I am very new to the decorating business, & have some questions about how long things can last. If any one can give me pointers I'd appreciate it! Here are some things I've been wondering:
1. How long will Royal Icing Flowers last stored in a box, so I can make them ahead of time when I'm free?
2. How long will Fondant stay fresh after putting it on a cake & can it be refrigerated after putting on a cake or how many hours until it would harden too much on cake?
3. How long will gum paste/fondant flowers & decorations last stored? i like to practice & work on them on my free time, but don't want to use them on cakes if they are too old.
4. How long does MMFondant last after making it? (i thought it was like 3 months or at least as long as the marshmallow bag experiation date states) Do you ever store it in the refrigerator or freezer?
5. How much do you charge for your 1/2 sheet cakes (basic decorations w/ BC) I have a 12"x18" size?
6. How much do you charge for Fondant cakes & decorations?
To address your last two questions...to figure out how much to charge, you first need to how much a cake is costing you, including the ingredients, labor, and overhead (liability insurance, licensing fees, etc.). Once you have your total cost, add 20-30% for your profit margin.
If you are baking at home, you will also want to take a look at the laws in your state regarding selling food made in a residential kitchen, as some states do not allow this (in which case you would need to rent a commercial kitchen).
You can make your flowers way in advance.
People don't eat gumpaste flowers,
only kids eat RI flowers because they don't care if they break a tooth,
fondant flowers are rarely eaten unless they're flat soft flowers that aren't removed before serving the cake (which you wouldn't make too far in advance to dry anyway).
Even BC flowers can be air dried for future use, so have fun makin' those flowers whenever you feel like it!