First Cake Order - Need Input Please

Decorating By amywood20 Updated 6 Nov 2010 , 8:44pm by indydebi

amywood20 Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:09pm
post #1 of 23

Hello - I just received a request for a cake and the person didn't give me a price range on what she could afford to spend. We've discussed the idea for the cake and I was going to send her the cost for it. I am looking at making a 12 inch round, covered in buttercream, chocolate filling, and a few fondant pieces on top (nurse type items). The cake is from a boxed mix, which will take two boxes. I've figured out what the basic cake will cost but it does not include the fondant items, the dye to color them, my time, etc. I know this may be hard for someone to answer, but for something like this am I crazy to ask $40 for it? This is my first order, as I just make cakes for work, friends, etc. Someone finally asked to buy one! Thanks!

22 replies
lovenintheoven Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:26pm
post #2 of 23

Where are you located? That makes a big difference to price. Because I am in Southern California, and I would charge TRIPLE that. What do the custom bakeries (not grocery stores!) in your area charge? Forty is SO very reasonable IMO.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:29pm
post #3 of 23

You need to calculate your total cost for making the cake, including the cost of ingredients, the cost of your time (i.e. if it takes 2 hours to make and you value your time at $15/hour, that's a $30 labor cost), and your overhead costs (licensing, liability insurance, etc.). Then add 20-30% for a profit margin.

As a point of reference, I would probably charge in the $80-120 range for a 12" double layer cake with fondant pieces, depending on how complicated the decorations were.

By the way, you should check your state and local regulations...in some states it is illegal to sell baked goods made from a residential kitchen. If you live in one of those states and do not have a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen, then you should not accept any money for the cake. You will also need liability insurance.

brincess_b Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:29pm
post #4 of 23

yes you are crazy. thats one hell of a low price!
you are looking at say 6-8 hours work (and thats assuming it all goes tightly to plan). now i dont know what your minimum wage is - but take that and multiply! (wikipedia seems to suggest $7 = $42-$56)
you really, really need to recalculate!
it scosts what it costd - dont be so eager to make a cake that you undervalue your self - when your mum/cat/ partner/ child shouts on you at 1 am and you are too busy to help them, $7 an hour is not much to ask for!
xx

creativecreationsbykamica Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:34pm
post #5 of 23

I understand that you are just starting out but everyone has to start somewhere! When I started I didn't charge nearly enough & then everyone was asking for cakes & when I would charge someone else more for a cake that was similar they started talking about me! So you need to get your prices down before you charge the 1st person! I personally would charge $95 if it is just a single layer & $100 for a double layer! I realize you are only using box mixes but ALOT of people (even some bakeries) use box mixes! I still do too...but I have a recipe that I add to the box mixes to make them taste like they are from scratch! I hope this helps you & don't be afraid to put ur foot down. Just remember if they can go to the local walmart or place like that & get a cake that size for $40 then you should be charging ALOT more! I hope this helps!

Happy Baking
ktaylor8705

LisaPeps Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:34pm
post #6 of 23

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice. I would say the majority of decorators charge $2.00+ per slice so you should be looking at charging $100+ at least... presuming the standard of work warrants the $2.00+ and presuming you are legal

jason_kraft Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:43pm
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.



That chart is for wedding cakes and assumes a 1"x2" slice, which is very stingy for a party cake. Somewhere in the 25-35 servings range is probably more reasonable for a party cake.

EvMarie Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:56pm
post #8 of 23

When I first was considering selling cakes, I did a little survey of my local bakeries. I even factored in the Walmart & grocery stores just to have an idea of where everyone fell...Take the "stats" of your current cake & call around for prices. Just say you are comparison shopping.

Yup, it's a lie. I don't like to lie...but I don't think most places will be super nice to somebody who is looking to take a cake sale away from them.

Keep in mind, a fair price is not always the price your customer is expecting to pay. People being clueless....may feel you can do it cheaper because you don't have the overhead actual bakeries have. Not true. Labor is labor. And, especially when your newer....time is the biggest money "suckage".

Good Luck! Hope the cake turns out nice!

EvMarie Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:59pm
post #9 of 23

btw - I really like your course III cake. Nicely done!

CWR41 Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 8:07pm
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

12"round is 56 servings....
....you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.




Exactly... according to the Wilton standard (1x2x4=8 cu. in.).
Prices for less than $1.00 per serving is what was typical OVER 30 years ago!

amywood20 Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 10:21pm
post #11 of 23

Thanks so much for the advice everyone. Looks like I have a lot to learn. :0)

LisaPeps Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 11:17pm
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.


That chart is for wedding cakes and assumes a 1"x2" slice, which is very stingy for a party cake. Somewhere in the 25-35 servings range is probably more reasonable for a party cake.




I don't understand why it should differ whether it's a party cake or whether it's a wedding cake. It just installs peoples beliefs that as soon as "wedding cake" is mentioned we just bump the price up massively; confirmed by your quote above.

costumeczar Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 12:56am
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.


That chart is for wedding cakes and assumes a 1"x2" slice, which is very stingy for a party cake. Somewhere in the 25-35 servings range is probably more reasonable for a party cake.



I don't understand why it should differ whether it's a party cake or whether it's a wedding cake. It just installs peoples beliefs that as soon as "wedding cake" is mentioned we just bump the price up massively; confirmed by your quote above.




I don't charge differently for whether it's a party, wedding, or a cake eating contest...I use the wedding cake serving chart regardless.

3GCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 1:07am
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.


That chart is for wedding cakes and assumes a 1"x2" slice, which is very stingy for a party cake. Somewhere in the 25-35 servings range is probably more reasonable for a party cake.



I don't understand why it should differ whether it's a party cake or whether it's a wedding cake. It just installs peoples beliefs that as soon as "wedding cake" is mentioned we just bump the price up massively; confirmed by your quote above.



I don't charge differently for whether it's a party, wedding, or a cake eating contest...I use the wedding cake serving chart regardless.




Agreed. Cake is cake. They can order more if food is not being served with the cake. And one serving chart makes everything very simple and plain.

Also...fondant figurines/gumpaste flowers...etc...all go onto wedding and celebration cakes equally. There is no difference in the time it takes to make them for a wedding cake or a celebration cake. Cake boards? Dowels? Cake box? Gas for delivery? Sugar? Flour? ALL cost the baker the same.

Renesaindon Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 1:30am
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvMarie

....may feel you can do it cheaper because you don't have the overhead actual bakeries have.




Actually, I think bigger bakeries can do it cheaper as they get ingredients in bulk and a hobby baker or someone that is just starting out is not buying in bulk, typically.

caleyb Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 3:53am
post #16 of 23

KTaylor...I am not sure how to highlight a section of your response and ask a question about it but.... what is your recipe that you add to a boxed mix to make it taste like scratch? Thanks.

EvMarie Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 3:20pm
post #17 of 23

Renesaindon - Ohhh, actually I think weeeee all understand that it's more expensive for invidual baker vs. big bakery. However, customers somehow get confused was my point.

In my own brain... taking out the cake knowledge, it WOULD make lots of sense that a bigger bakery can buy bulk, therefore it's cheaper. But, there is something that happens to some people when they buy from a "person"...meaning....the proper home bakery.

I'm not sure what it is. But, at times peoples' perceptions are off. The lack of overhead was a pure guess as to what those people are thinking. icon_smile.gif

sweetheart6710 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 4:07pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3GCakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

A lot of American decorator's work by pricing their cakes by serving. 12"round is 56 servings according to this http://cakesbyvicki.blogspot.com/2008/09/cake-sizes-and-servings-per-cake-please.html so by charging $40 you'd be working for $0.71 a slice.


That chart is for wedding cakes and assumes a 1"x2" slice, which is very stingy for a party cake. Somewhere in the 25-35 servings range is probably more reasonable for a party cake.



I don't understand why it should differ whether it's a party cake or whether it's a wedding cake. It just installs peoples beliefs that as soon as "wedding cake" is mentioned we just bump the price up massively; confirmed by your quote above.



I don't charge differently for whether it's a party, wedding, or a cake eating contest...I use the wedding cake serving chart regardless.



Agreed. Cake is cake. They can order more if food is not being served with the cake. And one serving chart makes everything very simple and plain.

Also...fondant figurines/gumpaste flowers...etc...all go onto wedding and celebration cakes equally. There is no difference in the time it takes to make them for a wedding cake or a celebration cake. Cake boards? Dowels? Cake box? Gas for delivery? Sugar? Flour? ALL cost the baker the same.




I agree with JasonKraft on this one (I usually do). He isn't saying 'bump up the price when they mention the word wedding' He is saying, wedding slices are cut smaller then party slices. Usually at a wedding people eat, drink, and they don't have a lot of room for dessert. At a party, maybe it will only be cake and ice cream, so people can stomach more, therefore, the cake slices are cut larger, which would mean there are less 'servings'. And if we charge by servings, then a party cake would cost less. The price is the same, $2+ PER SLICE. Just less slices to go around.

dawncr Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 4:18pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetheart6710

And if we charge by servings, then a party cake would cost less. The price is the same, $2+ PER SLICE. Just less slices to go around.





Just wondering why one would charge the same for a bigger piece of cake. One's costs haven't changed.

BluntlySpeakingKarma Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 4:36pm
post #20 of 23

I don't go to too many parties that don't have just as much food as a wedding. More usually. So that argument is rather moot really.

3GCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 4:42pm
post #21 of 23

Sweetheart wrote:

Quote:
Quote:

I agree with JasonKraft on this one (I usually do). He isn't saying 'bump up the price when they mention the word wedding' He is saying, wedding slices are cut smaller then party slices. Usually at a wedding people eat, drink, and they don't have a lot of room for dessert. At a party, maybe it will only be cake and ice cream, so people can stomach more, therefore, the cake slices are cut larger, which would mean there are less 'servings'. And if we charge by servings, then a party cake would cost less. The price is the same, $2+ PER SLICE. Just less slices to go around.




Actually...most wedding cakes are cut perfectly, by someone "in the business" --say a caterer or the baker themself. They know exactly what the slice is supposed to look like and how big it should be.

Party cakes are usually cut by party goers, or by people inexperienced with what a serving of cake should look like.

costumeczar Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 7:59pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3GCakes


Actually...most wedding cakes are cut perfectly, by someone "in the business" --say a caterer or the baker themself. They know exactly what the slice is supposed to look like and how big it should be.

Party cakes are usually cut by party goers, or by people inexperienced with what a serving of cake should look like.





What I find is that the caterers and reception coordinators in my area start by cutting smallish pieces until they see how many people are going to be eating cake, then they change to bigger pieces if it looks like there's going to be a lot left over. I once saw a venue coordinator cutting the cake about 1/4" thick, and I asked him if that was how he always cut it. He said yes, and I was pretty horrified. Then one girl told me that they'd gone to a wedding where they were cutting huge slabs of cake and they were so big nobody could finish them. It makes no sense.

That's why I changed to a system of a range of servings and a flat price per cake. I give the bride a range and let them decide whether they want to err on the higher or lower side, because there's apparently no guarantee that the cake will be cut the way I think it's going to be cut!

When people get a party cake I tell them that the pieces should be 1"x2"xheight of the cake, and to not let a teenage boy cut the pieces or they'll get two servings out of an 8" round.

indydebi Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:44pm
post #23 of 23

First, I use three Betty Crocker cake mixes for two 12" round pans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawncr

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetheart6710

And if we charge by servings, then a party cake would cost less. The price is the same, $2+ PER SLICE. Just less slices to go around.

Just wondering why one would charge the same for a bigger piece of cake. One's costs haven't changed.


Absolutely agree.

And if it's being done right, then it's all semantics anyway.

a 12" square, when cut in 2x1.5x4 (12 cubic inches) will be cut in 8 rows by 6 columns = 48 servings.

a 12" square, when cut in 1x2x4 (8 cubic inches) will be cut in 12 rows by 6 columns = 72 servings.

the "party" serving is 50% bigger than the "wedding" serving so the party serving price should be 50% bigger than the wedding serving price.

Wedding serving = $2/serving x 72 servings = $144 for the cake.
Party Servings = $3/serving (50% more) x 48 servings = $144 for the cake.

If someone is handing over a 72 serving cake for $144 and then saying, "Oh! You're going to cut it in 48 pieces! My bad! Your price is $98 instead!" ..... well, there are just no words for someone who would do the math that way. icon_confused.gif

When I go to McDonalds, I will pay more for a large serving of french fries, than I pay for a smaller serving of french fries. It's just common sense.

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