At A Party Yesterday And Couldn't Believe My Ears...

Decorating By tsal Updated 10 Nov 2010 , 3:51am by scp1127

tsal Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 10:23pm
post #1 of 33

I made a cake for a bridal shower yesterday (Sex and the City bridal shower cake in profile pics) and had so many people come up to compliment me on my work and to ask for business cards (I'm not in business yet but am considering).

A woman comes up to me and says, 'My cleaning lady's husband does this for a living and he made a 3-D Louis Vitton purse cake for me and charged me $100 - I said ok even though it was $100 because I know how much work was involved.' Riiiiight. Soooo, I look at her and say, '$100?! Do you realize that if you went anywhere else it would cost you easily between $500 - $1000 for the same cake? Do you realize that he lost money on that cake because of the materials and time he spent making that for $100?' She looked shocked and then made an excuse and left. I think I came across as an irate caker! lol!

I mean, $100 for a carved cake?! Come on! I had another person come up to me at the same party and say, 'Wow - you could get AT LEAST $70 for that cake!' So I said, '$70? Try $350 since it serves 50 and the average cost for custom cakes here is $7/serving.'

This is what makes me hesitate to go into business. I'm afraid I might end up bonking someone over the head with my rolling pin when they offer to pay me $50 for a custom creation.

32 replies
myrtlebeachbaker Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 10:30pm
post #2 of 33

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!

tiawanna02 Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 10:34pm
post #3 of 33

Technically you do have overhead it may not be as much as a traditional bake shop but the overhead is still there, you still have to by the ingredients and supplies, you still you gas and electric. Also your time is also valuable.

Dayti Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 10:38pm
post #4 of 33

Tiawanna you beat me to it, I was going to say the exact same thing as you thumbs_up.gif

tsal Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 10:41pm
post #5 of 33

Myrtlebeachbaker: $100 for the purse or for my cake?

KoryAK Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 11:09pm
post #6 of 33

Well... how BIG was the LV purse cake? My purse cakes start at $9/serving so yeah a small one would only be about that much...

superstar Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 11:19pm
post #7 of 33

tsal that cake is worth at least $350.00 If people want a cheap cake they can buy it at the local bakery or grocery store & get exactly what they pay for...a cheap ordinary cake.

tarheelgirl Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 11:40pm
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Quote:

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!




I work from home from my legal home based cake business. I would definitely have charged more then $100! I don't know about you but I don't buy bulk ingredients with a discount like most big bakeries can if anything I pay more.. I pay for insurance, electricity,etc to run my business. May not have overhead but I definitely wouldn't be giving cake away! I agree.. If people want a cheap, tasteless ordinary cake they can buy it at the local grocery store chain.

amygortoncakes Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 12:09am
post #9 of 33

Basically I have found that unless you are making wedding cakes people are not willing to pay anymore than $100 for a cake no matter how time involoved it is.

So yes you are right, if you went into business everyone would want to pay from $50-$100 max for all the cakes that aren't wedding cakes...even though they are basically the same was wedding cakes.

If you want to make money, make wedding cakes.

I sell all my cakes for $100 or less and make virtually no profit, but I need the experience and am still having fun learning.

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 12:29am
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!





Whoa nelly! I have overhead and I'm a home-based baker. My overhead is my electricity, water, cost of ingredients, cost of non-food materials, advertising, professional association dues, insurance, health dept fees, transportation,blah blah blah. Don't sell yourself short, if your work is as good as or better than a storefront then you should be charging market prices. Undercutting the competition isn't a good way to establish a good reputation with other businesses, and you're probably ripping yourself off for salary. I'm not the cheapest in my area, but I get business because I'm better, not because I'm cheaper.

cakeville82 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 2:07am
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!





My vote for Mission Statement of the Year icon_surprised.gif

roweeena Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 2:32am
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!




Wow... You arent cheaper, you arent actually paying yourself or factoring in your bills... Bakers with that attitude are the reason why legitimate bakers struggle so much with customers who dont want to pay for it because the chick down the road "only bakes from home so she's cheaper"

Do you pay business tax? Health insurance, public liability? Licensing fees? Electricity? Gas? water?

Sorry but no overheads my gray donkey...

CakeDiva101 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 2:37am
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!




I'm so sorry, but I have to disagree . I charge as much as the top bakeries in town. My clients come to me because I provide a excellent product and customer service, not because Im cheaper. I also have a legal kitchen in my house and I do have overhead. I will never compete in prices because once you start that you will attract people that is only looking for cheap cakes. I focus in quality. Not everybody can afford my cakes and that is ok, they have other options out there. It was my choice to not have a store front, to be home with my family. And If I'm providing someone with a service, that is my supplies, time and talent. I expect to get pay for that. If they want me to to their cake they will my rates or they can go someplace else and get someone elses cakes. Even as a beguinner, I do value my time and I want to be know as the great looking cakes and great tasting cakes,not the cheap cake lady.


thumbs_up.gif

tsal Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 3:16am
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva101

Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!



I'm so sorry, but I have to disagree . I charge as much as the top bakeries in town. My clients come to me because I provide a excellent product and customer service, not because Im cheaper. I also have a legal kitchen in my house and I do have overhead. I will never compete in prices because once you start that you will attract people that is only looking for cheap cakes. I focus in quality. Not everybody can afford my cakes and that is ok, they have other options out there. It was my choice to not have a store front, to be home with my family. And If I'm providing someone with a service, that is my supplies, time and talent. I expect to get pay for that. If they want me to to their cake they will my rates or they can go someplace else and get someone elses cakes. Even as a beguinner, I do value my time and I want to be know as the great looking cakes and great tasting cakes,not the cheap cake lady.


thumbs_up.gif




I totally agree. I'm not in business, but when I do decide to jump in, people will pay for my artistic talent and skill not because I'm a cheaper option than a storefront. I'm not busting my butt for hours creating a beautiful cake just to sell it cheaply. I want to get paid well for all my work!

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 5:16am
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by myrtlebeachbaker

I prob would have charged 100$ for that cake myself! If you are doing it from home, you have no overhead. I dont know many cakers that charge traditional buisness prices. We get business BECAUSE we are CHEAPER!!!




Whoa nelly! I have overhead and I'm a home-based baker. My overhead is my electricity, water, cost of ingredients, cost of non-food materials, advertising, professional association dues, insurance, health dept fees, transportation,blah blah blah. Don't sell yourself short, if your work is as good as or better than a storefront then you should be charging market prices. Undercutting the competition isn't a good way to establish a good reputation with other businesses, and you're probably ripping yourself off for salary. I'm not the cheapest in my area, but I get business because I'm better, not because I'm cheaper.




You took the words right out of my mouth. Myrtle, if you think you don't have overhead because you work from your home, you're kidding yourself. What do you think the electricity bill is, and all the other things mentioned here?

And as for me, I don't want the tagline for my business to be "Pick me. I'm cheaper."

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:02am
post #16 of 33

myrtlebeach, wouldn't you rather you get business because people talk about how great yoru cakes taste and look .... rather than "they're not that great but she sure is cheap!"? icon_confused.gif I've had lots of brides who selected me as their baker even tho' they had been also shopping bakers that were half my price.

i've been a home baker .... and I've been a shop baker. Trust me, darlin', you DO have overhead. You're also paying more for ingredients ..... I was amazed how much cheaper I could get things when I could get truck deliveries. Favorite (non cake) supply item: The 1/2 size aluminum pans for chafers. Buying them off of the shelf, they are 99 cents each. Buying them in a box of 100 on a truck delivery .... 15 cents each. Eggs in a grocery: 10 cents each. Eggs on a truck delivery: 6 cents each. My "overhead" costs just for eggs alone are 40% lower than yours so how do you think you have no overhead?

How much are you reimbursing your husband and/or your household account for the electricity you're using; the "rent" for your space; the water, the gas for the car; the insurance (that may or may not be valid if you have a wreck while delivering a cake), etc?

I'm going to guess that you may be one of those who take the price of the cake, subtract the grocery store receipts and THINK the remaining number is your "profit". If so, you're just fooling yourself.

steffla Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:56am
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by amygortoncakes

Basically I have found that unless you are making wedding cakes people are not willing to pay anymore than $100 for a cake no matter how time involoved it is.

So yes you are right, if you went into business everyone would want to pay from $50-$100 max for all the cakes that aren't wedding cakes...even though they are basically the same was wedding cakes.

If you want to make money, make wedding cakes.

I sell all my cakes for $100 or less and make virtually no profit, but I need the experience and am still having fun learning.





I am sorry but I STRONGLY disagree. This absolutely depends on the area you live in but for the most part, this is completely untrue. I do very few wedding cakes right now and am building a business mostly on celebration cakes and I never do a cake for under $150. Please don't tell someone to give up hope on building a business on something that is very, very possible.

tinygoose Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 7:16am
post #18 of 33

I like how Christopher Garren prices his cakes...


Wedding and Special Event Work
Whip Cream, Ganache, White Chocolate and Buttercream: $6.50 per slice and up
Rolled Fondont Work: $7.50 per slice and up
We have a $200 minimum on all cake orders.


2-D Cakes $80.00 minimum, $2.50 per slice plus labor/sculpture time*
(Add $.50 for rolled fondont)

  
3-D Cakes
3-D Cakes $100.00 minimum, $3.50 per slice plus labor/sculpture time*

* Labor/Sculpture time billed at $75.00 per hour

Serves 100 persons: 100 x $3.50 = $350.00
10 hours of Sculpture and Decoration time: 10 x $75.00 = $750.00
Total: $1100.00

Karen421 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 12:43pm
post #19 of 33

In my area, you couldn't charge anything close to those prices for 3d cakes, or purse cakes. Not that they aren't worth it, I know the work involved! I just did a Juicy Couture purse for my DD's birthday. If I were to sell it, I may get $50.00 for it. (And it was delicious!!)

LindaF144a Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 1:43pm
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen421

In my area, you couldn't charge anything close to those prices for 3d cakes, or purse cakes. Not that they aren't worth it, I know the work involved! I just did a Juicy Couture purse for my DD's birthday. If I were to sell it, I may get $50.00 for it. (And it was delicious!!)




This is true. It is all about location, location, location. Christopher Garren lives in So. Cal. where this price point can be charged and paid by the mas majority there. I used to live there. However put that same business say in the Midwest where my son is living right now, or even my smallish city in the NE and you might get 1 out of say 200 who will pay that price. I work for a cakery. I get phone calls all the time for the 3d carved thing and with the exception of 1 out of about 200 people always change their mind down to the lowest common denimonitor every time.

One lady wanted a three tier cake with gum paste red roses cascading down the cake for her parent's 50th anniversary, basically a wedding cake to feed 70. She wanted 50 roses. We quoted her a price of $450 (not by me, the owner. I would have charged more for all the roses). Her response figured it would cost about $150. icon_surprised.gif I have learned not to react to these statements because people have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to cakes. I told her she is ordering a wedding cake and the labor on what she is asking is a lot. In the end we settled on 60 cupcakes, no special decorations to stay in her price range.

As much as we would love to have the price point CG has, it would never happen here. If I lived near NYC, well that would be a different story. But you do not see a lot of carved cakes in my area. Cakers around here are still smart. We are not going to lower our prices to give the customer what they think they want for the price they want. We educate them on what they can get for the price they want. 99.99% of the time they take what they can get in their price range. They get to get a cake, and we get to stay in business.

Because I am in the business now, I make it a point to check the websites of other cakers in the area. We all pretty much have the same designs on our websites - lots of "similar" looking cakes with one or two different designs. And don't think similar is bad. You would not believe how many customers request them over and over again. We can bang them out quickly, they pay the bills and the customer oohs and aaahs and comes back again. It sounds like a win/win situation to me.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 2:54pm
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

We quoted her a price of $450 (not by me, the owner. I would have charged more for all the roses). Her response figured it would cost about $150. icon_surprised.gif



My response would have been along the lines of, "I'm sorry ... how did you come up with that figure?

My would-LUV-to-have-said-response would be: "I'm sorry ... just what lower part of your body did you pull THAT number out of ?" icon_lol.gif

I would luv to know how these people think they can get a Duff cake for the price of a couple of Twinkies. I really do. icon_confused.gif

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 3:19pm
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

We quoted her a price of $450 (not by me, the owner. I would have charged more for all the roses). Her response figured it would cost about $150. icon_surprised.gif


My response would have been along the lines of, "I'm sorry ... how did you come up with that figure?

My would-LUV-to-have-said-response would be: "I'm sorry ... just what lower part of your body did you pull THAT number out of ?" icon_lol.gif

I would luv to know how these people think they can get a Duff cake for the price of a couple of Twinkies. I really do. icon_confused.gif




It's the Costco virus, they get used to that as a price and think it's the standard. Then, they don't think about the fact that it isn't just a cake, it's cake+skill.

I'm doing a cake in December for a local Electrician's union holiday party. It's going to be 400 servings and fairly elaborate, and I quoted them $2000. One guy said "I'm in the wrong business" and I told him that they should know that you're not paying for the cake, you're paying for the skill. They all went "ahhh, that's true" so at least they understood. I'm sure that they get people complaining about their prices all the time too!

tinygoose Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 4:34pm
post #23 of 33

I wasn't really pointing out CG prices, but more, the way he charges. Yes, most people cannot charge $75 an hour labor and get away with it, but I like his formula.

It gives the client a way to wrap their head around the cost, and tells them clear as day that they are paying $$$ for the expertise of the decorator not just flour, sugar, eggs, which is what runs through everyones head before they spit out those awful words..."It's just cake!"

LindaF144a Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 5:02pm
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

I wasn't really pointing out CG prices, but more, the way he charges. Yes, most people cannot charge $75 an hour labor and get away with it, but I like his formula.

It gives the client a way to wrap their head around the cost, and tells them clear as day that they are paying $$$ for the expertise of the decorator not just flour, sugar, eggs, which is what runs through everyones head before they spit out those awful words..."It's just cake!"




I totally agree with this. I believe that having this price quote up front means he doesn't get responses like we did from the customer I pointed out (one of many, I am afraid). We don't have that on our website which is probably why we get these type of conversations. Were it my business, I would probably post exactly what CG posted (well not the prices, but the costs of doing something like this in my area). It would certainly help both the customer and the cake decorator.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 5:03pm
post #25 of 33

I don't want to be cheaper....because I can only do 2, maybe 3 cakes per week. That's very low volume...so if I'm doing a cake project, I want it to pay me a decent wage for my time. If I'm just doing this as a favor to society...well then I should just quit and do a favor to my kids and spend more time with them.

I just raised my prices because I found out my minimums were too low...I like to keep up with the local competition...not higher, but certainly not lower either.

Kaykaymay Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:00pm
post #26 of 33

You know what? whenever I go to the grocery I always think they should sell me everything in my cart for $1.50! I think someone should sell me the Mona Lisa for $5.00 (after all it's just paint on a canvas) IMO The cost is the cost, it should have little to do with location but even with that argument:

In my location:

Eggs cost $XXX
Sugar cost $xxx
Butter $XXX
Flour $XXX
Utilities and equipment $XXX
Legal expenses $XXX
Highly skilled decorator $XXX
Time $XXX
Therefore in my location a cake should cost $xxxxxx.xx

Also someone with a degree in any profession automatically earns more money so any classes you've taken and gotten a certificate should affect the cost as well. Forget what people want to pay be fair and honest to your costumers and YOURSELF. And as I read somewhere else a good idea is to add a little bonus like a few cupcakes or free delivery etc.

Woodruffbn1 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 9:39pm
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Quote:

My would-LUV-to-have-said-response would be: "I'm sorry ... just what lower part of your body did you pull THAT number out of ?"




HAHAHAA!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

cutthecake Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 10:07pm
post #28 of 33

It's all George Banks' (Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride) fault! He's the one who said, "It's just flour and sugar and eggs," when he was told the price of his daughter's wedding cake.

loriemoms Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 10:16pm
post #29 of 33

My best brands guy refers to butter as "gold cubes" it cost so much these days!!!

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 10:37pm
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

It's all George Banks' (Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride) fault! He's the one who said, "It's just flour and sugar and eggs," when he was told the price of his daughter's wedding cake.




Feel free to send them to my blog to look at this picture if they say that...http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2009/12/diy-not-so-fastpart-2.html

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