Pricing! Help!

Forum: Cakes & Cake Decorating

I’m just starting out selling my cakes but I find it so difficult to charge people! I try to figure how much fondant is needed and my work but since I’m just starting out and my work still has some flaws in it, well I think people will think I’m charging to much. Can someone just tell me what an average price for a fondant cake would be? I’ve been asked to do a five tier enchanted forest cake. 6, 8, 10, 12 & 14 inch cakes. I was thinking of charging $250 including delivery. Am I crazy or just about right for a beginner. Help!!!!!!!

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Fidanzos ...

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it really depends on where you are and what your competitors are charging. In addition to that, my absolute best advice is to sit down with a pen and paper, write down ALL your costs. Every cake board, seperator plate, ribbon, teaspoon of vanilla, cup of flour, any special tools you need to purchase for this endeavor, ect. Mark up the price you paid for these things by 10 – 15% for the cost of time and gas for going out and getting them. Then decide how much your time is worth. When I started out, I was just hungry for the experience, and I charged $6.00/hr. Nowadays, I charge minimum wage.

The only thing you should really be estimating in the beginning is how long it’s going to take you to complete certain tasks related to making your custom cake – because, well… you’re new to it.

Three things to write on sticky notes and keep in front of you while setting up cake quotes:
1.) YOUR time is worthy of charging for. Every minute.
2.) If you don’t charge enough, you’ll end up resenting it in the long run after you’ve pulled all your hair out and cried your last tears.
3.) You’ll have a customer at any price point, really… You’re creating a CUSTOM cake. Not a frozen, canned buttercream, industrial tasting slab of cake put out by a grocery store. You’re one of a kind.


Fun Fiesta Cakes ...

Wow, that’s a big undertaking for being a newbie – the cake you’ve been asked to do is quite big (and heavy) – I feel that $250 – including delivery – is too low. As Holly mentioned, add up all your costs and especially your time. Unfortunately, we tend to underestimate our worth and feel uncomfortable charging what some may consider a high amount – charge a fair price and you’ll feel great at the end. Best always.

Jenniffer White ...

I agree that sounds very low, but I don’t know your area or your skill level. My advice is to get a stopwatch and wear it around your neck. If you are working on the cake, let it run. If you stop for lunch, talk to the mailmna, pick up the kids, etc. then pause it. It might not help you price THIS cake, but it will let you know the exact time you are spending on your cakes. It is very easy to lose track and you guessitmate it took 10 hours when the actual time was 16. Big difference!

Tammy ...

i would also call around to local bakeries and ask what they charge. i live in Savannah, GA and the cake prices out here are outrageous! for tiered cakes like wedding cakes most charge per serving which is $4 for buttercream and $6 for fondant per serving (serving size 1"x 2″ × 4″). i don’t charge THIS much, but i do make my pricing competitive. if you need help figuring out how many servings are in each tier i use this cakulator :)

hope this helps!
P.S. i also think $250 is too low!

caymancake ...

That is soo low! The wedding cake they’ve asked you to make serves 208….so you’re charging a little over a dollar per slice. $250 wouldn’t even cover the cost of ingredients for a fondant covered cake. It sounds like they want a. Particular theme too which takes even more decoration etc. Trust me, I practically gave my cakes away when I started and I regret it now. For me, the bare minimum for the cake should be $3-4 per serving for a basic cake plus extra for details. Work out how much your supplies are going to cost:
- cakes (cake mix or flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter etc)
- icing/ganache for crumb coating your cakes (butter, powdered sugar, chocolate, cream etc.)
- fondant (and you will need a lot!!)
- other supplies, like cake boards, dowels etc.
- extra decorations for the cake
-water, electricity etc
- your time!!

Work out all of those things and then see what you think is a fair price from there. Like some of the other posters said, call around and see what other cake decorators/bakeries are charging for similar cakes. That will tie you a base point.

Hope that helps and good luck!!! That will be a very time intensive cake, so please don’t short change yourself!!

Raewyn Read Cake Design ...

I agree with all the other posts, very wise words. It’s so hard when you start out but if you under-value your time and effort now, it will be very hard for you to charge more down the track. I charge a minimum of $5 per serving am comfortable at that price point. Be confident in your ability, don’t compare yourself with cheap, mass-produced cakes at the supermarket and DON’T forget to include the box price! lol! I constantly forget this one as it’s always the last thing you do and I recently got stung on $25 dollars worth of cupcake boxes! I hadn’t thought to include the cost in my quote and that really trashed my profit margin.
If you find yourself wavering, just think how much time away from your family is worth and good luck :)

Kendra ...

Personally, I would charge $570.50 based on Wilton’s party-sized portions, prior to any extremely detailed embellishments. $728 for wedding-sized portions. That’s $3.50 per serving for a tiered fondant cake. I’m in Oklahoma so it just depends on where you live and what your competition is charging as well as what your time is worth to you. I’m a beginner also in that I’ve only been selling my cakes for about 16 months. Also, I work rent-free out of the commercial kitchen at my mom’s restaurant and I live in the middle of nowhere so there isn’t much competition. You should factor in your situation as well.

Tiffany Palmer ...

That is very under priced for such a large cake, even if you are a beginner. It’s not just the time it will take you to do this cake, but all the ingredients, time from your family, delivery, the time it will take to stack/dowel/assemble/etc. Also do you feel like this is something you want to take on? I think that is the most important question. A 5 tier cake of that size is a large undertaking. How many servings are they looking for? Right now I have servings starting at $3.50 per serving and price goes up depending on design. Pricing is the hardest thing but if you under price yourself now, you will regret it later (talking from personal experience). Also I never include delivery in my price for the cake. I calculate it separately. Right now I charge a flat fee of $30 for the first 15 miles and .55cents every mile thereafter. Be sure you calculate mileage there and back. Gas is high right now and you have to take that in to account as well. I can understand you not feeling right charging so much as you’re a beginner, but $250 is entirely too low. <3

Cathy ...

Do a Google search of the words Alice’s Cake Pricing Matrix – someone put in a huge amount of time in building a pricing matrix and you can download it for free – it’s a great business tool.

Sophy ...

Images for cake serving chart and price

I hope this helps!!! :-)

Amanda’s Little Cake Boutique ...

Noooo! Having had a quick flick through your photostream, you are talented.

I’m in the uk, and for a five tier cake, you’re looking at £500 plus sugarwork. Sounds very very cheap to me.

Does this price cover your costs? I very much doubt it.

Don’t underestimate yourself. If you under charge now, you’ll find it difficult to increase prices later.