Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I read through a lot of other discussions and I still didn't find what an answer.

 

How do you figure price per piece? How do you figure out what to charge at all? Other than recouping what I put into it, I am lost on what to charge.

 

I may have to really start promoting my cakes and see what it takes to be a legal business too, as the place I work is going to go through a "reduction of force" and I don't know where my job stands on the cut list.

 

Any help on any of these topics would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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I struggled with this too, especially since I only really make cakes for friends and family right now. I've just about come up with a system I can live with and it seems to be working ok for me so far. For reasonably simple cakes I charge twice my costs and for more detailed cakes I go up to costs x3. This seemed like the best compromise between not wanting to charge too much and getting something back for all my work. I can easily spend 20+ hours on a cake so I don't think it's fair for people to expect me to do that for nothing and if they do then I'm just as happy not doing one for them! So far it hasn't been an issue tho, people seem to appreciate what goes into them and don't have a problem with my charges :o)
Sarah, not everyone can charge the same price/slice. We all live in different areas. You can start by finding out what your local bakery charges for a cake and then divide that price by the number of servings to come up with a cost/serving. If it's for a basic buttercream cake, then you have a starting point.
u can go on-line and see what other places are charging for the same type of cake in your area.. i did see some were there is a computer software u can buy to do that among other things for at home bakery ect..
Sarah

the BIGGEST factor in determining price per slice is...."what do you want to make" and nobody can figure this out but YOU!!! the other components (ingredient cost, and what other cakes in your area are going for) are easy to determine. Alot of decorators have a hard time coming up with what they want to make because they are afraid that this drives the cost of a cake out of customer range. But baby its B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S (period)!!!! and if a business doesn't make a profit...its headed for a death plunge. Not EVERY customer is YOUR customer. If you are making custom cakes, cakes that Walmart doesn't offer, cakes that local bakeries can't compare to...DO NOT be afraid to charge what they are worth (that means most of all your time and talent) . If you do decide to go full time with this (or even just for xtra income) the fastest way to sink the business is to not value your work and under charge!!!! You will soon burn out from working your tail off for peanuts.

YOU have to decide what you want to make. I know that's not the easy answer, as there is no set formula for this...but as Terri stated you can find a starting point for what you want to make/price per slice by reviewing pricing of the local competition (and Walmart is NOT your competition)

With all that said, I wish for you a raging success if you decide to do this as a business.

Sherry
I think undercharging is extremely common with most of us!! and sometimes I feel guilty asking a high price- BUT there is a lot of labour intensive hours . I have heard of a program called "cake Boss" that actually helps you cost out every single ingredient used and does it automatically. Haven't tried it yet- it's on my wish list!!
thanks everyone. I think the hardest pat for me IS trying to determine what my time and efforts cost. I appreciate your input.
Sarah,

Play around with some numbers on paper...let me give you an example:

2 tiered round cake (Chocolate Wasc Recipe), stacked
Iced in whipped ganache
Fondant covered
fondant bow
buttercream border.


Now research the cost of ingredients and supplies. Estimate the time it would take you to make the cake (baking, icing, making fondant, making decos, etc) and multiply that by the Federal minimum wage (I think its 7.25 now) and add the two costs together.

Call other bakeries in your area (or visit them online, many have pricing on their websites) and see if your cost is comparable to what they are charging. It will take you a little time, but might give you a better understanding on how to price for your area.

HTH
Sherry
Jaala McLardy said:
I think undercharging is extremely common with most of us!! and sometimes I feel guilty asking a high price- BUT there is a lot of labour intensive hours . I have heard of a program called "cake Boss" that actually helps you cost out every single ingredient used and does it automatically. Haven't tried it yet- it's on my wish list!!

That's my problem, I'm always afraid to quote a price thinking I'm going to scare them away. I have had a few customers choke on the price, but then I remind them it's not going to be an 'average run of the mill grocery store cake', it's going to be custom made. And once they see the finished cake, they can't thank me enough. I did make a simpler cake for a friend as she simply couldn't afford the cake I had designed and price quoted, plus pay for the party. She and the birthday girl were extremely thrilled with the outcome and from that cake I got her older sisters grad cake to do next month. It works for me at the moment, and living in a small country town I can't see charging big bucks for the cakes.
I also am struggling to quote a price for a friend of mine.

- 1 yr old birthday
- a 2 tier round cake w/ fondant
- serving 60 ppl

Any thoughts? Also it is my first time doing a fondant cake!!!! So i have to factor that in too somehow...
i TRY to stick to the rule $100 per tier, but it is hard when it's a friend and if you're doing a lot of decorations - that's a lot of work. I charged a friend $160 for a small 2 tier wedding cake with 6 sugarpaste orchids(not enough i know!!), but saw on a website they were charging $20 per flower!!!

Mizztry said:
I also am struggling to quote a price for a friend of mine.

- 1 yr old birthday
- a 2 tier round cake w/ fondant
- serving 60 ppl

Any thoughts? Also it is my first time doing a fondant cake!!!! So i have to factor that in too somehow...
See, this is where I think I am shorting myself.

I agreed to do a two tier fondant covered cake with and Iris cascade for $95. I haven't even purchased the cutter set I found yet and that is $15 I think, before shipping. *sigh* But then again, maybe the area I live can't hande much more. I'm not even sure how many people that will serve. It is going to be a 10 and a 6 with probably 5 flowers, since they are bigger.

Maybe my "reasonable" prices are going to bring more business?

Jaala McLardy said:
i TRY to stick to the rule $100 per tier, but it is hard when it's a friend and if you're doing a lot of decorations - that's a lot of work. I charged a friend $160 for a small 2 tier wedding cake with 6 sugarpaste orchids(not enough i know!!), but saw on a website they were charging $20 per flower!!!

Mizztry said:
I also am struggling to quote a price for a friend of mine.

- 1 yr old birthday
- a 2 tier round cake w/ fondant
- serving 60 ppl

Any thoughts? Also it is my first time doing a fondant cake!!!! So i have to factor that in too somehow...
Sarah,

depends on the definition of "reasonable"...are you losing money? are you just breaking even? because that is not reasonable. Reasonable is making a profit!!!!! .....and what usually happens with "reasonable" Sarah is that basically it is under charging...once you get a reputation for under charging (simply viewed by many as cheap) it will be way too difficult to raise your prices to a profit level. You have to see the big picture, over time your skills will increase, your confidence will boost so it is better to find a middle ground somewhere, a pricing structure that you and the customer can live with..........would you rather make 10 cakes for $20, or one cake for $200.00, which is more work...which is more profit. Hope this make sense.

Sherry
Sherry

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