I've been baking and making cakes for years. I do them mostly for my kids, but I've also done other birthday parties, and I also did wedding cupcakes once as a gift for my BIL's wedding.
Recently my sister told her friend who's getting married in June how great she thinks my cakes are and showed the friend pictures. Her friend would like to hire me to make her wedding cake based off of my sisters recommendation and the work of mine that she's seen (she's aware that I'm just a hobby baker, nothing close to a professional). She's also been quoted $800-$1200, and she's hoping not to spend that much. I had a look at a couple of the photos she's interested in having her cake look like and it definitely looks like something I could manage, but I still have a lot of questions, starting with what I should charge (that will be the determining factor of whether I do it or not). I tried to attach the 2 photos that I was sent, but for some reason they won't upload to my post.
She wants a 4 tier cake - 2 tiers of real cake, and 2 of a dummy cake (which I have never done before), for approximately 60 people. I was thinking of doing a 8" and 10" real cakes, and not sure if I would do 12" and 6" dummy? I also need to clarify if she wants the tiers to be 3 layers or 2. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada which will likely make a difference on the prices. The photos are simple and elegant looking. Appears to be white fondant (but could also be white BC), with some gold flake type detailing, and artificial flowers either on top (one photo shows white flowers with gold painted edges cascading down the side).
I don't even know where to begin with figuring out how much to charge for this. I would need to get the dummy cakes and probably a cake stand/board (that would be something I would supply, I assume?). I also really don't want to under quote because I tend to take my time when I'm doing a cake and it takes me ages. I'm also pretty busy (we have 4 young kids), so while I would love to make some extra money and I think it might be a good experience, I don't want to sell myself short.
Any tips and advice is very welcome! I'll try to attach those photos on my from my phone.
CassiaM, simple and elegant doesn't mean easy. The dummy tiers will be just as much work to decorate as the real cake. Keep in mind to charge for the the cost of the dummies and all supplies you will use for the entire cake. The price will vary on costs of various flavors to make as well as how much the gold flake will cost (especially if she wants real gold).
A very talented and successful cake friend makes sure that he is paid at least $20/hour before agreeing to make a cake and this was quite a few years ago. I'm guessing that his minimum has gone up quite a bit because he's worth it. This hourly wage comes after all the supplies are calculated, including power usage to make/bake the cake, etc.
I don't think I've been much help, but if you do make this, please post a photo.
Pricing is sooo very complicated!
Asking others how much they charge is NOT going to help you
Just because you are a hobby baker doesn’t mean you should not be paid for your knowledge and time!
There are several cake sites that help you estimate how much you should charge for your cakes. Cake Boss ( not the baker) is one. A lot also depends on where you live…larger city, rural, small town, etc. And if you have some bakeries in town that do wedding cakes, wouldn’t hurt to phone for a quote. Gives you a bit of an idea.
Well nuts!! Only the very 1st few words of my reply posted :(. Let’s see if it will post
It goes far beyond cost of ingredients. Just a very few of the 1000+ things that need to be taken into account are: time & cost of learning; equipment — from pans & spatulas to oven & fridge; non-edible supplies like toothpicks, waxpaper etc — your location is extremely important— do you & your customers live in a rural area, small town, city or major/expensive city? There are people from all over the world on These forums. What they charge has nothing to do with you partly due to their location & their money is different!
Now we get into the actual cost of ingredients - this will include the cost of time spent consulting, planning, designing, shopping, baking & finishing your creations. Your car expenses for shopping & delivery—the vehicle, fuel, insurance; tires etc; & even the “cost” of time away from family should be considered. As I said just a very few things that pricing includes!
wedding cakes basically average $4-$7 per serving more or less -- in using dummies the rule of thumb is to charge for the same number of servings you would get out of a real cake -- same time spent likw was already said --,
if your bride has been quoted that much money for alberta, that is the best advice ever -- better than i can give -- go at least $850 --
i just went back & read the rest of your post:
i'd charge $1200, plus delivery nothing doubting -- don't ask her about the number of layers in each tier unless she brings it up -- that's your call -- assume it's a 4-5" tall tier -- she's got the tired old champagne taste on a beer budget syndrome -- you don't want her micro managing on top of that -- but i mean i'm sure she's a lovely person, i'm just talking business -- your muchkins will be sans momma for a long time -- the pressure, the struggle is real -- kaching kaching!
don't ask for less than the competition! if you have four small kids do Not undercharge --
"I had a look at a couple of the photos she's interested in having her cake look like and it definitely looks like something I could manage, "
if i had a dollar for every time i was given a cake picture and figured it was something i could manage i'd have a thousand dollars -- if you haven't done that design before with the gold flake -- the gold flake alone can be a hundred dollars --i mean i haven't seen your pictures of course but there's a good reason she's got such high quotes -- her budget is not your worry --
sweet of your sister to be so loyal and supportive but this is real hard, pressure packed work