How Much To Charge For This Cake

Decorating By aviles2005 Updated 20 Jan 2011 , 3:54pm by sweetsurprise

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:58am
post #1 of 35

I did this cake for my cousins baby shower, no charge. I've been asked to make this cake again. its an 6",8" and 10.. chocolate buttercream with gourmet flavors in each teir. I have been struggling with prices and with serving size. I under charge for each cake. I live in PA.. where cost of living is pretty cheap and people are pretty cheap too..

34 replies
madgeowens Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:05am
post #3 of 35

is it in your pics page? there has been something wrong with the pic attaching thong for a time now, that and profile pics....where in Pa are you near?

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:15am
post #4 of 35

Harrisburg PA =)

cakedoff Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:15am
post #5 of 35


cakedoff Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:17am
post #6 of 35

btw...the feet are adorable...a particular cutter?

mbark Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:19am
post #7 of 35

I'd say @$200. I'm in CA

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:29am
post #8 of 35

it made the feet by hand.. and used the round tip ends to make the toes.. Wish there was a cutter..

cakedoff Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:37am
post #9 of 35

Wow...what a pain...You did a great job! There are alot of cute 'feet' cutters...they're just not big enough for rock...I say UP WITH THE PRICE...just for the I have a fetish? icon_rolleyes.gif

IcedandSliced Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:53am
post #10 of 35

I agree with $250. If you think that's to high I wouldn't go any cheaper than $200. Don't sell yourself short. It take alot of work to make a cake especially with the details you have added. I learned this the hard way. If they dont like your price maybe offer a smaller version of the cake. Maybe an 8,6,4" at 150 or just an 8,6" at $125. I would start off by asking what kind of budget they are looking to stay in and then go from there. Goodluck and great job on the cake

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:18pm
post #11 of 35

this lady is traveling with the cake maybe 2 hours, a smaller cake would scare me, because it'll be so tall.. people in my area are so cheap and i have been giving away cake for so cheap. I've been selling my stacked 6 and 8" for 65 and they are beautiful. I could post pics.. I guess i dont charge enough because i want the business... and whenever i say a higher price im stuck all week without orders =(

$65 6" and 8"

$65 -- 8" cake with a RKT ELMO and i did a cookie monster same price


Batman 6' and 10' $65 help me ladies, im giving away cake icon_cry.gif


$65 I knew i could have charged so so so much more for this one.. 6 and 8 inch


cakedoff Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:28pm
post #12 of 35

aviles2005...Where do you live? It makes a huge difference. I'm rural and yes, the people can be REALLY cheap.

brincess_b Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:42pm
post #13 of 35

so you sell cheap cake to have the business. well, i guess that works, you have the customers - but are you even making minimum wage? no? then your not operating like a business needs to to survive. (i can sense the burn out in your post!)
others explain it better than me, spend some time reading the business forum.
and ok, so people in your area are cheap - what about the people who travel to use your golf club? or the people the next county over? get back to basics and revisit your business plan.

scruffyandstuff Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:57pm
post #14 of 35

I think your cakes are great and totally agree with everyone that you are under charging. I live in a rural area as well, but would charge a minimum of $175 + tax + delivery fee if needed. I quickly got over "feeling bad" for charging too much. I have told clients several times that I cannot compete with the prices of a large chain store nor is that my intention. It is no different than a contractor/lawyer/consultant, etc. charging different amounts for their expertise.

TexasSugar Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:03pm
post #15 of 35

Have you figured out how much those $65 cakes are really costing you?

How much do you spend in ingredients, I mean including everything?

How much time are you spending making them them?

How much is your time worth?

The last question you would ask yourself is after the cost and labor has been paid, how much profit do you want to make?

I get wanting to do cakes, and thinking that you have to do them cheap to get orders. But I think it is important to step back and really consider what you are doing. If you are not paying yourself enough to cover the costs and the time it takes to make the cake, then you are actually taking money away from yourself and your family.

In the end, is it worth doing cheap cakes just to do them if you are actually paying them to take the cake off your hands?

Over my years on cake message boards, I would say the number one thing that leads to cake burn out is doing alot of awesome cakes for a very little price. In the end you start to resent the work you put into them, and not getting paid enough.

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 4:04pm
post #16 of 35

i live in an urban inner city area, i keep telling myself this is just for now, as soon as i get serious about a plan then i'll charge right.. Ur absolutly right about burning out, i burned out a few year ago and totally stoped making cakes. for like 3 year, i went back to school to try n find something else i would like to do, well now im back into cakes and fearful that it will happen again. Im hesitent to charge more because bakeries in tne area charge low prices as well.. A 2 tiered cake at a quality bakery is $75 - $80 and there serving sizes are bigger. Id like to set prices in stone but i am always debating with myself and comparing my prices to local places.... I dont know how long its going to take me to figure this all out.. Because i agree, im taking time out of my schedule and time away from my children to make you a cake that cost me 30 bucks in ingred. And im charging 65.. Ok.. Im waking up here people, thanks, i'm going to have to come up with a plan

sweetcakes Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 4:22pm
post #17 of 35

well its a new year, so perhaps now is the time to raise those prices. Your cakes are very well done, the boards are nicely wrapped and your decorating is clean and neat. What might help is to write out a size chart and put basic prices beside those sizes, I can send you a chart to fill in yor prices if you would like. Sometimes just having the prices written down can help from undercharging.

mbark Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 4:43pm
post #18 of 35

you really have talent & hopefully could charge a bit more than the bakeries since you do such custom work. that Elmo & Cookie Monster are awesome! I'm so sad thinking you're only making $35 for profit for all your hard work & talent. I guess I'm glad I live in CA where I can charge appropriately!
best of luck to you

IcedandSliced Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:18pm
post #19 of 35

Seriously you need to double your prices. I got to a point where i got sick of just paying for my passion. What I did for a while was have my prices cheap to get the customers but once I showed them I can do a good job and they told friends and family about me I slowly bumped my prices. Im still getting a constant flow of customer and I thought they would think I'm crazy for charging that much for a cake. I live in a small town in alaska so most people here want a cheap cake but you have to put your foot down. Your giving away your cake and you do a really great job. That Elmo and cookie monster should have it's own price category. For a 3D cake I have a minimum of a $100. Goodluck and keep making those cakes there great!

TexasSugar Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:33pm
post #20 of 35

The problem with startng off cheaper to get customers is that you are only attracted that type of customer. There is nothing wrong with people that don't want to pay alot, as there is a place for everyone to get a cake. But you have to keep in mind that you can't start low to build a customer base, because who many of those people will still order when you up your prices.

Also while it helps to know what other places are charging, it does not mean that you have to use them as a standard. Are they buying their items in bulk? Are you using premium ingredients or baking from stratch? These are things that factor in to pricing.

In the end your price has to cover the basics (cost/labor) and give you profit. If that means you have to charge more, then you charge more.

Also realise that by charging more you are getting more per cake, so you have to do few cakes to make the same amount of money.

If you charge $20 per 8in cake then you have to do 5 cakes to make $100.

If you charge $25 per 8in cake, then that is just 4 cakes needed to make $100.

At $30, then you make $120 from four cakes.

At $40 then three cakes gives you $120.

Making three cake at $40, will end up saving you time and cutting your labor costs, thus giving you a bigger profit.

Of course I just pulled these base numbers out of the air, because if a 8in cake takes you about 4 hours to make and you feel you should make $10 an hour, then even at the $40 version you are paying someone to buy that cake from you. Because that $40 would only cover your labor and not the costs or any profit you want to make.

artscallion Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:52pm
post #21 of 35

^^exactly^^ You can't build a base on cheap prices. Because when you raise your prices eventually, the base you built doesn't even blink once before moving along to find another cheap cake lady to take your place. You need to build your base with the people who you want to be your base in the end...people who will pay a decent price for a great product. Otherwise you're just wasting your and your family's time and money.

And another thought...I'd wager to say that most people here don't even know how much it costs them to make a cake. They probably think they know. But I bet more people here lose money on cakes when they think they are making money.

countrycaker Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:04pm
post #22 of 35

Wow! I can't believe you only charge $65 for those cakes!! You have amazing talent and should charge what you are worth. I agree that you should make up some kind of price sheets - it might make it easier to tell customers your costs if that's something that bothers you. I'm from a rural area too and I know what you mean by people being cheap. But being from a rural area means that it usually costs me more to make a cake than if I were in the city. Groceries are more expensive here, and if I have to drive to the closest city for cake items, I'm paying all that gas money, plus it takes up more of my valuable time. If anything, we should charge MORE for being in a rural area, not less! Raise your prices, girl!

mskavon Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:10pm
post #23 of 35
Originally Posted by aviles2005

I did this cake for my cousins baby shower, no charge. I've been asked to make this cake again. its an 6",8" and 10.. chocolate buttercream with gourmet flavors in each teir. I have been struggling with prices and with serving size. I under charge for each cake. I live in PA.. where cost of living is pretty cheap and people are pretty cheap too..

I live in PA as well and struggle with the same thing. I always seem to undercharge a bit, but it results in more business in the end.

Where do you live? Maybe we can meet up? Inbox me icon_smile.gif

countrycaker Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:11pm
post #24 of 35

The two main cake decorators in the area I live and work in recently retired and the problem they left for me to deal with is they both significantly underpriced. They sold sheet cakes for $25 and 3-tier wedding cakes for $100. There's no way I'm going that low! As much as I love doing cakes, I want profit!

IcedandSliced Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:12pm
post #25 of 35

I agree with not starting off cheap. If I were to go back in time I would have started off right but I didn't think people would give me a second thought if I priced my cakes where they should have been. It is a new year now would be the best time to adjust those prices. For every year of experience I would increase your prices.

aviles2005 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:20pm
post #26 of 35

I agree, thats also a fear. I've givin these people a cake for $65 dollars then when they call again I'll say that will be $150 and there going to be like icon_surprised.gif WHAT!!!! thank you everyone for your help and support.. I appreciate it MUCHO icon_biggrin.gif

rosannar4 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:26pm
post #27 of 35

OMG! Thanks so much everyone and to the original poster. I too am new at this and feel really bad about charging for my cakes. I have been selling two tiered 6 and 8in for $50-$65. My husband keeps telling me that I am undercharging. But I run into the same dilemma that people compare you to the grocery stores and Costo cakes so I feel guilty charging more. But I'm not making anything for cakes that take me 6-8hrs. (I'm a perfectionist). So I guess I need to just get over it and charge more. Thanks so much for all the amazing advice everyone!

sweetsurprise Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:28pm
post #28 of 35

I am hoping to get an order for my first wedding cake but they are waiting on a price. It is a cake for about 200 people, 4 tiers with swirls and sugar orchids (as the bride to be said a BUNCH of them). I can't decide on a price. I am thinking about may be charging about $2.50 or $3.00 per piece. That makes the cake around $500-$600. Is this outrageous? Should I go down to $450?
Also, what would be the most appropriate tier sizes for such a cake?

Thank you!

brincess_b Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 8:11pm
post #29 of 35

Mbark - it's not $35 profit - that is the wage! No way near the minimum I'm sure, probably closer to half that!

Sweetsurprise - have you really sat down and worked out ur costings for this cake properly? If that covers your costs, pays you an hourly wage, and a little profit, then it's a good price. But if ur including gumpaste flowers in that price, it seems pretty low.
If you came up with $600, why are you wantin to knock the price down by $150? what's the business logic for that?
If the bride can't afford it, she can't afford it - ur not a cake charity. If she can't afford it, she shouldn't be having a wedding for 200!

TexasSugar Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 8:34pm
post #30 of 35

rosannar4, please remember that grocery store bakeries are not your competion. They often get frozen cakes shipped to the store, icing is premade and in some cakes precolored, and the decorators are limited how long they can spend on each cake, usually under 30 mins.

You are offering a custom made to order cake that will take alot longer than 30 mins to create. I know that people will compare you and your prices, to grocery store bakeries, but it is up to you to educate them on the difference and what you are offering them, and how it is really comparing apples and oranges.

sweetsurprise, where did you come up with your $2.50 and $3 numbers from?

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