My cake making background is very small. I started Wilton classes in November and besides my class cakes, mostly my only experience is in my photos. Not too many But I did grow up with a mom who is an artist and took a lot of ceramics courses and sculpture in college and so forth. My purse cake was a total experiment (new buttercream recipe, new cake recipe, first 3D cake etc) and a gift for a friend. I was thrilled with how it came out. Another good friend saw it and has asked me to make a cake for her mom for next week. She offered to pay me. Now my goal is to start making cakes on a small scale for a fee. Nothing big, just small out of the house. But I am nowhere near that yet. I told her yes via a txt and then mentioned to my husband I would charge her for material only. Mostly because the fondant costs 2xs as much locally compared to global sugar art and I would have to buy it locally to have it in time. Not to mention the drive to go get it etc. He jumped all over this and told me I had to charge for my time too. He said if I start out too low I will loose money in the long run when I officially hung out my sign etc etc. I know he has a point, especially since I have read about issues on here for selling cakes to friends. But I just put together a dummy cake to start practicing. Having a real cake and some cash to cover materials seems like the best next step to me. I need a portfolio and I need lots of experience. I should mention I am going to make a more basic fondant with fondant cut outs on it, so not that much time invested. Thanks for any advice!
He's right, don't start out too low because friends and family are your WORST clients ever! They will be there with their hands out when you're underchraging, then when you raise your prices to where they should be their "business" will evaporate. (It's actually a good way to figure out who your real friend are and who's just a vampire friend who wnats to use you and suck you dry.)
Aside fomr whether it's legal or not to sell out of your home, which you should check out before oyu do start selling, make sur that you're charging for every piece of material that you use for the cake, including board, boxes, dowels, electricity to bake it, water to wash the dishes, etc. Not just ingredients. Then add what you want to be paid to make it. Do you enjoy minimum wage? Then charge that. If not, charge more.
I started out the same way as you, I made my first cake (a 3d lightning mcqueen) in march last year, then suddenly friends were asking me if I would make them for them too. I started out just charging for ingredients which was fine because I LOVED my new hobby, then after a while, I think I may have realised before, but it was september when it really hit home, I was working every single night in september on various cakes for various people I dont think I had more than 2 nights off in the whole month, and I wasnt actually making any money from them at all. Then I decided to put my prices up, but being the too nice person that I am, I dont have the heart to put the prices up for the friends who were the ones I was doing lots for in the beginning lol. They do order much less from me now though, I think they realise that now its more of a special favour. I guess what this whole long babble is trying to say is start where you'd like to be, or maybe a little lower, but dont start with the cheapest possible price. It will only make an eventual price increase harder for people to swallow!