Your Honest Opinions Needed Please!

Decorating By Nickilyn Updated 3 Oct 2010 , 2:58am by iamcakin

Nickilyn Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 5:42am
post #1 of 18

I know everyone hates these questions but I really need advice so for those that are in the cake business how much do you think these cakes would be worth or I should say how much you would charge based on your experience. As far as pricing regionally, I am in Louisiana just in case it factors in your pricing suggestions.

The crayon if I recall my final measurements was about 4"x21"
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1637416

The Walk of Fame cake was an 9 or 10 inch square all decorations are modeling chocolate with gold luster dust.
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1434052

I always underestimate how much time and labor I put in which tends to give people a misperception causing them to want a cake just like these for $50 bucks icon_confused.gificon_rolleyes.gif

Again just a ball park based on your experience is all I am asking and feel free to throw in any advice of scaring the above mentioned people away. icon_smile.gif

17 replies
TexasSugar Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 2:08pm
post #2 of 18

Do you have a price per serving?

To me you don't have to figure out the time you put into every cake to figure out the price.

Some cakes will take you longer than others, but in the end it will average out.

Nickilyn Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 9:35pm
post #3 of 18

No, I don't have a price per serving...it varies based on the complexity of the design. I am still learning...most of my information I try to gather from CC...so I have some type pricing guideline to use for reference.

Figuring out the price of ingredients is easy of course but maybe I should time myself when making fondant, icing, etc. I am usually doing these between working two jobs so I always start off well with trying to document but in the end I just end up sleep deprived and give up trying to account for everything.

TexasSugar Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:10pm
post #4 of 18

How about making a practice cake and getting a basic idea? You don't have to have it down to the minute but it helps to know about how long. Especially when you are doing it between other activities. The extra work time can really add up.

I'd also work out a price per serving, even on carved or 3d cakes you can have a price per serving. Some cakes are quicker to do than others, so on those cakes you'd make extra money, and on the harder ones, well it will average out in the end.

The only time I would base price off of design, outside of regular cake vs 3D/carved cake, is when you are dealing with figure making, flowers or other large/main accent pieces that take a lot of additional time. And for those I would either figure that into the price per serving or just have a additional fee on top of it.

sillywabbitz Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:10pm
post #5 of 18

Nickilyn,
It's really about your time and cost as texas sugar mentioned. I found that if I take notes as I do things, it helps. So if I'm going to make ganache...I'll scribble down the time...then when I'm done I make a quick note...It just says Ganache, start end...if I'm in a very good mood and not too tired, I will even measure out what I made...so I know how many cups of ganache I got for that size batch etc.

You don't have to be exact but you have to know what you're putting into your cakes to price them well. A general but by no means hard and fast rule seems to be around 3 to 3.50 a serving for buttercream, $4 and up for fondant and up is based on complexity.

But only you know your ingredient costs...for example I've started using ganache under fondant...woohoo does that add an expense to each cake..I don't charge for my cakes but man it makes my eyes bulge when I buy all that chocolate.

TexasSugar Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:22pm
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz


But only you know your ingredient costs...for example I've started using ganache under fondant...woohoo does that add an expense to each cake..I don't charge for my cakes but man it makes my eyes bulge when I buy all that chocolate.




Exactly! There are so many factors in the cost of ingredients that there is no way anyone unless you are in the same area can really help with the cost of them.

If you bake from mixes vs scratch prices will vary.
If you bake using premium ingredients prices will vary.
If you make BC, IMBC/SMBC, Ganache, Fondant prices will vary.
If your live in an area with higer living costs vs lower living costs...
Buying in bulk...

As far as timing, yeah you have to work that one out yourself as well, and figure out what is reasonable for both you and your customer when it comes to how long you spend on the cake.

caymancake Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:28pm
post #7 of 18

It all depends on your price per serving and the cost of things in your area. Once you get an idea of the cost of ingredients for each cake, you can go from there. But me personally, I would charge a minimum of $160 for the two crayon cakes (based on the measurements you provided) and a minimum of $70 for the walk of fame of cake. I know sometimes I wish people give me actual prices when I ask these kinds of questions, so I really hope this helps!

korensmommy Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:37pm
post #8 of 18

I'm in Louisiana too. Don't underprice yourself based on what others *want* to pay you. I charge a lot for my time to make a custom cake for my clients and I am booked up until the end of January 2011.
If you're nearby, check out Targil's for your cake supplies.

Nickilyn Posted 21 Sep 2010 , 10:11pm
post #9 of 18

Thanks everyone! I decided to start my base price at $25 because when doing scratch cakes the ingredients cost at least that amount.

Anyway from there I calculated everything--ingredients for scratch cake + supplies+fondant (making my own stresses me out icon_smile.gif + cake boards, foil, foam core, modeling chocolate, candy melts (ganache), luster dust all construction supplies.

Lastly, I did an hourly rate of how much my second job pays by how long it took (roughly) from start to finish. Does that seem fair?

The walk of fame cake was only 9 x 9 but with the modeling chocolae, luster dust and making stencils took a lot of time and money so $150. The crayons were ganached plus fondant and required painting and hand made stencils six-4" rounds of cake and took about 6 hours a piece so $185 to $200.

I know when I tell them they will look at me funny but whatever can't get something for nothing.

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 2:37am
post #10 of 18

Okay so I quoted $125 for a 9 inch stack of records (45s) cake and the customer agreed. He is pretty flexible so we discussed may be doing a record player instead. If I decide to go with that I plan on using the one from the "Planet Cake" book as inspiration.

Only one edible image will be used, the customer sent me an image off a 45 of Otis Reddings "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay".

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 3:10am
post #11 of 18

Has anyone ever used the wood graining tool used for faux painting on fondant? I have decided to try and replicate the "Planet Cake" record player but would like to try a would grain look instead of a solid color.

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 3:16am
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by korensmommy

I'm in Louisiana too. Don't underprice yourself based on what others *want* to pay you. I charge a lot for my time to make a custom cake for my clients and I am booked up until the end of January 2011.
If you're nearby, check out Targil's for your cake supplies.




Thanks for the information, I'm not in the vicinity of Targil's...usually I am dependent on Party Time or ordering supplies online.

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 3:20am
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by caymancake

It all depends on your price per serving and the cost of things in your area. Once you get an idea of the cost of ingredients for each cake, you can go from there. But me personally, I would charge a minimum of $160 for the two crayon cakes (based on the measurements you provided) and a minimum of $70 for the walk of fame of cake. I know sometimes I wish people give me actual prices when I ask these kinds of questions, so I really hope this helps!




Thanks caymancake, it did help but I guess I never realized how expensive supplies are untilI actually have to account for them.

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 3:27am
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz


But only you know your ingredient costs...for example I've started using ganache under fondant...woohoo does that add an expense to each cake..I don't charge for my cakes but man it makes my eyes bulge when I buy all that chocolate.



Exactly! There are so many factors in the cost of ingredients that there is no way anyone unless you are in the same area can really help with the cost of them.

If you bake from mixes vs scratch prices will vary.
If you bake using premium ingredients prices will vary.
If you make BC, IMBC/SMBC, Ganache, Fondant prices will vary.
If your live in an area with higer living costs vs lower living costs...
Buying in bulk...

As far as timing, yeah you have to work that one out yourself as well, and figure out what is reasonable for both you and your customer when it comes to how long you spend on the cake.




You're right I have just done them as gifts for so long ...I mean all the extras and everything purchased for the hula gir cake before even accounting for labor came to almost $70.

Nickilyn Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 3:32am
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz

Nickilyn,
It's really about your time and cost as texas sugar mentioned. I found that if I take notes as I do things, it helps. So if I'm going to make ganache...I'll scribble down the time...then when I'm done I make a quick note...It just says Ganache, start end...if I'm in a very good mood and not too tired, I will even measure out what I made...so I know how many cups of ganache I got for that size batch etc.

You don't have to be exact but you have to know what you're putting into your cakes to price them well. A general but by no means hard and fast rule seems to be around 3 to 3.50 a serving for buttercream, $4 and up for fondant and up is based on complexity.

But only you know your ingredient costs...for example I've started using ganache under fondant...woohoo does that add an expense to each cake..I don't charge for my cakes but man it makes my eyes bulge when I buy all that chocolate.




Lol yes, I understand...I used ganache for the crayons and while I loved the beautiful smooth surface before applying fondant all the time it took chopping chocolate and working with it not to mention the cost versus buttercream. Maybe everytime I lose my nerve when quoting prices I should just remember THIS IS NOT A SHEETCAKE! icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 1:59pm
post #16 of 18

Nickilyn, the best thing you can do is have a price per serving amount ready to go. You can use the serving charts to help figure out the price per cakes, so when someone askes you, you have a clear answer and rather than do alot of math to get it.

If someone says they need a cake covered in fondant to feed 20, then you can say: "I can do a 8in round that serves 24 for $72" (24 servings times $3)

If you do alot of carved or 3D cakes then I would figure a price per serving for those as well. Something that takes in to account product waste, and extra time for carving and keeping in mind that they are getting something they can't just get everywhere.

This makes you sound more confidant about your prices. Plus if you already have your prices worked out, and even better you have them written out, then it is harder to back down from giving them the correct quote. The less time you think before you answer, the less time you have to waffle about the price.

Set a price, feel confident about it, and they can take it or leave it. I've said this plenty of times, but I'll say it again. Not everyone can afford or want to pay the price for a custom cakes, that's okay. But it doesn't mean that because they want it for cheaper that you have to do it. Doing a cake, especially a large or detailed one is time away from your life, your family and so on. Personally if I am giving up my free time, or time away from my family I want to be compensated for it.


- - - - - - - - - -
Figuring your price per serving....

Your cost/time/profit become your price per serving.

Im just grabbing numbers out of the air here

Lets say your cost for an 8in round cake which serves 24 is $10. And it takes you 6 hours at a $10 an hour to do it.

When you divide $70 by 24 (number of servings) you know you need to charge at least $2.92 to cover your cost and time.

If you charge $3.50 per serving, then you will make a $14 profit on the cake.
If you charge $3.75 per serving, then it is a $20 profit.

You dont actually have to price out every cake, you just need some base numbers to work with. If you do mostly tiered cakes, then I would figure the cost for a 6 and 8 or a 6 and 10 and then use those numbers to figure your price per serving. That way the pillars/dowels are built into the price. So then if you do a cake that is a single tier then you just make a little extra profit on it.

Another thing to remember, when figuring your cost do not use sale or discounted prices. It is nice to buy things on sale but sometimes you may not be able to, so then you are shorting yourself. And if you do get things on sale, again that is just extra profit for you.

Nickilyn Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 2:36am
post #17 of 18

So here it is...the finished product[img][/img]

iamcakin Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 2:58am
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickilyn

Maybe everytime I lose my nerve when quoting prices I should just remember THIS IS NOT A SHEETCAKE! icon_smile.gif




And, you are not a charity!! icon_wink.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%