Not A "did I Charge Too Much For This Cake" Pricin

Decorating By mamawrobin Updated 13 Jun 2010 , 5:18am by mcaulir

mamawrobin Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 5:21am
post #1 of 56

We all know that there are a lot of questions concerning how to price cakes, whether or not someone charged too much or too little for a cake and so on. I have a pricing question that addresses more than the simple answer of yes or no.

When someone asks "did I charge too much for this cake" most always the answer is "no". This is answered a lot of times without even seeing the cake that was actually made by the op asking the question.

In my opinion the quality of work is a very important factor that isn't being addressed when these questions are being answered. Many times if a photo of the cake is posted it isn't the cake that the person actually made themselves but instead is a photo of the cake that they've been ask to duplicate.

I remember a thread a few months ago that was about the customer being upset about the price of the cake. When a photo of the actual cake WAS posted it was clear as to why they were upset. Just because you make a cake to feed 50 and the "going price" in your area is $4.00 a serving doesn't necessarily mean that you made a $200.00 cake.

Am I wrong for looking at it this way? I just think that factoring in the "quality of work" isn't a bad idea. Anyone with me on this or am I wrong?

55 replies
Bfisher2 Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 5:38am
post #2 of 56

You are quite correct. Charm city and Carlos bakery whom are viewed as being tops in the business have a booking minimum that is higher than I paid for my first car...*LOL* Your finished product inside to out determines your price range. icon_smile.gif

KakesbyKris Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 6:20am
post #3 of 56

I agree. As a newbie it makes it even more confusing when trying to figure out my pricing and the answer I see over and over is "no" or"you didn't charge enough." It doesn't seem so cut and dry to me. For example I charged x amount for a full sheet cake. It was my first order, I didn't having pricing figured out and felt I shouldn't be charging y amount when I am just starting out. From everything I read over and over I charged way too little. I was delightfully surprised to receive a "tip" when I delivered the cake after they saw the work I did. That's what I would like to base my prices on, what people feel my work is worth.
To make things interesting here is a cake I am trying to figure out a price for. It is my work done on a dummy for a display at a Breast Cancer fundraiser. I hadn't figured out a price until I dropped it off and then received calls after I got home from people wanting to order one and know how much it would cost. It's all fondant with 31 roses and RI "lace."
Please judge on talent and not on the "going rate."
Alright I can't get it to attach but it is in my pics.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 7:02am
post #4 of 56

I understand your point, but "quality of work" is subjective. Some people look at a cake...even one that isn't perfect...realize they could never do it themselves, and are more than willing to pay $3-4/slice. Even if a professional can see the flaws, many times non-professionals can't.

Also, we're often our own worst critic, so at what point do we look beyond the flaws and believe our quality of work is on par with the big guys?

And....some cakes turn out better than others, even for the "superstar" decorators. Should you charge less for the ones that don't turn out as well, and charge more for the ones that turn out exceptionally well?

That being said, you DO have to have better than average decorating and baking skills in order to stay in business. If you consistently deliver cake wrecks and charge $4/slice, you won't be in business for long. But, in my area, if you're NOT charging at least $3.50/slice, you might as well close up shop anyway because you aren't making any money!

indydebi Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 7:08am
post #5 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCakes1966

And....some cakes turn out better than others .... Should you charge less for the ones that don't turn out as well ....


Like this one: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1492272

I swear, the only reason I posted it was so I could say, "See? Everyone has a crappy cake day once in awhile!" icon_redface.gificon_razz.gificon_lol.gif

dalis4joe Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 9:04am
post #6 of 56

I can understand if u as a skilled baker are looking at just your flaws on the cake and thinking ( I should charge less... ) as stated before... we are very meticulous about our work... we want perfection at all times... and while a slip of the hand while painting fondant or a glued together gumpaste figure might make us doubt if it's worth what we quoted or not.... those things are still within the scope of the quote you give ( in my opinion )
I believe that if you as a baker make a cake that it's so bad that it's not worth what you quote... then you need to get re-trained or a new career.... I don't think that a skilled baker/cakester can make such a huge mistake that it would merit you having to lower your quote...

icon_smile.gif

noahsmummy Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 9:45am
post #7 of 56

personally, i think that if your are in business and dont know how much to charge for your product.. your in a spot of bother. im a hooby baker.. someday.. when i have VASTLY improved on my skills, id like to have a business, and ill be looking to make a profit.. so one of the first things ill be doing is figuring out prices..

cost of ingredients + how much you would like to be payed per hour + plus % of overheads = cost of cake.

mamawrobin Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 9:47am
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

I believe that if you as a baker make a cake that it's so bad that it's not worth what you quote... then you need to get re-trained or a new career.... I don't think that a skilled baker/cakester can make such a huge mistake that it would merit you having to lower your quote...

icon_smile.gif




dalis I guess you misunderstood the question. I am not talking about needing to "get re-trained or a new career...or a "skilled baker/cakester" making "such a huge mistake" resulting in "having to lower your quote". I'm talking about people that have sold maybe 1 or 2 cakes and are posting questions asking whether or not they charged too much or too little for the cake icon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 11:56am
post #9 of 56

When people post those types of questions on here and don't put a picture up, they probably know that the cake wasn't that good. They're not looking for real feedback, they want hand-holding and people to tell them that they're right and the customer was wrong. As soon as someone posts any kind of constructive criticism they get jumped on for being "mean." I think that most of the people who would be willing to post honest responses have figured out that people aren't looking for that, so they don't bother to.

mamawrobin Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 12:46pm
post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

When people post those types of questions on here and don't put a picture up, they probably know that the cake wasn't that good. They're not looking for real feedback, they want hand-holding and people to tell them that they're right and the customer was wrong. As soon as someone posts any kind of constructive criticism they get jumped on for being "mean." I think that most of the people who would be willing to post honest responses have figured out that people aren't looking for that, so they don't bother to.




Good point.

mamawrobin Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 12:49pm
post #11 of 56

[quote="noahsmummy"].. someday.. when i have VASTLY improved on my skills, id like to have a business, and ill be looking to make a profit.. so one of the first things ill be doing is figuring out prices..


Whatever icon_smile.gif Your cakes are awesome! You do beautiful work my dear. thumbs_up.gif

noahsmummy Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 12:57pm
post #12 of 56

haha thankyou. but i still think i need alot of improvement before i sell my work. =)

maybe one day ill be able to make cakes like yours.. maybe. haha

KHalstead Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 1:09pm
post #13 of 56

mamawrobin I completely agree with you!!! When I first started selling cakes 2 yrs ago I found out what the going rate was and then charged a little less, as my technique improved, my price got higher.

The ONLY other bakery that sells wedding/tiered/fondant cakes around here charges the same she did 2 years ago $1.50/serv. I now charge $2.50 but I've surpassed her in technique...she ONLY uses wilton fondant, her bc isn't smooth, she doesn't deliver outside of town, and she doesn't allow cake tastings (???) I still get a TON of business even being that much more than her because I'm more accomodating, my work is cleaner, and the cakes/fondant taste better.

I think if your work is equivalent to the other bakeries THEN you can charge what they do!

In my case, I HAD to raise prices because I couldn't even MAKE the cake for $1.50/serv. much less make a profit!

uniquecreations Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 1:11pm
post #14 of 56

I made a cake this past weekend for my cousins little girl's birthday it was a free cake as my cousin has really helped me tremendously so I didnt charge for the cake. So she asked what would I charge for a cake like that I said $200, the cake was a 12", 9" and 4", around here the going price is between $2-3.50- per serving and to me I didnt think the cake was all that great but the little girl loved it and my cousin said when she was bringing the cake in that her sister said I know you didnt buy that child a $300 cake. I'm like wow $300.00. So then she posted the picture of the cake on facebook and I have gotten cake orders from that. She said people were asking her did you get one of those TV cake people to make the cake. And from looking at all the AWSOME work on this board and the breath taking cakes, when she told me that I'm like you're kidding me. But like another poster said we are our own worst critics. But it's good to know someone would have possibly paid $300 for it. thumbs_up.gif But I think when you look at other peoples work that is just fabulous, you think oh if I could only get half that good. But then people who are not decorators just have a fit over what you felt like was just OK. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif I wouldn't even post the picture on here because I just didnt think it was all that!!!!!

cutthecake Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 1:12pm
post #15 of 56

Devil's advocate thinking:

What about cakes that look great......but the customer is dissatisfied with the taste? (Because of either a faulty recipe or a bad baking day) You need decorating skills AND baking skills to produce a great cake. Both the appearance and the taste are subjective. Should a less-tasty cake cost less? Do you charge less, or give refund if they don't like the taste? How would this factor into the logic here?

Many have heard criticism of one popular TV baker: "It looked beautiful, but it didn't taste good."

(I don't sell cakes.)

mamawrobin Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 1:26pm
post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

Devil's advocate thinking:

What about cakes that look great......but the customer is dissatisfied with the taste? (Because of either a faulty recipe or a bad baking day) You need decorating skills AND baking skills to produce a great cake. Both the appearance and the taste are subjective. Should a less-tasty cake cost less? Do you charge less, or give refund if they don't like the taste? How would this factor into the logic here?

Many have heard criticism of one popular TV baker: "It looked beautiful, but it didn't taste good."

(I don't sell cakes.)




I agree 100% with what you're saying thumbs_up.gif Another great example of how it's almost impossible to give a factual answer to the question. IMO taste is every bit as important as how the cake looks if not more.

noahsmummy Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 1:28pm
post #17 of 56

i hear that alot too; im a hobby baker and when i make cakes people are always shocked that they taste good! because "pretty cakes never taste as good as they look". one thing i do know is that i make a mean chocolate cake....

TexasSugar Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 2:23pm
post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KakesbyKris

....That's what I would like to base my prices on, what people feel my work is worth....




Problem with this is we live in a world where everyone wants things as cheaply as they can get it. You see it all the time on here how people want grand cakes and then say their budget is only half or a forth of the price that is quoted.

I don't paint, so how can I even begin to tell a painted how much I feel their painting is worth in my eyes?

As far as the main point, charging based off of experinces, I think it has valid points. I do not think that someone that has only made a few cakes can go out and charge Duff prices. BUT on the other side of that coin you have those that have established business that complain when people come along and charge very little, to build experience and take business away from them.

I think over all you have to charge what you need to cover your costs and hourly. Anything over that is for your experince and decorating skills.

Meowcakes Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 2:23pm
post #19 of 56

I agree with you Mamarobin and I do not believe quality of work is subjective. We all know what a well decorated cake looks like as opposed to one that isn't. It's why I always have a problem on here when people say they got asked for a refund and should they give one, then show the picture of what was requested and a picture of what was made and they are night and day. And what happens? Instead of people being honest, they tell the OP "It's not so bad". It's either bad or not and I would be pissed as a customer to pay $300 for a cake that looks like crap. People need to be more honest on here with people who sell cakes. Have some integrity for your craft and respect for the customer and quit doing all this hand holding.

deah Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 2:58pm
post #20 of 56

Maybe we, as a community, are trying too hard not to offend that we aren't helping each other.

I really don't have enough experience to critic someone's work but if I posted a picture and asked for comments I would expect real, helpful comments - not fluffy words to make me feel better. However, I would appreciate that comments be restricted to helpful ideas not nasty remarks. Something like "what if you tried......" or "I do something similar but I do it this way...." or even "Now, Deah, that doesn't appear to be your best effort...."


PS - IndyDeb, your picture makes me feel better. Some days I feel so inferior in my skills but you shared that even a pro like you can have bad cake days.

Herekittykitty Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 3:02pm
post #21 of 56

I just sent my family pictures of a recent practice cake (not because it was good but because they like to see them regardless), and Dad's comment was: "Very pretty, but do they have to taste good too?"

My reply was: Of course they do! What is the point of going through all that work if they don't taste good?

The fun part for me is making them "Pretty" but I would be more crushed if I found out that no one ate it b/c it tasted bad than if they thought it was ugly.

Kitagrl Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 3:21pm
post #22 of 56

I agree that pricing is almost never comparable unless you are comparing with your neighbor that has the exact same skills, same town, same customer base, same everything!!!!

Pricing TOTALLY changes depending on skills....taste....demand (no matter what they look or taste like, if alot of people want your cakes, you can charge more than if you have absolutely no client base)...cost of living in your area....etc.

leah_s Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 3:47pm
post #23 of 56

I think deah's onto something. My biggest frustration on this site is the false encouragement. The "puppies and rainbows" effect. There's encouraging and there's lying to make someone feel better.

There have been a few posts, with pictures, of cakes that should never have left the poster's kitchen. And yet, the responses are full of, "You're your own worst critic", "the cake was fine" etc, and those few that offered gentle and constructive criticism were labeled "mean."

Really, sometimes we should just step back and say, "Girrrrll (Dude!), what were you thinking?"

Herekittykitty Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 3:58pm
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I think deah's onto something. My biggest frustration on this site is the false encouragement. The "puppies and rainbows" effect. There's encouraging and there's lying to make someone feel better.

There have been a few posts, with pictures, of cakes that should never have left the poster's kitchen. And yet, the responses are full of, "You're your own worst critic", "the cake was fine" etc, and those few that offered gentle and constructive criticism were labeled "mean."

Really, sometimes we should just step back and say, "Girrrrll (Dude!), what were you thinking?"




Agree. How can a person get better if they aren't aware of where they went wrong in the first place? Even a "that looks nice but did you know if you did THIS it would be amazing" is better than as leah puts it "puppies and rainbows".

HobbyCaker Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:01pm
post #25 of 56

"The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you are not worth the truth"


This is something my dear sweet little grandmother use to say all the time when I was growing up. Not sure where she heard it from or if it was her own saying, but it packs a powerful punch!

Kitagrl Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:01pm
post #26 of 56

I totally agree...we can give constructive criticism in a nice way.... we don't have to lie...we can say "You did a great job with your colors on your cake! You might just want to practice getting your buttercream more smooth and your surface more even. I would charge around $xx for that particular cake."

Sometimes I think people are afraid to say something negative for fear it will be taken wrong...because there is that small handful that actually will say it with a mean spirit and that's not good either.

carmijok Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:29pm
post #27 of 56

I know what you mean by 'puppies and rainbows'. Often I'll see a cake and notice that something could have been done to improve it, but I don't really want to say anything because who the hell am I to comment because while I'm not the worst, I certainly don't feel I"m the best to comment on someone else's work who is learning just like I am. I've never been to classes and am doing this for fun and a little money here and there, so I KNOW there's room for improvement for me! Which is why I just feel it's not my place to comment critically on others work. Not yet anyway. So I tend to Puppy and Rainbow it. icon_redface.gif

indydebi Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:39pm
post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

I certainly don't feel I"m the best to comment on someone else's work who is learning just like I am.


After looking at your cakes, I'd certainly consider advice from you.

If you've done something and I haven't, between the two of us that makes you the expert and me the novice. You don't have to be a Buddy V. or a Duff G. to offer advice. This isn't a classroom where there is one expert (teacher) and everyone else is a student. This is a sharing site where we share our experiences ..... what works for some may not work for others, or it could be the piece of advice that saves the cake!

Don't be shy ..... thumbs_up.gif

Kitagrl Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:40pm
post #29 of 56

I think it depends on what is being asked...if they are like "Look at my cake, I'm so excited!!!!" Then we say "Great job!"

But if they say "I am not too happy with my cake, could you tell me what I should have done differently?" Then its wide open for honesty. Or, "What should I charge for this cake that I just made" or "I'm so upset with this cake"....any of those are options for us to give helpful and kind criticism.

But if they don't ask...then no need for us to say anything negative.

costumeczar Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:45pm
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I think deah's onto something. My biggest frustration on this site is the false encouragement. The "puppies and rainbows" effect. There's encouraging and there's lying to make someone feel better.

There have been a few posts, with pictures, of cakes that should never have left the poster's kitchen. And yet, the responses are full of, "You're your own worst critic", "the cake was fine" etc, and those few that offered gentle and constructive criticism were labeled "mean."

Really, sometimes we should just step back and say, "Girrrrll (Dude!), what were you thinking?"




Well, like I said before, if one or two people do get reamed for giving constructive criticism, or for just saying "no, that cake shouldn't have been sold" then the people hwo would have been saying truthful comments figure what's the point, nobody wants to hear how they can improve, and they don't bother.

People can see whether a cake is good or not, too. You don't have to have a high level of decorating skills to be able to tell if something stinks. You just have to have eyesight! It's like the people who screech that Simon Cowell shouldn't be judging people if he can't get up there and sing it himself. He can hear, he understands what's technically good and bad, and that's all you need to be a judge in a singing contest. You don't need to be able to sing yourself.

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