a customer called me today wanting a 3 tier birthday cake for her nephew. 2 tiers topped with a mickey mouse hat as the third tier. she is looking to pay under $100. is it just me, or is that a completely unreasonable price? plus she wants mickey's hands coming out of the middle tier and his shoes coming out of the bottom tier. the cake will serve well over 50 people and my cheapest cakes start at $2.50 a serving with plain buttercream as the filling. she wants all tiers cookies and cream cake filled with oreo creme filling. i quoted her $135 with the tiers covered in fondant but all detail work as buttercream since its faster and easier (for me). even then i feel like im low balling the price. and she needs it for this saturday since her original lady canceled on her. im new to the business aspect and would appreciate any advice. thanks!
Well, there is actually another issue with this cake that you might not be aware of - you shouldn't charge for any cakes that have copyrighted characters or images on, unless you have sought permission from the copyright owner. I know it's only Mickeys hat, hands and shoes but Disney could come down on you like a ton of bricks if they find your picture on internet during their searches and discover your earned money from it. So you need to decide if you want to risk that.
That aside, there are many threads with pricing advice on this business part of the forum which you can read. For me personally, that cake would run at 220 (if it didn't have the Disney stuff on) but I am in another country/continent to you (I am assuming that since you don't state where you are from).
Agreed with the previous poster that you should not make your own Mickey Mouse elements as that would be a copyright violation, although you can use licensed cake toppers.
Re the price, $100 is way too low. Our pricing for multi-tier cakes starts at $5/serving, if this were my customer I would steer her towards a regular half-sheet cake which would better fit her budget.
If you bake from home you'll also want to make sure you can legally sell cakes, in some states you are required to get inspected by the health dept (usually in a separate commercial kitchen) before you can legally accept compensation for food you make.
And when setting your prices you need to have a good idea what your actual costs will be first, including ingredients, labor (# of hours * your hourly wage), and overhead (insurance, utilities, etc). Your price should be set 20-30% above your cost.
I'd agree with the two low amount. You said that your price per serving is $2.50 If you do a 6, 8, 10in round cakes, that is 74 1x2x4 servings, which by my math equals $185, and that isn't factoring in the fondant and extra elements.
If she only wants to pay $100, then tell her what $100 would buy her with you. Then she has three options, to pay the higher amount, pay the $100 and get a smaller cake, or go somewhere else.
Just because someone only wants to pay one thing, doesn't mean that your cake has to cost that.