I know this issue has been discussed again and again but it's an issue I'm stuck with. I'm struggling with knowing how much to charge for cakes.
This 'hoot' cake I did for a friend so I gave to her at a discount rate. The cake was carved from a 12" square cake. (There was a little of the cake left over in scraps. It cost me $35 in ingredients and materials to make. What would would you charge as a hobby baker. It is a lot bigger than it looks in the photo. It was rich chocolate cake with caramel smb and fondant. It took me about 15 hours from start to finish. I live in a country town of 5000 in Australia so I can't imagine ppl wanting to pay a lot of money for a cake but I don't want to do it for next to nothing. Especially when its taking me away from spending time with my kids. I have got advice from my husbands auntie who bakes cakes as well. But I don't think she charges enough. She suggested $120 for a square chocolate mud cake (4" high) that I made for a customer. In the end I didn't make any money. She also suggested $300-$350 for a wedding cake I made (6" 9" 12" square). I charged $300 and had to deliver it an hour away (delivery included in the price) I didn't really make any money of that either. Although since making the wedding cake I've cut down (as I did with the hoot cake) on costly ingredients and I am using more generic ingredients. I'm pasted both photos on so I hope it's worked.
I am also in Australia but don't subscribe to your 'small towns won't pay it' theory - they DO pay more for all sorts of things from fuel to groceries and more often than not they WILL travel to the larger cities to purchase things that they think will NOT be on offer locally. It might be a SMALLER market but if your work stands out from the 'crowd' your price will be seen as 'valued'
You need to work out your own prices - don't let anybody else sway you - it doesn't help for somebody to say... oh you should charge THIS much - the trick is to to be anal about writing things down - even when you are just 'playing' - when you are doing your recipe development - keep notes - write down how much mix you are using for what tin - when you are testing larger sizes write those down too.
When you are covering cakes - weigh the fondant you THINK you will need - when you are finished, weigh your scraps - you will have a fairly accurate weight for the actual fondant used - which in turn means less waste NEXT time.
There are a gazillion pricing questions for cakes on this and every other forum - but it still comes back to - writing everything down so you have something to work on.
I think the trouble is (and this is not meant to be narky) - people start SELLING cakes before they have really done enough research to be able to confidently quote. You should have done all your recipe testing & have a rough guide to how long things will take you
- Baked NUMEROUS times ALL the flavours that you offer and in ALL different sized, shaped tins that you will offer.
- Have a rough idea of how long it will take you to cover it - TIME yourself & write it down
- Know how long you take carving a 3D cake (if you are going to offer it)
- Learn from your mistakes - IF you under quote something because you under-estimated either the materials used or the time taken - make sure that you increase the price for the next such job. Don't make under charging a compound problem.
It really is the only way you can make sure that you are covering your costs. You are only worth what you think you are!! I guess you already realise that every man and his dog, and the dogs fleas are doing cakes in one form or another in Australia today. Don't set out to be the CHEAPEST - you will always have somebody that is willing to work for less. I don't think it is wise to compromise TOO much with the quality of your ingredients - THIS is what will set you apart! Its OK to try and source better suppliers, buy in bulk if you can - share larger quantities with other local cakers (co-op style)
Increase your skills by doing classes, learning techniques that perhaps other local decoraters aren't using.
Don't forget that time taken away from your family is time you will NEVER get back. I cut back on cakes at different stages of my life .... for this reason alone!!!
I would rather go and sit outside with my grandaughter than waste the afternoon making a cake for $80 !!
Please read the thread "My client says I charge too much" (not sure of the exact wording) - it is indeed pertinent to your ?.
Thanks a lot for your help!