KasandraG Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:09am
post #1 of

Hello Friends!

 

 I need some serious advice, I have recently been trying to keep track of how long it takes me to decorate my cakes/cupcakes. And after doing these fondant toppers today I realized it took me over 5 hours! (Not including the time it took to make the fondant,frosting or the actual cupcakes.)

Is this honestly pretty typical or should I be moving much faster? I do many custom cakes so I am never doing the same thing twice. I am charging $3 per cupcake (for these 16 cupcakes). I have been doing custom cakes for over a year and have been undercharging for TOO LONG! I put my heart and soul into my work and love doing what I do but I need to at least break even! Any input/advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you all!

 

10 replies
BrandisBaked Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:21am
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AYes, that is an extraordinary amount of time for those toppers. They are adorable though! :D

jason_kraft Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:25am
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AIf you are running a business, it's important to scale the amount of work to the price that is paid and the expectation of the customer. For example, the level of detail in your picture (great work BTW) would probably be appropriate for $8 cupcakes.

FrostedMoon Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:26am
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I am right there with you.  It takes me a LONG time to decorate and make toppers, but those little details that take so long are part of why my customers keep coming back.  I promise you will get faster, and you will figure out little short-cuts here and there, but it takes time.  I've heard that it takes about 10,000 hours of practicing something to really get good.  I've been at this as a business for about a year and a half and I've definitely started to cut down on time, but it's still longer than I'd like.  Keep at it though, and definitely don't undercharge!  I love those toppers!

KasandraG Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:27am
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Thank you all so much! I still consider myself pretty new and I am my own worst critic! I'm still trying to figure things out but hearing such uplifting advice feels so great thank you!

Stitches Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 2:00am
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A better decision would have been to make them all the same design. You added greatly to your time by making each one different. Also it's unrealistic for you to do that with cupcake orders unless your being compensated more for all the different designs. You gave them 16 different cakes instead of 1. But we all have to make mistakes on pricing to learn and get wiser.

embersmom Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 7:36pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

A better decision would have been to make them all the same design. You added greatly to your time by making each one different. Also it's unrealistic for you to do that with cupcake orders unless your being compensated more for all the different designs. You gave them 16 different cakes instead of 1. But we all have to make mistakes on pricing to learn and get wiser.


Definitely this :nodding:

 

It can be difficult to gauge time when you're in the throes in trying something new -- the excitement usually precludes the time it takes for execution, you know?  It's like reading a book you can't put down :)

 

The time/design conundrum tends to resolve itself the more you practice.  In time you devise shortcuts, or you make everything have one design, or you devise something that dovetails nicely with your gaining speed.  Or you ask someone how they would make something faster!

 

Gorgeous toppers, btw.

Claire138 Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 7:45pm
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I agree with all the other opinions but also want to add that the more you make certain designs the quicker you will get at making them. If you have alot of the same type of orders then you will be able to manage your time much better as you will know what works and what doesn't, you can then apply these tips to other cakes. Beautiful toppers btw, I also think that it's the tiny details that take the most time but they are what makes it all perfect.

Stitches Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 8:21pm
post #9 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by Claire138 
 

I also think that it's the tiny details that take the most time but they are what makes it all perfect.

Another way to help your speed is to make extra of everything you do (I know at first it seems painful to do this). For example, the last time I made those punch out flowers like you did, I would have made a 100 or so extra, so I maintain a certain level of "stock". When you see photographs of Ron Ben Israel's work room, you'll see bin upon bin of flowers just waiting in his inventory to be used. Once you have a good level of inventory you don't need to make everything little item for each cake, you'll have a stock pile of ready made flourishes in inventory you can grab from. I like to leave things white and I can color them last minute if needed.

 

I have all kinds of things in "stock/inventory": like balls, stars on wires, hearts, little flowers, big flowers, numbers small and large, etc..... just left over tid bits that I use constantly.

kimmys Kitchen Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 8:07pm

super CUTE!!  you do GREAT work :);-D  i feel the same way~ put my heart & soul int it & never charge enough....  :)

BatterUpCake Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 8:16pm

Those are awesome!!! And definitely worth more than $3 (assuming you cake is as good as you decorating of course) I am very slow. But I am getting quicker. I have never done the same cake twice but I am able to work faster just by having more time working with fondant, ganache, different icings. Speed come with practice. Keep up the great work!

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