karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 1:21pm
post #1 of

I am struggling with sheet cakes. I've had 2 questions lately about how much they cost. Both wanted edible images, which I don't do. I told them if they bought them I could put them on a cake.

Can you share your pricing structure as regards these types of orders? I HATE sheet cakes, but so many want them. Say it's an edible image thing or something simple like the name and some flowers or balloons (ick...shades of Wal Mart). How do you price those in comparison to normal 2 layer cakes?

I charge $3 per serving normally and $3.75 for fondant. Do you think $1.75 per serving for these is wrong?

37 replies
Doug Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 1:50pm
post #2 of

yes, wrong.

your price for them is $3/serving or $3.75 for fondant.


a serving is a serving is a serving!

TexasSugar Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 2:13pm
post #3 of

I'm with Doug, a 2x2x2 serving is the same amount of cake as a 1x2x4 isn't it? So why should the pricing change?

leah_s Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 2:22pm
post #4 of

ditto

The cake doesn't care what shape it is.

sweet-thing Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 2:39pm
post #5 of

I totally agree with everyone else. It should be the same. Having said that, I charge less for sheet cakes than other cakes as long as it is just simple decorations and no fondant work. Bad, I know but it works for me.

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 2:49pm
post #6 of

I just feel a bit like a pirate charging the same price if all I'm doing is slapping an EI on there and doing a border. Seems sooooo simple for that price. I don't even have to fill and stack it! Obviously if it is a double layer one, that's different.

I'm half inclined to say I won't do them. Why do people like them so much? I HATE those things.

cgm_cakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 3:10pm
post #7 of

I don't get why people don't like doing them. If the customer is willing to pay your price, who cares? Less work for you = higher profit margin. If you're so adverse to doing a 9x13 sheet cake (25 2x2x2 servings) then make an 8" square double layer (32 1x2x4 servings). They can buy the edible image to fit. You now have to bake, torte, fill and stack 2 cakes (layers). More work, same money.

I think it's our own "perception" of Walmart cakes that make us dislike them, but sheet cakes can still look very elegant. JMO

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 3:52pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgm_cakes

I don't get why people don't like doing them. If the customer is willing to pay your price, who cares? Less work for you = higher profit margin. If you're so adverse to doing a 9x13 sheet cake (25 2x2x2 servings) then make an 8" square double layer (32 1x2x4 servings). They can buy the edible image to fit. You now have to bake, torte, fill and stack 2 cakes (layers). More work, same money.

I think it's our own "perception" of Walmart cakes that make us dislike them, but sheet cakes can still look very elegant. JMO




I don't know why. I just hate them. I don't think they ever look good. I guess it just bugs me that it seems to be everyone's first choice. They are so plain and "blah". Gut reaction. Perhaps because that's the most common looky lou price shopper question: "How much for a half sheet?"

I'll take their money, I just don't enjoy them at all and that is just how I feel about it.

Thanks for your thoughts, all- I'll give it some thought and make a decision here soon.

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:03pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgm_cakes

I don't get why people don't like doing them. If the customer is willing to pay your price, who cares? Less work for you = higher profit margin. If you're so adverse to doing a 9x13 sheet cake (25 2x2x2 servings) then make an 8" square double layer (32 1x2x4 servings). They can buy the edible image to fit. You now have to bake, torte, fill and stack 2 cakes (layers). More work, same money.

I think it's our own "perception" of Walmart cakes that make us dislike them, but sheet cakes can still look very elegant. JMO




I don't know why. I just hate them. I don't think they ever look good. I guess it just bugs me that it seems to be everyone's first choice. They are so plain and "blah". Gut reaction. Perhaps because that's the most common looky lou price shopper question: "How much for a half sheet?"

I'll take their money, I just don't enjoy them at all and that is just how I feel about it.

Thanks for your thoughts, all- I'll give it some thought and make a decision here soon.

cgm_cakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:17pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgm_cakes

I don't get why people don't like doing them. If the customer is willing to pay your price, who cares? Less work for you = higher profit margin. If you're so adverse to doing a 9x13 sheet cake (25 2x2x2 servings) then make an 8" square double layer (32 1x2x4 servings). They can buy the edible image to fit. You now have to bake, torte, fill and stack 2 cakes (layers). More work, same money.

I think it's our own "perception" of Walmart cakes that make us dislike them, but sheet cakes can still look very elegant. JMO



I don't know why. I just hate them. I don't think they ever look good. I guess it just bugs me that it seems to be everyone's first choice. They are so plain and "blah". Gut reaction. Perhaps because that's the most common looky lou price shopper question: "How much for a half sheet?"

I'll take their money, I just don't enjoy them at all and that is just how I feel about it.

Thanks for your thoughts, all- I'll give it some thought and make a decision here soon.





Honestly, I think some people just don't know there are other options or they don't know what to ask for. Even though fancy cakes are "trendy" these days with all the reality shows, there are plenty of people who just don't realize the other options available. I guess people stick with what they know and that's sheet cakes. In the end, it's your business and you have to do what makes you happy. You didn't create this business foryourself to be doing stuff you hate - you could work for someone else and do that and not have the responsibility of owning a business. Do what you love. I don't mind sheet cakes and enjoy them so I still do them. Good luck to you with whatever direction your business takes you.

TexasSugar Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 5:04pm

Why do people like them? Because it is what they have always bought at the grocery store. Or they figure it will be cheaper.

If you aren't going to torte the cake and fill it then yeah you can change a little less, would I charge a $1.25 less because there isn't any filling in it? Nah I wouldn't.

If you were to put that same image on a 10in square 'tier' would you want to change them less because it is just an image and a border?

indydebi Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 5:12pm

Mine were a little cheaper because I didn't deliver sheet cakes whereas tiered/assembled cake pricing included delivery.

Regarding cakes that are "blah and boring", gawd I HATED doing "scrolls, dots and ribbon" cakes. I considered these the no-talent-needed cakes. They had no pizzaz, no personality, no WOW factor. But I made every single one of them because they paid the rent and covered the overhead.

I was not in business to "showcase my artistic expressions". I was in business to make a profit and feed my family.

When I'm independently wealthy, I'll happily get choosy on what people order for their event! icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Mine were a little cheaper because I didn't deliver sheet cakes whereas tiered/assembled cake pricing included delivery.

Regarding cakes that are "blah and boring", gawd I HATED doing "scrolls, dots and ribbon" cakes. I considered these the no-talent-needed cakes. They had no pizzaz, no personality, no WOW factor. But I made every single one of them because they paid the rent and covered the overhead.

I was not in business to "showcase my artistic expressions". I was in business to make a profit and feed my family.

When I'm independently wealthy, I'll happily get choosy on what people order for their event! icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif




Yeah, well...I said I'd take their money. But I don't have to enjoy those cakes. BORING!

Doug Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka



Yeah, well...I said I'd take their money. But I don't have to enjoy those cakes. BORING!




which is why we whistle while we work

and then laugh all the way to the bank! icon_lol.gif

sweetcakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:25pm

i dont understand why they are boring, Yes people do expect them to be a little less expensive but that is no reason for them to be boring. Make your self a base price for each size cake. Prices start there, then add on for the extra decorating that you do that the customer wants. I think the customer also sees a sheet as easier to serve plus they will be cutting a chunk of cake, 2x2x2 and it looks substantial on the place, where as if they have to cut a 1" slice they feel that that is not as much on the plate, even though we know its all the same however you cut it. If you really dont want to do them, price them high or the same as your layer cakes.
And give the customer other suggestions. People who order sheets are not wanting a center piece cake, they want a nice cake, thats easy to serve. But they never have to be boring. Are mine boring???? icon_sad.gif

karenm0712 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:30pm

I don't mind doing them for the most part, BUT I do prefer non-sheet cake styles. I try to put my own spin on a sheet cake and if the customer doesn't want to pay my prices, well they can take their butts to Kroger, Wally World, or Buskens. :p

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:38pm

I'm having trouble with why people are getting offended. I find sheet cakes with edible images on them to be boring. My opinion. I just wanted to know the current opinion on how to price them, because people are obviously wanting a cheap cake with a picture on it, and I felt a little guilty charging full price for a what? 10 min decorating job?

These people aren't pricing a nice cake. The last one told me she wanted a border and some flowers with her edible image picture. Wal-Mart! She hung up on me when I told her the price, which was less than my usual per serving price.

If I'm designing a sheet cake to be pretty and unique, then obviously charge what I charge. I'm talking about stuff they can get at Wal-Mart but for some reason seem to want from me. And I don't mind taking their money but I don't enjoy doing them. They are not fun for me. They are boring to decorate. I am not making a blanket statement that all people who decorate sheet cakes are boring or untalented or whatall.

I ME MYSELF find edible image sheet cakes boring to decorate. And that is my personal feeling on the matter. As a business person I will do them for the income. Just like at the hospital there are things I have to do for the paycheck, whether I like it or not.

Marianna46 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 6:44pm

Karateka, you have every right to find them boring to do. But they don't have to LOOK boring, as witnessed by several very nifty ones on sweetcakes photo pages. They can sometimes be very impressive simply because of the amount of surface area they have to put decorations on. I've thoroughly enjoyed the ones I've done.

KHalstead Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 7:02pm

I absolutely despise sheetcakes and if you look at my photos (even more on my website) you'll see why...........I do TONS of them and they're always ugly, I'm not good enough to make a sheet cake look awesome!!! waaahhhhhh


Anyhow.......back to the op's original ? I live in Ohio as well, and charge significantly less for my sheet cakes. I charge $1.00/serv. for them, untorted, unfilled, just bc decorations.

If they want fondant accents I add $.25/serv.
If they want it covered in fondant I add $.50/serv.

I charge $2.50/serv.for bc tiered cakes
and $1.50/serv. for 4" tall individual cakes (bc filled)

HTH

I can unwrap a 1/2 sheet cake, put it on the board, ice it, melvira the icing, airbrush a sunset, write "Happy birthday" and pipe on borders and box it in less than an hour EASILY.

i just worked on a 8" square last night w/ fondant stripes on the sides and polka dots on top w/ fondant pearl border and spent about 4 hrs. on that ONE cake! The sheet cakes take me WAY less time...so I let them go cheaper! I'm ok with it!

cgm_cakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 7:04pm

I was not offended by your comments and hopefully my previous responses weren't interpreted as such. I know it's frustrating when people want baker quality for WalMart prices. Even if you WANT to you CANT compete with that or you'd lose money. If she hung up on you it's water off a ducks back . . . she obviously had champagne tastes on a beer budget.

Because sheet cakes can be faster to do - only 1 cake to bake, no stacking, etc. I do charge less per serving. I have a $50 flat rate for a 1/4 sheet cake and $75 for a half sheet. I do torte my 1 layer cakes and fill with buttercream. My pricing works out to $2/serving for b/c. My normal price is $2.50.

HTH. I totally agree with the frustration of people wanting "cookie cutter" cakes. As cake artists we want to be able to wow people with our skills and design style.

Just remember you are not Walmart and don't get offended by people who want you to be. If you can't do something for the budget they have, politely turn them in the direction of the nearest suermarket. You have great talent. If you feel you want to offer some budget cakes, go for it, but you don't have to. Whatever you do let your work speak for itself.

Good luck to you!

Cakepro Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 7:34pm

I rarely, rarely ever did sheet cakes until I opened a bakery, and was shocked that it was the first cake everyone asked for. I tried to steer them into other directions but so many people really just want a sheet cake. I finally figured out I didn't like them because it seemed like there was so much more surface area to decorate, but I also learned that people don't expect the whole thing to be super-busy.

There are quite a few users here who are so talented at making adorable sheet cakes. My two favorites are sugarchicone (http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-photos-by-sugarchicone.html), Adria_NyxxTX (http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-photos-by-Adria_NyxxTX.html), and ThanhThanh (http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-photos-by-ThanhThanh.html).

My price per serving is the same no matter what the shape of the cake may be.

karateka Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 9:48pm

I apologize if I got my dander up. I didn't sleep well last night and business is SLOW and I'm struggling to get the new name/website/presence up and running and I guess I'm super sensitive.

I have seen some absolutely gorgeous sheet cakes, and I admire them and their creators. My issue is with the cookie cutter edible image with balloons/roses malarkey I constantly get price quotes for.

I told the lady who ordered hers today: "You got lucky with the special this month, usu they are $xx!" and was proud of myself for saying that.

I think that I will prescribe myself another glass of wine and some meditation.....so that the next price quote for a half sheet with an edible image won't make me want to cry.

I set myself a goal of a dummy every week, in something elegant or different, so that people can see what I can do. I hope that it will eventually lead to the substance under those decorations being of something edible rather than styrofoam.

Gotta work 3rd shift tonight. Time for a pre-game nap! Thanks, everyone. My CC buds mean the world to me.

jemchina Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:40pm

good question. I think that most people like sheets cakes, because they may not know how to cut round cakes, and get all the intended servings. As well, it looks like more cake. And easier to slice for the average joe. My first cakes were sheet cakes with a character cake pan on top. The way I figured the price at first, was have a base price for a 12 X 18 , and then increase if there were lots of different colors and decorations. I would quote anywhere between $140-$175. I never figured it out by slice back then, because too me all cakes were alot of work, materials and time. If they want a double layer then I charge more. It may be the same amount of servings, but for me it's more batter and time, filling, and trying to get that second layer on top with out cracking ...you can see them on my blog, scroll a little down and you'll find the ones I'm talking about.

http://cakesbyeve.blogspot.com/

But yes people expected these complex cakes for less than $40. Ugh I probably spent that much on ingredients. Instead of going cheaper, I just did not do them if people didn't want to pay. They can go to the grocery store for than IMO. icon_wink.gif

I do find the sheet cakes harder to decorate as far as smoothing them out, get the border straight etc. So I would not charge less for them, unless it was a plain white cake and no decorations.

KHalstead Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:58pm

When customers order sheet cakes, I always ask...what are you intending to spend on this cake?? Then if that's ALL that's in their budget I do a sheet cake......if they budgeted for a little more then I suggest other things, not everyone knows HOW to order a cake OR the terms.


I had a lady that wanted a sheet cake, a round one, with 2 more sheet cakes on top, round as well. Turns out she wanted a 3 tiered cake!! lol They just don't know, they're told........"get a sheetcake for Tom's birthday, we got $80 to spend and need to feed 35 ppl" so they call and say "I need a sheetcake to feed 35 ppl"


I agree with your despise for sheet cakes, I absolutely LOATHE them!! But, they happen to be the majority of my business right now and granted, I could use a break (can we say price increase) now and again, but they do pay the bills!

Remind your customers that you are a "custom cake shop" and you don't do "run of the mill cakes"

I tell my customers, "sure I can DO a sheetcake, but I don't do run of the mill sheetcakes like you see in the grocery stores, they're all custom designed for your occasion" Most people love the idea that EVEN a sheetcake (as simple as it can be) was designed JUST FOR THEM!! They're always amazed when you can match it to their decor, etc. The people that don't appreciate the "custom designed" aspect aren't going to pay $2.00/serv. for a cake they can get for $.35/serv. at wal-mart!! But then again, THOSE aren't YOUR customers...........unless you want them to be.....I don't!

sister340 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 10:36pm

Couple of questions: How many pieces do you get from a 1/2 sheet? And ultimately, what does a whole one go for? (I could do the math, but hey, it's Saturday and I'm feeling lazy). And, what do you send them out it? I haven't seen disposable pans that size.
Thanks;
J.

indydebi Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 10:55pm

Half Sheet = 12x18.
When cut in industry standard 2x2x2" pieces (single layer), the cake will be cut in 6 rows by 9 columns (12 divided by 2", and 18 divided by 2") = 54 servings.

Full sheet = Two of the 12x81's shoved together = 18x24
This cake will be cut in 9 rows by 12 columns = 108 servings.

A 2 layer 12x18 would be cut in 1x2x4" pieces, so the cake would be cut in 12 rows by 9 columns = 108 servings.

11x15
For odd size pans I always round down for easy cutting and easy math.
11x15, when cut in 2x2x2" pieces, would be cut in approx 5 rows by 7 columns = 35 servings.

A 2-layer 11x15 would be cut in 1x2x4" pieces, so the cake would be cut in approx 10 rows by 7 columns = 70 servings.

These are the numbers I used to determine pricing. As I've said a number of times, they are welcome to cut the dang cake in half and serve it with two forks, but they are paying for these numbers. icon_wink.gif

Doug Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 10:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

As I've said a number of times, they are welcome to cut the dang cake in half and serve it with two forks, but they are paying for these numbers. icon_wink.gif




what? share? ain't happening!!! icon_razz.gificon_wink.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

sister340 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 11:06pm

Thank you!! And I love your buttercreme recipe. Love this site, have learned so much!!
J.

thecookieladycc Posted 27 Jun 2010 , 2:46pm

I HATE HATE HATE sheet cakes! I did everything I could to not do sheet cakes. But after talking to a few people, they would rather spend the little extra $$$ for one of mine then get a cheapo at wally world. Not there are those that are still a little shell shocked at my prices (which are really really low to start with). And I always tell them that they are more then happy to go to walmart. I had one gal just call me wanting to get a cake for 160ppl. They had budgeted $100 for the whole party (plates forks balloons cake ect) I laughed and said no I can not make a cake for 160 people for less then $100. Her response was "well Wal Mart and Safeway will do it for $90. I was just wanted to do you a favor by getting it from you." I simply told her that she was more then welcome to get it from them.
Some people!

karateka Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 8:57pm

Here is the cake I just did. quarter sheet with EI. Thought I did a good job incorporating design, but she seemed disappointed. Didn't say anything negative, but just didn't seem like she liked it much. Thought the clouds were shells. icon_confused.gif I told her about my referral program and she was a little short as she RAN out the door, telling me she'd tell people if anyone asked.

Charged her $30. (yes, I know....weak moment...on the upside, it took me at most an hour to do)

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1728291

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