I'm trying to figure pricing and I am very very new and i know I'm slow even with something simple. So i'm wondering how long it takes for someone who is experienced to do lets say a simple 10' round layer cake with piped rosettes on top and smooth buttercream sides. Just making something up that i"ve done already to get an idea. I need a realistic time to shoot for and to know to be fair with charging labor hours.
Well when I worked in a bakery, the time allotted to pull the "blanks" (layers) from the freezer, fill, crumb coat and put on the finished outside coat of bc, decorate with 5 roses, some vines and a few leaves, and either leave space for a message or write a message, was . . .wait for it . . .20 minutes.
Wow l ok. I need to keep practicing. So can anyone tell me how many hours of labor you charge for a simple Cake such as this? I'm assuming you don't charge labor hours for freeze time of your crumb coat and other down time like that?
I don't charge by hours of labor. I charge by serving. You'll find that's the most common method. You can't ask the customer to pay more because you're learning/slow at decorating. Now, if the design is ridiculously complicated, the per serving price goes up, sometimes way up. You just get a feel for it with some experience under your belt.
Yes I know which in why I'm asking what a normal amount of time would be. And you can't figure your cost per serving without figuring in your labor costs. Unless of course you aren't charging your customer for your time.
I'd say 30 minutes for something simple.
I'm kind of in your position, in that I'm getting ready to begin selling cakes since my state is finalizing cottage law regs, but have been baking cakes for my very large extended family and work colleagues for overnight five years.
I say it takes about two hours to bake a 10 cake. That includes a quick wipe down of my kitchen beforehand, prepping and pulling out some ingredients and cake pans, making the cake batter, and clean up after. I usually like to bake around prime time so I also watch tv so I'm not (nor do I need to be) as efficient as a worker in a bakery.
I also allocate two two hours for decorating. (Also done while watching tv). This includes making my buttercream (don't have the volume of cakes to justify making more than for whatever's I'm baking that weekend), filling, letting frosting layers harden in the fridge, and clean up.
While I actually enjoy making 10" cakes with simple buttercream flowers and it's my go to cake for family events, I really don't intend to sell 10" cakes unless the customer wants fondant figurines or extensive decorations. It's not worth my time. It doesn't take me any longer to bake a tiered cake and only marginally longer to decorate it.
hope this helps..
i am exceeding happy i have important bakery skills because it increases efficiency which can increase income and if i can decorate two, three, four cakes or more in the time it takes others to set up their turntable -- i win --
getting faster should be everyone's goal -- everyone who is doing this for money --
but lookie if you can sell four 10" easy peasy cakes while you bake/build a couple tier cakes over a weekend -- you've increased your income considerably by making efficient use of your time -- like we know -- it's not that big a deal to make extra cake batter and icing -- don't discount the easy ones -- add them in to your schedule carefully -- money makers! this is why being fast is a very desireable goal --
so if leah does three ten-inch cakes -- that's 120 servings times $4 -- nearly $500 for an additional hours' work -- c'mon
and i'm sure leah charges more -- i just picked a reasonable/do-able number
I'm new and very slow. Still figuring out a efficient way to work. But I still need to charge for what would be a more normal amount. So I just don't know how many hours labor to charge my customer. Right now I have it at 1.5 hours. My ingredient costs are pretty high due to them being allergen friendly recipes. So I'm kind of guessing labor based on what time I think it might take? So I'm looking for an average amount of time since I don't know what the norm is and how long it takes me know isn't what I'm able to charge. I messed around with frozen to melting buttercream on my last cake literally all day.
Hi... Just a thought... Maybe you could search other local specialty cake bakers in your area and see what they are charging for a similar cake. This will give you an idea of what the going rate is for your geographic area. Time wise, I think that could vary. Like the others said, faster is better (money wise) but that takes time and practice. It's a learning curve.
Best wishes to you!!!
I have and their finished prices are the same price as just my ingredients!
so you can buy in bulk to bring down costs -- but you need to practice to tighten up your skills -- i too never charged specifically for my hours -- i see all the chatter online about charging a good hourly wage but if you do that you'll loose a ton of money in the leah example i gave in post #8 --
one way you can get ahead in this crazy business is get fast and use great ingredients you buy in as much bulk as practical -- it's a production business -- "make it happen" like tim gunn always says -- and make it happen faster than last time -- just gave yourself a raise --
you simply cannot spend all day wallowing in buttercream woes when the chick down the street is popping them out in 20 minutes -- practice practice practice --
you can't charge for your time -- you charge for your expertise and right now you're building expertise -- so you're not making anything -- ramp up the expertise and you'll generate some income
are you buying already mixed gf flour? that stuff is expensive -- you need to buy bigger quantity and learn how to blend your own
I've had best results from the premix.
Charging for your time is what business books/cake boss and other businesses say to do so that's why I'm following that model.