mrswendel Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 2:36pm
post #1 of

Hi everyone,

So, I did this cake for my Aunt's 40th surprise birthday party. Everyone loved it....so much so that I have had 2 of the guests from the party contact me to find out what I would charge for it! I have absolutely no idea since this is the first TT cake I have done (thanks to Sugarshacks inspiration!) It was a 6,7,8 on top and a 8,9,10 on the bottom. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
LL

57 replies
-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 2:54pm
post #2 of

Seven dollars a serving.


So figure a 7 x 9" cake is 50 servings times 7 is $350.

cylstrial Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:07pm
post #3 of

Beautiful cake!!! And thanks for sharing the info about the size of each tier. I've been wanting to make one!

jamiekwebb Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:24pm
post #4 of

Isn't $7 a bit sttep? It may not be but I would never pay $7 for one piece of cake. I don't know what to charge but that sounded a bt steep to me... maybe you could get by with it.. give it a try and you'll find out.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 4:36pm
post #5 of

Jamie, so you would buy one for $6 a serving?

I mean it's not out of the ordinary for a round fondant cake to go for $5 a serving. Round or square fondant cakes go for $4 to $5 a serving in the real world.

Just curious, have you ever made a whimsical cake and delivered it?

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:31am
post #6 of

No I wouldn't buy one for more than $4.50 a serving and no I have never made one. I do know that where I live (rural VA) no one would pay more than $4.00 for anything other than a wedding cake and here that is even expensive for a wedding cake. Just offering my opinion, take in to consideration of where you live and if you can get that much.... then by all means go for it.

SHogg Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:48am
post #7 of

I find that when they are first starting out so many decorators underprice themselves not for supplies or ingredients but for their time and labor! mrswendel you clearly put a great deal of labor into that cake, what is your time worth? I would consider what your area supports, cost of supplies and your time! Don't underprice just to get the order.

step0nmi Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:59am
post #8 of

hmmmm icon_rolleyes.gif having carved a cake like this and knowning the "skill" it takes to do this i wouldn't do it for under $7 a serving either. who ELSE is going to carve something like that for less? icon_wink.gif

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:41am
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiekwebb

No I wouldn't buy one for more than $4.50 a serving and no I have never made one. I do know that where I live (rural VA) no one would pay more than $4.00 for anything other than a wedding cake and here that is even expensive for a wedding cake. Just offering my opinion, take in to consideration of where you live and if you can get that much.... then by all means go for it.




If you think all you can get is $4 then you are right.

However, not everybody in rural Virginia thinks that way.

Ever hear of the Inn at Little Washington?
Washington, Virginia puts the rural in rural Virginia.
We paid over $150 per serving for dinner there--it was our anniversary. The tip was $200.

The highway doesn't even go through. It was built out of a gas station. The guy that built it bathed in the river, spent a lot of time in the library to stay warm in the winter and started with a used electric skillet and a wood cookstove.

He would cook for friends & whosoever came by. When the footbridge washed out once a month or so they waded across the river because they lived on the wrong side. When it froze up in the winter they slithered across the bridge on their tummies like caterpillars. Carrying groceries in and catered food out.

Then they got the idea to have folks come to them. It is still uber rural Virginia. The Inn is it's own 'industry' now in that area but there is nothing else around for a looong time.

The cheapest room in the Inn is in the $600 range if memory serves.

Rural. Virginia.

www.theinnatlittlewashington.com

Please nobody make a topsy turvy for the price of a normal wedding cake.
Just say no to underpricing the industry out of business.
Give it away if you can't get a decent price for art.

Btw--A tier cake is a 'wedding' cake.

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 3:28am

Nice little rant you had there. I know that if I lived where people could afford more I would definitly charge more. I live where gas pipelines and coal are the major sources of income. In case you are wondering what that has to do with anything, it means that those two industries are in BIG trouble right now, thank you President Obama. People can NOT afford that. Not right now anyway. Do you work for a pipline or coal mine? Are you struggling to make ends meet? People here are and I am not going to tell them that they have to pay entirly too much for something that is going to be digested in a matter of moments and they only way you are going to remeber what it looks like is via pictures. That is not right in my opinion. I am not trying to change what anyone charges or what they think. I was only offering my opinion and I belive I said that. We are all entitled to our opinions and when you start a forum you are asking for opinions. I offered mine ,so sue me.

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 3:48am

Also, you're right a tier cake is a wedding cake. Although supposedly you should cut your cake into samller peices for a wedding. That's where i was making a difference.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:40am

That is an incredibly inspiring story of extreme poverty, rags to riches in rural Virginia no where near any industry. Did you read it?

I think it the biggest cop out in the world to cry poor when pricing cake art. Ooo-oooh nobody here has any money. Well find some that do have money. Patrick O'Connell did and they're still coming.

My grandparents were sharecroppers. So?

Here's the point, JamieK. If people can't afford something, it's a better plan to offer something they can afford rather than de-value what they cannot afford by under-pricing.

I was trying to inspire you. Aim higher type of thing. It not only can be done it has been done in Virginia and anywhere else somebody wanted it.

$6 - $7 a serving is fair market value for a cake like that no matter where you live in the United States. If people can't afford it then don't sell it.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:52am

Jamie, my pictures are on my website--click on the www little dealie at the bottom of every one of my posts.

It's www.acmecakes.com.

my bio--I've been decorating for over 30 years as a pro in bakeries and for caterers and in my own business. Somewhere in the midst of all that I realized I could not do cakes legally from my home so I went & got a job in a call center, worked my way up to super. Owned & operated a tea-room, launched & currently managing a bookstore.

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:54am

You know something. It doesn't matter.. I will sell my cakes for whatever I want. I did NOT enter this forum to start an argument and I am NOT going to continue one. I love that you can get that and I am very happy for you. Good night and more than likely I won't be back. I want the people reading to have an enjoyable read and I will give that by leaving. Good night and good luck.

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:58am

K8memphis, I am sorry that I have upset you. That was never my intention. I love your pictures ,you do beautiful work. You seem to have come along way and I am very happy for you. I wish you the best of luck in the rest of your life.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 5:01am

You were arguing?

Did you find my website?

You don't like Patrick? Isn't that a great story of a fellow Virginian?

I don't sell cakes, Jamie. I manage a bookstore.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 5:07am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiekwebb

K8memphis, I am sorry that I have upset you. That was never my intention. I love your pictures ,you do beautiful work. You seem to have come along way and I am very happy for you. I wish you the best of luck in the rest of your life.




I'm not upset. I think you are reading stuff in my posts that is not there.

I too wish you lots of luck and several customers that can afford you>>>now that's a good thing--that's a blessing--even in Virginia!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

jamiekwebb Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 5:08am

Yes I did find your website, if I hadn't I wouldn't have commented on your cakes. I did read the story and I do find it wonderfully inspiring. Who said anything about not liking Patrick. I felt as though an argument was going on, I am sorry if I felt incorrectly about that. Your right you did say that you manage a bookstore, I just assumed that you had sold the cakes on your site. I am sorry for assuming wrongly.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 5:21am

No-- money did change hands for most of those cakes. Either for a friend directly or a cake I did for someone I worked for in the industry who sold the cake.

Have a good night--no worries.

(Charge more) icon_biggrin.gif

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 11:50am

oh wow.... talk about a derailing a thread...

Moniquea Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 12:47pm

Honestly, maybe I feel uncomfortable charging so much is bc I'm new and really, I couldn't afford to pay that much for a cake for myself. Maybe my thinking is that if I can't afford it why should I charge that to someone else. Most of the people I make cakes for are like me so it seems unreasonable. And then...

I made cakes for everyone that asked careful not to offend anyone as my first goal was just to gain experience. I got worn out. I made a few hundred dollars and have lots of pics. After some time I began to dread someone asking me and realized it was because I'd put more than 20hours into a cake or cupcakes and ask for $40 or less. I still haven't even posted most of my pics bc I don't feel I'm up to the skill of those I admire most on this site, silly I know but I'll do it soon icon_wink.gif

Recently, I saw another post like this and when I found out the prices I should have been charging I was inspired and realized it was time for me to do so. I still don't feel comfortable charging more than $4 per serving but if I don't make myself stand out now I'll never get the $7+ per serving clients. And I won't be able to enjoy designing, baking and decorating it.

I've got a long way to go but from this point on I won't feel like I'm underpricing my industry or myself... here's to my hope for a wedding cake order and more! thumbs_up.gif

slopokesgirl Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 12:57pm

Moniquea,

I only make cakes for family and friends as I build my knowledge and experience.... and capitol.

When I first started looking at the going rate for cakes in my area, ($2.50 for BC, and $4.00 for fondant.) I thought, "Gosh, I could never charge that much for cakes."

Then my friends started challenging me with their requests, and my time away from my family grew, and my neglect of my children increased so much so that my DH had to occasionally pull himself away from the TV to feed them.

And my stress increased, and... ok...... I'll stop....I think you get the picture.

Now, the cost of goods has increased and local bakeries are selling their stuff for $4 BC, and $5-$6 for fondant. And I say, "I bet I could charge more." hahahahahahahaha


My how things have changed. You start to realize, "my time and skill are worth the extra green."

And maybe that's mixed with a little, "If they don't like it, they can get a cake from the supermarket."

OOOOO, I know, I'm bad. muahahahahaha icon_evil.gif

PistachioCranberry Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:05pm

That's pretty much what it boils down to....if someone comes to you for a specialty cake and don't want to spend the money you feel you are worth don't take the job. It's going to take decorators to stand their ground to prove to non decorators that they are worth it.

mrswendel Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:08pm

Thanks for the input (and the banter from 2 passionate cake people! lol) My husband constantly says I am way undervaluing myself....and it seems that he may be right! That's one the of the best things about this site is you will get feedback from those that have been doing this for a while and have figured out their worth through experience and also from the newbies (like me) that are still testing the water. Thanks again!

aligotmatt Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea

Honestly, maybe I feel uncomfortable charging so much is bc I'm new and really, I couldn't afford to pay that much for a cake for myself. Maybe my thinking is that if I can't afford it why should I charge that to someone else. Most of the people I make cakes for are like me so it seems unreasonable. And then...




I had that same mentality... but do you think the people that build Ferarri's can afford them? what about construction workers building million dollar homes? there is one around the corner from me that keeps getting bigger and better and it's amazing, I bet not even the foreman of that job could afford that house!

I think most jobs people produce or sell something they themselves could not afford. I waited tables at a pretty upscale restaurant when I was 19, even with the tips I made, I couldn't really *afford* to eat there, not if I wanted to pay rent too... Now I deliver expensive cakes there! muahah! oh....

Anyway, that shouldn't be your judge for charging. My clients started as my friends in my same financial boat as me, and I charged them almost nothing to get experience... then as I got that and started raising my prices, my clients changed. They aren't my friends anymore. For my friends, they bake their own cake, make some icing, get a bottle of wine, and bring it over one night and we have wine and decorating parties! I only do it when I'm slow, but it's so fun icon_smile.gif

I might get to the point eventually... TT cakes are a lot of work, which I'm sure you discovered. First, they have more waste than the average cake, and unless you want to pay for that, you charge so that they pay for the cut away cake as well. And it's a specialty item. If someone *needs* a cake, a regular round will suffice, a topsy turvy cake is a specialty item, they cannot just get it anywhere, and it should be charged accordingly.

Moniquea Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:58pm

Thank you all for your kind and wonderful replies... Its nice to hear of others that had similar experiences.

It's kind of ironic too that my best friend, who may or may not be able to afford my cakes is the one that pays me the most. She sees my hard work and tells me all the time how I should charge more. I feel bad taking the $ but she would feel insulted. I also think it makes her proud that not only can she can pay for a really nice specialty cake it makes the people she gets it for feel good too icon_smile.gif

Best wishes to all of you icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 3:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea

...
Recently, I saw another post like this and when I found out the prices I should have been charging I was inspired and realized it was time for me to do so. I still don't feel comfortable charging more than $4 per serving but if I don't make myself stand out now I'll never get the $7+ per serving clients. And I won't be able to enjoy designing, baking and decorating it.

I've got a long way to go but from this point on I won't feel like I'm underpricing my industry or myself... here's to my hope for a wedding cake order and more! thumbs_up.gif





!!!Yay!!!

And it will flat surprise you who it is that comes up with the coin for the cakes. It's a certain type of person not at all the ones with the big houses & flashy cars. Just people with a serious need to celebrate.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:35pm

Y'know what? A nice restaurant in my city charges $7 a serving for a piece of cake--not a slice from a topsy turvy, for a dessert at a restaurant.

I can't find their web page--but here is the a menu listing. And it is not a big slice either.

http://www.allmenus.com/tn/memphis/63566-beauty-shop/menu/lunch/

__Jamie__ Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiekwebb

Isn't $7 a bit sttep? It may not be but I would never pay $7 for one piece of cake. I don't know what to charge but that sounded a bt steep to me... maybe you could get by with it.. give it a try and you'll find out.




Oh boy....

divaricks Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:50pm

The problem with those of you who think $7 a serving is too much are forgetting that we are not just selling cake - we are making a work of art - if you just want cake go to a grocry store, if you want art that can be eaten, you pay for it. The grocery stores do not make cakes like a custom baker does - not even close.

The time I spend on just an 8 inch round to get it smooth and decorated nicely is a lot more time than a grocery store will spend on icing and decorating 5 sheet cakes. And mine are torted and filled.

The point is that people who can and will pay for more quality will and those who won't - won't. Don't under-charge to go for the market of people who don't know and couldn't care less as to how much better it is just because they can afford it.

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