I have been struggling on how much to charge for my cakes. I was only doing them for family and friends but now I am getting many others that want me to make them cakes. I am horrible about asking people for money and my husband is mad at me because I can't ask for enough money to make it worth my while. I know that I can't keep giving my cakes away so I need to get serious about this but I am not sure where to begin. I have a graduation cake request and the lady wants me to make an exact replica of the cake I made for my friends graduation but I am not sure what to charge for it. Where I live there is one old school bakery and the rest are grocery store bakeries. So everyone is used to paying little to nothing for their cakes. I find that people want this really cool custome cake but they want it for a Walmart price. So I have been driving myself nuts on what to charge people. I am almost at the point where I just don't want to make cakes anymore because people's attitude's towards cake prices are just down right crazy. They don't care that you just spent 20 hours or so on their cake. All they care about is getting a good deal. It seems that $50 is the max people want to pay for a cake and to them $50 was high. Sorry about the complaining but I was hoping someone would have some guidance to give me on this subject matter. I have a picture of the graduation cake in my profile. It is the Purdue Graduation Cake. I tried to attach it but it said the file was to big and I am not sure how to make the file smaller. So any kind of help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help!!
Here's a thread with a pricing matrix:
I love the baseball grad cake..well done. And that is a LOT of work! This is a tough question, there are so many ways to answer it, and so many variables involved.
None of the cakes that I see in your pics are anything anyone is going to find at Walmart. Period. The energy put into it, the ingredients, your talent, the fact that is custom made and not something out of a plastic flippy binder on a shelf that 50 thousand other people have ordered....it all factors in.
The tough thing is deciding what to set your prices at. And seeing enough of your creations go out the door and barely covering your costs will burn you out in no time.
I could tell you how much I charge, but it might be out of the question for your area. It is out of the question for most people in my area...but it's ok. I love what I do enough to pass on more orders than I actually place. And what I mean by that, is I love the art of it, I love the money that comes from it, and I love the sanity I keep by charging appropriately on the orders I do book....so I don't gt burned out by being cheap and charging less "so everyone can afford it."
If there really is no one in your area that matches what you offer, then you have that to your advantage. And it may take time for people to realize..huh. Well, I'm just not going to be able to get what I want from "bakery Down The Street".....I better order from crazycakes.
Check out websites from the closest bakeries you can find. See what htey charge. Compare your skill level. Work from there. Charge appropriately, whatever that is that you decide. Good luck!
Jan beat me! Lol...I was typing as she came along with her ever helpful links.
Thanks Jan for the thread I will check it out and thanks Jamie for your ideas and support. It is nice to get other people's views on this subject. I can't seem to find any bakeries close to me other than one and they don't do custom cakes or work with fondant. So it is hard to compair me to them. Plus I know they price their cakes extremely cheap. I feel my time it worth more than that and it is an art form to me like you said Jamie. I love it greatly and I hope I can make it work. I agree that it is easy to burn yourself out by selling yourself short all of the time. Thanks for your help
I have to tell you, I am finding the $50 is limit that people want to spend on cakes too. I know that will cover the cost of the supplies and give me a little extra for my time so I am not too sad. Not everyone is going to like your prices so dont feel like you have to meet their expectations.
I do at least look at the Alice matrix to make sure I am not getting totally screwed on the deal but usually I charge a little less.
Well after figuring out my cost on the cake and an estimate of how much time it will take me I was going to quote the lady $150 for the cake. She wants it to be a two layer 12x18 sheet cake filled with a strawberry cream cheese filling on on half and the other half filled with my butter cream/cream cheese icing. She wants the graduation cap cake on top and she was very specific that the little fondant girl figurine had to have sandy blonde hair with hightlights. So I thought that amount was a fair amount of money to charge, but my husband thinks I am selling myself short. Does anyone think that is too high of a price or not engough? Thanks for your input.
I think your $150 is in the ballpark.
While the local market is a factor, you need to set prices based on your costs and your product offering. If you were opening another walmart-type bakery, then your prices should be in the walmart range. But that's not what you are offering.
It would be like a Cadillac dealer coming to town and telling GM, "I have to sell these $70,000 Escalades for only $30,000 because that's what people are used to paying around here." now finish the sentence. It's what people are used to paying around here FOR A SATURN. But this guy is selling Cadillacs. It's totally a different product.
Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards, and living up to them, is a better way to profit.
When people balk at $150 for a custom made, carved, covered in fondant, special cake for their babykins, you can always suggest, "Well, you might be able to find a plain 'ole sheet cake at blah-blah bakery to fit your budget."
They're not buying a sheet cake from you. You're a Cadillac dealership, not a Saturn dealership. Your cars, uh, cakes, cost more for a reason.
Thanks Indydebi for your reply. It is funny you use the cars as a comparison because my husband sells cars here in Lafayette, IN and he totally agrees with you. He sells Toyota's and people always complain that they cost so much more than a Chevy or Ford, but he has to explain the difference in the product they are paying for.
I know people are not used to custom cakes around here. Everyone that has seen my cakes say they have never seen anything like it or know of anyone that does it. I have not lived in Lafayette my entire life so I don't know if anyone else does what I do. No one advertises that they do and the people are coming to me asking me to make cakes because they here about me from others. So it seems I'm the only custom cake decorator, but I really don't know that for sure. I can't imagine that I am the only one but who knows. I just don't want to scare people off from buying my cakes by charging too much.
I agree with you and it just comes down to me having a little backbone when I tell people the cost. I think I am afraid they will say no and tell everyone that I charge too much I know I shouldn't worry about that but what can I say I am a worry wart.
But thanks again to everyone for posting a reply. I know people ask these same questions but it is always nice to get some fresh and different views on the subject.
Thanks Indydebi for your reply. It is funny you use the cars as a comparison because my husband sells cars here in Lafayette, IN
My hubby works for a Cadillac dealership, and the owners ALSO own a Saturn dealership. It's a natural comparison.
Different products have different customers who have different expectations. Doesnt' matter if it's cars or cakes .... it's all the same salesmanship!