Saltedbutter Posted 26 Jan 2014 , 6:38am
post #1 of

I have been baking for a while now, and have taken many orders, and I always feel like I am undercharging because I am scared of what people will say if I charge too much. I am young, only 19, and I feel that people will think I am just after money...The house is nuts when I make cakes, and my mom and sister help alot, and I don't charge for my hours, or theirs because I know I take a lot longer than professionals. I feel bad, because my mom works so hard with me and in the end, even if we are happy with the outcome, she is always stressed and getting high blood pressure from all the mistakes and craziness that goes on in the process. 

 

 

 

For the three tier with yellow peonies, I am embarrassed to say that I only charged $400...I do not know why I charged that little, I felt this is the most I have undercharged...It was a double barrel 12" (8" height), 9" (4" height), and a double barrel 6" (also 8" height). I had just gotten turned down by another customer saying my price was too high, and didnt want to loose another customer, but threw myself under the bus..and worst of all they wanted two of those...and I made both in a week and took them to the wedding(since i was invited, and set up)....I know....kill me.......

So..its been a month since I have gotten an order, and this time I want to charge fairly for the customer, but also for myself first and foremost. The customer wants the red and black three tier cake 10" 8" 6" (all 4" heights), but without the black piping..and I will be making the roses much better, because that cake I made long ago for practice, and it was my first try making those roses and I have improved in my fondant/buttercream since then.  so please help me figure out a base for my pricing, I hate how nervous I get when I get a call/ chat about a cake order because I do not know anything about charging..

 

  

25 replies
Saltedbutter Posted 26 Jan 2014 , 6:44am
post #2 of

Forgot to mention, people go nuts over how the cakes taste and always say they have never tasted cakes that good...so the inside of my cakes are even more good than the outside :) no box mixes, all from scratch...even my fondant..the only thing i buy premade is gumpaste for flowers, because i have had many failed attempts at making gumpaste

FoxtailBakeshop Posted 26 Jan 2014 , 7:09am
post #3 of

Cost out your cake.  This way you know exactly what your cakes cost.  So if you have to work with a couples budget you know how low you can go to make it worth it for you.  As far a charging for your time  you never can but you really should charge by the slice.  Then add on extra detail and gum paste flowers.

brookerene Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 6:25pm
post #4 of

First,  your work is beautiful.  As mentioned, get a cost on your cakes.  Use a spreadsheet program to layout all your costs, including non-consumables.  I am making a cake that the costs of ingredients, etc... will be around $100 without any work put into it.  So my charge will include the time it would take me to create the cake, the ingredients, office supplies, etc.. including time for dealing with the client. I take that and figure out a per serving cost to the client.

 

Also, know your market.  You won't sell a $400 cake to someone who has a Walmart mentality.  Also, don't do work for less than you want to make.  If there is that much stress, you'll get to where you don't enjoy it.  Find a market/people who see the value in your work.  If the word gets out that you will take less, people will expect it and come to you because they can get a great cake for less than it is worth.  Find out your client's budget, needs and design your cakes around that.  Don't short change yourself.

 

Now lets say the total costs excluding my time for my cake  is $100, I know I want $20 per hour to bake/decorate, deliver it, then if it takes me 20 hours to do all that so I will be asking $500 for my cake... let's say that the cake feed 50 people, that comes out to $10 per serving.    If a client can only afford $400 then I would need to adjust what they would get.  This is just an example with made up numbers but it is important to understand not only decorating but business....  I hope this helps....

enga Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 6:45pm
post #5 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by brookerene 
 

First,  your work is beautiful.  As mentioned, get a cost on your cakes.  Use a spreadsheet program to layout all your costs, including non-consumables.  I am making a cake that the costs of ingredients, etc... will be around $100 without any work put into it.  So my charge will include the time it would take me to create the cake, the ingredients, office supplies, etc.. including time for dealing with the client. I take that and figure out a per serving cost to the client.

 

Also, know your market.  You won't sell a $400 cake to someone who has a Walmart mentality.  Also, don't do work for less than you want to make.  If there is that much stress, you'll get to where you don't enjoy it.  Find a market/people who see the value in your work.  If the word gets out that you will take less, people will expect it and come to you because they can get a great cake for less than it is worth.  Find out your client's budget, needs and design your cakes around that.  Don't short change yourself.

 

Now lets say the total costs excluding my time for my cake  is $100, I know I want $20 per hour to bake/decorate, deliver it, then if it takes me 20 hours to do all that so I will be asking $500 for my cake... let's say that the cake feed 50 people, that comes out to $10 per serving.    If a client can only afford $400 then I would need to adjust what they would get.  This is just an example with made up numbers but it is important to understand not only decorating but business....  I hope this helps....

;-D

liz at sugar Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 7:08pm
post #6 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saltedbutter 
 

I have been baking for a while now, and have taken many orders, and I always feel like I am undercharging because I am scared of what people will say if I charge too much. I am young, only 19, and I feel that people will think I am just after money

 

Once you get as passionate about making money as you do about making cakes, you will have it made!  You must be confident in your work to confidently ask what your work is worth.  It looks like you do a beautiful job, so spend a few minutes on Cakewrecks and get a true idea of how talented you are (in comparison to many out there who are selling awful looking cakes, day in and day out).  You will get a little less scared when you see some of the stuff that is being sold out there. :)

 

Liz

Godot Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 7:25pm
post #7 of

AWhat is wrong with making money?

liz at sugar Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 7:32pm
post #8 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by Godot 

What is wrong with making money?

 

It is the only reason I am in business . . . and the more I make, the happier I am. :)

 

Liz

Godot Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 7:42pm
post #9 of

AOh and here I thought it was because you just LOOOOOOVE caking and think that everyone deserves a great cake - even if their budget is 18.89.

liz at sugar Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 7:48pm

Sorry Godot, I am a big old meanie - everyone doesn't deserve cake, cookies or assorted other treats that I make - only those with enough green in their pockets.  It is the American way, and I am all for it.

 

Liz

Godot Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 8:15pm

AI was sarcastic! You know - we read it all the time here...... people underpricing their work so as not to disappoint a client.

MimiFix Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 8:31pm

I've also read members say they charge less (than some professionals) because they don't want to rip people off. 

as you wish Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 8:45pm

AFrom time to time I require the specialized services of an electrician or a plumber or a mechanic. It never once occurred to me to begrudge them their pay because I think they are just in it for the money. Who doesn't do their job for the money?! Would I think I should pay the plumber less if he enjoys his job? Would I tell the electrician that he is overcharging because all he has to pay for are wires and switches? Cake baking and decorating are the same as any other specialized job, in my opinion. :)

liz at sugar Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 11:38pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Godot 

I was sarcastic! You know - we read it all the time here...... people underpricing their work so as not to disappoint a client.

 

I knew you were being sarcastic!

 

And I still like making lots of money. :)  LOL

 

Liz

Saltedbutter Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 4:35am

Thank you for all your help and advice...Got a few more orders and this time I calculated it pretty well... and I felt a lot more confidant in my prices. Some refused, but hey its their loss not mine :) I wont feel bad about people turning me down anymore. If they don't want to pay my price then they can go somewhere else :)

Claire138 Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 5:55am

Quote:

Originally Posted by as you wish 

From time to time I require the specialized services of an electrician or a plumber or a mechanic. It never once occurred to me to begrudge them their pay because I think they are just in it for the money. Who doesn't do their job for the money?! Would I think I should pay the plumber less if he enjoys his job? Would I tell the electrician that he is overcharging because all he has to pay for are wires and switches? Cake baking and decorating are the same as any other specialized job, in my opinion. icon_smile.gif

 

Yep;-D

liz at sugar Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 1:25pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saltedbutter 
 

Thank you for all your help and advice...Got a few more orders and this time I calculated it pretty well... and I felt a lot more confidant in my prices. Some refused, but hey its their loss not mine :) I wont feel bad about people turning me down anymore. If they don't want to pay my price then they can go somewhere else :)

 

Yes!  This is the right attitude!  You are going to do great!

 

Liz

Godot Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 3:29pm

AWell done!

honeybee1 Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 7:58pm

ABoth of your cakes are beautiful

AZCouture Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 8:10pm

AYay you!

Danilou Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 1:28am

When you work out your cost and you get an idea of how long it will take (or should take) you will feel more confident charging what you do. Now when I give a quote I tell them, "This cake will cost about $...... in materials and ingredients and it should take me about ......so many hours to make. I think educating them is the key! I used to be one of those people that thought "They charged HOW MUCH for that cake!!!! What a rip off!!" Now that I know what it takes I don't think that anymore.

 

Some ppl on cake central use a spreadsheet (and have shared it here) to caculate their costs, that may help you.

howsweet Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 3:57am

Salted, in case you missed it from the previous posts, the reason to be in business is to make money. It's wonderful you're learning this at 19. Many people a lot older than you don't get this.

 

What you see mostly about pricing on this forum is how to determine cost. But that's not how you figure your prices. The way to determine pricing is to research the cake prices in your town. That tells you what cakes go for. It's important to know your costs because that's how you decide if there's going to be enough profit when you sell your cakes at the market rate.

 

Take care that you don't use the prices of people who don't know how to price. Usually you can depend on the prices of brick and mortar bakeries. Sometimes you'll want to be charging more than they do, especially if they use lower quality ingredients.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

I've also read members say they charge less (than some professionals) because they don't want to rip people off. 

That is going to make my eye start twitching.

AZCouture Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 4:23am

A[@]howsweet[/@] mine are twitching for the both of us.

MimiFix Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 12:12pm

Sadly, I feel like we're losing. Maybe we can still win a battle or two, but (as the metaphor goes) they've already won the war. 

AZCouture Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 2:46pm

AAnd it reminds me of something JasonKraft would say. Sometimes the damage done to local markets is irreversible, or can't be undone for years. Some awesome person really screwed it up for the rest of us semi recently. They blew into the scene with really cheap cakes that were not horrible, not great either, but good enough for the masses, got a huge following partly because their family name was "local celebrity", and they were just so accommodating and cheap, so extra loving there! They got burned out and up and quit one day. The rest of us started getting the panicked requests, and they were alllllll expecting the moon for pennies. We were comparing inquiries with each other daily, amazed at what these people were telling us they would pay at the burned out decorators business. None of us ever did any cakes for those people, but every once in awhile one of those old customers will pop up referencing that place, and it's the same old shocked replies. And boy are those people rude! Demanding, rude, you name it. Can't for the life of me imagine why that other person quit, lol...said with dripping sarcasm. Anyway, so yeah, it's still affecting the market in a way.

AZCouture Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 2:47pm

AHoly crap, run on paragraph! Sorry!

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