Am I Charging Too Much Or Too Little?

Decorating By nhbaker Updated 31 Jan 2011 , 12:28am by kimcakes99

nhbaker Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 2:40pm
post #1 of 9

I'm still having a tough time figuring pricing for my occasional cakes. I know I'm always undercharging out of guilt but lately I'm not enjoying doing them because I feel like they're taking more time than they're worth. I know I need to grow a spine and charge more but I don't want to scare away customers.

I've got a request for a cake like this (but in girly colors).

This is one I did when I was just starting out. All the decorations including the baby on top are hand done (no special cutters, etc.) Customer needs it to serve 50-60 people and has asked for a specialty flavor.

I was thinking $125 -- too much or too little??

8 replies
Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 2:45pm
post #2 of 9

Way to little...I charge $3.00 per serving for BC and $5.00 for fondant...a cake for 60 in BC is $180.00 BASE price and that doesn't include the internal supports I have to pay for...or fondant embellishments etc...I would say coloser to $200.00 but that's JMO

indydebi Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 2:54pm
post #3 of 9

Ditto the above. My BC price was $3.50; fondant was $4.50; BC with fondant accents was $4.00. 50-60 people would be $200-$240.

high for a "little 2 tier cake"? Compared to what? icon_confused.gif

Its' enough cake to feed FIFTY PEOPLE!!!

As I've said many times in one form or another: $4 for a cup of coffee isn't a lot of money ... unless you're buying 50 of 'em!

They want the fondant baby? The fondant buttons and clothesline? Those are bells and whistles and those cost extra. Otherwise they can go to their local grocery store and get plastic or crappy piping that may or may not be something like we've seen on cake wrecks. (*)

(*) No disrespect to those CC'ers who work at grocery bakeries and do good work. Just citing the "chance" that the cake they end up with won't be up to par. And we know darn good and well it won't look like the photo in the OP! thumbs_up.gif

Scared of scaring them off? Remember: Taking an order that puts you in the red is NOT better than not taking the order at all. When you analyze if you made money or not, you've really got to look at this like a business person would, and that includes looking at your time as a cost, just like the eggs and the oil. $125 for the cake ..... lets assume $50 for supplies ... leaving $75 "profit". If you spent 15 hrs from taking the order, to driving to the store, to the baking, mixing, decorating, cutting, cleaning, cleaning ( and did I mention cleaning?) ...... you'd make $5 an hour. That to me, is "going in the red" because I can work at McDonalds for more money than that.

kristanashley Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 2:56pm
post #4 of 9

That's about what I would charge... but I am out in the middle of nowhere and those are the going prices.

joyfullysweet Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 2:59pm
post #5 of 9

Too little! You will need to do a 10" and 8" to get 60 servings. That's 62 servings x your base price. If you only charge $125, that's only $2/serving, not including the fondant decorations. Even if you did a 10" and 6", that would be 50 servings. You'd be charging $2.50/serving.

Do you have a set base price per serving? I would charge somewhere around $200 as well.

nhbaker Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 3:28pm
post #6 of 9

I've got base prices for wedding cakes $3.00 b/c, $3.50 fondant but not occasional cakes. When I first did my website up I had occasional cakes priced as "average of $2.00 per serving, but due to their individuality, pricing may vary". This backfired immediately as I had a bride and groom want an "occasional cake" because it was cheaper per serving -- (SERIOUSLY!), so I took that off the website and now just have "priced out per order".

I too am from a remote area and people don't like to spend a lot to get a lot. With wedding cakes, people "expect" it to cost x amount so that's not usually an issue. But it's really tough with occasional cakes which is why I struggle so much with pricing them.

As far as I know, I'm one of only a few people in my area (and we're talking 50+ mile radius) that do this type of cake -- most do sheet cakes or people just go to the grocery store and buy them.

Luckily, my cake biz is just a supplemental source of income for the home (hubby brings home the bulk of the bacon!!) so I'm not dependant on my cakes to survive but the time has come to put my foot down and start charging what my time is worth.

The support I get from this site is a tremendous help and I'm so glad for all your help & advice - it's so nice to have people "get it".

indydebi Posted 29 Jan 2011 , 4:36pm
post #7 of 9
Originally Posted by nhbaker

With wedding cakes, people "expect" it to cost x amount so that's not usually an issue. But it's really tough with occasional cakes which is why I struggle so much with pricing them.

Ok, gang. It's time to get out of 1962 thinking.

"Back in the day" ...... wedding cakes were big, ornate towering creations of sugary art that cost quite a bit. Partly because of the design. partly because it had to feed 150 people. Birthday cakes, on the other hand, were little quarter sheet cakes that could feed the 15-20 people who were coming to the party and you could get one for under twenty bucks.

"Today" ...... BIRTHDAY cakes are big, ornate towering creations of sugarty art that cost quite a bit. Partly because of the design. Partly because they now have to feed 150 of little one year old baby princess diva's closest and dearest friends. And mom is exclaiming, "what do you MEAN it's more than twenty bucks!? It's ONLY a birthday cake!"

If you cant' recognize the value of your work, how are you going to market and sell it to your clients? icon_confused.gif

Get rid of that archaic thinking and market your talent the right way! thumbs_up.gif

leily Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 1:27pm
post #8 of 9

here's another great thread on how to figure pricing.

kimcakes99 Posted 31 Jan 2011 , 12:28am
post #9 of 9

Way to little.When I was starting on my cake business,I used to charge very very little.One day I made a cake all day long from 8 AM to 9 PM icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif With the cost of ingredients and everything it wasn't any money left for me icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif From that day on I charge what I am worth icon_biggrin.gif Even if that means less business. icon_lol.gif

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