What Would You Charge For These Cakes? Am I Under-Charging??

Decorating By sarahmay Updated 6 May 2011 , 6:44pm by kristiemarie

sarahmay Posted 2 May 2011 , 11:22pm
post #1 of 79

Hi all!

I will upload a picture of a cake I have recently made. I was wondering what you would charge for this? I live in Toronto,Ontario, Canada.

I understand you charge based on fillings, size, servings, etc....but I am wondering for how it is pictured...what would you suggest I charge?

Thanks for any help!

78 replies
ShandraB Posted 2 May 2011 , 11:32pm
post #2 of 79

Don't see the photo.

mareg Posted 2 May 2011 , 11:43pm
post #3 of 79

No photo.

indydebi Posted 3 May 2011 , 12:21am
post #4 of 79

No pics posted yet, but what would I PAY for a cake is a totally different question from what would I CHARGE for a cake.

foxymomma521 Posted 3 May 2011 , 12:27am
post #5 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

No pics posted yet, but what would I PAY for a cake is a totally different question from what would I CHARGE for a cake.



thumbs_up.gif

well said!
What size is the cake?

JanH Posted 3 May 2011 , 7:16am
post #6 of 79

The cake is in her photo gallery (uploaded today). icon_smile.gif

Coral3 Posted 3 May 2011 , 7:54am
post #7 of 79

If you want a photo to show up in your post, here's how:

First upload the photo into an online photo site like Photobucket (getting a photobucket account is easy and FREE) then just copy the photo's image code (IMG Code) from photobucket and paste it into your post. Then when you hit 'submit comment' the photo will display in the thread. Easy.

Photobucket is here: http://photobucket.com/

I'm pretty sure you can also use Flickr like this too - just look for the image code (IMG code) and copy and paste it.

carouselcreations Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:06am
post #8 of 79

Hi there... That cake took a ton of time and is very nicely detailed. I would probably charge $60 but would easily pay $75. Nice cake!!!

indydebi Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:20am
post #9 of 79

assuming that is an 8" cake that serves 24, times my fondant rate which was $4.50 = $108.

10" cake, serving 38, x $4.50 = $171

That's a LOT of detail work that needs covered in the price. I kept seeing all of those teeny tiny stripes that needed applied to the poker chips and how long it would take just to do those! icon_eek.gif

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 12:01pm
post #10 of 79

Thanks ladies!

It was actually a 12" Round cake, about 5 " Tall.

It was to feed 40 people.

The cake was vanilla cake with Lemon curd filling, fresh raspberry puree layer and then raspberry buttercream.

Would that make a difference for any of your pricing?

Thanks in advance.

Ps. I will try the photobucket method....it's that my photo size is too big.

leah_s Posted 3 May 2011 , 12:53pm
post #11 of 79

To start with, a 12" round serves 56. For me fondant is $4 per serving, so base price would be $224.

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 12:59pm
post #12 of 79

Could you tell me where you are getting your serving size information from??? I have been following this site for info on baking and size servings.

http://www.bakedecoratecelebrate.com/techniques/amountbakingguide.cfm

Are your servings based on 2" servings or what size?

Do you not think that regardless of how much your "base price" for fondant is....that starting at $224 for a cake this size is too much money??? Most people couldn't afford that at all. Isn't that a lot of profit compared to what it actually costs you to make it? Just wondering.

I have problems trying to get people to pay $75 for a two tier (8" & 10") fondant cake with gumpaste modelling.......

I charged $65 for the Poker Cake. So you are saying that's too little to charge??

Do you operate out of a store or home? Maybe because you have a bakery you can charge more than a home baker??? Let me know.

Thanks for all your help icon_smile.gif

cakeandpartygirl Posted 3 May 2011 , 1:11pm
post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay



I charged $65 for the Poker Cake. So you are saying that's too little to charge??




Yes!!! How long did it take you to do all of the poker chips? Remember your time is valuable. Honestly would you take a job making less than the national minimum wage? I understand doing things for the love of it but.....you are only looking at how much the ingredients cost you not how much time it took you.

indydebi Posted 3 May 2011 , 1:12pm
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay

Could you tell me where you are getting your serving size information from???


http://www.wilton.com/wedding/wedding-cakes/wedding-cake-data.cfm Its industry standard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay

Are your servings based on 2" servings or what size?


4" tall cake .... pieces cut in 1x2x4" pieces. In my signature is a link on how to cut a cake to achieve these servings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay

Do you not think that regardless of how much your "base price" for fondant is....that starting at $224 for a cake this size is too much money??? Most people couldn't afford that at all. Isn't that a lot of profit compared to what it actually costs you to make it? Just wondering.


Its not a $224 cake. Its enough cake to feed over FIFTY PEOPLE. As I've said before ..... a $4 cup of coffee isn't a lot of money ..... until you have to pay for 50 of them all at once. If they can't afford that much cake, they need to throw a smaller party. I never was, and never intend to be, a cake welfare dept.

A LOT of profit? compared to what? If you are just looking at cost of ingredients (a common mistake when first getting started), then you are not considering ALL of the costs involved.

Here's a thread where a CC'er did a cost comparison on the "ingredients times three" and then doing a REAL cost analysis which included her time, which is THE most expensive "ingredient" of all. http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=6475557#6475557

lilmissbakesalot Posted 3 May 2011 , 1:23pm
post #15 of 79

That's a lot of detail work. If they were getting it from me it would be 55 servings at $5.50/serving or $302.50 and that doesn't include delivery.

I am a home business, but I value my time highly. I don't live in a big city either... just a small town in NH.

An 8/10 tiered cake would serve the same amount of people... 55 and would start at $5/serving or $275.00.

Debi is right... it's not $300 for a cake... it's dessert for 55 at $5.50 per person. If they don't need that much cake... you make it smaller. Just because they only need cake for 30 doesn't mean they get cake for 55 at the price of cake for 30 either.

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 1:54pm
post #16 of 79

Okay, so I have been charging about $1.50-$2.50/serving.

My last question to you all is this:

If there are a lot of people in Toronto, Ontario that are home baker's offering wedding cakes at $100 + FOR THREE TIERS and cheap cakes....is it better to charge less to gather a clientele, and then start charging more adequately...or keep prices higher from the start (even if it means no or very very little business in my area)????

Thanks again for everyone's help!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:26pm
post #17 of 79

Well ask yourself... if you started working with someone and they charged $1.50 per item (in your case it's servings of cake) and then they all of a sudden started charging $4.00 for the same thing... would you stick around of find another source? Also... undercutting the shop owners so harshly is pretty shady IMHO. If you want to have a business... treat it like one. Make sure you can cover your costs and make enough to keep it profitable. As a home kitchen your supplies cost more than a shop would pay since you can't have 50+ pounds of flour and sugar hanging around. You also cannot produce as much volume since your oven space is limited. You have to charge enough to make it worth it.

Also... I am pretty sure that in Canada you have to have a separate kicthen to legally produce food for the public. I don't think it needs to be a full commercial kitchen, just one that is closed off from the rest of your place and has an easyily accessible handwashing sink (which can be a bathroom sink).

I don't want to deflate your dreams, but I figure it's important to bring up since you can only get hurt with information that you don't have.

icon_biggrin.gif

TexasSugar Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:29pm
post #18 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay

is it better to charge less to gather a clientele, and then start charging more adequately...or keep prices higher from the start (even if it means no or very very little business in my area)????




Simple answer... Nope.

If you start charging to little people are going to be use to that price and you will gather a customer base off of people that want to pay very little. When you go to up your prices you will get a lot of, "Well you only charged XYZ for the last cake. Why do I have to pay this ABC price now." And chances are you will lose people that will not want to pay a higher price.

There are different types of customers out there. You have to figure out which market you want and build your prices off of that.

Also don't forget, there is more than pricing than just cost of supplies and profit. There is also your time spent working on the cake.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-694973-pricing.html

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:30pm
post #19 of 79

I have never heard of this "legal" stuff you are speaking about. I guess I am ignorant.

As for being shady....I don't feel I am at all. I am not undercutting anyone...

I guess I will just stick with what I am doing then....as I am slowly getting more business.

No two cakes are alike...so obviously I wouldn't be charging for the same thing different amounts. It all depends on the work involved.

I don't think people care here in Canada about the legalities of separate kitchens and such...but thanks for your input.

I just state that I work from home, and that nothing is guaranteed as nut, gluten free, etc.

You're not squashing my dreams...I only listen to what information I find helpful to my circumstances.

Thanks icon_smile.gif

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:34pm
post #20 of 79

Thanks ladies for all your information....I will take it into account when figuring out a more reasonable pricing structure tonight with my husband.

TexasSugar Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:53pm
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay


You're not squashing my dreams...I only listen to what information I find helpful to my circumstances.

Thanks icon_smile.gif




I would suggest that you take some time to find out what is legal or not legal to do. In the long run that is information that would be very helpful in your situation, because selling cakes to the general public in an area that that it is not allowed could end with you having to pay a fine.

There are other Canadian bakers on here, so hopefully someone can share some information or point you in the right direction to find it.

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:58pm
post #22 of 79

Okay thanks.

Yeah I don't want to be breaking any laws, so if I need a separate Kitchen, then I will just stop the business dream all together. I can't afford a house or condo with a separate kitchen and bathroom...so I won't even attempt to sell to the public (in case someone decides to turn me in).

I will just bake for friends and family.

Thanks for your "advice" and Take Care.

I got the info I needed, and ultimately will be leaving cake central now, as there really isn't a point if I am not baking for money anymore.

MODERATOR = PLEASE DELETE MY ORIGINAL POST IMMEDIATELY AND ALL ELSE!

THANKS! icon_smile.gif

lilmissbakesalot Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:58pm
post #23 of 79

Well I have a few Canadian pals who would beg to differ that charging under $100 for a 3 tiered cake isn't hurting other's business (not necessarily you, but the other bakers you spoke of).

Not many know of the legal side of the cake biz when they first have their dreams of opening up shop (even if that shop is in your home... icon_smile.gif ). And then when it is brought to light, most will say the same thing you did... "well I'm going to to what I want regardless". I feel it's important to bring up though since you are venturing into making cakes for those who aren't friends or family. Insurance is a good idea to have to protect yourself should anyone get ill. Also, even in states that do license residential bakeries you are limited to non-potentially hazzardous foods so that means no fruits, no custards, no whipped cream, and in most cases no banana cake or pumpkin cake as they are classified as potentially hazzardous. Only when you have a fully commercial kitchen are you allowed to offer things that require refrigeration.

Again... just for knowledge's sake. icon_biggrin.gif Good luck figuring out your pricing structure. Hopefully when you see the whole cost and compare to the time invested... you can see that charging so little means you work for peanuts (or maybe in our case cake scraps... LOL).

icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:08pm
post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmay

I got the info I needed, and ultimately will be leaving cake central now, as there really isn't a point if I am not baking for money anymore.


Oh that's not true. CC has LOTS of hobby bakers (me included, now, since I closed my shop) and hobby bakers share and learn just as much about technique, new ideas, cake design, how to fix/avoid cake disasters and much much more. This is a cake site that happens to ALSO share info about being a cake business. Its not exclusively a cake BUSINESS site.

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:14pm
post #25 of 79

Yes, very true.

However, I felt like I was attacked with laws and "rights" and "wrongs" and I do not appreciate that.

There are so many of us out there trying to support our families the best we can...and this may mean that we cannot afford a shop or big house with a separate kitchen and such. Some of us take the risks and don't want to be told we should read up on our laws to avoid penalties and fines.

It makes me nervous to deal with people like that on this site...so I would like the moderators to delete my original inquiry and all posts from me responding to it.

I appreciate your help with the serving sizes though...thanks a lot. That helps me not waste cake anymore! icon_smile.gif

iwishicould Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:15pm
post #26 of 79

Not sure why you would leave CC. I am not a professional baker or really a hobby baker. I just love looking at the talent of others and wish I would be invited to an invent where some of these cakes are served! icon_biggrin.gif [/quote]

0930 Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:17pm
post #27 of 79

hi there

i live in cambridge ontario so very near to you. you absolutely do have to have a business liscence and a separate kitchen and they do very very often just drop me to check up on you and i mean NO WARNING

i had an aunt that for years baked and make stunning cakes but never had the proper paperwork. the local bakery in town went after her with a vegence and if she wanted to continue she set up a business in a quick hurry. in her basement she simply set up a modest second kitchen with proper storage. i do not know why she did not do this from the get go so she could have separate area for cooking and doing her baking - all of the expenses are a write off anyway

honestly you are not charging enough but that is your business really. i agree that it is probably not a great thing to seriously undercut your competition cus you never know when you may need them. the reality is that toronto is so big with so many bakeries that unless you have 3 or 4 on your street it is highly unlikely you are going to bankrupt anyone

personally i hobby bake for my family and charge only for the supplies. sometimes i get requests from family friends to do something so i charge a little extra for my time with the understanding that this is the price today for this cake, next time . .... well prices could be higher

sarahmay Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:22pm
post #28 of 79

Exactly. That's why I am dissolving this venture.

Please stop posting to this...I want the moderator to delete it please!

I do not want to receive anymore updates on this thread in my email..lol

TexasSugar Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:25pm
post #29 of 79

What you do with the information you are given is your choice. No one is attacking you, and since I was the one that suggested you read up on the laws I can say that it was not meant as a attack. I live in a state that does not currently allow people to sell cakes out of their home. The law sucks, I know, but they are there for a reason.

I have NO IDEA what the laws are in your area, I am not even pretending to, which is why I suggested you do some research. You may learn that it isn't against the law and you have no issues at all. You may learn that it is allowed out of your home with a few simply things in place. It may also be something as simple as finding a church or another legal kitchen to work out of. And yes you may learn that you have to do it outside of your home.

If you are just doing cakes for family and friends chances are they aren't going to turn you into the health department. It is when you branch out outside of those groups of people, the friends of a friend, and the co-worker of a family member, where I would be very careful.

goodiegoddess Posted 3 May 2011 , 3:50pm
post #30 of 79

I live in Hamilton, Ontario (about an hour outside Toronto) and I run a business out of my house. The health dept does stop by (3-4 times a year)

In regards to the OP........ part of the cost that goes into the cake is the fees for your business, you hydro, water, gas to get fondant....etc.

If you are looking to try and make money to support your family then you need to know how much your cost for the cake is. I know you said that $224 is WAY to much for a cake but if you are working away for hours on your cake, take out dinner for the family (kitchen is crzy with cake stuff) etc. If you are not making money is it worth it? Are you really making money?

Some things to think about for cost.....even if you don't run a legal business.

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