angelcake4u Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 9:43pm

How much should I charge for this cake? The customer originally asked for a barbie doll cake on top of a sheet cake and I quoted $45. Then she e-mailed me this instead. Does $40 sound like too much for this?
LL

39 replies
tracyscakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 9:50pm

I think that would be more than the Barbie because of the fondant and having to take the time to make the bows.
I am so bad at charging enough and then I end up eating the cost, NO pun intended.

cakesbyken Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 9:52pm

I am by far an expert with the whole cake decorating thing since I recently started, but I would charge a little bit more than $40. Think about the number of servings. If you charge according to servings then that should help. Most people charge about $2.00-$3.00 per serving. Hope this helps.

angelcake4u Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 9:55pm

I know what you mean. The bows are a lot of work, but I hate to ask too much. I think I will just tell her $45. Our customers sometimes do not realize how much work goes in to our cakes. This lady has been really nice and I don't think that she would say that that is too much. ARGH! I have just got to stick with my price and get over it! I wish I knew where she found the pic of that cake, so I could see how they charged.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 9:58pm

Well, for starters, most people charge $15 for a fondant bow, now these don't appear to be really big bows, but that should give you an idea. The cut outs are fast to do, the cake looks like it is buttercream iced. Depends on how large these cakes are too, they look fairly high, it is hard to say how large they are but that is all to be factored in. If you are using prepared rolled fondant that will up your costs and most of us do add gumpaste or Gum-tex powder to the bows to make them keep shape.
Do you know what sized cakes you will be making? Not how many servings she wants, how large the cakes will be. I have noticed a few folks here going by serving sizes and that is wrong. If a person wants larger cakes and only needs a few servings, that isn't your problem For example a Spiderman cake made with a large round and all, may well serve 40-60 people to get the sizes in proportion, it isn't your problem if they only need 10 servings, you charge by the cake size and design.
Hugs Squirrelly

angelcake4u Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 10:03pm

I think she wants a 10" and a 6". I only use MMF.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 10:27pm

Well, I charge $50 for a 10 inch two layer, 2 inch deep layers and $60 for a 10 inch, 2 layer each layer three inches deep.
This cake by Wilton sizes, party sizes serves 42.
Well, you are looking at about 2 1/2 cake recipes to do 3 inch pans and about 16 cups batter or just over three recipes to make 2, 2 inch layers. Plus all of the icing. Plus the time to do the bows, personally I don't like marshmallow fondant for these, but that is me.
I would likely charge about $80. And even at that, this works out to less than $2 a serving. If you made both bows for a total of $15, at your price of $45 or so, you are way low for the cake, in my opinion. Way less than a dollar a serving.
Never mind how nice she is or how nice you are, she isn't doing you a favour ordering, you are providing a service for a fee. Your Barbie cake would be worth a minimum of $60.
Haha, not trying to pick on you here, you are exactly lije the rest of us, embarassed about pricing.
Hugs Squirrelly

chefali Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 10:54pm

I know that it is difficult to charge a lot for a cake, especially if you havent done hundreds of cakes. However, I keep reminding myself that if someone doesn't want to pay what I charge, then they wouldn't appreciate it anyway. If someone wants a cheap cake then they should go to Costco and get a $15 cake that is full of preservatives and junk!

As far as the cost of your cake goes, I would charge atleast $90 because you are going to get about 45 servings...(I know, most people say that you will get way more servings out of that; but I don't go by the wilton chart because I have found that most people do not know how to cut a cake and cut larger pieces). If you charge $90 you are at $2 a serving; and I have never come across a bakery or a website that charges under $2 a serving. Squirellycakes is right, now matter how nice she is, you are still providing your services and talents to her and she has to pay for them!

ThePastryDiva Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 11:03pm

Simple...if you don't want to gauge her in price but don't want to undersell yourself...charge her $45.00 for the cake..but EXTRA for the bows...In Miami that top bow would be an extra $25.00 and the side bows..about...$10.00-$15.00 dollars each.

Don't undersell yourself...even the original cake sounds too low in price.

Doll cakes out here start at $25.00 to $35.00 and that's not a fondant dress. add that to the cost of a sheet cake..

C'mon people, chin up...hands out, if they don't pay, they don't get your cakes..no matter how nice they are.

If they are super nice you can always....give them a "gimme"....a small free cake that takes nothing in time and effort, but a maybe a great flavor or experimental technique to show appreciation?

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 11:40pm

Pastry Diva are you talking about a full Barbie or the doll pick cake? A full Barbie on a Wondermold with a sheet cake underneath, which is what I understood originally on this post, would be way more. And include the cost of the Barbie.
Yes, either way, with bows included or as extras, it seems that most of us would be looking in the $80-$90 range.
Hugs Squirrelly

MariaLovesCakes Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 12:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelcake4u

How much should I charge for this cake? The customer originally asked for a barbie doll cake on top of a sheet cake and I quoted $45. Then she e-mailed me this instead. Does $40 sound like too much for this?




How big is the cake? How much does it feed? The fondant bows should be added as extra cost to the servings of the cake...

How much do they charge in your area per slice? That may help a bit to come up with the cost of this cake.

Its pretty though. I like it a lot...

ThePastryDiva Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 12:17am

we need to stop nickle and diming ourselves here. Let's decide for once and for all to stop charging by the slice! Most reastaurants now charge as much as 3.50 to 4.50 for a slice of chocolate cake!

Why don't we start charging by the work involved? Every cake that a custom cake decorator makes is an edible work of art. Let's start charging accordingly.

SquirrleyCakes....$80-90.00 for that 2 tiered cake with the bows..sounds about reasonable!

angelcake4u Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 12:29am

Wow, okay I feel crazy for even asking if $40 was too much! The only website that I could for a cake decorator close to me was in Nashville. She starts birthday cakes at $1.50 a serving. I would not compare me to her though. She has more experience and is in Nashville. I live in a much smaller area and barely have a year of experience. There is not many people in my area that do these kind of cakes. I just don't feel right charging the same as someone in FL or CA. I am just thinking that prices vary depending on where you are for everything. I dont' really like to go by number of servings, either. It takes just has long to decorate an 8" or a 10". I went ahead and e-mailed her back with a quote $55. After I gain experience and a client base, I would feel like I could charge more. I do appreciate all of your comments and sugestions. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks,
Angela

lastingmoments Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 12:33am

I agree after this post and some other post last week ..........i decided that was IT!!!!! so this week I have 3 cakes due and they are the last people who get MY SPECIALS!!! IM charging a regular price and if they say no of well........I always said that well if anything its good practice...... but My husband said if I want to practice then make him a cake!! and take a picture..... Hes funny!

Mac Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 12:44am

I agree with lasting moments, As of 9-1, my prices have gone up (thanks t a lot of the techniques learned here). My husband is also willing to let me decorate for him. I would even take it to the rescue mission and let them have it for free if I feel the need to do some decorating without an order. But I am finished with underpricing myself. Everybody who orders from me, tell me my "cakes taste so good and you can't get decorations like that at the store".

PurplePetunia Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 1:14am

Sorry to interrupt, ladies!
I was just reading this post because I have a difficult time pricing my cakes sometimes.
Could everyone please specify the currency when giving a price? Like U.S or Canadian $$ or British pounds etc.

Thanks!! icon_smile.gif

TraciJ Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 1:42am

I'd like to add my 2 cents worth by attaching this link. I think she summed it up PERFECTLY. I've been told for years that I underprice myself and end up essentially giving them away. I have finally decided that if I love this so much that I am going to actually make money at it and possibly make enough to turn it into a full-time business. Either way, it shouldn't matter. Most bakeries cannot give the time and attention to what we do. Some bakeries' cakes even don't taste as great as mine do--I've been told as much. It's about being fair to ourselves AND making sure people don't take advantage of us. EVEN FOR THE NEW DECORATORS. Read this article, it'll give you a great outlook.

http://www.earlenescakes.com/business09.htm

Traci

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 2:00am

Heehee Purple, good point, which means I should likely raise my prices as they are Canadian!
Pastry Diva is in Florida so when she is quoting her prices, that is U.S. dollars.
So far nobody has quoted Pounds Sterling.
What I have discovered is that the prices whether in U.S. dollars or Canadian, are pretty much the same, so this is why I haven't specified.
I have checked out a lot of U.S. sites and other than in some areas in Iowa and the other small towns where there are no commercial bakeries and someone has decided that cakes are all priced at $1.00 a serving no matter what is on them, to get more business, I would say U.S. or Canadian, those are the going rates. every time i see that $1 a serving thing applied to all cakes, I want to scream. Everytime I see someone charging $15 and $20 for a cake, I want to scream!
Three and four years ago when the economies of both countries were not great, the going rate for wedding cakes was $1.50 to $3.50 as serving unless complicated or covered with fondant and gumpaste and such. The going rate now, in nearly every area of both the U.S. and Canada that I have checked out, is minimum $3.50 - $7.50 a serving, for very basic. I have only seen one exception and it still was $2.50-$3.50. Again pound cake or anything else is extra.
You really need to check our real, better quality bakeries in your state and local area or your province and local area or your country and local area. The biggest problem is that folks keep comparing prices to Walmart, Costco, all of the big box stores with instore bakeries. There are not the same thing.
I can tell you all that hubbies come in handy, when you consider your prices. Just let them get ahold of your cost sheets and let them time you and check the hydro bills and the gas you put in the car to get all of the supplies and see the bills for all of the cake tools! They will hit the roof when they see that you are not working for anywhere close to minimum wage and they will start to resent it.
I am darn sure that if you take the hourly wages of a cake decorator and take the costs of your cakes and add this together, never mind using any other formulas, many people are working for less than $1 an hour and perhaps up to $4. an hour at the most.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

charlieinMO Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 2:39am

Oh Squirrelly that is soo true!! My husband has already done this!! He used to remodel, rough in and trim houses with his dad so he has always had the "my time is money!!" I am still trying to learn this! Very early on he had me sit down and figure out my cost and then he started in on how long does this take you??? Of course my answer was well..... "I am just learning" and "well, I have to stop and start so much with the kids" etc etc. Of course he wasn't buying it! icon_lol.gif I wish there was a magic button we could push wants we decided to start making cakes that would give us confidence in ourselves, our work AND our prices!! Guess that will come with time! He still says everynow and then "Who are you giving a cake to today?" I just kick him in the shin and move on. (Just kidding!!!)

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 2:57am

Heehee, you mean it isn't the shin where you are kicking him, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly

ellepal Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 3:03am

Here is what I honestly think: I bet any money that this lady is expecting to pay 45.00 for the cake, because that is what you originally were going to charge her. I'd leave it at that!!!

ThePastryDiva Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 10:25am

lastingmoments...

You're hubby is not funny....HE'S RIGHT...lol

stephanie214 Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 11:10am

I've never charged by the slice...I give the price, take it or leave it.

The price that I am charging for the Barbie on a 12" round is $65.00.

melodyscakes Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 3:46pm

thank you guys so much for your input here.... i am just starting out in the midwest, and i know i am charging way too little! i wont even tell you what i charged for my last barbie cake.....okay i will but dont laugh at me. it was a cheap imitation barbie, and i just star tipped the dress,it was very simple and done for a friend.....i only charged $18.00 i could kick myself!!!!!! although i do have pictures for my portfolio
i am just starting out , so i am practicaly giving cakes away to get my name out, and to get practice.
i've read many post about this, and i know, i know......
my confidence is getting built though and i've told my customers that once i am liscenced (sometime this year) i will be going up on prices, so they know they wont be paying these low prices forever.
i also charge 15.00 per cake box that i use. like a 1/4 is 15.00 and 1/2 is 30.00 which is what price chopper sells them for.
i know what your going to say....too low
maybe i just need to hear it one more time?
you guys are great by the way!
melody

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 4:23pm

Haha, ok, one more time, too low!
The other issue is that if one decorator in an area charges prices too low then the other decorators in that same area are considered to be too high. So everyone ends up having to lower their prices and work for peanuts and work very hard producing several cakes instead of less cakes for more money.
And once folks are licensed, when you suddenly raise your prices, it doesn't go over well with the public, think gasoline prices for example and gas you cannot do without, but cakes, heaven forbid, you can.
Just something to think about!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

angelcake4u Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 7:07pm

Well, I told her $55 for that cake. She e-mailed me back and said "Great! Thank you go ahead and plan to do it. Do i pay you in advance or when i pick it up?"

What was I so worried about! Of course this was a e-mail coversation, so you never know if they are really cussing on the other end and writing something different. lol

SquirrellyCakes: You said you did like to use MMF for these bows. Why not? What should I use. I know I am supposed to add gum-tex, right?

Thanks,
Angela

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