mollysuzie Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 9:19pm
post #1 of

I don't have a cake decorating business....yet. Maybe someday when my kids are older. haha I just make them for family and friends for fun. Lately I've had many friend requests and they insist on paying me. I have no idea how much to charge. The ingredients and materials are expensive and it's time consuming, but because they are friends and I enjoy it, I feel bad charging them. Any suggestions on how much or how to calculate what a cake is worth?

36 replies
shaekae81 Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 9:46pm
post #2 of

If you do not plan on making this a business right now, and they insist on paying, I would simply calculate the cost of the ingredients and materials (to include electricity/gas, paper towels, cake boards etc..). If they want to give you more, that's their call. But if you don't plan to make money, breaking even at least would be nice icon_wink.gif

Or just insist that the cake is a gift and forgo purchasing a seperate gift. Most people are more than okay with that arrangement!

TexasSugar Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 9:51pm
post #3 of

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

RSABelle Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 11:43am
post #4 of

I only charge for product if the really good friends.

Coral3 Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 12:09pm
post #5 of

Do you think you want to cake as a business one day though? Because if they just pay the value of ingredients then after a while your friends will get the idea that that's what a cake is worth...it'll make it hard if one day you need to charge commercial prices. And if you let them have cakes cheap now, then word will get around to more than just them that you're the lady who 'does cheap cakes'...your friends' friends start asking for cakes - and they'll want the same great deal. I say start out charging as you plan to continue should you ever go into commercial production. And if you can't/don't want to do that, then give them free of charge instead of buying your friends gifts IF and only when YOU choose to...at least that way you're not establishing unrealistic prices.

RSABelle Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 12:14pm
post #6 of

If I was running a business, then I would charge like everyone else, it is after all my livelihood. As I am just a mom who likes to bake, product for now works for me... however, if they start to take advantage, I will charge them full price, time, product, profit the lot!

TexasSugar Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 2:07pm
post #7 of

My rule of thumb is if you ask me to do a cake, you pay. Simple as that. I don't give friends and family discounts, since those are the people that I do cakes for.

If I offer you a cake, then it's free.

The points made above about being the cheap cake lady is very valid. Isn't it funny how many 'really good' friends appear wanting you to make a cake for them, oh so you can practice this of that. You end up spending hours of your time making them an awesome cake, and they get to pay a very low price for it. How fair is that to you?

Kila5459 Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 2:49pm
post #8 of

I am recently getting into cake decorating as well. Usually I offer to make the cake as my gift for the birthday/wedding/ect. If they ask me to make the cake, I make sure they know that I am still very amateur, and not licensed, so I won't "sell" my cakes because I do plan to do this professionally someday. For now, I am doing this for practice, a picture of the cake to build my portfolio, and reimbursement for the groceris + $5 to cover the things I used out of my pantry, salt/baking powder/flavors/colors. Some of my friends & family will give me some extra as a tip, which is appreciated, but not mandatory.

likefrogs Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 3:04pm
post #9 of

Hello I was in this situation a few times, What I have started doing is charging as I would normally do then deduct the expenses and give the money back to them in a card. Either birthday, or wedding or anniversary or what ever the occasion is. I agree with the CHEAP CAKE LAdy You don't want to get that started. You never know when you will want or need this talent to make you some cash. That is just my idea, but it seems to work. I stick a note in and say, the cake was on me..... Hope that helps icon_smile.gif

QueDeeCakes Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 3:09pm

Treat your cakes the same as stores treat their merchandise..everyone pays, however, just as stores offer friends and family discounts, you adopt the same. That way you are receiving some return on the time you invest and you are massaging your conscious at the same time..

Good Luck

SugarFrosted Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 3:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

My rule of thumb is if you ask me to do a cake, you pay. Simple as that. I don't give friends and family discounts, since those are the people that I do cakes for.

If I offer you a cake, then it's free.

The points made above about being the cheap cake lady is very valid. Isn't it funny how many 'really good' friends appear wanting you to make a cake for them, oh so you can practice this of that. You end up spending hours of your time making them an awesome cake, and they get to pay a very low price for it. How fair is that to you?




My policy also. If I offer a cake, it's free. If you ask, you pay.

My husband even pays full price when he gets a cake for his office. Offering cheap cake only opens the door to friends of friends who say, "So-and-so got cake for $XX and I want to order one too." Soon you would be Cheap Cake Lady to everyone.

shaekae81 Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 3:24pm

I like the approach likefrogs has on the situation icon_smile.gif And TexasSugar is right on about if they ask, they pay...if you offer, it's a gift.

Janette Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 3:51pm

I did all friends and family free. Just last weekend a friends Grand-daughter had a BD party. They bought the cake at the market. Excuse me but all the free cakes I made for that family she couldn't offer me the money to do the cake.

I even did Wedding cakes free, can you imagine. I thought it would be great practice. Now I don't need the practice and I'm still doing free cakes. Wished I never started the freebees.

crushed Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 4:15pm

I quote family and friends the full price and then say, "This time I'm going to give you 30% off" This way they know what it would normally cost so if people ask what the cake or cupcakes is worth they can say the full price.

I also try and preface it with "This time" even if it turns out I do it all the time because it gives me an out at a later date if I need to rescind the "standing family discount".

Good luck!

hrnewbie Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 11:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kila5459

I am recently getting into cake decorating as well. Usually I offer to make the cake as my gift for the birthday/wedding/ect. If they ask me to make the cake, I make sure they know that I am still very amateur, and not licensed, so I won't "sell" my cakes because I do plan to do this professionally someday. For now, I am doing this for practice, a picture of the cake to build my portfolio, and reimbursement for the groceris + $5 to cover the things I used out of my pantry, salt/baking powder/flavors/colors. Some of my friends & family will give me some extra as a tip, which is appreciated, but not mandatory.




I'm also a newbie and sometimes things turn out well and sometimes...well they bite the big one. So I never charge anyone, tell them upfront what I hope they're going to get, and see each cake as an opportunity to learn, take pictures, and practice. I don't even let them cover groceries. I'm also super freaked out by the local health department so I've become even more firm about not taking payment. I also tell them I'm not licensed and that's the reason I won't risk taking any form of payment from them. They usually get it at that point.

I have had a few friends balk about this (especially co-workers) but I just tell them they can either have it for free or not at all. That said, it's not unusual to have a gift card to the local coffee shop show up randomly on my desk though. I couldn't tell you who dropped it off and they wouldn't dare tell me they did it either. icon_smile.gif

chefandbaker Posted 2 Jul 2011 , 7:09pm

I don't have my own business (it seems like it though, the amt of baking I do).. so I'm coming at this as a non-professional.

It depends on how good of a friend they truly are and their situation. Most times, I charge the cost of supplies, plus a little bit more for my time and effort.

If they're just acquaintances, I charge them my standard cake pricing and then a $10 off your first order discount with a free cake tasting. I almost always get a repeat customer because of that.

This future wedding cake that I'm doing for July 8. She's having a really rough time coming up with the moolah to accomplish her wedding. She asked me to help her with the cake.. I told her that I would gift her the cake as a wedding present to the couple, but she would have to pay for the supplies and the gas/electricity used and so on and so forth. She was quoted $600-$700 for her 5 tier cake.. but I am only charging her $300.00....
Only about $200 of that were supplies for the cake.. $50 will go towards my bills to make the cake.. so I'm really only making $50 profit.. but really, it's a gift from me to her.
Again, it's all dependent on the situation.

charliecakes Posted 2 Jul 2011 , 7:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

My rule of thumb is if you ask me to do a cake, you pay. Simple as that. I don't give friends and family discounts, since those are the people that I do cakes for.

If I offer you a cake, then it's free.

The points made above about being the cheap cake lady is very valid. Isn't it funny how many 'really good' friends appear wanting you to make a cake for them, oh so you can practice this of that. You end up spending hours of your time making them an awesome cake, and they get to pay a very low price for it. How fair is that to you?




Couldn't have said it better myself. Ditto. I don't offer a discount to family and friends. I look at it this way.. I would never.. ever, ever, expect my friends to lose money on their job because of me so I expect the same consideration in return.

Norasmom Posted 2 Jul 2011 , 7:37pm

I calculate the charge for materials only, as i am a new and relatively inexperienced baker, but people seem to like my cakes. Once I am more experienced, I will charge more without a problem.

ChRiStY_71 Posted 2 Jul 2011 , 8:32pm

A little off topic...but I hate it when friends invite me to their kids' birthday parties and then get their kids to call me and say "Miss Kwisty, will u pweese make a "fill in the blank" cake for my birfday?". I have a terrible time saying no to kids! icon_rolleyes.gif

strathmore Posted 2 Jul 2011 , 8:56pm

I have similar at the moment but its school mums. I have a standard price for a little figure and cake and its under $100 - last lady wanted the same as my latest horse cake but a thelwell type shaggy pony with a ballernina on - well those figures alone took me about 6 hours - would be quicker now I have done it once but she is querying the price, complaining the cake was too big, and I am not dropping the price as I just get resentfull and when they pick up the cake I smile nicely through gritted teeth. So yes I am one of the people working for $2 hr by the time I make the cake, do the board, decorate etc.... My policy now is going to be (as has been advised before by others) write an invoice and put full price and take 15percent off off. I have another one for Monday, they rang on Friday for it and queried the price - I have done discount in the past as part of my earthquake recovery participation but I will be nipping this in the bud after this cake. I have to say to myself that her electrician/hay contractor/builder/mechanic etc husband won't work for $2hr for me so why should I.

amygortoncakes Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 2:41am

Most of the cakes in my portfolio were made for cost or just a few dollars over. I find its about $50 because I buy fondant, with coupons of course. The only reason I only charge for ingredients is they give me the theme and then I get complete creative control. That way I feel like I get to do what I want. I made a toy story cake, which was for a cowboy themed party and I told her that I have been wanting to try a Woody cake and she said that fine with her.

Every so often someone will throw in an extra $20 or $30 and believe you me, I take it. And I don't report it to the IRS or have a legal bakery...LOL

But I always end up saying in coversation that this cake would cost well over $150 if I wasn't just charging for ingredients.

LNW Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 6:04pm

I have a family/friend discount. They pay for cost of ingredients and nothing more. They usually round it up $10-20 dollars though. However, they get zero creative control over the cake. I make whatever I want to make. They can suggest things, like the party theme is xyz or here is a napkin from the party supplies, could the cake have some of those elements on it. I let them pick a basic flavor for the cake, chocolate or vanilla, and then I take it from there. So usually when I show up at the party they have no idea what the cake looks like or what it will taste like. I have had some family members want more control over the design and for that I charged them full price and they gladly paid it. Most though are happy to let me make all the decisions so they can get the discount. Its still usually around $30-50 for a cake depending on how many servings they need.

The biggest issue I had with my friend and family discount was f&f thinking that extended to their fellow employees or outside friends and family. So my SIL would call me to order a cake for her bff at works birthday, but shed leave that part out, and expect to get the discount. When one family member was calling me every.single.week ordering a cake for this and that I figured out what was happening (I can be a bit slow sometimes). The last time she did it she ordered a baby shower cake. I knew she wasnt expecting and nobody in our family or group of friends was so it had to have been for a friend at work. I took her order, made the cake and when I met her for delivery I handed her an invoice with the full price on it. She literally yelled OH MY G*D!!! Then I let her know my f&f discount was for my friends and our close family, not her buddies at work or her extended family and she should know better then to take advantage for me like that. Really I should have known better then to let her do it. She paid the full amount and has never called me for a cake like that again. I still do her dds birthday cake every year but thats it. And she always pays full price for it. Ive never had a customer take advantage of me like my family has. Its really odd too. Id never do that to someone, or maybe I have and I just dont know?

strathmore Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 9:46pm

I just had someone approach me again at school - she has ordered from me before one of my first cakes - I told her that from now on its like any client you meet me at my place, we design the cake, you pay a deposit or full amount whichever you want and I take it from there. I can't be expected to run around after people that want something from me - some seem to think that I just wait around all day waiting for someone to order a cake and that I am so desperate I will charge next to nothing. . I said to her that I have been having some problems with clients and that when the hairdresser cuts hair for $40 and it takes 20mins I don't complain and go I am not paying that, or if they want a steak meal at a restaurant complain about the price - if they don't want it go to McDonalds or the fish and chip shop. I will be writing out a price list this week - and thats final. Maybe a discount for childrens cakes who attending my sons school, or if I decide its a worthwhile community cause then cost of supplies or free. This advice has been given before and I have never got round to doing it but having a price list to give out and to refer to will be great and stop me from getting resentful.

Coral3 Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 10:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChRiStY_71

A little off topic...but I hate it when friends invite me to their kids' birthday parties and then get their kids to call me and say "Miss Kwisty, will u pweese make a "fill in the blank" cake for my birfday?". I have a terrible time saying no to kids! icon_rolleyes.gif




And you can bet those parents are counting on just that when they tell their little darlings to ring you themselves and ask!

helen3743 Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 10:35pm

mollysuzie, i understand feeling bad about charging an amount to family and friends...

but I would just be weary of getting cake burn-out if you make all your cakes for free. the time and money that goes into them...

Norasmom Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 10:59pm

I also have noticed that when I charge for ingredients for the cake, my friends hand me double the amount. I am fortunate they know the value of a good cake.

amygortoncakes Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 11:22pm

I just had a blowout with my sister about her 30th birthday cake. And the bottom line she threw at me was that I asked to do her cake and that she didn't even need/want it!

I was so floored. Just because I offer doesn't mean I don't need $ for ingredients or wouldn't appreciate a thank you.

I have already sworn to myself when her baby turns 1 in October there will be no cake from me...even if she offers to pay full price.

jason_kraft Posted 3 Jul 2011 , 11:49pm

We have a licensed business and we never charge friends and family for cake unless they insist on paying (which they usually do).

ChristineCMC Posted 4 Jul 2011 , 1:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChRiStY_71

A little off topic...but I hate it when friends invite me to their kids' birthday parties and then get their kids to call me and say "Miss Kwisty, will u pweese make a "fill in the blank" cake for my birfday?". I have a terrible time saying no to kids! icon_rolleyes.gif




Had this happen with recently with a boy I take to school. He said, "my birthday is next week and my mom said you could make me a Bayblade cake. Can you?" I was like what?????? He wanted an actual Bayblade cake in a stadium. I told him that I would have to talk to his mommy because I really (and I meant this) didn't think I would be able to do it.

sweetpea223 Posted 4 Jul 2011 , 1:55pm

when it comes to charging your cakes...there is no such thing as friends or family. If I fell a little queasy on the amount, I just charge them a few dollars off, but I still consider the amount of labor I put into the cakes I make.

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