Struggling with Birthday Cake vs. Wedding Cake Pricing

Business By tabathaba Updated 2 Mar 2013 , 6:33am by vgcea

SugaredSaffron Posted 4 Dec 2012 , 3:47pm
post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by taartenmaker 

de_montsoreau haha yes we certainly do, and my cakes also are a lot of times 4'' tall, but some people just prefer a very small piece of cake for their clients, I just don't want to get the risk that my client ends up with to less cake


I'm in the UK and in general our wedding servings are just a bit more than half the portion of Wiltons. I don't know about the rest of europe though.

I do see the logic behind having larger portions for birthday cakes, as long as the customer knows what size your cake are, they can decide to order more if they think its necessary.

BomCakes Posted 6 Dec 2012 , 6:17am
post #32 of 52

I live in central Ohio. Amish Paradise. Farmville. Frugal people live here. Supermarket cake is "plenty good enough!" The very first question asked is how much? How much do you charge for a double stack for 35 people? "Plain frosted is $$ (cheap) fondant peices will be additional " Okay sounds good I'll send you a picture of what I want" Emails a picture of a cake with parrots and smaller birds of all different colors, that would take probably 2 days and 3 pounds of fondant. I wound up emailing her back, gave her an itemized list of my costs and at the end of the list was what was left for my labor. 4 bucks per hour. So I re configured her cake to an 8" layer cake and upped the price. Still did the birds etc. That is typical of this area. Everyone expects the best for nothing. People just don't see the value in it.

My wedding cakes start at $1.50 per slice and I can't tell you how many people have listened to the quote and looked at me like I just pulled a gun on 'em. It's inexpensive! 1.50 for a slice of dessert to celebrate your wedding is half what you pay for pie at the local diner. And the pie isn't custom decorated. Not going to become rich doing cakes here. Loving the process and the decorating and the look on the customer's face when they see the miracle you pulled off for $1.50 per slice is the reward. 

vgcea Posted 6 Dec 2012 , 7:14am
post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BomCakes 

I live in central Ohio. Amish Paradise. Farmville. Frugal people live here. Supermarket cake is "plenty good enough!" The very first question asked is how much? How much do you charge for a double stack for 35 people? "Plain frosted is $$ (cheap) fondant peices will be additional " Okay sounds good I'll send you a picture of what I want" Emails a picture of a cake with parrots and smaller birds of all different colors, that would take probably 2 days and 3 pounds of fondant. I wound up emailing her back, gave her an itemized list of my costs and at the end of the list was what was left for my labor. 4 bucks per hour. So I re configured her cake to an 8" layer cake and upped the price. Still did the birds etc. That is typical of this area. Everyone expects the best for nothing. People just don't see the value in it.

My wedding cakes start at $1.50 per slice and I can't tell you how many people have listened to the quote and looked at me like I just pulled a gun on 'em. It's inexpensive! 1.50 for a slice of dessert to celebrate your wedding is half what you pay for pie at the local diner. And the pie isn't custom decorated. Not going to become rich doing cakes here. Loving the process and the decorating and the look on the customer's face when they see the miracle you pulled off for $1.50 per slice is the reward. 

HUH?! I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything, I might have choked. Bless your generous heart.

FullHouse Posted 6 Dec 2012 , 1:43pm
post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus 

Friendly amendment to Full House's excellent instructions, I would add for the cake dummies (like me!) that they should start serving the largest tier first because the smaller tiers are easier to store and transport- if left over...

 

Just an obvious "duh" moment I had reading on CC one night. Something, I , as a customer, would find helpful.

Ha, good point.  I do always start with the largest tier if I'm cutting, but never would have thought to specifically mention that.  I will be adding that in :).

LeslieBruckman Posted 2 Jan 2013 , 7:48am
post #35 of 52

I do two different cake pricing... layer and sheet. It doesn't matter what the event is for, I use the wilton slice guide for wedding cake standards 1x2 size slices for all layer cakes and 2x2 slice guides for the sheet. I charge a base price of $2.50 per slice for layer (base price in my area) and $1.00 per slice for sheet. All extras are extra. Complex designs (which is anything more than a SMALL amount of piping, a small amount of buttercream flowers or sprinkles, etc) start at a $30 design fee, and is subject to be more depending on the complexity of design. Then everything from fondant to figures to monograms are extra fees.

I do catch a little bit of flack from birthday or other occasional type of customers... especially when they say "Well, that 8 inch cake will only serve 10 people with how I cut pieces!" and I tell them that is fine, but prices are based on 1x2 inch pieces of cake. They can cut it in 10 pieces, but they are getting and paying for 20. A bride that wants a 3 tier buttercream cake for her wedding and Joe Schmoe that wants a 3 tier buttercream cake for his 1 year old's birthday should pay the same price. However, if she wants strawberries in her cake, it's extra. Or he wants transformers made out of modeling chocolate, those are extra.

It all works out fairly in the end. And that way I can actually post base prices. I get a lot more customers that way.

ellavanilla Posted 14 Feb 2013 , 7:20pm
post #36 of 52

I have to be honest, I am still very frustrated trying to come up with pricing that is fair and competitive. the wilton serving charts make it much more difficult for me.

 

for example, the wilton chart has an 8 inch round at 24 servings. At 3 dollars a slice that's $72.  I charge $48 and I think that's about all the market will bear and I live in very pricey Orange County CA. 

 

It appears (from what I've gleaned from this site) that most charge additionally for special decorating, but how do you decide?

 

I somehow feel like a base price per slice will either over charge my customers OR leave me with less profit in the long run, but if I don't have a number of servings per cake, well you can see how that would be a problem. Last, I would hate to become known as the woman who over supplies, so don't order the size you think you need.  AARGH. I'm so frustrated. 

 

It seems to me that having a base price per cake size with a range of servings would be easier to present. It would certainly be easier for ME to understand. 

 

Does anyone price that way?

Annabakescakes Posted 14 Feb 2013 , 8:03pm
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BomCakes 

I live in central Ohio. Amish Paradise. Farmville. Frugal people live here. Supermarket cake is "plenty good enough!" The very first question asked is how much? How much do you charge for a double stack for 35 people? "Plain frosted is $$ (cheap) fondant peices will be additional " Okay sounds good I'll send you a picture of what I want" Emails a picture of a cake with parrots and smaller birds of all different colors, that would take probably 2 days and 3 pounds of fondant. I wound up emailing her back, gave her an itemized list of my costs and at the end of the list was what was left for my labor. 4 bucks per hour. So I re configured her cake to an 8" layer cake and upped the price. Still did the birds etc. That is typical of this area. Everyone expects the best for nothing. People just don't see the value in it.

My wedding cakes start at $1.50 per slice and I can't tell you how many people have listened to the quote and looked at me like I just pulled a gun on 'em. It's inexpensive! 1.50 for a slice of dessert to celebrate your wedding is half what you pay for pie at the local diner. And the pie isn't custom decorated. Not going to become rich doing cakes here. Loving the process and the decorating and the look on the customer's face when they see the miracle you pulled off for $1.50 per slice is the reward. 

I still think you need to raise your prices. I had very low prices for a while, and have doubled them, and I still have the same percentage of people who think that the prices are too high. The bonus is, I get paid more for the cakes I get to do. 

 

Your cakes are gorgeous, and VERY well made, and I don't tell that to everyone, only if I believe it. If I ws as good as you, I would be charging $4 as a base price, and I live in a small town in Ky. 

lihainalady Posted 26 Feb 2013 , 3:31pm
post #38 of 52

I use the "Earlene" chart for my servings.  I think the Wilton is way too small also.

Vista Posted 26 Feb 2013 , 4:39pm
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

I have to be honest, I am still very frustrated trying to come up with pricing that is fair and competitive. the wilton serving charts make it much more difficult for me.

 

for example, the wilton chart has an 8 inch round at 24 servings. At 3 dollars a slice that's $72.  I charge $48 and I think that's about all the market will bear and I live in very pricey Orange County CA

 

It appears (from what I've gleaned from this site) that most charge additionally for special decorating, but how do you decide?

 

I somehow feel like a base price per slice will either over charge my customers OR leave me with less profit in the long run, but if I don't have a number of servings per cake, well you can see how that would be a problem. Last, I would hate to become known as the woman who over supplies, so don't order the size you think you need.  AARGH. I'm so frustrated. 

 

It seems to me that having a base price per cake size with a range of servings would be easier to present. It would certainly be easier for ME to understand. 

 

Does anyone price that way?

 

I do not live in CA, but I find it very hard to believe that the market is that low.  I live in Wal-Mart country, Arkansas, and I charge $66 for an 8 inch round.  I won't turn my oven on for less.  I think your target market it set too low if $48 is all you can get for an 8 inch.  I don't mean to sound rude, but I had the same problem in the beginning.  I had to find the right market.  If people don't want to pay my prices, that is fine they can go to Wal-Mart.  My time is too valuable to do a cake for so low. 
 

kikiandkyle Posted 26 Feb 2013 , 6:53pm
post #40 of 52

I did an 8-10-12 three tier, each tier at 4 inches tall this weekend, for 50 people. There was only a little of the bottom tier left at the end of the party! No way I'd be able to tell the friend who got the cake that a single 12" would be enough for the same size party another time. Luckily for her the cake was free!

jason_kraft Posted 26 Feb 2013 , 7:01pm
post #41 of 52

AA basic 8" BC party cake for $48 is about right for a midmarket customer. Assuming you have an efficient process in place, that's less than an hour of labor so you would be pretty profitable at that price point.

Of course, if someone is looking for 24 servings for a party I would sell them a 12" round, an 8" wouldn't yield nearly enough cake.

Spireite Posted 26 Feb 2013 , 9:11pm
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugaredSaffron 


I'm in the UK and in general our wedding servings are just a bit more than half the portion of Wiltons. I don't know about the rest of europe though.

I do see the logic behind having larger portions for birthday cakes, as long as the customer knows what size your cake are, they can decide to order more if they think its necessary.

Traditionally in the UK the cake was not served as the main dessert, and therefore a smaller slice was served, plus a smaller slice of rich fruit will hold it's shape better than a slice of sponge/madeira.

Nowadays very few people want every layer of their wedding cake to be fruit.  Many couples will choose different flavours for each layer, and will also serve it as the main dessert, therefore needing a larger slice to be served.

I did lots of maths about how many servings can be got from different size layers last year as I was making a multi layered wedding cake. (for 300) 

I don't have any idea about pricings though, as the only wedding cakes I've made have been presents.

almb129 Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 1:37am
post #43 of 52

I to have found the wilton sizing too small. I found a another chart that is pretty good.  http://www.earlenescakes.com/ckserchart.htm.

 

I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

 

I also have minimum cake prices, and increase it based on decor and size. Prices start at $40 for 1 tier, $100 for 2 tier, and $200 for 3 tier.

 

I also normally charge slightly more for wedding vs birthday cakes. For example, a 3 tiered  wedding cake of 6"/10"/14" (about 100 servings) I price range at $350 - $500 depending on type and detail of decor chosen, a birthday cake of same size would be $300 - $500. Most of the price difference is due to delivery costs associated with wedding cakes. On average I charge $3 - $5 per serving (plus delivery if needed). I use a 2 layer cake for each tier (unless otherwise requested) for both weddings and birthdays. My cakes come out at 3" high.

 

I can't believe anyone would be making a profit at $1.50 like BomCakes charges. I don't make a lot of profit at $3.00, although I do have to order a lot of product items from the US or UK as they only have the basics available here.

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 2:24am
post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lihainalady 

I use the "Earlene" chart for my servings.  I think the Wilton is way too small also.

 

Wilton bases their servings on a piece of cake being 8" cubed. (1x2x4) That "slice dummy" in my hand is 1x2x4.25 It is plenty of cake, in fact, many people will ask me to cut it much smaller.

howsweet Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 5:20am
post #45 of 52

I'm seeing these posts about how some of you think you're in an area where you just can't get much for cake or a even a fair price for your labor. I promise you, the problem is that you are not making contact with your target customer.   When i first started i had people trying to negotiate down my prices and many who balked at my prices. If I had given in to satisfy those people, they would still be my customer base and I'd never have found the people who appreciate my cakes. I don't want those people as customers.

 

When someone does not want to pay a fair price for your cake, they are not your customer. Period.

 

And on a side note, while I am very kind and patient with the one-time-splurge customer, they do often take more time and effort because they have so much invested in this cake that's outside of their price range. Time is money. As I get more customers in the higher range, people who don't bat an eye at spending $500 on a birthday cake for 40-50, I find they are less high maintenance and sometimes say, just make it awesome and don't go over a certain amount.

Godot Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 6:45pm
post #46 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by BomCakes 

 Loving the process and the decorating and the look on the customer's face when they see the miracle you pulled off for $1.50 per slice is the reward. 

This is just not good enough  - I'm running a business, not a charity, and if the look on the client's face was the only payment I received I'd have gone bankrupt years ago.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 6:50pm
post #47 of 52

A

Loving the process and the decorating and the look on the customer's face when they see the miracle you pulled off is the reward.

Fixed that for you.

The goal of most bakeries (and most businesses for that matter) is to provide a great product, period. Not a great product for an artificially low price.

ellavanilla Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 7:07pm
post #48 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

A basic 8" BC party cake for $48 is about right for a midmarket customer. Assuming you have an efficient process in place, that's less than an hour of labor so you would be pretty profitable at that price point.

Of course, if someone is looking for 24 servings for a party I would sell them a 12" round, an 8" wouldn't yield nearly enough cake.

 

 

Yes, and at $48 that cake is profitable for me. This is why I think I feel  more comfortable having a base price/cake and then adding on for the time and cost of a more elaborate cake. I guess my fear is getting trapped in a per slice price that doesn't reflect appropriate pricing for me or my client. I have no problem asking for the money, i just don't want to get bogged down in a system that leaves me wondering if it's fair. 

 

I purchased the Cake Boss and I'm slogging my way thru that too. For me, all the details start to confuse me and I panic.  I know this isn't everyone's problem. I'm a bit challenged in the spatial relationship dept.  Thanks, everyone for the replies. They do help!

kikiandkyle Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 7:15pm
post #49 of 52

The smile on my face when I get an absolute bargain is pretty big too. My face is not so happy when I can't get paid a decent wage because there are other people who will do the same job for way less than what is fair. 

AZCouture Posted 27 Feb 2013 , 8:04pm
post #50 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Fixed that for you.

The goal of most bakeries (and most businesses for that matter) is to provide a great product, period. Not a great product for an artificially low price.

Yes, that definitely needed fixing. Nothing to add.

Annabakescakes Posted 28 Feb 2013 , 4:48pm
post #51 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

The smile on my face when I get an absolute bargain is pretty big too. My face is not so happy when I can't get paid a decent wage because there are other people who will do the same job for way less than what is fair. 

Isn't that the truth? I am not smiling when I do a cake for bargain basement prices, and it takes much longer than I wanted it to, and I figure I have made $8 an hour or less, after expenses. I am quite strained when dropping it off, or when it is picked up.

vgcea Posted 2 Mar 2013 , 6:32am
post #52 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

 

 

Yes, and at $48 that cake is profitable for me. This is why I think I feel  more comfortable having a base price/cake and then adding on for the time and cost of a more elaborate cake. I guess my fear is getting trapped in a per slice price that doesn't reflect appropriate pricing for me or my client. I have no problem asking for the money, i just don't want to get bogged down in a system that leaves me wondering if it's fair. 

 

I purchased the Cake Boss and I'm slogging my way thru that too. For me, all the details start to confuse me and I panic.  I know this isn't everyone's problem. I'm a bit challenged in the spatial relationship dept.  Thanks, everyone for the replies. They do help!

Something that might help is this: try to get just a general idea of what you prices tend to be for the average cake you make that way when you get an order for something less elaborate you kinda have a clue what your price for it would be, and the same for something more elaborate. As I do more cakes I am able to gauge quite well what the price of a cake will be even before I use the Cake Boss software. Feels pretty awesome when I finally crunch the numbers (to generate a quote) and end up with very close numbers. Takes a bit of the pressure off using Cake Boss. Besides I have starting prices which I will not go under, and those numbers are based on basic designs so I'm not crunching numbers and 'nickeling and diming' for a basic cake.

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