This May Be A Stupid Quesion...

Baking By pmarks0 Updated 17 Nov 2010 , 8:04pm by pmarks0

pmarks0 Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 4:53am
post #1 of 14

but I'm working out my cookie costs in terms of figuring out pricing for holiday cookie boxes. I know what each recipe costs me for a batch and from that I've got a unit price for each cookie/brownie. But I'm having trouble determining what time is being put into each recipe.

I guess it takes about 20-30 minutes to measure and mix up each recipe, and probably another 10 minutes per tray to weigh out each cookie to bake. (Yes, I weighed out the batter to know how much it yielded and then weighed out 30grams in order to have uniform size cookies). So, for basic drop cookies like chocolate chip, would it make sense that my time involve to make the cookies is about an hour total? The brownies take even less. Probably 20 minutes total to put them together.

I guess it's really the rolled cookies that I find the hardest to calculate my time involved, the ones that involve the decorating with royal icing. But I think for the big cookies that I'm offering decorated, I'm going to go with a $1/inch plus $1 for packaging which covers the fiddly bits to bag and tie.

Maybe there isn't a question here after all. LOL.

13 replies
cupadeecakes Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 5:30am
post #2 of 14

I bought a spot watch I wear around my neck. You have ti include all your time, even washing dishes and cleaning up. It's the little things that add up. Also, I started a little box at the top of all my recipes for someone to list start time, stop time and who made it. I had a really slow worker once and needed good information/numbers to coach the. Good luck!

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 10:38am
post #3 of 14

think of it as a job where you go and clock in. At such a job, you don't keep track of how many minutes/seconds it takes you to do each part of it. You are paid for ALL of your time that you are "on the job". If someone has a job at McDonalds, they are paid for ALL of their time ... the time the take an order AND the time they're cleaning AND the time they are standing around waiting for the fries to come up out of the fryer. they dont' get paid JUST when they take an order.

if you had an employee coming in to do this, you'd pay them from the moment they clocked in (let's say 9:00 a.m.) to the moment they left (let's say 3:00). Total 6 hours. At the end of the day, how many cookies or how many trays did you create? Let's say 48 trays (just for easy math). That means you created 8 trays per hour. If you are paying your employee $12 an hour x 6 hours = $72 total payroll for the day divided by 8 trays total production for the day = $9 average labor per tray.

I know I used to make cookie dough balls on 2 or 3 days, then bake on other days. Under thsi system, I'd do my calculations based on the end-of-the-week's production and the total weekly payroll numbers to get my averages.

When I did caterings, i didnt' calculate the cost to load the van and then the cost to set up the buffet and then the cost to put the food out. The cost was based on start and stop time for an event and the number of employees I used.

This is an overly simplified calculation, but hopefully it helps you with the process (unless I've just TOTALLY confused you! icon_lol.gif )

gen2026 Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 4:29pm
post #4 of 14

So are you saying you basically charge per hour? or charge based on the expenses for that particular item you are making?

TexasSugar Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 11:10pm
post #5 of 14

You charge based on both, your per hour labor costs plus your expenses, and don't forget to add in profit.

Instead of weighing out the cookie dough for drop cookies, have you thought about using an ice cream scoop?

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 2:37am
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gen2026

So are you saying you basically charge per hour? or charge based on the expenses for that particular item you are making?


I'm sad and glad you asked this question this way. It's a good illustration of something I discuss a lot.

Your "expenses" INCLUDE labor time. I see too many folks on here think their "expenses" are just the cookie ingredients. They think their only cost is the number on the grocery receipt.

Like Texas said .... both. My msg above is just an idea on how to compute the labor expense since an earlier post indicated the OP was having difficulty calculating it.

pmarks0 Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 4:39am
post #7 of 14

Thanks IndyDebi and Texas it does help. I definitely know I need to pay mysef as part of my expenses, but it was trying to figure out how to calculate that figure. For example, I've calculated that my brownie recipe costs $17.12 in ingredients for a pan that will give me 24 brownies. Based on the fact that it only takes about 20 minutes to measure and mix the batter, but I've got to cut them, package them in the treatbags, assemble the box, put in the crinkle shred at the bottom, tape my business card to the inside flap, fill the box, tie it with ribbon and the tag, I'm saying that would take 40 minutes (although I could probaly do several boxes in that time) and counting labour as an hour (at $10/hr). This puts the tray at a cost of $17.12 or $1.13 per brownie. I'm selling six brownies for $15 ($2.75/each) or 18 for $40. That works out to a selling price of $2.75 and about $2.25 per piece respectively. That puts my profit at $1.62 per brownie. Do you think I'm over pricing?

But back to my originl question, I think it's because, like you were saying IndyDebi, I'm doing them over several evenings when I get home from work. One night I made all the cookie doughs but I also baked up some of each in order to get photos taken. The sugar cookies I baked another day and decorated later that day.

It didn't seem right that I should be counting the time that the cookie trays are in the oven because I'm not doing anything during that time related to the cookies usually, unless I'm making another batch or something.

And Texas, yes, I've definitely thought about the scoop. icon_smile.gif When I was doing this it was after 11pm on Friday and the only thing I had was the scale. LOL. I will be investing in a scoop to make it easier.

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 12:14pm
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmarks0

It didn't seem right that I should be counting the time that the cookie trays are in the oven because I'm not doing anything during that time related to the cookies usually, unless I'm making another batch or something.


I sweat to god I'm going to come thru this screen and smack the bah-jeebers out of you!

If you worked in a bakery, would you clock out when you put the cookies in the oven because you had "nothing else to do?" No!!!! You say you
are "not doing anything" but You ARE!!!!! You are baking cookies .... you are watching the oven!!

would you put something in the oven and then leave and go shopping? NO! why? Because it's a safety issue and you HAVE to have someone there to make sure there isn't going to be a fire or something. And would you pay someone FOR THEIR TIME of having to be there? you bet your patootie!

Your expense are not just your ingredients. Your time is ALL of your time ... not just the time you spend TOUCHING the product.

Time .... start to finish ... is how long it takes to make them.

infinitsky Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 3:29pm
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I sweat to god I'm going to come thru this screen and smack the bah-jeebers out of you!




LoL! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 3:30pm
post #10 of 14

oops! typo! Should be "SWEAR to god!" icon_redface.gif (I don't think even God wants to be around me if I was sweating!)

Bluehue Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 3:53pm
post #11 of 14

Another thing to remember - whilst *your not doing anything* icon_confused.gif your oven is on............which means you are using power - and power isn't free....its a cost to you.

Even yoUr Time spent washing that cookie tray is a cost to you...
Your time
Your water
Your soap............etc etc etc.

Time is money... thumbs_up.gif





oops! typo! Should be "SWEAR to god!" (I don't think even God wants to be around me if I was sweating!)
Thought the main man was meant to accept everbody as they were - icon_wink.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif


Bluehue

TexasSugar Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 5:08pm
post #12 of 14

There are so many things to consider. Sure I am standing in my kitchen and I decide to whip up some brownies then it may take me less than 10 mins to get them in the oven, then another 30 or so to bake them. But those items had to make it to my kitchen in the first place. They didn't just walk into the kitchen. And if you are making them for an order then you have the time you were talking to them or on the phone with them.

From start to finish, I bit it really takes you alot longer to deal with those brownies than just 40 mins. Even the packaging. For me when I am figuring out how long it will take me to do something I usually have to tack on more time, because in my head it sounds good, but when you are actually doing it you see that it takes longer to do.

And I'm gonna dito the cookies in the oven comments. You can't walk away from the oven while you are baking. With Christmas coming up I am gearing myself up for making Christmas cookies. I know I will be spending hours infront of the oven when I bake them. Mixing the batter, even scooping them out on sheets doesn't take that long. It is the sheets in the oven for 10-15 mins that really add up on the time.

Invest in some different size scoops. You'll love them and they have many uses! I use mine for cookies, pancake batter, meatballs....

jones5cm Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 5:27pm
post #13 of 14

Thanks you guys for the belly laugh today...LOL I needed that!

pmarks0 Posted 17 Nov 2010 , 8:04pm
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmarks0

It didn't seem right that I should be counting the time that the cookie trays are in the oven because I'm not doing anything during that time related to the cookies usually, unless I'm making another batch or something.

I sweat to god I'm going to come thru this screen and smack the bah-jeebers out of you!




LOL...consider me slapped. icon_smile.gif

I do get it. Until you have to actually figure it out, you don't realize just how hard it is to figure out your time.

And I do intend to get some scoops. I'm a little unsure of which size(s) I'd neeed. I have often lamented not having them when I'm making cupcakes.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%