TPACakeGirl Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 5:43pm
post #1 of

Thanks to the Cake Boss software, I found that I wasn't charging enough for my cakes to break even on supply costs. I have been really undercharging. I decided that in 2011, I was no longer going to do this. I work from home, so I don't expect to be rich, but I expect to break even. I decided that there were a handful of people I would make cakes for at cost (family), some that I would discount (best friends, firefighters, teachers and LEOs), and the rest would pay full price.

Before I quote a price, I now put everything through my Cake Boss software, and it spits out a price for me. I love it. The only problem is, that since I've started charging more, I've had several people decide not to book with me. There have been 2 in the last month. Both were 3 tier cakes requiring gumpaste figurings and lots of work. I quoted one at $125 and the other was $175. Both people told me my prices were ridiculous, and that they find it hard to believe a cake can cost that much to make.

Do you have this issue too? How much do people think it costs to make a cake?

412 replies
kendra_83 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 5:57pm
post #2 of

I personally would rather make a cake for someone who appreciates my effort and creativity than sell myself short. I think $175 for a three tiered cake is really cheap. I recently made a 30 serving cake for a friend whose husband was being deployed to Kuwait so of course I wanted to give them a discount. My friend is always raving about my talent but when she proceeded to toss me 20 bucks for the cake I spent 3 hours making, I was so shocked I couldn't even say anything. Needless to say, I now know what type of person she is. You might find that family and friends are the last ones who will actually pay you what you're worth. Here's a quote from my mother that revealed itself to be the truth: "It's better to be pissed off than pissed on."

Niki11784 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:01pm
post #3 of

I'm with you. I think your prices are really fair- people think we should work at minimum wage hourly rates! I hate losing orders because of prices, and I usually end up being a sucker and giving a really cheap price....and then hating myself for it!

sweetcakes Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:05pm
post #4 of

i know what you mean, Cakeboss really opened my eyes too and i too loose a lot of orders once i give them a price, People get back to me and say they found someone to make it 'much cheaper' then what i quoted. so be it!! I just know these other decorators are not making any money, if only they had cakeboss. My students in my wilton classes ALWAYS comment at the end of a class that now they realize why cakes cost so much. they are so much work.

TPACakeGirl Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:09pm
post #5 of

I'm not giving in anymore, unless it's for my sister or mother or someone like that. If I lose the order, I guess it's "oh well." I have more free time. It's just shocking to me that with all the cake decorating shows on T.V. now, people are really shocked that a cake costs more than $50. The $125 cake is a Winnie the Pooh cake for my godchild. It was a 3 tier design with all the characters made of gumpaste. I thought the price was very fair, especially since I wasn't charging anything for the labor. The party is a month away, so I guess we'll see what the mom gets at a more "reasonable" price. She just better not use my design. Although, I can't imagine she can get my design cheaper anywhere else.

vlk Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:15pm
post #6 of

I would like to see the cake that was 'cheaper' than $125 for a 3 tier cake ! icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

With any thing - you get what you pay for....

If you settle for less $$ then you are telling yourself that you are not deserving of your talent and time!

bobwonderbuns Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:26pm
post #7 of

I just had that yesterday, I quoted my normal price, then gave her a bit of a discount and suddenly I'm alone listening to the crickets... icon_rolleyes.gif

ginger001 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:28pm
post #8 of

I too, have given people cakes at a ridiculously cheap price. I spend somewhere around 20 hours on a cake, then to have someone hand you 20 or 30.00 is an absolute insult. I had rather give a cake to someone because then I don't have to listen to how they can find a much cheaper cake. I'm getting to the point of "go ahead" have it done cheaper, I don't care. If I'm willing to give up an entire weekend, because I work outside of the home Monday through Friday, then they should appreciate my doing the cake for them and pay what I'm asking. I only break even anyway.

BCo Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:38pm
post #9 of

OMG- I just logged in here to say something similar! I just had someone contact me on Sunday for a cake on this Saturday and when I emailed her back the quote she emailed me back and said she couldn't justify spending $75 on a cake for her husband's 50th birthday and that she'd have to think about it. HELLO!! I told her she had until COB today to make a decision and also explained how I justified what the cost of the cake was....I probably should have just said to go to WalMart or the grocery store but I reminded her that my cakes are made to order, no frozen/pre-made cakes or icings out of buckets, etc. etc. She had seen a cake of mine at a party she attended (the 50th Man of All Seasons cake in my photos) so she knows my work and the attention to detail that I give to my cakes and all the different items I put on there.

So she wanted these things included in her cake: An airplane (her husband works for an airline/is a pilot), sailing/tropical island (they spend their winters in the tropics sailing on their boat), hiking/mountains, a moose, bears (they spend their summers in the White Mountains of NH), woodworking, skiing and biking and that it didn't need to be THAT elaborate!! LOL Oh, and she only needed it to serve 10 ppl!!!


Are you kidding me....you have a sailboat and spend your winters sailing in the tropics and your entire summer in the mountains a few states away but you can't justify spending money, $75 at that, on a cake for your husband's 50th birthday!!! Give me a break! I'm not to judge what people spend their money on but please don't tell me about your tropical vacations and all of the toys you own and then say you can't justify spending $75 for a cake for a milestone bday!

Niki11784 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bturpin


Are you kidding me....you have a sailboat and spend your winters sailing in the tropics and your entire summer in the mountains a few states away but you can't justify spending money, $75 at that, on a cake for your husband's 50th birthday!!! Give me a break! I'm not to judge what people spend their money on but please don't tell me about your tropical vacations and all of the toys you own and then say you can't justify spending $75 for a cake for a milestone bday!




LOL, so true!

kimkake Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:40pm

I definitely need to look into the cake boss software! I am told by many of my customers that I need to raise my prices also - and with the price of groceries I have to. The ones that think the cakes are too expensive are the ones who will go and get their hair done - at 1-1/2 hours and have no problem paying $100 for that!! (I am not saying the hair dresser is not worth that - they totally are) But they need to take into consideration the material and TIME!!

bobwonderbuns Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:43pm

You know the other side of this coin is the market -- I know people here won't pay more than $50 for something that will feed 25 people (like a 6 and 9 inch topsy turvy or a 10 inch pillow cake). They just won't do it. Yet my prices have those cakes at $100. Hence the problem!!! (Anyone have a solution???) icon_rolleyes.gif

Niki11784 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:45pm

I know, its really a problem! I understand why the don't pay that- I wouldnt either!

cookiemama2 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 6:51pm

[quote="ginger001"]I too, have given people cakes at a ridiculously cheap price. I spend somewhere around 20 hours on a cake, then to have someone hand you 20 or 30.00 is an absolute insult.


And they think they are a hero giving you that!

grandmomof1 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:01pm

I really think it would be great if the "Cake shows" would actually list the prices of their work much like they do on Fabulous Cakes. People are getting their ideas from the things these shows are putting out. They are totally unaware of the amount of work that goes into creating a character or animal or building. If you want true art then you have to pay for it. If it doesn't matter whether you have "true art" then go buy the cracker jacks because you get exactly what you pay for, cracker jacks.

Niki11784 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:03pm

I think that cake shows do real cake sellers an injustice- when you watch a cake show you really don't see how much work goes into it. The cake is done from start to finish in less than an hour ( plus commercial breaks)!

jo3d33 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:07pm

I would rather someone say "no thank you" to my price than to be cursing myself while decorating for giving too cheap of a price. I cant remember who's quote this is but it is my favorite. "Good cake aint cheap and cheap cake aint good" icon_smile.gif

cookiemama2 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by grandmomof1

I really think it would be great if the "Cake shows" would actually list the prices of their work much like they do on Fabulous Cakes. People are getting their ideas from the things these shows are putting out. They are totally unaware of the amount of work that goes into creating a character or animal or building. If you want true art then you have to pay for it. If it doesn't matter whether you have "true art" then go buy the cracker jacks because you get exactly what you pay for, cracker jacks.





I'd like to see the prices of some of the cakes here on CC as well!
Maybe there would be less of "how much for this cake" !!!

Kiddiekakes Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:08pm

Me too..I just this morning received an email saying....."While I love your cakes I don't like the Prices" Well Laddie Da....I didn't email you...You emailed me for a cake for 30 people and only want to spend fifty bucks.I told her Nope in not so many words!!!

iwishicould Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:08pm

Did you see that last episode of Fabulous Cake where the one cake cost $7000.00?

chicklets0524 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:09pm

I so agree!! I recently started making cakes out of my home - I also work full time and have 5 kids so it is just a hobby that I want to eventually build on. But when people call for tiered cakes, covered in fondant, hand made flowers, or cakes in shapes of intricate things, I'm not sure what goes through their minds!
I have been fairly lucky so far with customers, but have had a few tell me they can get it cheaper elsehwere, unless I want to match that price. I politely tell them "good luck" but that I can not do it for that price. I'm sorry, but wedding cakes are charged in bakeries at $4-8 A SERVING and they are able to buy everything in bulk and have fantastic conveniences at hand.
No some of us of course aren't as experienced as these bakery bakers, but the money I put into cakes, and all of the TIME that goes into them, I sure as heck am going to charge for.
If you can't "justify" spending that kind of money on something you just eat, then go buy a slab cake from your Grocery store.

OK - done my rant for the day!!

cfpeoples Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:12pm

I'd like to see the prices of some of the cakes here on CC as well!
Maybe there would be less of "how much for this cake" !!![/quote]
That might be a good idea. It could give some people confidence to charge what they are worth, when they see people do!

bobwonderbuns Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jo3d33

I would rather someone say "no thank you" to my price than to be cursing myself while decorating for giving too cheap of a price. I cant remember who's quote this is but it is my favorite. "Good cake aint cheap and cheap cake aint good" icon_smile.gif




You know it's funny, I told that exact quote to the last Bridezilla that came my way and look out -- the explosion was tremendous!!! icon_rolleyes.gificon_razz.gif

bates123 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:16pm

I'm really to the point that I'd rather make cakes only for the people who are willing to pay a reasonable price. Let the rest of them go to a grocery store if they want. Reducing the cost just makes us have to work so much harder. I'm all for making more money on the cakes that I do get. I've looked at the cakes made by everyone posting on this forum and they are amazing cakes. We shouldn't be charging the same as a grocery store sheet cake for specialty cakes. Look at the money people throw into the rest of the party. The cost of a good cake should be understandable. In other words, this is my price, take it or leave it. (Unless I want to do free or reduced cakes for friends. )

TPACakeGirl Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:17pm

This is why I still have a full-time job outside of the cake world. If I went strictly by what people are wanting to pay for cakes, I would be upside down on my business. You simply can't have a business or a hobby, where you're losing money. I say that if someone doesn't want to pay for the supplies, don't do the cake unless you're okay with losing money. If someone wants to pay Walmart prices, then they should get a Walmart cake. I also think it's very selfish of someone to expect you to take a loss when they obviously refuse to lose any money themselves.

My godchild's mother spends $150 per month making her brown hair blonde. Approx. $50/week doing her nails and hair. She also spends $1500/month on private daycare for her precious baby. I don't think the $125 for the cake is what is going to break her.

I think what really got me motivated to start charging more, besides seeing the increasing balance on my credit card, is when I realized that I spent almost $300 in supplies for my boss's 50th bday cake, not even counting the hours of labor, and he acted like I went to a grocery store and got him a cake. Never again!!!!

On a side note: Did you know that Charm City Cakes has a $1000 minimum for their cakes?

shannycakers Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:34pm

It was a huge awakening for me this past weekend when my hubby used cake boss software to track my expenses on what i thought was a profitable sheet cake selling for $60. IT turned out that i only made 35 dollars on the cake after expenses!!, the cake ingredietns were 20 dollars and then the rice krispy modeling chocolate football was 5$ expense. Took me several hours...

People will never understand all the work that goes into a cake, stand firm on prices and raise them if your not getting paid for your time.

shannonBridges Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 7:54pm

I read the Cake Boss article on pricing and decided to create a spreadsheet to see what a cake actually cost me, as I have been asked to do a very large cake for about 300 people. When I first told my husband what I wanted to charge he thought it was too high. When I showed him my cost only calculations, that did not include electricty, storage, transportation and time, he quickly changed his tune. He realized I was being more than fair. Breaking down the costs really helped me put things into perspective. I know I am still offering a good deal as I can not predict how long this is going to take me and I still do what I do because it is a challenge and a pleasure, but I now feel more confident and justified when I give a price. People who ask me to do a cake for them do so because they want something is unique. I have to remember this. We don't ask artists to charge poster prices for their paintings.

BCo Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 8:22pm

I just wanted to say to my customer....what do you do for a living? How much do you get paid? Then say to her, you know, I don't think you're worth that much, I would never pay YOU that much for that job!!!!

What ever happened to just saying - Thank you for your time but I don't think I'm going to be able to purchase a cake from you at this time. I appriciate the time you've spent helping me so far..... Instead of, I can't believe your cake costs that much, can you do something to bring the price down and I can't ever justify paying that much for a cake for my HUSBAND's 50th Birthday!! (I hope her husband treats her just as nice as she treats him on her 50th!!!icon_smile.gif

No need to be rude and insulting by saying it's rediculous to charge what we charge for our hard work and talent...what is wrong with people? I would never in a million years say something like that to someone about their product!

Would she take her husband out to dinner with their friends for his bday and then tell everyone they weren't allowed to order dessert which would most likely be priced at leat $5+ per person?? I wouldn't want to be her friends!!! icon_smile.gif

ryannrochelle Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 8:23pm

I can totally sympatize with everyone's reply. I had a co-worker ask me to do a murder mystery themed cake for her daughter and she was sparing "no expenses." I told her roughly how much it was going to cost, sketched it out for her and she agreed. Being a co-worker and a friend I figured everything was all good. Nope! She asked me 3 days before the birthday how much she owed me and I told her 120 for her 2 tiered cake with ALLLLLLLLL of the gumpaste figures, she told me "Oh, I was expecting $40.00. I can't afford that so I am going to have to cancel." icon_mad.gif I was furious. First of all....$40.00 is an insult! Second....that doesn't even cover the cost to make it. Third.....I have already made the gumpaste figures and she refused to pay me for them. It was a learning experience and I decided to take the high road on that one. I am pretty up front about pricing before I even discuss designs anymore. People watch too much Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss that it has given them a syndrome of "Jimmy Choo taste on a Payless budget." I was glad to see the show "Fabulous Cakes" does state prices!

jo3d33 Posted 7 Feb 2011 , 8:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannrochelle

People watch too much Ace of Cakes and that it has given them a syndrome of "Jimmy Choo taste on a Payless budget." I was glad to see the show "Fabulous Cakes" does state prices!




AMEN sister!!! lol!!!

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