Vicki, I think your cakes are beautiful and similar to your location, our prices are about the same. It certainly looks like you stay busy.
how much would you price this cake? - Page 3
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Goodvibrations: You do lovely work! In my opinion, you should charge according to your talent, not which side of a freeway you live on. :) I'm sure you could give yourself a raise and not notice any loss of business.
Of course your matriarch baker stays booked up - she charges less! There is an unwritten rule in business - if you are getting almost all of the business you bid or quote, you aren't charging enough. Why work like a dog for 60 hours a week when you can make the same amount in 30 hours?
Since you were interested enough to look up my info, I feel the need to explain...Ugh!....Sorry, I hate to do that to someone - I know it's a pain to have to come and answer all this.first of all, your quote "If you go to her website, you'll see she says her average price per serving is $2.25. That's about $4-5 less than what a bakery in her area would have to charge"
$2.25 is STARTING price for an undecorated basic flavor cake, iced and filled with buttercream. But, that's not what it said - you referred to your typical cake. So what does the average cake go for? Minimum $60.00. Delivery starts at $25.00. Most of my cakes are buttercream topped with fondant accents rather than fondant topped bringing down the average total price as well as bringing down the time spent/cake. It is typical pricing in my area. I do not live in The Woodlands but there are bakeries in The Woodlands who charge more as their cost of living is much higher than those of us on the other side of the freeway. Yes, I do have clients who will drive the extra 30-60 rt miles to get my cakes rather than pay "Woodlands prices". You live 60 miles from the Woodlands? I don't understand... that could put you up past Huntsville or almost to Bryan/College Station??? Not everyone in The Woodlands are millionaires. We have the exact same issues with hair stylists, doctor visits, massages, vets, etc. Much cheaper on this side of the freeway for very similar services. It is a very unique situation. Not unique at all - that's true all over town - pockets where prices are higher. Cake prices should not vary across I45 unless the quality varies. This is because you can DELIVER the cake. In a lower end neighborhoods prices ARE lower. In a normal situation, that means they buy a simpler cake, but some are running a special program.
By your calculations, you're assuming or have firsthand knowledge that bakeries in my area are $6.25- $7.25 per serving? All my life, 52 years I've lived within 2 miles of where I live now and I've never heard of anyone in my area who charges or pays that much for a cake. If anyone does have those prices, I sure do hope they are able to attract clients. Really! I live in Houston, to the north and that's what I charge. Typical cake is about $7.03, but plenty are well over $10.
howsweet said "Goodvibrations did you just say that a group of bakers got together and decided on prices? Surely you didn't mean to say that."
As to the issue of "price fixing", that is just ridiculous! But it's what you said. If you hadn't said it, no one would have been talking about it. Just because we discuss pricing in our local cake club, that in no way implies that anyone is breaking the law. Pricing is more often brought up by newbies who can't believe anyone could or would ask for more than $1.00/serving. With time, they too learn that to make a living at it they'll have to raise their prices. I did NOT mean to imply that we all have the exact same price list or that anybody is trying to force anyone to charge a certain price. In fact, we have two regulars that are far more talented than the rest of us and they, of course, charge more. I've referred many clients to them when I can't accommodate their requests. On the flip side, we have a baker who has had a local bakery for over 40 years. She has never touched fondant and never will. We consider her a much loved matriarch in our community!!! She charges less and stays booked up months in advance. She encourages us to use whatever "newfangled" techniques we want to and charge more than she ever will. Her clients are referred to us when she has requests for anything other than buttercream. The simple implication is that similar services tend to be priced similar in similar areas and or situations. i.e. a haircut and blow dry is $25.00 average at every local salon but can be over $80.00 across the freeway. Homes on my side of the freeway average $150,000.00 or $1200.00/month but on the other side the average is easily twice or possibly even quadruple that much. If you can get higher prices for your cakes wherever you live, by all means, do it!!! That has nothing to do with how to price your cakes.
And you think it's a great idea to refer business to other cakers? That has only come back to bite me. I was referring some of my overflow to another baker...not only did I help create a competitor, she copied a specialty item I make and is now undercutting me with that item. When you google that item, now she and I come up and pretty much no one else. What a way to thank me.
howsweet said "My comments are typically understood by those who actually make a living on cakes. Are you saying that's what you do? As in, you could support a household charging what you charge for cakes? And have enough hours in the day to make as many cakes as you'd need?"
Yes, yes, and yes. I'm sorry, but I really have trouble believing your answers. The sole source of income for my household is my cakes and I charge way more than you and keep booked. How can you make it on so much less? Is it possible your contribution to your family's income may be necessary, but you'd work a whole lot less if you just went out and got a part time job?
howsweet said "So you're tired of hearing me bring this up time and time again? You can't even begin to imagine how sick and tired I am of competing with people who undercharge for cake. It effects whether or not I can pay my bills. But I'm glad your friendly group is content in its insulated bubble" The bubble is not quite as insulated as you insinuated. My stepdaughter live in a small town in another state and pays $20.00 for a cut, blowdry and color at the "expensive" salon. $25.00 for a doctor visit. $500.00 rent for a 3 bdrm. home on 5 acres. $50.00/week daycare. Even $50.00 for a childs birthday cake is unthinkable whereas I couldn't afford to return the call for a request like that. The "insulated bubbles" are all over the United States! If the prices in your area are not competitive enough within your area to make a decent living then I'm truly sorry. I don't think I was clear about what I meant. I meant that it sounded like you're in a cozy cocoon of under chargers and you all think your prices are right when they are actually way under.
And what a hair cut costs is almost completely irrelevant to this discussion. You sell SPECIAL OCCASION cakes. Totally different. Cost of living has been emphasized on this site incorrectly. It's not that cost of living doesn't matter. It's that it doesn't apply the way many say it does.
I hate that this issue is cause for such debate and try to avoid contributing. The unfortunate result is lengthy responses trying to explain. I absolutely can understand higher prices based on talent and location! If I were of a higher talent level, reality cake star or lived somewhere like L.A. or NYC my prices would ABSOLUTELY increase accordingly :) No, the unfortunate result is that people refuse to listen. Not talking about NYC. or LA. Talking about your area.
Want to hear something funny that may be an impact of your group of 15? Even though I live on the north side of Houston, I rarely sell a cake to the the north side of Houston. I always figured I didn't sell to the Spring area because they mostly can't afford my cakes, but I always thought it was really, really odd about the Woodlands. But I think I may understand now.
It would probably be in your best interest to break free of the pricing "paradigms" you're operating under. Your cake club may be hindering, not helping. And I certainly hope they don't spread to other areas.
Maybe I can't say at this point that it's your group of friends agreeing on what prices should be, but you have to admit, it's really strange that I sell almost all my cakes so far away from home but almost none in The Woodlands. Isn't it?
Edited by howsweet - 12/1/13 at 9:59am
completely tongue in cheek--joke joke joke joke joke
who's price fixing now?
kidding kidding kidding
but wow the plot thickens huh--
so do i have it right that a wealthy area seems to be getting big breaks on custom work by a pocket of cakers?
don't forget i was being facetious and light ♥ed when i said who's price fixing now--no offense--pls don't hurt me--just trying to be funny
i know it's a very serious subject and i know you've been through h & back lately and prolly have been for a long time, howsweet--
wow what a concerning revealing thread
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"....Your cake club may be hindering, not helping...."
It seems that the dilemma is created by the very existence of an 'idea' sharing community.
If you're in business for profit; It's ok to give information to someone across the globe, but not to someone you are in competition with in your own town.
It's the reverse for home bakers & hobbyist. Sharing like a Co-Op in your own town is good, Right up until they think they're good enough to make it a profitable business - legally or not.
(ps: I think these 'forum' websites make money from their sponsors either way. Dilemma creates drama creates interest like a train wreck. lots of Lookie Lous.)