Charging A Friend For Cupcakes?

Baking By aces413 Updated 16 Jan 2011 , 5:35pm by aces413

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aces413 Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 4:50pm
post #1 of 18

Hi everyone,

A friend just asked me what I would charge for 100 cupcakes for her friend's baby shower. So, my friend would be paying, and I'd be making them for her friend's baby shower (I don't know the pregnant person).

Thing is, if I charged her what I would charge anyone else, it would be about $250-$350 (depending on decoration and whether or not I drop the price), which she probably can't afford. I'm just starting out with my cupcake business, so I'd like to get my name out there by doing this for her (and leaving business cards, of course), but 1) I'm not sure I have the space/capability to make this many cupcakes at home, let alone transport them in my small car and 2) I want to make a little money on this without killing myself, but I don't want her to break the bank.

Thoughts? Should I negotiate with her on a lower price? Would it be worth it? And if so, how do you transport $100 cupcakes in a Honda Civic?... icon_razz.gif

17 replies
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yums Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 5:14pm
post #2 of 18

I can't comment on if you have space to do this or how to fit in into a honda- I think only you can determine that. There are many different boxes you can transport in. But for cost- maybe you could charge her just for the cuppies and trade decorations on them for advertisement? It would cost under $40 for me for liners, cakes and icing so I think you can still make money and not charge your friend $350. But you have to answer if that is worthwhile to you.

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sugarjones Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 5:15pm
post #3 of 18

100 cupcakes are super easy to transport, I've done more than twice that in my Mazda 3! I buy all my boxes from Big River Box Shop (you can google the website) and all you need is 4- 24 count boxes (and inserts) and a smaller one for the remaining 4. I order them by the case but they now allow you to order them by the 10 count and shipping is free!!

I would give her a break on the price since you're just starting out, it would be great advertising. Maybe $1.50 or $1.75 each but with just sprinkles. Maybe offer her a free decoration for every 12 cupcakes, it won't take you much time.

You'll still be making plenty of money and it should only take you a couple of hours to bake them all.

Good luck with your business!! icon_smile.gif

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aces413 Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 7:00pm
post #4 of 18

yums--thanks...I haven't really been able to calculate how much the cake/frosting ingredients cost me, so thanks for that $40 estimate (including liners). There are 2 cupcakeries near me that sell cupcakes for $2.50-3.00 each, and the 3.00 each place doesn't do special decorations, so I figured my charge was reasonable...but considering actual cost (about 40 cents each) and the fact that I'm new and it's for a friend...I can definitely cut that (but tell her not to tell anyone she got a deal icon_wink.gif )

sugarjones--thanks! Yeah, I've purchased boxes from there (LOVE the free shipping). Did you put them in the trunk? I was afraid to do that, because it seems that my trunk is bouncier than the cabin of my car. I didn't want the cupcakes to "jump" and smush on the top of the box (I use a Wilton 1M tip, so there's a decent amount of height on my cupcakes). I was thinking of just putting them in the trunk and securing them so they don't slide around. Is that how you did it? The issue with freezer space is that I like to flash-freeze before I transport decorated cupcakes (it's harder to smudge the frosting that way), but I definitely don't have the room in my freezer...oh well. Were yours room temp or frozen when you drove them?

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momg9 Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 2:41pm
post #5 of 18

I have a few families who I do free or reduced prices for. My policy is if it's for their immediate family they get the discount, if it is to take to a function they pay full price.

When I first started out I gave too many discounts and found that some would think "oh, I know someone who does cakes, I'll bring the cake".

Now, I'm pickier as to who gets a discount. Those who do are happy to pay full price when it's for someone else.

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aces413 Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 3:15pm
post #6 of 18

Yeah, I just "officially" opened my business (got a facebook page), and friends are saying "I'm going to be placing an order soon!"...I'm starting to worry that everyone is going to expect a discount. I decided that I'll probably just give casual friends a break by cutting the delivery fee and giving them free decorations. That way they feel like they're getting a deal and I'm not really losing anything. But for the baby shower...that's more of a marketing opportunity. I'll have 100 new people introduced to my cupcakes, so that's worth it. As long as everyone keeps their special deals on the hush, it shouldn't be a problem. At least I hope not. icon_smile.gif

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indydebi Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 4:44pm
post #7 of 18

for those just starting out, I strongly recommend you print a price list and when people ask "how much?" just hand them the list. somehow it's much more official when its in writing.

My price list includes number of servings and sizes. I listed (for example):

11x15 sheet .... 2x3x2" pieces = 25 servings
11x15 sheet .... 2x2x2" pieces = 35 servings

Price (regardless of how you cut it!) = $50

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jewels710 Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 5:13pm
post #8 of 18

You can do this! I know 100 cuppies sounds like a lot, but it goes a lot faster than you'd think. Do them like an assembly line.

I buy the plastic see through cupcake holders. I can actually decorate them right in the containers. Each holds 24 so like the prev. poster said, you'd only need 4 then a smaller extra container for the additional 4. (My local provider sells holders for 2, 4, 6, 12, &24) I personally would take either a 6 or 12 holder. This would hold your remaining "4" and some additional that would cover any that get destroyed if that is something you are worried about. Most recipies don't make just 100 cuppies evenly anyhow.

The plastic containers also stack nicely which helps in transport. I sometimes have put a blanket around the containers to keep them from sliding around. As far as chilling them. I live in Michigan, so this time of year I can stack the finished, boxed products on the counter top in my garage to "chill" or as you say flash freeze them before transport. If you dont have space like that just put them out in your car and if you live in a chilly area they will be fine. Remember, you don't want them too cold before the event or they will be hard and unpleasant to eat.

Getting to pricing. I have a friend that I offer a pretty good discount to because she gets me tons of business. I usually sell to her at about $12-$15 per dozen depending on what she's after. (She was getting a 5% credit towards her purchases when she would get me an order. Ex: If someone she referred to me ordered a $100 cake, I would give her a $5 credit towards a future purchase, which she could use multiple credits towards...she got me A LOT of business). Lately she has just wanted cuppies so the $12-15 is what I have been doing for her.

After all that rambling, my point was that you have the opportunity for a lot of potential business here. I would def give her a nice discount as long as she is going to allow you to put some cards out. When people get to taste your product, it changes everything. But do make sure that the price stays between the two of you, whatever you decide on, but make sure to tell her the price per dozen you would charge to anyone else so that she can pass that along when people ask. That is what my friend does too!

Have Fun!

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SwtCanuck Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 5:48pm
post #9 of 18

For transporting I put the cupcakes into parchment lined strawberry or tomato boxes I pick up from the produce dept. You can stack them as high as your car ceiling and they are very sturdy stacked together. There is also enough "head room" for taller cupcakes. hth

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ccr03 Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 6:00pm
post #10 of 18

First, work out the costing on your own. I know yums has good intentions, but is $40 scratch? Specialty liners? Do you use premium ingredients?

Second, what kind of advertising? I honestly have found that people who say "I'll tell EVERYONE about you" never bring me in business. To VERY close friends, I give a 30% discount - VERY GENEROUS - I know, but it is only to extremely close friends or friends I can practice new techniques on.

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aces413 Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 6:28pm
post #11 of 18

jewels710 & SwtCanuck--Thanks for the info! I can stick them in the car to keep cool during the winter, but then I wonder about summer and how I would handle large orders in the summertime...::sigh:: I don't even want to think about that right now. That would be pretty difficult!

Currently, I'm super paranoid about ruining my little cuppies during transport. I'll probably calm down once I get more experience under my belt. But the possibility of smooshing my little beauties after all that hard work is very scary to me right now. I'm sure everyone has been there/is still there to some degree.

indydebi & ccr03-- So far, for regular customers, I plan to charge $19 for a half dozen (plus delivery of $5-10 depending on distance) $36 + deliv for a dozen, and $70 + deliv for 2 dozen. I have 2 cupcakeries near me and one charges $3 per cupcake, the other charges $2.50 per cupcake. So, I would charge $2.75 each (but I don't sell singles), then I add on the cost of the box to the, technically, people could let me reuse the boxes if they don't need them and I can shave that off the price? Or leave it on? I don't know.

But yeah, my cupcakes are from scratch, and some involve fillings, Oreos, etc. Some are pretty simple. So, maybe it evens out. The local $3 cupcakery is pretty popular...their store is really cute, etc. I've tried the cupcakes, and I think they taste artificial and dry. I've heard similar reviews. I haven't tried the $2.50 place, but their stuff isn't nearly as pretty as the $3 place (I'm intentionally not using names here).

Mine are actually good (and pretty)...I'm not usually the most confident person, but if anything, I know that my cupcakes taste good. That said, I'm pretty comfortable with my pricing. But I am female, and we tend to sell ourselves I worry that maybe I'm overcharging. This is tough!

I'm sure my friend would allow me to put a few cards out, and I would definitely script her with the regular prices and tell her not to give away my secret discount price. But yeah, I think having 100 or so people see them in person and actually taste them would really do me some good. Especially since I don't think I'd be losing money by cutting her that much of a deal ($175 for 100). If anything, I'd break even (or make a little bit), and potentially get some business out of it.

But, what do I know? Does anyone think I would lose money and not really get much benefit from doing this? I'm a newbie. I'm glad I'm getting useful feedback here. Thanks so much to all! thumbs_up.gif

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imagenthatnj Posted 30 Dec 2010 , 6:33pm
post #12 of 18

If you ever run out of inserts, or just want to use regular boxes, I think this is a pretty good idea.

Tturn a cupcake pan over, mold a piece of aluminum foil to the bottom of the pan, put the aluminum "mold" in a box and set the cupcakes for delivery in the aluminum foil.

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sugarjones Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 3:12am
post #13 of 18

I have never put them in the trunk because I can't keep an eye on them. I take a board and put it across my back seat to make it level then I use that skid-proof shelf liner on the bottom and between each box so nothing slides around. And the key is to have your cupcakes in inserts and not just flopping around in the box. Totally worth the extra money!! I always transport them room temp because I use a lot of candy clay for my decorations and it doesn't do well in the fridge.

I was nervous like you when I first started but you'll work all the bugs out and soon it'll be smooth sailing icon_smile.gif

PM me if you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help you. I've done the commercial kitchen rental thing for 3 years now and I'm opening my storefront this March which I'm sure will be your path soon as well.

Best of luck!! Break an egg! haha

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Jennifer353 Posted 10 Jan 2011 , 11:31am
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by aces413

Currently, I'm super paranoid about ruining my little cuppies during transport. I'll probably calm down once I get more experience under my belt. But the possibility of smooshing my little beauties after all that hard work is very scary to me right now. I'm sure everyone has been there/is still there to some degree.

Sorry to not be of any practical help with boxes or pricing etc because I'm just a beginner and dont do it professionally but to try and ease your concerns on the transport - when you have decided on your method of packaging, etc bring some cuppies on a trial run! If you make a practice batch or something (or some you've made for your family to eat), ice them in a simular way to the ones you will be making for real, pack them up as you are planning and put them in the car, drive around for a bit and when you get back home see how they have travelled. Take into account if there are any particular things you are worried about (speed bumps, round-abouts or whatever you think might be worst for them and if they will be on your route to the shower) and go on those in the trial, driving as you would when delivering for real. Ideally do the route to the shower (depending on distance). If they travel well then no need to worry about it, if they don't, look at what happened and how you can get around it for the next time and if necessary do another trial run. Obviously you don't need to make 100 for the trial run!

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aces413 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 2:09am
post #15 of 18

Thanks sugarjones and Jennifer 353! Great ideas! I like the board and shelf liner idea a I'll combine them and do a trial run with a board in my backseat and shelf liner. The shower isn't until March, so I have plenty of time to find a reason for a trial run. Either way, I'm sure people won't mind me bringing them cupcakes. icon_wink.gif

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gr8yf Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 2:24am
post #16 of 18

imagenthatnj-what a gr8 idea thanks for sharing.

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tryingcake Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 4:09am
post #17 of 18

I charge EVERYONE, including family, a minimum of twice my tangible cost. This way I'm covering my cost and power and paper towels, etc... EVERYONE.

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aces413 Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 5:35pm
post #18 of 18

Good point, tryingcake. Turns out, the baby shower friend changed her mind and went with someone else (something I'll need to get used to in this business). Oh well. I have other orders coming from friends/family. In most cases for casual friends, I'm thinking I'll charge them what I charge for a basic cupcake, but throw in free decorations and free delivery. Close friends/family get a deeper discount (probably twice my cost, like you said).

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