People Seem To Think I Charge To Much!

Business By Confectioners_Conundrum Updated 8 May 2009 , 12:47pm by Loucinda

Confectioners_Conundrum Posted 7 May 2009 , 11:58am
post #1 of 29

icon_mad.gif OKay, I have cake boss and I let that price all my orders for me...and some people think I charge to much! For exapme: I got aske to make a cake for 200 people, and they didn't know if they wanted MM fondant or BC, so I gave them a price for both. The price for MM was 496.37 (they wanted every tier differnt..very intricate scroll work ALL hand piping) and for BC it was going to be 425.45...for 200 people! I only have been charging about 10 $ an hour for labor...and I don't have a huge price mark up for my supplies! If something cost me say, 2.10 I charge 2.25 for it. That's not alot is it? It's like people want stuff completly for free and they don't understand that it really takes a LOT of time to do this stuff! When I told them the price, they said they would be in touch and have not called back since! Should I call them and ask what they intend to do? Should I hold their spot in my baking schedule? They haven't paid anything yet....

28 replies
indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:12pm
post #2 of 29

If you have someone who is not responding and someone who wants to give you a check, you take the check and book the date. When johnny-come-lately finally gets around to deciding, it's very simple to tell them, "Sorry, I didnt' hear from you and the date got booked".

They're not a customer until you have a check.

As far as pricing, you're going to run into this. You can show them article after article after article that says wedding cakes run from $2.50 to $7.00 or more per serving, so your pricing is not out of line. It seems high to them because they are feeding TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(You could suggest they call O'Charley's and get dessert to go ... oh wait ... THAT would cost them $3.99 or more per serving! icon_lol.gif )

costumeczar Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:30pm
post #3 of 29

I'd be charging a lot more than that for 200 people. I actually had a girl call me yesterday for 200 guests, and I think that I quoted her around $600 (but she was going to be getting around 150-160 servings due to the 80% rule that I use) She was very happy with that, booked a tasting appointment, then told me that the GROCERY STORE that's big around here quoted her $800 for 200 people. I have to assume that they were actually selling her 200 servings, though. They go for volume volume volume. Even so, that's still more than you're charging.

Your pricing isn't wrong, so don't worry. You just have to find the right customer base, which is a different issue.

courtney1009 Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:21pm
post #4 of 29

Bottom line... they were getting a deal with that cake. You're prices are not high at all. You'll run into that a lot. I've had people actually yell at me asking why the price was so high. I try to explain the cost of ingredients, time, etc. Some people get it and others don't. I probably think at least once a month that maybe I should reduce my prices to get more orders. But then I think about how much time and effort and money goes into them and I just can't compromise. In fact when I'm in the midst of decorating, I usually start thinking I'm not getting paid enough. Pricing is always hard. That's why there's so many posts on here about how to price something.

FromScratch Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:27pm
post #5 of 29

Your pricing isn't high at all... in fact I'd say it's low. You should mark up more than 15 cents. A cake for 200 would cost $1000 coming from me... more if they wanted the intricate piping on every tier... probably closer to $1400. It's a TON of work.

People really do have no idea about the work it takes to make a cake. They see the pictures in the bridal mags and on TV and think that it will not be a ton of money to get a cake. Keep your chin up... and don't let them dictate your prices.

costumeczar Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:40pm
post #6 of 29
Originally Posted by FromScratch

People really do have no idea about the work it takes to make a cake. They see the pictures in the bridal mags and on TV and think that it will not be a ton of money to get a cake.

My favorite is when people bring a picture from a magazine to me, but they've cut out the part that says "$15 per serving" Uh, I've seen the magazine, too, and I'm not doing that cake for $2 a serving! icon_wink.gif

Nyree Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:44pm
post #7 of 29

Do not let people like that make you feel uncertain about the prices you list for your cakes. You have to charge for the time and work you put in plus your supplies. This is a business and if they want something cheaper then let them go to Sam's club, BJ's, Costco, Walmart or where ever else they think they can get a discounted 4 tiered cake. Its there loss not yours. thumbs_up.gif

aggiechef Posted 7 May 2009 , 2:13pm
post #8 of 29

Your pricing isn't too high at all. There's a bakery close to where I live that charges $12 per serving for a BASIC fondant cake and $6 per serving for a BASIC BC cake. Their cake for 200 people would cost $2400 or $1200 respectively. Also, the cake you described isn't basic at all so the price would be even higher. They don't even realize how good of a deal you were giving them.

yamber82 Posted 7 May 2009 , 2:21pm
post #9 of 29

i am just starting out so i am also struggling with the pricing issue but i think a good rule of thumb is figure cost to make, double that, and then ad labor cost. your prices are veeery reasonable. i know people who have paid in the thousands for their cake and i'm sure yours are just as worth it. if they don't wanna pay your price they can go to walmart bakery, lol. don't lower your standards over a few cheapos icon_smile.gif

sweetartbakery Posted 7 May 2009 , 5:31pm
post #10 of 29

That's very close to what I would charge. I am just starting out so keeping prices quite low (or so I believe) until I build up enough cool cakes to quit my job! So I would say that's a good price. Not to cheap that it seems shady and not high at all! I don't live in an up scale area, so some think my prices are high too. Well, go ahead and have the grocery store do the cake.... mine are so much nicer! (sorry local grocery!) icon_smile.gif

ChefAngie Posted 7 May 2009 , 5:46pm
post #11 of 29

Ingredients-Utility Cost-Boards and Boxes-Artistry-Transportation-Set-up-Delivery
Taxes-People Skills. UMPH!!!!
Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie

pinkpiggie78 Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:02pm
post #12 of 29

Jeez maybe I charge too much... my BC wedding cakes start at $3.50 a serving and fondant $4.00... I hate pricing... I adjust mine on a daily basis...

Cakeonista Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:09pm
post #13 of 29

I was just wondering costumezar what is your 80% rule? Does it mean that if I need 200 servings you only give me a cake for 80% of that??

FromScratch Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:31pm
post #14 of 29

No.. it means that if you invite 200 people to your wedding, you can expect about 80% of them to actually come. So you can plan on a cake for that many and avoid over spending and if you find that you need more as you get your RSVPs, you can add more cake.

I actually go by the 70% rule. icon_biggrin.gif

jomar0321 Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:35pm
post #15 of 29

I too have such a hard time pricing cakes. I'm fairly new to cake making/decorating. I usually make cakes for friends and family which the cost ends up coming out of my pocket because I have to give them a "deal". Now I'm making cakes with an event planner so I need to be a little more savy about the biz! Anyway, like the previous post, I'm curious to know what the "80% rule" is. And any other advise, recommendations, etc would be helpful.

costumeczar Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:48pm
post #16 of 29

It's more than the original 70% of invitees. You go from, say 250 invited to 200 attending using the75-80% (whatever they estimate) then do 80% of the number of cake servings for the reception based on the number of attendees. So if you have 200 guests, you'd order cake for 160.

I've seen this rule used by other people, and it seems to work for a couple of reasons. First, people tend to cut the wedding cake servings smaller than I tell them to (apparently 1"x2" is a personal interpretation, not a standard measurement), so when I'm estimating 160 servings they're probably getting more than that out of it. I actually increased the serving estimate for my cakes recently, and I've not had a single complaint about people running out of cake. Second, not everyone eats the cake, so you don't need as many servings as the number of guests.

I know that everyone does this differently, but I know one baker in town who sells exactly as many servings as the number of guests, and I hear people complaining about having entire tiers left over when he does the cake. I've also seen how wafer-thin some of the reception venues cut the pieces, so I can't take that into account when I estimate servings.

In my opinion, it's also not a bad thing to have all the cake eaten. That way, people talk about how "not a piece was left over" as opposed to "we had two entire tiers left."

indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:57pm
post #17 of 29

I use 60% of the total number invited (invite 200 ... reasonably plan for 125-150 to show). It looks like costumeczar and I end up with about the same number, though.

When I'm catering at a wedding, I actually do a chair count when we arrive (how many chairs did they set up?). Then, when all of the guests have arrived, I can do a room-glance and see how many empties there are, giving me an idea of how many guests actually showed up. 60% holds true pretty consistently (unless we have one of my exceptions).

Bottom line is the bride and groom are never as popular as they think they are .... even Donald Trump didn't have a 100% show rate and he PAYS people to be his friend! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

My husband tried to "help" me once and told someone that if they ordered food for 200, I only made food for 60% of that. AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHH! icon_surprised.gif Yeah, honey, that's a good idea! Tell people that I take their money for 200 but only bring a little more than half of the food they paid for! He had called me to verify that and I made him tell the person right then and there, while I was on the phone, that he was wrong and had screwed up the story AGAIN! icon_biggrin.gif

There's a reason he's not in charge of my marketing plan! icon_lol.gif

gerripje Posted 7 May 2009 , 9:58pm
post #18 of 29

I think lots of people really do look it like well a cake mix is $2 and container of icing is $2..... what's the big deal?! Figure that you just add water, mix it up, pop in the oven, throw icing on and viola, you have a cake ready to serve 200+ people in an afternoon!

costumeczar Posted 7 May 2009 , 11:03pm
post #19 of 29
Originally Posted by indydebi

My husband tried to "help" me once and told someone that if they ordered food for 200, I only made food for 60% of that. AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHH! icon_surprised.gif

There's a reason he's not in charge of my marketing plan! icon_lol.gif

Oh my God...This is why my husband wants nothing to do with anything cake-related! He wants no part of the responsibility, and after hearing thigns like this I'm glad icon_lol.gif

sweetartbakery Posted 7 May 2009 , 11:08pm
post #20 of 29

"only 60% profit" that's funny!

My husband also wants nothing to do with it. He likes to hear and see my work, but won't touch the cake and doesn't want to be near it. He has a fear that he'll wreck it and then I'll wreck him! icon_biggrin.gif

Butterfly27 Posted 7 May 2009 , 11:29pm
post #21 of 29

I would say that your prices are very low. I start at $4.00 a slice BC and $5.00 a slice Fondant. That cake would easily cost $800.00 with just basic buttercream borders. Any other detail or designs start at $25 and go up depending on complexity of design. Not to mention delivery and set up cost, labor ect... ect....

I had a couple ask me a few months ago about my wedding cake prices and when I told them they were upset because I was charging them too much or so they thought. They wanted a cake to feed 250 people and they said they were on a budget. 250 people and budget in the same sentence, WHATEVER!!! They said they would search around. I said ok go ahead. Good Luck. They finally ended up at walmart cuz that's all they could afford. They got a cake for $195.00. I laughed when I heard that. I said ok you get what you pay for. Don't come complaining back to me about the cake. They guy does work with my husband so he said the wedding went fine but never mentioned how the cake was. LOL.

Bottom line don't be a push over. Don't let them tell you what they think you should charge. Stick to your guns. If they don't like it then tell them that you see a walmart cake in their future. If you make your prices low now then they will be hard to raise as you get better with your decorating because your customers will know that they originally got that same cake for cheaper. Happy Caking! thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 11:44pm
post #22 of 29
Originally Posted by costumeczar

In my opinion, it's also not a bad thing to have all the cake eaten. That way, people talk about how "not a piece was left over" as opposed to "we had two entire tiers left."

I meant to add this in my last post as another "I totally agree!!"

When the buffet is almost empty and when there is barely any cake left over, I make a point to tell the bride or the bride's mom, "There's barely anything left, which is GREAT! That means you (or she) had good headcount control and it means that you (she) did NOT overspend! Good job!" thumbs_up.gif

This accomplishes a couple of things ..... diffuses any statements or opinions of "we ran out of food!" (which we did NOT!) and puts the compliment on THEM, making THEM feel good about the decisions they made.

A friend tells me she had a co-worker who was complaining about "running out of food" at a wedding and it turns out the co-worker was complaining that when he went back for THIRDS, the caterer was removing the empty food pans. So instead of telling people what a glutton he was, he was bashing the rep of the caterer. icon_mad.gif

bakermommy4 Posted 8 May 2009 , 12:06am
post #23 of 29

I just had the same experience. I've been corresponding back and forth with a woman who wanted a commitment cake to feed 95. She wanted this EXACT cake. I called the bakery who makes this cake as a potential customer and they gave me a price of almost $900. I'm new to pricing also so thats why I called, so I could get a ballpark. I told the woman I would charge her $4.00 per slice and an extra $60.00 for the roses. The total came to $440. Needless to say, I haven't heard from her again. Oh well I say.

mcaulir Posted 8 May 2009 , 12:11am
post #24 of 29

I quite liked having cake left over at my wedding, because it felt like the whole thing wasn't over until a week later when all the cake was gone! On the other hand, I used to work at a fairly dodgy place that held weddings, and the chef used to cut off a big slab of the wedding cake to take home for himself, so maybe having just enough is a good thing icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 8 May 2009 , 1:52am
post #25 of 29

I purposely ordered too much wedding cake for my wedding. I loved the cake & wanted extra. I actually had a whole tier & a half, all gone the next day!

en-passant Posted 8 May 2009 , 4:04am
post #26 of 29

For every person who backs out the door in sticker shock there are two who come in with money in hand, ready to order.

Your prices are way too low. Did I read correctly that if a product costs you 2.10 per serving to produce, you charge the customer 2.25 per serving?

I'm not even going to write what I'm thinking.

tonicake Posted 8 May 2009 , 4:24am
post #27 of 29

At one time I felt like you do and every now and again it tries to creep up on me. I just keep telling myself, "My cakes and designs are special and unique and can't be found at any Wal-Mart!".

I have seen potential customers come in for pricing and go out quicker than they came in. However, I have also seen wonderful repeat customers with plenty of referrals to make up for those I didn't get. I like customers who have no issues of money and welcome them with open arms. Give yourself some time and you will see that it can get better and better. Who needs a customer who belly aches about prices - like water off a ducks back!

I may be raising my prices very soon with how everything is still changing!

FromScratch Posted 8 May 2009 , 5:05am
post #28 of 29

en-passant... I think she meant that if her materials cost 2.10 she'd charge 2.25 and then add her $10/hour. I hope so anyway. icon_biggrin.gif

Loucinda Posted 8 May 2009 , 12:47pm
post #29 of 29

I have always used Indy's 60% rule, and have been SPOT on with the cake ever since! I even have it on my contract - how many invitations....then do the math for how many servings needed. Works everytime! (and I have had a couple of times where they did order larger on purpose because they wanted EXTRA cake to send home!)

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