What Is Your Time Worth?

Business By joeybiscotti Updated 28 Jan 2009 , 1:38pm by Santa_Kitchen

joeybiscotti Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 4:06pm
post #1 of 15

This question goes out to bakers and decorators who are making money from there creations. I recently got the CakeBoss software program and so far I love it. The one thing I can't decide on is the hourly rate. I'm putting feelers out there to see what some of you other professionals charge per hour. My hope is to do this full time eventually, and I certainly need to pay the rent (and rental on a kitchen). - so I don't want to underprice my hourly rate, but also don't want to scare people off with exhorbitant prices. Suggestions?
Thanks, in advance.

14 replies
peg818 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 7:12pm
post #2 of 15

well, i don't do this professionally, but i see you are from NYC so your hourly rate would be higher then most people cause of course your cost of living tends to by higher then most of us.

And if i were doing this professionally i would want at least $15 an hour

costumeczar Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 8:21pm
post #3 of 15

At least $20 an hour. More if the project is a pain in the butt icon_biggrin.gif

ZAKIA6 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 8:34pm
post #4 of 15

i have thought about the hourly rate thing too. i have no idea where to start.

i know they are not in the us but planet cakes estimates their hourly rate at $100 (which comes out to be about $65USD per hour)

http://www.planetcake.com.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=910&highlight=100

Caths_Cakes Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 8:48pm
post #5 of 15

Well, im not proffesional, i only do it for family and friends,atm caking is a hobbie rather than my income source. But when i had my wedding cake made (im from uk) The shop i went to, Didnt charge by the hour. She had a set rate for sized cakes. a two tier cake costs £450. Regardless of design/colour/flavour etc. Although personally i think £450 for a two tier is alot! (my wedding cake was a 12'' and a 8'') It was a beautiful cake, so i guess the extra money is for the time already included

Ayanami Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:06pm
post #6 of 15

I don't have an answer for you on the money, but I do have a tip for your website. I used to use the blogger . com also but then I was told about webs.com & it's so much more professional. It's free & you can create a real website with organized photo galleries and a list of seperate pages. Just some constructive critisim. icon_smile.gif

cakesdivine Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:16pm
post #7 of 15

If you accept money at all for your cakes you are a professional! An amature takes no money for what they do, it is strictly a hobby.

That does not mean however that an amature decorator isn't amazing, because I have seen a few that are totally incredible!

indydebi Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:31pm
post #8 of 15

Hubby was the one who actually figured out what my time was billable at. Never in my life did I think I'd ever be worth $100+ per hour, but I am. It's not an artificial number that we made up. He calculated the time I spent with the consulation, the shopping, the cooking/baking, the delivery, set-up, working the wedding, clean up, etc. He looked at what I invoiced the bride, the expenses, and did the math (sometimes it's nice to be married to a former banker!) At first, he calculated it only on the caterings, but it works out really close to the same by the time I'm done with a cake, too.

Don't underestimate what your TOTAL time is worth.

Always think of it in terms of "If I had to pay someone to handle EVERYTHING involved with this cake, how much would I be spending in payroll?" And then remember that your level of expertise is worth more than a 16 year old kitchen assistant who might also run around town and buy supplies for you.

cookieman Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:41pm
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Hubby was the one who actually figured out what my time was billable at. Never in my life did I think I'd ever be worth $100+ per hour, but I am. It's not an artificial number that we made up. He calculated the time I spent with the consulation, the shopping, the cooking/baking, the delivery, set-up, working the wedding, clean up, etc. He looked at what I invoiced the bride, the expenses, and did the math (sometimes it's nice to be married to a former banker!) At first, he calculated it only on the caterings, but it works out really close to the same by the time I'm done with a cake, too.




So does that mean if you take 5 hours to work on a cake, you charge $500 for labor? Or does that $100/hr include all other costs; ie. ingredients, rent, etc? I'm confused. Thanks!

j-pal Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:45pm
post #10 of 15

Personally, I think charging by the hour is a difficult thing to do. You can take 2 different decorators, 2 different skill levels, the same cake... one might be able to do it in 6 hours, it may take the other 2 days!! If you're doing it from home and don't have a commercial kitchen, it could take you MUCH longer to do the same cake. So, is it fair that one decorator who may be from a small kitchen should be able to charge 5x what the other decorator does? What if the experienced decorator is faster? Her work may be heads and tails better than the other decorator, so she shouldn't have to charge less, just because she's quicker.

I've also seen work from some decorators who have only been decorating 6 months do a much nicer job than some who've been doing it for 15 years!

I charge less than I think my time is worth, but more than the industry standard allows in my part of the country.

newmansmom2004 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 9:49pm
post #11 of 15

I charge by the slice if it's a buttercream or fondant covered cake. However, for sculpted cakes I set my fee at $25/hour. When I quoted a guy last week for a cake that took 10 hours to do he didn't balk at the $250 fee. Now I'm thinking I should be charging more!

I think pricing is the hardest part about decorating cakes.

indydebi Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 10:12pm
post #12 of 15

I don't price my cakes individually like most do. I just don't hvae that kind of time. I charge a flat price per serving. I don't upcharge for cake flavors, multiple flavors, fillings or filling flavors, basketweave, ribbons, per BC rose or any of that stuff.

When I say we figured out what I was worth, that means when I'm done with a cake (or a catering), the money left over is what I am worth. Divide it by the number of hours I've got invested and it works out.

It's an average amount that I use when doing the numbers. I probably don't hit the $100 mark when I do a small wedding cake for 100, but I absolutely do when I do a larger wedding cake for 200 (it doesn't take any longer to bake cake for 200 than it does for 100 ... doesn't take me that much longer to ice tiers for 200 than it does for 100).

But do I sit down with each cake, one at a time, figure the cost of ingredients, overhead and the number of hours I'll spend on it? Heck no! I'd never get anything done if I had to do that. I have a pricing structure in place that covers all of that.

cookieman Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 11:36pm
post #13 of 15

Thanks indydebi. I appreciate your answer!

tcakes65 Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 4:56am
post #14 of 15

I charge a flat per serving price also. As Indydebi said, it takes too much time to price each cake individually. I do an average cost analysis based on the cost of ingredients, overhead, supplies, and labor. I used to charge $10/hr. for labor but recently increased it to $20/hr. You have to adjust for the change in cost of ingredients, etc., and customers will start requesting cakes that require a higher skill level. You definitely must compensate yourself for it. In 6 months, I plan to do another cost review/analysis and possibly increase the cost of labor more along with my per serving price. Bills have to be paid, and customers need to understand I'm not running my business as an expensive hobby. At the same time you have to price yourself in the same ballpark as other cake businesses in your area to stay competitive.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 28 Jan 2009 , 1:38pm
post #15 of 15

I charge per serving, but I definately need Cake Boss....

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