? For Small Town Bakers

Business By amberlee416 Updated 13 Apr 2009 , 8:30pm by Deb_

amberlee416 Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 5:57pm
post #1 of 10

I am starting to get more and more questions about how much i charge for my cakes, and as i am very new and have only baked for friends and family, i'm not sure how much to charge. I have read a lot of posts on here about how much others charge, but i live in a smaller town and i am seriously doubting that people are going to want to pay as much as what some are saying they're prices are. I am wondering, what do those of you who live in smaller communities charge per slice? I know it varies with detail and bc vs fondant, but i'm looking for a baseline. I really need to get these orders and get my business going. Any advice on this would be great.

9 replies
tirechic Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:06pm
post #2 of 10

well,i am new to this too, but what is your towns demographic? Mine is an average of 65,000 a year per houshold, so i can afford to go a "little" bit higher, and dont forget to add delivery fees if applicable. If there are other bakeries in your area, check them out, order a cake or get a menu list, and see what they charge. You could always go a little lower (not much) to give them competition, or a little higher using the addage of made from scratch or because of custom ordering, your little personal touch. Then when you get really going, you can ask for better prices, because youll have more experience,knowledge, and word of mouth, and that can carry you far in a little town. Hope this helps.

indydebi Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 10:23pm
post #3 of 10

My address may be "big city" but since I live on the outskirts of town, I get a LOT of small town brides. If you're in a bedroom community town, remember that bedroom communities were created when high paid executives didn't want to live in a "big city", so they moved to an outlying small town environment, commuting to work each day.

Dont' assume small-town means broke ... dont' assume big-city means loaded.

I also spend the first 40 years of my living in small towns, so I understand how folks there think. Using my home town as an example, the "best" restaurant is the local steak house. The "expensive" place to buy clothes is J.C. Penny. This was all I grew up with so I didn't have expectations of what "really nice" things actually DID cost.

Just because they've always paid $14.99 for a walmart sheet cake, doesn't mean that's what it's worth.

If a Neiman Marcus moved to your town, they'd charge Neiman Marcus prices.

The cost "is what it is". If you can't afford a Cadillac, then you buy a Saturn.

It's a GOOD thing when people start talking about "Well, she's a little more expensive, but man is she worth it!"

sjholderman Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 10:49pm
post #4 of 10

I live in a town of about 2600 and charge 2.50 a slice for buttercream, 2.25 a cupcake (I think thats too much but I hate making them soo... icon_smile.gif) and 3.50 for fondant. That's level with a bakery (strictly cakes) in a larger nearby town. I'm new to this though, so I haven't don't many cakes without a you're-my-friend discount. I haven't had anyone tell me I'm too expensive yet!

jammjenks Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 12:01am
post #5 of 10

Food for thought - if you charge too little now, it can be very difficult to charge more later. Ask me how I know. thumbsdown.gif

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 5:42am
post #6 of 10

You need to look at this from a business perspective just like any other business. Because you are in a smaller town you may think you can't charge as much, however, your costs may be higher since you have to travel for supplies, etc, so in essence, you need to charge more to cover your costs. Most people take the cost of materials (that mean every egg, cake board, bag of sugar, EVERYTHING) and multiply by 3 for a sale price. So if you spent $10 to make the cake, you should charge $30. As far as per serving like on wedding cakes, the same applies, but you do want to feel out the other prices in your area and see where you fall. This is not set in stone, but it's a good jumping off point! Good luck! -Lori

amberlee416 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 5:04pm
post #7 of 10

The only places we have here that offer cakes etc. is the grocery stores, and one bakery that doesnt do any specialty cakes, its all normal sheet cakes, and then there is one lady that is a home baker and she's been around for years. A lot of ppl go to her for their cake needs, but i do different things and a bit more detailed than her. This lady did our wedding cake and it was good, but nothing like what i had in my head that i wanted. I just dont know where to start with pricing, because i dont want to turn people off by the price of things, but i dont want to cheat myself. I guess it may be in part that i'm doubting my skills, that i'm not good enough to charge that much. i dont know, right now i'm trying really hard to build up my portfolio, but with working all the time i just dont have enough time to work on cake, and i know i need to because i want this to be my business and i want to be able to quit my job to do cake, and eventually get a place out of my home to bake and decorate. I dont know, i'm just kind of lost with this whole thing. I was going to try to figure out all the costs, like a doz eggs costs 2.00 and so one egg would cost .17 and the recipe needs 3 eggs etc. but that seems like so much paperwork for each cake, theres got to be a way to make it easier. Ok i'm rambling now, sorry I'm just kinda lost with this whole thing. I know the cake part of it, but i get lost with the business part of it.

SugarLover2 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 6:32pm
post #8 of 10

I am in a small town too. I bake for family and friends. Recently though, I got curious about how much I was spending to make each cake compared to what I am asking as far as price. All I did was keep my grocery store receipt after a shopping trip for supplies and made a spreadsheet in excel. Eggs-$2, .17 each, etc. Then I figured out what ingredients I use in a couple kinds of cake I make the most-WASC was one. Now when I need to know how much each cake is costing me, I go down the grid and add up the cost of each item that goes into the cake. It's pretty simple and a real time saver.

I recently did a birthday cake for 25 people. Buttercream, WASC and vanilla custard filling. $2.50 a slice and not even an eye pop from my friend. I also did a fondant covered 3 tier cake for 50. Now, mind you this was for a cousin and I way underpriced because it was family and I didn't mind getting a bit less. I charged $125 but got $200. So, here I thought I'd give a discount as it was family and they loved it so much they overpaid. I could have charged more, but didn't and they knew it. If that had been a more distant relative I would have probably done more like $3.50 a slice.

Hope some of this helps.

juleebug Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 7:30pm
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

I was going to try to figure out all the costs, like a doz eggs costs 2.00 and so one egg would cost .17 and the recipe needs 3 eggs etc. but that seems like so much paperwork for each cake, theres got to be a way to make it easier.




Once you figure that out once, why would you need to do it for each cake?
And don't forget to factor in things like colors, flavorings, cake boards, dowel rods, cake boxes...

Deb_ Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 8:30pm
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberlee416

The only places we have here that offer cakes etc. is the grocery stores, and one bakery that doesnt do any specialty cakes, its all normal sheet cakes, and then there is one lady that is a home baker and she's been around for years. A lot of ppl go to her for their cake needs, but i do different things and a bit more detailed than her. This lady did our wedding cake and it was good, but nothing like what i had in my head that i wanted. I just dont know where to start with pricing, because i dont want to turn people off by the price of things, but i dont want to cheat myself. I guess it may be in part that i'm doubting my skills, that i'm not good enough to charge that much. i dont know, right now i'm trying really hard to build up my portfolio, but with working all the time i just dont have enough time to work on cake, and i know i need to because i want this to be my business and i want to be able to quit my job to do cake, and eventually get a place out of my home to bake and decorate. I dont know, i'm just kind of lost with this whole thing. I was going to try to figure out all the costs, like a doz eggs costs 2.00 and so one egg would cost .17 and the recipe needs 3 eggs etc. but that seems like so much paperwork for each cake, theres got to be a way to make it easier. Ok i'm rambling now, sorry I'm just kinda lost with this whole thing. I know the cake part of it, but i get lost with the business part of it.




OK the 2 comments I put in bold sent up a red flag for me. It is imperative for you to sit down and figure out your costs.

I know the task may seem daunting, but it is necessary.

You need a business plan before you begin any business............cakes included. It's not just about the cake, that's a very small aspect of this business.

There are pricing matrix's on here that may be helpful to you.

If you don't know your costs, how will you ever set your prices. Just because the grocery store bakery charges $20 for an 8" round doesn't mean that you will be able to charge the same amount.

Don't cheat yourself and as jammyjenks said......if you price too low now, it's very hard to have a significant increase down the road.

Good luck and get that pen and paper out! icon_wink.gif

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