Pricing Handmade Roses/flowers

Business By Trynity Updated 4 Jun 2008 , 6:52pm by pastrylady

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Trynity Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 7:46am
post #1 of 8

Hello everyone! I looked around to see if this has been discussed before and couldn't find it (so sorry if this is a repeat). I just read the discussion on the cupcakes (very helpful and informative!!) and would love to have the same discussion about handmade flowers. Pricing is definitely the thorn in my side! I can't tell you how many times I've grumbled to myself as I made a cake or cupcakes because I undercharged because I didn't "think" they'd pay what I really wanted to charge. Why do I undercut myself like that! I'm definitely worth it! I've been decorating cakes for a decade!

Anyway, no more! I'm ready to lose business if they don't want to pay me for all my hard, custom, work and for all the time it takes to make this stuff. So, that brings me to the topic (finally! LOL).

I had a customer see a cake I did with handmade real roses (I use a 50/50 mix of fondant and GP). She wanted a design using those roses for her daughter's baptism for 60 people. It's one thing to do flowers for a wedding cake where you know you are going to charge hundreds of dollars, but for a small cake, when I know they have Walmart prices in their heads - no way. It's too much work. Anyway I figured out a pricing structure which I'm going to give her and SHE can decided how much she wants to spend based on the price per rose.

I made her 4 sketches (I don't charge for design, do you?), each with a base price and then an estimate on how many roses I will need to design the cake with my suggestion of which type to use and how much the total would be with that rose (but she can switch it if it's too much). Here's my pricing breakdown:

Price is based on how many I can get done in 1 hour...roughly and all my fondant/GP roses get dusted:

Mini Buttercream roses: $.50 ea
Med to Large Buttercream Roses: $1 ea
Mini Rolled Roses (Chocolate clay or Fondant/GP): $2 ea
Regular Size Rolled Roses (CC or F/GP): $3 ea.
Real Fondant/GP Roses (each petal handmade): $4 ea.

Is this fair? Am I too low? Can I go higher? I definitely don't want to go lower. I haven't figured out prices for any other flowers because I just don't get that many requests for it, but please share if you have a pricing structure for other flowers too! the way this woman asked me for a tasting...for a different sheet cake she wanted for 25-30 people. Whatever! Talk about wanting something for free! I also raised the base price on the baptism cake because she wants whipped cream frosting and a chocolate mousse filling. My cake list has these items marked as higher price due to ingredients so I can't figure her out. A tasting for a sheet cake, but then higher cost ingredients? So maybe she'll pay the $4 ea., if not...I'll enjoy a movie with my husband that evening!

Thanks guys!!! I love the great advice here!


7 replies
peg818 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
peg818 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 11:32am
post #2 of 8

I'm not in a city and i get $5 per gumpaste rose, the rest of your pricing seems pretty reasonable. But a full blown gum paste rose can take alot of time, don't be afraid to charge for it.

As far as a tasting, i don't usually go that route, most that are buying from me have already had my cakes so its not an issue. But if she insists on a tasting, charge her for it. After all ingredients aren't free.

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btrsktch Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:14pm
post #3 of 8

I think your pricing structure is a little too complex. I would roll the buttercream roses into the price of a cake. I mean, realistically, it takes you about what, 10 seconds to do a bc rose?

Fondant rolled roses I would consider similar to bc. Within reason, add to the price of the cake.

Gumpaste is a whole 'nother animal. I am pricing at $7 each for any gumpaste flower, and the price gets lower depending on how many flowers overall. I won't go any lower than $5 a flower for 50, though. Arrangements of 2 major flowers, 2 bunches of fillers & 4 buds are charged at $20-25. (price varies based on the type of filler flower). HTH

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Trynity Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 1:00am
post #4 of 8

Ok, you made a good point. Maybe I'll just give her the price (instead of the breakdown) as to what the cake would be with the roses as buttercream. Then it seems like I'm charging at least a dollar too low on the gumpaste roses....yeah!! I'd love to increase that, so I'm glad I asked. Thanks guys for your help!!

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TexasSugar Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 3:48am
post #5 of 8

I do not charge extra for (most) design elements. I think it gets too confusing for the customer. Plus when I am doing a cake, I don't know exactly how many roses I am going to do on it. Besides where do you draw the line? Do you charge extra for other design elements as well? I think you should just build that into your price per serving and not charge for each individual thing.

I do agree charging extra for gumpaste flowers, because those take more time and talent to create, but I can't help you with prices on that.

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Trynity Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 5:59am
post #6 of 8

I've never charged for any other design element other than handmade flowers and I think the reason I broke it down so much was because I was thinking that way she could decide how much she wanted to pay. I estimated the amount of flowers I would need by laying it out on the pan and I put that number on the drawing, then she could figure it out from there. I wouldn't charge her more though if my estimation was off, just up to that amount.

I agree that nearly all design should be just included in the cake price. But now that you point it out I suppose it is a fine line between making gumpaste flowers or lets say gumpaste I charge individually for those as well then or do they get lumped into the overall price. Now you got me thinking.

I hate pricing this stuff out. I think it seemed easier for me to charge for them individually because, for some reason, I always feel this need to explain my price. I really need to get rid of that feeling and only explain further if they ask. Thanks for pointing that out. I already sent the sketches so I'll know better next time I guess!

TexasSugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
TexasSugar Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 3:33am
post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by Trynity

I hate pricing this stuff out. I think it seemed easier for me to charge for them individually because, for some reason, I always feel this need to explain my price. I really need to get rid of that feeling and only explain further if they ask. Thanks for pointing that out. I already sent the sketches so I'll know better next time I guess!

Oh I think we all hate the pricing part of things, atleast until you get it all figured out. I'm at the point now where I really need to sit down and figure it all out (since prices of things have gone up) to make sure I am atleast making money on my few cakes I do. I'm tired of pulling numbers out of my head.

Do not explain the reasons for your costs!! This leaves people with the feeling that you aren't comfortable with what you charge or that you are justifying your prices. They are what they are and leave it at that.

That's why I'd stick with a price per serving or a price per cake and not charge by rose/decoration/design. That way if they ask how much is a 8in cake you can say an 8in round has 24 servings and at $2 a serving is $48 dollars or my 8in cake is $48. And you don't have to say but if you want 6 roses it on it that is a additional $6.

Yes maybe you will have a cake with alot of decorations or roses on it that will take more time than your typical cake. But there are also those easy/simply decorated cakes that take up less time so in the long run it evens out.

I do think that Fondant cakes should cost more because they do cost more to make because of the purchase of the fondant (or time/ingreidents to make it).

I also think that fondant figures or gumpaste flowers should have an additional charge because of the time/talent that they involve. You can't walk into Walmart and get custom made gumpaste flowers or fondant farm animals. Not every decorator can (or wants to make them) so they are an extra thing you are offering and because of the time and again the ingredients they should have an additional price tag.

pastrylady Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
pastrylady Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 6:52pm
post #8 of 8

You definitely have to charge extra for the gumpaste flowers, but you don't have to explain your pricing to the customer. When I get a request for a cake with gumpaste flowers, I give them the price for the cake and a price for the flowers (not per flower, just $X.00 to decorate the cake with the flowers as they requested).

Honestly, whether they get three gumpaste roses or a dozen doesn't make a great deal of difference. It doesn't take me 4 times as long to make a dozen roses as it does to make three. The more flowers you make in a sitting, the faster it is for each flower. If I charged per flower I might have to charge $20 for one flower and $20 for 3 flowers, since I'd probably spend the same amount of time making 1 or 3.

This could get very confusing to explain to the customer, so I just say $X for the cake with the gumpaste flowers, and $x- for the cake without. When their eyes widen at the price (and they always do) I explain how these flowers are made petal by petal over a number of days. Every time I explain the process people understand why I charge so much...and they can decide if it's worth the price. Again, if they say they want fewer flowers to lower the price, I explain, as I do with scuplted cakes, that a lower number does not necessarily lower the price a great deal since my labor does not change that much.

I don't charge extra for butttercream flowers since a certain amount of decorating time is assumed in my basic pricing.

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