Having A Breakdown About My Pricing. Frustrated. Stressing.

Decorating By Dreme Updated 3 Mar 2010 , 2:16am by 1234me

Dreme Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 3:47am
post #1 of 11

Im starting to become confused with how I should be charging for cakes. My price per serving now is $3 for buttercream and $4 for fondant. I want to go up by $.50 on both. I also want to change my prices so that no matter the event or celebration the price is per the serving. Thing is some of the cakes seem excessive in price. A 6" becomes $42 for buttercream by the new pricing. It doubles for an 8" at $84. Nobody around here charges that for an 8". I wouldn't pay that for a plain undecorated cake. Explaining that to customers will be hard. Do I have a lower price per serving based on the event? I thought all events were supposed to be equal.

Next is trying to figure how to charge brides/clients. Do I charge them exactly for the head count they give me or do I charge for how much the cake serves? I only have even size pans. They serve a certain amount. How do I know what size cake to give for numbers that don't match the servings the cake produces? What if someone wants a tiered cake for 20 people. A 4 and a 6 = 16 servings, 4 & 8 = 28 (but doesn't look right). Do I give them the 16 serving cake and make cupcakes or something to make up the servings? Do I give them the 28 and charge for the extra servings? Only charge for the servings needed and give the extras for free? Does every wedding cake that doesn't have accurate numbers have a kitchen cake? How to you get a cake to serve the exact amount someone is asking for?

Another thing is pricing the artwork. Being an artist I have always priced my custom work a la carte. If someone wants a mural painted it goes up by each character or whatever they want painted. I use the same method for cakes. I price by what I think the artwork is worth. This has been easy for me but it seems a lot of bakers and decorators don't agree with this. Clients also want to know what the set price is upfront. Somethings I just won't have a price for. I hate when people ask me upfront before final designs how much something cost. I don't know. it depends on factors such as materials, how much it cost to obtain them, how long it takes me to make something, etc. How in the world are you guys doing it? If I'm drawing out the design for a cake then how do I know the price of it before I'm done?

Sorry, Im just venting. Very stressed and could possibly be blowing this out of proportion. I just needed to get this out.

10 replies
JanJess Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:01am
post #2 of 11

Most clients/brides have an idea or picture they want to use as a guide. As for pricing the big event cakes, I think you should charge what you feel like your artwork is worth, either they will be comfortable or they won't with the price and they can go from there. I always ask if there will be food, booze, etc when figuring servings because that drastically changes the amount of cake they will really need and by nature, I like to be a little generous with servings....I give probably more, by a few servings, than I should but I feel better...that's just me.
For the small cakes, I would just charge what you feel like they're worth within reason for what you can charge in your area. HTH

mirda6275 Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:12am
post #3 of 11

I can't comment on what you should be charging per serving, but you should be charging for the number of servings the cakes serve verses the servings the client wants. When they tell you how many servings they need, you can talk design/size and say you can make a cake that serves x (a bit less) or y (a bit more) than they need and let them choose how many servings they want to pay for. You shouldn't be out the cost per serving if they choose to have more servings than they need.

catlharper Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:15am
post #4 of 11

You do need to keep your prices competitive in your area but don't sell your art the same way a supermarket cake is priced. I start my plain buttercream iced cakes a 2 per serving and the more complicated it gets the more I charge. Fondant begins at 4 and goes up from there.

As for charging per guest count...nope, charge per serving amount. If a bride comes in and says she has 75 guests but wants a 5 tier cake that serves 500 she needs to be paying for 500 servings. Lean them towards a smaller cake befitting their celebration, not the dream cake that will feed far too many but she wants it for the "look".

saffronica Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:16am
post #5 of 11

If you only charge for the number of servings needed, instead of the number given, you're giving away cake. Plus you run the risk of upsetting customers if you charge them differently. In the example you mentioned of a 4" and a 6", at $4/serving you would be charging $48 for someone who told you they needed 12 servings, but $64 for someone who said they needed 16 servings. Why would you charge a different price for the same cake?

Kitagrl Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:29am
post #6 of 11

It depends on if you want to do the smaller cakes. I just had a regular customer order an 8" cake from me with an edible image. I explained that I HAVE to charge my minimum of $3/serving which makes this 8" cake $60! But she loves the taste and paid it! (I was shaking my head over my email!)

I will say that I have to buy the edible image and of course ingredients...and I do plan to actually make her a 9" and I will be trying to add some little touches here and there to make it nicer than a bakery cake. But its a custom cake just like anything else, and I can't charge less just because its a smaller cake.

But if you want to regularly sell smaller cakes I guess you'd probably want to price them more competitively. It depends on what you want to do.

myslady Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 5:00am
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreme

Im starting to become confused with how I should be charging for cakes. My price per serving now is $3 for buttercream and $4 for fondant. I want to go up by $.50 on both. I also want to change my prices so that no matter the event or celebration the price is per the serving. Thing is some of the cakes seem excessive in price. A 6" becomes $42 for buttercream by the new pricing. It doubles for an 8" at $84. Nobody around here charges that for an 8". I wouldn't pay that for a plain undecorated cake. Explaining that to customers will be hard. Do I have a lower price per serving based on the event? I thought all events were supposed to be equal.




Customers will pay more if they believe in the value of it.

Some bakeries have dessert cakes which are simply decorated and more price conscience than the more elaborate decorated cakes.

You can either be price competitive with the other businesses in your area or you can price higher than them. You just have to market yourself in ways that shows your product is better than your competition and the benefits they get from you.

What you would personally pay isn't a factor in running your business when selling. There is a huge difference in what you would pay versus what your customers will pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreme

Next is trying to figure how to charge brides/clients. Do I charge them exactly for the head count they give me or do I charge for how much the cake serves? I only have even size pans. They serve a certain amount. How do I know what size cake to give for numbers that don't match the servings the cake produces? What if someone wants a tiered cake for 20 people. A 4 and a 6 = 16 servings, 4 & 8 = 28 (but doesn't look right). Do I give them the 16 serving cake and make cupcakes or something to make up the servings? Do I give them the 28 and charge for the extra servings? Only charge for the servings needed and give the extras for free? Does every wedding cake that doesn't have accurate numbers have a kitchen cake? How to you get a cake to serve the exact amount someone is asking for?




I am pretty sure everyone does not make kitchen cakes in case they may run out. Just give them their options: 16 servings or 28 servings and let them decide. There is no reason you should eat the cost of the cake because it does not make the exact amount of servings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreme

Another thing is pricing the artwork. Being an artist I have always priced my custom work a la carte. If someone wants a mural painted it goes up by each character or whatever they want painted. I use the same method for cakes. I price by what I think the artwork is worth. This has been easy for me but it seems a lot of bakers and decorators don't agree with this. Clients also want to know what the set price is upfront. Somethings I just won't have a price for. I hate when people ask me upfront before final designs how much something cost. I don't know. it depends on factors such as materials, how much it cost to obtain them, how long it takes me to make something, etc. How in the world are you guys doing it? If I'm drawing out the design for a cake then how do I know the price of it before I'm done?





If you are drawing out the design for a cake then you tell them that the price is dependent complexity of design and the materials used.

Let them know you need to work out the details first so you can give them an accurate price.

If they want a base price, set a base price and tell them it will not be lower than that price.

minicuppie Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 2:29pm
post #8 of 11

Bait and switch. Purchase and keep on hand some really nice cake boxes and ribbon. I read a study about this: they (who are THEY, anyway) wrapped 2 gifts of same value. One was dropped into a sack with a bit of tissue paper sticking out. The other was a full on Martha Stewart like creation. The subjects were asked how much each gift was worth. Martha won every time. Moral of story? If it looks like a duck......

-Tubbs Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 2:56pm
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by saffronica

If you only charge for the number of servings needed, instead of the number given, you're giving away cake.



Yes.

If you want to paint a wall, and a quart can of paint isn't enough, you buy a gallon, knowing you'll have some left over. You work with the customer to find the combination of cake sizes to give them the number of servings nearest to their guest numbers.

I'm with you on feeling conflicted about high prices on smaller cakes. Do you have a minimum order amount?

KHalstead Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 5:30pm
post #10 of 11

Here is how I price:

$1.00/serv. for individual round/square cakes

$1.50/serv. for 2 or more individual round/square cakes (this charge is higher because the 2 have to be identical in height and decorations, usually these are done as satellite cakes at weddings)

$2.25/serv. for tiered cakes w/ buttercream

$2.75/serv. for tiered cakes w/ fondant

$3.00/serv. for carved cakes w/ bc

$3.50/serv. for carved cakes w/ fondant


You see, having a different price for different cakes makes it all come out differently.

So for me a 6" round is $10.00, but if they order 2 of them to use as satellite cakes, then they are $15 each! So I wind up making more on them when they're used as centerpiece/satellite cakes at weddings.

If they're just buying 1 for a birthday party, then it's cheaper for them.

A 6" cake on top of a tiered cake, winds up costing them $22.50, but there is more work involved in the actual stacking/ structure of a tiered cake, so this covers the extra time and supplies necessary for that too.

1234me Posted 3 Mar 2010 , 2:16am
post #11 of 11

I have a general overall listing for my single layer buttercream cakes. This give sthem a general idea. Any additional stuff will be an added cost. Fonadnt adds to the cost. Stacked cakes have a different price, but start at $55.


I was always one who thought wedding cakes should cost the same as a birthday cake. I have TOTALLY changes my mind on that. You spend so much more time going back anc forth back and forth back and forth with a bride that I do now believe they shoudl be more expensive. I charge double the proice per slice for wedding cakes than I do for birthday, shower, etc cakes!

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