Am I Selling Myself Short If I Take This Order?

Decorating By missvicks05 Updated 14 Mar 2013 , 8:48pm by Sassyzan

missvicks05 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:27pm
post #1 of 14

Hi guys! I recently started my mini cake business and orders are beginning to come in (yay!). I do it out of my home. I just got a request to make a large sheet cake to feed 75ppl with the works. Chocolate and vanilla layer with buttercream and fondant on top, along with fondant flowers.  They also requestd to have a mini crossword puzzle on top as well.  The customer has set a budget at $90. Thats only $1.20/slice!

 

Here's the photo they showed me to give me an idea of what they wanted

 

 

 

 

I feel like a lot of work is required and for only $90, I don't know if that's worth all my time. I'm thinking of countering with $150 ($2/slice).  The customer has also mentioned that she's already looked around and everyone is booked up for the date she needs the cake for.  I technically have the upper hand here.  I feel like I shouldn't turn down the customer as she would be another word of mouth form of advertisment for me. But then I also don't want to be known as the business that gives countless discounts because I want the business. I want to be known for the quality of my product.

 

Suggestions? Comments?

13 replies
Norasmom Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:32pm
post #2 of 14

That's not enough to charge.  $150 is the bare minimum.  It's time consuming and ingredients are expensive.  My guess is the other places aren't booked, they just won't do that cake for the price she wants.  If you start with low prices, you will be stuck charging low prices.  Also, when people pay more they feel like they are getting higher quality.  It's a psychology thing. 

Norasmom Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:33pm
post #3 of 14

Do you really want word of mouth to be "and she doesn't charge a lot..." or "Her cakes are pricey but awesome!!"

Sassyzan Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:38pm
post #4 of 14

ARespond By telling them what they can get for $90 and what you charge for the cake they described. I agree, $150 is bare minimum. I wouldn't do Any fondant work for that price.. I agree, you'd be setting a bad precedent taking this order for so little.

BeesKnees578 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:38pm
post #5 of 14

Yes you are.  If you are going to do it, I would scrap doing it in fondant.  I don't do sheets, but if I did, I would never fondant them.

 

IMHO, I don't do sheets because no one in their right mind should pay what charge for a giant slab of cake...for the VERY short time that I did do them, I did them two layers with a filling.  Seemed expensive for a big flat boring cake - maybe a lack of imagination on my part, but they seem so limited in their decorating potential.

 

There is NO WAY to compete with a grocery store for those kinds of cakes.

 

Are you a custom cake baker or a glamorized grocery store?

 

I may offend some in saying that if sheets are your bread and butter, but if you want to get paid the big bucks you gotta produce a cake that says "I am worth EVERY FREAKING penny you are paying for this cake!"

 

Who's with me??!!

Sassyzan Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:46pm
post #6 of 14

AThere are some very beautiful sheet cakes in the photo gallery. Some people are just used to ordering a sheet cake for a large group.

melanie-1221 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:48pm
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyzan 

Respond By telling them what they can get for $90 and what you charge for the cake they described. I agree, $150 is bare minimum. I wouldn't do Any fondant work for that price.. I agree, you'd be setting a bad precedent taking this order for so little.

 

Exactly!

I always offer an alternative in their price range , most of the time I still get the order. 

1 cake underpriced leads to many requests for underpriced cakes...

leah_s Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:53pm
post #8 of 14

Fondant cakes for me are $4 per serving.  Extras are, well, extra.  A big sheet cake would not have a charge for a support system, for example.  But 75 servings is a good sized cake.  Whether it's a tiered cake or a sheet cake, why does the shape make a difference in the price?  BTW, all my sheets (on the rare occasion I ever did one) are two layers, filled.  What they lack in height, is made up for in the cutting, so that the slice is still 8 cubic inches.

 

And an 8 cubic inch serving of fondant covered cake is $4.  Period.

missvicks05 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 3:00pm
post #9 of 14

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments! I knew it wasn't wrong of me for wanting to say no to the customer at $90.  I am going to draw up some ideas and present what I want to do at the price I want to do it at.  Isn't that why customers go to cake designers, because they want quality, originality, creativity and not the usual stuff you can get a grocery stores for way cheaper.

 

At $90 I think just a 2 layer cake with filling and finished off with smooth buttercream and a few royal icings would do the trick at that price. What do you think?

-K8memphis Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 3:09pm
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by missvicks05 

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments! I knew it wasn't wrong of me for wanting to say no to the customer at $90.  I am going to draw up some ideas and present what I want to do at the price I want to do it at.  Isn't that why customers go to cake designers, because they want quality, originality, creativity and not the usual stuff you can get a grocery stores for way cheaper.

 

At $90 I think just a 2 layer cake with filling and finished off with smooth buttercream and a few royal icings would do the trick at that price. What do you think?

 

 

so for $1.20 per slice you will do a 2 layer decorated cake?

 

or should your sheet cakes be $2 per serving as you stated above

 

then for ninety bucks they can serve 45 people or up the ante to $150 for the 75 servings they want

 

what is your price?

 

the point here is not to trim your sales to fly with them but to determine your prices and go forth and conquer icon_biggrin.gif

denetteb Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 3:22pm
post #11 of 14

For the 75 servings, are you talking a double layer 11 by 15?  You really need to sit down and determine your prices.  Generally people have one price for buttercream and one price for fondant, figure your extra charges for flowers, figures, etc.  Then when you get an order you can just refer to your pricing sheet and be confident that you are pricing appropriately for your costs, time, etc.  Then if someone asks for a cake that is too expensive for their budget you can easily and quickly come up with some suggestions that may meet their budget.  And if nothing meets their budget you will be comfortable telling them that too.  If they book with you fine, if not they can go somewhere else.  It isn't your job to keep dropping prices to make them happy. 

BeesKnees578 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 6:26pm
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyzan 

There are some very beautiful sheet cakes in the photo gallery. Some people are just used to ordering a sheet cake for a large group.


I agree...my mind just goes blank when I think of decorating sheets.  I think because I hate the cumbersome nature of a giant rectangle (at least anything bigger then a 9x13), that it immediately blocks my creativity.  Weird, but true!  I must like big and tall, rather than short and squat.  Although you wouldn't know that from looking at my hubs!  LOL!

 

Anyway, OP, stand your ground and give her what's up in the kindest way possible.  Good luck.

tracyaem Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 7:34pm
post #13 of 14

I agree with others, you need to figure out your price per serving for a buttercream cake and a fondant cake (and make sure to charge extra for extra gumpaste flowers, intricate designs, etc.). A basic buttercream cake (I'm talking shell border, and maybe a happy bday message) is $2.50/serving. So for 75 people we're talking close to $200. I don't care if it's a sheet, a round, or a square. It's still cake and a serving is a serving. For fondant covered with flowers and the crossword I'd charge $4/serving or $300 (not including delivery).

 

I suppose it depends on your location/market but to me $90 or even $150 is too low, even for just plain buttercream. Sheet cakes are a big PITA (at least in my opinion). I'd much rather do a 12" or 14" round. I don't know why people think they should price them lower, it's still a serving of cake.

Sassyzan Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 8:48pm
post #14 of 14

A

Original message sent by tracyaem

I agree with others, you need to figure out your price per serving for a buttercream cake and a fondant cake (and make sure to charge extra for extra gumpaste flowers, intricate designs, etc.). A basic buttercream cake (I'm talking shell border, and maybe a happy bday message) is $2.50/serving. So for 75 people we're talking close to $200. I don't care if it's a sheet, a round, or a square. It's still cake and a serving is a serving. For fondant covered with flowers and the crossword I'd charge $4/serving or $300 (not including delivery).

I suppose it depends on your location/market but to me $90 or even $150 is too low, even for just plain buttercream. Sheet cakes are a big PITA (at least in my opinion). I'd much rather do a 12" or 14" round. I don't know why people think they should price them lower, it's still a serving of cake.

Huh.. I never realized how much cake those sizes of rounds are!

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