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Creating a solution to how to cost baking and decorating

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,

 

This is my first post so I hope I can get into the way of things.

 

Basically I am a hobby baker and love to bake in my rare free time. 

 

Aside from baking my interests lie in web and graphic design and I am currently studying in my final year of Interactive Multimedia Design at Uni. I am currently working on ideas for a major project and am trying to create a solution to a problem that I know most bakers have... HOW TO COST BAKING. 

 

First I want to gather some research to see what current resources/techniques you all use to do this and how effective they are.

 

Also if you have any ideas or suggestions in what the solution should entail to make all our lives a bit easier I would love to hear them.

 

The idea as it stands will be a free web application which will allow the user to log in to their own account, save recipes, upload photographs, save and send quotes, search for product prices and compare them against other supermarket/sellers the system will also allow the user to set their personal hourly rate in order to find out the price of the task in hand.

 

All thoughts would be greatly appreciated,

 

Melissa xo

post #2 of 22
You may want to look at narrowing the scope of the app to focus on the costing side, for the CRM features (such as saving and sending quotes) you could tie in with an existing tool like QuickBooks instead. A mobile app would also be nice (plus you could charge for it).

Providing prices for ingredients would be great but I'm not sure where you would source that data, and you would need several different data sets for different areas of the country. It might be easier to provide default data for labor cost per hour (using a multiplier on the state minimum wage, for example) and overhead costs (building a DB of average license fees by state and adding commercial kitchen rent if there is no cottage food law).

If you wanted to add data visualization features I recommend taking a look at Tableau, it's free for students.
http://www.tableausoftware.com/academic/students

Overall it looks like a great idea, best of luck!
post #3 of 22

Aren't there already two apps for costing out cakes? I don't have them but I've seen others talk about them.

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

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There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

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post #4 of 22
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,

 

Thanks a bunch for your feedback!

 

Jason_craft thank you for suggesting Tableau I have never came across it, looks fab will defo be experimenting with it.

 

I think the mobile app is also a fab idea, for the time being I am going to stick a responsive layout (the website will respond and adapt to the screen/device it is presented on) but I would love to do a mobile app in the near future.

 

At the minute I am working on pulling data from supermarket sites, however this won't be as easy to fetch from independent sellers that perhaps don't have an online system for selling supplies so that is something I will need to look at. In relation to the different areas of the country and even different countries I would need to do alot of research into the most popular etc.

 

Its a toughie but I hope I can come up with a solution, I know that quite alot of people are still faced with this problem through looking on the forum. 

 

I know the two apps exist although I am almost certain that we have to pay for them, the cost a cake one is free however it requires the user to enter the price of the ingredients im not sure if the pro version generates them.

 

I am a very basic baker and have no idea how businesses/individuals cost their cakes, perhaps they are well experienced and know how much each cake will cost to make and add in their profit to generate the cost? 

 

Again thank you so much for your feedback it is much appreciated :)

post #6 of 22

http://www.cakeboss.com/PricingGuideline.aspx

I believe custom cake bakers/decorators do not compare their goods to supermarket cakes.

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

Reply

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

Reply
post #7 of 22
How to cost baking: Excel for PC or Numbers for Mac. Some people just need to learn.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecakewitch View Post

How to cost baking: Excel for PC or Numbers for Mac. Some people just need to learn.

 

Excel! No fancy icons, best non-app, ever.

VISIT US at BAKINGFIX

 

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VISIT US at BAKINGFIX

 

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post #9 of 22
Excel is a great tool, but if you present most people with a blank worksheet their eyes will glaze over. There's something to be said for building an interface to guide the user through the calculations step by step, especially if it includes portfolio management features and direct feeds from external data sources to automatically populate commodity prices.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter View Post
 

http://www.cakeboss.com/PricingGuideline.aspx

I believe custom cake bakers/decorators do not compare their goods to supermarket cakes.

Absolutely, but I think the OP was saying she was pulling pricing data (i.e. ingredients/supplies) from supermarket sites, not the price of a cake itself.

post #11 of 22

Hello Melissa, I am only a hobby baker and have never charged for a cake, but I have made a gift of them a few times.  The last time I made a wedding cake, I kept all my receipts and worked it all out on paper.  It took me hours!  I did buy all new ingredients for the project (it was for someone's wedding after all!), as normally when I bake I use up what is in the pantry first!  I think my Mother did a similar exercise when she baked MY wedding cake 14 years ago!

 

HOWEVER, I didn't include the cost of utilities, dishwashing, prep maths research time to work out the number of servings per cake (should I include the cost of my home access to the internet?), shopping time, fuel in the car to go shopping, the use of my existing utensils, and the cost of me buying my new sized cake tins for that particular project.....and of course my labour time.  If I were a professional I would have to have insurance premiums as well, Environmental Health certificates....the list goes on!

 

Should there be a stress fee??? I remember being a little stressed out at times!

 

Good luck.

 

Hmmm looking at all of the above it seems I am not being very encouraging, but until I frequented this site I though it was all purely to do with the cost of ingredients!!

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayti View Post
 

Absolutely, but I think the OP was saying she was pulling pricing data (i.e. ingredients/supplies) from supermarket sites, not the price of a cake itself.

If I were a professional wouldn't I have access to trade outlets for my ingredients....I know as a hobby baker that I am already paying a premium in buying my ingredients form the local supermarket chain.

post #13 of 22

There are people like me that have already done the pricing research comparing multiple outlets for buying ingredients. I physically went cost comparing from company to company to find the best prices. I broke down the cost of each ingredient to the ounce. Than I came to realize pricing fluctuates season to season. So you just take an average price for each ingredient and go with that.

 

I also realized (much to my distress) that the best over all prices came from Costco and Sam's Club. The wholesale suppliers I looked at didn't beat them. So it's a myth (in my opinion) that restaurants and bakery's are able to get better pricing. I talked to chefs about this and they agreed, Costco and Sam's are cheaper than what they can buy through wholesale sources. The ONE difference though is, you can get a better quality ingredients through wholesale sources.

 

Pulling pricing data from supermarket sites didn't work for me. Their prices really varied seasonally and they don't list all the info. you need to break down ingredients costs completely. How can you account for that? If I was the OP, I'd pull data from the two big pricing clubs plus Restaurant Depot (who has supplies those two don't stock) and you could soundly come up with your pricing, in the US.

 

I can see how you could come up with an average over head pricing for retail and home bakeries.........that's just math. But I don't know how you'd account for the biggest mistakes decorators make when giving estimates- guessing how many hours it will take them to complete a design/cake. Would it work if decorators could keep a log of how many hours it took them to make each cake, as a reference when quoting?....with maybe an optional add 10% to your time estimate for a design you've never done before?

 

I'm not sure if I explained that well.......... for example, we always run amuck on the "Price this Cake" threads here (in my opinion) because of the time involved per design. If you had a beginner, intermediate and advanced amount of time choices people could enter into the equation that averaged their per cake time you'd have a better idea of what your costs are or will be.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayti View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter View Post
 

http://www.cakeboss.com/PricingGuideline.aspx

I believe custom cake bakers/decorators do not compare their goods to supermarket cakes.

Absolutely, but I think the OP was saying she was pulling pricing data (i.e. ingredients/supplies) from supermarket sites, not the price of a cake itself.


You're right. I misunderstood.

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

Reply

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

Reply
post #15 of 22
I haven't really noticed a seasonal variation in prices for most ingredients, with the obvious exception of produce. Unless OP can find an automated pricing feed most of the data collection for the typical basket of ingredients would have to be done manually, or possibly crowdsourced with an open database. One data point per region from each type of retailer (grocery, discount, club, restaurant supply) updated annually should be enough to get a reasonably accurate picture of ingredient costs. The user could then select which type of store they shop at.

Automatically estimating the amount of time needed for a cake is a much more difficult problem, it would require analyzing a picture of a cake and recognizing the complexity of different design components, then building an estimate based on the skill level of the user. That would probably be a computer science master's or PhD thesis problem on its own. Of course you can fake it with pictures of example cakes and estimates of how long it would take for decorators of different skill levels to complete.
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