Charging For A Techinique You Have Not Done.

Decorating By Dreme Updated 9 Jun 2011 , 6:12pm by TexasSugar

Dreme Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 4:54pm
post #1 of 7

I have a potential client that would like a beer bottle with ice bucket cake. I typically dont't make these types of cakes (3d carved / sugar work) but I would love to learn to do them and expand my skills into this area. I have no idea how to do sugar work nor do I have any of the tools to do so. I will admit I'm a little bit intimidated by doing sugar bottles, but would love to put this in my portfolio if I can learn to do this.

I'm up for the challenge. I saw a kit to make the sugar bottles (with the silicone, isomalt, etc included) for $79.00 plus shipping. Right now I really don't want to personally invest in a new technique, with having to pay for other urgent things for the business. I would like to at least cover my investment in the cost of the cake. When doing a technique what percentage of investment cost should be put into the price you charge? I know i have to factor in my time an other things, so should/would that be the actual investment cost or more.

I'm a little bit lost here. I know I should know how to price this, but I have no idea on what a sugar bottle should cost (maybe $15-$20 a bottle, maybe...). I feel like I would be paying for them to have this then. Would $30 per bottle would be a little better? That really seems like alot, but then this is something I normally don't do. I do think I should get paid more for a cake that requires a special skill level.

Lost and need opinions.

6 replies
amygortoncakes Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 5:18pm
post #2 of 7

I think you should charge them more for this cake not only because you are buying extra equipment but because it is a 3D/ Carved cake and most everyone charges more for them anyway. Unless you need to break down what each component is for the customer just tell them the cake is going to be X amount of $. I would have the customer pay atleast half of what it costs to buy the equipment and if you can get away with it have them pay the whole $79.

bakencake Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 5:36pm
post #3 of 7

ok, so, this is not the answer to your question but if you feel like working with sugar is either too hard, too expensive or you are just nor ready for it may I suggest doing what i did with my wine cake and that was wrapping a real bottle with gumpaste and letting it dry. then remove it and you have a bottle. this can also be done with chocolate the way zambito did her bottle in a bag. the molds are about $2-3. hth

ncsmorris Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 5:45pm
post #4 of 7

Just my 2 cents - I don't think it's the customer's responsibility to pay for our tools on an as-needed basis. That's something that should be built into the base price of our cakes (some require new tools, most don't so it's spread out as a general operational cost). However, paying for additions to the cake is relatively common (think charging $10 each for sugar flowers or whatever). It's for the time and extra skill above and beyond basic decorating. But I would not personally use this fee to cover the costs of new tools.

bakencake Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 5:50pm
post #5 of 7

I meant if you dont feel like working with sugar because it's either too hard

indydebi Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 6:00pm
post #6 of 7

When I was given the opportunity to do something I'd never tried before, I told my brides I would offer them the Prototype Price. This meant the bride was aware that she was my guinea pig and when I made this cake for her, it would give me the chance to see what kinds of time and costs were involved, so I'd know how to price future cakes like this; it would give HER a cake with a unique design at a standard price. They always seemed thrilled at the idea that no one would EVER get "their" cake at the low price they were about to pay.

No one ever turned me down ..... my costs were covered .... I got to play with something new ..... and the bride was happy that she got a great deal.

just an idea to throw out there for you! thumbs_up.gif

TexasSugar Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 6:12pm
post #7 of 7

Personally, I can see charging for the isomalt to make the bottle, plus the time for it. But I don't think it is fair for you to charge the customer for the whole shebang, since it will be something that you will have to use from now on. Do you tack the cost of a new cake pan into a order if you didn't previously have that cake pan? When you did your first fondant cake, did you charge extra for the rolling pin, and other fondant tools? To me that is part of the cost of doing business, the cost of the molds would come out of your profit since you are using it to invest in new products for your business.

How many bottles do they want on the cake? If they wanted a 6 pack and you charged them $30 a bottle that is $180 for the bottles alone. Yes I do think that is a lot of money. Even $15 a bottle would be $90. If someone wanted to charge me that much for some bottles that you really wouldn't want anyone to eat, I'd probably tell them I'd buy a real six pack and put them on the cake.

Because it is a specialty cake you can charge more than you regularly would and you could tack on some of the expense, but I don't know if it is fair to that person to tack on all of it. I think the only time it I'd be okay with the whole expense to being added is if it was a totally one of a kind thing. Like you had to order a mold that could really only ever be used on one cake.

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