How Would You Charge? - Cost Advice

Decorating By Kristy838383 Updated 21 Aug 2011 , 1:48am by cakestyles

Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:20pm
post #1 of 22

I completed this cake for a friend's daughter that was turning 1. It was a 14in Chocolate Mud cake with chocolate ganache filling, 12in White chocolate mud with white chocolate ganache filling and the ladybug was marble cake with marble ganache. I also did 2 dozen vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream to match. When I told her the price she almost fell over. People just expect to pay grocery store prices for something like this.
It was my first time making a cake for someone other than a family member and her reaction has really put me off continuing to make cakes for friends or friends of friends.

How much would you charge for something like this? (so I can put my mind at ease)

P.S. I was paid in full, but wanted to gauge what others would charge before I listed how much I actually charged her.


http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2129878
*** Couldn't get it to upload on to the post sorry****

21 replies
Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:21pm
post #2 of 22

Sorry, had trouble uploading the two photos. Will try again.

TexasSugar Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:27pm
post #3 of 22

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

I've never made mud cake so I have no idea the cost of making it.

For me, buttercream cakes start at $3, fondant cakes start at $4 a serving. Cupcakes with just a swirl of icing and no filling would be about $2 a cupcake.

DivaJai Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:48pm
post #4 of 22

Kristy that is a nice cake... very pretty! I am a beginner but I would suggest stating your cost upfront next time that way there aren't any surprises for the customer. Or wait... did you tell her the price beforehand? Did she pay what you asked? How much did you charge?

jason_kraft Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:49pm
post #5 of 22

How many servings was the cake?

We start at $30/dozen for cupcakes, and multi-tier cakes are typically in the $5-7/range, but we have the added overhead of a commercial kitchen. If you qualify for the MA cottage food law your prices would be lower.

I find that it helps to give an estimate of how much labor is involved in the cake whenever I give someone a price quote, since most people have no idea how much time it takes to bake and decorate a cake.

Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:52pm
post #6 of 22

DivaJai- I told her that I didn't claim to be a professional by any means and had only done it as a hobby before the cake she requested. I told her as soon as I did the grocery shopping for it, I would let her know. I gave her an exact price a week before the party in case there needed to be any changes. She paid me in full.
I didn't want to post a price, but gauge peoples opinions on how much they would charge first.

Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:57pm
post #7 of 22

The cakes totaled about 60 servings plus the cupcakes.

PennieK Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 7:38pm
post #8 of 22

Im a little confused over your serving size. Are the tiers two layers? For me a 12 and 14" cake would be 134 servings plus an additional 12 for the ladybug. I would charge $4.50 per serving so it would come to $657 for the cake.

CakeMom5001 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 7:55pm
post #9 of 22

I never charge enough - I only make cakes for close friends - but would have charged at least $150 for the cake and cupcakes.

imagenthatnj Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 8:00pm
post #10 of 22

I don't sell cakes, but I would expect to pay at least $400 for the cake (only because you say it's 60 servings and not more!). Especially if it's chocolate mud cake. I know ingredients for those are expensive.

Now, for a 12 and 14, plus a ladybug, I would be ready to pay a lot more. Around the price PennieK said.

And then you add the cupcakes, which in my area would be at least $3.50 each with a simple swirl, no decoration.

Jess155 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 8:02pm
post #11 of 22

I would charge $0. I'm not legally licensed or inspected, so I can't charge.

Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 9:07pm
post #12 of 22

When I was working out servings I used the Wilton guide from my cake pans (I guess I'm off)
Each tier had two layers ganache filling through it.

Kristy838383 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 9:08pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155

I would charge $0. I'm not legally licensed or inspected, so I can't charge.




Do you only make cakes for family???

kakeladi Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 9:27pm
post #14 of 22

A 12x3" or 4" = 56 servings
A 14x3 or 4" = 78 servings
The 1/2 ball bug serves 6
Total # of servings = 144
@ a price of $3.50 *minimum!* total price for cake should be $548! That is absuloute minimum!

Jess155 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 9:30pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristy838383

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155

I would charge $0. I'm not legally licensed or inspected, so I can't charge.



Do you only make cakes for family???




Family, good friends, charities I support, etc. I made a huge cake for my daughter's ballet recital, it was a big celebration. I only do a couple huge ones a year and the rest are small family cakes.

usmdesigner Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 9:57pm
post #16 of 22

I only do cakes for family and actually just got my first request (that I agreed to) from a girl at work.

I am in your same shoes. If I made a cake like that, there is no way I would be charging even 200+.

Seeing these post here with 500+ is really insane, but then again, I am not in a big cake business and only hobby bake.

I will be doing a 10" square and 8" round stacked and I'm still nervous about what to charge. I mean, 50 to 60 bucks have entered my head. And my cakes end up looking like yours (which I love your cake by the way, great job)

Maybe it's just due to the fact I don't feel like I have a business so I shouldn't be charging a large amount? I'm not sure.

But either way, I feel where you are coming from when it comes to asking what to charge for things. lol

silverdragon997 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 10:20pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by usmdesigner

I am in your same shoes. If I made a cake like that, there is no way I would be charging even 200+.

Seeing these post here with 500+ is really insane, but then again, I am not in a big cake business and only hobby bake.

I will be doing a 10" square and 8" round stacked and I'm still nervous about what to charge. I mean, 50 to 60 bucks have entered my head. And my cakes end up looking like yours (which I love your cake by the way, great job)




Several things to think about on pricing...

This is a great IndyDebi example I love: If you go to a restaurant, and order a piece of cake for dessert, you'll pay at least $4.00 for it, on the low side. $4.00 doesn't sound like a lot of money. But if you're buying a slice for 50 people, you're suddenly paying $200.00.

The cost of a cake is more than just ingredients. It also includes non-edible items, such as cake boards and boxes, utilities needed to do the baking and decorating, and for those who run shops, rent, insurance, etc.

Then you have to decide if you're going to pay yourself for your work, or if your are volunteering your time for free. The minimum wage where I live is $8.00/hr. If it takes me 8 hours to make and decorate a cake, then the minimum I should pay myself is $64.00.

Anyway, those are just some things I've learned on here about what all goes in to pricing. All of these things vary depending on the area you live in. It's always good to do research and see what other people in your area are charging.

HTH

Kristy838383 Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 1:20pm
post #18 of 22

Thanks for all the price advice. It has really put my mind at ease that I under charged her and she has nothing to be upset over (don't know if she actually is or not). I did charge her $128 for the whole thing and just asked that she return my stand. Everyone at the party loved it and I got 3 new orders from it for other children's birthday cakes. I feel like she might have talked about not liking the price behind my back because after the initial requests for cakes by some other parents, I haven't heard any more. I know not everyone is willing to pay that much for a cake, which is fine, but it's hard not to take offense when they act like you're ripping them off.

I will be using that pricing spreadsheet to help guide me and since then I have given another lady a rough estimate right off the bat to see if she would still be interested. I know I'm still under charging, but I'm looking at it as experience and I trying to do at least one thing new each time.

Thank you again for the comments, it has boosted my confidence to continue with cakes again.

cabecakes Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 2:38pm
post #19 of 22

Everyone wants custom cakes, but nobody wants to pay for the ingredients, time, and sweat that goes into making them. How can the public get educated if everyone keeps under-charging for the work that goes into them. I hear this all the time on here and other places on the internet. If you want them to stop thinking you are over-charging, tell them to call a bakery and ask how much it would be for the same thing. The bakery may not even do it, as a lot of bakeries in this area deal in bulk sheet cakes. You would be hard pressed to find a "bakery" that makes "designer cakes". As always, you should be charging for ingredients, wage per hour, electric/gas for baking, transportation to pick up ingredients and deliver cake, cake boards and boxes, decorations. If you are going to sell cake, you should be prepared to tell the customer how much it is going to cost them. Do your homework. You need to know how much batter it takes to fill your specific size pans, how much icing to ice specific size cakes. Then you need to break down the cost for these specific sizes. Sit down with a list of prices for ingredients and a list of how much batter for specific size pans, icing to cover specific size cakes. I think you will be surprised how much a cake actually costs you to make. Especially when you start adding in the cost of the toys to make those cakes. Yes, I know it is easier to charge a "price per serving", but if you really want to know what it is costing you to make your "designer cakes" for your friends and family, you really need to step back and look at the whole picture. Put it on an invoice so they know how much you made personally and how much of it was ingredients/work related. EDUCATE! This is why I don't do cakes professionally. I don't have the patience for people who want something for nothing. I would rather give it away to the people I care about for free. I let them buy the ingredients, so they can see how much it costs. Believe me...my family and friends know it isn't cheap.

Kristy838383 Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 9:10pm
post #20 of 22

Thanks Cabecakes! I'll be looking at putting together my own spreadsheet of cake batter and icing per cake size to work out cost. A quick reference like that would make things way easier.

I'll be checking out your blog too!

jason_kraft Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 9:49pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by usmdesigner

If I made a cake like that, there is no way I would be charging even 200+.

Seeing these post here with 500+ is really insane, but then again, I am not in a big cake business and only hobby bake.



This is exactly why so many custom cake shops go out of business. There are many people out there who have excellent cake decorating skills but need some work on the business side (especially pricing).

If someone runs a custom cake shop, and a local home baker with comparable decorating skill sets prices with their labor valued at below minimum wage, the custom cake shop will simply not be able to compete and will eventually go out of business, leaving only the Walmarts of the world who can compete on price.

cakestyles Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 1:48am
post #22 of 22

I hope you really liked this lady because you basically made her this cake for free.

You can't work for free just so people will order from you. Raise your prices or don't sell at all. It's as simple as that.

You're hurting every one of us who sell our cakes at market value, now I'm sure you don't want to continue doing that right? icon_wink.gif

I'm curious....how much did the ingredients cost you for that cake? You said you shopped separately for the ingredients right?

And, how many hours would you say it took you to design, shop for ingredients, bake the cakes, clean up after you baked them, make the fillings and icings, clean up after you made the filling and icings, tort, fill, crumb coat and ice the cakes, decorate, stack and deliver?

Just curious...

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