Are My Expectations Too High? Costs Of Ingredients Too Much?

Decorating By calla74 Updated 18 Feb 2009 , 2:04am by calla74

calla74 Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:26pm
post #1 of 46

I do not do this professionally - I am not licensed and have a LOT to learn. But I will admit it is a secret dream of mine (well not so secret now) to maybe someday be trained and have the ability to open a bakery. I was so excited when I was asked to make a cake for my SIL's shower. I'm still learning wth fondant and have a ways to go but despite the flaws I still thought I did fair. I at least thought it would have been nicer than what they would have ordered from the local grocery bakery. But later we were talking about the cake (which I did for free because I don't feel right charging family) and my family was talking about how it was so cute and how they would think that I could charge $40 if I made that cake for someone else. I wanted to cry. Am I spending too much on supplies? Are my expectations set too high? I know there are flaws - I had a terrible time with the fondant wrinkling at the base and I know I messed up the sizing on the cake tiers. Taking all the flaws into account is this really only a $40 cake? It was a 6" and 8". I know its not a $100 cake or anything but $40? Thanks for your advice.
LL

45 replies
scrapperjade Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:30pm
post #2 of 46

If your family thinks that you should be selling THAT cake for $40 (or getting a cake like that for $40 anywhere else), they are living in a dream world!

Your cake is beautiful! The fondant is smooth & perfect, and that little buggy & baby are ADORABLE!!!!

ALthough, I honestly don't think they meant it in a hurtful way, I think they were trying to compliment you and give you a boost. They obviously loved it, but they just don't realize how much $$ and time it takes to make something like this icon_smile.gif.

cakesdivine Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:39pm
post #3 of 46

I would charge $7.50 a serving for that cake! there are 36 servings in that cake!

indydebi Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:41pm
post #4 of 46

When I added fondant cakes to my list, I added them at $4.50/serving. That cake would have been over $150 and that DOESN"T include the extra fee for the figure on top.

$40 doesn't even cover my time to THINK about doing a cake like that! icon_lol.gif

So feel free to tell them you've been doing some market research on the pricing .... and boy, were THEY off on what a cake like that goes for! thumbs_up.gif

vixterfsu Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:43pm
post #5 of 46

That cake is beautiful. Don't cave on the price. You have
your self-worth. If they don't want to pay for your art, let them
go somewhere else.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:43pm
post #6 of 46

Your family members are not professional cakers so don't pay them any mind.

$4 a serving minimum easy peasy plus did you make the adorable buggy? More for the buggy.

Bonnell Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:54pm
post #7 of 46

I'm sure your family meant the comment about $40 as a compliment. As a rule non-cakers do not have a clue how much time and money go into making a cake like that. Before I started learning to decorate about a year ago I thought $40 was an expensive cake - of course I know better now. Even my husband has an appreciation of the cost of cakes as he jokingly tells people that comment on wanting one of my cakes "sorry, she will have to charge you $500 to actually make any profit". He sees me struggle and work half the night and start over when things don't work out correctly but the other people don't see that - they only see a pretty cake.

Don't give up. Your cake is fabulous. I love the buggy and would love to know how you made it (one newbie to another).

calla74 Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:55pm
post #8 of 46

I did make the buggy. I know they didn't mean any harm and I tried to just let it go thinking maybe they didn't realize how much work went into it but then when I went to pick up my son from school today a PTO member asked if would make 10 dozen of my decorated cookies for a carnival. She said that the PTO would reimburse me for the cost and they woud sell them for 25 cents. I don't even think I can make them for 25 cents and I know their goal is to make money not lose it. So I started to think maybe I was spending too much on ingredients. So those comments of course led me to start obsessing over the shower cake! So sad the things I obsess about! Thanks so much for your kind words everyone.

ptanyer Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:58pm
post #9 of 46

Your family means well. They have no idea how much time goes into the cakes we make and give to family as a gift. They don't know how high you aspire, as I know I do. Just stand your ground. Tell them thank you for the thought. And the next time someone ask how much you would charge to do a special cake for them, stick to your guns and charge what you think would be fair. I'll give you an example: My very 1st fondant cake was for my grandaughter (the photo is posted in my photos) and when I took it to the skating rink for the party, a woman came in to book a party for her daughter and saw it and asked me how much to make one for her. I told her and even gave her a cake sample to taste. Never heard a word from her. That's okay. I am going to charge for the work, or I am not going to do the work! My cakes aren't grocery store cakes!

My grandchildren all get a cake of their choice for their birthdays - some are posted here and that is my gift to them. They all know how much time I put into the cakes I make and they appreciate the gift for what it is. But unless you make cakes like we do, you aren't going to have any idea how much all the equipment, ingredients and time add up.

Keep at it...don't lose sight of your dreams no matter what people say. They don't have a clue!

Your cake is beautiful and your SIL was very lucky that you had the skill to make that cake for her! I look forward to seeing many more of your cakes posted! thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 10:59pm
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by calla74

She said that the PTO would reimburse me for the cost and they woud sell them for 25 cents.



The fun response would be "gosh, I can't imagine why you'd want to take a big loss like that!" icon_lol.gif

Point her to the slice-n-bake rolls in the grocery refrigerator section and tell her to knock herself out! I dont' think you can make THOSE for under 25 cents, either! icon_eek.gif

indydebi Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 11:01pm
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptanyer

My grandchildren all get a cake of their choice for their birthdays -



Yep! And my daughter tells everyone that it's a good thing gramma donates the cake, ".....because I can't afford my mom's cakes either!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 11:12pm
post #12 of 46

$40?!?! Wow....just wow.

ptanyer Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 11:13pm
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptanyer

My grandchildren all get a cake of their choice for their birthdays -


Yep! And my daughter tells everyone that it's a good thing gramma donates the cake, ".....because I can't afford my mom's cakes either!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif





AMEN!!! icon_lol.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 11:20pm
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by calla74

I did make the buggy. I know they didn't mean any harm and I tried to just let it go thinking maybe they didn't realize how much work went into it but then when I went to pick up my son from school today a PTO member asked if would make 10 dozen of my decorated cookies for a carnival. She said that the PTO would reimburse me for the cost and they woud sell them for 25 cents. I don't even think I can make them for 25 cents and I know their goal is to make money not lose it. So I started to think maybe I was spending too much on ingredients. So those comments of course led me to start obsessing over the shower cake! So sad the things I obsess about! Thanks so much for your kind words everyone.




I was just at a get together for students/family at my husband's school last night. There was a table with cookies, cakes, brownies, cup cakes, you name it. All for sale at .50 a piece. I just smiled at the the thought of how when I first started out, I would have jumped at the chance to make something to go on that table. Now, I would shudder at the thought of one of my creations being hacked up into wedges and sold for 50 cents! icon_cry.gif

But of course....there is a time and place for the PTA cakes/cookies. It's called picking up a sheet cake at Walmart and a dozen cookies! icon_twisted.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Feb 2009 , 11:21pm
post #15 of 46

Hubbies workplace is school, not "his" school...lol.

dandelion56602 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 12:38am
post #16 of 46

Adorable & I would charge $4/serving for fondant & extra for the buggy--$15-20 depending on time.

Decorated cookies for 25 cents. i would tell her that would only get her a dot of icing. I charge $1/inch & that's basic decoration. more intense= more $$$$$. And I cringed when I donated cakes/cookies for an auction at school & they sold for $7-10. NEVER again!

People don't think about how much TIME things take. They see a box on the shelf & I don't think they think of the other add ins they even have to use, plus electricity, clean up, making icing, coloring icing, etc. that it takes. I recently was asked if I could work w/ in a $30-35 budget & they had just a sheet cake in mind nicely decorated. B/c it was a friend I dropped my price by 25 cents/serving & they wouldn't spend an extra $7, even though I came down. It was frustrating, but glad they passed me by.

KoryAK Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 2:00am
post #17 of 46

Didn't read all the replies... but AWESOME cake and $40 is way too low. No less than... $100-150 depending on area.

bbmom Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:16am
post #18 of 46

I'm from a small town less than 4000 people but even here a cake like that would sell for over $100.
Not to insult but that PTO member must be delusional to even ask to sell a PLAIN cookie for 25cents for a fundraiser. I hope you said no.

miss-tiff Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:20am
post #19 of 46

I agree with the other posters that your family probably meant it as a compliment. A $40 cake does sound expensive if you don't know much about it. My SIL once asked me to do a cake for her mom, and it was just as a favor, and I have nowhere near your talent (really, your shower cake is beautiful!)... anyways she paid me $20. I had spent all week making royal icing flowers, and it was then that I realized how much I'd have to charge to make it worth my time someday.

Susie53 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:42am
post #20 of 46

Your cake is adorable and should sell for much more than $40.00!

jlsheik Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:50am
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie85364

$40?!?! Wow....just wow.




My thoughts exactly... I live in a very rural area in Oklahoma and my small two tiers START at $85 and I don't even know how to make a buggy!! lol, your cake is fabulous!!

IcedTea4Me2 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:52am
post #22 of 46

Your shower cake is gorgeous. I love it! I'm also one that gives my cakes away, but I'm about done with that except for immediate family. I'm going broke doing that and I don't want everyone expecting it. I'm not a good judge of what a cake should cost, but I can tell you that if I were the consumer I'd expect to pay probably $150 for that cake. It's worth it.


Lisa icon_smile.gif

KrazyK8 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:54am
post #23 of 46

I can relate to you. I'm new at this too! I've learned, in my 9 months of decorating, that my family will be my worst customers. They mean well, but they always have some "expert" advice for me. Although, they are the ones that call 2 days before a party and ask me to make a cake. I just don't think they realize how much time & money we put into our cakes.

KrazyK8 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 3:55am
post #24 of 46

By the way, your cake is beautiful!

rockysmommy Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 4:20am
post #25 of 46

Your cake is just adorable...and as many others have stated worth more than $40.00...that probably wouldn't cover your labor. I have been comparing pricing in the areas around me. I live in Athens Georgia...your cake would sell for $85.00 and up here. In Atlanta just 40 miles away where I am from...200.00 to 300.00. I need to move back to Atlanta...LOL!

peg818 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 1:03pm
post #26 of 46

well, unfortunately there are people that think they can and should be able to get a cake like this for $40.

As has already been stated that cake is much more then a $40 cake, and for the lady that wants to sell decorated cookies for 25cents, well.... i just don't know what to tell you. You could just make a batch of drop cookies and tell her you just didn't have time to decorate. Or tell her the truth that you charge $1 an inch for a decorated cookie and don't want people to think that they can get them as cheap as she wants to sell them.

for 25 cents a cookie i don't think you are even covering expenses with a basic drop cookie.

282513 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 1:29pm
post #27 of 46

I feel your pain. My family is the same way. I like to give my cakes to family but have never sold one. I made one for my aunt and charged $50.00 just to cover the expense.(The pooh one in my pictures) She was so proud of me that I could not say no to her. My mom told me not to do it as $50.00 would be too much to charge. I laughed. I told her that if she can't pay the $50.00 than I can't do it. I think once you get past the sticker shock and realize people will pay for your talent you will become more confident in your pricing. The more time you put into decorating the more you realize how much your time is worth. Don't back down to your family. Just keep telling them the prices of your ingredients and how much time you take to make one. Your very talented and your cake is awesome. I abolutely love the topper.

Magnum Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 1:49pm
post #28 of 46

People who don't do cakes really just see it as butter sugar and flour. A lady at work thinks i'm doing a 2 tiered wedding cake for £40 (about $60), a fruit cake and a scratch sponge cake to feed 100 people. I'm not a direct or frank person but i have no problem telling her to @* off!!!

Eisskween Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 2:11pm
post #29 of 46

Your cake is BEAUTIFUL and VERY WELL DONE! $40? Not even close! That is easily $100-$150. Is it possible that the one who said that only purchases supermarket cakes? Those types that never shop at actual bakeries are not aware of what a "custom cake" is.

Your work is beautiful and worth way more than what you have been told. Don't let the uninformed get to you. They just don't realize that a custom cake is worth a lot more than just the ingredients.

Enjoy your day!

indydebi Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 4:55pm
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum

People who don't do cakes really just see it as butter sugar and flour.



And unfortunately it's not just the cake industry. I've shared this story before, but hubby does woodworking. A friend wanted a custom made stand for his HUGE fish tank (bear in mind the weight a HUGE fish tank would be!). Hubby sketched something out and gave him a "to be confirmed, but in the ballpark of around $200" ..... which if anyone knows anything about woodworking, you know what a deal that price is!

The guy almost blew a gasket! He said, "I wasn't wanting to spend more than about ten bucks!" Oh right! For a custom, hand made wooden stand, sturdy enough to hold hundreds of pounds of water!! Hubby crumbled up his sketching and said, "I can't even buy the wood for ten bucks. The nails and glue would probably cost me more than that. Good luck."

Sometimes you just have to wonder how some folks are smart enough to breathe on their own. icon_eek.gif

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