experimenting Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 6:18pm
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I have a question that I sort of have an answer to on my own, but wanted some other opinions. Do you charge differently for different skills, or do you charge purely for the time it takes to complete a design? To be more specific, my husband has been hand painting a few cakes that we will use for display for a wedding expo next week. No stencils or transfers. Completely free hand. They are amazing (not that I'm biased ;) with a lot of detail. In my research of bakeries in my area, the closest bakery that hand paints is about 2 hours from me. I have my pricing structure set, but just wanted to get some opinions on the hand painting. I could post a picture if you want, but I'm not sure that it matters. Even considering the time it has taken him to complete the painting, I just feel that he does it quicker and better than most people ever could. Since not many people can hand paint to his level anywhere near us, I feel his time might be worth more. Would you charge just based on the time it takes him? Do you need a picture to get a better idea?

22 replies
DeliciousDesserts Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 6:22pm
post #2 of

A

Original message sent by experimenting

. Do you charge differently for different skills, or do you charge purely for the time it takes to complete a design?

Although not always, those typically go hand in hand. Hand painting or brush embroidery takes far more skill & time than simple scrolls.

SwtCanuck Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 11:36pm
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I do charge extra for hand painting depending on the design. I once had a 6" cake that took me 3 hours to paint so I charged accordingly.

justme50 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 11:46pm
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I'd love to see a picture, but regardless here's my take on it- If I'm the only one who can do it or I do it better than anyone else- I'm worth more There are exceptions to the rules of cost+time and this is one of them for me. If you have no competition, you're free to charge more. If I was the only one who could supply a chocolate cake in this town, you can bet my prices would be a lot higher! :)
 

enga Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 12:13am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by experimenting 

I would love to see your pics, I have been experimenting with painting on cakes too, but I am just a novice painter. 

 

Not many bakeries near me hand paint on cakes, I guess because it is very time consuming.  Sounds like you have a great niche.

experimenting Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 1:00am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 


Although not always, those typically go hand in hand. Hand painting or brush embroidery takes far more skill & time than simple scrolls.

 

I agree, but the way I was thinking of it was this: I can take twice as long to do what my husband painted and charge half as much per hour and come out on the other end with the same price, but the painting would still not be as good.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwtCanuck 

I do charge extra for hand painting depending on the design. I once had a 6" cake that took me 3 hours to paint so I charged accordingly.


Do you mean you charge extra per hour than other design elements?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justme50 

I'd love to see a picture, but regardless here's my take on it- If I'm the only one who can do it or I do it better than anyone else- I'm worth more There are exceptions to the rules of cost+time and this is one of them for me. If you have no competition, you're free to charge more. If I was the only one who could supply a chocolate cake in this town, you can bet my prices would be a lot higher! :)
 


This is what I was thinking. The cake artist 2 hours from us that I was referring to is very well-known and established and I've seen a few of her hand-painted cakes and they are amazing. My husband's work is quite amazing too though in my opinion. The only reason I'm struggling a little with the pricing is I just wasn't sure that I should charge what I truly think his art is worth right away since we are just starting our home business. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enga 

I would love to see your pics, I have been experimenting with painting on cakes too, but I am just a novice painter. 

 

Not many bakeries near me hand paint on cakes, I guess because it is very time consuming.  Sounds like you have a great niche.

 

Okie doke. Here are a few quick pics of one of the cakes. The cake isn't complete, but the paintings are. I will post pictures of the completed cake next week when we're done. 

 

enga Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 1:45am
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Oh my goodness, those are phenomenal!  The coy fish and water effect, wow. I will say this with you and your husbands talent, 6 to 7.50 a serving  with the fondant because it is beautiful detailed work, but that is my opinion.
 

http://www.brides.com/brides/2011/09/americas-most-beautiful-cakes-brides-magazine#slide=1

 

Should give you a good idea of how to price, some are not even as detailed and they are charging up to $15.00 a slice. 

 

Good luck with your business, I cant wait to see the finished cake, as I am overly impressed already

letsgetcaking Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 1:53am
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Those are amazing. I'm sure people would be more than happy to pay a higher price for those. I know I would.
 

justme50 Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 2:00am
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Quote:
I just wasn't sure that I should charge what I truly think his art is worth right away since we are just starting our home business

 

Don't make the mistake of pricing cheap because you're new. If you're good ( and you definitely are), how long you've been around doesn' t mean a lot. Introductory prices may get you business, but you'll pay heck bringing your prices up once you're established. His work is amazing.
 

enga Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 2:11am

I would really start working on a business plan in the near future, because after the wedding expo, everyone is going to want a cake from your business.  And like "justme50" said you don't want to under sale your talent, and you my dear have talent.

denetteb Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 3:58am

WOW!!

Apti Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 4:29am

Set your pricing NOW!  Do NOT have any concerns about "being new".  That painting is the equal (or better) than most famous hand-painted cakes.  The customer will not be paying for the time, but for the talent.  Is his talent worth $15 an hour?  Uh.......NO!  It is worth a premium price.  If you are able to present cakes with that quality of skill, do NOT apologize for "being new".  Target high-end customers and do not lower your pricing structure so that anyone can get a cake similar to the one shown.  If the customer doesn't want to pay a premium for that quality, then you can present other, less expensive, options.

 

What would Picasso charge for unique, boutique, painted cakes? 

 

Although we don't "know you", or know what your other cakes look like, it sounds as though you are apologetic for being new and working out of your home.  Capitalize on being small and unique!  Incorporate it into your business plan. 

IAmPamCakes Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 5:30am

AHoly cow! That painting is awesome! Definitely charge a premium for work like that.

Annabakescakes Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 5:40am

IndyDebi used to post this, when she was still posting:

 


 A lady asked Picasso to draw her something. He scribbled something on a napkin, handed it to her and said, "$5000 please". She was appalled and said, "But it only took you 3 minutes!!"

He said, "No madam .... it took me a lifetime."

 

 

Edited to add, Picasso's work looks like stirred donkey-doo, compared to your husband's, I don't cake how long it takes him!

AZCouture Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 6:12am

That is premium work right there. Here's the deal. If you start out cheap, you'll get business all right. The kind you don't want. Your hubby will be a slave to painting on cakes all day, and what will you do when he says he's done? Oh boy....keep it fun and profitable at the same time. 

experimenting Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 6:21am

AThanks so much for all the positive feedback everyone! This gives me more confidence to price the way I feel we should for his talent. You're right, Apti. I am a bit shy about being new and working out of my home. I'll just need to work on gettting past it :/ I hope you're right Enga about us getting clients after the expo! Fingers crossed! Annabakescakes - I've heard that story before. Thanks for posting it. It sums up some discussions my husband and I have had about art. I will pass on all of your kind words to my husband. He's been a little nervous about showing his work publicly. I tell him all the time how amazing he is, but I'm sure there's part of him that thinks I'm just being nice because I'm his wife. Hearing it from strangers, especially other artists, should go a long way.

raniafayed Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 1:28am

wow the cake are really good, can u tell us what u used to paint with? thanks

liz at sugar Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 1:41am

That painting is truly amazing!! How did your bridal show go?  I'm sure you had lots of drooling over that fantastic cake!

 

Liz
 

HannahsMomi Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 1:28pm

That is beautiful!  I'm with all the others....don't undercharge!  People will pay for that amazing work!

Stitches Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 2:04pm

That is amazing work!! Up there with the best I've seen.

 

Make sure the inside of your cakes taste as great as the outsides look. That will be just as important.

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 2:31pm

ABeautiful work!

experimenting Posted 2 May 2013 , 7:19pm

Thanks so much everyone!

 

raniafayed: Thank you! My husband used edible pens for most of the koi and americolor gels mixed with vodka for everything else.

 

liz at sugar: Thank you! The expo went fantastic! I got a lot of great feedback, a handful of brides wrote their names in my book to be contacted, and I've given out a handful of requested quotes. The most important thing I think is that I made some great vendor contacts. One florist put me on her website as a preferred vendor - and I'm the only cake artist on her list. One photographer contacted me recently saying she recommended me to a bride. Several other vendors said they'd put me on their preferred vendors list as well.

 

Stitches: Thank you! I got rave reviews on my samples from the expo. A few other vendors I made friends with told me later that they heard brides say that my samples were delicious, so they weren't just being polite to my face :)

sixinarow Posted 2 May 2013 , 11:35pm

Amazing! You both are truly gifted -- charge well for what they are -- masterpieces! WOW!

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