Help Asap...need To Call This Lady Back Tomorrow

Business By Julielovescake Updated 25 Aug 2009 , 2:27am by erinalicia

Julielovescake Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 2:24am
post #1 of 34

Did a birthday party for my best friend, teaching cake decorating to her 12yo daughter/ friend baked all the cakes, made the fondant, buttercream, etc....I just brought my equipment and helped the kids.

Anyway, one of the moms that was there saw some photos of cakes I had there and just called me to inquire about a cake for her daughter's bday. I have been putting off pricing, because it's been giving me a headache, but I have to call her back with some price info tomorrow.

I've been reading all of yall's wonderful advice on pricing to other posters. I need some feedback. I am thinking of charging $3/serving for BC and $3.50 for fondant. So first question is, does this sound reasonable?

Second question: Do most of you charge per serving, and that's it? Or do you, say, add in 50 cents a serving for fillings, or something like that?

I am really nervous about calling her back. This would be my first payed gig, ya know?

Thank you for your help....I know people ask pricing questions all the time!

33 replies
HarleyDee Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 2:42am
post #2 of 34


I think pricing depends a lot on where you live. Around here I charge a little less than that, but I live in a small-ish town.

I will tell you that I have a base price for regular BC and then I have add'l costs per serving for fillings, fondant, etc. just like you mentioned.

Don't be nervous, and don't sell yourself short icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 2:51am
post #3 of 34

Do you know what your cost is to make this particular cake? That's the first step in determining price.

I personally know exactly how much each recipe that I use costs me.....ingredients, utilities, labor etc., so the price that I charge may not work for someone else.

There is a pricing matrix in I believe the "cake decorating business" forum, that may be of some help to you.

I have a base price per serving for butter cream and fondant cakes. The only thing that I charge extra for are gumpaste/fondant figures, gumpaste flowers and my premium chocolate ganache/chocolate wrapped cakes.

kansaswolf Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 2:53am
post #4 of 34

I charge per serving, but I don't charge extra for fillings. I *DO* charge more for extra-involved piping, or for lots of chocolate roses or making figures, though. I'd say you're definitely not over charging, and depending on your market, you may be undercharging! If you have any kind of custom cake shop in your area, I'd check into their pricing and charge something similar!

madgeowens Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 3:06am
post #5 of 34

I made the comment a few weeks ago that prices are lower in small rural areas than in metropolis area, and there were fireworks and snarky remarks flyin,so fair warning haha......I have no comment

jamiekwebb Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 3:14am
post #6 of 34

Well I live in a very rural part of VA and the job situation has been unsteady for some time now. I have a base price for each size of cake done with butter cream and fondant. I charge extra for things like fon/gum flowers and stuff like that. I don't charge per serving but per cake. I know how much they cost me to make and generally it is about four times that amount (at least). If they are going to take a tremendous amount of time I allow for that in my pricing. I also tell my customers when telling them a price range that these are starting prices and are subject to change due to amount of time and stuff involved. Good luck

__Jamie__ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 3:36am
post #7 of 34

I suppose it doesn't matter where you live. If you have the proper defeatist attitude right off the bat, you can price the lowest person right under the table. I resist no snark.

__Jamie__ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 3:39am
post #8 of 34

Oh, forgot to address the OP. Your prices sound pretty good from over here! Good luck!

madgeowens Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 3:59am
post #9 of 34


LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 5:43am
post #10 of 34

I think your prices sound good. For the most part everyone prices per serving with cost going up based on design and what things are made of (buttercream or fondant). I aslo live in VA (not the rural parts) and A LOT of companies have gone under here, A LOT of unemployment, BUT I do know that people will STILL pay for what they really want. Even custom cakes.

Julielovescake Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 11:04am
post #11 of 34

Thanks for all the help so far.

I live in eastern NC, in a town with a pop. of about 70,000. There is one cake bakery in town, and I don't know how many home-cakeries, although I personally know of at least two.

I have figured the cost for this cake and at 3.50/serving, I would be making about $15/hour. The cake will serve 20, so the cost I would quote her would be $70, which is freaking me out. I know, I know, don't sell yourself short. I'm just not used to this and am trying to prepare for her response.

I keep telling myself, "it's okay if someone says that's too much, it's not the end of the world". My husband keeps reminding me that my time is worth a lot! I have 5 kids 13 and under and I homeschool, so I REALLY can't afford to only make a few bucks an hour!

Oh, btw, she wants a cake to serve 20 and likes zebra I'm planning on an 8" cake, covered in fondant and stripes, with probably a bow, and a bead border at the base.

How many of you use cake boxes to deliver your cakes? icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 12:17pm
post #12 of 34

Hi Julie, I recommend that you explain to this client exactly what size cake and servings that you are calculating.

Reason being, in some people's mind when they say "serving" of cake, they may have a different image in their mind then the Wilton size.

Especially since she is a new client.

Oh and about the box, absolutely I never send a cake out the door without a box.

Good luck!

I wanted to also add that I probably wouldn't pay what I charge for my cakes and that's why I learned to make please don't feel bad if she thinks it's too much money and declines to order. There are plenty of people out there that will pay that amount.

I'd much rather make 1 cake and make a good amount of money, then make 10 and make the same amount.

Just present your price with a lot of confidence and don't waver if she gives you the ole "I'm on a budget" line.

In fact when someone asks me to make a cake my first question is always "what is your budget for this cake?" When they throw out a number if I think it's too low, I'll tell them right off the bat that my cakes are a little higher end then their budget.

mixinvixen Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 12:46pm
post #13 of 34

fake it till ya make it, baby!!

HerBoudoir Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 12:52pm
post #14 of 34

Regarding the standard white bakery box (easily available at cake stores, etc.):

I use them for all of my cakes that go out the door - it's standard equipment along with a cake board (I like the Wilton ones that have the fake printed doily on them) - as an amateur caker, it's just the finishing touch on my cake (and easier than trying to get back any other kind of carrying container).

If you're selling it to someone - it says "I'm a professional" rather than presenting it in a cake dome that has to be returned.

snocilla Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 1:29pm
post #15 of 34

Julie - I think your pricing sounds good. Don't sell that cake for less! I looked through your pics and you do great work, well worth $70!

Julielovescake Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 2:42pm
post #16 of 34

(breathing into a paper bag) Okay, I did it. I called her. I was really hoping to get her voice mail, but she answered. I told her the price, and we talked briefly. I don't really know what she thought...she didn't really seem bothered but neither did she seem excited, but she said she'd talk to her daughter about what they wanted and would get back with me. Who knows if she'll really call back.

Before I called her, I called the local cake shop (better than grocery store cakes, but not as nice as mine, I have to say) and they said a 10" cake that serves 20-25 would be $36 with just frosting, and another $15-$20 with fondant. icon_confused.gif Who can compete with that?

Thanks to all of you for your extremely helpful advice and also for the compliment (snocilla)! What a relief it is to have such a supportive community at my fingertips! I am feeling so much more at peace with my price decision, and will make sure that with each cake the final price will reflect a per hour rate that I am happy with.

Yall rock! thumbs_up.gif

erinalicia Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 4:06pm
post #17 of 34

Those are some big slices to get 20-25 servings from a 10" cake... wow!

Ruth0209 Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 4:30pm
post #18 of 34
Originally Posted by erinalicia

Those are some big slices to get 20-25 servings from a 10" cake... wow!

No kidding!! A 10" cake easily serves 38 unless it's only 2" tall.

__Jamie__ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 4:35pm
post #19 of 34

They probably go by the "free cake here!" chart!

erinalicia Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 4:47pm
post #20 of 34

sounds like it! icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 5:36pm
post #21 of 34

OK, since no one else is gonna say it, I will.

To the OP - your prices sound right on target. And you don't want to compete with the low-cost bakery, and you can't anyway. They're probably bringing in cake mix in 50 pound bags.

I'm speaking now as someone who was once not properly licensed and got caught within the first two weeks of selling cakes from my home. If your state or city has licensing requirements, follow them. Getting caught was embarrassing and costly. Before you start selling cakes, get legal.

And if you already are a legal home bakery, congratulations and continue with your regularly scheduled caking.

LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 5:42pm
post #22 of 34

Na, we were just waitinf for you to come say it. J/K! icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif

Julielovescake Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 7:22pm
post #23 of 34

Thanks,'s always helpful to have a heads up on legalities. I appreciate your counsel and experience. I'm not sure when this lady is talking about getting the cake, since she gave me no time frame. I am in the process of getting my privilege license, which I may not need since I am not in the city limits (Small Business Admin. was unsure about that when I asked). I'm calling about that today.

Good news though....where I live, bakeries (home and commercial) are NOT regulated by the health department so I don't have to worry about kitchen issues. I've already called about this, and am so happy not to have to worry about all that. Although, I must say it's a little scary to think that the commercial bakery I mentioned doesn't have to be inspected by the health dept. Oh well.

leah_s Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 8:25pm
post #24 of 34

A "privledge license" is a new term for me. Where are you located?

Julielovescake Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 8:43pm
post #25 of 34

I'm in NC. A privilege license is the type of license that someone like me would need, IF I was in the city limits. There is no county license that is required. I have been on the phone and internet checking on other items and now have my EIN from the IRS (free, recommended for ID theft issues rather than using a SSN) and a state Sales and Use Tax ID #. According to all the powers that be (or at least the powers that be talkin' to me) that's all I need.

Man, that was easy.

Deb_ Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 10:33pm
post #26 of 34

In some counties/cities/towns the Dept of Agriculture licenses and regulates home kitchens, so don't think that just because the BOH doesn't do it that another dept won't.

erinalicia Posted 24 Aug 2009 , 11:03pm
post #27 of 34

NC home bakeries are regulated by the department of agriculture. I can not legally bake at home to sell because I have indoor pets. Even though one of our dogs is a therapy dog for my son. You may want to double check that info, just an fyi.

Julielovescake Posted 25 Aug 2009 , 12:12am
post #28 of 34

Yes the D of Ag is over home kitchens, but no licenses is required (as stated on the NCDA website) but inspections can be made....but are not mandatory. part of their website says inspections are not mandatory and another part says they are. I just love big government.

Deb_ Posted 25 Aug 2009 , 1:33am
post #29 of 34
Originally Posted by Julielovescake part of their website says inspections are not mandatory and another part says they are. I just love big government.

Yeah, and if you call 10 times and ask the same question......chances are you'll get 10 different answers! icon_rolleyes.gif

patticakesnc Posted 25 Aug 2009 , 1:53am
post #30 of 34

Just be careful. You do have to be inspected in NC to legally sell cakes. They do not allow indoor pets, any pests of any kind, your floor must not be carpeted (some older homes are like ours was and we put new tile down), they also require you to have your water tested if you are on a well. The DOA is strict on it and it is easy to pass as long as you have those things in order. I know my well testing here in Catawba County costs $85 to do.

But luckily we don't have to have seperate cooking quarters or anything to that nature.

Quote by @%username% on %date%