Pricing Cakes

Forum: Cake Decorating Business

Since I strted baking I have had many people ask me for cakes and how much I charge. A couple of times I give a set price when they tell me they want something simple then days later they send me pictures of cakes with fondant and so much detail and get picky on flavors and designs.. That adds up. I was told I should start charging by the slice he from there add on the decorations my time & delivery if any. It just becomes a headache sometimes.. I love this stuff but sometimes people dont realize how much goes into making a cake.. Now I am asking them to send me any designs they have in mind so I can get an estimate of how much I will be spending. A couple times I have made cakes & hardly make any profit but because I love doing thes stuff I forget how much time and devotion I give into making a cake look nice. I deserve alil something for my hard work lol

Any suggestions??

Thanks :)

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10 Replies

caymancake ...

That was the issue I had when I first started caking as well. I ask clients the following questions before I provide them with a quote:
- flavour
- size/servings
- icing type
- decor/theme they are looking for
- photo examples if available, or I’ll draw out a sketch if they don’t have one available.

I have a base pricing per serving for basic buttercream or fondant work and go from there. Now that I know my skill level I also factor in decorating time, additional ingredients etc. I also try to keep on top of what other customer decorators are charging as well. That helps me gauge if my prices are too low, too high or in the average ranges.

Personally, I’ve gotten to the point where my price is my price – take it or leave it. As much as I love being in the kitchen the time away from my family takes a toll so it really needs to be worth my time and effort. I’d much rather do fewer quality cakes at the price I deserve than wear myself out with budget cakes and scraping by to make a profit.

Good luck – you’re work is definitely worth the money!

Maria @ RooneyGirl BakeShop ...

MiVida Sweets, I’m in the same boat as you. I love making cakes and decorating so much that I always go overboard on my cakes with decorations and end up completely throwing the client’s budget out the window. Of course I can’t go back to them and say “oh, it took longer than I thought”, or “I added a few extra touches”… in the end it is my fault for not charging the correct price and for not sticking to my guns and only producing what they paid for. But many times it’s because the client thinks my prices are too high (which I’ve done comparisons and mine are defiitely on the low side of thescale) and I reduce the price for the sake of winning the order and then end up going overboard anyway. Sometimes I say that I make the cake more for myself and the payment from the client is an added bonus, but in order to build my business I have to start thinking like a business women. Caymancake is right, your price needs to be your price and take it or leave it and it is better for you and your business to take a profitable order than one you will spend a lot of time on with no profit – I need to learn this lesson for myself too. Good luck!!

Priscilla ...

Thank you & this info def helped I need to start thinking lik a business woman & have that mentality this is my price you take it or leave it.. Instead of wanting the order so bad I stay up so late sometimes working on a cake I “we” cake decorators def deserve the profit..

Thanks Again!!!

Priscilla ...

Maria you live near me I’m in Orange :o) Cayman cake love your stuff :o)

3DSweets ...

Great advice! Often folks are looking for some sort of range of pricing and ask off-the-cuff (in line at the grocery, at a cocktail party…) so I just say, ’Here’s my starting price for the plainest of cakes, it goes up based on how much extra fun you want to have!" That allows them to know that pricing VARIES – what a concept – and they are responsible for thinking it through. Haven’t had much trouble with it to date.

caymancake ...

Thanks MiVida!

Priscilla ...

Thank you 3D Sweets!!

Rock Candy Cakes ...

I struggle with this EVERYDAY. I compare pricing in my area and it differs so much. My struggle is that I’m fairly new and building a portfolio steadily. On one hand I know I’m priced too low for the work but on the other hand if I charge more, I won’t get the order at all. So it’s a catch 22.

I have a base price simply because I have basic kitchen rental that need to be covered first and foremost. People just aren’t used to custom cake prices. They expect the higher prices for a wedding but when they want a birthday cake for a 4 year old and they want 3 tiers decorated in a theme, they don’t realize that it actually take more time than a simple wedding cake and $200+ is just NOT what they want to spend a a kids birthday cake. I have to tell myself I’m worth it. If they could make a sculpted monkey out of sugar, they wouldn’t need to call me.

Meanwhile, I’m adjusting the prices to per slice for both buttercream and fondant for BASIC single tier cakes (stripes bows, easy borders, simple bows) and go up from there. Tiered cakes will be a slightly higher price per slice. I also don’t do “traditional” cakes, buttercream roses, “Happy Birthday Mom”. If they want that, I can’t complete with grocery stores and Costco. They can’t do the fondant and sculpted work. That’s what I’m here for.

Thanks for the advice caymancake and MiVidaSweets!

Priscilla ...

I hear where you are coming from.. It’s kinda funny I get a customer sending me a picture of a 3 tier cake & let me say its ALL FONDANT & when I tell them the cost they freakout & ask me is there any way you can lower the price.. Fondant is NOT cheap.. Good luck!!

Maria @ RooneyGirl BakeShop ...

MiVida, we are neighbors! It is so nice to know that there is someone out there that is experiencing the same thing as we try to grow our businesses. This forum is so helpful and everyone is so great in providing advise and suggestions. I’ll keep you in mind to refer clients to when I can’t take their order. I hope you’ll keep me in mind too! Best of luck to you.