Need Help Pricing This Cake!

Business By laurawatters Updated 28 Nov 2015 , 6:39pm by -K8memphis

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laurawatters Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 6:58pm
post #1 of 17

Hi! My name is Laura and making cakes is something fun I like to do for my family and close friends. Recently I made this minion cake for a friend of mine, and now a friend of hers has asked me to make one for her son's birthday and wants to pay me to do it..problem is, I have no idea how to price cakes! Please help! What would y'all charge for this cake? He's 9in around and 5 layers. 55bbc55f2c360.jpeg

16 replies
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Singerssoul Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 7:42pm
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Ah, I wish I could help you but I don't do copyrighted images of any kind. However, pricing is a variable thing depending on your costs x overhead x your time, etc.   I would take a moment to search the many pricing threads here to assist you with setting up appropriate pricing for your business.  I know I had to go through and work out the factors to come up with a per serving base cost that I could then build upon for custom decorations.  Your costs will vary based upon your location, overhead, competition, and so on.  

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jgifford Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 8:36pm
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This is a pet peeve of mine so take it for what it's worth to you.  I understand that it's a giant ego boost to have someone rave over your cake and want you to make one for them - usually at a very, VERY low price. However, unless you fully intend to have a business, you shouldn't be charging at all. 

It is illegal to sell a cake of a copyrighted character without the permission of the copyright holder.  This is an adorable cake and while you didn't charge for it, it wasn't for your personal use so the legality is questionable.  If you do intend to have a business, please do the homework and the legwork and get your pricing set appropriately; otherwise, you'll be known as the "cheap cake lady" and that won't be good for you or the bakers you undercut.


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laurawatters Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 8:49pm
post #4 of 17

Oh, I had no idea about any of that. Not trying to start a business..just a one time thing. But thank you!

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Magda_MI Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 9:05pm
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I can almost guarantee that they're expecting to pay less than what it costs you in ingredients and supplies to make it.  Most people have no clue what a cake like that costs to make, or how many hours of labor are involved, so if you give them a reasonable price, they'll think it's outrageous.  Even if you decide to do it for cost, make sure they have a realistic idea of what that cost is likely to be.

*Last edited by Magda_MI on 31 Jul 2015 , 9:06pm
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laurawatters Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 9:31pm
post #6 of 17

Thank you! What they originally asked me to do it for seemed a little low to me and I definitely do not want to undercut any of the local bakers in my area. That's what I was concerned about.

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Shockolata Posted 4 Aug 2015 , 9:05pm
post #7 of 17

I recently agreed to make a birthday cake for a friend's son, then got cold feet and she had to look elsewhere. She got quoted £130 + delivery charge for something that was not as she wanted it. We discussed it and we both thought it was excessive. Then I began looking at the cost of making the cake, pricing everything that I would need, down to the electricity bill for the oven usage (there was a handy calculator online), to the petrol for getting the ingredients, the ink for printing pictures/templates and of course the cake materials, box, boards. It came up to £113.33! As that was way out of her budget, I persuaded her to use the tin sizes I already had instead of buying a whole new set and I bore the cost of the ink, petrol and petal dusts. When all was said and done, I had worked on the cake for 5 days and made roughly £15 profit, so each of my days was worth £3! As you can imagine, no one can make a living charging £3 a day for labour - heck, I pay my cleaner three times as much per hour to clean up the mess I make. So I would recommend you sit down with an Excel sheet and put everything down (and beware of the amount of fondant as I miscalculated and needed to buy more) to come up with a cost. Then you can add what you think is fair on top. Also, if you are making cakes once in a blue moon, the materials you buy won't last you. Any open fondant will have to be discarded after 3 months in the freezer for example and you'll find that petal dusts will lose their vibrancy, candy melts will absorb humidity from storage and won't be usable... so it is actually fair to charge a friend for buying fresh ingredients - after all they won't want something stale and below par just because they are doing it on a budget. I have so much respect for the professional baker who quoted my friend £130 now that I have sat down and calculated everything instead of just buying and losing track of expenses. Hope sharing my experience has helped. Good luck with your commission!

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laurawatters Posted 7 Aug 2015 , 5:29am
post #8 of 17

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Shockolata! Great advice, and definitely some things I hadn't thought about before :)

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Apti Posted 7 Aug 2015 , 6:38am
post #9 of 17

@laurawatters:  Darling cake!  Would you mind sharing what they suggested as a price? 

What the long-time forum members here usually encounter is that a "first-time-someone-asked-me-to-sell-a-cake-like-this" results in the potential buyer thinking that $30-$50 "sounds about right, because, after all, it's just flour, butter, and sugar".

Here is a superb article that will provide some insight into pricing for custom cakes:

*Last edited by Apti on 7 Aug 2015 , 6:42am
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Pastrybaglady Posted 7 Aug 2015 , 5:15pm
post #10 of 17

@Apti  This was a great article!  I especially liked the part that talks about making cakes for friends and family. Lots of great ways to think about doing it.  "If the person is going to act picky about the design like a customer they can pay like a customer." - genius!

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Apti Posted 7 Aug 2015 , 10:19pm
post #11 of 17

@Pastrybaglady   I'm drawn to pricing threads like a moth to a flame.   Since there are 100,000's of new cake decorators asking about pricing on the forum, it is very convenient to respond by posting the link to the article on the CakeBoss software site.  

The software is the creation of a CC member, Kelleym, and her husband.  Not only does she handle 'The Pricing Question' beautifully, the software is very reasonably priced and provides many of the tools to enable new bakers the opportunity to determine their costs and actually learn how to figure out pricing.  

I've probably provided that link to over a 1,000 new bakers over the past 4 years.  Glad YOU liked it as well!

*Last edited by Apti on 7 Aug 2015 , 10:20pm
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laurawatters Posted 8 Aug 2015 , 3:02pm
post #12 of 17

@Apti  Thank you for that link! That was a great article!! And the price they suggested wasn't quite that low, but $130.

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Apti Posted 8 Aug 2015 , 4:41pm
post #13 of 17

Thanks for sharing, Laura.  $130 is far more than many of the prices we've heard, so the person who asked you to make the cake may have purchased custom cakes with appropriate custom-cake-pricing from another source.

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costumeczar Posted 25 Nov 2015 , 11:59pm
post #14 of 17

If you're making software to tell people to use the cost of goods times 3 formula, please don't. That's been discussed on a few threads and it's generally more applicable to a large production bakery, but for custom cakes it doesn't give you enough to cover expenses and time plus still make a profit.

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julia1812 Posted 26 Nov 2015 , 3:28am
post #15 of 17

With the x3 formula a really big gum paste flower would have a price tag of just over a dollar for me then. Sound very wrong!!!

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Jedi Knight Posted 26 Nov 2015 , 6:18am
post #16 of 17

Seriously though - that X3 is just crap.

If raw materials cost me $20 then you're telling me to charge $60. What about the fifteen hours it took me to make the cake and the wired sugar flowers?

Are you seriously telling me that four dollars an hour is acceptable? After taxes etc on those four dollars what is left?

Unskilled labourers make much more than that - I have many years of experience and a great deal of time and money invested in my craft.

Do you pay your hairdresser four dollars an hour? After all, it's only a little bit of shampoo and maybe som colour, right? I got my hair cut three weeks ago and it took forty-five minutes. I should have paid him three dollars then because it took less than an hour..............

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-K8memphis Posted 28 Nov 2015 , 6:02pm
post #17 of 17

i knew what you meant bakerybutler -- some of us get all carried away -- it is a viable method especially for the beginners to get an inkling as to how it works to try & price things -- so many come on here & say -- 'i don't have a clue' just like our op -- it will work as much as you put into it -- i never thought for one moment that you meant for ron ben israel to toss his prices out the window and use the three times thing --

yes it is a base price pricing method for beginners and a very good one -- 

not everyone is going to calculate the cost of every toothpick and paper towel for their first ever cakes that they sell -- this is one way for them to not get skunked too bad --

as far as undercutting others by pricing too low -- it is simply endemic to cake decorating -- there are no secrets there are no protected materials, formulas or ingredients -- no degrees to work for -- no certifications -- it's a wide open field ripe for beginners world without end amen --

this entire current generation of cakers undercut the last generation/s so it's ironic to hear them squeal when it's continuing to happen to them -- enabled by all the great products and helps available everywhere even freaking walmart and my local grocery store a half mile away -- hell if they charge times three that's better than not times nothing

best to you

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 28 Nov 2015 , 6:39pm

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