Decorating By mommahomegood Updated 29 Sep 2009 , 9:26pm by prterrell

mommahomegood Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 9:28pm
post #1 of 10

A friend of mine asked me to make a cake for a large community event. The chamber of commerce and other city officials will be there. I'm a little overwhelmed because everything I know, I taught myself or learned from the internet or TV. But I have to say, I'm pretty good and have a great reputation regardless of my lack of training. my question is what to charge? I'm doing at least a 12x18 (if not bigger) with fondant work. is there a formula for pricing?

thanks for any help!!!

9 replies
ApplegumKitchen Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 9:46pm
post #2 of 10

Yep - the formula is .... RECOUP your costs on EVERYTHING - AND - make a profit for yourself that YOU are happy with icon_biggrin.gif

Sorry - but it isn't as simple as saying .... oh 3 times what it costs you - or look around at what other people charge...... this is a fast way to going broke!

First few cakes you price might be hit or miss because you will be 'guesstimating" the TIME it takes to do something - get yourself an exercise book and WRITE everything down for your first few cakes - every time you buy something - stick your dockets in an envelope for THAT cake and staple it to the page - don't forget the 1tspn of this or the few drops of colour - they may seem insignificant at the time .... UNTIL you have to replace it for $10

Don't forget to add - boards, trims, boxes, delivery costs, utilities ( and NOT just your oven!!)

soooooooo - given you LOTS to think about icon_rolleyes.gificon_wink.gificon_razz.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 9:51pm
post #3 of 10

Oh I hate it when I see someone say 3x the raw costs....I don't think so, it's more complicated than that!

ApplegumKitchen Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 10:39pm
post #4 of 10

Funny thing is Jamie - SO MANY people think THAT is a formula!!

Or they just pick a random price - not ever knowing whether it will cover their costs let alone their time.

My tip - Don't ever be grateful for the work/experience - you might as well stand at your front door and hand out 5 dollar bills to anybody who asks for a cake! then head off to the beach and laze in the sun with somebody who loves you!! thumbs_up.gif

mommahomegood Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 11:06pm
post #5 of 10

thanks for your advice, pam. i really appreciate it!

indydebi Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 11:11pm
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Oh I hate it when I see someone say 3x the raw costs....I don't think so, it's more complicated than that!

ME, TOO!!!!!!! icon_mad.gif Especially since raw materials is usually the least expensive part of the equation. Labor and overhead rank #1 and #2 for me. Cost of the food? Heck, I'll DONATE that part of it! That's not what you're paying for!

Rant over, with absolutely no help to the OP! icon_redface.gif

kelleym Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:32am
post #7 of 10

Or they just pick a random price

This is actually what I see the most often. People just try to guess at what the right price might be, and sadly enough the magic number is usually $35.00. icon_surprised.gif

And I am totally guilty of this as well when I started out. It wasn't until I charged $30 for an 8" decorated italian cream cake (with fondant figures!) that I spent $25 on ingredients and supplies, that I started to realize I was doing something terribly wrong.

prterrell Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:52pm
post #8 of 10

My base price for that size cake is $216. Depending on where you live, that might be low. For fondant work, I charge extra.

ApplegumKitchen Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:59pm
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by prterrell

My base price for that size cake is $216. Depending on where you live, that might be low. For fondant work, I charge extra.

See this is where people are led astray (not suggesting prterrell is at fault)

How many times have you read a post... How much would you charge for this?

Prterrell says her base price is $216 for that sized cake
I say mine would be at least double that - probably closer to $500

Does that mean that my cake is better than prterrell? and the OP should be looking at asking for more for her cake?

NO - it means that my recipe might be different, have different ingredients, that goods /utilities in Australia are probably WAY higher than in the US. That our petrol/gas prices are over $5 per gallon and a normal delivery can be over 100km (60miles) that I live 20miles from the nearest shop - but that the closest CD supply store would be 100miles round trip (so don't FORGET anything! icon_mad.gif )

JUST a few things to think about

A hefty prive tap is NOT the sign of a great decorater - just one that has to pay hefty prices ...... Like a $1,200 electricity bill every 3months icon_cry.gif

prterrell Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:26pm
post #10 of 10

You are totally right AppplegumKitchen! I currently UPPED my prices to 25 center per cubic inch of cake. But then, that is my BASE price. I charge more for certain cakes, certain icings, certain fillings, etc. I am lucky to live in an area with a relatively low cost of living, BUT, the flip side of that is you can't charge as much! I am mostly a hobby baker. Primarily because most of the time, people aren't willing to pay the prices I quote. I know my cake is good, but they're comparing my all-scratch, European-style, premium ingredient cakes to the supermarket and Wal-mart. Which is when I send the right back to the supermarket and Wal-mart. You get what you pay for! There's a girl at my church who sells a LOT more cakes than me, because her prices are so low that she's basically getting reimbursed for the ingredients and her electricity. I keep telling her she needs to charge more, that she's giving her time away for free.

All that being said. The "formula" is whatever will reimburse you for your ingredients, gas, electricity, wear and tear on car, oven, pans/mixer AND give you a decent amount for your time -- pay yourself what you are worth and you KNOW you're worth MORE than min wage!

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