make round cakes and sheets.

And if you (not you, Tammi, I'm on a roll again icon_biggrin.gif ) can't decorate a beautiful sheet cake then you ain't much decorator.

I think we should have a contest as to who can charge the MOST. And quit apologizing and looking backwards over our shoulders if we dare to charge $10 more.

Ask me what I really think. icon_lol.gif

mrsclox Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 9:55pm
post #16 of 19

This cake was a 6" round. It should've served about 15-20.

sayhellojana Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 11:21pm
post #17 of 19

A 6'' round serves 15-20??? What serving chart are you using and how can I get it!? lol. I've always thought the Wilton 6''=12 servings was a strech. How do you cut a 6'' into 20 slices?

mrsclox Posted 22 Jan 2009 , 12:49am
post #18 of 19

It was stacked about 8" high though (two 6"x4" stacked on top of eachother) Sorry, I didn't make that very clear.

Renaejrk Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 3:54am
post #19 of 19

This is exactly why I usually only do 3d for family - I know it's only fair for me to charge a lot of money for them, but no one around here would pay that much for cake, no matter how cool it is!

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