I apologize for whining but I need to vent!! I know there are probably a million posts on pricing here on cc and I'm finding that to be my most challanging part of this business. I did my first bridal show yesterday and only got one booking, and even that bride was leary about making the commitment. Everyone loved my work (I brought 5 dummy cakes), and raved about my cake samples, but when it came down to pricing, everyone seemed turned off. I set my pricing at $3.00/ps buttercream, $3.50 ps/fondant, with extra charges for intricate decorating work or specialty work. I live in a very rural area that has been pretty hard hit by the economy. Last year was my first full year in business and most of it came from a local high-end hotel where the minimum plate is $90--so I felt my prices were fair. Now I'm beginning to get more local business and am worried that I'm too high for the area. But here's my dilemma. There are no other cake decorators around that do the kind of work I do. I was the only cake person at the bridal show that covered a very large area (granted all rural communities). I know the economy is tough but it's not like the price of supplies is going down and my time is worth at least a little something!! This is just my dilemma with wedding cake prices -- don't even get me started on other cakes, esp. scuplted ones -- I know I not charging enough for those!!
So, what does anyone think -- am I too expensive? Any suggestions?
I don't think you charge too much at all. Your work is very good, and you need to be paid for the skill that you have. If people want a good quality cake, they will pay. If not, send them to walmart. I look at it this way....I don't think my work and time is worth under $3.00 a serving. If I can't get what I charge, I don't feel bad not doing a cake. Why should I have to make someone an extravagant cake for next to nothing. In fact today I got a call for someone wanting a small wedding cake for 45 guests, and maybe sheet cakes on the side, or cupcakes. This is something you usually ask for if you are having over a hundred guests. I don't think I will be doing this one, unless they just go with a 6", 8", 10" round that will be the smallest they can get, and enough to feed their guests. Anyway, don't go any lower on your prices. Maybe go up in your fondant prices though.
I have a really hard time with pricing too and sometimes think I'm not charging enough. I charge $3.50 for BC and $4.50 fondant but I'm in NC. Maybe someone in your area will respond. If you were the only cake baker at this show maybe you will get more leads in the next few days. I mean where else will these brides go? Sams?? I hope not. Good luck!
I don't think you charge too much at all. Your work is very good, and you need to be paid for the skill that you have. If people want a good quality cake, they will pay. If not, send them to walmart. I look at it this way....I don't think my work and time is worth under $3.00 a serving. If I can't get what I charge, I don't feel bad not doing a cake. Why should I have to make someone an extravagant cake for next to nothing. Anyway, don't go any lower on your prices. Maybe go up in your fondant prices though.
I just looked at your gallery, and agree 100% with Michele01.
Do NOT lower your prices... your fondant price is too low...JMHO
never undercut yourself. there are going to be people who don't want to pay the price. just remember that saying "you get what you pay for". at my job we have a birthday club and sometimes i'm asked to bring a cake. sometimes i do it for free sometimes i can't, but i offer a discount. one of the supervisor asked me to bake a 10in cake music theme cake. i quote $25 you know just to break even. she was outraged and told me she would rather pay $9 at sams club. i told her okay, but later that day she gave me the $25.lol people.
No you're not too expensive. It costs what it costs.
Not everyone can afford you and that's ok. I can't afford a Cadillac Escalade or a Hummer, but my husband's employer is selling them every single day to those who can afford them.
Especially with you being the only cake person who does this kind of work, you are in the driver's seat. "If this is the cake the bride wants, then this is the price she has to be willing to pay." Otherwise, she's saying she's willing to go to the local grocery store bakery.
There are lots of ways to cut back to be able to afford the things a bride really wants at her wedding. It just depends on how important her priorities are to her. Not using table linens that go to the floor, but only have a 12" hangover, x 12 tables, assuming a $5 difference, can save her $60.
Getting control of her headcount ... knowing that she will only have 150 and not 175 .... at $3/person, will save her $75 on her cake alone.
Multiply that 25 people times a $3 favor = another $75 saved. Multiply that times a $8/person appetizer = $200 saved.
There .... I just saved her enough to pay for her entire cake.
Bride just needs to determine how important it is to her and how realistic she is going to be about everything.
Thank you so much for your replies, advice & some laughs!!
I agree with you, I just needed to hear it from someone else!!
Could any of you tell me how you price out your other cakes, espcially carved ones?
Definitely don't lower your prices. I start my cakes at $5/serving. I am also in NH (in the southern part of the state) and I run into a few who balk at the price, but there are plenty out there who don't mind spending the dough. My time is worth plenty and I won't do cakes for nothing. I start scuplted cakes at $250. They aren't easy and they take more thought to make sturdy. Sometimes I'll go a little lower if it's a really simple design, but $100 is my minimum order.
NHbaker- Your cakes are stunning! You are not charging too much, it's that people have no idea the time, talent and skill that it takes to produce such beautifully made cakes! Reserve your work time for those who understand the value of the work you do!
I'll throw out another idea--and some of you won't like it, but no flames please!
Every market has price points that it can bear. It can be tricky finding the right balance between what you need to make and what your market will bear.
For example, I live in the Cleveland, OH area, where foreclosures are rampant and the economy is terrible. Those factors, aside, I've been here for 16 years and one of the selling points for moving here was that many goods and services were up to 30% cheaper than in other, similar sized metroplitan areas.
I can price my cakes to sell in 2 ways: I sell a lot of cakes at lower prices, making a smaller profit on each cake and making lots of cakes OR I can sell a few cakes at higher prices, making a larger profit on each cake and making fewer cakes.
Neither business model is wrong. It just depends on how you want to run your business.
At this point in time, discount businesses like TJMaxx, Big Lots, WalMart, etc. are booming. Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks 5th Ave., Dillards, etc. are really struggling.
You may need to adjust the "brand" that you feel you represent in order to continue doing what you're doing.
You can be Picasso, but if the people where you live aren't buying Picassos, then you're stuck--you don't work & therefore, don't make any money OR get any press because no one sees your art.
Yes, we're artists, but we work in a medium that goes bad and is custom ordered. We can't make things and store them until the economy gets better or until the demographic of our areas begins to approach that of the more affluent areas of the county.
Your work is beautiful, and yes, you should be well paid for it, but if the economy in your area can't support it, then it's you that can change the quickest.
Hope things get better.