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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Sherry- You definitely have the right idea here! I am fairly new to the business and I have some friend/family that gawk at the prices and go to walmart. Well, that's ok. They have since seen some of the work I do and totally regretted their decision! My sister-in-law turned to walmart and her cake was misspelled! (And it was too late to fix it!). I live in a very rural area and my pricing is based on how much work I plan to put into it. I take ingredients price and time (at $10/hr) for a buttercream cake. I avoid fondant as it does not generally taste good. I have a thriving customer base that comes back frequently.

Also, I saw some of you were stating that you were going to need to promote your cakes more. Well, one of the things I did is contact local churches and ask when their next potluck was going to be and if I could donate a cake. I donated a pretty, but simple buttercream cake. (usually about 5 flowers and maybe some other techniques) I put a stack of business cards next to it and this worked great!

Good Luck!
For those of you (us) just starting out and don't feel comfortable charging full price (what it is actually worth!) because of your experience level, or it is a friend or family member, I have a suggestion. Not that I would do this because I bake in my home and selling cakes would be illegal (that is my disclaimer). Quote much higher, but then tell them that due to your relationship, or that you needed this one for your portfolio (that sounds much better than "gee, I've never done one of those before"), that they are getting your friends and family/portfolio/spring/holiday/etc. discount. That way any referals you get won't automatically expect to get the say great deal. If you are a legal business (and I know that none of us are anything but) put it on the invoice. Cake 1000.00, discount 900.00, total 100.00....Not only will they love the cake, but they will feel so special;)

Hi there...

 

Was just researching on pricing of cakes and thought i would post my question in this thread.

 

How do you all calculate the cost of fondant used on your cakes?  Do you measure how much fondant is being used on the cake and then calculate the cost? 

 

Any thoughts/advice would be great!!

When I started cake decorating - I kept a note of every single cost that went into each cake, including box, board ribbons, flower wires.   Then I estimated how much time I thought that it would take me - and also had in mind just how much I wanted to earn per hour for my work.  By adding the total cost of the ingredients, and making sure I got paid for my hourly charges, whilst still undercutting the local novelty cake shop slightly, I knew that people would order from me as the cakes were as good as the shop. 

 Whilst working through making the cake, including any shopping ,designing and cooking (and washing up!!), I kept a very simple note of each half hour that was spent on the cake.    Having quoted the ingredients cost plus say 4 hours labour - I then knew if I spent longer - I was never going to get paid any more, because an estimate is an estimate.  So if I did it quicker then I had more profit.   The thing about being a cake decorator - it is very easy to swallow up a lot of hours just tweaking the cakes to make them 'perfect' to your eye.  I would always do some market research to find out what the local bakeries are offering and make sure that for a similar offering you are charging less than them - as your overheads are lower.   Eventually you really get a feel for how long a cake will take to produce as your portfolio of cakes grows and then this task really does become easier and much more accurate.    Hope that this helps.   (But beware of the relatives and friends who ask you - could you 'just' knock me up a cake - which normally means they want your masterpiece at supermarket prices!)

 

On the legal side - it depends if you are UK or USA based.  I am just looking at what decorators have to do to ensure that their business is on the right side of the law.   

how do you determine how many slices are in a cake? what are the dimensions per slice?

do you find that people compare how much they want to pay with how much the local bakeries charge? I'm brand new at this

I loved reading your answer Sherry.

Sherry Qualls said:

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

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