A Question To Those That Charge Per Serving....

Business By cakesarge Updated 19 Mar 2010 , 4:55pm by sweetlayers

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 1:49pm
post #1 of 46

For my event cakes, I want to charge a per serving rather than coming up with all these different prices. To those that do that, is this the stripped price and then you start adding deco fees? What does a customer get for a cake when charged a per serving fee? When I do the math for a 3 tiered cake and out the gate I have a $200+ fee (before deco) and the customer says...what do I get for $200, I want to have a logical response. Because breaking the cakes down and adding a stacking fee doesn't come close to a per serving charge. I want to make I am charging enough for my cakes. Hope this makes sense.

45 replies
all4cake Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 2:23pm
post #2 of 46

my base p/s charge includes basic decorations (borders, a moderate amount of buttercream or royal icing flowers, basic trim work...) this, I would consider base p/s in buttercream
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=51529 with the bow being an added charge. Loaded flowers...extensive side decorations...gumpaste flowers would be cause for additional charge.

Base in fondant
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1577901 with the topper being extra

I hope I replied, addressing the question...

Enchantedcakes Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 2:26pm
post #3 of 46

We charge a base price of 3.25 for a fondant covered cake, that includes any choice of flavor/filling, any color fondant, a border, swirl hand pipping, a monogram, and a simple silver or gold cake foam core board. If they want sugar flowers or they want us to arrange fresh flowers using flower picks there is an extra charge, if they want special hand pipping there is a charge, if they want any sugar or chocolate work such as sea shells there is a charge, if the cake is going to be over a two tier cake there is a small stacking fee which included the price of the materials needed to stack the cake SPS or pillars , and we charge a small delivery/set up fee. If they order both the grooms cake and the wedding cake there is a discount given. If they want to rent a cake stand they can, and if they want to provide their own ribbon/silk flowers they can and we will place on the cake for no extra charge.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 2:27pm
post #4 of 46

I was hoping the base p/s charge included some basic deco & borders...and then more costs are added depending on what the customer wants above and beyond the basic price. Thanks.

all4cake Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 2:43pm
post #5 of 46

Decide what you consider basic. Not everyone's idea of basic is the same.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 2:52pm
post #6 of 46

Gotcha All4Cake. I think that is a great idea. If I include top & bottom border and simple scroll work, I'm sure a customer is going to try to include her fancy shmancy scroll as "simple." I will deal with her as I get her, but I will have some basic ground rules of what my cost includes.

all4cake Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:28pm
post #7 of 46

I absolutely love this site http://www.cakesbycremedelacreme.com/border_gallery.html see how they've added upcharges on certain designs? (Some designs, I prefer not to do, they may be easier but because I prefer NOT to do them, they cost more...inspiration charge...LOL)

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:32pm
post #8 of 46

That is pretty cool how she has named her different patterns and scroll work. Makes me want to include a picture of what I would include as "simple" or "included". Great site!

TexasSugar Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:44pm
post #9 of 46

Cakesarge, what types of cakes do you do? Buttercream? Fondant? Gumpaste flowers?

I can see a different basic price for buttercream and fondant because fondant requires more igredients. But if I did this as a business I don't think I would want to get into all the "well if you want this it is this much and that is this much and this type of decoration is this much." It gets confusing, then they will want to know why this is so much more than that.

To me you should price your cakes to include most things. So this one cake has a little more piping on it, the next cake could have a ton less. In the long run doesn't it all equal out? If you price at the higher end for your time, then if you have a cake that takes less time, you just make more money off it. Or if you feel like it, you can always give them a slight discount.

I've never charged extra for fondant bows because while there is some additional work making the bow, decorating the cake is usually fairly simple. Now if I had to do two or more bows for a cake or alot of other decorating I'd probably add an extra charge.

The only time I was going to charge extra (they didn't order the cake) was because the woman kept saying she wanted simple and nothing fancy. Which in her case really meant, I don't want to pay much and I 'think' a cake with just a bow on it should be cheaper than other cakes.

Yes there are some things that do deserve an up charge, such as hand painted designs on a cake, intricate piping or gumpaste flowers. But I think when you get into pricing out different design elements you are going to create confusion for all involved.

I don't have a party vs wedding cost, nor do I have a single tier vs two tiered cost. It is all just factored into one serving cost.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 3:53pm
post #10 of 46

Texas Sugar..My pps charge will be for butter cream. For example, if a 8/12 serves 56 (according to wilton), than that cake at $2 ps will be $112. Price includes top & bottom border, stacking fee and basic piping design (according to me).

Then I'd have a foot note that says something like: "Additional charges apply for special custom design, gourmet filling, additional decorations, columns, plates, stand rental, fondant, bows, etc.".

I know you can't cover every single design scenario, but I want to provide as much info to the customer as possible. From prior experience, the more information you give customers coming into the shop, the less I have to come out and answer questions.

Mike1394 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:01pm
post #11 of 46

May I ask what is a stacking fee?

Mike

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:11pm
post #12 of 46

Mike...that's my term for the doweling & travel rod process.

Mike1394 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:15pm
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesarge

Mike...that's my term for the doweling & travel rod process.




That's what I thought it was, till I read your response to TS. I thought you were talking about a basic cake, then I see a stacking fee. I got to thinking WTH is a stacking fee on a 4" high cake LOLOL My bad.

Mike

TexasSugar Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:27pm
post #14 of 46

My thought is, when I go buy something, I want to know the price. I hate when you go somewhere and the price isn't listed on the item and you have to ask. Because then I often won't even ask.

I want it simple and to the point.

My cake price is the same no matter if you want a filling (something other than buttercream) or buttercream, because both cost me. If a chocolate cake costs more to make than white cake I'm not going to price them differently.

If you do have some fillings such at homemade ones that just cost alot more than your other fillings then I'd say you could do a basic vs premium price on them.

I want to know walking into the meeting about how much I am looking at spending. As I said I know there are things that deserve an extra charge, but for the rest I'd rather it be added in not added up at the end.

If you tell me the cake for 56 is going to be $112 that is one thing. But then if you tell me that the cake is going to be $112, and because I picked something you don't see as basic, it bumps the price up to say $150, then oh you want a bow too, okay that is another $25, oh and your cake since it is stacked needs plates and pillars so we are going to throw in another $30 on top of all that. And you want chocolate filling rather than buttercream, well that is another .50 per serving so add another $28.

At this point I would be completely lost as to what I am paying for the cake because of all the numbers thrown out. Plus there is a big difference in walking into a meeting thinking $2 a serving for a total of $112 and being told because of all your "extras" your total is now $233 (which comes out to over $4 a serving) even before a delievery fee.

I'd rather be told that the price is $4 a serving and that will cover everything but stand rental fees, delivery charges and intricate designs.

What is the stacking fee? And if you have that why are plates and pillars seperatly? Shouldn't they be including in that? If I saw that somewhere I'd think you were charging me twice for the same things.

If I go to a resturant and order a baked potato, they don't charge me any different for it if I get it plain vs with butter, sour cream and cheese. Of course those items add up but they factor them into their price and if someone orders it plain then they just make additional money.

To me, and this is just me personal prefernce, have a cost per serving that covers most decorations. You can always have a foot note about prices starting at this and some custom elements would add additional charges.

I can understand a rental fee for a cake stand or a deposit fee to be returned when it or other items are returned. I also understand a delievery fee being added on. But I don't want to feel like I am paying for every little element on the cake individually.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:35pm
post #15 of 46

Texas..I think the additional fees are necessary. If you want a very, very simple 2 tiered cake that I have "starting" at $112. Then your design will be $112. My footnotes explain the extra charges for your "updesigning". I think people expect to be charged additionally for extra stuff and if my fondant loopy bow is $25, then they will get charged $25 more. The more they whittle away at extras, the more the prices goes up. When you buy a vehicle, the more "stuff" you want added, the more the price. I think people expect to pay more for fluff. I just see too many designers giving out random quotes (at my current job) becuase there are no "guidelines". Emphasazing on the word "guidelines". I understand all of the people who respond to this thread will have different fees based on location and cost. I'm just tryin to figure out how it will all work for me. Thanks for your response.

cakesbycathy Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:38pm
post #16 of 46

I'm with Texas Sugar on this one.
I have a flat price per serving for buttercream cakes and one for fondant covered cakes. That includes all decoration and support systems.

Unless it's a design that is really, really intricate or has a gazillion flowers on it. Then I can see adding an additional fee on to the price of the cake.

IMO people who are price shopping is more likely to to go with the baker that says the total of your cake is $xxx plus delivery, rather than one where the price of the cake keeps changing.

cakesdivine Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:39pm
post #17 of 46

I created a true matrix of pricing...I don't have a base price then add on, to me that is a bit deceiving to the client. Price per serving Depends on the amount of servings, level of difficulty (I have 4 levels), and icing choice (3 types).

I am attaching my pricing matrix. Simply adjust to fit your area's average price.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:40pm
post #18 of 46

Cathy...that is what I'm shooting for...for the same reason you mentioned. I want a flat fee.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:41pm
post #19 of 46

Cakesdivine..thanks for submitting your matrix. Very interesting!

all4cake Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:41pm
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar



If I go to a resturant and order a baked potato, they don't charge me any different for it if I get it plain vs with butter, sour cream and cheese. Of course those items add up but they factor them into their price and if someone orders it plain then they just make additional money.




right...from no decorations(your plain baked potato) up to a certain amount of decorations (your butter, sour cream and cheese) is the basic price. decorations that go beyond what is considered (by every person to be different...notice some charge extra for basketweave or to make SQUARE cakes and others don't) to be basic by the baker/decorator would be your bacon, chili, mushrooms, extra cheese...and that they do charge extra for...

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 4:43pm
post #21 of 46

Now I want a loaded baked potato!!

indydebi Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:01pm
post #22 of 46

I agree with Texas .... I had a flat price. Brides thought I was AWESOME because they felt they were getting all of those decorations "free". They were already figured into the price.

One bride shared that while my base price of $3.50 was higher than the bakery that was $2.25, by the time the other place added the nickels and dimes for cake flavors, borders, flowers, etc., their cake was over $4.00. She felt that she was getting ripped off.

A 3-tier stacked, bordered with scrolls, costed the same with me as a 3 tier stacked with 2 dozen bc roses cascading down the sides.

the price was built in. Just like the baked potato.

cakesbycathy Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:03pm
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesarge

Now I want a loaded baked potato!!




I know, right?! icon_biggrin.gif

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:04pm
post #24 of 46

I like the flat fee idea. Now I just to do determine what that will be so it allows me to get reimbursed for all that extra sour cream! Thanks ladies! Enjoying all the input!

TexasSugar Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:09pm
post #25 of 46

Since Indydebi is probably busy with school right now, I'd say go to the search page and put in "nickel and dime" and then Indydebi in the poster slot and read her past posts on this subject.

I love how Debi words things because she always makes sense and has been doing this for a long time.

In the end it is up to you what you do. I was just giving my opinion. As far as the car pricing goes, yes you pay more for some features, but the basic cost is more than just the frame, engine and the car seats. Yes if I want all the fancy smacy stuff I'd have to pay for it. To me in the cake world, the fancy smacy stuff that needs an up charge isn't more than two borders and a simple design, it is the gumpaste flowers, or intricate piping or hand molding/painting. It is the extra stuff that goes beyond what every 9 out of 10 cakes is going to need.

Of course a stacked cake is going to need plates/pillars/dowels, so why not just put that in the cost, why ad it to the price after ward. To me that is part of the cost of doing a cake. That goes in mix right next to the cake board you put the cake on, and the decorating bags you use to pipe and the flavorings you put in the icing. You can't make a tiered cake with out those items, so I figure them into the cost to make the cake, which factors in to the price per serving.

The resturant is going to bring my baked potato out on a plate, is it not? They don't charge me extra for the plate, because it is needed to serve the potato, it is just figured into the price.

cakesarge Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:14pm
post #26 of 46

Thanks TexasSugar. I guess that is why my husband turns GREEN when they charge him .69 cents for bbq sauce at McDonalds. They give him a WAD of ketchup but will charge for one bbq sauce.

TexasSugar Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:23pm
post #27 of 46

Looks like Debi was posting while I was taking my time to type things up. icon_smile.gif Love ya Deb!

TexasSugar Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:26pm
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesarge

Thanks TexasSugar. I guess that is why my husband turns GREEN when they charge him .69 cents for bbq sauce at McDonalds. They give him a WAD of ketchup but will charge for one bbq sauce.




Uh huh. Or like when you go to Jack in the Box and they charge you an extra .50 for the sour cream to go with the chicken pita.

I think by having a flat fee, you are saving yourself alot of extra work and confusion of numbers.

Larkin121 Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 5:46pm
post #29 of 46

Not a business yet, but when I am I'll do the flat fee like TexasSugar and Indydebi. Seems all around easier for me and the customer.

At first, I thought I should have different prices for different designs, different prices for all my different levels of cost of fillings and cake flavors. It does cost me much more to do a chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberry puree than a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.

But then, many on here (Indy was one of them, I'm sure) have pointed out that I can charge one price that covers the higher level of cost to me, and if someone chooses to order a lesser flavor, I just so happen to make the extra profit. Is it a rip off to them if they are paying more for that flavor? I dunno, that's a choice they make, seeing as how they can choose from 35+ fancy flavors I do... I'd rather make fun flavors, anyway. icon_smile.gif

If someone wants a cake with stripes and balls and little stars coming out of the top, that's the base price. If someone wants a plain white fondant cake with ribbon on the bottom, still the base price. I price to the slightly more complicated side. (But, like others, would still up charge for gumpaste flowers, figures, toppers, crazy detailed extras and carving).

And really, if I was a customer, it would be so much easier to understand what I'm going to pay before walking in. I personally hate when I'm looking at a cake site and it says "price upon request" or contact for pricing info or "cakes start at $3.00 for the most basic design, extra for anything but one dot of buttercream on the side" lol. Then I'm like... so... are we talking $3.50 a slice for my cake or $10 a slice? How do I have a clue if that baker is in my price range before I go in there?

indydebi Posted 18 Feb 2010 , 10:49pm
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larkin121

How do I have a clue if that baker is in my price range before I go in there?


Which may be why there are so many bakers who come on here frustrated with brides who can't afford the cake after "wasting my time baking the samples".

Quote:
Quote:

Of course a stacked cake is going to need plates/pillars/dowels, so why not just put that in the cost, why ad it to the price after ward. To me that is part of the cost of doing a cake.


Oh man, I SO agree with this. SOmeone is buying a wedding cake and the stuff that makes it a wedding cake is extra? Kinda like buying a car and having the salesman say, "So ..... would you like tires to go on that? How about an engine? Need one of those? These keys for the ignition......only an extra $150 for these little babies!" icon_lol.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%