Should It Be This Frustrating?! (Long Sorry)

Decorating By armywife1 Updated 26 Sep 2009 , 3:12pm by d3sc3n7

armywife1 Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:11pm
post #1 of 22

Ok, so we seemed to have moved to a place where no matter how custom a cake you make, people want it at Walmart's price. I've had so many people say, "Oh, I like this cake that you've made! How much would you charge for it?" They seem to not understand about ingredients that go into a cake, plus fondant, plus TIME. When I say, "Well for 9x13x4 my starting price is $30," I never hear from them again.

SO, I was recently asked how much for the High School Musical cake (in my photo gallery). I'm nervous about quoting a price because it does have fondant. And hand painted parts, at that.

My question (just to get some perspective), is WHAT WOULD YOU CHARGE FOR IT? It is an 8" 2 layer cake.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but would appreciate some input. TIA

21 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:16pm
post #2 of 22

Your starting price is NOT expensive. In fact your very inexpensive. My price minimum is $100. I know you feel discouraged, but you will feel a whole lot worse if you charged less. Think about sitting up late at night doing a cake & then only making $5 off of it. Then you'll be upset.

Doug Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:23pm
post #3 of 22

Between $73 ($3/serving) to $120 ($5/serving)

educate potential customers by referring them to sites of the decorators they see on TV where minimums start at $500 and up!!

armywife1 Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:23pm
post #4 of 22

Well, I definitely wouldn't charge less. I'm just wondering if I should quote the HSM as per serving, due to the fondant work.

Doug Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:27pm
post #5 of 22

have BC per serving
and
have Fondant per serving

many do this.

example:
BC = $3/serving
Fondant = $4/serving

---

or if want to set self apart

do ONLY fondant and not mess w/ BC.

Lou71 Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:29pm
post #6 of 22

That sounds very very cheap compared to our prices in Scotland (taking the exchange rate). All homebakers have the issue of local supermarkets charging less, but they won't taste as good and are not as tall. If you start charging cheap your customers will always be expecting cheap cakes and it is hard then to make money and not a loss.

There is an old rule of taking the cost of making the cake (including something for the electricity etc) and then x3. 1 1/3 for cost, 1/3 for time etc and 1/3 as profit.

Good luck, it is never easy especially when friends and family ask.

icon_smile.gif

Louise

H

indydebi Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 7:57pm
post #7 of 22

I have a great snooty voice that I pull out when I tell folks, "I don't DO walmart cakes!", icon_lol.gif meaning if they want a $30 cake, walmart does them very well, but I don't do those.

Another option is to start out with, "That cake takes me at least 8-10 hours with it's intricate detail, plus the premium ingredients that you won't find in a grocery store cake ..... and since I'm not Ace of Cakes, I can't see charging the $1000 minimum like he does ...... so I can quote you a price of $125."

But then .... I tend to take the smarta$$ approach to things! icon_twisted.gif

CakeRN Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 8:32pm
post #8 of 22

Just remember YOU DON"T HAVE TO SELL THEM A CAKE... If someone wants a cake from me I tell them how much and if they want to pay the price I will do it...if not ..no icing off my cake...
Walmart cakes are not fresh....they are mass produced, shipped in and then decorated with horrible colors. Sometimes they look like someone threw up color all over them. YOU do CUSTOM cakes....Ask them if they could get the same cake at Walmart? If they say no then you tell them " then why wouldn't you think it would cost more to make it? Walmart does not do CUSTOM cakes unless they think piping a name on it is custom. Don't undercut yourself just to sell cakes.
Teri

Cakey1865 Posted 20 Sep 2009 , 8:53pm
post #9 of 22

Armywife, I have the exact same problem right now..luckily I have a very supportive husband that stays on me to stad my pricing ground because if I drop it I will never be able to raise it to what my time is worth to me. My orders have been coming in slowly but they are steadily picking up once everyone starts trying the cakes that are bought. Believe it or not for me it all started with the teenagers like saw some of my cakes and wanted moms and dads to get them from me...and there is one thing I understand most kids get what they want. So my advice is charge what you think your time is worth and then be patient...I get price calls everyday, that never call back. icon_smile.gif Good Luck

armywife1 Posted 21 Sep 2009 , 2:17am
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

"I don't DO walmart cakes!",:




Too funny indydebi! That line is exactly what I've been emailing them back with from the start. I think that's why they do not email me back. In fact, there's one girl who posted online in our town that she was wanting someone to make her kids a cake for under $25.00 with Captain Oso on it. My first thought was 'There are 4 Walmarts in town, lady!' I wish people would tune in to these cake shows on TV. Maybe then they would see how much work goes into a cake. Or maybe I should educate them about Walmart cakes when I email them back. icon_wink.gif

Cakey1865, my hubby is very supportive in that way as well. In fact he's off doing is before deployment training right now and had a few minutes to listen to my sobby story over the phone. He said to stick to my guns, and don't sweat it. People will eventually come around and understand that custom homemade cakes are not cheap. I love that man! thumbs_up.gif

Makeitmemorable Posted 21 Sep 2009 , 1:35pm
post #11 of 22

$125.00 minimum for that cake - $30.00 is an insult - if people cannot appreciate the time, effort and talent that goes into the cakes then they deserve to eat the cheap ones! icon_mad.gif

I agree with your hubby, stick to your guns, you will be acknowledged and appreciated one day.

I am having a similar problem at the moment with a customer, she wants a carved/novelty cake for $150.00. I have reduced the price twice already and now she has asked for a free taste testing.......... I DON'T THINK SO! thumbsdown.gif

prterrell Posted 21 Sep 2009 , 8:40pm
post #12 of 22

I tell people that I only do gourmet cakes. I bake from scratch using premium ingredients and that the icing I use is Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Somehow, that helps them think they are getting more for their money (which they are, but for some reason, some people need the fancy words).

If someone's not willing to pay what I charge, then that's fine with me. I have plenty of other stuff to do with my time. I'm not gonna do a cake unless I'm getting PAID. Afterall, there's more to it than the cost of ingredients, supplies and electricity, there's my TIME, which is really the most valuable commodity.

Bluehue Posted 21 Sep 2009 , 9:02pm
post #13 of 22

icon_surprised.gif Are you kidding - that equals $34.82 Australian.
You wouldn't even get a day old dry ole cream sponge cake from the supermarket for that price over here.

You would get a packet of 24 iced donuts -with sprinkles on top and thats about it - thumbsdown.gif

Sell yourself and your cakes by telling everyone what fresh ingrediants you use - and sound proud when you say it. thumbs_up.gif
Bluehue
icon_smile.gif

saffronica Posted 21 Sep 2009 , 9:16pm
post #14 of 22

9x13x4 for $30? That's only $0.52/serving! Those people are getting an amazing price, even if they don't know it. Even the nastiest of grocery store cupcakes are more than that sometimes.

Maybe part of the problem is that people don't realize that it's four inches tall, even though you say that. They probably hear "9x13" and think of the single-cake-mix-in-a-casserole-dish cake that they make at home. Try calling it a "double-layer quarter sheet" instead -- you'll make them think more in terms of a fancy bakery cake.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you could also consider doubling (or tripling) your price. If customers are comparing you to Walmart, then I'm sure your prices do seem high. But if your prices are that much higher they might start to think of you in terms of custom cakes, not grocery store cakes. *Disclaimer: This is just an idea, I haven't actually tried this tactic! If you try it, let me know how it works!*

armywife1 Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:43am
post #15 of 22

Hmmm... 'double layer quarter sheet'... I'll have to try that!

Well, I emailed the person who inquired about the HSM cake. Told her that because it was a custom cake (with some fondant decor being hand painted), it would be $3.00 a serving. And guess what?????

I HAVEN'T HEARD BACK FROM HER!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

Oh well, things happen for a reason. icon_rolleyes.gif

Mensch Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:57am
post #16 of 22

52 cents a serving?? You can't even buy a Twinkie for that amount.

iownajane Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 5:20am
post #17 of 22

I'm so glad I'm not the only one...I've just started quoting $5.00 a person to start...and you'd think I'd committed a crime....here,butter is around $5.00 a pound(I bake from scratch)...not like in the U.S...I had an order for 30 cupcakes(probably $3.00each,because we hadn't discussed flavors,etc)...turn into a cake for 20.... four BIG layers..choc and mocha...ganache and curd-with-liqueur fillings...Smbc and fondant covered...and then decorated to match her linen...custom mixed colours!!!!!
I added up my ingredients,and I was at $90.00 before turning ANYTHING on..I would have lost $$$
This was a friend who I "bring along" cake when we're invited for dinner,and to whom I give "trials" to get an opinion...She cancelled on me...wouldn't even buy 20 cupcakes!..
So I guess I'm supposed to give everything away..free!!!

armywife1 Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 1:13pm
post #18 of 22

I think I may have figured out why people think I'm committing highway robbery here. There's a girl on the other side in KY who has a home business (which I didn't think you could in KY), and I think she is selling her products for pennies. Of course people will go to her. It's a bit frustrating because here in TN you have to go through the process of the Health Dept and then you can have a home bakery.

d3sc3n7 Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 2:25pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by armywife1

I think I may have figured out why people think I'm committing highway robbery here. There's a girl on the other side in KY who has a home business (which I didn't think you could in KY), and I think she is selling her products for pennies. Of course people will go to her. It's a bit frustrating because here in TN you have to go through the process of the Health Dept and then you can have a home bakery.




On the other side in KY? That means your in TN! THAT means your my competition!

Gotta love Ft. Campbell!

-K8memphis Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 2:32pm
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by armywife1

I think I may have figured out why people think I'm committing highway robbery here. There's a girl on the other side in KY who has a home business (which I didn't think you could in KY), and I think she is selling her products for pennies. Of course people will go to her. It's a bit frustrating because here in TN you have to go through the process of the Health Dept and then you can have a home bakery.




Yeah I was thinking about posting that the reason is because so many of us underprice like crazy.

However in 'Kentucky' you have to have a separate kitchen and be all inspected to be legal--and it may be true for Clarksville Tennessee--but you have to have commercially zoned big girl property here in Shelby County Tennessee.

Which I'm not trying to be picky I'm just saying.

But for sure underpricers hurt everyone everywhere--just ask the Mom & Pop neighborhood bakeries--oh yeah oops they're mostly all gone so we can't ask.

But make something pretty for the kids or for yourself or to show your hubby by mail or start designing a great gingerbread piece. I am thinking about doing the Ponte Rialto for a gingerbread piece this year~my daughter & I. The big bridge over the main canal in Venice.

Feel better thoughts for you.

armywife1 Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 2:50pm
post #21 of 22

[quote="d3sc3n7

On the other side in KY? That means your in TN! THAT means your my competition!

Gotta love Ft. Campbell![/quote]

LOL! Hardly competition when I can't get someone to buy my product! icon_lol.gif

Are you from Clarksville? Do you live on Ft. Campbell? I like chatting and getting to know other local decorators.

d3sc3n7 Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:12pm
post #22 of 22

I live on Ft. Campbell...been here about 3 years

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%