What Am I Worth?

Decorating By nesweetcake Updated 13 Aug 2009 , 5:46pm by diane

nesweetcake Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 5:50am
post #1 of 22

Well the other day, I bumped in on a thread about pricing and vented a bit about how I had just done a wedding cake and (no fault but my own) certainly did not charge enough for the custom, hand made flowers that were included with the cake. I had well over 15 hours in making the fantasy flower pattern, hand cutting each petal, forming, drying, dusting, steaming, assembling etc. But now I've decided what I think my minimum should be for extra custom work. It came to me as this week I paid the tutor for my daughter.....$25 an hour, for a few pieces of paper, crayons and her assistance from years of experience. My sons went for hair cuts. Together the two of them were at the shop for one hour, sure she had lights etc for overhead, but didn't even give them a shampoo....$27.50 for two boys haircuts. It was tonight as I'm assembling for tomorrows baking that I've just spend 1 1/2 hours getting mixes, pans, liners, bake even strips etc all ready before I've even begun. It dawned on me that my equipment, new oven $4,000, pans, ingredients, 20 qt mixer, electricity, and countless classes and paid for demonstrations, video's and extra pans for this cake or that cake have me mounting my inventory of equipment and knowledge as vast or more than the beautician who cut my sons hair or the teacher who tutored by daughter. Sorry this is so long, but I think I've found a new minimum.....$25 an hour. Along with a couple of added examples to share with prospective customers who seemly say...that much, but it's only cake. Today I've decided I'm a sugar artist, or cake designer...I'm a home baker, but I've invested hugely into what I do and what I do well. Why would I be any different than my hair dresser?

21 replies
indydebi Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 12:20pm
post #2 of 22

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats to you for thinking like a woman in business!

Our cost of doing business is MUCH more than the cost of sugar and flour, a common mistake I see on here way too often.

Your post needs to be read by anyone who is struggling with pricing! Great analogy! thumbs_up.gif

nesweetcake Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 12:37pm
post #3 of 22

Thanks indydebi, I think sometimes we have to have one of these occasions to "knock" some sense or "cents" into us!

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 12:48pm
post #4 of 22

I'm so happy for you to make the connection! I am a baker who is also a cake designer (I think the taste is just as important as the look). i value myself t $25 as well! thumbs_up.gif

JoJo0855 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 12:53pm
post #5 of 22

Funny (funny strange, not funny haha) how we undervalue our worth. I'll never understand why some will pay $60 for a pedicure yet expect to get a cake for $25

Maybe everyone should add a section in price lists ...
Haircut, 1/2 hour $75.00
Piano Lesson, 45 minutes $30.00
Eyebrow wax, 5 minutes $15.00

icon_lol.gif

Lottchen Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:05pm
post #6 of 22

oh yes! This is so right!
I always think about that!
A friend of mine gives us weekly a massage. 1 hour for 25 or 1/2 hour for 15
and me? My cakes are always gifts..... no one would pay, what it´s worth...
icon_cry.gif

Angela93 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:07pm
post #7 of 22

YOU ALL ARE SO RIGHT!!! i'm one of those under-chargers and after each cake i make, i realize it more and more!!! for what i've done so far, i sorta look at it as useful practice so i try not to beat my self up so much about undercharging. (all the cakes i posted on cc are ALL the cakes i've ever made) but i'm getting better! i'm making my first wedding cake and quinceaneta cake in october, which are both for family members, free of charge (just getting help with cost of supplies/ingredients) and i plan to use these cakes as my own test of worth! if they come out as planned, i will definitely feel more confident in my work and will stop feeling bad about throwing out a big number when asked for a price. if anyone has time to check out my cakes, let me know what you think about the prices i charged and how much you would have charged.... corona bottle $40, chanel purse $60, pink ruffle cake $180 (served 100)... those are the only ones i can really think of off the top of my head. i know i undercharge but i'm trying to stop!

indydebi Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:21pm
post #8 of 22

I get the same reaction for catering, too. Typical response is "I can buy the food myself cheaper than that!"

Yeah .... ya could. And I'll even order it for you at my wholesale prices. Just back your truck up to my back door and we'll load the frozen, uncooked foods into your truck for you.

But here's what they never consider:

Have you invested in insulated food carriers that hold 5 trays of food at a cost of over $250 each to keep the cooked foods at a food safe temperature? I have.

Have you invested in serving dishes to set out the foods so you have a nice display that's NOT disposable aluminum pans? I have.

Have you invested in a multi thousand dollar kitchen that allows me to cook your food quickly, so your cooked foods are not sitting around and "dying" in warming trays? I have.

Have you invested in training a staff to effeiciently and quickly and with a high level of knowledge, to prepare and serve your food so you can just enjoy your event? I have.

Have you bought/rented a large truck/van to transport all of this cooked food and equipment to your event, and paid the commercial rates of insurance to cover it? I have.

Do you have over $3000 worth of equipment at every event? I do.

But you can buy the food cheaper? Darlin', I'll DONATE the freakin' food. That's not what you're payin' for!

nesweetcake Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:22pm
post #9 of 22

Angela93----your work is great---start right now and don't be an "under charger" any more. Maybe we need to start a support group for all us under chargers!

JoJo0855---maybe we should add to the end of your list......desert, the best taste you leave your guests with, cake, priceless! Ha Ha.

Everyone is right! Lets keep boosting each other up. My hair dresser, nail technician or lawn boy aren't afraid to charge and we don't eat their products!

Bluehue Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:27pm
post #10 of 22

Today I've decided I'm a sugar artist, or cake designer...

And i say - Brillante - because that is what you are.
So many *assume* that a packet mix is ripped open - mixed with an egg, popped in the oven and voula - this marvellous piece of workmanship just appears on a plate.... icon_confused.gif
So thrilled to read that you think so highly of yourself - afterall - if you don't think that way - nobody else will.
Credit to you - icon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gif


And i decided three weeks ago that there is no more *mates rates*
I am soooooooooo over THAT.
Someone got a icon_eek.gificon_surprised.gif today when the answer was
*No, sorry.... no mates rates*
It felt great to say it without feeling mean.



Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

Doug Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:32pm
post #11 of 22

A mentality we fight:

It's not just the WalMart cake...

it's the dollar menu at McD, BK, Wendy's and all the other fast food restaurants.

it's the 10 meals under $5 at Waffle House, et. al.

it's the BOGO at restaurants (love it when McD's does the McGriddler or sausage biscuit BOGO)

it's the early bird special

it's the "complete" meal, throw it in the oven to reheat (Stouffer's comes to mind)

it's the all you can eat buffet for just.... (like Cici's or Golden Corral, etc. -- golly at GC, with the early bird special I get all the food - including CAKE -- I can stuff into me for under $7!)

---

all of this mass produced food has cheapened the value of food (and quality too IMO) to point that everyone expects oodles and oodles of food for a mere pittance.

Then when they do go to a "custom food" vendor -- whether high-end restaurant or caterer or cake artist -- they CHOKE.

----

I wonder -- do the people who fancy themselves excellent home cooks and actually take the time to do cook from scratch (do their version of Julie & Julia) have a greater appreciation for what we do?

Is it chiefly those who are so into, pop a box/can, micro it, BOGO it at ...., that give us the greatest grief?

NYCGiGi Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:33pm
post #12 of 22

This is such an uplifting thread! I hate dealing with the money part of it all so I have printed this thread out and put it in my portfolio to give me inspiration before I go into the pricing part with customers! icon_smile.gif Thanks all!

Angela93 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:44pm
post #13 of 22

i'm lovin this tooicon_smile.gif I feel eager to make a price sheet now! Something I've been playing with for a while.... sorta avoiding icon_rolleyes.gif

Cake_Bliss Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 1:56pm
post #14 of 22

I love this thread! I would love for someone to do the store ready made cake and taste it and then taste one that is from scratch...cake, buttercream, fondant the whole nine...you can See and Taste the differanceicon_smile.gif

JoJo0855 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:04pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Quote:

all of this mass produced food has cheapened the value of food (and quality too IMO) to point that everyone expects oodles and oodles of food for a mere pittance.




I think the saddest part of the popularity of those chains is that the "mom & pop" diners and independent restaurants are quickly disappearing! Fast food is gross, I'd much rather have a sandwich and 'real' coleslaw at a counter for a quick lunch. Or a nice dinner that's been carefully planned and prepared, not pre-packaged, frozen then thrown into a microwave!!

*sigh*

OK, enough CC for today, time to make my grandson's birthday cake! He's 2 years old now, crazy for tractors so of course it's a 3D tractor cake. It's going to have a cart, fondant figure of him driving tractor, model of me in the cart ... we share birthdays so it's technically for both of us! Have a huge family reunion on Saturday, giving him the cake then ... of course going to 'wow' those family members with attitude that I have no time for LOL icon_twisted.gif

Bluehue Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:06pm
post #16 of 22

Doug - what does this mean - it's the BOGO at restaurants
I have never heard of that abbreviation over here - icon_redface.gificon_confused.gif

Thanks
Bluehue

Doug Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:10pm
post #17 of 22

BOGO --> buy one, get one

two for the price of one.

another way of saying 50% off.

----

McDonalds does this a lot over here -- usually with breakfast items.

great way to stock up when they've got what you like on BOGO

Lots of chains do it too. Buy one entree/dinner, get the second one free.

FREE is much more attractive than 50% off.

indydebi Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:26pm
post #18 of 22

Kinda of a side story, but Doug, as a teacher, you'll enjoy this.

Saw a news story around Christmas where they were having a "Buy One Get One at 50% Off" sale. THe news clip showed a lady saying to her friend, "Oh look! We get 50% off!"

No, you don't. You get 25% off.

Buy one at $10. Get the 2nd one for $5. Total value of items purchased? $20. Total amount paid? $15. Total discount? 25%.

Great marketing tool! It is dependent on the public's poor math skills! And evidently it works! icon_lol.gif

Bluehue Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 2:28pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

BOGO --> buy one, get one
two for the price of one.
another way of saying 50% off.

thumbs_up.gif Thankyou Doug - it had me icon_confused.gif - lol
----

McDonalds does this a lot over here -- usually with breakfast items.
great way to stock up when they've got what you like on BOGO
McDonalds does this icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif wow - Mackas don't do that over here.

Lots of chains do it too. Buy one entree/dinner, get the second one free.
FREE is much more attractive than 50% off.
Our Drive through Chains don't offer this at all -
But then throughout Australia we only have about 5 - 6 drive through Chains

McDonalds
Hungry Jacks - (Burgers)
Chicken Treat
Red Rooster
LOL - thats only 4 - cannot think of the others - Don't use them - tooo oily and greasy for me.

Thanks again Doug.


mamapastel Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 5:26pm
post #20 of 22

I agree with everyone on this. I am one of those person's that underprice. I once had a lady ask for the cake on th Wilton Tiered Cakes cover ( Pink and white, bow on top pearl swags 6,10,14 in rounds) and she said she didnt want to spend more than fifty dollars! I could have strangled her! Of course I didnt make the cake! I have yet to make a real profit on my cakes. I usually make them for someone in my family. Maybe someone could look at some of my cakes and give me some advice on pricing? I would be eternally greatful! icon_biggrin.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 5:28pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats to you for thinking like a woman in business!

Our cost of doing business is MUCH more than the cost of sugar and flour, a common mistake I see on here way too often.

Your post needs to be read by anyone who is struggling with pricing! Great analogy! thumbs_up.gif




judge.gifparty.gifbirthday.gif

diane Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 5:46pm
post #22 of 22

you know what i think it is... icon_confused.gif the average person believes that cake making is something that anyone can do...no training...school...etc.

so...with this belief, they feel that our cakes should be cheap. the majority of people think cake making is like working in the grocery store bakery. they don't get paid much...and neither should we! icon_mad.gif

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