$2 A Serving And Up, Really??

Decorating By luv2cook721 Updated 18 Apr 2009 , 5:12pm by tab26852

luv2cook721 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:46am
post #1 of 199

I have a hard time justifying pricing cakes at $2.00 per serving, because I wouldn't pay that. I recently started decorating and am good at it. I have people asking if I will bake a cake and what I will charge. When I look at the charts and come up with a price at the $2 price I think to myself "I wouldn't have paid that much last year for a cake from someone else" A few others I have talked to seem to think it seems high too. I have sold one cake, but other than that my cakes have been gifts. I have a couple of people asking me for pricing and am on the fence about what to charge. I did lose one order due to the price already (and I gave her a decent discount, I think I went with $1.50) Does anybody else feel this way? I just make cakes because I enjoy it. I have no intention of ever being a full time baker and this haggling over the price in my own mind is stealing my joy. I would be fine as long as my supplies were covered and maybe I got a little extra to buy a new cake tool....Thoughts? (please be nice you pros!)

198 replies
patticakesnc Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:53am
post #2 of 199

I understand how you feel.....BUT.....when I go to a restaurant I easily pay $4-$7 for a slice of cake......something to think about.

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:58am
post #3 of 199

If you are ok with just getting your cost covered & a tool out the deal knock yourself out. But for those who make cakes and charge their cost and labor to survive & pay bills, how do you even think to ask why not charge $2.00. How are we going to survive off charging $2.00 a serving. You really think thats fair to us? Prcining varies area to area, you do what you want, but it may be unfair to those who do this for an actual living, unlike you, who does this as a hobby. I hope I'm not coming off as beating you up, (cause I'm not trying too), but with the controversial subjects that have been coming across the pass couple of days, and you obviously knowing how people feel about low balling on pricing, it seems your trying to stir up the mixing bowl to me.

Alaskahsm Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:04am
post #4 of 199

Ha! $2!? Here in Alaska Cakes go for between 5 and 7 a slice. I had thought about that being too much me being a beginner, however, there are some awesomely talented people here and I wouldn't dream about stealing their business by charging way below them. Don't take me as being harsh please, I'm just saying I was in your shoes. If a customer wants a cheep cake then let them go get a store cake. To take business from a custom decorator by charging store prices is just mean. I am not in business either, I called the HD and asked if I could make a cake for a friend, because she was going to pay for it. They told me its fine as long as its a one time deal and I am not making a business of it. But I am still going to charge her for it the same a bakery would. You have to start somewhere.

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:10am
post #5 of 199

I have a very hard time with it too. I haven't really had too much business outside extended family and friends of the family so I don't really have set prices. I kind of go by how long it took me to do the cake and how big it is. I guess I am timid to charge too much as I feel they wont think my work is worthy of it and go instead to buy a cake from Walmart. I have read here on CC how making your prices too low effects everyone else also. I don't really have an answer just thought I would add my two cents.... icon_smile.gif

Bluehue Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:10am
post #6 of 199

icon_surprised.gif $2.00 - wow i can't buy anthing from any local cake shop for $2.00 - not even yesterdays currant bun.

If your happy with $2.00 thats wonderful but remember - so many do so much in regards to baking from scratch and decorating - so their time is their income....so thats how they *justify* their final costs - and rightly so.

No way would i be selling myself short -
I believe in the *get what you pay for* addage

Can i ask - where do you live - perhaps things are cheaper - *shrugs*

Actually i just went back and re-read your thread -
And now i understnad why you won't charge $2.00
Because you won't pay it yourself

*phew* - that shouldn't of been so difficult for me to fathom icon_rolleyes.gif

Bluehue.

MacsMom Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:12am
post #7 of 199

In the central CA valley wedding cakes start at $6 per serving. My party cakes are between $4 and $6.

chefjulie Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:22am
post #8 of 199

Also...
Do you REALLY want to be known as "the one with the cheap cakes"?

Ironbaker Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:28am
post #9 of 199

Yes, really.

What part of the country are you in? (assuming you're in the US) You won't get much for $2 around here.

I think, with time, you'll start to see more and more why $2/serving is nothing. If you wouldn't pay $2/serving...I'm not sure you've gotten a full appreciation yet as to what goes in to this. Not trying to be mean, just honest.
"Baking a cake" is different from baking a cake, decorating it/sculpting, making flowers or gumpaste/fondant figures, etc, etc. That doesn't include your time, talent, packaging supplies, utilities, etc. They're paying not only for the delicious cake, but for the customization. The talent. Not everyone will get it but there are those who will gladly pay $2+/serving because they know what they're NOT getting the grocery store cake. Don't make the grocers your competition. You have to train the public. If you don't think your cake is worth much, neither will they. Fake it til you make it.

If the pricing is too much of an issue for you and you just want to be able to decorate without the hassle, maybe you should keep them as gifts.

erinalicia Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:29am
post #10 of 199

I understand the reasoning behind the pricing, but when I go to a restaurant and get a slice of cake for dessert, I usually get a huge piece of cake that both my husband and I can share. Now mind you, we don't go anywhere really expensive to eat, but the desserts are between 4 and 6 dollars. A slice of wedding cake (1X2X4) is NOT the same size as the cake I get in a restaurant.

I do realize that I'm talking about dessert cakes that aren't as beautifully or artfully decorated, so there is a price to be paid for that, but there is no way in hell I'd pay some of the prices that people charge.

If you can get it, more power to you, but in my neck of the woods, people can't afford those prices.

Just my 2 cents.

aliciag829 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:40am
post #11 of 199

I think your time and your skill is worth more money than you think you deserve.

When someone comes to you, they want a custom design. I look at it this way, cakes are a work of art. People can go to certain chain stores and buy a cake that is a carbon copy of the one next to it for a low price, or go to you for your expertise and get a personalized cake they will enjoy and hopefully remember for a long time.

Janette Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:40am
post #12 of 199

I feel that way too. But, I'm a home baker, not there is a bakery within miles from me, if there were I wouldn't want to take business away from them because I'm cheap.

It's funny as I'm doing the cake I think to myself - I don't charge enough. I forget it's hard work.

And as someone said you wouldn't want to be known as the person that makes the cheap cakes.

Cake_Mooma Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:44am
post #13 of 199

I don't want to sound mean but these types of threads gets people going and they become ugly. So with that being said, I believe that they were banded because of that.

Now my 2 cents.

You have to keep in mind that what we do effects others in very different ways. Also, don't you think that your work is worth something. Ok so in your eyes it is just a hobby but your time has to be worth something. Think about it like this, if you were busy on my cake and it kept you busy for so long that you fell behind to make dinner, so you go to the pizza shop down the road and picked up a couple of pies. Don't you think that you now have to calculate that pizza and the time and trip down the road, somewhere? See it? If you think about it, you just paid me to buy your cake.....I hope I shed some light without being mean and ugly.....it can be done......

I really hope this doesn't get ugly, it is a touchy subject for some....

Bea

luv2cook721 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:58am
post #14 of 199

I rarely buy dessert at a restaurant, and never cake. I am not saying those of you who do cakes for a living should sell for less than the going rate in your area, I am just saying, since I only make cakes for my friends/co-workers I am having a hard time feeling like $50 for an 8in round is fair. I would never have paid that for a cake, but then I never bought one from a bakery in my life. Prior to decorating classes, I still did my own cakes, and they weren't half bad. I have a natural aptitude for cake decorating. I feel my work is every bit as good as people charging $2, 4, 6...but I also know the people who are in my area, it is not destitute, but we are not upper middle class either. I guess another part of my problem is money has never been a driving factor for me. As long as I have enough to meet my needs and my family's needs I am good. I have always been a thrifty person and love to make a dollar stretch, I guess that is part of why I don't want to charge too much either.

Please do not misunderstand, I don't mean to say that $2,4,6,...10 is too much for anyone running a business to charge. If people will pay it, then that is great. I am not running a business, so I do not have the overhead to cover. I do not intend to do cakes for a profit so I doubt I will be taking business away from a serious baker. If I don't do the cake for my friend at church she will either do it herself or ask another friend to do it...she won't be going to a real baker...maybe Sam's club, but I don't think they count as a real bakery.

I am in the midwest, btw. Between Chicago & Milwaukee (but no where near the nice wealthy suburbs North of Chicago!) I haven't checked the local bakeries for their cost, but like I said, I don't really compare since I don't have the overhead. Also home bakeries are not allowed in this state, so if I charge at all am I violating that reg?

I didn't mean to start a firestorm...I just wanted some other opinions, to help me find my niche.

Janette Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:09am
post #15 of 199

Humm, I don't think I've seen this subject get ugly. I wonder why it would.

Luv, I know what you mean about the charge of an 8" cake. I'm guessing we are talking about wedding cakes and you need to look at the whole picture.

Teir cakes take more time and detail and in most cases includes the delivery and setup. I don't know if that helps.

Last week a woman called to order a 10" cake for her second wedding. A few people were getting together at a resturant and they said it would be ok for her to bring in a cake.

I told her I would do a good job to make the day special. I did the cake to look like a wedding cake and only charged her $20 with filling.

She called the next day and raved about the cake, how good it was and it was beautiful. She said she is going to tell all her friends about my cakes.

Even tho I made it to look like a wedding cake there was no way I was going to charge her by the slice.

luv2cook721 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:10am
post #16 of 199

Reading back over the replies, I noted several people asking if I thought my work was worth it. My answer to that is if I charged what I think it is worth, I'd never sell a thing, because they are priceless. Each cake a labor of love for the person I make it for. I spent 10 hours on a baby shower cake for my bosses grandson and brought the cake to the party as a gift for the family (who I am as close to as my own family). In my humble opinion, my cake was totally awesome!!! It is not that I do not value my work, or think it is worth it. I guess my biggest hurdle is my own bargain hunter's soul. Or maybe it is because I am making cakes for people I know, few of which make decent money (especially these days).

xstitcher Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:19am
post #17 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2cook721

.....

Also home bakeries are not allowed in this state, so if I charge at all am I violating that reg?




Ummmm, yes....

xstitcher Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:22am
post #18 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Humm, I don't think I've seen this subject get ugly. I wonder why it would.

Luv, I know what you mean about the charge of an 8" cake. I'm guessing we are talking about wedding cakes and you need to look at the whole picture.

Teir cakes take more time and detail and in most cases includes the delivery and setup. I don't know if that helps.

Last week a woman called to order a 10" cake for her second wedding. A few people were getting together at a resturant and they said it would be ok for her to bring in a cake.

I told her I would do a good job to make the day special. I did the cake to look like a wedding cake and only charged her $20 with filling.

She called the next day and raved about the cake, how good it was and it was beautiful. She said she is going to tell all her friends about my cakes.

Even tho I made it to look like a wedding cake there was no way I was going to charge her by the slice.




Janette, can I ask you how you can make any money at all if you only charge $20 for a decorated 10" cake. I don't sell cakes at all but I know I would spend close to that in just ingredients without any of my time being invested yet (although I am still super slow at it icon_lol.gif ).

Janette Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:23am
post #19 of 199

Now I see how this subject could get ugly when you start talking about home bakers.

aliciag829 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:24am
post #20 of 199

Ah, I see. I would say, when making cakes for family or friends, if you feel you are overcharging them you can always give them a discount if you want to be generous. For everyone else, I would give them a price per serving.

I know it's easy to feel guilty if you feel like you are overcharging people, but soon your friend's friends will be your friends, too and you will have a lot of "friends" looking to receive your discount. lol

This is just my opinion based on my personal experiences. Hopefully everyone's advice has helped you gain some new insight. If you feel in your heart that you are happy with a new tool or just the cost of the supplies, then go for it. You seem like you have a big heart and it seems like most of your reward is just making people happy with your gift, and that's ok, too. icon_smile.gif

Janette Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:29am
post #21 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by xstitcher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Humm, I don't think I've seen this subject get ugly. I wonder why it would.

Luv, I know what you mean about the charge of an 8" cake. I'm guessing we are talking about wedding cakes and you need to look at the whole picture.

Teir cakes take more time and detail and in most cases includes the delivery and setup. I don't know if that helps.

Last week a woman called to order a 10" cake for her second wedding. A few people were getting together at a resturant and they said it would be ok for her to bring in a cake.

I told her I would do a good job to make the day special. I did the cake to look like a wedding cake and only charged her $20 with filling.

She called the next day and raved about the cake, how good it was and it was beautiful. She said she is going to tell all her friends about my cakes.

Even tho I made it to look like a wedding cake there was no way I was going to charge her by the slice.



Janette, can I ask you how you can make any money at all if you only charge $20 for a decorated 10" cake. I don't sell cakes at all but I know I would spend close to that in just ingredients without any of my time being invested yet (maybe I'm just super slow icon_lol.gif ).




I had some leftover frosting and filling from a wedding cake so I was glad to be able to use it.

$20 is a lot for a cake when you can get one at Sam's for $16 or $17.

I live in MI and now hardly anyone orders cakes anymore they buy a cake mix and a can of frosting when it's on sale. Hardly anyone here has a job anymore.

xstitcher Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 5:36am
post #22 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Quote:
Originally Posted by xstitcher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Humm, I don't think I've seen this subject get ugly. I wonder why it would.

Luv, I know what you mean about the charge of an 8" cake. I'm guessing we are talking about wedding cakes and you need to look at the whole picture.

Teir cakes take more time and detail and in most cases includes the delivery and setup. I don't know if that helps.

Last week a woman called to order a 10" cake for her second wedding. A few people were getting together at a resturant and they said it would be ok for her to bring in a cake.

I told her I would do a good job to make the day special. I did the cake to look like a wedding cake and only charged her $20 with filling.

She called the next day and raved about the cake, how good it was and it was beautiful. She said she is going to tell all her friends about my cakes.

Even tho I made it to look like a wedding cake there was no way I was going to charge her by the slice.



Janette, can I ask you how you can make any money at all if you only charge $20 for a decorated 10" cake. I don't sell cakes at all but I know I would spend close to that in just ingredients without any of my time being invested yet (maybe I'm just super slow icon_lol.gif ).



I had some leftover frosting and filling from a wedding cake so I was glad to be able to use it.

$20 is a lot for a cake when you can get one at Sam's for $16 or $17.

I live in MI and now hardly anyone orders cakes anymore they buy a cake mix and a can of frosting when it's on sale. Hardly anyone here has a job anymore.




I'm glad that you got to use your leftovers. Sorry to hear about the job marked there, my DH lost his job about 6 weeks ago, found another one but it cut his pay check in half and no benefits so I know where your coming from. I'm also pretty sure that your cake was 10X better than Sam's (looking & tasting) thumbs_up.gificon_smile.gif

lilsugarbug1985 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:03am
post #23 of 199

i feel guilty about charging too much, but now i charge full price for my friends and customers and a little less for family. they all actually insist on paying me more because they know i am giving too much of a discount. i have been decorating for 3 years and only know bc and whip, so i feel like i shouldn't charge that much when i am still learning.

lilsugarbug1985 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:08am
post #24 of 199

i feel guilty about charging too much, but now i charge full price for my friends and customers and a little less for family. they all actually insist on paying me more because they know i am giving too much of a discount. i have been decorating for 3 years and only know bc and whip, so i feel like i shouldn't charge that much when i am still learning.

Cake_Mooma Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:20am
post #25 of 199

I have been a hairdresser for years, and I worked for an amazing man for years....He taught me a lesson that I still Carry with me now that I have changed careers.

From that door out we are friends and family. From that door in we are client and server. He would say that if every friend and every family member was to walk in and he would give them a discount how would he operate. Because even if he were friends with the guy from the electric company it didn't mean he was going to get the service for free. So point well taken.

Now not to sat that I have not given them away or that I have not given them discounts. See to me there is a difference between someone asking me for a cake and me offering them a cake. If I have the time and I am not super busy, I will offer a cake if they (family or friends) have not ordered a cake I will make the cake. See I think that it comes from the heart when I do it this way...if not I feel like I am working so hard for someone that is just trying to get a deal. Just me two cents.

Bea


One of the reasons it can get ugly is because people are so passionate about their work that it can be a touchy subject for them when they see people selling themselves short....myself included to some extent, I just don't have my shop yet...so I don't feel like some of the ladies and gents on CC.

StaceyC3 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 8:34am
post #26 of 199
Quote:
Quote:

No way would i be selling myself short -
I believe in the *get what you pay for* addage -




BlueHue, I believe that adage also. However, I also understand what is being insinuated by your comment - that people selling cakes at "cheap" prices are also selling "cheap", crappy cakes, and people selling cakes at higher prices must be selling a much nicer product.

I have attached a few examples of just what people "get" when they "pay for" my product - at $2.00 a serving for tiered / wedding cakes.

I enjoy my work, and I value my art as much as any other decorater here on CC. We all must price based on so many factors...scratch or mix, shop or home, sole income or second income, and most importantly, LOCATION.

Personally, I bake from a mix, work from home, provide the secondary income in our home, and I live in a small midwestern town. According to my expenditure spreadsheets, a 1/2 sheet cake costs me just over $11.00 in supplies, from eggs right down to the board and the box, and I charge $45.00.

My tiered cakes go for $2 per svg and up, carved and mad hatter for $4 a svg and up, and I choose to keep my basic party cakes (sheets, rounds, squares) at a flat price each ($25 for an 8" round, for example) - and most of them come out to around $1.25-$1.50 per serving.

I choose to keep my prices the same as the two major cake shops / bakeries in the city located near my small town, as their product and mine are comparable.

So luv2cook - I totally understand where you're coming from. I've been on CC for quite a while now and have always been too afraid to speak out on any of the pricing forums. But just know you are NOT the only one who feels this way!

I absolutely believe the people making $5, $8, and $10 a serving are totally justified, and I am glad they are able to get that price. But I also understand people who charge less; trying to compare pricing on a worldwide forum is comparing apples to oranges - so I try to remember to take all of our wildly different circumstances into account instead of chastising people who may price on the lower end.

Quote:
Quote:

Actually i just went back and re-read your thread -
And now i understnad why you won't charge $2.00
Because you won't pay it yourself

*phew* - that shouldn't of been so difficult for me to fathom





By the way, BlueHue...

Where I live, the vast majority of people will NOT pay premium prices - hell, I WOULDN'T EITHER! (That's part of the reason I learned to make 'em myself!) icon_lol.gif
LL
LL

AngiesIdea Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 8:59am
post #27 of 199

Yeah, I agree with StaceyC3! There are several things to be taken into consideration when charting a price list. I've read enough to know that it's not a cut a dry across the board type of deal. People should understand that you have to be comfortable with what your asking your patrons to pay based on your skillset and location. If you haven't taken the time to research pricing in your area, you may be doing yourself a dis-service. But, if you really just enjoy creating beautiful cakes and making people happy, pricing really doesn't matter. I say just keep doing what makes you happy and lets you sleep at night. And for those who make top dollar for your cakes-keep doing what your doing and make that MONEY! icon_cool.gif Let those who still have to come into thier own do so on their own terms. Not judging-just saying "Live and let Live! thumbs_up.gif

Much Peace and Respect!
Angie icon_biggrin.gif

hellie0h Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 10:09am
post #28 of 199

I do maybe 2 or 3 paid cakes a year, and I charged a very low price, which causes inner conflicts. It is hard work, and takes many hours to complete a finished product....plus I am so timid when it comes to pricing. I have been pleasantly surprised when I was given more money than what I charged but here is the kicker...then I feel guilty that they gave me more money.

I was raised by working class parents, Appalachian Region, who lived during the depression. Therefore, you did not spend money on extras. I guess this is where lifestyle comes into play. If money is no object to persons that have always got what they want, no matter what the price, then people would not blink an eye for $10 a serving, whereas a person like myself would not pay a price like that even though I could afford it.

For those bakers that live in areas that support your prices, more power to you. For anyone else, especially the younger ladies and gentlemen, if you don't value your work now, by charging an appropriate price based on your area...you'll end up like me, a disgruntled senior that ends up making a bunch of free cakes for extended family and friends that ask for them without thought or even a thank you.

costumeczar Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 12:34pm
post #29 of 199

Taking the "legal or not legal" factor out, you're still going to have these costs when you do a cake:

Ingredients, electricity, gas to go shopping for ingredients, wear and tear on your car for shopping and delivery, water and materials for cleaning. (I'm not including the cost of advertising, insurance, etc. but those are there too if you're running a legal business.)

Okay, now add in all of the stuff that people don't think about. YOUR TIME FOR: shopping, baking, cleaning (everyone's favorite), answering emails and phone calls from customers, delivering, decorating, prep work, paperwork and other miscellaneous stuff that I've probably forgotten about. This is time that you could have been spending with your family, going on field trips with your kids' classes (I'm missing one this week because I'll be decorating), reading a book, cleaning your house (I don't mind missing this one so much!) or just having a day off.

When you're adding up your expenses keep in mind that your time is a commodity. Car mechanics and plumbers know this, they charge a service fee just to come out and look at your pipes. Why shouldn't you charge a fair price that compensates you for your time and skill? There will be people who can't afford it, but there will be people who can, too. Don't set your prices based on other people's budgets, set them based on what your time and skills are worth.

tx_cupcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 12:49pm
post #30 of 199

You need to ask yourself this question: "Would I take a job that pays less than minimum wage?"

If your answer is "no", then you should probably rethink your pricing because as it stands, you are basically running your own sweatshop - and you're the only one working there.

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