So Frustrated With Pricing I Think I Want To Quit!

Decorating By Dayyi Updated 26 Feb 2012 , 7:46pm by ChristaBaker

UrsCor82 Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 4:29am
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieq

"i bet you could get $40 for that cake EASY!" Ummm...yeah, seriously?




WOW! This was a ridiculous and ignorant comment on his behalf. I only wish everyone knew and could understand how much time, effort and stress goes into making beautiful detailed cakes. These are not just cakes these are works of art.

cakelady2266 Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 3:30pm
post #32 of 58

Indydebi was wonderful in helping me get the "cake price vs my time/expense" through my thick skull. Check out her blog, she really explains "math dumb" and customer reactions.

I make a mess in my shop with every cake I do. So I had rather be in the house not making $40 than to be in the shop making the $40 cake and turning around spending a couple cleaning up my mess. And I not trying to be all that, it's not attitude thing, it's an "I'm so over giving s**t away and missing out on life thing"

Somebody on CC said they didn't turn their oven on for under $50 and I thought well damn why didn't I think of that. So I went from there with the minimums especially on birthday cakes. I started tacking on extra charges for those big bows, all the little fondant critters, and stuff. So when I get that call "how much for this" I find out what they want and get out the calculator.

You will have "dues" to pay and things to let go cheap in the beginning of a new business. But not everything and not all the time. But strive for your target market and you can make more and work less.

Dayyi Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 4:01pm
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayyi

And you know really I'm giving them a deal as it is?

So these are family members or friends? Because if it's the general public, then I don't understand this comment.




What I meant is if they'd go to other local custom cake stores since they have been in business around this area for a while and are well established. I know that I'm giving them a great deal. And yes alot of my business is word of mouth. Friends and family passing along the word.

Dayyi Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 4:06pm
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvbug2552

I've been lucky to have only one customer in the year and a half that I've been doing cakes for people other than family to complain about the price. ..

I'd be raising my prices then. I'd be willing to bet you are giving your products away then, especially when you say "not a lot more than Walmart!" icon_smile.gif




I have a follower on Facebook who is getting married and I said to her. "do you have your wedding cake yet?" and she said to me I got a two tierd cake at walmart for 50.00 I don't think you can match that. I did not reply.

BizCoCos Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 5:46pm
post #35 of 58

@Dayyi, don't know whether to laugh or cry (2 tiered cake at walmart) There was a post here once about people going to Walmart since that's what they could afford, many got offended. But the reality is that many people don't care about their cake and just want a cake, others can't see the rationale behind expensive cakes. There are 2 things I care about , the wedding dress and the cake! Oh, let's not forget the groom, lol. nope, there's nothing you could have said to the FB follower/Bride.

auntginn Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 6:03pm
post #36 of 58

@GarciaGM, I have a "cheat sheet" to figure out what I should be charging. Eventually you will get to the place where you will know your prices because of experience and the cost of materials and overhead. But because prices continue to raise I periodically use this method to make sure I am not losing my shirt on my products.

I do not have a "retail" bakery, I have a commercial bakery. Which means to me, that I do not turn on the oven(s) until I have an order. If I remember correctly Indydebi says she quotes her cakes by the slice regardless of type of cake. (tierred wedding cake or 1/2 sheet)

SweetTzippy Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 6:37pm
post #37 of 58

Dayyi, if you love to decorate Cakes, as much as I do... don't quit!
We all struggle to quote our prices, just read everyone's comments. Unfortunately it's part of the business, we all (me included) have to learn to make others appreciate our product, our time, our talent and our expertise and yes, if you have been doing this periodically for over 1 year you DO have some expertise! Good Luck !!!

GarciaGM Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 7:15pm
post #38 of 58

Thanks AuntGinn. I've gotten really good about adding to my ongoing spreadsheet the cost for all of my most popular recipes, so I'm building up the cheat sheet like you advise.

What I think might help would be to make a distinction between "dessert cakes" and "custom cakes". For example, I have a friend who, for a while there, needed a cake every two to three weeks. They were always "dessert cakes" (e.g., carrot cake, red velvet cake, Italian cream cake, etc.), and she never asked for ANY decoration, just a simple border was good. To me, $40 for a cake like that (typically 8 or 9 inch rounds) would be perfectly reasonable. They are GREAT cakes, and for me, I don't have to worry about coming up with a neat design or coloring five shades of icing or rolling fondant, etc. So if I've got time, I wouldn't mind doing something simple like that. But it's really easy for cake decorators to overlook the fact that, in addition to the time we actually spend baking and decorating, we are *also* spending considerable time with the gears churning in our heads over what design to do (not to mention "continuing education" on new techniques).

Does anybody feel me??

GarciaGM Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 7:17pm
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

Indydebi was wonderful in helping me get the "cake price vs my time/expense" through my thick skull. Check out her blog, she really explains "math dumb" and customer reactions.

I make a mess in my shop with every cake I do. So I had rather be in the house not making $40 than to be in the shop making the $40 cake and turning around spending a couple cleaning up my mess. And I not trying to be all that, it's not attitude thing, it's an "I'm so over giving s**t away and missing out on life thing"

Somebody on CC said they didn't turn their oven on for under $50 and I thought well damn why didn't I think of that. So I went from there with the minimums especially on birthday cakes. I started tacking on extra charges for those big bows, all the little fondant critters, and stuff. So when I get that call "how much for this" I find out what they want and get out the calculator.

You will have "dues" to pay and things to let go cheap in the beginning of a new business. But not everything and not all the time. But strive for your target market and you can make more and work less.




COPY > PASTE > PRINT > HANG ON WALL

PERFECTLY STATED!

auntginn Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 8:22pm
post #40 of 58

Yes, GarciaGM, I do understand that idea,feeling. I have a number of bread & butter customers, who; order on a regular basis (such as church groups) and do not require labor intensive work. Keeps me busy but not biting my teeth to pay the rent or work on R&D and Mkting.

Vista Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 9:20pm
post #41 of 58

[quote="What I think might help would be to make a distinction between "dessert cakes" and "custom cakes". For example, I have a friend who, for a while there, needed a cake every two to three weeks. They were always "dessert cakes" (e.g., carrot cake, red velvet cake, Italian cream cake, etc.), and she never asked for ANY decoration, just a simple border was good. To me, $40 for a cake like that (typically 8 or 9 inch rounds) would be perfectly reasonable. They are GREAT cakes, and for me, I don't have to worry about coming up with a neat design or coloring five shades of icing or rolling fondant, etc. So if I've got time, I wouldn't mind doing something simple like that. But it's really easy for cake decorators to overlook the fact that, in addition to the time we actually spend baking and decorating, we are *also* spending considerable time with the gears churning in our heads over what design to do (not to mention "continuing education" on new techniques).

Does anybody feel me??[/quote]

That makes so much sense! I had never thought of it that way!

BuffytheBakingSlayer Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 12:47am
post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayyi

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvbug2552

I've been lucky to have only one customer in the year and a half that I've been doing cakes for people other than family to complain about the price. ..

I'd be raising my prices then. I'd be willing to bet you are giving your products away then, especially when you say "not a lot more than Walmart!" icon_smile.gif



I have a follower on Facebook who is getting married and I said to her. "do you have your wedding cake yet?" and she said to me I got a two tierd cake at walmart for 50.00 I don't think you can match that. I did not reply.




The problem with WalMart (and what most people probably don't know) is that Walmart has HUGE economies of scale that basically no one else would be able to have. That and that they also can provide goods at a loss in order to bring customers in the door (illegal, IMO, but the govt doesn't seem to care/agree). WM has put many a vendor out of business with they terms they try to extract from them, much less competitors for the consumer.

So there is no way that a single baker could even remotely compete in pricing

Angfastic Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 1:15am
post #43 of 58

Not being able to settle on prices is one of the reason I don't have business cards. I've had several people ask me if I have a card and I just say no. Most of the cakes I do are for friends and coworker so free of charge.

The TinkerBell cake I did was for my friend's niece and I charged her $40. It was a 3 layer 9x13 cake with Buttercream icing and FBT. She gave me $50. She seems to understand the cost and time involved and knows I give her a discount. She is also the one who bought me the deluxe agbay for my 40th birthday .

I keep saying I'm going to sit down and make a price list so I can then get some business cards. I think I'll start with a spreadsheet of ingredients, etc. as some folks have suggested.

BizCoCos Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 4:30pm
post #44 of 58

I just read a review on walmart wedding cakes, the majority raved about the look, price and taste! OMG, another poster on that site criticized home bakers for charging so much when she knew for a fact that they used box mixes. with this type of reaction, many people can not win. I am a scratch baker and yes after reading on CC how great box mixes were , I tried a few. not my cup of tea. But, box mixes save you on some time-you don't have to measure the cups of flour, baking powder and so forth-but as they are doctored, it takes a lot more time then just opening a box! If you are on a budget go to wal mart, there is nothing wrong with that but please don't say that good custum cakes are the same as cotsco, wal mart and so forth.

dukeswalker Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 4:50pm
post #45 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

I just read a review on walmart wedding cakes, the majority raved about the look, price and taste! OMG, another poster on that site criticized home bakers for charging so much when she knew for a fact that they used box mixes. with this type of reaction, many people can not win. I am a scratch baker and yes after reading on CC how great box mixes were , I tried a few. not my cup of tea. But, box mixes save you on some time-you don't have to measure the cups of flour, baking powder and so forth-but as they are doctored, it takes a lot more time then just opening a box! If you are on a budget go to wal mart, there is nothing wrong with that but please don't say that good custum cakes are the same as cotsco, wal mart and so forth.




I just spoke to a possible client who said she does not like grocery store cakes but loves Wal-Mart cakes. yeesh. I didn't really know what to say. I've tasted them - and honestly they are the grossest of the bunch.

Cakery2012 Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 5:38pm
post #46 of 58

I'm a hobby.baker . Ive been making cake pops for the kids in the family for holiday gatherings . The best compliment Ive had was from my.nephews wife about my cakepops. She said these would easily cost 3.50-$4.00 if youhad to buy them. icon_smile.gif
The cheapos I work with think if you give away some cake it should alwaysbe free. I sold cookies a couple times at work .and there are guys who have commented bet you made money on That !My reply is I barely made enough to.cover ingredients not counting electricity and cleaning up the mess and my.time . That shuts them up quickly . peoaswhen are you going to bring in.morecookies?

BizCoCos Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 7:25pm
post #47 of 58

I really believe that some individuals will love what they grew up with. a friend's husband loved his mother's cooking, by far this was the worst cook ever, lol, others as children only had grocery store cakes or bakery cakes that used all chemicals. This will explain people giving great reviews to walmart cakes, lol.

FullHouse Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 10:17pm
post #48 of 58

I doubt Walmart cakes are any different than any of the other stores cakes. The manager at the bakery counter at my local high end grocery store told me that she used to work at Sam's and that the cakes at Sam's are from the same supplier that this grocery store gets theirs from. Icing is the same too. Either way, they really are a different product all together than from what we make. But...if a cake is not a priority in your budget, then a custom cake is not what you should buy.

I had once had someone ask for a quote on a tiered cake, I quoted about 20% lower than I should have because I knew and liked her and it was a slow week. Her response was "Holy cow! I'm going to make it myself so I can start earning that kind of $." She then asked me to email her instructions on how to make a tiered cake with gum paste cutouts, lol.

Pricing for people you know is really hard at first, but after a while, undercharging will really get under your skin and you will feel resentful when you are doing a cake and missing out on time with your family, or when you deliver it and the person does not appreciate/understand all you put into it. Then, pricing fairly won't be so difficult anymore.

robinmarie Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 12:24am
post #49 of 58

I am the worst at pricing also. Does anyone ask if they can call the customer back with a price after you know what they want? I am not to the point where I can just give a price on the spot. I have to sit there and enter it into my software. Do customers mind not getting the exact price when they first call about it?

Bridgette1129 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 1:19am
post #50 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinmarie

I am the worst at pricing also. Does anyone ask if they can call the customer back with a price after you know what they want? I am not to the point where I can just give a price on the spot. I have to sit there and enter it into my software. Do customers mind not getting the exact price when they first call about it?




I am curious on this as well, as I am just starting and only have email inquires currently.

mplaidgirl2 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 1:36am
post #51 of 58

I don't get many people that get all cheap about the price of my cakes.... But if they do I offer them cupcakes since they are 'in thier budget' I've had noone decline a cake price yet. Luckily I have alot of friends of friends ordering and they all want to out do eachother.
I did have one person get a smaller cake with matching cupcakes.

BuffytheBakingSlayer Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 7:14pm
post #52 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeswalker

Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

I just read a review on walmart wedding cakes, the majority raved about the look, price and taste! OMG, another poster on that site criticized home bakers for charging so much when she knew for a fact that they used box mixes. with this type of reaction, many people can not win. I am a scratch baker and yes after reading on CC how great box mixes were , I tried a few. not my cup of tea. But, box mixes save you on some time-you don't have to measure the cups of flour, baking powder and so forth-but as they are doctored, it takes a lot more time then just opening a box! If you are on a budget go to wal mart, there is nothing wrong with that but please don't say that good custum cakes are the same as cotsco, wal mart and so forth.



I just spoke to a possible client who said she does not like grocery store cakes but loves Wal-Mart cakes. yeesh. I didn't really know what to say. I've tasted them - and honestly they are the grossest of the bunch.




People should then try to do it themselves. All you need is a recipe and a few eps of The Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes, right? LOL!

I am only right now trying to make a cake for my child's birthday. nothing too crazy and no fondant. The amount of "pre-work" (most on this site - LOL) is mind boggling. And I'll admit, I am a perfectionist. I know a girl who apparently sells her cakes to people. I think they are awful and would never even want to serve them to my family as the practice runs. Don't know what she charges, but I guess there are people buying them from her.

To each their own. The choice is theirs - do it yourself, buy the Wal-Mart cake, or shush up and pay what is asked. I know that isn't good for those of you trying to run a business, but from what I have been reading, the aggravation doesn't seem to be worth the business. And you are cutting yourself off at the knees in the long run.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 7:21pm
post #53 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinmarie

I am the worst at pricing also. Does anyone ask if they can call the customer back with a price after you know what they want? I am not to the point where I can just give a price on the spot. I have to sit there and enter it into my software. Do customers mind not getting the exact price when they first call about it?



Most of our customer inquires are via email, but when people call in and I'm not comfortable giving an immediate price quote I will tell them our starting price (if that's already too high then it's not worth continuing the conversation) and say I will call them back or email them with a quote. This happens more often than you would think, since I don't do any baking or decorating I would ask my wife how much work the requested design would involve before I put together the quote.

milkmaid42 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 8:08pm
post #54 of 58

I have had difficulty with the pricing issue also. I know the intricacies of the work I do and because I am a slow artist, I find it hard to charge for my time. I have appreciated all the threads on CC re pricing and have held firm to my charges. I am looking forward to the new Cake Boss for Mac that is in the works. I will certainly be the first to purchase it.
Fortunately, I am in the position to be able to barter services. I've painted murals and done custom embroidery on the barter system. A topper I just made was unaffordable by the bride. But we agreed upon a simpler design and in turn, her fiance, (a vineyard consultant), will prune my grapes and counsel me with the difficulties I've been having. In this case, it is a win-win. http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2270155/cake-topper-camo-elegance
I certainly wouldn't be able to operate a shop with this system, but in my circumstances, it works.

Jan

robinmarie Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:08pm
post #55 of 58

Thank you Jason for your help!

alison35 Posted 22 Feb 2012 , 1:04am
post #56 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathie-d

The way I look at it...If nobody is complaining about your prices then they are definitely too low!




Hahaha, love this!! so true!!

ChristaBaker Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 7:38pm
post #57 of 58

I can totally relate even though I have been doing it for a few years now. It is a blessing and a curse to be in a state where I can legally work from my home kitchen. On the one hand, I don't have additional overhead costs, but on the other hand, it seems less professional and therefore people think my cakes should cost significantly less.

It is really hard to tell your friends your prices, because even with a discount it always a lot more than they were expecting to pay for a cake. People really have this feeling that cakes should not cost that much - after all, they're just flour and sugar and eggs, right?! icon_rolleyes.gif I always wonder to myself, Where did these people get their wedding cake from? Don't they remember those prices? Back when I got married and priced cakes in my area, they were $600-$1,000 and that was for a very basic,smallish cake more than TEN years ago. So I can't believe people balk at two hundred bucks for a two-tier bridal shower or anniversary cake.

And all this time, people are seeing all the fantastical things that can be done with cake and expecting to get that level of detail on a budget. icon_surprised.gif I recently had a client who thought that the quotes of $200-250 that she was getting were too high for a two-tier cake to serve 50 with an edible high-heeled shoe made out of gumpaste on top. I wish that shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes actually showed what they charge for those cakes. When people see that those kind of cakes are $3,000 and up, things would be more in context.

I have started being absolutely unapologetic about my price to strangers, because I just don't want to bust my butt for little or no profit anymore. But with friends it is still hard, because you don't want your friends to think you are ripping them off, and they always give you this look like, "But you just work out of your kitchen!"

ChristaBaker Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 7:46pm
post #58 of 58

Oh, and I also make all of my cakes from scratch, and I make that part of my selling point. I use high quality ingredients and since they are scratch-made, I can customize them for flavor or to omit certain ingredients due to allergies, etc.

I NEVER hesitate to point out that store cakes are from industrail sized chemical laden mixes and so is their frosting. You want quality, you pay for it icon_biggrin.gif But If you truly don't mind getting a cake from Walmart, then I will very nicely and tactfully tell you that there is nothing wrong with that, but my cakes are not for you.

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