I Know We Hate Pricing Questions....

Decorating By mrsbriggs06 Updated 17 Dec 2010 , 1:46am by costumeczar

mrsbriggs06 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 8:09pm
post #1 of 5

but-- (isn't there always a 'but'?!)

The "Nemo Stack" in my photos (carved type, not standard round further down in my pics) was a gift for my friend's daughter.

I am a legal operation working under cottage law, however due to not only the fact that I love this kid to death and came up with this design (her mom didn't request this monstrocity, just 'a nemo cake'), but also the whole 'can't sell character cakes' legality, I gave the cake as my gift.

As anticipated, I'm getting lots of requests for these cusom designs. I recently did a 3 foot long submarine with a working propeller, and my pricing guideline was their budget ($100, needed only 12 servings but wanted an awesome cake/presentation). I was able to run with it and had a blast-- didn't feel slighted, got a $25 tip, lots of referrals and repeat business. (Oh, and I learned a LOT! Like it would cost more next time, lol!)

I'd like to know how others would price this design? Forgetting the character aspect (say someone wants a comparable size of whatever theme).

By my regular pricing, this would have been $204 for the cake portions.
(Nemo was styro, so that doesn't include a charge for him. Pearl was 2 4" high 6"rounds stacked with a plate between them for ease of serving. Squirt was carved out of a 10" and the half sports ball pan (so ended up around 8-9)". And mainly because I wanted to raise him off the board and have some additional cake , it's all sitting on a 12" round that was a single layer torted. (in figuring the price above, I used 28 servings for this layer since it's half normal height, had it been for an order, it would've been a full height cake of course).

This cake took maybe 12 hours between baking, making fillings and icing, coloring fondant, carving styro, etc. (The 'ocean' layer and octopus are my tie dyed cake, which takes longer to mix, color, pour, etc than my typical cake.) It may have taken a few hours less.

How would you base pricing for nontraditional cakes like this?

I love doing these types of cakes, but I'm starting to realize that my pricing structure just doesn't accommodate these designs.

Thanks in advance!

4 replies
jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 8:15pm
post #2 of 5

For any cake, you can set a good price by determining the ingredient cost, the labor cost (number of hours you spent on all aspects of the cake * your hourly rate, usually $10-30/hour depending on skill and location), and your overhead per cake (the sum of all annual overhead costs including licenses, insurance, advertising, etc. divided by the number of cakes you make per year). Add these together, then add 20-30% for your profit margin.

costumeczar Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 1:02pm
post #3 of 5

Regardless of how you decide to price, you should charge for everything, not just for the cake. Just because Nemo was made from styrofoam doesn't make him free, unless you have a styrofoam tree in your yard! You need to charge for every componenet, so don't forget to include that in the total pricing.

mrsbriggs06 Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 5:39pm
post #4 of 5

oh, I definitely understand that! styro isn't cheap, lol!

i guess i was more or less openly pondering an increased price per serving vs. an additional fee for cakes like this (and i guess this wasn't the best example, since the structure was fairly simple as compared to the submarine which had a custom structure and styro carving + motor, etc).

costumeczar Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 1:46am
post #5 of 5

For 3-D cakes I have a minimum price of $175 because they end up taking so long. I'd say that the number of servings in the cake is the least of your worries, and you should just do it by the time that it will take. Then the faster you can do them the better you are at it, so your hourly "wage" will increase relative to your skill. As it should icon_smile.gif

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