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How do you charge for detail and difficulty of cake?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
I understand how to come up with prices based on your materials and such but I just got a man interested in a coach purse that is very detailed. I have googled other sites to see what other people charge to get an idea but still am a little confused.

I guess I'm curious, when looking at an idea, do you just pick a price that suits you or do you have any sort of scale for just the detail and difficulty of a cake?
post #2 of 55
I have a pricing grid/matrix - I have 4 levels: Basic, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3. 3 icing choices: Buttercream/Poured fondant/Rolled fondant. And finally amount of servings: up to 100, 101-150, 151-200, Over 200.

The most expensive per slice cake is a Level 3 cake with rolled fondant and serves under 100 - $12 per slice.
The least expensive per slice cake is a Basic cake with buttercream and serves over 200 - $2 per slice

My definitions of levels:
Basic - BC: Top border, bottom border, party confetti/small floral spray/fleur de lis and/or a message written on top
Poured Fondant: Ganache over BC with bottom border and a few BC accents or premade gumpaste accents
Rolled Fondant: RF over BC with bottom border and a few premade gumpaste accents or a BC cake with a few Fondant accents
Level 1 - BC: any basic side piping (swags, swiss dots, corelli lace, sotas); PF: Fresh fruit garnish, any of the BC elements that make it a Level 1. RF: a few (no more than 3) handmade gumpaste flowers or a basic fondant swag.

Level 2 - BC: slightly more intricate piping or architecture, PF: same, RF: same and more gumpaste flowers or more intricate gumpaste work

Level 3 - BC: includes Lambeth method, string work, and all topsy turvey designs and 3d carved cakes, PF: same, RF: same

You will have to decide for yourself what constitutes the level breaks for your designs. I do give those who have bigger cakes a bit of a price break due to the volume, plus I rent a comm kitchen so the larger the cake the better value I get for my rental rate than if I have a smaller cake. I pay a flat daily fee of $100 and I get the kitchen for 24 hours, so a smaller cake will cost me more to produce than a larger cake. I pass the savings on to my customers.

This way you aren't starting with a base per slice rate then adding on embellishment charges which will arrive at the same per slice rate anyway, but to the customer, it looks like they are being nickled & dimed with each additional charge. If you quote them the per slice rate for their design choice and serving amount off the bat they think they are getting a deal. When you put that low ball per serving rate in their head it is hard for them to go beyond that. It is all about perspective.

If you like I can PM you my grid, but you will have to decide what works for you price wise for your area. You may be in a very high dollar area or just the opposite.
post #3 of 55
I would love a copy of your price grid. You could send a pm or my email is thanks!
post #4 of 55
Can you also make that price grid available to me at I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
post #5 of 55
This question seems to be so "tabu" on this site, it's the only thing that I don't like about I too have this same question. I know how to come up with a basic price but how much do people charge when using fondant, or purse cakes, shoe box cakes etc. I would just like a ball park. I live in Maryland, DC, Virginia area. I've done searches on these cakes but have only been able to find sites & prices in NYC and they charge around $200 to $300 for a purse cake. However, NYC is a bit more expensive than most places.
post #6 of 55
I charge gumpaste, 50/50 and fondant by the ounce. I charge $2.00 an oz. when I color it and $1.75 if using same color as cake. Other than that, my cake prices are just like cakesdivine. It all matters to you since you do it as a hobby to help people or a job that pays the bills. Hope this helps.
post #7 of 55
I would like to seed the grid too please! Can you PM me or email Thanks in advance. icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 55
Yes, I would like the grid as well..
post #9 of 55
Cakesdevine--may I see your grid as well? my email address is or pm me. I've read many of your posts and you are so helpful. I'd just like to see how you structure the decorations. I struggle with pricing out things when people ask me for something off the cuff. Then I end up under-cutting myself--and I hate that! At least if I see how others are coming up with the levels, I can set my price and work from there. I'm much better when I have it written down. Even though nobody else sees it but me, I stick to it much better! Thank you so much!
post #10 of 55
sorry cakesdivine..could you PM me or email me as well?!! icon_biggrin.gif
post #11 of 55
I've been trying to come up with a similar pricing structure but have never been able to figure out how to put it in a grid for easy reference.

If you could email or pm me as well it would be greatly appreciated. icon_biggrin.gif
post #12 of 55
cakesdivine you are so kind to share this information with us please e-mail me as well
really appreciate !
post #13 of 55
Cakesdivine, thank you for your time to explain. Like everyone else, I would appreciate your cake matrix. Please email:
post #14 of 55
cakesdivine could you email me your spreadsheet as well Thank you very much.
post #15 of 55
Please email me your grid I am in the UK and having the same prob, as I am just starting out! thank you so much icon_biggrin.gif
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