How To Get What You Charge For Cakes?

Business By Kitagrl Updated 7 Jan 2006 , 2:36pm by _ChristyB_

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Kitagrl Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 3:53am
post #1 of 12

My pricing seems to run off so many people! I have cake people tell me my pricing is fine but seems like very few actually want to pay it. The thing is I always used to that I am pricing correctly, people don't seem to like it.... well a few do, but not very many.

Recently I had someone who wanted a 3D Caillou cake, possibly with teddy bear. I told them I'd get back to them after I researched to see how possible it was, and when I discovered I could probably do it, I called back and left a message that a 3D Caillou cake to serve 25 would be $80 (I figured $3/person plus a bit extra because of detail and art). (This cake would hopefully look as realistic as possible, and would include MMF... I strive to make my 3D cakes look as un-cake as possible, I am only now starting to be able to attempt this) and the lady never called me back. icon_sad.gif I hope she just got busy and forgot but.... I guess I wouldn't want to buy a birthday cake for $80 either.

I do not live in a poor area, there are plenty around here with money (just not me! haha). I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and there is lots of wealth to be found here. High cost of living as well. I wonder why I am having trouble finding a niche of people who will pay to get exactly what they want?

11 replies
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ge978 Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 4:31am
post #2 of 12

kitagrl: First of all I just want to say that I just took a look at your cakes and they are so creative. You really have a talent for this. I think we all struggle with pricing our cakes. We have to find a balance between shortchanging ourselves and pricing too high(even though we are all worth it icon_lol.gif )
I had a hard time at first too, but then I checked out other bakeries that do the same types of cakes that I do in my area and adjusted my prices accordingly.
Maybe if they think the price is too high, suggest that they can lower the price by using buttercream instead of fondant, or maybe a less detailed design.
I'm sure that you will find your niche of people soon, because your cakes are truly beautiful.

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cakes-r-us Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 4:36am
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I think you answered your own question...if you wouldn't pay why do you think they would? Or what I do a lot of times is to say for instance my 1/2 sheet is $40 but i'm discounting it to $35-that way I get the $35. My cakes posted are not my best but just a few I posted and even though I charged $35, I rec'd more. It's not sneaky---its getting what I want for my cakes. Also what are cakes going for in your area. Remember people don't value home bakers as much as a store baker in my opinion,even though we do a better job. Good luck with your business.

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snicker Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 4:52am
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I don't think $80 sounds too high for a sculpted cake at all. I think people just really dont realize. You probably really took her by surprise. Remember, her not calling you back doesn't mean she thinks your overpriced, maybe its just not in her budget. Next time she will have an idea, you never know she may work it into her plans for another event. A lot of people aren't willing to spend a lot on kids who won't really appreciate it. (Unless theres other parents there to show off to! icon_rolleyes.gif
Dont backdown, be patient. Easier said than done I know. I'm having trouble myself.

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antonia74 Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 4:56am
post #5 of 12

I hate so much that we all seem to doubt ourselves only when it comes to charging the client. Why are we so frustrated to ask for what our skills are worth?

Nobody would ever meet with a plastic surgeon and try to negotiate a price...or would they?! icon_confused.gif

The thing is...if you sell an $80 cake for only $60, do you really feel good about it? No! You've worked hard and you leave the transaction feeling used. Your client leaves with an amazing cake, $20 extra in her purse AND bragging rights to all her friends that she got something great for super cheap. So who's the winner here?? Not you when her friends come knocking on your door for bargains. icon_cry.gif

Don't do it...PLEASE! Your market is out there, I promise. Don't sell yourself short in the meantime. thumbs_up.gif

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okieinalaska Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 9:21am
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I know totally what you mean and how easy it is to doubt yourself.

I agree with the above person! Don't sell yourself short or doubt yourself. Most people have expensive taste but don't want to pay the price. Or mostly don't have a clue AT ALL about how much it should cost. She probably just had a budget of xx dollars...

Just some thoughts and take it with a grain of salt, I am no expert or anything just have some opinions on it icon_lol.gif :

I don't know what or who caillou is...(sorry) but tell her for a total 3d realistic knockout cake the price is XX but if her budget is less you can do this _____ (fill in blank) for only x amount. Also she probably didn't know how realistic or have an idea of what it would look like. If you had a pic you could have emailed that would have blown her socks off and she could see why it was XX.

Also I think if you could have given her other options for less $ you might at least have got a sheet cake order if not the cool 3d when she saw the pic.

Or maybe ask her up front what her budget was and figure out what you can do for that price range.....

Also, I wouldn't leave a phone message. Just call her and say " This is so and so, I have that price quote for you and you can reach me at xxx-xxxx." that way you have her in person on the phone and can get her talking and excited about the cake or figure out something you can do in her price range icon_twisted.gif

Oh I am rambling now... icon_rolleyes.gif Like I said those are just some of my thoughts... : )

I personally would rather not do a cake at all than to do it underpriced. I would rather spend time with my family. I am usually kind of grumpy anyway when decorating and if I thought I wasn't getting what I should then I would be even grumpier and it's not worth putting my family through that, LOL. (although as I am getting better at decorating I am getting less grumpy thankfully, LOL)

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cakewiz Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 11:13am
post #7 of 12

I too have just had a look at your work & it's brilliant! Don't underestimate yourself. If they are not willing to pay for quality, then you don't want their order. There is plenty of people out there who will pay. I know it's disheartening when you don't get that call back, it's happened sooo many times to me also.
I agree with not giving a price over an answering machine, get them talking to you, or meet with them in person so you can show them your work, they are more likely to place the order.

Good Luck

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thecakemaker Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 11:15am
post #8 of 12

I know how you feel. I have a hard time with pricing also. I've begun to e-mail a certain group of friends and ask "what would you expect to pay for this cake" and see what they say. It's amazing - the ones with money are the ones that come in at 1/2 of what everyone else comes in at. I'm learning to ask more and not give it away. At least down the road if this takes off for me people will know where my prices are. If they want something for less they can go to BJ's or the grocery store - and they sometimes do. That's ok too. I don't sell many cakes so if i'm going to sell one i'd like to make a little something on it for my time unless it's a cake i've volunteered. Stick to you guns. If you can get one person that's willing to pay and they get a good cake (which yours look to be) then their friends will buy and tell their friends and so on. If you give it to them for nothing they will always expect it for nothing along with the friends they tell. It's a catch 22.

Good Luck!


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IHATEFONDANT Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 12:26pm
post #9 of 12

This is so frustrating....but I'm with the posters who believe in sticking to your guns.

You are providing a service...and are entitled to be paid for it.

You are the only person who can place value on your work. You know the time involved and the cost.

I tell my clients that all of my cakes are made from scratch..the same with the fillings and buttercreams. That should account for

Don't give away your services. I am assuming you are doing this to make money. You won't make money if you don't charge enough to cover your expenses and to pay yourself for your time.

I would much rather not do a cake then to do it and sell myself to the lowest bidder. I work far to hard on them to let them go for less than they are worth.

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krissy_kze Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 1:19pm
post #10 of 12

I think it may be the area. I was looking at other cakes comparable to mine on other markets and people charge 3, 5 and $800! I would be doing 2 cakes a year (maybe) if I charged that. It can take me 12 hours to create a cake.

I'm doing this because I love it, not for the money. I'm still building a portfolio and getting baking practice (which I desperately need). When I feel I'm up to par I'll market my cakes in Baltimore and Philly. I should be able to transport a couple hours to get what I'm worth. I would market in the city itself. I'm lucky because my sister is an M.D. and has lived in Philly and has friends that can help spread the word. My BIL has a business in Baltimore and has excessively wealthy customers.

Once you hit the right group of people the cheap people will leave you alone. You should put pricing on your website. That way there is no question as to how much you expect to be paid. I LOVE this woman's site and I am going to do the same on mine by entering servings and price for each cake I've done.

Anyway, I wanted to commisserate with you. People are cheap and see a birthday cake as something you can pick up for 20 bucks at Giant or Weis.


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Kitagrl Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 2:21pm
post #11 of 12

Thanks all...

Yeah I knew right away that sending her a price on her machine was dumb. thumbsdown.gif Now that I have left two msgs on her machine I don't figure I can call her back again because she will obviously contact me if she is still interested. (By the way is Caillou haha....I could not find any 3D cakes of him to show her, only some flat sheet cakes).

Thanks for the tips, I will learn this for next time. I do have a few people who don't care what I charge they just want this certain cake and they know they want it and they are happy when they get it. I need to find a whole county of people like this! icon_lol.gif

I am with the poster who said if people won't pay, its not worth it... I have three little boys and I love decorating but its alot of work and its also work for my husband who sometimes has to help watch the kids and stuff like that. So really, I have to be able to profit from it or it just won't be worth it.

Thanks again, great posting...

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_ChristyB_ Posted 7 Jan 2006 , 2:36pm
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by okieinalaska

I personally would rather not do a cake at all than to do it underpriced. I would rather spend time with my family. I am usually kind of grumpy anyway when decorating and if I thought I wasn't getting what I should then I would be even grumpier and it's not worth putting my family through that, LOL. (although as I am getting better at decorating I am getting less grumpy thankfully, LOL)

I am the same way!!!! Would much rather spend time with my family than get underpaid - but hey I am working on my prices too! I had a couple of people right together say that I was too expensive, but that has been a couple of months ago and I continue to get orders! Keep your chin up.... icon_biggrin.gif

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