How Do I Calculate Charge For Custom Cakes?

Decorating By Cricketina Updated 4 Oct 2009 , 8:18pm by Cricketina

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Cricketina Posted 4 Oct 2009 , 6:25am
post #1 of 4

Im sure someone has asked this before if so im sorry! but I am having a real Dilema!!! I live in Fort Collins Colorado!

How do you all charge for custom and or tiered cakes? by slice by tier? Im confused icon_rolleyes.gif and how about custom cup cakes.. prices?

Last year my daughter ordered a custom topsy turvy cake for her sons 1st Bday and they charged her $4.50 a slice that seems high! I dont know ?

But I have been taking deco classes all year from awsome teachers Nick Lodge, Ruth Rickey Norm Davis and Zane and more and 3 sets of Wilton courses and I am getting good and I know I could duplicate this cake now...but this other cake artist has been in business a while...she is talented but she is not very nice at all...she does what she wants regardless of what you order and gets upset if you Question her!!! I want to make money but I dont want to price gouge and this lady has the corner of the Market and she needs some worthy competition icon_smile.gif I am also going to the NYC cake convention to gain even more skills I am taking this opportunity serious because I LOVE it and Love Making people Happy and giving them what they want ...its their cake its thier pics and money and memories of their occasion,,, I just want to help make their ideas and dreams come to life! icon_biggrin.gif Thanks ladie icon_wink.gif s for your help and good advice

3 replies
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PinkZiab Posted 4 Oct 2009 , 11:15am
post #2 of 4

I live in Northern NJ, and my fondant cakes START at $5 a serving, so $4.50/serving for a custom topsy cake is VERY reasonable (of course I have no idea what the market is like in your area).

As you continue to learn about cake decorating you'll realize how many hours going into a custom cake. Not just making the actual cake, but you have to shop for ingredients, planning and design time, etc. The more intricate the cake, the more time it takes to make. Many cakes have components that take hours to mold and create, and must be done days or more ahead of time to make sure they are ready.

All of this comes into the pricing. The $5/per is my base price... that's for a basic fondant cake with a simple border and details. Whether you give your pricing by serving, by tier, or as an overall price for the case really doesn't matter. An 8" cake serves 24: I can price it at $5 per serving or $120... same thing, it's all semantics. Same thing with a wedding cake for 150 people: $5 per serving, or $750. Just remember, when pricing a cake for someone, if they ask for 150 servings, you must charge for the # of servings you MAKE, not just what they want. It's nearly impossible to make a cake to the precise servngs that someone wants, so depending on the design and # of tiers required, the cake for 150 they want may actually serve 160 or 175... that is what you must charge them.

As far as other details, some people start with their base price, and then add-on from a "menu" of set prices for additional elements ($x per flower, $x per bow, etc), while others (like me) just look at the overall intricacy of the design, and develop a price based on how long I think it will take me.

Pricing is one of the toughest aspect of this biz, but you MUST get paid what you are worth! It's not just the cost of your materials (but don't forget the cost of boards, boxes, dowels, etc... not just the flour, sugar, eggs, etc)... that is minimal. You must get paid for your time, cover your utilities (gotta bake it in the oven, and the gas bill comes every month!), gas to and from the cake supply store (or the shipping costs to order products). It doesn't mean you literally add in the amount of a tank of gas to the cake price, but you have to make sure you're charging enough to cover all of these things. All those classes you're taking? You want to make that money back as well, eventually.

Look around at other local cake businesses and bakeries to get an idea of what the market is in your area... do not price yourself below them to become the "affordable" cake lady... you need to get what you're worth and should stay on part with the local market.

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indydebi Posted 4 Oct 2009 , 1:13pm
post #3 of 4
Originally Posted by Cricketina

How do you all charge for custom and or tiered cakes? by slice by tier? Im confused icon_rolleyes.gif and how about custom cup cakes.. prices?

By slice or by tier, it becomes semantics.

A 10" round serves 38. I use rounded numbers so let's say 35 servings x $3/serving = $105. If it's $3/serving, it's $105. If it's priced per tier, it's $105. Selling the by the tier just means you've already done the math and you're giving them the total price.

Some cakes are so labor intensive that you can't really charge by a pre-set per-slice but by the job. Again, semantics, because at the end of the job, when you determine that the 10" round is worth $210, then it's just a do-the-math thing to divide by 35 servings and find it's $6/serving.

I have what I call a Design Fee. A 10" round is $105. Oh, you want a chocolate skyline around the perimeter of the cake? There's an extra design fee of $75 for that.

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Cricketina Posted 4 Oct 2009 , 8:18pm
post #4 of 4

Thank you sooo Much for the great tips!!! Now I have a plan thumbs_up.gif

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