New To Making Cakes For A Profit, Need Help With Pricing!

Decorating By KimmyKatCakes Updated 9 Nov 2010 , 6:23am by Apti

KimmyKatCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 4:15am
post #1 of 32

Hi Ladies!

I have had so much fun looking at all the great cakes on this site and the posts have helped me. I have read the serving pricing, but I need an idea for the price you would have charged to make this particular cake. It is a larger sheet cake with an 8 inch tier, one gumpast figure and it is buttercream with fondant accents. My daugher charged the mom $45 for it and I know after 8 hours making this, I am way under charging. Your input would be appreciated.

p.s. This cake is not complete in these pictures, more decorative work was added after I took these.I can't get it to upload, so can you please go to my album and take a peek. icon_eek.gif

31 replies
CWR41 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:18am
post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimmyKatCakes

My daugher charged the mom $45 for it and I know after 8 hours making this, I am way under charging.




So, who made the cake... your daughter who charged $45 or you who is "way undercharging"?

I'm the 25th person to view this thread and nobody has responded yet, so I'll be honest... it isn't up to selling standards. (other people have voiced the same opinion in other threads, so don't hate me for using the same words--it's not meant to be mean, just honest.)

Perhaps some decorating classes would help. They can teach how to make simple borders, ice a smooth cake, and other skills. I sincerely hope my advice is helpful.

JanH Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:20am
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimmyKatCakes

It is a larger sheet cake with an 8 inch tier, one gumpast figure and it is buttercream with fondant accents.




Hard for anyone to recommend a specific price when you don't provide specific details...

And from the photo, the sheet looks like a square to me.

HTH

Love2BakeCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:24am
post #4 of 32

Blessings KimmieKat

Here is what I learned from a CC decorator (unfortunately I don't remember the name to give credit) ... "It all depends on what you use as your cake size for slices. The standard is 1X2X4. Let's say you have an 8" square cake that is 4" tall. You take the dimensions of Length X Width X Height = 8X8X4 =256. This equals how many cubic inches you have. Now a slice of cake that is 1" X 2" X 4" is 8 cubic inches because 1 X 2 X 4 = 8. So take the total cubic inches of the cake and divide by cubic inches of the slice 256 divided by 8 = 32 servings.

You can round these down to the nearest 5 so it would be 30 slices (makes it easier when figuring out what size cake a client needs.)

Another decorator (credit to K. Halstead) added ... Round Cakes would be 8 X 8 X 3. (makes the dimension for the height 1" less to account for the missing corners you would have on a square.) So an 8" round cake would be 8 X 8 X 3 = 192. Then 192 divided by 8 = 24 servings.

Equate how much you charge by the hour, how much you charge per slice, etc. Hope this as helpful to you. But I definitely feel $45 is a little on the low side.

Apti Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:48am
post #5 of 32

Welcome to CC! I'm sure the birthday boy was thrilled to receive his special Spiderman cake. I'm happy you were able to get $45, but feel that is a very fair price. At this point, you should probably charge per cake, rather than per serving. As you perfect your skills and get your time investment way down, then you could begin charging per serving.

When you are starting out in cake decorating, it does take 8 or 10 or even 30 hours to get a cake done. You can't charge for your time because an experienced decorator could whip a cake out much, much quicker. You will find your time decrease as your skills increase. (there's another post somewhere where a lady applied to a bakery and was asked if she could ice, place top and bottom borders, and put roses on a sheet cake in 5 minutes)

KimmyKatCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:37pm
post #6 of 32

Thanks for all your input, it is appreciate.I did say these were the not complete pictures, so it was a rough draft so to speak.It was for a coworker, so not really "selling". I have made fondant cakes in the past and they were better, but my daughter and I just did our first Wilton cake class last week.We are hoping to learn more as we bake more.So for now we are only doing cakes for people we know and who don't expect a 100% perfect cake.

Practice makes perfect and maybe one day, our cakes will be awesome, just like some of the pictures on here.In the meantime we are happy to learn more. icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:59pm
post #7 of 32

I don't know, there's a boatload of expertise in that cake. Would I advise you to enter it into a contest being judged by Kerry Vincent. No. Should you get a pretty penny for it. Sure why not. I mean you said this picture ws during the process --not completely finished.

Your fondant buildings are curved to fit that round tier--where'd you get that idea? That's a biggie. Your red icing is a true good color--all your colors are great Batman-y colors. Your Bam and stars and Batman logo are very good--needs a little cleaning up which you probably did before it went out the door.

When you do your shells, at the end of the shell, swipe the tip of the bag down toward the cake to finish each star--that will hide all those shell tails. If you forget go back and put a little star on each join to cover them up--you might a already did that on the finished cake.

See how the red tier looks like a real cake that is not level? You can disguise this with piping which you might a already done--but where it is high pipe a flatter shell more around the edge--where the cake is low pipe more on the very top of the edge--it will properly mask that difference.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:03pm
post #8 of 32

I love the spider web inside there--your artful eye is evident. I think you did a great job and you can charge any reasonable amount you want. You can charge any unreasonable amount you can get them to agree to too.

Who doesn't have room for improvement? There's tons of expertise in that cake. You go girl!!!

I say my style is shabby chic. One of those ICES ladies almost swallowed her teeth. bwowahahahaha.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:10pm
post #9 of 32

And that base is covered with moire taffeta yes? That's not painted wood I hope. It honestly looks like two different people made that cake to me. It looks like a combination of talents.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:25pm
post #10 of 32

So it's you and your daughter then? I think you will go far!! I think it's great work. You have a sound basis, a little cleaning up just like you said it's a rough draft.

<high five>

KimmyKatCakes Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:49pm
post #11 of 32

OMG, thanks so much for your kind words! I really need a boost as you all know we are not perfect, but working on it, icon_biggrin.gif Yes, it was touched up and when the dad came to pick it up today, he was like" THAT IS AWESOME"! So that made my day.

I hope to learn more in class this week and respect any comments, as long as they are not mean.We are all here to help each other out and so far everyone has been kind.

Have a great weekend!

Apti Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 10:20pm
post #12 of 32

-K8memphis, are you a cake decorating instructor? You have an excellent eye for details and a wonderful way of explaining how to perfect the different aspects of a cake.

KimmyKatCakes, you are only in the first Wilton class and you did that cake AND got money for it! Way to go lady & daughter!
My lily white fingers didn't touch fondant until my 3rd Wilton class and I didn't actually make my own buttercream frosting until my fourth Wilton class (I took the easy way out and bought a tub of Wilton frosting).

Recently I did a very decorated sheet cake with buttercream in the "old style". It had a cornucopia with mums, grapes, grape vines and leaves. I was bragging to my niece's husband when he picked it up to take to work that it "only took me 3 hours to decorate!!!!"

Adevag Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 10:55pm
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Love2BakeCakes

Blessings KimmieKat

Here is what I learned from a CC decorator (unfortunately I don't remember the name to give credit) ... "It all depends on what you use as your cake size for slices. The standard is 1X2X4. Let's say you have an 8" square cake that is 4" tall. You take the dimensions of Length X Width X Height = 8X8X4 =256. This equals how many cubic inches you have. Now a slice of cake that is 1" X 2" X 4" is 8 cubic inches because 1 X 2 X 4 = 8. So take the total cubic inches of the cake and divide by cubic inches of the slice 256 divided by 8 = 32 servings.

You can round these down to the nearest 5 so it would be 30 slices (makes it easier when figuring out what size cake a client needs.)

Another decorator (credit to K. Halstead) added ... Round Cakes would be 8 X 8 X 3. (makes the dimension for the height 1" less to account for the missing corners you would have on a square.) So an 8" round cake would be 8 X 8 X 3 = 192. Then 192 divided by 8 = 24 servings.

Equate how much you charge by the hour, how much you charge per slice, etc. Hope this as helpful to you. But I definitely feel $45 is a little on the low side.




This is so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing! thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:06pm
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti

-K8memphis, are you a cake decorating instructor? You have an excellent eye for details and a wonderful way of explaining how to perfect the different aspects of a cake.




Really me? Thank you so much!
Yes I have taught before.

sugarandstuff Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:22pm
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Quote:
Originally Posted by KimmyKatCakes

My daugher charged the mom $45 for it and I know after 8 hours making this, I am way under charging.



So, who made the cake... your daughter who charged $45 or you who is "way undercharging"?

I'm the 25th person to view this thread and nobody has responded yet, so I'll be honest... it isn't up to selling standards. (other people have voiced the same opinion in other threads, so don't hate me for using the same words--it's not meant to be mean, just honest.)

Perhaps some decorating classes would help. They can teach how to make simple borders, ice a smooth cake, and other skills. I sincerely hope my advice is helpful.





Sorry, not sure I agree with this - I see big chain Discount Stores selling cakes that taste like Crisco and sugar on a plate - apparently they are up to "selling standards" since they sell huge quantities of them every day. Everyone has to start somewhere - I think your cake shows great creativity and potential for a beginner. Stick with it and don't let negative feedback discourage you.

Win Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:38pm
post #16 of 32

Welcome to CC, KimmieKat. I suspect, that at $45.00, you probably cleared your expenses, which, when hobby baking or baking for a friend as you did, it is always nice to know you didn't go into the red to produce the cake. Your time is another matter altogether. icon_biggrin.gif

K8 had some really great insights and tips. I just wanted to add that my first Wilton instructor taught us to make a habit of baking at least one cupcake (more if the batter allows) so that you have cake to use as a "shim" for leveling out low spots. Where your one corner dipped lower, you can slice off layers of cupcake and insert them under the cake to raise it close to level with the other corners. The buttercream can then be used to finish making the corners come out all the same. Baking strips help keep those corners level as well.

Happy caking!

KimmyKatCakes Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 5:56am
post #17 of 32

Thanks ladies for your advise and feedback. The cake was level, so it must appear to be off in the pictures and the cake looks bad I agree in the pics, but it turned out cute in the end for one of my starter cakes.

The dad came to pick it up and he said "wow, that cake looks awesome!" so I will take that as it passed the test and so far no bad email from mom. So all in all a great learning experience for me and a happy family for my cake! icon_biggrin.gif

Can't ask for more than that.

TexasSugar Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 4:25pm
post #18 of 32

I'm a WMI so I know how excited students are when they come into the classes and make cakes, then their friends and family want them to make cakes for them.

A few things to consider. In my state, selling cakes out of your home is not legal, and I try to always pass that information on to my students. Of course some go on to sell cakes, but I do believe that everyone should know the laws about it. Have you looked into the laws in your area? If not call your local health department or in some places it is the Dept. of Ag.

Now I know the next comment will probably be but I wasn't really 'selling it' since I didn't make any profit or what not. If the local health inspector shows up at your door, chances are he will say, "money exchanged hands, there for a sell was made."

Second, be sure to check out the posts about reproducing copyrighted characters.

As far as pricing and profit goes. Sit down and figure out exactly how much it costs you to make a basic cake, say an 8in round cake. Included EVERYTHING you use. Also figure out how much your time is worth and how much time it takes you to work on the same cake. Next you need to figure out how much profit you want to make.

You can either price per cake or price per serving. It is basicly the same thing, just for per serving you have to do a little more math.

So lets say a 8in cake costs you $20 to make. You spend 4 hours working on it, and you figure you are worth 10 an hour. You have to make atleast $60 on the order to cover your expences. Let's say you decided you wanted to make $20 profit.

So that would make your 8in round $80. If you divide that by your servings number (I always use Wilton's wedding chart no matter what the occasion), you will get your price per serving. So 80/24 is your price per serving would be atleast $3.33 Now personally I'd round that up to an more even number, which would give you a bigger profit.

For the record, I just pulled numbers out of the air. It may not cost you that much to make a cake and so on. I picked numbers that were round to make the math easier on me, and to give you an example.

indydebi Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 4:27pm
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Now I know the next comment will probably be but I wasn't really 'selling it' since I didn't make any profit or what not.


I'm so glad you put this in because this is a very frequent comment.

Whether someone makes a profit or not is NOT what defines anyone as a business.

Ask General Motors. icon_rolleyes.gif

-K8memphis Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 4:46pm
post #20 of 32

And in my area doing a random cake for a friend who pays you for it is not considered a 'business'. I've been flamed to hades for this previously but it's still true. Random cake is defined as like two a year or something. The state would be hard pressed to make a case against 'a business' like that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dude, on Sundays I like to sell doughnuts in our bookstore. I needed a new purveyor but the new shop had sausage egg muffins in the case with the doughnuts. So either the glaze on the pastry melted from the heat that was holding the cooked protein at a proper temp or the sausage was skanky.

They have enough going one here to keep them busy they do not care if I make one or two cakes a year. Come to think of it neither do I icon_biggrin.gif

TexasSugar Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 4:55pm
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

And in my area doing a random cake for a friend who pays you for it is not considered a 'business'. I've been flamed to hades for this previously but it's still true. Random cake is defined as like two a year or something. The state would be hard pressed to make a case against 'a business' like that.




I have heard of states or counties that do have a certain number of cakes you can do and be 'under the radar'. Which is why it is always wise for everyone to check their local rules to see. It may not even be an issue, but it may.

My personal opinion is there is also a huge difference in doing cakes for family and friends verses doing cakes for strangers. Or course the people in charge of the rules/laws may not see it that way.

Apti Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 5:13pm
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

And in my area doing a random cake for a friend who pays you for it is not considered a 'business'. I've been flamed to hades for this previously but it's still true. Random cake is defined as like two a year or something. The state would be hard pressed to make a case against 'a business' like that.



I have heard of states or counties that do have a certain number of cakes you can do and be 'under the radar'. Which is why it is always wise for everyone to check their local rules to see. It may not even be an issue, but it may.

My personal opinion is there is also a huge difference in doing cakes for family and friends verses doing cakes for strangers. Or course the people in charge of the rules/laws may not see it that way.




Careful, Texas Sugar, you might end up in the "hot place" with K8memphis!

VickeyC Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 5:33pm
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti


Careful, Texas Sugar, you might end up in the "hot place" with K8memphis!




Not really sure how this message was intended, but read to me like a major slam that was totally uncalled for. icon_twisted.gif JMHO

According to my health inspector, it is legal for people to sell cakes occasionally out of their home without it being a business. (Now that is here in Middle Tennessee.) But she also stated that there is no real definition (in the laws here) as to what ocassional will allow. I am the only licensed and state inspected cake shop in my county, but I can guarantee that there are a few non-licensed cakers that make as many cakes as I do.

chrisviz Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 7:03pm
post #24 of 32

Cupcake shim??? Win...thank you for the brilliant tip of the day! I have never heard that. Love it! I learn something new everytime I'm here... thanks all.

KimmyKatCakes Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 7:30pm
post #25 of 32

Thanks for the replys. I just wanted to add that anyone who is making any type of food and selling it out of their home should know what the laws are in their state and county. I don't think this forum should be used to police others. Leave that up the state and inspectors to worry about. I know my 6 kids keep me busy and I don't have time to worry about others and if what they are doing is legal or not.Unless it greatly impacts me or my family.

Have a blessed week!

TexasSugar Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 7:34pm
post #26 of 32

I was just putting information out there for anyone that may not know they need to check with the health department. And yes there are people that don't think about it.

What you or anyone else does with it is totally your/their business.

-K8memphis Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 7:39pm
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

And in my area doing a random cake for a friend who pays you for it is not considered a 'business'. I've been flamed to hades for this previously but it's still true. Random cake is defined as like two a year or something. The state would be hard pressed to make a case against 'a business' like that.



I have heard of states or counties that do have a certain number of cakes you can do and be 'under the radar'....




Quote:
Originally Posted by VickeyC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti


Careful, Texas Sugar, you might end up in the "hot place" with K8memphis!



Not really sure how this message was intended, but read to me like a major slam that was totally uncalled for. icon_twisted.gif JMHO




She was quoting me. You might have missed my reference. I do not think it was a slam.

cakesbycathy Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 8:15pm
post #28 of 32

I'd also suggest that if you are asking for opinions about pricing it's better to ask for one on a picture of the finished cake rather than one that's "in progress." thumbs_up.gif

KimmyKatCakes Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 8:37pm
post #29 of 32

The picture was just for reference, so others could see the size, not the completed product.

Apti Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 11:10pm
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by VickeyC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti


Careful, Texas Sugar, you might end up in the "hot place" with K8memphis!



Not really sure how this message was intended, but read to me like a major slam that was totally uncalled for. icon_twisted.gif JMHO

According to my health inspector, it is legal for people to sell cakes occasionally out of their home without it being a business. (Now that is here in Middle Tennessee.) But she also stated that there is no real definition (in the laws here) as to what ocassional will allow. I am the only licensed and state inspected cake shop in my county, but I can guarantee that there are a few non-licensed cakers that make as many cakes as I do.




Well, guess I'll be keepin' my day job and forget about the comedy clubs. It was a joke, darlin'

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