How Much Should I Charge?

Decorating By pursuing_perfection Updated 3 Jul 2010 , 11:55am by sugarandstuff

pursuing_perfection Posted 5 Jun 2010 , 6:59am
post #1 of 44

Tomorrow I deliver my first cake order, after doing cakes for free (or as gifts) for years. Any idea what I should charge for this cake. I tried to attach a picture of the cake unassembled (I will put it together at the venue), but it didn't work, so check my pics. The soccer ball obviously goes on top of the grass, and the stars on wires will go inside straws inserted into the top of the ball. The "grass layer" is a 9" double chocolate fudge filled with rapsberry filling. The 6" soccer ball is french vanilla filled with strawberry. It took me 8-10 hours to do, but would probably only take 6-7 hours now that I know what I'm doing. Ingredients cost about $25.

How much should I have quoted the customer?

How much would you discount it for a family member? (My brother ordered it for his son. We hadn't really agreed on a price other than that he would cover my expenses and pay at least what they would pay for a sheetcake from the bakery. If he asks a price, I will give one. If not, I will let him know about my time and expenses, and see what he decides. We have a good relationship, and it is not worth squabbling over money.)

43 replies
KHalstead Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 12:49pm
post #2 of 44

personally I would charge a 3D/carved cake price for the ball (it's not carved but it is 3D which requires more time and attention than a regular flat cake) and I would charge the bottom layer as a "tiered cake" since you're stacking them.

So for me, the ball serves 15 and the 9" square serves 40 that would be $3.50/serv. for the ball = $52.50
and 2.50/serv. for the 9"=100.00

Total $152.50 plus $.50/ea for the stars on wires

HTH

If your brother wants it for what he'd pay for a sheet, he's probably looking to spend no more than $25!

mazz Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 1:28pm
post #3 of 44

What a beautiful cake. I'm sure your family will love it. I can't set your price but I know our grocery stores charge $45 to $50 for a 1/2 a sheet cake. What are the prices at the bakeries in your area for fondant and buttercream cakes per serving.?

pursuing_perfection Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 4:08am
post #4 of 44

KHalstead - Do you simply base on $3.50/serving for 3-D and $2.50/serving for a layer cake, or do you have different prices for buttercream, fondant, flowers, etc.? I am still trying to figure out some srot of pricing grid that is not too complicated. I know choice of fillings can make a big difference in price as well.

By the way, a sheet cake that is customized in any way runs at $35 and up. My brother paid me a little more than that, but no where near $150.00!

You can see the assembled cake in my pics. (The soccer ball flattened out slightly, but not too bad).

mariana7842731 Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 4:14am
post #5 of 44

probably whatever they hand u since u never told them price. bad practice hope you get what it's worht.

costumeczar Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 1:03pm
post #6 of 44

If it took you 8-10 hours to do, what's your hourly wage? How much would you want to make if you were working for someone else? Once you take off all of your expenses, including the cost of materials, plus the utilities to bake and clean, boards, annual fees you have to pay for business licenses, etc, it cost you more than $25.

If it was $150 you charged him, and the total expensese for everything were $50, then you netted about $100. Is $10 an hour BEFORE INCOME TAX worth it to you? Once you pay income tax that $10 isn't $10 any more. That amount might be worth it to you, but depending on what you have to give up time-wise to do the cake you might want to make more. If you're going to run a business you really need to sit down and figure out exactly how much the cake is costing you, and how much you want to be paid for the time that you're spending doing cake when you could be doing something else.

tiggy2 Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 1:22pm
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

If it took you 8-10 hours to do, what's your hourly wage? How much would you want to make if you were working for someone else? Once you take off all of your expenses, including the cost of materials, plus the utilities to bake and clean, boards, annual fees you have to pay for business licenses, etc, it cost you more than $25.

If it was $150 you charged him, and the total expensese for everything were $50, then you netted about $100. Is $10 an hour BEFORE INCOME TAX worth it to you? Once you pay income tax that $10 isn't $10 any more. That amount might be worth it to you, but depending on what you have to give up time-wise to do the cake you might want to make more. If you're going to run a business you really need to sit down and figure out exactly how much the cake is costing you, and how much you want to be paid for the time that you're spending doing cake when you could be doing something else.



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KHalstead Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 1:27pm
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by pursuing_perfection

KHalstead - Do you simply base on $3.50/serving for 3-D and $2.50/serving for a layer cake, or do you have different prices for buttercream, fondant, flowers, etc.? I am still trying to figure out some srot of pricing grid that is not too complicated. I know choice of fillings can make a big difference in price as well.

By the way, a sheet cake that is customized in any way runs at $35 and up. My brother paid me a little more than that, but no where near $150.00!

You can see the assembled cake in my pics. (The soccer ball flattened out slightly, but not too bad).







I charge $2.50/serv. for buttercream tiered cakes ($3.00 for fondant tiered cakes)

and I charge $3.00/serv. for bc carved/3D and $3.50/serv. for fondant carved/3D cakes)

This covers the cost of ANY decorations unless they're hand modelled or extensive!

If someone wants bc with fondant accents, it's $.25/serv. extra, if they want the cake covered in fondant it's $.50/serv. extra......if they want fondant w/ fondant accents on top, it's $.75/serv. extra.

Hand modelled items are a minimum of $5.00/each (for items like little purses, cell phones, people, animals, etc.)

Gumpaste flowers (regardless of how small) are a minimum of $1.00/each and go up based on size and the time involved in making them.

If someone orders a buttercream iced cake, they pay the buttercream price and ALL decorations (as long as they're all buttercream) are included in that price.



However, along with my tiered cake/serv. charge....I also charge a $25.00 setup/transfer fee which covers my time actually assembling the cake on site, putting on ribbon, and adding up to 25 stems of flowers.

pat-a-cakes Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 1:45pm
post #9 of 44

Pricing is a difficult thing. I feel that you set the price based on what you feel your work is worth. For example, I decorate because I love to do it so my prices are based on that. I make sure I cover my costs and that's about it. I'm not trying to make minimum wage for the hours it takes me to do them because I do it at my own pace. That doesn't mean that someone else should price the same as I do. What you charge is totally dependent upon your own circumstances and reasons for doing the cake. I totally understand why you are asking for help with pricing though, it's very difficult to have any idea of what to charge when you have never done it before or even really bought cakes before (since you bake and decorate you usually don't buy them icon_wink.gif ). If it was my cake I would probably have charge $60 but for my brother it I would have said $40. You did an amazing job and those prices aren't based on your skill or anything it's just my honest opinion of what I would charge.

mariana7842731 Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 2:02pm
post #10 of 44

60 doll, oh crap. that's sad.

pursuing_perfection Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 2:14pm
post #11 of 44

WOW...what a range of responses!

At this point, I don't expect a good hourly wage, because I am still learning, so it takes me longer. If I am doing the same cake (or similar to one I have done before), then keeping track of my hours might make more sense. I love the challenge and am thankful for the experience.

Still, I am glad to have some base prices to work with. That way I can say what the cake is worth, and if I want to give a friends and family discount, I can.

costumeczar Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 4:59pm
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by pursuing_perfection

Still, I am glad to have some base prices to work with. That way I can say what the cake is worth, and if I want to give a friends and family discount, I can.




Well, If you're just looking for comparisons of different pricing around the country, then I'm in Virginia and I have a minimum of $150 for 3-D cakes, and I'm thinking of raising it to $200. That would cover about a quarter-sheeet cut up and made into whatever shape it needed to be, and only if I've made the design a few times before and I KNOW it won't take longer than a couple of hours.. The 3-D cakes take just as long as a wedding cake, if not longer, so you need to charge accordingly.

KHalstead Posted 12 Jun 2010 , 8:41pm
post #13 of 44

totally agreed, in fact I charge $1.00/serv MORE for 3-D cakes than I do for wedding cakes.......because the 3D ones are always WAY more finicky and time consuming for me!

pipoca Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 12:07am
post #14 of 44

wow this was so interesting.... i too make cakes for family and friends and i dont think i make any money on them after i pay expenses but i was wondering with prices like 150 and 200 dolars do u have steady work?? because everyone i know would not pay that much wich i think is a shame because its so much work and that is why i dont do it professonally i just dont think i could find clientelle icon_sad.gif

mariana7842731 Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 12:18am
post #15 of 44

5 cakes for $20, or 1 cake for $100? It's a pretty easy thing to figure out which one is better.

pipoca Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 12:22am
post #16 of 44

you r right i agree with u that's unfortunate some people dont apreciate it ... i love cake decorating but i should not do it just for the love of it i believe i should make some money too as i work very hard, but people just say j nice they r but dont want to spend the money icon_sad.gif

cr8zchpr Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 12:50am
post #17 of 44

I understand where you are coming from. I was so unsure what to charge at first. And like stated before I basically gave away my work, which was ok when I had a job and was doing it as a hobby. After I lost my job over a year ago I started doing it as an income. I sat down and decided what I needed to charge to be able to support myself through this and I came up with this.

$4.50 a serving for butter cream, $5.50 for fondant and they go up from there depending on flavor filling and complexity of design. I was a little scared at first, but you will find that there are people who will pay for good quality and there are people who do know the difference. I still do lesser expensive cakes if the client is in need, but it's my choice, or I refer them to another local bakery that can accommodate their needs. I live in California and the economy here is so bad but there are still people ordering everyday....

costumeczar Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 1:46am
post #18 of 44

You have to find the customers. If you want to sell more upscale cakes, don't advertise using tear-off sheets at the supermarket, etc. If you want to do mostly weddings, advertise in local wedding guides that are given out at wedding shows. The customers are out there, but you have to market yourself in the right areas.

If people want the cake, they'll pay for it. I've had people who can't afford it, but then someone comes along who can. I'm booked through October with weddings and groom's cakes for this year, and I've started booking out dates in 2011, so there is a client base that's willing to pay for good-quality cakes.

pipoca Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 1:51am
post #19 of 44

ty for ur imput im starting to feel better about what i do .icon_smile.gif i think it's time i rethink what i do and believe in myself icon_smile.gif

pursuing_perfection Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 4:06am
post #20 of 44

Thank-you again for all your input. It helps as well to know what area of the country you are in when you give me your prices. Obviously prices are affected by where you live.

iris219 Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 1:18pm
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cr8zchpr

I needed to charge to be able to support myself through this and I came up with this.

$4.50 a serving for butter cream, $5.50 for fondant and they go up from there depending on flavor filling and complexity of design.




Glad to see these prices, I start at $4.00 and go up from there depending on what they are looking for. Everyone looks at me with 3 heads when I tell them a price and the way I look at it is....I have to buy all my supplies at Retail NOT Wholesale therefor my supplies cost more than any local bakery who buy in bulk. If they don't want to pay my price than they can always get it at your local bakery. With the way the economy is I've found that all retail stores are jacking up there prices so I stay firm with my quote.

pursuing_perfection Posted 13 Jun 2010 , 5:30pm
post #22 of 44

Thanks Iris!

KHalstead Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 12:43pm
post #23 of 44

if they want it, they'll pay for it!!

Obviously you HAVE to make sure that when you quote someone for a cake that it's something you CAN PULL OFF nicely.....not necessarily flawlessly, but it should be close!

My market has tiered cakes starting at $1.50/serv.- I charge $2.50/serv., so when I tell people $3.50/serv. for bc carved and $4.00/serv. for fondant...some of them really wig out!! I mean that's almost 3 times a NORMAL wedding cake to them!!! BUT the people who REALLY want the 3D cakes and WANT that affect are willing to pay for it!

The people who think a 3D carved cake to look exactly like a lifesize guitar, should cost the same as a 1/2 sheet cake with a guitar drawn in frosting on it........ARE NOT my customer base!!

My experience has been that the majority of people wanting "blow you away" cakes are willing to pay the price for that affect!!

I recently sold some little taco cakes that look like real tacos, and I used to charge $.50/each for them but they're SO much work. Then I raised it to $1.00/each...and again was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much work......the 3rd time someone ordered them I quoted $1.50/each and they wanted 2 doz. so that's $36! This was a lady that works with my mom and she said "there is no way she'll pay that much!" Well, when my mom told her the price she said...great!! and then wrote a check on the spot.......my mom said, wow.......I figured you'd think that was a lot to pay for them.........you know what the lady said???

"36 dollars is a small price to pay to be the center of attention all night, and that's what I'll be when I show up with those tacos!!!"

It's more than just a cake sometimes......sometimes it's bragging rights, sometimes it being the center of attention, sometimes it's being known for having the most awesome cakes at your parties.......whatever you charge......you are giving the customers all of THIS, besides an awesome cake!

pursuing_perfection Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 1:31pm
post #24 of 44

Very good points.

pat-a-cakes Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 3:51pm
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariana7842731

60 doll, oh crap. that's sad.



Okay not sure what you mean here but I know if I tried to get some of the prices others on here get I would just never find customers. I know that the cakes are totally worth a lot more and I'm so glad that many of the CCer's seem to get very good prices for their cakes. I live in small town Ontario Canada and there is no way I could get that kind of price on cakes around here on any sort of regular basis.

pursuing_perfection Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 4:44pm
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat-a-cakes

Okay not sure what you mean here but I know if I tried to get some of the prices others on here get I would just never find customers. I know that the cakes are totally worth a lot more and I'm so glad that many of the CCer's seem to get very good prices for their cakes. I live in small town Ontario Canada and there is no way I could get that kind of price on cakes around here on any sort of regular basis.




I agree. Smalltowns in Canada cannot charge that much and expect to have a business. You may get away with doing a couple of cakes at that price, but there is not enough of a customer base to run a business. So, we have to decide if we are willing to do it for less. The upside is that we at least make a little bit of money doing something we like... so is that worth your time? I guess if you desperately need the money, you have another job that is your main source of income.

pursuing_perfection Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 4:49pm
post #27 of 44

For your interest, I have asked around as to what peoople would pay for the soccer ball cake. Those that realized that a cake like this is far superior to a store bought slab (in appearance and taste), suggested prices ranging from $75 to $125. Now whether they would actually order a cake from me at that price remains to be seen...although one of them has already asked for a cake with a nurse's cap on it for a nursing grad celebration next month.

The prices suggested here ($150-$200) are too high for where I live. I would rather make a lot of cakes at a lower price than only do several a year!

multilayered Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 5:04pm
post #28 of 44

I am in New York and I have a minimum of $150, and believe it or not that is NOT expensive here. Most Cake shops around here have at least a $200 minimum. Now in NYC some of the TOP bakers have very high minimums...Collette's Cakes have a $1000 minimum!!!!! It really does depend on your region what you can charge.

valerieInga Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 5:13pm
post #29 of 44

I'd love to know where in Canada you live. I live in Winnipeg and used to live in northwestern Ont in a small mining town (Manitouwadge). When I retire we'll be moving to another small town in NW ON. about 1/2 hr from Dryden. I am a nurse with only a few years left till retirement . I only decorate for friends and family cause I can't believe I'd get those kind of prices here or in small town Ont. I have alot of photos I need to upload (need my hubbies help) to see what work I've been doing lately, no matter how good won't get $40.00/hr What do most people charge per hour?

pat-a-cakes Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 8:05pm
post #30 of 44

I agree that with advertising and efforts I could get a little more for cakes but since I am a mother of 2 young kids with a full-time job and going to teachers' college in the fall I don't want that kind of business. I do it because I love it and it's a little mad money once in a while. I guess it really depends on what you want to make, how much business you want etc. Whatever works for you is what is right!

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