Explain The Price Of A Cake To My Client?

Decorating By ashsantos Updated 1 Sep 2013 , 3:08am by Smckinney07

ashsantos Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 3:57pm
post #1 of 21

I am new to cake central and I tried to search this topic before I posted but didn't have much luck. I have been doing cakes for about two years but in just the last month I have gotten super busy. Recently I got a request to do a three tiered candyland theme cake for a three year olds party. when I explained that the materials alone would be around $100 she made the comment "well I'm not trying to break the bank for a three year old" She also wants me to deliver the cake 25 miles from my home. I have come up with my price per serving as $3.00 a slice (which is lower than the bakeries in my area because I am new) so around $150 how to I politely explain this to her? This is the cake she wants... I haven't run into this issue before because most people understand how much work goes into these types of cakes.. any input would be great :) thank you in advance

20 replies
melmar02 Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:06pm
post #2 of 21

AI think this cake is more labor intensive than you realize. That's a lot of different colors of fondant! I would charge closer to $300 if it's a 6, 8, 10.

I might say something like, "this is a very labor intensive design; why don't I put together a couple of other ideas in this theme. What is your budget, and how many servings would you like?"

thecakewitch Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:06pm
post #3 of 21

ADo a search on Google: how to price cake cakecentral. I do not justify my price to anybody, just a simple "ingredients cost, license/fees, insurance..." If they don't like it, I don't go running after them.

ddaigle Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:08pm
post #4 of 21

No matter where you live...$150 is insanely cheap for that cake.   That cake ..a 6/8/10 serves 74 so you are not charging $3. a serving.  Your base price...before all the bells & whistles should be $222.  Then you should have a deliver policy/pricing.        Where did you get this figure from?

DeliciousDesserts Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:26pm
post #5 of 21

ASadly, this is not your customer. Truth is no explanation will seem reasonable.

I would state what my price is & offer an alternative less expensive option.

Honest to goodness someone asked me why my cakes were do expensive. As I started to explain, he hung up.

ashsantos Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:39pm
post #6 of 21

AOh crap that should have said $250 LOL my kids where running a muck while I was typing :(

ashsantos Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:42pm
post #7 of 21

AI just don't understand why some people want an extravagant cake for the price of a grocery store sheet cake LOL

jason_kraft Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:42pm
post #8 of 21

AIn most areas that would be a $300-400 cake, plus ~$50 delivery. You need to confirm what the customer's budget is and present them with a quote for both their requested design and an alternative that fits their budget (if possible). If they can only spend $150, something like a sheet cake with FBCT pictures of candy might be more appropriate.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 4:44pm
post #9 of 21


Original message sent by ashsantos

I just don't understand why some people want an extravagant cake for the price of a grocery store sheet cake LOL

Probably because they are conditioned to devalue custom cakes by decorators who are just starting out and feel that they should charge well below market price.

For 83 servings you are probably looking at a price of $400-500.

kikiandkyle Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 7:03pm
post #10 of 21

ASounds like she's not willing to spend more than what Walmart charges, so I'd recommend she try there.

CakeRae80 Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 8:34pm
post #11 of 21

I agree with everyone above, the cake would cost well over $300 if I did it. It's your price and you don't have to justify it to anyone.  If they don't like the price then they can see if they can find someone else that will do it cheaper that won't be a train wreck.  I give people quotes and if they don't like it, I'm not offended because I know what I make and that's what matters.  I honestly think now that there are things like Pinterest out there, people see these cakes that float around on there and think oh I want that b/c it looks fun.  They have no clue it's way more cake than they 'd know what do with or the time/effort that goes into creating it.  I think that they believe since it's on these sites it's a piece of cake...no pun intended!

ddaigle Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 8:46pm
post #12 of 21
Originally Posted by ashsantos 

I have come up with my price per serving as $3.00 a slice (which is lower than the bakeries in my area because I am new)


I haven't run into this issue before because most people understand how much work goes into these types of cakes..

 Being new should have nothing to do with your pricing.    If on the other hand, your skill is not up to quality standard, then I would suggest you bake for your friends and family and price your cakes accordingly when you are more competitive with the bakeries in your market.    Set your pricing and stick to it.   You will have customers who think you are too high.   Then they are not your target customer.  Don't worry about them not ordering from you.    I have a book that prices out everything from fondant dots, ribbon wraps, you name it...on every size cake.   If I had that picture..I'd price out 5 different color stripes for a 10", etc.   The calculator would blow up calculating this cake.  


I imagine you haven't had problems before because you are pricing your cakes so cheap.    You really need to get some pricing standards. 

Smckinney07 Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 9:13pm
post #13 of 21

ADo not change your prices for anyone! If anything you aren't charging enough, if your not ready to compete (price wise) with the local bakeries perhaps your not ready to be in business. Don't misunderstand and think I'm trying to be mean or hurtful! You are doing a disservice to yourself, when you raise your prices you'll lose the customers you have.

Your base price should be just that, a starting point or rough idea for customers then you add in extras for detail and design-at least this is how I do it. I'm simply pointing this out because you said the materials alone will cost you $100, that's probably not including time to prep (sketch, shop, paperwork), baking (kitchen prep, measuring, leveling, making BC or fillings, whatever), clean up, and you haven't even started decorating, coloring your fondant, etc. at the end of the day are you making enough for your time? There are several other pricing matters I could add into that, but I won't go there, you can check out the other info in pricing threads-these are all things that should be considered before setting prices.

You should definitely charge for delivery/setup, I have an area I will setup and deliver included (included in my pricing) but it's not a large area and I'm I'm a small town. Anything outside that area is $ for x miles, plus $ for each mile over (there and back-round trip). Gas is expensive and so is my time!

I am willing to work within someone's budget for sure, as MelMar said: What's your budget? How many servings? etc all questions you should probably ask when consulting with someone. That way you can be sure to make adjustments to her design to fit your budget not changes in your pricing to fit their needs. This woman sounds like she's not someone you want to even deal with, not everyone is going to be your customer.

AZCouture Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 9:17pm
post #14 of 21

ARight? Where is this "new decorator" pricing coming from? Do new doctors charge less? A new realtor isn't going to give you a break on the commission. How about a new lawyer? Think he's gonna say "hey, just graduated law school, so I'm gonna give you a break on my fees, my 500k loan can wait."

Now, if you are unskilled, and have no confidence in the business side of things...that's another story. So wait until you can confidently put out a premium product.

AZCouture Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 9:21pm
post #15 of 21

AAnd you gotta have a minimum order. No clue what your skill level is or your baking style, but I personally don't believe any home baker should be turning on their oven for less than a hundred bucks. The corresponding, the planning, the shopping, the miscellaneous recurring charges for your day to day operation, website, etc...that all needs to be made up by a little piece of every order.

Anything less than.a hundred bucks can be bought at grocery stores.

The further we all distance our products from anything obtainable by the general public, the better. And premium pricing for a premium product is the first step in that.

CakeGeekUk Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 10:34pm
post #16 of 21

Hi Ashsantos, I agree with a lot of what the other posters have said.  This is a spectacular cake for a 3-year old's birthday!

I would let the customer know that a single-tier is the standard order for a 3 year old's birthday cake, but if she would like a three-tier then this is obviously going to involve three times the ingredients and three times the labour.

When I started out in the business, I had set prices from day one and this avoided so many awkward conversations with customers expecting the sun, moon & stars for little or nothing in terms of payment.

As for the fact that you're a new decorator, this is irrelevant once you are able to make and decorate the cakes your customers request. So there's no need to charge less than your counterparts in your area.  In fact, it will make it harder in the long run to get your prices up.  In any case, custom cakes are a luxury product. If you charge less than the going rate, people will infer inferior quality.

It's tough when you're starting out to have the confidence to deal with customers' put downs over prices, but you have to stand your ground and be willing to lose the order than cut your rates. Otherwise you will be working for much less than the minimum wage catering to customers whims, when your time would be better off spent with your family and friends.

Best of luck!

AZCouture Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 10:37pm
post #17 of 21
Originally Posted by CakeGeekUk 


I would let the customer know that a single-tier is the standard order for a 3 year old's birthday cake,



jason_kraft Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 10:39pm
post #18 of 21


Original message sent by AZCouture


The vast majority of our birthday cake orders were single tiers (2 layers, usually round).

ddaigle Posted 29 Aug 2013 , 11:09pm
post #19 of 21

AZ....I definitely do not want the "new doctor discount!"  LOL 

ashsantos Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 2:04am
post #20 of 21

Thank you everyone for being honest and for all the advice :) I am learning the "business end" of cakes and honestly this is the first and I am sure not the last client that has had a request like this and wanted it for practically free. I would have loved to make this cake but not for what she was willing to spend LOL. I just don't really know the pricing structure and how I should price everything so that has been a learning curve. I don't know anyone that does what I do so it has been something I have been doing alone. I just didn't know if my prices should be lower because I do not have any formal training. I guess I don't know what is appropriate to charge. I work very hard and am very meticulous when it comes to my cakes so the last thing I want to do is undercut myself. thank again everyone :)

Smckinney07 Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 3:08am
post #21 of 21

AIt's difficult to figure out pricing, many people struggle with it! There are tons of successful, self taught decorators/designers, including myself ;) The fact the there aren't many (or any) decorators that do what you do in your area that gives you even more of an advantage, definitely charge for your time and try not to second guess yourself. Not everyone can afford a custom cake and it's much better to walk away from an order then work your butt off for someone not willing to pay/appreciate it. I'm glad you took the advice! If you value your work others will too.

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