Sticker Shock Anyone? Sorry, Long....

Decorating By kcassano Updated 7 Feb 2010 , 4:30pm by indydebi

kcassano Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 3:46pm
post #1 of 19

Okay, so I just recently started selling cakes for cash mainly b/c more and more people kept asking me if I sell them, so i figured why not?. I've only had a few orders, which is fine--I've also got a "day job". I am getting more inquiries lately (all by word of mouth), however it seems as though when I give people pricing it's game over. I don't think I'm out of line for the product (and labor) I'm providing. All my cakes are fondant (I use satin ice or fondariffic, mostly satin ice b/c of its price) and they are covered in ganache, not BC. I also use imported belgium chocolate (callebaut) for my ganache. the quality and taste of my cakes is just as important as their appearance.

With that said, I've been quoting about $6/serving. $3.50 for custom cupcakes and $2.50 for plain iced. I did call two local bakeries and their fondant cake pricing was about the same, but I really don't think you could get the same type/quality from them, but I needed a jumping off point.

I just had two people call for pricing. one wanted a Little Einstein's cake for 30. I gave 3 options, all varying prices (from 200-250; detailed designs, one was 3d rocket).

They decided to "spend the money on the party instead." and just yesterday I quoted someone $6/serving 30 people for a baby shower cake (that is for next weekend, thank you very much). No firm details, ball park pricing at $6/serving, and some general ideas for the cake. Also threw out the option of a small 6" supplemented with cupcakes (for the most 'cost-conscious' option--$55 for 6" round +cupcakes). "Thanks, but unfortunately, already over budget on party."

Maybe my approach is wrong, I dont know. Should I ask budget before I even get started throwing out numbers? I'm not going to make a $30 sheet cake; that's just not what I'm interested in.

I got $210 for the xbox cake no problem and I think it was under priced (served 30+). And $100 worth of cupcakes no problem. I'm curiousl what some of you would charge for some of the cakes in my gallery. Specifically the diaper bag cakes (which would feed at least 30-40) and are very labor intensive.

I wouldn't even know where to start w/the superman cake--it was for a friend and I only charged for materials. and I'm recently addicted to the mini- cakes (two in my gallery). They ai think each took me about 2 hours to decorate (incl icing it inganache - I'm new to this and not super-speedy yet.) Is $40-45 out of line to start? Maybe discount them if accompanyed by a cuppie order?

Sorry so long.. I'm rambling and ranting. If you're read this far down, thanks for your time!!! I just value everyone's experience and opinions here at CC--you are all very inspirational icon_smile.gif

-kelly

18 replies
Mike1394 Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 4:01pm
post #2 of 19

My.02 on the whole thing. Expensive cakes are expensive for the reasons you stated. You use those ingredients because you like the outcome you recieve. High quality comes at a price. The issue being MOST people can't tell if you used Callebaut, or hersheys, whether you make your own filling, or buy a sleeve.

This is why Walmart, and grocery cakes are a hit. They can sell cheap, because they are cheap.

Now that all being said you just have to find the right market that's all. Make the person wanting your cake feel like they are buying an exclusive item that ALL people can't afford.

Mike

indydebi Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 4:02pm
post #3 of 19

Yes, always ask "How much were you looking to spend?" before you go anywhere in the conversation. when people hesitate (due to "used car salesman syndrome" .... the fear of telling someone how much they can spend), I tell them, "I don't have Walmart prices because I don't *DO* walmart cakes." Flat out. Up Front. I have told people, "You might check with walmart .... they may be more in line wiht the budget you have to work with." There's not a problem with walking away.

It could take some time to work out your "sales schpeal" so you can let them know the differences in your quality and ergo in your pricing, such as, "Well, that kind of cake will take me about 9 hours, plus I use only the highest premium chocolate, and it will take a significant amount of fondant work .... so let's see ..... we're looking at something in the $200-$250 range here."

Adevag Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 6:32pm
post #4 of 19

I agree, if your ingredients cost more then of course your price will be a little higher. As long as you let them know why your price is $6/slice. When I read your post about where you import your chocolate you obviously care a lot to make sure you have the finest ingredients. And after reading that there is no question why you have your cakes set at that price. I think that if you have clients who can't afford it they are not the ones you are looking for.

luvmysmoother Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 6:53pm
post #5 of 19

I looked at your gallery and your cakes are definitely worth your asking price. If you lower your prices to get sales you'll feel very resentful and it will feel like slave labour rather than a labour of loveicon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 7:03pm
post #6 of 19

I think your pricing is spot on. Sell yourself with the "gourmet" and "exclusive" points.

dsilbern Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 7:04pm
post #7 of 19

Many folks haven't have really good baked products. When I first started bringing cookies in for my staff they were like "big deal" until they tried them. Now they come running anytime I'm carrying something.

It's not that I'm the best baker in the world (although I don't think I'm half bad icon_lol.gif ) it's that they really only ever had cookies that came from a bag on a supermarket shelf and didn't know what real cookies were.

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 7:58pm
post #8 of 19

Your pricing is right, but you're dealing with the wrong customer. Where are these people finding you? If you have a website you should emphasize on there that you use high-quality ingredients and do custom designs.

If the people who are calling you are "already over budget for the party" then why are they even shopping for a cake? That's someone who's expecting a Walmart price.

You need to do something to screen out that expectation, so asking about their budget would be fine. Just ask how many people they need to serve, and what they're planning to spend. It's less jarring for people that way than just saying "what's your budget?" Just work it into the conversation, but definitely ask.

kcassano Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 9:46pm
post #9 of 19

Thanks guys! I think these are all things that I already knew, but sometimes I think you just need to hear it from someone else. You know...just to make sure you actually AREN'T crazy.

Most people come via referrals through friends. either they've been at a party where my cakes were at, or friends pass along pics (via Facebook or whatever). I dont advertise or anything, it's just a very small side thing. especially "small" since no one can afford or wants to pay what I'm asking. lol.

Suprisingly, it is actually more cost-effective per ounce for me to buy the Callebaut chocolate thru an online vendor than buying 50, 60, 70 ounces of Giradelli at a time in the supermarket, and it is by far superior quality. It's a win-win, and your day really cannnot get any better after 22 pounds of quality chocolate arrives at your doorstep!! icon_smile.gif

Costumeczar, those were my thought exactly! If you were already over, why the h*ll are you even wasting my time--on short notice nonetheless. I do have a website, but it's under construction, and doesnt really have any info up there - yet.

I do plan on putting pricing up there, in the hopes of weeding out the Walmart cake seekers. I usually give the per serving price and ask how many they need to serve, but I never have asked or worked into the conversation what they were planning on spending.

I think I need to find this info out from the get-go and save myself some frustration. And you're right, I dont want to lower my prices too low just to get "out there". Because then I feel like I'll be in worse shape, working my butt off, and everyone expects this lower pricing. Thanks!!!

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 10:24pm
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcassano


I do plan on putting pricing up there--in the hopes of weeding out the walmart cake seekers. I usually give the per serving price and ask how many they need to serve, but I never have asked or worked into the conversation what they were planning on spending. !!




Make sure that if you put a price per serving on your website, you also put a minimum number of servings. You'll get people calling and telling you that they only need 5 servings if you don't!

julzs71 Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 11:08pm
post #11 of 19

If you are wanting to make cake and sell it to everyone, offer different cakes. For kids party's you could use a box cake or a simple scratch cake and charge a lower fee, since you are not using high priced products.
When you make scratch cakes that use higher priced products you could charge higher prices on my cakes.
A lot of families tend to go toward the cheaper version. Now mind you. I wouldn't discount the cake to $1. People still will be astonished when they find the price of these cakes versus walmart. you can't please them all.

LaBellaFlor Posted 6 Feb 2010 , 11:12pm
post #12 of 19

If high end prices are you want you want, it doesn't matter what type of stuff you use. You need to address those high end clients. It's all in how you present yourself. I'ld rather
do 1-$200 cake, then 4-$50 cakes. And I am okay with everyone not being able to afford me. They have other options, I'm just not one of them.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 12:52am
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcassano

I don't think I'm out of line for the product (and labor) I'm providing. All my cakes are fondant (i use or fondariffic, mostly b/c of its price) and they are covered in ganache, not BC. I also use imported belgium chocolate (callebaut) for my ganache. the quality and taste of my cakes is just as important as their appearance.
-kelly




I think those are your key selling points right there. A while back someone mentioned in a thread that you must first make your clients want your cake regardless of cost before you even bring up cost. Emphasize the ganache under the fondant instead of BC.

"I use belgian chocolate ganache under my fondant rather than buttercream because I find the look and flavor is far superior."

I know Jamie likes to talk about using meringue buttercream over american buttercream because the flavor and texture is much better. Not gritty or overly sweet. "For the more distinctive palette!"

Most importantly, that's what sets you apart from the grocery store bakeries. I work in one and I can honestly tell you I have no clue where our frosting comes from. It just comes in on pallets. That's why it's so cheap.

Stick to your guns. I like the car or steak metaphors when people show signs of sticker shock. I just recently heard a great wedding dress one too. A wedding gown is only satin and thread, so why so much???

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 12:54am
post #14 of 19

Forgot to mention.

kcassano: BEST AVATAR PIC EVER!!!!!!!

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 8:58am
post #15 of 19

Question....... are you staying busy with cakes? If you are booking very few cakes, then you may be a little high for your area. I'm not saying your cakes are worth any less than what you are charging, just simply saying that the market for a cake in that price range may be slim.

If you are still busy,and booking cakes... then I wouldn't worry about the ones who can't afford your cakes. I charge far less than some on CC, but more than others. You just have to figure out what works in YOUR area. I do have people that say "I'm sorry but you're out of my price range"... and it doesn't bother me anymore.

My time is worth a certian amount and I won't lower it until I stop booking cakes. Haven't had that problem yet, booking 4 cakes a day on average.

JustToEatCake Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 3:59pm
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Yes, always ask "How much were you looking to spend?" before you go anywhere in the conversation. when people hesitate (due to "used car salesman syndrome" .... the fear of telling someone how much they can spend), I tell them, "I don't have Walmart prices because I don't *DO* walmart cakes." Flat out. Up Front. I have told people, "You might check with walmart .... they may be more in line wiht the budget you have to work with." There's not a problem with walking away.

It could take some time to work out your "sales schpeal" so you can let them know the differences in your quality and ergo in your pricing, such as, "Well, that kind of cake will take me about 9 hours, plus I use only the highest premium chocolate, and it will take a significant amount of fondant work .... so let's see ..... we're looking at something in the $200-$250 range here."



I just want to say that I have a terrible reaction (used car salesman syndrome) when someone asks me "how much do you have to spend". To me it says "I'm about to take that and some more and there is no way I'm letting them buy something for less". So, as a consumer, I'd suggest you convey it to your customers that "I am asking your budget so that I can work within it BUT my pricing is my pricing no matter what each persons budget is. My pricing doesn't change based on your budget is. If your budget is more than what your needs/wants are then your cake price will be less than that. If your budget is less than what your needs/wants are we will see if I can offer you something within your budget."

I'm sure there is some better way to phrase that but I think it would be very important to let people know that just because they are telling you what their budget is that you don't work like a used car salesman just to get every penny they say if their needs are less it's a starting point. HEY that might be the best way to put it...

indydebi Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 4:20pm
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustToEatCake

To me it says "I'm about to take that and some more and there is no way I'm letting them buy something for less"...


I believe that's how most people react.

I would phrase it with my brides of "What kind of budget figure do we want to keep this under?" That usually worked ok, but when I'd get someone who hesitated, I'd drop into my "Southern Gramma" voice and tell them, "I know sometimes that question makes people nervous, but I'm not here to get most of your money. I'm here to see that you GET the most FOR your money."

My favorite story was the couple who said from the git-go, "Look, we only have X-number of dollars to spend. That's it." I told them, "I consider myself successful when I give you more than you were expecting and you still have money left in your pocket." (a line I used over the years that also got great reactions). This couple was commenting on "my gosh, we're getting a lot of food!" and I left them with something between $200-$500 left in their pocket.

I got a few referrals from this couple because they thought I was AWESOME! thumbs_up.gif

Price Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 4:29pm
post #18 of 19

Debi, You have such a great way of approaching and wording things. Would you mind if I send you a pm?

indydebi Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 4:30pm
post #19 of 19

fire away!

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