Selling My First Cake (Hopefully!!)... Need Advice!!!

Decorating By melissablack Updated 7 Apr 2005 , 6:36am by flayvurdfun

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melissablack Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 2:37am
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Agh! Can somebody give me advice... I am having someone come over tomorrow morning and look at pics of my cakes, 'cause she wants me to make a cake for her daughter's baby shower (hopefully!!). I am just SO nervous 'cause I am not sure what to charge, first of all, I want to be fair, but I can't do it for nothing! It takes a lot of time and effort to make a nice cake. I'm not a professional either, so I don't want to charge too much.

Pricing is the main thing, but also, I haven't made many cakes, I only have about 15 pics, and some of them are before I had even finished my classes, and not that good, so I'm kind of insecure.

I called a local bakery, and they charge 85$ for one of those doll cakes (wonder mold)... I didn't ask what they charged for other styles, but that is just an idea of what prices are like in my town.

Do you charge by the cake style, or per serving? How much would you charge for the following cakes? (basic designs, buttercream icing...)

8" round, 2 layer
9x13", 2 layer
2 tiered 10" round & 8" round
character cake

I hope this post makes some sense... I'm in a dither right now!

Melissa icon_smile.gif

9 replies
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Lisa Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 2:48am
post #2 of 10

I don't have a lot of answers for you. I have sold some cakes but I mostly do them for friends and family and fun. I charge by the serving because that is easiest for me. I would take into consideration what it costs you in both time and materials (ingredients, board, box etc). Be fair but don't cut yourself short just because you are not a "professional." I would also only show your best pictures. Then break out a few magazines with baby shower cake pics and show her ones you can do. This will give her an idea of not only what you have done but what you can do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you! Good luck!

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CarolAnn Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 3:43am
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Hey, this is exciting! What I do is show people my little photo album, which even has my class cakes in it, so they can see what I've done. I have quite a few baby shower cakes to show so if they aren't set on something in particular it might help them decide what they want. And any of them can be changed in various ways to go with a color scheme etc. I'm rethinking my pricing now after sitting down and figuring my time spent on different cakes lately. I did cakes for my daughter's school last year and priced them WAY low because they were her co-workers. Well no more of that. I also deliver all my cakes so I have to factor that in as well. I'm inclined to start pricing mine at a per serving rate based on a little higher than the bakers in my area plus the transportation etc. I haven't done all the figuring yet, and I'm reading up on what others are doing too. I guess all this to say not to sell yourself short. I am realizing more with each project just how much time and skill goes into my cakes. I may not be a "pro" but I make a very nice and yummy product and I get rave reviews on every aspect of my cakes. This isn't my living but I sure want to be fairly compensated for my hard work. It's darned encouraging too!! Hope this at least bucks you up so that you aren't so nervous about your first meeting with a client. You'll do good, then come tell us how it went. You only learn by doing. Have fun!!

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MrsMissey Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 3:45am
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Good luck to you...keep us posted! If I were you, I wouldn't try to give a price right on the spot. Listen to what she has to say and see what it is she wants. Tell her you will work up a price and let her know...I think that is fair. That will give you a chance to jump back on here tomorrow and maybe we can give you som more ideas of pricing. I find it easiest to price a cake (not wedding!) by figuring out my ingredient costs and multipy that by three..and make adjustments if I feel it's necessary! It's quick, easy and a fair price!

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cakesbycham Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 3:48am
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Maybe you need to start by charging by slice for basic cake $1.25 per. serving I am not sure about tiers but if i put extra flavor or unique flavor and its a 8" i would sell it for 30-35 dollars also it depends on your area you live in.

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sgirvan Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 4:29am
post #6 of 10

Good Luck tomorrow thumbs_up.gif My comment to you would be that you need to remember that you are good at what you do and that you are work the time and effort that you put into that cake. If you just slap it together then sell it cheap, if you put your best into it then that is what you base your price upon. I usually charge approx $1.50 per serving and that is a pretty basic cake with flowers, boarder etc. If it gets fancy and I do BCT or royal icing transfers then I up the price because of my time not the cost of ingrediants since that is usually not increased by too muc. MM fondant I charge more because of the time it takes me to work with it. Your time is worth it and if you start off too low, it is hard to raise the prices by much when you are doing really good and great things!

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melissablack Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 4:59am
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Thanks for the support! I just love you ladies, you are all so nice and helpful!

I am just gathering some pics from different sites, and putting them in a file on my computer to show the lady (all cakes I know I can do), so she can get some ideas.

Do you think 25$ for an 8" round cake is fair? I don't think it would be worth my time to go much lower.

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flayvurdfun Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 5:17am
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I like that idea of showing her cakes that you can duplicate. It shows you did some "homework" and she will be thankful for that.... when I was looking at wedding cakes I went to a couple of bakers as well, and they showed me their first cake....then a bunch of others to show me they have really gotten the decorating down... I ended up going to Publix grocery store.... I wanted a private baker, but the fact of the matter was the money at that husband and I were doing the wedding ourselves, so I had to go with the do your homework for bakeries around you, prepare for your meeting, heck even greet her and ask her if she would like a drink and some can even have a small cake ready so she can actually see your work... then hit her with your album...You will do great...just keep telling yourself she's a friend (even if she isnt, it will keep you calm) and you can do this...radiate the sense of reassurance with her.....

gee, if I could do that I'd be fine.... but I've seen your work you are great!, This will literally be a PIECE OF CAKE! birthday.gif

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veejaytx Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 6:26am
post #9 of 10

Hi Ya'll, this is all really good advice and information! Just wanted you to know I'm storing it away for future reference. I have only sold a few cakes myself, and have wondered if I was doing it right. I'm making a cake a month for my son's office, which should be good for referrals later, and I'm getting $35 for that, and it is a basic half-sheet with their logo which is TIC TOC, easy to do. I have done some comparison shopping, and here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area some half-sheet cakes are going for as much as $85-$90, I really can't see that, but these are major bakers, so I guess they can charge and get that much!

Of course you have to charge for delivery! At the price of gasoline can't afford not to. I made a little 5" cake for the manager in my apartment complex, so far not even a thank you, but I think it is a good way to get out the word that you are a baker/decorator.

Good luck with your meeting, and with your first paid project! Be sure to get it in writing! icon_wink.gif Janice

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flayvurdfun Posted 7 Apr 2005 , 6:36am
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I once knew a friend that was the manager for an apartment complex where I lived. She was an awesome manager...her waiting list for apartments were long because word got out that she was great and all the things she did for you.
She put on a pool party for the complex once a month during the summer, had parties once a month after the pool closed, and here's the reason I bring it up here...when she knew you were moving in, and knew what apartment you were getting, she had a bakery make a small cake..I think 6" saying welcome to the neighborhood, or a fruit basket, something, she then had it sitting on the counter with a welcome card and some little gift, like a small votive holder with a candle in it.
SO VEEJAY maybe you could "befriend" your manager that you made a cake for tell her that story, maybe since she has seen your work, whether or not she said thank you, she would start thinking about that...of course this can go for anyone reading this....just another way of getting the word out.

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