pastrymaniac Posted 6 Feb 2014 , 12:35am
post #1 of

Hi fellow cake decorators,

 

I would really appreciate getting different opinions on how much to charge for a wedding cake as follows:

 

3 tiered square cake (16´´, 12´´,8´´) covered with fondant (standard height of 4´´) 

I always charge more for square cakes when compared to round ones.   

 

- Decor of the cake consists of satin ribbon around tiers and some gumpaste calla lilies or roses, no piping (nothing too fancy or intricate)

 

- Flavours are different in tiers.

 

. Vanilla sponge with fresh strawberries buttercream

. Vanilla sponge with fresh raspberries buttercream

. Carrot cake with walnuts and cinnamon with vanilla buttercream

 

 

Top quality flavour is really important to me and has made me earn a very good reputation. 

 

As a filling I always use IMB (italian meringue buttercream) made just with butter (no shortening) and I flavour it with real vanilla, jams or curds I make myself out of fresh fruits.

 

I always use homemade cakes baked from scratch made with the best quality ingredients (butter instead of shortening, real vanilla bean paste,etc.)

 

So my cakes are not the cheapest to make... 

 

Opinions and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 

Best wishes

25 replies
sugarflorist Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 3:18pm
post #2 of

AHi Sara The cake sounds delicious! Pricing is easy when it comes to placing a profit margin on the ingredients and on costs such as fuel.

You need to think about how much your time is worth per hour and what you would like your profit margin to be and also what the market in your area will stand.

This is probably the most asked question on the forum. If you plan to make money at this then you need to find a way of systematically pricing your products. Finding a balance between profit and the market in your area.

Be careful not to underprice yourself because people will pay for quality. But no one on this forum can tell you what to charge because only you know what the market place is like in your area :-D

itzmejulia Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 3:48pm
post #3 of

AHello Pastrymaniac,

Something I always remember from one of my decorating teachers is that you should cost out the ingredients of what you make. Make a list of purchase price of all ingredients. Divide those costs by what you use in that particular recipe by the amount. Example would be: $3 for a carton of eggs. 4 eggs used for a recipe. So divide $3 by 4 which equals 25 cents each egg used. After all of that is finished for the whole recipe you add on what you want to be paid. She told me her common practice was to multiply by 3 and thats what was charged for time, electric, gas, etc. After doing that the first time, the very cake size you have described with buttercream icing that I made came to $125. Which was a lot less then our bakeries. I struggled that the person was not going to pay that, but made the offer. They accepted and came back two weeks later and ordered another one. You have to get a feel for your market area. You can adjust as needed. I made a point to test recipes and find the best ones that people loved which made me feel better about the costs. Because I love doing it so much I felt I may be over charging. But if you have a cake that tastes as good as it looks, they will buy it. Its business not personal. I tell people to ask the local bakeries to see if they get a better price and they always come back for my custom cakes. Good luck. Hope that helped you. PS, something else my teacher said when we talked about from scratch or an out of a box recipes. Her exact words, " who am I to compete with companies that have spent millions on research and development on testing those mixes? They have already done the leg work for me ." So she uses the boxes. Just a side note for you. ;)

CakeDecInstruct Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 5:55pm
post #4 of

Wedding cakes are priced per slice of 1"x2"x4" so your cakes will feed 224 people. Minimum for a fondant covered cake is $5.00/slice so your minimum charge for this cake is $1120.00 Personally I would charge more for the fresh berries and hand-made flowers too. If you are in a high-end market or resort area, I've seen prices quoted as high as $15.00/slice. Be sure to get at least half for a non-refundable deposit before starting on the cake. Good luck and good on you for using great ingredients.

kblickster Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 8:36pm
post #5 of

itzmejulia, are you saying that you made and sold a 3 tier square cake that feeds 232 (Wilton Serving Chart) for

125.00?  Please say it ain't so.

 

pastrymaniac, You and only you know the value of your cakes.  It sounds like you would like to provide your client with a premium product. Make sure you charge for it.  All of it.

 

design

shopping

ingredients

support system

cake boards/drums

cleaning supplies

a fair wage

delivery

allocated overhead (insurance, licensing, advertising, baking supplies ((oven, pans, mixers, etc.))

markup for profit (20%)

 

Know what other bakers in your area are charging.

 

Quoting Jason Kraft:  "If you find that your cost is already higher than market value before applying markup, you need to reduce your costs, find a new market, or both. Do not try to price your products below market value."

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 12:48am
post #6 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by itzmejulia 

Hello Pastrymaniac,

Something I always remember from one of my decorating teachers is that you should cost out the ingredients of what you make.
Make a list of purchase price of all ingredients. Divide those costs by what you use in that particular recipe by the amount. Example would be: $3 for a carton of eggs. 4 eggs used for a recipe. So divide $3 by 4 which equals 25 cents each egg used. After all of that is finished for the whole recipe you add on what you want to be paid. She told me her common practice was to multiply by 3 and thats what was charged for time, electric, gas, etc.
After doing that the first time, the very cake size you have described with buttercream icing that I made came to $125. Which was a lot less then our bakeries. I struggled that the person was not going to pay that, but made the offer. They accepted and came back two weeks later and ordered another one.
You have to get a feel for your market area.
You can adjust as needed.
I made a point to test recipes and find the best ones that people loved which made me feel better about the costs. Because I love doing it so much I felt I may be over charging. But if you have a cake that tastes as good as it looks, they will buy it. Its business not personal. I tell people to ask the local bakeries to see if they get a better price and they always come back for my custom cakes.
 

They probably come back because you're seriously underpricing your cakes. Kblickster is right, that cake should cost much, much more than $125. I would charge at least $1100 on a generous day for something that size and description.

 

Any pricing formula that involves multilpying anything by 3 is going to leave you with very little profit in the long run. If you add up the time that you spend planning, emailing clients, baking, decorating, cleaning and delivering you'll probably realize that you're making less than minimum wage.

 

If you're going to take pricing advice, take it from people who actually have business knowledge and working, successful businesses. There are plenty of people on forums like this, and in real life, who like to hand out business advice, but if you really look into it don't know what they're doing. Your teacher might really think that formula will work, but I guarantee you that if you want to make enough money to say that you have a business and not a hobby that just makes enough money to pay for itself you need to raise your prices.

 

For the OP-- That cake would be at least $1100 if I priced it out. An 8" square is going to be huge on a top tier, so you might want to look at making it four or five tiers instead of only three. Just my opinion. But that combination of tiers is going to look really short and squatty.

AZCouture Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 1:09am
post #7 of

AOh noooo, not the "cost times three" lie again! Holy crow, that is the WORST pricing practice of all. I have nothing to add to what Kara said, it's all there. Should be printed out and memorized.

nancylee61 Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 1:27am
post #8 of

AHi, Just want to chime in that if a teacher told me to use box mixes because "they have spent millions on research and development and who am I to compete with them," I would answer, "I am a baker." That is what separates me from Walmart cakes. Everything fresh, everything from scratch. None of those chemicals you can't pronounce in my cakes. I don't understand why someone would come to me and pay more if I make my cakes the same way as Walmart? Unless I didn't tell them, like a bakery in my neighborhoods who tells customers they bake from scratch, but who I know use mixes!

You way of business sounds like my business plan, so make sure you charge accordingly. You are worth it.

Nancy

liz at sugar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 1:37am
post #9 of

I understand why so many people think like this.  It is because this is a common pricing practice for restaurants.  But there is a huge difference between someone who makes a cake or two a week, and someone who is serving 800 people a week.  VOLUME.  You cannot use this method successfully without a VOLUME of customers to make it work.  We run a 25% labor cost, a 35% food cost (which is high, because it is fresh food/freshly prepared) and the other 40% has to cover all overhead, utilities, plates, silver, packaging, grease trap cleaning, insurance, our salary, and a thousand other expenses, etc.  We use a cost x4 method for pricing menu items, but it only works because we have a certain volume of business.

 

If you are making custom cakes, you need to think like an artist.  Do you think artists are just marking up the canvas, the paint, the stretcher bars and their paint brushes?  No, you are paying them a premium for their skill set, for the lifetime it has taken them to perfect their art.  Same with cakes.  The cost of the ingredients that go into a cake are honestly, inconsequential.  It is the artistry that people are paying for

 

Liz

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 1:45am

Quote:

Originally Posted by nancylee61 

Hi,
Just want to chime in that if a teacher told me to use box mixes because "they have spent millions on research and development and who am I to compete with them," I would answer, "I am a baker." That is what separates me from Walmart cakes. Everything fresh, everything from scratch. None of those chemicals you can't pronounce in my cakes. I don't understand why someone would come to me and pay more if I make my cakes the same way as Walmart? Unless I didn't tell them, like a bakery in my neighborhoods who tells customers they bake from scratch, but who I know use mixes!

 

Yeah...I had a couple of thoughts about that "they spent millions" comment but decided to self-edit, hahaha! But it's like saying why should I make my own spaghetti when Chef BoyArDee has spent millions developing the canned version?

Annabakescakes Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 1:52am

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

[QUOTE name="nancylee61" url="/t/767910/how-much-should-i-charge-for-this-big-square-wedding-cake#post_7484132"] Hi,

Just want to chime in that if a teacher told me to use box mixes because "they have spent millions on research and development and who am I to compete with them," I would answer, "I am a baker." That is what separates me from Walmart cakes. Everything fresh, everything from scratch. None of those chemicals you can't pronounce in my cakes. I don't understand why someone would come to me and pay more if I make my cakes the same way as Walmart? Unless I didn't tell them, like a bakery in my neighborhoods who tells customers they bake from scratch, but who I know use mixes!

 [/QUOTE] Yeah...I had a couple of thoughts about that "they spent millions" comment but decided to self-edit, hahaha! But it's like saying why should I make my own spaghetti when Chef BoyArDee has spent millions developing the canned version?

Oh gross, canned spaghetti should should burn in hell.

itzmejulia Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:15am

AOh my.. Just getting back on and it was $1125.. So sorry, note to self: must proofread before posting... Didnt mean to get everyone wound up there. But please tell me what is wrong with the three times the cost of ingredients? I price out the ingredients, multiply by three then add on my wages. What am I leaving off there? Please, if I need to add more I will, just like to know every detail of costs. Ive been happy with my profit. I charge extra for delivery, $25 to $50 depending on how far they are, which theyve all been within 10 miles. Then, any ribbon, figures, or supplies I charge full price on top of charge. Hmm, interested to hear your feedback. Sorry again for my typing error. :oops:

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:28am

Quote:

Originally Posted by itzmejulia 

Oh my.. Just getting back on and it was $1125.. So sorry, note to self: must proofread before posting... Didnt mean to get everyone wound up there. But please tell me what is wrong with the three times the cost of ingredients? I price out the ingredients, multiply by three then add on my wages. What am I leaving off there? Please, if I need to add more I will, just like to know every detail of costs. Ive been happy with my profit. I charge extra for delivery, $25 to $50 depending on how far they are, which theyve all been within 10 miles. Then, any ribbon, figures, or supplies I charge full price on top of charge. Hmm, interested to hear your feedback. Sorry again for my typing error. icon_redface.gif

Well, that price makes more sense. The reason you got everyone including myself wound up is that there are tons of people on here who tell people to charge X amount times the cost of their ingredients to price their cakes. The fact that you're adding on your wages on top of that also changes the picture.

 

I don't know what your food costs are, but mine run between 10-15% of the total cost of the cake depending on how food prices in general are. If I charged only 3X that I'd be charging $30 for something that should cost $100, just for argument's sake. When people post on here that you should charge three or four times the cost of ingredients they're telling someone to seriously underprice their cakes, which will then result in the entire market being dragged down by a bunch of people who don't know how to price things to give themselves a living wage.

 

When people say that their teacher told them to do it that way I always want to ask what business experience their teacher has. Usually the answer is little to none. That's probably something that someone told someone else and it gets repeated enough times that people think it's true. There are too many people on these cake forums now that obviously shouldn't be selling cakes at all based on the photos they're posting. Giving bad information about how to price things is just creating a saturated marketplace full of people who shouldn't be in business, and who really aren't because they're not even covering their own costs even though they don't realize it. So that's why people react that way to the "multiply it by X" formulas.

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:32am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 


Oh gross, canned spaghetti should should burn in hell.

Mmmm...mushy. Good for people with no teeth.

AZCouture Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:39am

ASee [@]MBalaska[/@], what did I say the other day about if certain posts were hidden, a lot of us wouldn't have anything to say? And that most of my material consisted of saying "What Kara (costumeczar) said!"? So yeah...what Kara said. Again. :D

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:50am

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

See @MBalaska, what did I say the other day about if certain posts were hidden, a lot of us wouldn't have anything to say? And that most of my material consisted of saying "What Kara (costumeczar) said!"? So yeah...what Kara said. Again. icon_biggrin.gif

The pricing stuff or the good for people with no teeth stuff?

AZCouture Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 2:55am

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

The pricing stuff or the good for people with no teeth stuff?

The pricing stuff, but the no teeth stuff too, sure sure. I was reminding MB that if the site put a function in where unhelpful or unpopular posts were minimized, or deleted, that a lot of us would be rendered obsolete, as most of my material consists of saying "what Kara said!" or other related replies. :D

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:15am

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 


The pricing stuff, but the no teeth stuff too, sure sure. I was reminding MB that if the site put a function in where unhelpful or unpopular posts were minimized, or deleted, that a lot of us would be rendered obsolete, as most of my material consists of saying "what Kara said!" or other related replies.

I know, I was trying to be funny and failed.:cry:

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:25am

Other foods good for people with no teeth: Pudding, crackers to suck on, and bananas. Also mush and jello.

AZCouture Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:50am

AI have limited "funny radar" at the moment. Getting teeth pulled makes your brain malfunction. I'm surprised I stayed on track with my cake orders this weekend!

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 4:07am

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I have limited "funny radar" at the moment. Getting teeth pulled makes your brain malfunction. I'm surprised I stayed on track with my cake orders this weekend!

Then my suggestions would come in handy for you right now! I forgot about your teeth. When my son had his wisdom teeth out this year I gave him pudding and root beer and he yelled "BEST LUNCH EVER" in a doped up manner.

AZCouture Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 4:22am

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

Then my suggestions would come in handy for you right now! I forgot about your teeth. When my son had his wisdom teeth out this year I gave him pudding and root beer and he yelled "BEST LUNCH EVER" in a doped up manner.

Bwahahahaha! Yes, I probably sounded a lot like that at times this week.

MBalaska Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 4:55am

I got lost at "How much should I charge" AZ I believe anything that a baker in a tiara says. so You WIN!!

I give in.............. what Kara said rules !!!!!

Claire138 Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 6:51am

Wow, that was a shock 125$!

 

Ditto what everyone else says btw.

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 11:20am

A

Original message sent by MBalaska

I got lost at "How much should I charge" AZ I believe anything that a baker in a tiara says. so You WIN!! I give in.............. what Kara said rules !!!!!

Well, now I'm going to start to say some weird stuff to confuse people, hahahaha!

Claire138 Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 11:27am

:D

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