Newbie Self Taught Decorator Pricing?!?

Decorating By Hostet25 Updated 2 Aug 2015 , 9:18pm by OCakes

Hostet25 Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 12:27am
post #1 of 14

Hi I'm a newer cake decorator and I've been making cakes for the past year. I've taught myself everything and I've learned something new every cake. For the most part I've made most of my cakes for friends and family members and recently many coworkers have asked to pay me to make them cakes. I'm my worst critic and I knit pick at everything so I've had a hard time charging people an amount where I profit. I think to myself they know I'm not a professional so I can't charge professional prices...and if any part of the cake has the slightest flaw I feel like it wasn't worth what I charged! Here's a few pics of some of my cakes....would love some 55b81ddf747be.jpeg55b81de06a297.jpeg55b81de1885c6.jpeghonest feedback and any recommendations on prices would be great!  55b81de278134.jpeg55b81de2dca29.jpeg55b81de370476.jpeg

13 replies
-K8memphis Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 12:38am
post #2 of 14

you need to charge what that would cost -- the same or a little more -- from your local best bakery -- 

also you want to make sure you are in compliance with all your local rules & regulations for selling food -- 

best to you

-K8memphis Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 12:42am
post #3 of 14

your work is good -- you need to tighten up a few things like you already know/said  -- and you'll also want to check out the copyright rules/laws --

good stuff, hostet

OCakes Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 12:50am
post #4 of 14

I used to hear "triple your cost", so if ingredients cost you $20, you would charge $60.  I think this is a good rule of thumb for when you're first starting out.  I also think you should price similar cakes in your surrounding area and charge less.  That's what I did when I started 10 years ago and as I felt I improved my prices increased.  Now I own a bakery and charge a little more than my competition on some items (however I think we may be the best in the area on those items!)... so it's really your choice.  You have to consider the time you put into it, and at first a lot of your profit will go toward purchasing new tools. 

I have very little critiques for you!  I cannot believe you are on year one!  I'm only going to share because I think this will help you & also get you comfortable charging a bit more:

Cuter, more finished cake boards.  The black one is cool, the wood one is cool but could've been great with finished edges.  I recently started covering my boards in fondant (and they are thick boards, or a stack of 3 of the type you are using).  I also wrap the border with ribbon (hot glue it on).  Stay away from straight tin foil to cover your boards.  I don't prefer the gold/silver boards either, I think they distract from the cakes.  The sand covered boards are cool, they can still have a border around the outside, or bring the sand to the edge of the board by covering the board with piping gel, shortening, a little buttercream.

**Feel especially comfortable charging a little more for anything in 3D, the books aren't carved but they take more care than a tier.  If the bakeries in your area don't offer 3D cakes, even better for you.  Maybe it won't take you 10 years to start charging what you're cakes are worth. ;)  Good luck!

Rfisher Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 1:15am
post #5 of 14

Two good threads here in this one:

Might help you with some insight.

using a bakery's pricing guide will not necessarily lead to a profit for you. But it's a starting point, only if they are the same types of cakes/decorations.

Hostet25 Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 1:40am
post #6 of 14

Thanks everyone for your replies! @-K8memphis   those are definitely some things I haven't looked into especially since they have just been made for people close to me I'll have to do some research tonight! @Rfisher  thanks for the threads I'm going to print that's at least a start to actually breaking down the prices on everything I use. @OCakes  thanks so much! I appreciate it! Coming from a 10 year vet! I just recently saw something about decorating the boards! That's when I did the wood board for the books. Do you purchase your boards online? I can only find the cheap cardboard at stores....probably another thing I need to focus on doing is finding a place to buy everything in bulk! Because as of right now I buy as I make and need which costs me a lot! 

Apti Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 4:58am
post #7 of 14

Buying in bulk isn't going to make a lot of difference in your cost.   It is quite often easier to be artistic and creative than to be "business smart".   Being "business smart" is not fun like making a cake--it is hard, detailed, work.  It is being willing to accept that there may NOT be a profitable market for your highly customized cakes in your geographic area.

There are literally 250,000 threads about "How Much to Charge for This Cake?"   Unfortunately, this is an anonymous, international forum, and there are FAR too many variables for anyone here to provide meaningful advice re: pricing.

Every time I respond to this question, I suggest the person read the article in the link below, buy the software, do the work, and THEN (and only then...) will you begin to have an idea of what to charge.  Good luck.

OCakes Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 3:15pm
post #8 of 14

I only just started purchasing my boards/drums in bulk.  It is an added cost, but pass that on to your customer (around here they average $5/ea).  I don't know if you can get them in bulk on Amazon or EBay, etc... but you normally need to have a minimum purchase if you go through a paper company (mine is $250 minimum), and do you have space to store it all?  You may talk with your local supply store about purchasing a case of the boards in each size or something (cake decorating specialty stores, or craft stores)... maybe they would sell you a larger quantity for a better rate, it all depends on the store.  There is a mom & pop type store near me who will do that because I had ordered a case of boxes, etc..... good luck!

Jenmarlene Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 4:21pm
post #9 of 14

I'm the same way as you, I am my worse critic EVER!! I have 2 cakes to do this weekend and I'm already freaking, my biggest fear is they are not going to like it, ect. even though they end up loving it. I always under charge as well, and kick myself in the butt when I do. 

Hostet25 Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 4:54pm
post #10 of 14

@Jenmarlene  Your cakes are great! Do you make them for friends or friends of friends? And how long have you been doing them? I hate how hard I am on myself! Because they always end up loving the's not something everyone would sit and think "oh I could have done this myself for cheaper!" I just feel like until I get things down solid I won't feel like they are worth what I charge. And I really don't charge much....ends up being a little more than I spent! Guess the main thing I've got out of basically doing them for free was how much I've learned on each cake. I only found this forum about 2 months ago so I've been searching any issues new cakes have brought me and I've already fixed so many minor things. I want to make a Facebook page and start getting out there to do more cakes but I still don't think I'm good enough. *sigh*

Jenmarlene Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 11:29pm
post #11 of 14

your cakes are awsome! I've been selling my cakes since 2009, it became to much so i cut back drastically, so I only do cakes for family close friends and costumers who bought cakes from me more than once, everybody else I'll refer them to a friend of mine, but I'm currently working on a baby shower cake that feeds 100 and charged her (friend) $150, but my close friend ALWAYS tells me to charge more. In CT, home bakers usually charge around $3.00 a serving and i personally feel uncomfortable charging that much because i think my cakes are not the best, i always find some flaw, not even, not smooth, not perfect, ect. but I always get "OMG, I love it" and I say to myself, really? We should work together and cry together as we make cakes, lol.

Hostet25 Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 11:49pm
post #12 of 14

@Jenmarlene  Haha I just laughed out loud! Wouldn't that be the best? Two bakers crying and complaining the whole time about their work!!! Ok so I may have been a little creepy but I went back to some of the first cakes you've ever posted and all of your recent ones. I see how much you've improved as you've gone on but even your first cakes were awesome!!!! And I thought to myself when I was looking at all of your recent ones "oh yeah she must own a bakery now" they are INSANE!!!!!!!! And believe me I wouldn't exaggerate I HATE when people give me great compliments on my work and I'm thinking "I know you are lying so just stop!" Lol.  I'm no where near your level but I'm trying! 150$ sounds soooooo low to feed that many people! But I understand! At least next time just up it a little?!? From one horrible critic to another! Lol they are worth more than that! 

Jenmarlene Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 11:51pm
post #13 of 14

I haven't posted any pics in soo long, so I'm about to now, enjoy as I bite my nails, lol..

OCakes Posted 2 Aug 2015 , 9:18pm
post #14 of 14

LOL!  I'm there with you, but have realized & I hope you do too - people who don't cake, don't know.  They don't see the flaws we do, don't point them out.  My gramma always taught me to just take the compliment without down talking myself.  I pass that to you -  BITE YOUR TONGUES!!!!  =)  hahahaha... $1.50/serving is WAY too low, at least $2.50/serving.  If home bakers are charging $3/serving, feel good about charging $2.75/serving.  If they don't want to pay that much, you don't have to do the work!  =)

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