Newbie Needs Help With Pricing

Decorating By Mb20fan Updated 4 Mar 2010 , 6:41am by kellertur

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 5:05pm
post #1 of 86

Ok...so I've read several times about how people worry about over or under charging for cakes and such, and now I'm one of those people. I just made my first cupcake cake and I already have a request for one and I'm not sure what to charge. Local grocery stores are charging $19.99 with a plastic toy on it. Here's mine that was done using a coloring page as a reference.

Image
Image

Strawberry cake with whipped cream-cheese filling and strawberry buttercream icing. For my first time, it took me a long time to do this. Now I don't know how to charge for something like this using 24 cupcakes. I just can't imagine only selling something this nice for $20 bucks!

Any advise would really be appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!

85 replies
MJoycake Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 5:23pm
post #2 of 86

You need to figure out your price according to how much your ingredients cost and how much time you are spending on making it (how much are you paying yourself hourly?).

BUT - you can not legally sell a cake like that unless you have bought the rights to reproduce the licensed characters, which is why the grocery store uses the plastic figures.

msmerial Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 5:25pm
post #3 of 86

Funny, I have one for this weekend and was wondering the same thing! Also your CCC is gorgeous would you mind sharing the recipes you used for your cake, and icing. I need a no fail good strawberry cuppie

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 6:28pm
post #4 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmerial

Funny, I have one for this weekend and was wondering the same thing! Also your CCC is gorgeous would you mind sharing the recipes you used for your cake, and icing. I need a no fail good strawberry cuppie



Thank you kindly...it took a while because I'm VERY new to decorating. This was only 8th attempt to decorate a cake as I just started trying 6 weeks ago.

Since I focus more on the decorating, for now I used a box mix - Duncan Hines Strawberry cake mix. I made the standard crusting buttercream icing (from this site) and just used strawberry extract to flavor it and used the whipped cream cheese filling (from this site) as the filler. Only for my buttercream icing, I cut the crisco down from 1 1/2 cups to 1 1/4 and always use meringue powder.


Also, thanks about the tip for the character license thing. This one that I made was just to try out the cupcake cake and I am bringing this for my friend's kids to gobble up. As far as the pricing, it took me over 4 hours to do it all - but like I said, I'm a newbie. I'm sure others with more experience can knock this out much faster and I'm sure with time, I will too. And I only chose Strawberry Shortcake because it went with my flavor theme. How do I learn more info about licensing and stuff like that?

Thanks again everyone. icon_biggrin.gif

ShiaCakes Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 7:27pm
post #5 of 86

Suggestion: the further you distance yourself from cakes that look like grocery store offerings, the more money you will make, and the less stress you will have. Most custom cakers do not offer these types of "cakes" for good reason.

LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:20pm
post #6 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShiaCakes

Suggestion: the further you distance yourself from cakes that look like grocery store offerings, the more money you will make, and the less stress you will have. Most custom cakers do not offer these types of "cakes" for good reason.




Very true. I wouldn't pay more then $20 from anyone for this cake, cause thats what I can get it at the grocery store for. I pay custom cake prices for custom cake styles, not grocery store style cakes.

tiggy2 Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:41pm
post #7 of 86

Do a search on copyrighted images and you'll get a ton of information. Basically if it's copyrighted you can't duplicate it and sell it. If you get cought you could be fined a heffty fine. And I agree with LaBellaFlor on the pricing on this style of cake.

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:42pm
post #8 of 86

The local grocery stores here don't offer detailed decorating, they stick a plastic toy on top of a cake which is why I thought my cake would be worth more than $20. Being such a newbie to this, I will try not to let that discourage me, I still enjoy doing this so far and for my first time trying, I am pleased with it.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:42pm
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

Do a search on copyrighted images and you'll get a ton of information. Basically if it's copyrighted you can't duplicate it and sell it. If you get cought you could be fined a heffty fine. And I agree with LaBellaFlor on the pricing on this style of cake.




Thank you for the info.

LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:44pm
post #10 of 86

Your right, you did do more work. But from a customer perspective, they see a typical cupcake cake, but with a piped face instead of a plastic face. It's not that far of a stretch for them. Does that make sense?

ShiaCakes Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:45pm
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mb20fan

The local grocery stores here don't offer detailed decorating, they stick a plastic toy on top of a cake which is why I thought my cake would be worth more than $20. Being such a newbie to this, I will try not to let that discourage me, I still enjoy doing this so far and for my first time trying, I am pleased with it.

Thanks for the input everyone.



MB, the average cake civilian out there won't give a hoot as to whether that image was plastic or handpiped. We all know better, but this is what we live and breathe.

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:49pm
post #12 of 86

And I'm just learning...anyway. I appreciate the input guys. Thanks everyone. icon_smile.gif

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:51pm
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

Your right, you did do more work. But from a customer perspective, they see a typical cupcake cake, but with a piped face instead of a plastic face. It's not that far of a stretch for them. Does that make sense?




Yes, I see your point. Thanks. icon_smile.gif

ShiaCakes Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 9:54pm
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mb20fan

Being such a newbie to this, I will try not to let that discourage me,




Although I get the feeling that you are "done" hearing about this I will emphasize that we are trying to save you from the inevitable disappointment you will soon experience by trying to sell cakes like this.

Practice tiered designs, and anything really other than a CCC. Make your product unique. That's what sells.

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 10:06pm
post #15 of 86

I'm not at that level yet. Again, I just started 6 weeks ago. Until this CCC, I had only done 7 cakes. This was my 8th attempt to decorate something and what caught me off guard was that I just did this cake last night to practice something different and just today, I have 4 requests for CCCs. Prior to this thread, I began thinking that parents must like this because it's easier at a birthday party not having to cut cake and it's portioned controlled and such. That's why I posted the question that I did. I'm not at the calllibur to do wedding cakes - but today I was asked how much I would charge for this style. So, I was surprised to meet up with such negativity with doing CCCs. If I had the talent to do bigger and better (I haven't even attempted a 3 tier cake yet, not sure about stacking) I'm sure I would better understand where you guys are coming from - but I don't have anything to compare this to. Because in my mind, I can't fathom becoming good enough to have a cake base price of $100. Wow...that would be awesome! But I'm so not in the that ballpark. I just started my decorating classes and I know I have so much to learn and I've very eager to do so. I get what you all are saying, but I'm not in yall's league yet. This was a big deal to me because it was something new. Hell, I was just happy that the cupcakes didn't pull apart as I was trying to ice them. I hope to be running someday, but I just started my baby steps! Lol...

LaBellaFlor Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 10:11pm
post #16 of 86

Your work came out fine, thats not it. Those same parents that asked, are going to bulk when you say $50. And think about how long it took you to do that work. Think about the cost of your ingredients, equipment, utilities, and then your labor. Is $50 really worth it, when you probably only make $20 profit? Thats another thing you should learn as well as decorating skills, if you ever decide to sell cakes. Good luck.

Dolledupcakes Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 10:13pm
post #17 of 86

You got to remember what is your time worth

Mb20fan Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 10:17pm
post #18 of 86

It definitely took me a long time, but I just chalked it up to my lack of experience as I'm sure an experienced person with alot more confidence could've whipped this out in no time. I hope to get better and faster, no matter what cake I do. I just need to practice.

TexasSugar Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 10:43pm
post #19 of 86

mb20fan, I do CCCs for my SIL all the time because they are easy to serve for what she needs them for. Plus there is no cutting or a need for plates and forks.

As a beginner I would be careful about selling cakes to others. One you do need to find out what your area allows where it comes to that, but also because you are beginning you don't feel like you can charge more over what you put into the cake. You aren't alone, many people have stood in your shoes. I'm a WMI and I have students always coming in going so and so saw my cake and wants me to do one for them.

The big problem comes from where those around you start looking to you for a cake because they can get it cheap or they think you are going to give them a deal on it. And many people around here can tell you they have friends and friends of friends coming out of the wood work then wanting a cheap cake. It gets even better when you do get to a level where you can do more, sculpted or bigger cakes, because they will want bigger and better with the same price tag as before.

JenJen28 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:24am
post #20 of 86

I would charge per cupcake. $2.00 a cupcake. $48 for 24 cupcakes. You could apply a discount if the orders are bigger. You could even charge by the dozen. BUT-I don't know where you are located so I would be very careful about charging if you are not licensed! You should decide if its worth your time and worth the risk. The benefit may be that you are getting the practice instead of the pay.

KathysCC Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:39am
post #21 of 86

mb20fan, please learn to ignore the negative comments here in the forums. You have every right to ask a question and get an answer without getting critiques about how and what you are doing. Weed through the negative and know-it-all responses and ignore those people who talk to you that way. Welcome to CC and feel free to post any questions you may have.

LaBellaFlor Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:42am
post #22 of 86

Here we go again. Someone saying negative comments when it was all advice in how to succeed and why.

ElegantOccasions Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:53am
post #23 of 86

I made a CCC recently, much simpler than yours and charged $2.50 per cupcake. That was $60. We have Walmarts, Targets and Publix all over the place. Now people are ordering them left and right for the convenience.
In other words, "GO GIRL, your work is really nice and it's only going to get better. Don't sell yourself and your talent short. Good luck to you.

pearlydi Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:54am
post #24 of 86

mb20fan, welcome to CC !!!! I will charge $2 per cupcake and then I will charge for the time I will spend piping this design, just an idea!!! and hey who said I have to make free cakes in order for me to practice at least I should get the cost of the materials I will be using!!!! Ok, ok don't jump on me, I know your good intentions! LOL icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif

sadsmile Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:09am
post #25 of 86

There is a lot more to it then just deciding to charge for what you bake one day. Can you legally sell cakes made from home where you live? Are there licenses and inspections and insurance required? Those things cost a lot and take a lot of time. Do you live in an area that will allow you open a home based business that will bring business traffic? The cost of supplies, electric, your time, packaging. What is the market value in your area- the high and low end. Have you done research on where you fit into that. Do you have a business plan? Do you know about contacts and legalities associated with protecting yourself and your clientele?

Don't ignore things that sound negative at first glance. It may be hard to hear/read, but it's stuff everyone wanting in the cake business needs to know and research. Ignorance is not bliss when the health department knocks on your door with the police to hand you a fine possible up to $5000.00- probation or jail time for being arrested. Make sure you find out all you can and go about it the right way.
If you are just starting out with piping skills then you definitely have skills you can build on. thumbs_up.gif

PumpkinTart Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:14am
post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

mb20fan, please learn to ignore the negative comments here in the forums. You have every right to ask a question and get an answer without getting critiques about how and what you are doing. Weed through the negative and know-it-all responses and ignore those people who talk to you that way. Welcome to CC and feel free to post any questions you may have.




I don't believe anyone said anything negative. It was all constructive, helpful advice and the OP seems to have understood that. She was encouraged to keep improving her skills and attempt higher level cakes/cuppies so she could eventually make more money. Why create drama about negative comments when none were made or intended?

ElegantOccasions Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:25am
post #27 of 86

The OP DID NOT ask for advise on a home business, legal business, etc.
Because she didn't ask for that advise, let's just ASSUME that she doesn't need it. Her question was about the pricing for a particular cake. She gave all of the necessary details re: such cake. So can we just answer her question. I mean we don't have to always play Devil's Advocate. Let's just answer the question which she has every right to ask as a member of this site.

luv2bake4u Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:48am
post #28 of 86

wow Sadsmile,,the area where you live must be pretty strict. I have been a police officer for 18 years and I have never assisted the inspection or health department on anything like that.

Adevag Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:54am
post #29 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElegantOccasions

The OP DID NOT ask for advise on a home business, legal business, etc.
Because she didn't ask for that advise, let's just ASSUME that she doesn't need it. Her question was about the pricing for a particular cake. She gave all of the necessary details re: such cake. So can we just answer her question. I mean we don't have to always play Devil's Advocate. Let's just answer the question which she has every right to ask as a member of this site.




To be able to answer the OP's question about pricing we would need to know about her costs. If she is licensed then she will have higher costs (insurance, license fees and other additional costs (separate phone number) etc) other than just the cost of ingredients, supplies, gas and electricity. Nobody said that she did not have any right to ask this question. She was just given informative answers.
mb20fan - your CCC is beautiful and you should be very proud. I am also thinking about pricing (but I am planning on staring a home licensed business at the earliest in two years) and so far, pricing per cup cake to start with makes sense to me. Then the price would go up depending on the complexity of your design. In other words how much time they require. I think CCC makes sense for children's parties and I'm sure you can still make them but create designs above Walmart's! thumbs_up.gif

sadsmile Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 2:02am
post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElegantOccasions

The OP DID NOT ask for advise on a home business, legal business, etc.
Because she didn't ask for that advise, let's just ASSUME that she doesn't need it. Her question was about the pricing for a particular cake. She gave all of the necessary details re: such cake. So can we just answer her question. I mean we don't have to always play Devil's Advocate. Let's just answer the question which she has every right to ask as a member of this site.




Playing Devil's Advocate would be to encourage her to blindly continue along and not warning her of pitfalls in her path. Just because someone doesn't ask doesn't mean they don't want or need to know. Someone who is new may not know to ask about these things at all. And no we do not always have to stick to only the question asked. There are a multitude of threads where many people have added in this and that and it makes for a wonderful spread of advice that runs the full spectrum on a topic. I am certainly grateful that when i started asking about selling cake back in the beginning someone told me the answers to questions I didn't ask.. saved me from doing things illegally. In life you should never assume anything because well you make an ___ out of U and me. No one said she doesn't have a right to ask... she most certainly does and has received some sage advice.

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