Here's A Suggestion For The Shy...

Business By Nchanted1 Updated 16 Jul 2009 , 3:11pm by JamieBrooke

Nchanted1 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 12:44pm
post #1 of 25

Pricing is a constant issue here. It's a confidence issue really, and a COMFORT issue. I had the same troubles others do. I was always flustered when asked for a price, undercharging, and at 3 AM while finishing the $80 cake for 50 people, I was mad at myself and (unfairly) resentful of the customer who was paying what I asked them to. I was losing the joy that brought me to this business in the first place.

Here's what I did. I took a piece of paper, and wrote down the following:

All cakes START at $3.50 per serving.

Birthday cakes start $35 for 20 servings.

Event cakes start at $50 for 30 servings.

Wedding cakes start at $3.50 per serving, with a $200 minimum.

Sculptured cakes are priced individually, and start at $150.



I made 4 copies of that, and posted one on the wall beside every phone in the house and on the cover of my order book. I also wrote it out on a 3 x 5 card to carry with me. Now when asked for a price, I had a floor that keeps me reasonably sane.

After that, I never shortchanged myself again. My prices have gone up considerably, but this is where I started.

HTH!

24 replies
cylstrial Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:04pm
post #2 of 25

That's a great idea! I don't sell cakes. But one day I want to have my own shop and I want to make sure that I charge what the cakes are worth. I think a lot of people have a hard time with it.

grama_j Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:12pm
post #3 of 25

"All cakes START at $3.50 per serving."

You can make 50 copies,and post them all over the house, and it STILL won't add up to your original 3.50 per serving.........
You are charging $1.75 per serving for your birthday cake, and $1.66 per serving for your event cakes......... You are STILL short changing yourself......

Nchanted1 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:18pm
post #4 of 25

I am not sure what you mean...need more coffee!

Nchanted1 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:19pm
post #5 of 25

I am not sure what you mean...need more coffee!

numberonebun Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:21pm
post #6 of 25

Great advise!!

ericaplh Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:26pm
post #7 of 25

She means that if ALL cakes START at 3.50/serving,

then a birthday cake that feeds 20 would be $70.00

an event cake serving 30 would be $105.00

etc....

grama_j Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:30pm
post #8 of 25

All cakes START at $3.50 per serving.

Birthday cakes start $35 for 20 servings. 3.50 X 20 =70.00

Event cakes start at $50 for 30 servings. 3.50 X 30 =105.00







HTH![/quote]

FromScratch Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 3:28pm
post #9 of 25

Yeah... I saw the flawed math too..

Good idea though. icon_smile.gif Having it there in writing helps you to stick to it.

cakeaddiction Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 3:35pm
post #10 of 25

I am now in the postition. My DH just called and told me that his supervisor would like me to make a cake for his grandmother's 80th birthdya. The first question I asked was buttercream or fondant. Fondant was the answer. Next...how many people 35-40. I told my DH I would think about the price. Now I've been sitting here for 3 hours contemplating this. This is the first cake for me doing for other than classes, family and friends. Soooo nervous!

Nchanted1 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 6:20pm
post #11 of 25

I have had my coffee, and can now be more clear. I did a 10" 2 layer standard bday cake for $35. 90 % of my birthday orders were for that. If you wanted something bigger, then it was $3.50 per serving. That was buttercream, a bunch of BC flowers, and a written message. I now charge $100 for this. Mostly to cut down on small orders.

Event cakes, same thing. 30 serving standard, more by the serving.

Mostly, I wanted to share how I stopped picking low prices o0ut of the air and got more fair to myself. Having the paper right there really helped me.

I also wrote on the bottom:

I am sorry, I cannot donate to any more charities at this time, please ask me next year.

I am sorry, I cannot offer you a discount.

Saved me a bunch of times!

Nchanted1 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 6:21pm
post #12 of 25

I have had my coffee, and can now be more clear. I did a 10" 2 layer standard bday cake for $35. 90 % of my birthday orders were for that. If you wanted something bigger, then it was $3.50 per serving. That was buttercream, a bunch of BC flowers, and a written message. I now charge $100 for this. Mostly to cut down on small orders.

Event cakes, same thing. 30 serving standard, more by the serving.

Mostly, I wanted to share how I stopped picking low prices o0ut of the air and got more fair to myself. Having the paper right there really helped me.

I also wrote on the bottom:

I am sorry, I cannot donate to any more charities at this time, please ask me next year.

I am sorry, I cannot offer you a discount.

Saved me a bunch of times!

shadowcat1501 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 8:06am
post #13 of 25

icon_cry.gif Oh I hate trying to price my work!!! I can never figure out all the details (especially when people put you on the spot for an answer). I'm still in the "hobby stage" of caking right now, but I have a paid order due for Sunday. I hope I'm charging enough, but I'm never sure. Scared to overcharge because I'm a beginner, scared to undercharge because I work so hard. I REALLY like the idea of having a lot of copies of the price list handy though. I'm going to use this helpful idea. Thanks Nchanted1!

-K8memphis Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 11:41am
post #14 of 25

Nchanted, that is excellent. Hats off to you.

cylstrial Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 12:14pm
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nchanted1


I also wrote on the bottom:

I am sorry, I cannot donate to any more charities at this time, please ask me next year.

I am sorry, I cannot offer you a discount.

Saved me a bunch of times!




That's good too!

FromScratch Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:09pm
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowcat1501

icon_cry.gif Oh I hate trying to price my work!!! I can never figure out all the details (especially when people put you on the spot for an answer). I'm still in the "hobby stage" of caking right now, but I have a paid order due for Sunday. I hope I'm charging enough, but I'm never sure. Scared to overcharge because I'm a beginner, scared to undercharge because I work so hard. I REALLY like the idea of having a lot of copies of the price list handy though. I'm going to use this helpful idea. Thanks Nchanted1!





Another thing that is good to have taped up somewhere is this:

"That all sounds great! Cakes start at $x.xx per serving. Let me do some sketches and I'll get back to you with an exact quote"

There's no shame in taking the time to really pour over a design before giving an exact quote. icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:14pm
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratch

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowcat1501

icon_cry.gif Oh I hate trying to price my work!!! I can never figure out all the details (especially when people put you on the spot for an answer). I'm still in the "hobby stage" of caking right now, but I have a paid order due for Sunday. I hope I'm charging enough, but I'm never sure. Scared to overcharge because I'm a beginner, scared to undercharge because I work so hard. I REALLY like the idea of having a lot of copies of the price list handy though. I'm going to use this helpful idea. Thanks Nchanted1!




Another thing that is good to have taped up somewhere is this:

"That all sounds great! Cakes start at $x.xx per serving. Let me do some sketches and I'll get back to you with an exact quote"

There's no shame in taking the time to really pour over a design before giving an exact quote. icon_biggrin.gif




Yes!

If I haven't learned that the hard way over and over and over and....

icon_biggrin.gif

dinas27 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:20pm
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nchanted1

I have had my coffee, and can now be more clear. I did a 10" 2 layer standard bday cake for $35. 90 % of my birthday orders were for that. If you wanted something bigger, then it was $3.50 per serving. That was buttercream, a bunch of BC flowers, and a written message. I now charge $100 for this. Mostly to cut down on small orders.




As I understand it...

If I was your customer I could get 2 10" cakes for $35 each (lets use 30 servings for simplicity). $70 for 60 servings.

But if I wanted a 14" for the same 60 servings would I be paying either
$35 (orig 10" price) + (30 x 3.50)= $140
or
(60x3.50)= $210

Please do not feel like anyone is ganging up on your pricing structure. I think your index card idea is great - it's hard to look at someone and say that will be $XXX. I would just be very confused as a customer if you explained your pricing to me this way.

Some people are charge a single price per serving - birthday, event, wedding.
Some have different pricing for tiered vs. non-tiered.
Some charge more for weddings because they feel they spend more time decorating and on consultation.

They are all correct as long as YOU are comfortable and can explain it simply to customers.

littlecake Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 1:50pm
post #19 of 25

i get the pricing thing...if you do something in mass...it's cheaper than a special bake....at my place a 10 round is cheaper cause i do them in mass...it's even cheaper than a 8.

i have stuff written down to tell them too...then you aren't put on the spot.

yellobutterfly Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:01pm
post #20 of 25

I'm struggling with this as well...when I started out, I set my prices with a local cake bakery (not grocery store), and when they raised their prices, I raised mine to match...they were higher than grocery chains, but VERY low in comparison to cake central...about 2 years ago I got some backbone and increased my prices to $1/serving buttercream...that was hard because I was so afraid of losing customers, but also realiazed I was killing myself slaving over each cake, for pennies...

So, this thread has inspired me once again to look at my rates...it's so not worth it to me to slave over an 8in round for only 20 bucks...it still takes me ingredients, supplies, and tons of time away from my precious babies and hubby...but I don't think our market will bear me tripling my prices...

Last night I went over my pricing list and changed everything to $2/serving...the previous structure I had was $1 b/c, $1.25 b/c with filling, or $1.50 specialty cakes (i.e. cream cheese icing, italian cream, german chocolate, etc...). SO, I know to many of you $2/serving is low, but for me I just doubled my prices so I'm afraid customers will die of sticker shock...(keep in mind this is only for party cakes, my wedding cakes start at $3/serving buttercream...).

As I did this last night, I thought I'd just have party cakes start at $2/serving across the board, regardless if there's filling or ingredients that cost me more, such as pecans, cream cheese, etc...so no more "nickle and diming" like indydebi has said in previous posts...what do you think? Do you charge more for fillings or specialty flavors/ingredients? (And by "you" I mean All of you - what're your thoughts?)

Another problem I've run into is that word is getting out that I do cakes, and I've gotten several referrals for cakes/cookies in the city where my hubby works, about a 30 min. drive from where I live...very wealthy area. When I started pricing them, I priced them what I felt I deserved, around $2.50 for cupcakes/cookies, and $2 for cakes...the struggle has been with the market where I live, trying to raise prices on the workin' folks, you know? Do you have different pricing for average orders vs. high end? Should they be the same? icon_cry.gif I hate setting prices! I'm so confused!

Ok, one more question - do you charge the same for cupcakes/petitfours/cookies as you do per serving of cake? (I'm kind of of the mindset that cupcakes/petitfours/cookies are more time/more work for me because they're individual works of art, I can do a cake quicker therefore charge less for labor...)

Sorry for hijacking the thread!

TJCanadian Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:17pm
post #21 of 25

Excellent ideas all around, I need to do the same thing. I have a really hard time pricing something while looking them in the eye, I'm afraid I'll buckle and drop the price if they look shocked. Most people don't. I just moved and starting word of mouth again in a new area so I'm inspired to set up my pricing anew and writing these cards up to post everywhere as well.

Well....this will all start AFTER I get the house unpacked...which may take 6 years icon_biggrin.gif

I do charge more for cupcakes/petitfours/cookies because they are individualized and take a lot more time.

KSMill Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:30pm
post #22 of 25

I love all this input. I have the same problem. I don't want to shock people, but don't want to shortchange myself. I want to be competitive. I have had a cancellation because of price - $1.75/serving for a filled cake to serve 100 people. They felt they were being taken advantage of, since it was "just a 90th birthday party." That's pretty close to standard around here...unfortunately. I let them go willingly...just decided I wasn't going to apologize for my prices. They loved the samples I provided and knew the quality, they just wanted cheap.

DefyGravity Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:43pm
post #23 of 25

I really appreciate this thread. I have a couple cakes going out to other people in the coming weeks and I know I've quoted them too low. Perhaps I'll make a note on Facebook about how excited I am to be doing cakes for other people, and how I found a great website that's helping me get the most out of my new hobby, including what to price the cakes at icon_biggrin.gif

aligotmatt Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 2:44pm
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJCanadian

Excellent ideas all around, I need to do the same thing. I have a really hard time pricing something while looking them in the eye, I'm afraid I'll buckle and drop the price if they look shocked. Most people don't. I just moved and starting word of mouth again in a new area so I'm inspired to set up my pricing anew and writing these cards up to post everywhere as well.




Ya know, I think some of this just comes with experience. Telling someone on the phone is one thing, but when you sit with someone face to face, it's a bit different to give them a $900 price tag.

I have heard some people say, they'll work up a number and get back to them with a price. I don't do that. I say, okay, why don't you guys talk for a couple of minutes, make sure you're really happy with the design and I'll work up some numbers for it.

My contract has sections on it, "cake" "additional decor" "equipment" "stand rental" "delivery" "total"

When I'm ready I start going through those boxes with them, I'll say, okay the base price per serving is xx, and you're getting xx servings so that's just xx. You don't have additional decor charges, your cake is staying at my base price per serving, you have xx on equipment, and xx on stand rental, xx on delivery, I already roll tax into my price so your total is xxx for your cake made, decorated, delivered, and setup!

I think it takes the blow away from just throwing out one HUGE number. When I have additional decoration charges, I do NOT break it down for people, just a flat charge.

You have to be confident in your price. You have to think about working and working and working and getting PAID for that!

You know how new people don't really charge much typically, then they learn that they are making less than minimum wage. Well, I had a bride call me and was asking me about my price, so I told her my base price and explained how that price goes up. She said someone else in town is charging almost 1/4 of the price I'm charging. So I said, listen, they are probably new to the business and are getting paid like $2 an hour for their work, it's a great deal for you, but I don't work for less than minimum wage...

JamieBrooke Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 3:11pm
post #25 of 25

I am one of those who doesnt have a backbone myself, but I also cant see working for nothing. I will say that CakeBoss (the computer program) has helped me trmendously. It tells me exactly what it's costing me and it factors in my labor cost as well. I set it to make what I want to an hour. I will definatly say this program is worth taking a look at. I love it. I am not a math whiz so this takes all of that work out of it for me. And it gives you reports at the end of the month so you can see your profit.

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