Do You Keep Track Of Time Spent On These Things?

Business By howsweet Updated 17 Mar 2014 , 5:19pm by Cake-sprite

howsweet Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 1:39am
post #1 of 24

Like talking to customers, quoting out cakes, picking up supplies, paperwork, cleaning up etc?

 

So far this week I have spent 12 hours quoting out cakes, answering questions, taking orders and running cards.  So if I make 4 cakes this week, that could be looked at as 3 hours of labor cost per cake.

23 replies
Cake-sprite Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 10:35pm
post #2 of 24

Hi,

 

Were the quotes etc for the cakes being made this week?

 

Since I specialise in wedding cakes if I was quoting for a cake this week, I wouldn't be making it for about 18 months(ish).  The cost of this time should be added into the cost for that wedding cake. 

A better way to work it out generally would be to work out the average time spent on a type of cake and add the cost of that consultation/design/emails etc in to the quote for that type of cake. (does that make sense?)

 

E.G a 3d bear cake ordered with little personalisation might take 30 mins of emails, consultation etc.

 

A custom wedding cake with figures from photos, custom clothing etc could take 3 hours of consultations and emails.

If I spent 2 hours buying stock etc, and made an average of 6 cakes per week (for example) I would add 20 mins per cake.

 

Keep a spreadsheet of your time for a couple of months and get a better idea of the general time spent on your business and the actual decorating time.  Spread time for buying materials etc as an average over your orders.

 

Hope this helps.

 

:lol:

howsweet Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 12:07am
post #3 of 24

Of course none of the quotes were for this week's cakes, but some of it was for sending out confirmations to this week's customers.

 

I'm sorry, but I think what you're suggesting makes more sense in theory than in practice.  One big reason is because you're also spending time quoting cakes and dealing with inquiries that never even result in a cake order. Which cake are you supposed to add that to?

 

I was only stating my point that way to illustrate that one needs to figure in how much time they spend with customers when determining their costs.

 

 

 

howsweet Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 12:15am
post #4 of 24

Cakesprite, I'm sorry, I see you're new here. My post sounded like I was asking for advice. Regulars knew I was just harping at people to make sure and charge enough. Welcome to Cake Central :D 

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 12:32am
post #5 of 24

Thanks, sorry to patronise, it genuinely sounded like a beginners question. Lots of people start up and count their hours actively producing something but don't add emails, accounting etc on to their time.  I have a friend (not a cake decorator, but with a creative business) in this situation at the moment and not understanding why she's not seeing fruits of her labour :(

 

I'm just returning to cake decorating after a few years away due to family issues but I never had large numbers of cakes quoted/designed that didn't go ahead (maybe the market's changed?).  I always quoted and did my business plan etc in this way and it worked for me, but everyone's different

:smile:

howsweet Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 5:21am
post #6 of 24

In my area it is legal for anyone to make cake and there are lots of people selling cake for a third to half what I charge. When potential customers shop around,  I do lose maybe a third. My customers wind up being the ones who will pay for the highest quality. On the website, I put up as much warning as I dare about pricing and advertise options for as low as $179, but it doesn't seem to deter people who don't want to pay much for cake from taking up a lot of my time.

 

I know in the UK some bakers put prices under each cake on the website, but I'm terrified of doing that. And I'm pretty sure, in my situation, I get more customers the way I handle it. Do you have prices on your website? I would love to do it.

 

Also, I'm primarily in the birthday/celebration business - it's easier for people to decide they don;t need the best possible cake.

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 9:13am
post #7 of 24

AHi Howsweet, hope you don't mind me chiming in. I thought I'd offer my opinion from a customer point of view. I'm in the UK and I like to see prices - a rough idea at least. I usually think if there's no price I can't afford it so there's no point asking. I think you're right about people not being as bothered about the cake for a birthday as they would be a wedding. I make all my family's cakes for birthdays, school things etc but if they want a wedding cake they go to a proffessional.

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:38am
post #8 of 24

Hi Howsweet,

It's always an issue with anything people can do 'at home', you get people devaluing the skills with cheap alternatives.  I've always specialised in weddings, so it is a bit different but I couldn't count the number of times people said 'I can get this for £100 cheaper from X'. I would always try to make a simpler/cheaper version to fit a budget if possible, but if someone claimed they would get 'the same' cheaper, I would tell them that if they genuinely can't tell the difference between my work and the cheaper version then they would be wasting their money paying me. :lol:

Corporate cakes were always the worst for me. They'd ask for multiple quotes for big 3d building or logo replicas, a multi tiered simple cake, and something plain, try to barter the price down on each, then not go ahead. Not sure why businesses were worst for this, but they often were.

 

My old website had a brief price scale to give people a very rough idea. As all of my cakes were individually designed I couldn't really price them. 

Now that I'm going back a bit older and wiser (I was 22 when I opened my shop, so my ego was a driving factor for most of it, and I didn't want to make any 'average' cakes :lol:) I'm having a section of 'classic' styles that will be available as shown, with a couple of different size and colour options.  These will have prices on the website and can be bought 'off the peg'.  For my designer cakes I will have a gallery of my previous commissions with their sizes and how much they would be as shown but with a note that this is only as a guide. There will be an option to pay a deposit to reserve a space in my diary, then I will get in contact with the couple to design something unique.

 

I won't be doing birthdays, corporates etc for a while yet, but I would intend to do them the same way- an 'off the peg' selection with a few customisable options, or the full designer cake where a deposit is paid up front.

Some florists and other wedding professionals in the UK charge a consultancy fee for discussing designs etc which is taken off the deposit if the client orders, this type of thing limits time wasters and those who want to pick your brain for ideas to pass on to a cheaper option!

 

 

Maisie73- I agree, it can put people off if they think you'll be dearer than you are! It can save the designer and customer wasting each other's time if they know what you're expecting from the outset.

Not everyone feels the same way about weddings, I've been asked to fix loads of home-made disasters last minute because someone asked a friend with no experience to make a cake to save money :(  It's all about what the couples money priorities are at the time :-D

 

I'll post my website when it's ready and you can see how I've done it and give me some feedback!

:D

 

 

 

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 11:33am
post #9 of 24

AOh to be 22 again! Would love to see your website when it's done. :-) I would never attempt a wedding cake, even if they were poor, desperate and begging me! A) I'm not even close to being nearly good enough one day in the future and B) I couldn't cope with the pressure!

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 2:49pm
post #10 of 24

Maisie73-

I'll post a link when it's ready. There's a lot of back and forth between me and the designer a the moment, I must do his head in. :lol:

 

Wedding cakes are just a little time, experience and confidence. As I said, I was always a professional cake decorator, so when I was a junior I just had to do what I was told.  It didn't really occur to me that someone's wedding cake was a big deal. I'm sure you'll know when you feel ready.  It's really rewarding and lovely to be such a big part of someone's special day.

 

What part of the UK are you in? I'm in Sunny Edinburgh.  Are you reading my post with a Scottish accent now? :lol:

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 5:24pm
post #11 of 24

AAye! I'm from Wales I am! :-)

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 5:52pm
post #12 of 24

Yeay! Representation from another UK minority.  I sometimes think that everyone on-line from the UK lives in England. :lol:

 

Give me a shout if I can help you with anything or you want to chat about a project etc.

:-D

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 6:05pm
post #13 of 24

AHaha! In another life I was in the army ( with a roomie from Inverurie) an got chatting to some American soldiers (we were in Germany). They asked me what something was like back in England, i said I wouldn't know, I'm from Wales. The response "Wales? But that's in England right?" I know exactly what you mean. You'll be sorry you said that, I'm on the UK thread all the time, I'm their friendly, neighbourhood, amateur stalker! I'm very new to decorating- in fact I covered my first ever cake with fondant a year ago tomorrow- but been baking for years. I'm even newer to CC (lurked for months before I had the courage to join in) but I'm hooked already. :-)

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 7:07pm
post #14 of 24

:lol: I often get 'Northern England' from those outside the UK.

 

I'm doing some tutorials etc on my blog at the moment. I'd LOVE to know what you think and if there's anything else you'd like to see there.

The link's in my sig'.

:-D

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 7:56pm
post #15 of 24

AI'll definitely have a look next time I'm on the computer, I don't go on it often, usually on my phone. Go and introduce yourself on the UK thread, some lovely, helpful (and patient!) girls on there. :-) Nice to "meet" you. :-)

Cakejeanie Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 8:16pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

In my area it is legal for anyone to make cake and there are lots of people selling cake for a third to half what I charge. When potential customers shop around,  I do lose maybe a third. My customers wind up being the ones who will pay for the highest quality. On the website, I put up as much warning as I dare about pricing and advertise options for as low as $179, but it doesn't seem to deter people who don't want to pay much for cake from taking up a lot of my time.

 

I know in the UK some bakers put prices under each cake on the website, but I'm terrified of doing that. And I'm pretty sure, in my situation, I get more customers the way I handle it. Do you have prices on your website? I would love to do it.

 

Also, I'm primarily in the birthday/celebration business - it's easier for people to decide they don;t need the best possible cake.

Howsweet, 

 

I decided finally to post prices of all the cakes I have done so far. I have only been in business for a few months, but from the beginning the most common question was how much was your Thomas the Tank Engine cake, the Octonauts cake, etc? I think that if people have a good idea how much my cakes are in general, then most people would have a good idea what to expect for their own custom cake and whether I am the one they would like to make their cake. I do say in my website that prices are based on the type of cake, size, intricacy of design, and other factors (LABOUR!!) :-D

 

Some cake decorators here have done the same- posting prices for a couple of cakes they have done to give potential customers an idea of prices. Some cake decorators simply say prices start at £xx for such and such size of cake. I guess it's all to do with what you would be comfortable doing or what works for you in your area :-) 

bighand Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 9:35pm
post #17 of 24

Hi all, just to let you all know I AM  from Northern Ireland.

Cake-sprite Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 9:46pm
post #18 of 24

Hi Bighand!

Nice to meet another fellow brit! :-D

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:11pm
post #19 of 24

AHello Bighand from Wales. :-)

nannycook Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:15pm
post #20 of 24

AHiya Bighand I'm from South Wales, which part are you from?

nannycook Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:16pm
post #21 of 24

ALoops sorry, just read your from Northern Ireland, see we did say we are nutty!!

maisie73 Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:18pm
post #22 of 24

AHaha! If you think this is nutty you should see the UK thread! Hi Nanny!

nannycook Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 10:21pm
post #23 of 24

ADon't suppose we should been here as got our own thread? Thought you were off to bed?

Cake-sprite Posted 17 Mar 2014 , 5:19pm
post #24 of 24

:lol:

Sorry non-UK folks, we'll go back to our own thread where we belong.

:lol:

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