I'm not officially in business, yet. I started decorating cakes as a hobby last year and now some friends have shown interest and are asking me to do cakes for them. These will be mostly birthday cakes, so the standard piece size (I've looked at all those charts) doesn't really apply--the cake pieces are usually sliced much bigger than they are at weddings. I don't care how big they want to cut it, I just want to make sure I make them a big enough cake. I just made a two-tier cake and it was WAY too much. When they tell me the guest count, I want to know how much I need to make. Can anyone help?
This is what I used when I need to know how many servings for a certain cake size.
Hope it works for you :)
AWilton is the industry standard. You have to have some basis for your sizing or you end up with the wrong size cake as you experienced. Even Walmart uses serving sizes, which happen to be smaller than Wilton wedding. Just use the Wilton wedding,let people know what size it is and go from there. There are paper templates you can print and put together or cut something out of wood to give a better visual if that helps. After hat they can hack it up however thy want. Remember even at birthday parties they have usually just eaten a bunch of food.
Wilton's industry standard wedding chart should be used for all occasions since that's what other bakeries typically use, and when customers compare prices it's too complicated for them to understand the differences when the comparisons aren't apples to apples. An 8 cu. in. serving size is more than enough for any occasion... if they want bigger slices -- they'll need to buy more cake.
If you decide to use a non-industry standard chart that has more generous serving sizes, you need to charge more per serving to allow for the larger serving (making up for the extra cake so you aren't giving away free servings), which again, confuses the customer even more when trying to compare prices... you'll lose business because your price per person will be higher than others quoting for standard slices. It's easier to follow the standard than to have to explain why your pp price is higher. (also, party/wedding venues will slice based on the same industry standard chart.)
APrint out the size tiers of cake that you made for the customer if its a two tiered cake print out both tiers because they are suppose to separate the tiers. Show the customer the printed out sheets and inform them that that's what you based the amount of severings off of and if they need that many severings to cut the cake like the chart shows. If they want to cut the cake up there way than kindly inform them that they might end up with fewer severings than what they need. All you can do is inform them and leave them a cake cutting chart. If you continue to deliver a huge cake , way more than they will ever need you'll be losing money plus word of mouth will get around that you are the "Cheap Cake Lady" you don't want that to happen.
Thanks everyone! Probably best...guess that's the best way to price cakes too, huh? I was just going to figure out how much it cost me to make it all and then figure in some for my time. I thought every cake would be based on the design and would be priced appropriately. Some designs are more difficult and time consuming than others!
Good start to calculate your prices, figuring out your ingred/supply cost is the first step. Most people have a base price for buttercream and fondant basic designs then add on for intricate things like figures, lots of flowers,fresh fruit fillings, etc.
Not figure in some for your time, that's a HUGE part of it. Once you get your costs down, check around to see what actual decorators in business are charging. Don't undercut their prices, because they have most likely put a lot of time into setting appropriate prices, to sustain their businesses. :)
Thanks everyone! This is still hard for me to "charge". I was decorating cakes for family, then friends. Only charged what it cost to make and then told them they can "donate" extra for my time if they would like. I am doing more cakes and getting interest from people outside my family/friends circle and I don't want to be taken advantage of. Plus all the interest has told me I may have something here! I love doing it and to help out my family is a great bonus! So, I figure the cost of supplies and then time (which is the hard part since I'm new and it probably takes me longer!)...what about serving size? Or is that how I figure the initial cost? I think I just confused myself! So do you charge based on supplies, number of servings, and then add on if there's something more for figures and flowers, etc.? How do you get to a final price and I'm assuming then each cake would be priced differently?
I'm trying to find the pricing matrixes on those sticky threads but I don't see anywhere to download them (except for the one by cakes devine).
I don't sell so not sure about the matrixes. If you are going to making a business by selling to people outside of your immediate family and friends then you need to do a lot more research. There are a ton of threads about pricing, contracts, insurance, legalities, can you even legally sell cakes where you live, rental and deposits, wage and profit, etc, etc. I have found the best way to search things on cake central is to use google. Just type in whatever you are looking for followed by cake central and a ton of threads from cake central will show up. For example pricing marix cake central brings up a bunch of threads on matrixes. The one thing I would suggest you consider as you start this process is to think about how much your time is worth, and how much is the time that caking for strangers will take away time from your family worth? Even if you do slower work than others, your time has a value and it is up to you to determine that. I was doing some little stained glass things for a gallery. I decided my time was worth $15 an hour. I figured out my exact costs and kept track of my time to the minute and used that to determine my pricing. If they didn't sell I didn't drop my price. I decided for less than $15 an hour I would rather give the items to friends and family and that is what I did with the items that didn't sell after a while. Selling to non-family and friends really opens up a whole load of problems and possibilities. It actually gets rather complicated but there is a lot of advice in lots of prior and ongoing threads to help you out.
To get to your earlier question, figure out your costs for a 8 inch double layer tier. Just using an 8 inch as an example. If it costs $15 for your flour, vanilla, oil, powdered sugar, etc for each and every thing in your cake and filling and icing, your cake board and box. Then you need to add on something for your utilities, electricity, gas for the stove, gas for the car to shop. You should also have a cost for insurance, and other expenses. So maybe that brings you up to $18. I am just making these numbers up. Anyway, an 8 inch cake that is about 4 inches high serves 24 pieces of cake that are 1 by 2 by 4 inches high. So you have a cost of $.75 per serving ($18 divided by 24 servings). Then you need to have kept track of your time so you can add that to it plus profit (which honestly profit gets me confused, I don't have to figure it out since I have no desire to sell but something you should know). Start keeping track of everything. How long to set up, mix, bake, clean, crumb coat, decorate, etc, etc. Start keeping a log of all of this so you have an actual idea of how long things take. From that you come up with a basic cake price. Filled and iced with basic decor. That would be your basic starting price per serving. Then your add ons would be extra. But your base price really should cover most cakes and the exeptions would be really detailed fondant work,etc.
Thank you. Definitely a lot to think about and look into! Overwhelming and almost makes me not want to do it. :) Thanks for all the food for thought and giving me the breakdown on pricing cakes. That really helped!
There really is a lot to it. When people say...wow, your cake is great, you should sell them...they are really just giving you a great compliment, not knowing what all is really involved in selling cakes. A lot of cake people don't really think about it and make any plans and just pick prices out of the clouds and then post how they are getting taken advantage of, working for little money, not getting customers who are really willing to pay and want lower and lower prices, asking for money returned, getting burned out, etc,etc. A lot of frustration can be avoided by doing those things ahead of time, like you are.