To start a business or not and how to charge

Hi,
I am self taught and just been making cakes for my daughters and a few friends (3!) I love the kids birthday cakes and am getting better and better with each one. My question is I have now had strangers asking me to make cakes. I am a little scared about doing this. I was always going to look into it when my youngest started preschool in 2015, but I have had a lot of people ask me after trying to sell some In the Night Garden cake toppers from my daughters 2nd birthday. I would love to hear about other people’s experiences with starting to take money from people (I am very anxious they won’t like it) and also how do I charge people. I am in Sydney Australia. I have attached the last 2 cakes I made for my children for feedback.

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7 Replies

Debbie Noye ...

Hi there, I live in the UK and am in the same position but I really want to say I think your cakes are fantastic and well worth paying for.
I’ve just had my visit from the Environmental health which went well and now I’m on to the next stage of trying to grow my business through word of mouth and facebook.
I firstly started to work out how much it cost me to make a cake as from this you can then get a good idea of what to charge. When I say work out the cost, I mean for everything, for example 350g flour, baking parchment used, cake board, boxes, electric, marzipan, icing sugar, food dyes, the time it takes you to make the cake, bake it, decorate it, wash up, etc. This process made me want to scream as its very time consuming, however, when it comes to giving a quote its totally necessary. I normally ask for 50% of the cost price of the cake then the remainder on pick up. This can be done via paypal – they have a business option which is free. I hope I have helped, didn’t want to sound patronising:-) Let me know how you get on:-)

IceIceTracey ...

I only make cakes for friends and would one day like to start a small business. I think you’re cakes are fab, but I would advise you to do some research on copyright – I read an article a while back where a decorator was pursued and fined for breach of copyright. Good luck with your venture :-) x

Karen MacFadyen ...

It is all about knowing what elements make up a cake – the ingredients plus all the extras. Remembering parking, gas, electric – as well as knowing what you would like to charge for your time too. Then once you have this figure in mind – provided you have an estimated time it will take you to make and ice the cake – then the art of selling kicks in. A lot of cake decorators really struggle with this bit, they love the design and creation, but then to turn into a sales person and ask for money….. that is the challenge and where a lot of talented cake decorators will fall down – because they do not stand firm on their price and are almost embarrassed to ask for the true value. Then they start to undercharge – just because they love the creation part, and the general public now have a strange idea that cakes should be made at supermarket prices. I am on a mission, to help the cake decorators, to get paid what they are worth – with happy customers totally delighted to pay for this service. The same customer will willingly pay over £100 for cut blow dry and colour – why should the hairdressers only get paid what they are worth – and not the cake decorators? …:) Kx

Allways Julez ...

Hi, don’t forget to consider cost of insurance and fees that might be imposed by council etc.
When I added a few things up, and considered the limited hrs I can work due to serious health issues and other commitments, I figured I would struggle to break even.
The time is not right for me… but I wish you all the luck.
Just go in with your eyes open.
Julez
P.S. Do you have a facebook page? It might help you determine how much interest there is at a local level, as well.

Allways Julez ...

I also agree with Karen… in the area that I live, I could not attract people that were willing to pay prices that would even be equivalent to minimum wage. I am not going to bust a gut, just for the love of cake… I also value time with my family and friends. I reserve my time and energy for those that will appreciate it!

FELICIA ...

Don’t much about the business angle of cake making, I m a beginner and just make for my family and some friends! Just want to say that ur cakes are amazing!

Sarah M ...

I’m in the same predicament. I am self taught, and have had a couple of wedding cake requests that I’ve had to turn down, as I’m not a business. I won a national competition which piqued people’s interest. If/when I start charging for cakes I want to do it by the book, and not charge too cheaply. My skills need honing first anyway, so I want to practice for a couple more years.

Julied I think your cakes look great, they are better than a lot I have seen from cake companies on facebook. You could certainly charge for your work.

Julez, I’m astounded that you don’t have a business – your work is amazing!