New To Cake Decorating, Pricing?

Business By careylynn Updated 19 Jan 2010 , 10:02pm by ElegantOccasions

careylynn Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:35pm
post #1 of 64

I made my first fondant cake this weekend for my Dad's bday and after putting it on my facebook, I have several people already interested in buying a cake from me. I have no idea what an appropriate price per serving for fondant is for a beginner. I want people's business and don't want to overcharge, but not undercharge either. I will attach the pic of the cake I did. Any advice would help. Also, is it too early to "start a business", with business cards and all? I am soooo new to this, but would love to do this part time and make some money.
LL

63 replies
Mensch Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:36pm
post #2 of 64

$19.99

Mensch Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:38pm
post #3 of 64

Seriously now.

Where are you located? Do you have a shop or bake from home? You need to find out about the legalities of making and selling food from your home (in your state/county) before you do anything else.

cakesdivine Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:48pm
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Here we go again...

First you need to find out if it is even legal for you to sell cakes from your home kitchen. Most states it is illegal to do so.

Second if it is legal then you generally need to become licensed first to be truly legal.

Third once that is done you need to sit yourself down and start adding ALL of your equipment costs, ingredient costs, material costs and the time it takes to do what you need to do. Decide how valuable your time is, look at what your comparable competition is selling for...DO not compare yourself to grocery stores or Walmart & Costco, they are NOT a custom bakery. Decide how soon you want a return on your equipment investment. Factor in all the materials: ie cake boards, boxes, parchment papaer, piping bags, dowels, etc., then the ingredients for one basic batch of your batter and icings, figure out how much time each cake will take you to complete and multiply that times the rate per hour you would like to make. Triple your ingredient & materials cost. Say your equipment and training cost you $1000 and you would like to be reimbursed of that in 4 years, then each year needs to recoup you $250. If you are just starting out you can figure one cake per month so divide the $250 by 12. Yes some cakes will be larger and bring you more profit but you base your prices on EVERYTHING. If you only want to make $10 per hour then so be it. The average cake takes from start to finish around 8 to 12 hours (with the exception of sheet cakes and very basic BC cakes), but by the looks of the cake you posted you are wanting to do the high end custom cakes.

Sending you my price matrix in a PM

careylynn Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:49pm
post #5 of 64

Are you serious, $19.99? That's offensive. I Everything is hand molded, including the motorcyle and the cake feeds 72 people. I spent 15-20 hrs total on this cake. I might be a beginner but that's absolutly ridiculous.

Mensch Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:51pm
post #6 of 64

hahahaha. That is so funny that someone actually took me seriously when I suggested a ridiculous price (do it all the time).



http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-664395-.html

BakerzJoy Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 7:54pm
post #7 of 64

That cake would easily go for around $100 if I made that and sold it. Even then, that may be too cheap!
Also, I agree with mensch you should check the legality in your area for selling from home. It's kinda complicated, but once you get the clear you'll feel better. Then you can start business cards and advertise. Facebook is an amazing seller for me. I have earned so much business just from that alone.
Good luck, your cake looks great, you shouldn't have any problems getting business!!

careylynn Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:02pm
post #8 of 64

I just looked up Ohio laws and it says I do not need to be licensed or even regulated since I am a "home cook" that is selling "low risk contamination foods" (they gave the examples of baked goods, jams, jellies, etc.)
Sorry Mensch, I really thought you were serious, lol.
So with that being said, is it as easy as coming up with a business name and having business cards? Sorry, like I said I am new to this.

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:03pm
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by careylynn

Are you serious, $19.99? That's offensive. I Everything is hand molded, including the motorcyle and the cake feeds 72 people. I spent 15-20 hrs total on this cake. I might be a beginner but that's absolutly ridiculous.




It's called being teased. Besides how serious can you be if you just put a picture on Facebook, got some request and are calling it a business. You haven't even taken the time to find out any info. on your own. Just came on C.C. and said how much for this cake.

BakerzJoy Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:06pm
post #10 of 64

Wow, okay well if that feeds 72 people, it would definatly cost more than $100. Just wanted to clear that up!!

careylynn Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:11pm
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Wow, ok, I'm sorry I asked. I have been researching this for awhile (cake decorating, etc ) and did take the time to "think" about it, months actually. I am NOT asking how much should I charge for THIS cake; I did it as a gift. I am simply asking what is a reasonable charge for beginner baker that is already getting business from the one cake I have done. I AM serious about this, and that is why I am asking these questions. If I am wasting your time, don't respond.

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:20pm
post #12 of 64

Well if you are being serious and have looked into all the legalities and have a pricing structure in place, and your actual question is how should a began charge, which is a better question, then the answer is there is no begginer pricing. If you have the skills to make a cake that is requested you charge full price right off the top. A lot of people say they want to build their portfolio, they are new and so they sell their cakes cheap. Then when the time comes to raise their prices, they have a hard time doing it. You want to learn more and build your portfolio, do cakes for friends and family. Gets some dummy cakes. But never sell cheap. Always sell at full price. And try not to be so sensitve.

Shelle_75 Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:32pm
post #13 of 64

Careylynn, welcome to CC. Please forgive us for some of the sarcastic and off the cuff responses. Pricing and being legal are a couple of topics that can be pretty hot-button for some people around here. We shouldn't expect you to know that, however, since you are new here.

I am ashamed at how, any time someone new comes to this site and asks a question anymore, we are so quick to jump all over them. One of the (many) reasons I rarely post anymore.

Careylynn, this website is full of many kind-hearted people willing to share their skills and experiences. Good luck with your caking!

careylynn Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:37pm
post #14 of 64

Thank you Shelle_75. I don't mean to be sensitive but I am put off by the negativity my question received. After doing this cake, I realized I do have the talent and ability to do this and just wanted some opinions on appropriate charging.
Thank you LaBellaFlor for your imput. It makes sense when you put it that way.

cakesdivine Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:41pm
post #15 of 64

Also careylynn this question is asked nearly everyday there are literally hundreds of threads covering this very topic that can be searched for first. It does become tiresome to continue to answer the same question over & over again when all it would take is a little searching and reading on a newbies part to get the answers they are looking for.

silverc Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:53pm
post #16 of 64

I just want to say that is an AWSOME cake. You are very talented, and if that is what your first cake looks like I will enjoy seeing what you do in the future. Good luck! And listen to Labellaflor I started pricing my cakes too cheap and it is hard to raise your prices especially if people are finding out about your cakes by word of mouth. Your cake doesn't look like a beginners so you shouldn't sell yourself short.

BakerzJoy Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 8:57pm
post #17 of 64

Well in defense for the newbie, she doesn't know about this site very well so you can't expect her to follow everything to a "T" yet. Cut her some slack.....if it's tiring to keep answering than don't answer. We want people to come to cakecentral and feel like family. I'm sure she doesn't feel that way if she's being jumped all over.
This is a forum where she can ask questions and get answers.....remember when you were a beginner...sheesh, chill out!!

cgm_cakes Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:03pm
post #18 of 64

Hi, Carolynn and welcome.

Good luck to you in your journey. Hopefully you'll find all the info you're looking for to make a go of your business. That cake is beautiful.


As to the rest of the comments, I agree with Shell . . . I'm often too intimidated to ask a question in the business forum because some CC'ers react rather visciously.

Seriously, if you're tired of answering the same question every day, stop answering it! GEESH! There are people on here who would be willing to answer newbie questions and save you the hassle of repeating yourself every day. I don't understand why people get their noses so outta joint. JUST DON'T READ OR ANSWER A POST THAT IRRITATES YOU!

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:09pm
post #19 of 64

No one's nose is out of joint. People tease on here, it's being mean. People are direct or blunt here, it's being mean. I don't get this desire to be treated and cuddled like a child. I also don't get being too intimidated to ask a question by strangers on the internet who do not provide for you or make you in anyway. Like we can ignore a thread if we choose, we can ignore what gets written in a thread. Have a nice day. I know I will. icon_smile.gif

_Jamie_ Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:10pm
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by careylynn

Are you serious, $19.99? That's offensive. I Everything is hand molded, including the motorcyle and the cake feeds 72 people. I spent 15-20 hrs total on this cake. I might be a beginner but that's absolutly ridiculous.




thumbs_up.gif Mensch was joking with ya. But I for one am super jazzed to see a newbie react this way. You go girl, cuz you're damn right. This is a lot of work and compensation should be just.

CarrieBear Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:27pm
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by careylynn

I just looked up Ohio laws and it says I do not need to be licensed or even regulated since I am a "home cook" that is selling "low risk contamination foods" (they gave the examples of baked goods, jams, jellies, etc.)
Sorry Mensch, I really thought you were serious, lol.
So with that being said, is it as easy as coming up with a business name and having business cards? Sorry, like I said I am new to this.




wow really??? I'm suprised by that since most states are so strict on this issue...

motherofgrace Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:33pm
post #22 of 64

actually I think you asked the question better then most.

I would go around to see what other people are charging. And figure out your cost. (yours would be different then mine)

Everyone is different on how they figure it out. Jus tgo with what your comfortable with.

For me Im still figuring out this myself, im going to be selling cookies, cake truffles and homemade candies. And Im pricing them for the time I put in. To me, if you want to spend 5 cents instead of my 25 cents(just an example) then you can go to the convenience store and do so, but mine are all made by hand, not a machine that pumps out 1000 a minute!

Welcome, and hope you hear more from you (ps your cake looks awesome!)

Renaejrk Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:38pm
post #23 of 64

Awesome cake! You are on the right track - I'm jealous - you got skill!! LOL All the advice on here has been great - just figure your cost to make sure that's covered and then go from there based on how much you want/need to make (how much time/effort is involved in making the cake).

tomswife Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:47pm
post #24 of 64

I am surprised at the sarcasm and the lashing for not researching a specific question. I think that if you are a forum fanatic, you should be eager to help your co-cake designers. If it seems to be annoying, I might take a break from the forums. Cake Central is not the easiest to navigate when you are new. This is a support forum for people supporting each other in the same venture. I am sorry that your question as a newbie rendered such harsh responses.

I have been decorating for years and have still had a hard time on pricing. I am in a small town and definitely charge significantly less than I would if I was still in Atlanta. I do custom cakes like you and usually average anywhere from $55 to several hundred.

You have amazing talent and should go for it if decorating is a passion and a creative adventure. It is a great thing to do and I would not change a thing. I wish you the best.

FromScratch Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 9:49pm
post #25 of 64

Have ou talked to your local heath department/department of agriculture? You might not need a license, but you might have to still submit recipes and there are guidlines you will have to follow even with the cottage food laws in your state. You are lucky though... Ohio is very lax with the laws regarding home kitchens. Just to CYA I wold call them and find out exactly what they expect from you and what they allow. icon_smile.gif

Welcome to CC... nice cake... and I too was jazzed to see you defend your creation when $19.99 popped up as a suggestion... eventhough Mensch was totally kidding. icon_smile.gif

I start party cakes at $3.75/serving... fondant modeling is extra. Cakes are not torted and customers may choose either vanilla or chocolate cake and they come filled with vanilla bean BC. If they want fancier flavors... they pay extra for that too. If you haven't yet, sit down and figure out what it costs you to make your cakes... include everything... cake boards, piping bags if you use disposable ones, parchemnt paper to line pans, ingredients... all of it. Then figure out what you want to make for the time you invest in your creations. Good luck on your journey. icon_smile.gif

thecookieladycc Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 10:34pm
post #26 of 64

can someone pass me the popcorn?

_Jamie_ Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 10:39pm
post #27 of 64

cookielady--this is nothing. This is so tame it's amazing.

BakerzJoy Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 11:12pm
post #28 of 64

LOL, pass me the popcorn next!!

FromScratch Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 11:14pm
post #29 of 64

Yeah... I fail to see the need for popcorn in this thread, but if yer poppin' it on the stovetop with TONS of buttah... I'll take some anyway. icon_wink.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 11:18pm
post #30 of 64

You know thats the funny thing to me. I always see C.C. as one big family. And family may not always like each other, but they always love each other. Thats why I never understand why everyone gets so upset, instead of taking for people for how they are.

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