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How much should I charge for my cakes, Please Help.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I have been baking for a while now, and have taken many orders, and I always feel like I am undercharging because I am scared of what people will say if I charge too much. I am young, only 19, and I feel that people will think I am just after money...The house is nuts when I make cakes, and my mom and sister help alot, and I don't charge for my hours, or theirs because I know I take a lot longer than professionals. I feel bad, because my mom works so hard with me and in the end, even if we are happy with the outcome, she is always stressed and getting high blood pressure from all the mistakes and craziness that goes on in the process. 

 

wedding3.jpg 3,493k .jpg file

 

For the three tier with yellow peonies, I am embarrassed to say that I only charged $400...I do not know why I charged that little, I felt this is the most I have undercharged...It was a double barrel 12" (8" height), 9" (4" height), and a double barrel 6" (also 8" height). I had just gotten turned down by another customer saying my price was too high, and didnt want to loose another customer, but threw myself under the bus..and worst of all they wanted two of those...and I made both in a week and took them to the wedding(since i was invited, and set up)....I know....kill me.......

So..its been a month since I have gotten an order, and this time I want to charge fairly for the customer, but also for myself first and foremost. The customer wants the red and black three tier cake 10" 8" 6" (all 4" heights), but without the black piping..and I will be making the roses much better, because that cake I made long ago for practice, and it was my first try making those roses and I have improved in my fondant/buttercream since then.  so please help me figure out a base for my pricing, I hate how nervous I get when I get a call/ chat about a cake order because I do not know anything about charging..

 

redroses.jpg 2,678k .jpg file  

post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 

Forgot to mention, people go nuts over how the cakes taste and always say they have never tasted cakes that good...so the inside of my cakes are even more good than the outside :) no box mixes, all from scratch...even my fondant..the only thing i buy premade is gumpaste for flowers, because i have had many failed attempts at making gumpaste

post #3 of 26

Cost out your cake.  This way you know exactly what your cakes cost.  So if you have to work with a couples budget you know how low you can go to make it worth it for you.  As far a charging for your time  you never can but you really should charge by the slice.  Then add on extra detail and gum paste flowers.

post #4 of 26

First,  your work is beautiful.  As mentioned, get a cost on your cakes.  Use a spreadsheet program to layout all your costs, including non-consumables.  I am making a cake that the costs of ingredients, etc... will be around $100 without any work put into it.  So my charge will include the time it would take me to create the cake, the ingredients, office supplies, etc.. including time for dealing with the client. I take that and figure out a per serving cost to the client.

 

Also, know your market.  You won't sell a $400 cake to someone who has a Walmart mentality.  Also, don't do work for less than you want to make.  If there is that much stress, you'll get to where you don't enjoy it.  Find a market/people who see the value in your work.  If the word gets out that you will take less, people will expect it and come to you because they can get a great cake for less than it is worth.  Find out your client's budget, needs and design your cakes around that.  Don't short change yourself.

 

Now lets say the total costs excluding my time for my cake  is $100, I know I want $20 per hour to bake/decorate, deliver it, then if it takes me 20 hours to do all that so I will be asking $500 for my cake... let's say that the cake feed 50 people, that comes out to $10 per serving.    If a client can only afford $400 then I would need to adjust what they would get.  This is just an example with made up numbers but it is important to understand not only decorating but business....  I hope this helps....

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by brookerene View Post
 

First,  your work is beautiful.  As mentioned, get a cost on your cakes.  Use a spreadsheet program to layout all your costs, including non-consumables.  I am making a cake that the costs of ingredients, etc... will be around $100 without any work put into it.  So my charge will include the time it would take me to create the cake, the ingredients, office supplies, etc.. including time for dealing with the client. I take that and figure out a per serving cost to the client.

 

Also, know your market.  You won't sell a $400 cake to someone who has a Walmart mentality.  Also, don't do work for less than you want to make.  If there is that much stress, you'll get to where you don't enjoy it.  Find a market/people who see the value in your work.  If the word gets out that you will take less, people will expect it and come to you because they can get a great cake for less than it is worth.  Find out your client's budget, needs and design your cakes around that.  Don't short change yourself.

 

Now lets say the total costs excluding my time for my cake  is $100, I know I want $20 per hour to bake/decorate, deliver it, then if it takes me 20 hours to do all that so I will be asking $500 for my cake... let's say that the cake feed 50 people, that comes out to $10 per serving.    If a client can only afford $400 then I would need to adjust what they would get.  This is just an example with made up numbers but it is important to understand not only decorating but business....  I hope this helps....

;-D

"You don't have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great"

 

By a very smart 6 yr old

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"You don't have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great"

 

By a very smart 6 yr old

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post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltedbutter View Post
 

I have been baking for a while now, and have taken many orders, and I always feel like I am undercharging because I am scared of what people will say if I charge too much. I am young, only 19, and I feel that people will think I am just after money

 

Once you get as passionate about making money as you do about making cakes, you will have it made!  You must be confident in your work to confidently ask what your work is worth.  It looks like you do a beautiful job, so spend a few minutes on Cakewrecks and get a true idea of how talented you are (in comparison to many out there who are selling awful looking cakes, day in and day out).  You will get a little less scared when you see some of the stuff that is being sold out there. :)

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #7 of 26
What is wrong with making money?
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post

What is wrong with making money?

 

It is the only reason I am in business . . . and the more I make, the happier I am. :)

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #9 of 26
Oh and here I thought it was because you just LOOOOOOVE caking and think that everyone deserves a great cake - even if their budget is 18.89.
post #10 of 26

Sorry Godot, I am a big old meanie - everyone doesn't deserve cake, cookies or assorted other treats that I make - only those with enough green in their pockets.  It is the American way, and I am all for it.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #11 of 26
I was sarcastic! You know - we read it all the time here...... people underpricing their work so as not to disappoint a client.
post #12 of 26

I've also read members say they charge less (than some professionals) because they don't want to rip people off. 

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post #13 of 26
From time to time I require the specialized services of an electrician or a plumber or a mechanic. It never once occurred to me to begrudge them their pay because I think they are just in it for the money. Who doesn't do their job for the money?! Would I think I should pay the plumber less if he enjoys his job? Would I tell the electrician that he is overcharging because all he has to pay for are wires and switches? Cake baking and decorating are the same as any other specialized job, in my opinion. icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post

I was sarcastic! You know - we read it all the time here...... people underpricing their work so as not to disappoint a client.

 

I knew you were being sarcastic!

 

And I still like making lots of money. :)  LOL

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all your help and advice...Got a few more orders and this time I calculated it pretty well... and I felt a lot more confidant in my prices. Some refused, but hey its their loss not mine :) I wont feel bad about people turning me down anymore. If they don't want to pay my price then they can go somewhere else :)

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