Did I Overcharge?

Decorating By designdiva22 Updated 26 Dec 2011 , 4:13am by bluedaisies

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 4:25pm
post #1 of 31

A customer requested this cake: http://www.wilton.com/idea/Lucky-Leap-Frog and wanted 25 servings so I was going to make the frog (15 servings) and a 6" round base (10-12 servings).

I quoted a price of $3.25/serving for a total of $81.25 and also gave her a 5% discount with a total of about $78. She said that is way too high and she'll keep shopping around.

Did I overcharge?? icon_confused.gif

30 replies
LuLuBellecakes Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 4:44pm
post #2 of 31

i myself find pricing a struggle but have had lost of advice from people in the trade.
you will never please everyone at the end of the day. there are always people who want a handmade cake for the price a supermarket charges for their nasty machine produced cakes.
my answer would of been for them to go get one from a market
i personally think that your price was very competitive!
i myself have just got into this and started selling my cakes and was being told by my customers i undercharge!
so you charge ,the time you put in to making it, and all your costs incuding,box,board,ribbon,gas,and petrol if delivering.not just cake ingredients.
you will always get people walk away in any trade. your better off letting that happen than working for nothing.
hope this helps

sillywabbitz Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 4:51pm
post #3 of 31

Location and market has a lot to do with pricing cakes. 3D cakes are specialties that not everyone can do so I don't think you over charged at $3.25 a serving. But your area is a big part and your target market.

sillywabbitz Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 31

If you are doing this or plan to do this as a business, you should really look into the Cake Boss software. It is the best purchase I've made it.
It not only shows you how much money you have in your cakes, it allows you to set an hourly rate for yourself etc.

It completely changed how I felt about my pricing and my time. It also has awesome features where it will store the cost of your ingredients, your recipes , calculate the cost for each recipe and order and even make you a shopping list. Not to mention it manages, orders, invoicing and your calendar. It's awesome stuff. There is even a CC discount. People think the price is high , I think it's $150 but that is super cheap. Think about what people pay for Turbo Tax or quicken which require updates. Cake boss een has free support.

jason_kraft Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:03pm
post #5 of 31

3D cakes are a huge pain, we charge a minimum of $250 regardless of size. If you estimate how long it will take you to make the cake you will probably find that you undercharged.

carmijok Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:12pm
post #6 of 31

Are you kidding? 3-D cakes are something the grocery stores don't do and most bakeries charge considerably more for. Ask your friend if she ordered slices of cake at a restaurant what the cost would be per piece. More than likely a lot higher than $3 per slice and no presentation at all.

Jeepgirl73 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:33pm
post #7 of 31

I definitely do not think you overcharged at all! 3D's cakes like others have said are hard work and specialty. You can't just go pick one up at walmart and if you could , well it would be a walmart cake. They are made fast, cheap and the taste and look reflect that.
I once was asked by a friend for a 1/2 slab buttercream transfer Dora cake that I had made for someone else. The ingredients alone were 40 and the time you spend making the transfer not to mention baking and icing the cake are long. I told her just give me the money for ingredients and consider the labour my present because I have known her daughters since birth.
She actually said 40 was way too much and to forget it .
I find people who buy 20 dollar cakes usually can't seem to grasp the time and effort that go into a custom cake.

Panel7124 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:33pm
post #8 of 31

I charge $ 11 per serving for 3D cakes. Because I quite hate them. So if they order, I want to be well paid to do that PIA. icon_smile.gif

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:36pm
post #9 of 31

Thanks! I knew I would get honest answers here!

I use Cake Boss and that is how I calculated $3.25/serving. The cake doesn't need carving... it uses the 3D bear pan.

Yes, that's what I figured.. that she won't find such cakes for cheap anywhere else. And also that you pay so much more per serving for dessert at a restaurant!

Thank you so much for the support! I'll probably offer her the option for cupcakes or just the frog (15 servings) that she can place on a grocery store cake... it will be nice for her to compare the taste and quality too!

SweetStuff30 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:44pm
post #10 of 31

OMG, i have a home base business and i would of charged 125 for that cake! I refuse to work on a cake so time consuming for less then 100.

Mullinmama Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:46pm
post #11 of 31

Absolutely fair pricing. I'd like to add that if you go to Walmart or any grocery store and get a $20 cake, most often its not that good. I mean seriously the reason I started doing my kids' cakes (which is what got me started on a path to a bakery) was because they store bought cakes are not that good. If I'm going to spend $$ on a cake, its gonna taste good and not just be "another cake" than just anyone can get. I like to put a personal touch on everything and make all my customers happy. I had someone want a Cars cake that was 2 tier for aout 40-50 ppl and she wanted all this fondant work etc. I quoted her $95 including the discount I gave her and she said nevermind because she's already spent too much on the kids party and that was just too much. She went to walmart got a sheet cake which she paid $40 for and none of the kids liked it and I was told that she was unhappy with the decorations on the cake. I've had so many tell me that my cakes are usually the ones people go back for 2nds and 3rds on... and they rarely have any leftovers...

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:47pm
post #12 of 31

Thank you!!! I feel so much better now. I was feeling kinda low thinking I overcharged and missed out! I'm still starting out and trying to get my name in the market, however, I don't want to undercharge and have a loss.

SweetHeartTart Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:52pm
post #13 of 31

Until I got into 'caking', I too thought 3D cakes were ridiculously overcharged. NOW I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY!!! To be honest, I sometimes wonder if it's worth it (financially and time wise) to continue cake decorating.
When I was charging $3/serving (I know, what was I thinking??), I couldn't keep up with the orders...now I know why. I've changed my price to $4.50/serving and the orders haven't slowed down that much. I reasearched other cake decorators in my area, and their pricing is upwards the $6-$8/serving. So now I know I'm undercharging...odds are I'll be changing my pricing yet again. I absolutely love cake decorating, but I certainly don't want to be taken advantage of.

Like someone else in this thread had mentioned, you can't please everyone. You win some and you lose some, but odds are, if your customer is actually shopping around, she'll either settle for the Wal-Mart slab or call you afterall. Don't let it bother you icon_smile.gif

Jeepgirl73 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:54pm
post #14 of 31

One of my very first cakes was a basketball. It was my first carved cake and the ball was a full sized basketball all cake. It took me over 17 hours of work and wasn't cheap seen as I used a FS carving recipe and there was quite a bit of fondant. Making a round carved cake ...I never knew because it was my first that it was such a pia . I charged 40 because it was a kid in my daughters class. I still kick myself for that one. I really never know what to charge friends and feel bad for charging at all....i took a cake hiatus because of the "free" requests of "friends"

I have a cleaning business and cakes is a side hobby for now ...so I tend to always sell myself short with both ...and am learning I provide a service and especially with the cakes a lot of time and hard work goes into them, charge what you are worth and if people don't like it ...well there are other bakers ( and cleaners lol )

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 5:55pm
post #15 of 31

Thanks SweetHeartTart! Yes.. can't please everyone... if she wants it she'll come back!

BTW, I love your name! lol!

Julie3255 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:24pm
post #16 of 31

I totally agree 3D cakes is a Specialty Cake in my home based business it starts at $10 and up regardless to much detail and work deserves to get well paid it also has to do with city zone and location but still we are hard working artists, we must get paid for it or just hit supermarkets and walmart frozen cakes , i know i used to drive trucks and bring frozen cakes to supermarkets icon_biggrin.gif

cakedoff Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:24pm
post #17 of 31

designdiva22...Please let us know if she gets back in touch with you ...along with a change of heart!

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:35pm
post #18 of 31

Exactly... there are others who will do it but I know the prices of my competitors and they are priced much higher than me!

I sure will let you guys know if I hear back from her - this should be interesting!

inspiredbymom Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:53pm
post #19 of 31

I have had several people come up with 3D ideas with sheetcake budgets......Having said that, I always try to offer up other options that may be in their budget. I only had one person decline the 3D and other options because of price. Now having said that, the other option was only 1.80 per serving. I think free would have been too much.....icon_smile.gif

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 6:58pm
post #20 of 31

hhhaha... free would be in everyone's budget icon_wink.gif

I offered to make just the frog that she can put on a store-bought cake.

Also suggested some frog cake pops. Let's see what she says icon_smile.gif

usmdesigner Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 7:08pm
post #21 of 31
Originally Posted by designdiva22

The cake doesn't need carving... it uses the 3D bear pan.

If you did that cake exactly like it is done there, it still has a lot of extra work to be done with fondant or gumpaste even though you aren't carving.

I can understand how someone would say 80 bucks is to much (because I live in an area that would feel the same way) but then again I can understand how 80 bucks seems completely fair if not a little to low for this after looking at the details. 3D cake pan or not.

I agree that folks that pay 20 bucks for a traditional rectangle cake with some piping on it, will never really be able to appreciate the work that goes into a specialty cake until they actually try to make it.

I myself never grasp how long it takes to make a simple 3 tier cake with fondant until after it is over. Working by myself with no help takes me around 10 to 15 hours total. I just never thought it would take that long to do this type stuff (now add in there I am a noob, but still). So why would anyone else think this cake would take a lot of effort? So why pay 80 bucks?

But like everyone is saying, once they look (most likely) anywhere else, they won't find that price will be able to be beat and who knows, will probably be higher! Who has frog shaped pans laying around? Another purchase to be made!

inspiredbymom Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 7:27pm
post #22 of 31

How about a sheet cake with a FBCT of a frog holding balloons??? icon_smile.gif No parts that need drying time or might fall off! Have a 12 or 14" single layer round cake made to look like a lily pad with a flat frog. That sounds cruel doesn't it??? Poor frog.

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 7:31pm
post #23 of 31

agree usmdesigner! People don't realize it until they do it themselves. I'm sure she wont find anyone making a 3d frog cake for less than me.

inspiredmom, I thought of suggesting fondant frogs on a sheet cake but did not since she specifically asked for a 3d cake. Don't want to keep sending her emails with more suggestions to look like I'm desperate!

LetsDoCake1 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 8:30pm
post #24 of 31

OMGoodness...you did not overcharge for this cake at $3.25 per. I don't know where you are located, but on the West Coast you would never get that cake for that price unless it was from Costco! Our prices start at $6.00 per serving for a pretty basic cake. We got tired of not making any money when we charged less than this. We use all fresh, high quality ingredients and with the price of baking items (butter, eggs, sugar. etc.) these days, you have to charge more. People just don't get it sometimes the work that goes into a custom made cake that also tastes amazing! We say, let them go to Costco or the supermarket if they think our cakes cost too much!
Let's Do Cake!

sillywabbitz Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 9:01pm
post #25 of 31

I'm just starting out with a very small side business and I am happy with my pricing but I do know some people will be surprised by the price points. If I think the customer is going to go into sticker shock, I present up to 3 design ideas and prices.

I had a customer request a 3D turtle cake. It was a new customer, they did not mention budget, so I presented 3 design options and pricing for each.

Sculpted cake - most expensive
Round cake with fondant turtle character on top - mid range
Sheet cake with piped turtle on top - most cost effective.

This gives the customer an idea of what they get for their money and I don't feel like I'm insulting their budget or their wishes. I don't do a ton of work up on these, I just say here are some options and I point them to examples of each type of cake. I don't do a sketch or anything like that. I actually have started doing this with most requests where design is still up in the air. I don't want people to run to the next bakery just because their first thoughts were not in their budget.

MamaDear Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 9:20pm
post #26 of 31

I often find that when friends and family come to me to ask for a cake its because they feel that the established bakeries around my town are too expensive on their dimensional cakes. I explain to them that it takes a lot of time and effort to make a custom cake and like so many other things "as seen on TV", its not as easy as it looks.

I try to think of it like this... a supermarket cake versus a custom cake is a lot like a cubic zirconium versus a diamond, one fills the finger but the other fills the heart (cause you know someone loves you when they pay extra for the real thing). Also a diamond is a few in a lifetime experience, a CZ just never lives up to that.

designdiva22 Posted 14 Dec 2011 , 10:49pm
post #27 of 31

sillywabitz - that's a good idea. I will do that from now on. Since this was a new customer, not a friend even, I did not give them more ideas since they specifically asked for a 3d frog. But I will do it your way.. Thanks so much!

MamaDear - very well put! Comparing cakes to diamonds... totally agree!!

designdiva22 Posted 22 Dec 2011 , 11:36pm
post #28 of 31
Originally Posted by cakedoff

designdiva22...Please let us know if she gets back in touch with you ...along with a change of heart!

Just wanted to let you guys know that I haven't heard back from her... dunno what she found that matched her budget and ideas icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 23 Dec 2011 , 3:08pm
post #29 of 31
Originally Posted by designdiva22

Thanks SweetHeartTart! Yes.. can't please everyone... if she wants it she'll come back!


If she comes back the price should go up to account for your aggravation, hahaha!

designdiva22 Posted 25 Dec 2011 , 2:22pm
post #30 of 31
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Originally Posted by designdiva22

Thanks SweetHeartTart! Yes.. can't please everyone... if she wants it she'll come back!


If she comes back the price should go up to account for your aggravation, hahaha!

hahah... sure!!

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