Customer Wants Cheesecake What To Charge?? Any Ideas?

Decorating By jsc2010 Updated 5 Dec 2010 , 6:01am by scp1127

jsc2010 Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 1:35pm
post #1 of 36

I have a cake decorating business. I do fondant, buttercreqam, cookies, cupcakes and cake pops, pie etc. Never sold a cheesecake and am clueless as to what to charge? I know they are expensive to make and I am in a rural area so I have no competition. I charge $2.50 a serving for my wedding cakes and $1.50 for my party cakes. I know, too cheap, but it's what people will pay around here. So any ideas? What do you charge for yours and size and do you have a good never fail recipe? Everytime I make a cheesescake for my family I always try a different recipe. Haven't found the perfect one yet. Should I just say NO to this customer? I hate turning away business! HELP!!!

35 replies
brincess_b Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 1:42pm
post #2 of 36

better to turn away business, than to take it on and have it all go wrong.
its good to experiment and push your self, but sometimes you need to stick to what you know - thats your choice to make.

come up with a price the same way you did for your cakes (although that sounds bizzare - party cakes usually are bigger slices, and can be just as detailed, so how can they be $1 cheaper per serving? unless wedding includes stand and delivery etc?).
anyway, how much does it cost in ingredients? and power - for cooker, and for refridgeration, lighting etc. bits and bobs - lining paper, toothpicks etc - and will you need new pans? something to cover tax and insurance.
then how much per hour do you want to make?
equals price!
xx

TexasSugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:31pm
post #3 of 36

I would charge base off the whole cheese cake and not servings. For me I would serve a cheese cake in wedges, and depending on how thin the slices and how big the pan is, you can get 12, 16 or more wedges.

Figure out how much it will cost you for the supplies and your time. Then factor in a profit.

I don't get wedding vs party prices, because a cake is a cake. And places do not charge based off of what people with pay. You have to charge enough to cover your expenses, plus make a profit. If you don't, then you will get burned out real quickly!

JYSE_Too_Sweet Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:50pm
post #4 of 36

I calculated my prices last night on cheesecake & came up with $17 for an 8" and $26 for a 10". That is basically 2.5 times my cost of supplies. HTH

brincess_b Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:04pm
post #5 of 36

JYSE_Too_Sweet - so what are you making as your hourly rate for that? cant imagine its very much?
xx

TexasSugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:19pm
post #6 of 36

Hmm, so 26 divide by 2.5 is 10.40. That only leaves 15.60 for your time and profit.

How long does it take you to shop, mix and bake a cheese cake?

How much is your time away from your life and your family worth?

How much profit would you like to make?

Tclanton Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:23pm
post #7 of 36

I would take the ingredient cost and add that amount again two times. First base would be the ingredient cost, second would be your overheard, and thirdly your labor.

playingwithsugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:27pm
post #8 of 36

Where's IndyDebi when we need her?

She just posted the other day that 3 times cost is not enough.

Let's include the gas/electric to bake the cake, the hot water to clean up later, board and box.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Tclanton Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:41pm
post #9 of 36

I would be interested in her thoughts as well. When I say 30.00 for a black forest cake, some people nearly have a coronary.

icon_surprised.gif

JYSE_Too_Sweet Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:42pm
post #10 of 36

Unfortunately, in my area this is a reasonable rate. It also included an additional amount for my electric etc. Would I like to make more, absolutely. There is no way I could get people to pay $30 for a cheesecake icon_sad.gif

Tclanton Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:04pm
post #11 of 36

Just with everything else - the retail stores will always be cheaper, but notice I didnt say better. The general public doesnt take into consideration that for most of us - we dont buy in bulk and therefore ingredients will not be as cheap. A cake box normally runs me 1.50 to 2.00 - however, if I bought in bulk, I could possibly reduce this cost by 1.00 or more. They also havent a clue how much time is vested in baking and designing. It is an art to me and even though I may not get compensated correctly - I have a blast doing them.

TexasSugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:19pm
post #12 of 36

Of course there are some people that don't want to pay alot for things. But why should you or anyone else work for free to give them what they want? Isn't your time worth something?

Let's analyze the x3 a minute. I'm going to reach into my hat and pull out a number for us to base things on, just so I can work with even numbers.

Let's just say that the ingredients cost $15. Now this isn't just the cost of a cake mix and powder sugar because there are many other items that go into making a cake.

So if we took 15x3 that gives us $45. So after expenses for making the cake we have $30 left over for labor and profit.

Lets say said cake takes you 4 hours to bake, and even at min wage of 7.25 (looked it up for Texas so your state may vary) that is $29. So $29 of the $30 goes to labor, and that is only if it took you 4 hours from start to finish. So in the end you only make $1 profit.

Isn't your time and talent worth more than that?? Especially if you do cakes in your free time around another job and giving up time with family and friends to spend hours making a cake for someone?

brincess_b Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:21pm
post #13 of 36

but JYSE_Too_Sweet we arent talking about making a PROFIT we are simply talking about making a WAGE. profit being something over and above that.
great, you brought in $30. but by the time you have covered all your expenses, you have only brought home what? not enough to justify the work you put in, the time you sped not doing other things.
some areas simply cant support certain businesses. aim further afeild if you can, or ask if its even worth continuing.
xx

cakesbymindysue Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:29pm
post #14 of 36

Cheesecake Factory charges upwards of $20 for just a plain 7" cheesecake. If you're doing any toppings or special flavors then you certainly can charge more.

visionsofprisms Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:29pm
post #15 of 36

If you are looking for a great cheesecake recipe try the one in the Betty Crocker Cook book. I use it all the time, its fairly simple and only ever receive rave reviews.

It calls for 3 sticks of cream cheese, sugar, milk, flour, vanilla. Super easy, super quick and works great.

The Company that produces the "Magic Bullet" also has a great super easy, super quick cheese cake recipe. Low cost

We have a cheese cake company around her and they charge 25 dollars for a plain 10" cheesecake

lilmissbakesalot Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:40pm
post #17 of 36

I'd say no... since cheesecake is perishable you can't sell it from anything but a licensed commercial kitchen. Saves you from the worry about your recipe and releases the guilt of turning away business.

If cheesecake isn't something you are super confident about... just say no. Because you know Murphy and his stupid law... if something is going to go wrong it'll happen when it matters most... LOL. Family will eat a cracked cheesecake... your customer might not be so forgiving.

Tclanton Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:44pm
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Of course there are some people that don't want to pay alot for things. But why should you or anyone else work for free to give them what they want? Isn't your time worth something?

Let's analyze the x3 a minute. I'm going to reach into my hat and pull out a number for us to base things on, just so I can work with even numbers.

Let's just say that the ingredients cost $15. Now this isn't just the cost of a cake mix and powder sugar because there are many other items that go into making a cake.

So if we took 15x3 that gives us $45. So after expenses for making the cake we have $30 left over for labor and profit.

Lets say said cake takes you 4 hours to bake, and even at min wage of 7.25 (looked it up for Texas so your state may vary) that is $29. So $29 of the $30 goes to labor, and that is only if it took you 4 hours from start to finish. So in the end you only make $1 profit.

Isn't your time and talent worth more than that?? Especially if you do cakes in your free time around another job and giving up time with family and friends to spend hours making a cake for someone?




You have a good point!!

jsc2010 Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 5:21pm
post #19 of 36

thanks for all the replies. Customer wanted 20 --10" cheesecakes at $15 each. I said NO. I'did the math and I'd have to charge $30 to make it worth MY time. Besides having to invest in more pans to make that many. I have 3 ovens but that's still a lot of work and time. Thanks for the encouragement in saying "no". It's still a word I need to learn in this business!

TexasSugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:50pm
post #20 of 36

Good for you JSC! Sometimes customers want something we can't give them, and in cases like that, there is nothing wrong with saying no. Other wise you would be mumbling and grumbling under your breathe the whole time you fill the order.

Tclanton Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:54pm
post #21 of 36

I heard a comment the other week, "that cake better taste like gold".....they were referring to price. Here again - some have no idea what goes into a cake. Average individuals are used to the cake box mixed that take 10-15 minutes to mix, the longest is the cooling time and then another 10-15 to ice.

There is no comparison at all.

scp1127 Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 8:00am
post #22 of 36

lilmissbakesalot is right... if you don't have cheesecake experience, you are asking for disaster. There is a fine line (minutes) between undercooked and overcooked. You can't cut an undercooked one and overcooked is terrible. You won't know this without experience, so how could you sell it with confidence? I make gourmet cheesecakes and they are not cheap. I can't do big production because they each have their own water bath, and are baked in the best pans which cannot be removed for about 12 hours for perfect results. I'm not saying you have to do all of this, but for mine, each step is important. And they do bake better on a conventional oven setting.

tinygoose Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 8:40am
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tclanton

I heard a comment the other week, "that cake better taste like gold".....they were referring to price. Here again - some have no idea what goes into a cake. Average individuals are used to the cake box mixed that take 10-15 minutes to mix, the longest is the cooling time and then another 10-15 to ice.

There is no comparison at all.




Doesn't that drive you crazy? I really hate those insanely nasty remarks.

I've had them ask me if it's made of gold....ummm..Really? Would you ask an ice sculptor that question?

Oh...you wanted the $20 Big Bog version of an ice sculpture?....hand him a big bag of ice cubes......there ya go.

Tclanton Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 2:17pm
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tclanton

I heard a comment the other week, "that cake better taste like gold".....they were referring to price. Here again - some have no idea what goes into a cake. Average individuals are used to the cake box mixed that take 10-15 minutes to mix, the longest is the cooling time and then another 10-15 to ice.

There is no comparison at all.



Doesn't that drive you crazy? I really hate those insanely nasty remarks.

I've had them ask me if it's made of gold....ummm..Really? Would you ask an ice sculptor that question?

Oh...you wanted the $20 Big Bog version of an ice sculpture?....hand him a big bag of ice cubes......there ya go.





It does drive me nuts. Clearly, as stated they dont realize what goes into a single creation. My theory is, would you sit at your desk all day for half of what you currently make? The answer would be NO.....nuff said. Trust me, I am not getting rich off of any cake!!!

-K8memphis Posted 2 Dec 2010 , 3:27pm
post #25 of 36

I din read everything but you can use a thermometer to test for doneness--Alton Brown said 160 degrees but then cheesecake gurus said that's an automatic crack in the top of the cheesecake. So while you can use a thermometer you need to research what temp you're looking for.

And I just put some decor over the crack anyhow icon_biggrin.gif

scp1127 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 8:28am
post #26 of 36

The right temp, a water bath, conventional heat, no open oven door, and proper draft-free cooling will eliminate the crack. You are right about not putting a hole in the top of the cake, some of mine don't have toppings, so I had to learn. I went through alot of cracks years ago. My cheesecakes are all so different... some fluffy, some short and dense... I had to learn doneness by feel, looks, and just my gut feeling. My home oven temp acted up on Thanksgiving and I caught it about 20 minutes into the baking time. I had to keep making adjustments the whole time it was in the oven (luckily I always have an oven thermometer in each one). This was one of my more complicated recipes... the kind where you have to keep lowering the temp, and finally cut it off. It came out great for family, but it was slightly undercooked. Only I would have known it. Just a little too much smear on the knife. But this is why I would be afraid to sell a cheesecake with no experience.

jsc2010 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 1:28pm
post #27 of 36

Love reading all your comments, Thanks! I think I'm going to make cheesecake for dessert this weekend though. All this talk has made me want to make one and eat some!!
Update: I said No to the cheesecakes order but they wanted to give me the business anyway so they called back and ordered 20--8" round Christmas cakes instead. That I can do!

brandygrimm627 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:08pm
post #28 of 36

Hi!

I have a recipe on my website: http://www.sparklesnfangs.com/recipes.html This is a flexible recipe. If they want a chocolate cheesecake, add 1/4 cup coco powder and half cup melted milk chocolate. When beating in the eggs, make sure they go into the mixture last so the mixture doesnt get to airy. Use a water bath or a pan with water on the lower oven rack when baking. This will prevent cracking. The top of the cheesecake will brown so if your client wants the even white color, I would suggest a no bake or leveling the cheesecake after baking/cool down (leveling is a pain). A chocolate ganache topping works beautifully with this recipe too.

I usually charge about $30 per cheesecake (I have to adjust pricing to accommodate military families on post and just barely cover cost of supplies/time).

-K8memphis Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:46pm
post #29 of 36

And I just thought I'd add this--the open oven door cooling trick? I think that's unsafe for commercial purposes --it kind of holds the cheesecake at an improper temperature for an extended time period. I would not do that. Sure sure the cake's gotta cool somehow but I think that tip is for personal baking not for commercial.

scp1127 Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 5:29pm
post #30 of 36

kmemphis8, don't open the door for the first half hour to prevent the cake from falling or cracking is what I meant. Not those recipes that call for the turned off oven in the end.

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