I'm sure something like this has been asked before but I can't seem to find in search anything that answers what I'm wondering. Do you use your price per serving as a base and add different types of tequniques/design/flowers on top of it, or do you include most design aspects in your per serving pricing for wedding/tiered cakes??? I ask because I assume most use a base per-serving price and then add decorations on top of that (as some things take more time and material cost), but I've recently seen a lot of bakers who say mostly everything is in their per serving price, and it made me wonder if I'm charging too much with a base price per serving and adding, for example, lace work, toppers, or flowers as additional.
If so, I can can see this being nice and easy for most designs, so that a bride/customer can say I want a fondant tiered cake, you price her the per-serving for a fondant tiered cake and she can do lace or stripes or whatever. But when it comes to, say, gumpaste flowers or detialed scroll work, it just seems you'd be shorting yourself.
Anyway, just kind of a poll question and I'm just starting to get into weddings, but hopefully I wouldn't be overcharging this way.
Of course, like most topics here, you will see many different approaches to pricing. For me, the final cost of a cake depends on three factors: the number of servings, the flavors/fillings combinations, and the complexity of the design elements.
After you have made as many cakes as some of us around here have, you get a feel for pricing a project. There are not hard and fast rules. Ultimately, after it's all said and done, if you can look a your money and feel it was worthwhile, then your pricing is probably right for you.
I'm not doing wedding cakes right now but I would price them the same so...
For me, Ultimately, what a client is paying for is my time. I have a base price (based on servings) which includes basic decorating. I don't charge extra for different flavors or fillings because I've costed all that out and my base price covers my most expensive ones. I did it that way to make it easier for myself and for the client when their trying to figure out what they'd be paying me for a cake. It sounds weird that a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is the same price as coconut cake with pineapple filling but I've never had anyone even question it. Clients don't want to hear that the price goes up with every little detail.
I don't charge extra for fondant dots or simple cut out 2d flowers, stuff like that (unless it was a huge cake with a million of them). Anything that takes extra time like sculpted toppers or sugar flowers definitely raises the price. So, basically, the longer it takes me to make the cake, the more it will cost the client.
I tend to do a lot of 3D cakes and I price those individually because you can have a 15 serving cake take 10 hours longer to make than a 35 serving cake.
Jeff's right, you will get 10 different answers from 10 different decorators. Pricing is the most difficult part of the cake biz. Just do what you're doing, ask everybody, and see what works best for you. Just remember to get paid for your time :)
I'm one of the ones who pries based on the size of the cake, not the decorations. But I make my own gumpaste flowers and fondant to keep costs down, and I'm pretty fast on the flowers, so it all evens out. Some rustic-iced cakes take an hour to put together, and some take three hours because I had to make gumpaste flowers for it. As long as my price per cake is high enough to cover the variations I still get paid well for my time.
If someone came to me and wanted a cake that was totally covered with gumpaste or gold leaf, though, I'd charge extra for that. But it would be a line item on the invoice so that if they changed their mind they could just take that out and pay the regular price per cake, if that makes sense.
As long as my price per cake is high enough to cover the variations I still get paid well for my time.
That's really the key, isn't it.
plus what you said jinkies, "clients don't want to hear the price goes up for every little detail" it's easier for you as a decorator too to not have to nickel & dime yourself then the client will say let's cut this part of the design to save a buck -- too much detail kwim --
i think this came about when fondant hit the states and clients wanted just ribbon borders and iced but undecorated cakes -- real plain smoothy smooth ones -- those decorators entering the market at that time seemed to want to then charge for every tendril, dot and impression -- not a scientific survey just my observation on the subject -- but it is an ineffective way to go and actually results in more headache
and one way to do it is say allow x amount of hours of decor till you charge extra -- i'd say 3-4 hours would be the norm -- honestly actually decorating the cake is the easiest and quickest part of the whole shebang -- i can't remember spending longer than that decorating -- after it's iced & all
best to you
In my cake teavels, I had mat a woman who charged a basic per serve price for the cake itself, then charged extra for a fondant covering. All decor was charged by type, then by the hour. Had I gone into business, I would have considered this, especially now that Lambeth Method is slowly making a comeback to high-end cakes.
Brides absolutely hate being nickel and dimed to death. They just want a price. I only had 2 or 3 designs that I charged an extra labor fee for due to the complexity.
Thank you everyone, I knew the answers would vary but this helps a lot. and Indydebi, love this article, helps immensely to put things into perspective! I also love your "You might be a cake civilian if..." article!! LOL :-P