I am pretty reasonable with my cake prices to begin with, I start at $2.50CDN per serving for wedding cakes - this includes two cake flavours and fillings and white buttercream, and I go up from there. I have low overhead because I don't have a storefront, and try to buy my supplies in bulk. However, I have been letting some of my cakes go for considerably less, especially to people I know because I am trying to build my portfolio. For example, just this weekend I made a 3 tier, 6", 8", 10" topsy turvy cake, completely dressed in fondant for $60 CDN. Cost of materials wise, I made money, but I definately put my time in for free on this one. I want the business to spread word of mouth and build a photo portfolio of my work, but am I selling myself short letting a cake like that go so cheaply? I don't have a huge portfolio of my cakes, and I think that showing some variety of my work would help to sell myself as a business. Any thoughts on this are appreciated.
IndyDebi had a great saying about this (big shocker there, right) She said that she has told people that they are getting a "design I want to try" discount. This means that they aren't paying what you SHOULD be charging because they are the first ones you "try" this out on. If you start telling people that, then you have planted the seed that the price is a one time thing and to expect higher next time around.
Thats a great idea! The thought of something like that never even crossed my mind! Thanks so much!
I am doing the exact same thing Sometimes I kick myself, for selling myself short, but I keep thinking when I get more experience and more professional looking cakes I'll raise the prices. By the way I looked at your cakes, and they are beautiful-definetely worth more money
Another thing I do is, when i'm making cakes for close friends and family.I never allow them to choose a design (even though they might be paying me),I use them to experiment, and let them know that is their contribution to growing my business,usually they are more than happy to do this.And in the case where the cake is free,they are DEFINITELY not choosing a design .
I am waiting to hear from a potential client to see if she will go for my price on a topsy turvy cake - to get the cake she wants I told her $200 for only 2 tiers/layers, and $250 for three. don't think she ever priced out what these would cost, but I know it involves alot of cake, carving, fondant and time, although I have not done one yet. Hoping she does price this cake out - and if she does not accept my price, I won't be hurt or disappointed. I have charged too little for too long, and with the cost of everything going up (ingredients, utilities), although I bake from home still should not be taken advantage of because of that.
Deb - you go girl! I feel the same way about the costs of everything and the costs for my time.
Family cakes are my present to the birthday person. They pick their cake and I make it as close as possible to what they want, even if it isn't something I would normally make (See the cake in my photos with the skull and "crossbones" made out to look like crutches). My family is very large and I have lots of opportunities to make gift cakes during the year.
But when it comes to cakes outside of my family, I price it out including my time. If they want one of my cakes, they are going to pay for it, if they don't, they can go to Food Lion or Walmart and buy one. I make all of my cakes, fillings and icings from scratch because that is what I prefer to do and I spend lots of time working it all out to give them what they want. It's up to them to decide what they want to pay. I've had several people ask for quotes on cakes and it doesn't bother me if they decide that they can't or don't want to pay my fee for it. That's their decision. And like Deb, I am not hurt or disappointed if they don't.
I want to join the IndyDebi fan club!
Indy, I think your suggestion for a "design trial pricing" is going to be my savior! I keep selling myself short and don't know how to get out of the deep discount/free rut.
This post has been one of my favorites so far - I can really relate to all of you. Even newbies like me have hope!
Everything I've done 'til now has been favors for friends and family, so they're been either free or way too cheap. Not that I mind doing free stuff if the situation's right (say, mom's birthday), but...think I'm setting the wrong precedence.
Thanks everyone for all the great advice!