Reality Check For Time Involved In Making A Cake!

Business By BeesKnees578 Updated 17 Mar 2014 , 2:29pm by costumeczar

BeesKnees578 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 13

I have done cakes for just over 10 years.

 

In my attempts to truly treat this as a business, I have been paying much more attention to what I am spending, using Cake Boss more as it's supposed to be used (not just tracking orders).

 

I have said in previous threads that I am not great at the business end of my business.  I am very small, last year I only took 30 orders (mainly because we moved so I had stopped taking orders mid-year), but still probably wouldn't have done more than 50 orders for the year.

 

ADMISSION OF GUILT:  I have never tracked my time, I have always guess-timated how long it would take me to do things.  And, yes, OF COURSE, it would never be accurate and the time would always be much more than I thought...without truly keeping track.  I was happy with what I was charging, but knowing that I could/should have charged more in the back of my mind.

 

SOOOO....this past Weds I got a request for a whale baby shower cake (it's in the favorite cakes gallery posted yesterday) for this past Sunday.  LAST MINUTE request.  I wasn't going to start any work until I had payment, which was Friday morning.  I thought this was the perfect time to keep track because NORMALLY I will run into my room when I got a minute and do a few things all week, putting it all together the night before pickup.

 

Well, I billed for 5 hrs of  time on top of overhead, cost to make recipes, etc.

 

It actually took roughly 13 hours, start to finish (not including latent time (oven time, cooling time, etc.) to complete the cake.  I wasn't rushing, I wasn't lolligagging....just a normal work pace.

 

I THOUGHT I was being accurate in my guess-timations.  SHAME ON ME....

 

So all this time I keep telling people on here to get paid what you are worth!  Well, I do charge a great (for me) rate for the hours I was THINKING it was going to take me....

 

I'm so EMBARRASSED and, honestly, in a little bit of shock!  I am posting this to help all of you who are like me.  Terrible at estimating, etc.


I'm in the process of organizing my Cake Boss for my needs/desires.  I will let you all know what kind of structure I come up with so I can get some feedback on my thinking.  I don't want to reinvent the wheel and will look at some other matrices...

 

I charged $203.  Materials were close to $50.  Served well over the 40 that I charged for - ended up wanting/needing taller tiers.  Took 13 hrs.  Live and Learn...again.

12 replies
Danilou Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 8:53pm
post #2 of 13

AI love this thread! I made this cake this week. I qouted 10 hours worth of work. But due to heat and lack of experience it took way over! Btw I can't find your photo. [IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3201975/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

BeesKnees578 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 9:27pm
post #3 of 13

A[quote name="Danilou" url="/t/768913/reality-check-for-time-involved-in-making-a-cake#post_7491242"]I love this thread! I made this cake this week. I qouted 10 hours worth of work. But due to heat and lack of experience it took way over! Btw I can't find your photo. [IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3201975/width/200/height/400[/IMG][/quote]

[IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3201411/width/350/height/700[/IMG]

Danilou Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 9:41pm
post #4 of 13

AWow thats cute! That would be over 20 hours of work for me...lol

LizzieAylett Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 10:25pm
post #5 of 13

I've always meant to time myself for a cake.  Maybe next time I will...  I just hobby so it's not so important, but it would still be interesting to find out.

TheItalianBaker Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 12:23am
post #6 of 13

You are so right.. I'm going to time myself on saturday for sure! 

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 12:28pm
post #7 of 13

Great post, and that cake is adorable! Great job! ;-D

nancylee61 Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 5:06pm
post #8 of 13

I just made a cake for my fellow teachers, maybe getting some business because I am setting up in a local licensed kitchen soon. It is two tier, I swear, it took me about 15 hours!! I cannot believe the time these cakes take!! How do people from home do 3 or 4 a week? I know I am slow, I did take about 4 hours trying to get my BC smooth, but still, it would have taken my 12 hours if I were fast.

 

Amazing. At minimum wage, plus ingredients, the cake would have cost over $150. Which is close to what I would charge for a two tier cake, if the bottom tier I made was taller. 

 

Nancy

TheItalianBaker Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 4:10am
post #9 of 13

AOk ladies, i made this cake and timed myself: For the unicorn topper, it took me 1h and 15minutes (split in two days); 1h and half to make the buttercreams, fill and frost the cakes Friday afternoon, this morning another hour and 15min to stuck the cake, make colors, flowers and letters, and clean my table. I would add around 30 minutes to bake pretty much, I'm not sure about that because when I do, I bake 4-5 cakes at the time at the bakery.

It's a 8" vanilla and 10" chocolate cake, raspberry buttercream + vanilla buttercream. So it took me 4hrs and half, plus the cost of the ingredients, charged $190

[IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3205165/width/350/height/700[/IMG]

howsweet Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 4:43am
post #10 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 

I have done cakes for just over 10 years.

 

In my attempts to truly treat this as a business, I have been paying much more attention to what I am spending, using Cake Boss more as it's supposed to be used (not just tracking orders).

 

I have said in previous threads that I am not great at the business end of my business.  I am very small, last year I only took 30 orders (mainly because we moved so I had stopped taking orders mid-year), but still probably wouldn't have done more than 50 orders for the year.

 

ADMISSION OF GUILT:  I have never tracked my time, I have always guess-timated how long it would take me to do things.  And, yes, OF COURSE, it would never be accurate and the time would always be much more than I thought...without truly keeping track.  I was happy with what I was charging, but knowing that I could/should have charged more in the back of my mind.

 

SOOOO....this past Weds I got a request for a whale baby shower cake (it's in the favorite cakes gallery posted yesterday) for this past Sunday.  LAST MINUTE request.  I wasn't going to start any work until I had payment, which was Friday morning.  I thought this was the perfect time to keep track because NORMALLY I will run into my room when I got a minute and do a few things all week, putting it all together the night before pickup.

 

Well, I billed for 5 hrs of  time on top of overhead, cost to make recipes, etc.

 

It actually took roughly 13 hours, start to finish (not including latent time (oven time, cooling time, etc.) to complete the cake.  I wasn't rushing, I wasn't lolligagging....just a normal work pace.

 

I THOUGHT I was being accurate in my guess-timations.  SHAME ON ME....

 

So all this time I keep telling people on here to get paid what you are worth!  Well, I do charge a great (for me) rate for the hours I was THINKING it was going to take me....

 

I'm so EMBARRASSED and, honestly, in a little bit of shock!  I am posting this to help all of you who are like me.  Terrible at estimating, etc.


I'm in the process of organizing my Cake Boss for my needs/desires.  I will let you all know what kind of structure I come up with so I can get some feedback on my thinking.  I don't want to reinvent the wheel and will look at some other matrices...

 

I charged $203.  Materials were close to $50.  Served well over the 40 that I charged for - ended up wanting/needing taller tiers.  Took 13 hrs.  Live and Learn...again.


Wonderful post and lovely cake. An eye opener to me was how long it takes me to color the fondant.

Norasmom Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 2:26pm
post #11 of 13

That cake is beautiful.  Even it if had only taken you 2 hours, If I were the customer I would have paid at least double that price!

BeesKnees578 Posted 17 Mar 2014 , 12:47am
post #12 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 


Wonderful post and lovely cake. An eye opener to me was how long it takes me to color the fondant.

 

Yes...it makes me want to make my own fondant and color it when mixing...I buy and it does take forever when you want darker colors or have a lot to cover a big cake!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

That cake is beautiful.  Even it if had only taken you 2 hours, If I were the customer I would have paid at least double that price!

Thank you so much!  

I can't tell if I work slow.  I do work deliberately so that it comes off clean and not thrown together.  I may have only taken someone else 5 hrs!?!

costumeczar Posted 17 Mar 2014 , 2:29pm
post #13 of 13

One mistake that people make is tracking only the time and cost of ingredients to see how much they "made" on a cake. A more accurate way to do it would be to see how much you grossed and netted on your tax returns in the past few years so that you can get an idea of how much you actually pay for everything and end up earning after taxes and deductions,e tc.

 

So let's say that I grossed $100,000 for the past few years (don't get excited,  it's easier to show if it's a whole percentage!) Then after all of my taxes were through I netted $54,000 for those years. I know that my net income after taxes is 54% of what I took in. that includes all of my taxes, expenses, ingredients, bank fees, insurance, etc.

 

So now when I sell a $100 cake, I know that I'm going to net $54 of that after expenses, on average. If that cake takes me 5 hours to do I just made $10.80 an hour. If I had just taken out the cost of ingredients that might have only been $20, so it would make it look like I was making  $16 per hour when that isn't really accurate.

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