Stacybugg75 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 5:26am
post #1 of

I know this is the age old question "How much do I charge for..." but I'm at a loss and I need help!

I've been asked to make 30 figures out of fondant that will be placed on cupcakes. I'm to make frogs, worms, dragon flies, etc... The lady ordering them is taking them to South Africa for her sisters baby shower. I would love to hear your input on how to charge. For instance, should I charge her the same as I charge per slice for a wedding cake, or more or less......??? I just have no clue.

Help please? I live in Southern California if that helps at all icon_smile.gif

TIA!!!
~Stacy

18 replies
cylstrial Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 1:54pm
post #2 of

A couple of months ago there was a similar question being asked and I wrote down the info. One person posted that they thought a fondant penguin or similar sized character (not too detailed) should be $2.50.

I don't sell anything yet, but I love to look and write things down so that when I'm ready to open up my shop, I'll have all the prices figured out!

Good luck! Hope this helps!

Stacybugg75 Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 4:53pm
post #3 of

Pricing is such a complex issue... I't seems that everyone struggles with that when starting out. When I first started charging for cakes, I just called several bakeries in my area, some high end, and some supermarkets and a few in between and just kind of came up with an average. The trouble with this situation is that I don't know of any bakery that does the fondant figures only... I guess I could call around and ask.

I was hoping to find another cake decorator in Calif., preferably Southern Cal., that lend me some pricing advice. I was thinking that charging the same as a slice of fondant wedding cake would be fair (about $3.50 a slice) but then I though that might be too much since there is no "Cake" attached to the fondant! I know I'm just starting out as a decorator, but I'm so afraid of getting trapped in that "she does really cheap cakes" situation... not to mention that in this economy, I can't be working for free!!! icon_wink.gif

I would love any advice or examples of similar situations icon_smile.gif
TIA!!
~s

cylstrial Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 8:12pm
post #4 of

Honestly, you probably should charge as much as a slice of cake, because those are going to take a long time to make!!

cylstrial Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 8:13pm
post #5 of

And I forgot to mention, that you are in California which means that people are going to pay more!

OhMyGanache Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 2:21pm
post #6 of

Basic 2-4" figure (not resembling a particular character or person):   $20-25 each

Cartoon character (or something that I have to copy and get "right"):   $25 - 50 each

Caricature or a person (from photo):   $45-75 (depending on setting/clothing)

If they are just little bugs or something, I will simply factor that into the price of the cake by charging an additional amount per serving (anywhere from an additional 25 cents to $1/serving depending on how many)

Stacybugg75 Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 3:19pm
post #7 of

OhMyGanache - what would you charge for insects/critters (frogs, dragonflies, etc...) in my situation. They are not "attached" to a cake or anything... the lady ordering them wants them small enough to be placed on cupcakes, but I'm not making the cupcakes. She's traveling overseas with them... thanks for your input!

indydebi Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 5:23pm
post #8 of

When I made the penguin and snowman for the Sweet 16 cake, I placed a value of $10 each on them.

Smaller does not always mean cheaper. Usually smaller is harder work .. more intricate detail ... higher frustration level. Be sure to factor that in.

kelleym Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 5:42pm
post #9 of

I always wonder if people (cakers and customers alike) tend to undervalue fondant figures because they're made from food and therefore "disposable"? After all, if we worked in another medium, like polymer clay, and someone "commissioned" figurines of some sort, I don't think we would be talking about "is $2 too much?" (not referencing any particular person here, just an overall trend I see).

For figurines, I say: decide how much your sculpting time is worth, and how much time it's going to take. There's your answer. If you think you should be getting paid $25 an hour to make those little critters (and I DO think this is in the right ballpark for skilled artistry like this), and it takes you an hour to do 5 of them, then $5/each is what you should charge. It doesn't matter that they're tiny, or that they're going on a cupcake that you're selling for $2.

$5/each only sounds outrageous because they're going on a cupcake.

Just my $0.02. icon_biggrin.gif

jennifer7777 Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 5:45pm

I would charge $5-$10 per figure. I would say something like a worm, $5. A frog, $8-10, because it's more work. If you don't feel like charging different prices for each figure, then stick with one price for all of them, maybe $8, which is in the middle.

I would also trace a round the size of the top of a cupcake, to use as a guide to make sure the figures will fit, and not be too big.

P.S. I'm in So. CA too icon_smile.gif

OhMyGanache Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 5:58pm

Honestly, worms would be very easy... so I'd say maybe $1-2 apiece (I couldn't see a worm taking more than 5 minutes TOPS to make - and that's if you're doing a detailed face or something). Frogs are more difficult, and I would probably charge about $5 apiece. Dragonflies would be something mid-range, like $3-4 (it's just a worm with wings).

I would streamline the process and take advantage of molds and cutters as much as possible. I'm thinking of very small bugs, but if they were bigger, I would probably charge double what I've said above.

For realistic figures, I always buy little animals and insects from Michael's and make my own silicone molds when I can. Then you can just pop some gumpaste in, pop it in the freezer for a minute or two and pop them out and let them dry. The only time involved is airbrushing or painting on details. I do know how to sculpt and sometimes I will make my own figures with clay and bake them and then make a mold from it...

KookieKris Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 12:27am

I like the "make your own mold" idea ~ thanks for sharing!

Stacybugg75 Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 12:49am

I like the "make your own mold" idea too!!

I ended up charging $3.50 per critter, plus the cost to pack them up. It was my first time making anything like that, so I was unsure of how they would turn out. Next time I will charge $5.00 per critter!! They did take a lot of time. The gal that ordered them ended up "tipping" about $30.00 because she was so happy with them.... so I felt very fairly compensated icon_smile.gif

I'll attach a pic...

Thanks for all the advice!!!
~Stacy
LL

sadsmile Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 1:02am

Those are super cute! Well done!! What a nice customer!

beck30 Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 2:11am

Those are very cute! No wonder she tiped you!

jennifer7777 Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:59pm

They came out really cute! You did an excellent job.

OhMyGanache Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 1:47am

Super cute!!!

zoey2jack Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 12:31pm

WoW! Those are adorable! You did a great job! Don't you just love customers that appreciate all the time and effort? TFS

cylstrial Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 7:20pm

They turned out great! Congrats!!

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