Jeevaabr Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 5:31pm
post #1 of

I recently started my own Cake Decorating business at home, I’m new at this and I’m curious about pricing and how much to charge my customers.I have request for a birthday cake.I dont know how to price this cake.The cake is a 3 tire cake with14",10" and 6" and the decoration as it is on the attached cake,three layers with 3 different flavors.Please help me on this :-)

56 replies
leah_s Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 5:51pm
post #2 of

This question has been asked hundreds of times on here.  Did you do a search?

JennaGee Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 5:58pm
post #3 of

Hi! Welcome to CC.

 

The best way to find the charge for this cake is to Figure out the costs of your ingredients and hourly rate for a regular recipe of cake, add it all up, divide it by the number of servings in that recipe and you will have your cost per serving.

 

After that consider how many servings this cake serves and multiply that number by your serving size. That will most likely give you your base price. Then, add on according to how much time it takes to produce the gumpaste flowers (including the cost of materials ie. cake boards, base, ribbon, external fondant) multiplied by your hourly rate.  

 

Don't forget to do this for each flavor if your ingredient  cost changes. And also count delivery charge if this is a business transaction. 

 

Basically, this is something you will need to do for yourself because most  bakers can quote a 3 tiered cake from anywhere between $300 and $1000 depending on ingredients and serving size!

hollysirena Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 6:02pm
post #4 of

A[IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3203797/width/200/height/400[/IMG] I was wondering how much this would cost?

JennaGee Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 6:08pm
post #5 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by hollysirena 



I was wondering how much this would cost?

Hi! Welcome to CC.

 

The best way to find the charge for this cake is to Figure out the costs of your ingredients and hourly rate for a regular recipe of cake, add it all up, divide it by the number of servings in that recipe and you will have your cost per serving.

 

After that consider how many servings this cake serves and multiply that number by your serving size. That will most likely give you your base price. Then, add on according to how much time it takes to produce the gumpaste flowers (including the cost of materials ie. cake boards, base, ribbon, external fondant) multiplied by your hourly rate.  

 

Don't forget to do this for each flavor if your ingredient  cost changes. And also count delivery charge if this is a business transaction. 

 

Basically, this is something you will need to do for yourself because most  bakers can quote a 3 tiered cake from anywhere between $300 and $1000 depending on ingredients and serving size!

Veronica1203 Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 11:31pm
post #6 of

I have just recently came up with a pricing chart for myself with calculating my ingredients and average time.  I always seem to go over the time estimated but that's usually because I'm trying something new. 
For 6,10,14 inches I would start at $247.00

Apti Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 12:05am
post #7 of

Welcome to CakeCentral everyone!  Since you are new to the forum, you have no way of knowing that "How to Price this Cake" is THE #1 asked question on this forum. 

 

Here is a link to a  superb article (and an excerpt from that article).   I also strongly suggest you do a forum search for pricing threads.  (There are literally 100,000's of threads and millions of posts.)

 

http://www.cakeboss.com/CakeStuff/Articles/HowMuchShouldICharge.aspx

 

"This is one of the most frequently asked questions by cake decorators when they begin to sell their cakes.  The simple but frustrating answer is that no one can tell you how much you should charge.  Setting a price structure is one of the most difficult parts of any business.  As with real estate, the price of cakes varies widely by location and is largely determined by your local market.  Finding the right price point requires research of your competitors' prices, and a solid understanding of your own costs."

 

Happy research (and baking!)

howsweet Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 12:08am
post #8 of

I just posted this on another thread. it's long and I suppose most people won't read it :)

 

Read as much as you can. Beware that a large part of what you will find is a lot of stuff about how to know the cost of your cakes. It's indeed necessary to know the cost in order to know whether it's worthwhile to bother making cake. However, price is determined by the market value of similar work. Just that alone. Period.

But it's important you learn market prices by using the right examples. Often a free standing bakery is charging in line with what you should be charging. But not necessarily. If they are using premade cakes and icing out of a bucket, then you would charge more.

It's very important to avoid using prices from people who haven't done the necessary homework and are charging too little. I'm not saying they don't effect the market, but it's everyone who sells cakes responsibility to charge appropriately. It's also possible that people not charging enough have created a situation in your area where, because prices are so deflated, there's no point in turning on the oven.

Market price is how McDonald's, Macy's and probably the local taco stand do it. This is what you'd find on any business site addressing the subject.

When you only consider your cost and then tack on a wage, it creates a mess for you and anyone trying to make one's livelihood in cakes.

It can be helpful to understand that most of us who endeavor to sell highly decorated cakes are not typically people who can afford this product and those in our social circle are not likely to be either. Therefore, you have to seek a way to identify and reach your true customer. In my experience, they tend to be the same ladies whose closets are lined with $700 shoes. Not that I'm looking in their closets icon_smile.gif

This may sound like a lot of work, but it's not nearly as much as slaving away for too little pay.

howsweet Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 12:29am
post #9 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apti 
 

Welcome to CakeCentral everyone!  Since you are new to the forum, you have no way of knowing that "How to Price this Cake" is THE #1 asked question on this forum. 

 

Here is a link to a  superb article (and an excerpt from that article).   I also strongly suggest you do a forum search for pricing threads.  (There are literally 100,000's of threads and millions of posts.)

 

http://www.cakeboss.com/CakeStuff/Articles/HowMuchShouldICharge.aspx

 

"This is one of the most frequently asked questions by cake decorators when they begin to sell their cakes.  The simple but frustrating answer is that no one can tell you how much you should charge.  Setting a price structure is one of the most difficult parts of any business.  As with real estate, the price of cakes varies widely by location and is largely determined by your local market.  Finding the right price point requires research of your competitors' prices, and a solid understanding of your own costs."

 

Happy research (and baking!)

That's a great article by Kelley Masters. She and I had a few discussions on the subject of pricing. And the place where we disagree, may be that in my opinion, cake prices should vary, but not as drastically as it's commonly assumed. There's a limit to how little one can charge for cake and still make a living and a limit to what a sane person will pay. The cost of living varies across the country, but cupcakes. for example, don't tend to vary greatly. If you look up the price of  the same cupcake by a national chain, you'll see they charge about the same as they do on Rodeo drive as they do elsewhere.

 

Now I'm not saying there aren't people charging drastically different prices, but that's happening because people don't know what to charge or because they live in an area that can't support a custom cake business. I definitely have people say they'd rather have one of my cakes, but so-and-so down the road will do the same cake for half to a third of my price.

 

So here's another beware... beware of falling into the "cakes don't sell for much in my area" trap.  Maybe they don't, but if that's the case, best to stay of the cake biz in that locale. Lamborghini doesn't put a dealership in rural areas - not enough rich people to buy those cars.

 

Please note, my comments are aimed at highly decorated custom cakes. You can sell "eating" cakes pretty much anywhere.

leah_s Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 2:19pm

AVeronica, that's less than $2 per serving. I certainly hope that was a typo.

Veronica1203 Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 8:40pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 

Veronica, that's less than $2 per serving. I certainly hope that was a typo.

It's no typo :(  I wish it was.  I just can't get really great prices in my area.  I would love to due to putting so much time into each one of my cakes.  And that's the price chart that I have just started the past few weeks.  I do get burned out and frustrated.  I had one girl and her sister call up for a cake price.  I tell them $45 and she said "if you can do it for $25 I will order it".  I sold a 4 tier a few weeks ago for $185 covered in fondant and handmade bows.  Quilted look on a two of the tiers and detailed piping on the other two.
I just priced a two tier to a girl for $75.  I don't know what to do. 
I get messages all the time "tasted great", "I've heard you are the best", "you come highly recommended", "you do amazing work".

BUT THEY ALL WANT IT CHEAP!!!! 
I have made myself sick over it the past few weeks.
 

Godot Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 8:48pm

AThen stop selling yourself short, for Christ's sake. Your posts make me want to slap you.

enga Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 9:18pm

8O 

Veronica1203 Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 9:35pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Godot 

Then stop selling yourself short, for Christ's sake. Your posts make me want to slap you.


You and me both!  lol

enga Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 9:37pm

 OP and Veronica1203 don't be afraid to set standards for your work. By selling your cakes at those prices you are doing yourself a great disservice. You may lose a few customers by changing your prices but you will have your peace of mind knowing that your prices reflect your talent and hard work. So please set your prices accordingly, you're worth it!

Veronica1203 Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 10:34pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by enga 
 

 OP and Veronica1203 don't be afraid to set standards for your work. By selling your cakes at those prices you are doing yourself a great disservice. You may lose a few customers by changing your prices but you will have your peace of mind knowing that your prices reflect your talent and hard work. So please set your prices accordingly, you're worth it!


Thank you enga.  I am getting a little better at it.  I made a price chart to go by.  I spent a lot of time calculating my ingredients. 
I'm glad I like doing it.  I look at this as practice years :).  It's either that or I'll give up and cry. lol

Apti Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 10:56pm
Quote:

Originally Posted by Veronica1203 


I'm glad I like doing it. 

That right there IS your problem.  IF your community will not pay for higher priced cakes (or if you don't have the marketing skills to find a market that WILL pay premium cake prices), then don't SELL premium cakes. 

 

Instead, sell cakes that cost YOU no more than $15-$30 TOTAL for ingredients, supplies, materials, packing, etc. per 4" tier, and make tiers that take you no more than 1-2 hours MAXIMUM.    In other words, sell super-quick, super-inexpensive (FOR YOU!) cakes and charge the same prices.  That's called a "part-time business".  Currently, you don't appear to have a "part-time business", you have a hobby. 

 

Let me guess?  You are providing VERY detailed cakes (because YOU enjoy it).  You are providing PERFECTION (because YOU enjoy it), and you take MUCH.....MUCH......LONGER than 1-2 hours per detailed tier. 

 

Of course your customers are going to brag on your cakes and want them cheap, WHY would they pay more when you provide a $600 cake for $85? 

 

Next time you quote a cake price and work on the cake, pretend you HATE doing cakes.  Knock it out as quick as possible, call it good enough, and.......gasp.......make not only a reasonable wage, but a PROFIT in addition to your reasonable wage and costs.

 

If they want cheap cakes, make nice, but cheap, cakes.

enga Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 11:37pm

Okay, say that you cost out what it takes to make this cake covered in fondant and it comes to $6.00 a serving. You could use the Wilton's or Earlene's serving chart to assist you with pricing your cakes.

 

 Wilton's                     Earlene's

 

6"=12                          6"=8

10"=38                        10"=30

14"=78                        14"=65

 

128                              103

 

128 X $6.00 =             103 X $6.00= 

 

$768.00                      $618.00

 

Then you have to factor in the sugar flowers, what it cost you to make them, and the time it takes to make them.

 

These are industry standard charts. To say which one is better or worse is another argument. The Wilton's chart is what's used in most bakeries. Most bakeries can afford to be cheaper than you because they buy large quantities of ingredients at a much lower price than you would. You could use that fact to your advantage by saying that you give each one of your cakes individualized attention and detail opposed to a bakery pumping out the same cakes handled by multiple people.

Personally, I would want my wedding cake done by one cake artist in a cake shop or cake boutique that specializes in one of a kind, unique cakes.

 

Your cake prices should reflect what it actually cost you to make it and your time. If you don't at least charge for that, you are basically cheating yourself. That is why I said you are worth the higher price. You didn't just pull those ingredients out of thin air, you had to pay for them. Your time is worth something too!

 

Make a sign that says, "My time and ingredients are not free, so why should my cakes be" or "I'm not Walmart, I sell real cakes with real ingredients at real prices".

 

Let um suck on those lemons!

 

PS sorry, I see that you posted back

howsweet Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 11:57pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veronica1203 
 

It's no typo :(  I wish it was.  I just can't get really great prices in my area.  I would love to due to putting so much time into each one of my cakes.  And that's the price chart that I have just started the past few weeks.  I do get burned out and frustrated.  I had one girl and her sister call up for a cake price.  I tell them $45 and she said "if you can do it for $25 I will order it".  I sold a 4 tier a few weeks ago for $185 covered in fondant and handmade bows.  Quilted look on a two of the tiers and detailed piping on the other two.
I just priced a two tier to a girl for $75.  I don't know what to do. 
I get messages all the time "tasted great", "I've heard you are the best", "you come highly recommended", "you do amazing work".

BUT THEY ALL WANT IT CHEAP!!!! 
I have made myself sick over it the past few weeks.
 

I mentioned this upthread in one of my two posts Copying and pasting: So here's another beware... beware of falling into the "cakes don't sell for much in my area" trap.  Maybe they don't, but if that's the case, best to stay out of the cake biz in that locale.

 

And in my experience sometimes when someone thinks cakes don't go for much in their area, they are just sampling the wrong people. If you were selling $500 purses who would you try to sell to? Not the people who can only spend $25-125 on a purse, right?

Veronica1203 Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 12:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti 
 

 

Let me guess?  You are providing VERY detailed cakes (because YOU enjoy it).  You are providing PERFECTION (because YOU enjoy it), and you take MUCH.....MUCH......LONGER than 1-2 hours per detailed tier. 

 

Of course your customers are going to brag on your cakes and want them cheap, WHY would they pay more when you provide a $600 cake for $85? 

 

Next time you quote a cake price and work on the cake, pretend you HATE doing cakes.  Knock it out as quick as possible, call it good enough, and.......gasp.......make not only a reasonable wage, but a PROFIT in addition to your reasonable wage and costs.

 

 

I am seriously going to give this a shot....price it like I hate doing them part.  I hope I am pleasantly surprised. I do have a full time job so this is just a "side" thing. 

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

 

 

And in my experience sometimes when someone thinks cakes don't go for much in their area, they are just sampling the wrong people. If you were selling $500 purses who would you try to sell to? Not the people who can only spend $25-125 on a purse, right?

Very true! 


 

Elcee Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 2:10am

Quote:

Originally Posted by enga 
 

Okay, say that you cost out what it takes to make this cake covered in fondant and it comes to $6.00 a serving. You could use the Wilton's or Earlene's serving chart to assist you with pricing your cakes.

 

 Wilton's                     Earlene's

 

6"=12                          6"=8

10"=38                        10"=30

14"=78                        14"=65

 

128                              103

 

128 X $6.00 =             103 X $6.00= 

 

$768.00                      $618.00

 

Then you have to factor in the sugar flowers, what it cost you to make them, and the time it takes to make them.

 

I think I have a problem with your math, Enga. A 6", 10", 14" cake is going to cost $768 regardless of whether it is 128 Wilton-sized servings or 103 Earlene-sized servings.

 

128 x 6.00 = 768.00

768.00 / 103 = 7.45

 

Why? Because larger serving size = larger price.

enga Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 5:54am

"I think I have a problem with your math, Enga. A 6", 10", 14" cake is going to cost $768 regardless of whether it is 128 Wilton-sized servings or 103 Earlene-sized servings. 128 x 6.00 = 768.00 768.00 / 103 = 7.45 Why? Because larger serving size = larger price."

 

ummmmmmmm..... Okay Elcee. But the cake is not going to cost 768.00 if a person doesn't understand how to price a cake. I was just trying to help the OP by offering examples  using 2 different serving charts. I use Wilton's chart for serving sizes. I didn't know that if you use Earlene's chart that you charge more for a bigger slice of cake.:roll:

 

Where I live, a fondant covered cake in that size would be around $625.00 and $650.00. I don't know where the OP lives or how much her ingredients cost. Her variables would be broken down completely different than mine.

 

Good luck with your pricing everyone, remember that you are worth it and price accordingly!

morganchampagne Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:19am

A

Original message sent by Elcee

I think I have a problem with your math, Enga. A 6", 10", 14" cake is going to cost $768 regardless of whether it is 128 Wilton-sized servings or 103 Earlene-sized servings.

128 x 6.00 = 768.00 768.00 / 103 = 7.45

Why? Because larger serving size = larger price.

Most people do not do it that way...it's great if youve figured all that out. But most ppl just look at the chart and just multiply. Most people, especially new ones do not know earlenes cake chart is more generous, aand will not do the math you did

enga Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:28am

I don't get it. I know Earlene's servings are more generous but she is saying " I use her serving size of 103 and divide the 103 by the Wilton's serving size amount 768.00". Am I understanding this right? :???:

 

Wow what a concept, I think I will stick with Wilton's chart.

morganchampagne Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:40am

AI thought she was saying she adjusts her per serving price based on which chart she's using....???... idk lol. Math isn't my strong suit! They just pay me to do cakes hahaha

enga Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:57am

lol, that did not come out right, this new computer keeps jumping to another page. I meant,  is Elcee taking Earlene's chart amount of 103 and dividing the results from the Wilton's chart ($768.00) to come up with $745.00 or $768.00?

 

"cake is going to cost $768 regardless of whether it is 128 Wilton-sized servings or 103 Earlene-sized servings."

 

That sounds like you are making up for the loss of fewer cake servings if you are going to charge $768.00 too.

 

 

edited because this windows 8 is new to me.

enga Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 8:52am

Thanks Morgan, I had to tighten up my light bulb.:-P Elcee, you are saying that you would charge (7.456) $7.46 per serving if using Earlene's chart. :duh:

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with my math if I stick with Wilton's :lol: 

Elcee Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 2:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by enga 
 

Thanks Morgan, I had to tighten up my light bulb.:-P Elcee, you are saying that you would charge (7.456) $7.46 per serving if using Earlene's chart. :duh:

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with my math if I stick with Wilton's :lol: 

 

 

I was just pointing out the flaws in the logic of the example Enga posted. I use the Wilton serving guide and that's how I price my cakes. So, no matter how many servings the customer chooses to get from it, a cake the size that Enga posted, is going to cost 768.00 if I charge 6.00 per Wilton serving (I don't, but that's the example in use).

 

Say a 20 ounce soda costs $2.00. It contains 2.5 servings so the price per serving is .80. If you choose to consume it in 1.5 servings, you don't get to purchase that same bottle of soda for 1.20. That's what your example is implying, that the same size cake should cost less just because someone is cutting larger slices.

 

In actuality, if someone wants 103 servings, I'm going to sell them a smaller cake than if they want 128 servings, not the same size cake with bigger servings.  

brenda549 Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 2:44pm

Elcee is right.  Think about it this way.  My 10-inch round cake is going to cost $114 regardless of whether it is cut into 38 Wilton slices or 30 Earlene slices.  You find your price based on the cake in it's entirety, THEN divide by the number of servings you think the customer will get from the cake, regardless of what chart you use.    

howsweet Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 4:48pm

I don't know if it matters to anyone,  but Earlene's chart is not based on larger serving sizes. She says she made the chart because she thinks the Wilton chart is wrong. She also discovered this cutting square cake. I can see how a person might have trouble cutting a round cake, but a square? She also qualifies the numbers on her chart by saying she did not draw the pattern on all the pan bottoms and just estimated.

 

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

Quote:
I baked a square grooms cake using Wilton's figures for the servings. When I was icing that cake I realized that they were going to be short of servings. I measured and sure enough they needed about 6 more servings. I baked a smaller cake and stacked the two cakes to be sure she had enough. Then I began wondering about the other pan servings. I used a washable pen and marked off the bottom of several pans and found that I could not get the servings from the cakes that the Wilton's chart figures showed. This chart was made as a result of that. I felt I was not being honest with my customers in the servings they were receiving. I didn't measure every single pan. I measured some of them and then estimated on the others.  

In my opinion her chart is helpful in the sense that it brings up the fact that sometimes customers are not going to be able to cut the cake like a pro. Allowance for that should always be addressed. But I would never sell myself short by using her chart to quote a cake. Earlene's cake business was in a relatively small town, Lubbock, Texas, population, 236,000 and she probably dominated the wedding business when she was doing cakes. I'm guessing her competition had to use her chart..

 

Not the case with most of us.

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