How much to charge?

Hi every one, Im new on the cake bussines, but its getting better and better for me, the only thing Im dealing with is how much to charge on my cakes, some of my clients think Im too sheap and others too expensive, but I consider each cake as a piece of art… is there some advice of how much to charge for cakes and decoration that you expert cant give me? I will ve very thankfull to you if you help me with this.

Other thing about it is I deliver cakes on my city wich is in Mexico at the frontier with USA and also Im starting to recievieng orders to deliver in Chula Vista and SanDiego across the border, should I charge the same or mor for the deliverance in USA? and how much the decorating cakes cost in USA…please Help!

Inspiration's by Urbano

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8 Replies

Cakemummy ...

Hi Carmen, this question pops up all the time. If you search cake decor for this question on blogs you should get some of the answers put up before. Someone did say there is an app called CakeUlater just google it. What I do is work out exactly what it has cost me to make the cake ( everything including electricity or gas) and then times it by 2.5, then if you have a cake that has a lot of fiddley details, modelling, calculate how many hours you have spent doing them and add amount to cover the time spent. I’m only doing this as a hobby so maybe the professionals work it out differently. Hope this helps! :-)

Smckinney07 ...

There will always be people who are going to think your charging too much, it’s just the way it is. Honestly, I am willing to bet you at undercharging (many people just starting out tend to, it happens).

Another member put it like this; imagine you at going to a restaurant and ordering a dessert for ever member of the wedding (party, baptism, etc.) and most of those, as well as grocery store cakes, are frozen, shipped, and stuck in a microwave.

You are making fresh, ready to order, custom designed cakes and they aren’t for everyone! The people complaining are not going to be the type of target customers you’ll want anyway.

When I make a cake for someone we have several consultations, design concepts, more back and forth communication, paperwork, etc. Then you have to make sure you have your boards, dowels, ingredients….(which should also be figured into the price. Your time; shopping, planning, kitchen prep, cleaning-and we haven’t even started baking and decorating. Even if you bake from home you still have overhead; gas, electricity, water, insurance, etc. All these things should be figured into your pricing plus what you want to make an hour.

People don’t always realize just how much work goes into making cakes like these. I would step back and price out your recipes, time per project/by piece (like stripes on a cake-time how long it takes you and charge accordingly) obviously the complexity of the design is going to be a major factor in your pricing. I have a list of my base prices per slice stating that each cake is charged according to design but my customers still have a general idea of my pricing.

You don’t want to be known as the ‘cheap cake lady’, you don’t want to undercharge simply to get an order-believe me you’ll be resenting it eventually! It does take a while to build up a customer base but I promise you if you charge accordingly and stand behind your prices people will want to come to you because they know they are getting a quality product and they’ll be willing to pay for it.

Pricing is one of the most difficult aspects of the business side of what we do. If you have local bakeries in your area you can see what their base prices are too, I’m not talking about Walmart or Kroger-I mean a custom cake business. Obviously you don’t want to copy their prices (or undercut them) but it might make you feel a bit more confident about your pricing structure once you get it figured out.

Good luck!

Smckinney07 ...

Here are several links that will help, I tend to get carried away ;)

I also wanted to mention just how lovely your cookies are! They are very detailed, clean, just beautiful! For me cookies take forever! You should definitely charge for your time there! It’s very difficult to find someone who can make nice cookies like that!

Generic Pricing Matrix:
http://www.docakes.com/PricingCakes.html

Pricing matrix like the Cakulator:
http://bakecalc.com/

Cookies pricing matrix:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AvflfTGZ15dhcG1CRzk0dUI1Vzl3UzB2a0w5WUJnYnc&newcopy

Cakes pricing matrix:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AvflfTGZ15dhcG1CRzk0dUI1Vzl3TFQ2X2laVWtDQUE&newcopy

Great Blog about pricing and business:
http://jasonkraftblog.wordpress.com/

Ursula Rhea ...

I agree with Smckinney07 “You don’t want to be known as the ‘cheap cake lady’…” This is where I am at now. When I first started I just charged what I thought was in their budget because I was just beginning but now a few years later… well let’s say I am called the “cheap cake lady” and have had some issues with customers who don’t feel they should pay full price or the “new” price. So if you start off right you’ll be fine. Good Luck!

Inspiration by Carmen Urbano ...

Thank yoy very much for all your advices they are very usefull to me :) Keep in touch please ! Thank you.

Laura Loukaides ...

All I can say is, never charge less than you are worth.
When I price my cakes I always feel like they are too much money, but, thinking about it, they are all handmade pieces of edible art that people cannot buy in supermarkets, if people want something extra special they need to pay that little bit more so it can be personal and above all, taste better.

Looking at your work I can see that you take time to achieve clean and presentable work, to me, that is worth every penny, good clean work is always worth more, and, I agree with the others when they say that you don’t want to be known as the “cheap cake lady” it can sound a little insulting for someone with your level of skill. Cakes take time, your time, and you need to be properly rewarded for it.

Good Luck with your work!!

- Laura Xx

Fun Fiesta Cakes ...

Your cakes do not look like a beginner made them – they are professionally done. – so feel comfortable charging what other professionals do.

Inspiration by Carmen Urbano ...

Thank you all for your comments and help!