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New here - I need some help with pricing, etcetcetc!

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hello all - I can't believe I haven't been here before! I've been reading here for a day or so and am really needing some help...you guys are so great!

I've been doing cookies for about six or seven years now, and after a few unofficial orders for friends, many many gifts and a lot of donations for non-profits, ave finally found some kitchen space to rent, so am going to try my hand at doing it "for real"...I work in the wedding industry in a very busy wedding city, so I have tons of connections in that area already. Most of the bakers I know really focus on cakes so I'm not going to be stepping on their toes, but I really need some advice on how to go about certain things!

I'm scared by some of the pricing I've seen here - my cookies are pretty detailed and there's no way I can make it work with $3 a cookie once I figure in the time and kitchen rental...I'm *hoping* that brides won't balk too much at higher prices since there are a lot of high dollar weddings here, but ugh, I guess I won't know for a while...

There's an open house for a new venue that I'm going to this weekend and they've said I can bring cookies as well as being there for my regular business...the new business cards will be here tomorrow, cookies are underway but I just feel a bit overwhelmed by all the options and how the heck to figure out prices. I live in a state that requires a completely separate kitchen space but I know advertising bakers who do it out of their homes...if I'm doing cookies for open houses, or to show to the coordinators and other vendors, would you do them at the official kitchen or from home? How does the legality of that work? Funds are horribly tight right now, so if I can do my "demo" work at home that would help so very much. And how do you work it out if brides want to do tastings of cookies? I can't go in and have to spend $30 each time to make a few samples...ahhh!

Anyway, my head is spinning with the questions I want to ask but I just wanted to say hello before I totally jump in!

Thank you for ANY advice, words of wisdom, pointers, etc....I'm open to hearing things! I know how to deal with brides and the business side of things in my industry but am a total neophyte here...yikes...
post #2 of 31
Hi. I'm definately not one of the pros here but i can tell you that many of them recommended charging $1 per inch of cookie. If the cookies are very very detailed, more should be charged on a design basis. I'd definately charge an extra $1 at least, if they are being personalized or customized in any way and if so, take a deposit since you can't use them if the order is cancelled.

I'm not an expert on the laws regarding separate kitchens and stuff, but if you were just demo'ing your cookies, who would know where you baked it? No one is going to ask for the paperwork to see if your few samples were baked in a commercial kitchen. I would think your big orders would be questioned, not demos.

Now, i understand why brides would want to taste the cakes they order because that is the big 'ta da' at the wedding and they cost a lot so they should be happy with the taste. But would they really want to taste the cookies? Yes, it it's out there, they will taste but will they ask?
post #3 of 31
I'm not an expert at all, but we're kind of in the same boat. I've been doing cookies for about 5 years for family and friends but I renovated a garage space at my moms house and now am an officially licensed bakery. I won't open for a few months yet as I need to practice and I plan of giving a TON of cookies away with my brochure and business cards etc...to local businesses. Anyway......

As for having demo cookies at a gathering like that I think you would be fine as long as if anyone asks you, you do have a kitchen space lined up that their actual orders would come from. That's just my opinion though.

Also, I'm in a small city in WI and I plan on having a base price of $2.50 per cookie. Of course if they're smaller or larger or have more detail/colors the price will differ. Lucky you to be in a city where it sounds like you'll actually get paid what you should for your time and ingredients!

Finally, I had a friend of a friend order $400 worth of cookies for her wedding next summer and she wanted to do a tasting. Some people here thought it was silly, but IMO, she is paying a LOT of money for my cookies and if she wanted her and her fiance to come and design what they wanted and taste a few cookies while doing it, I'm all for it! I called it a "tasting" and again, some people didn't like that, so I think for cookies it would be more of a "design session" with cookie samples and drinks.

Good luck to you. The cookie board here at CC is amazing! Hope to see you around a lot in the future! Oh, and I would LOVE to see some of your cookies, do you know how to post pictures? It's pretty simple. We could help you if you need it.
post #4 of 31
I would think cookie tastings would be much the same as a cake tasting. I would only offer it for large orders. Then you would have to decide just like it were a cake if you will make a batch of undecorated cookies or if you will decorate each one, as if you were going to make a 6" cake and give a slice or make cupcakes. I guess it depends on how you want to do it. Some poeple charge for tastings, some dont.
post #5 of 31
I got a call today from an event planner, needing 300 cookies for favors. This particular design is a big cookie .... looked online for the cutter and they are all 4 to 6". I told her "The rule of thumb is $1 per inch, so she's looking at $5 to $6 each for bagged cookies." Planner said, "Oh that's fine. We knew they'd be expensive."

So I'm making some sample cookies this weekend to run over to the planner. For an $1800 cookie order, you bet your patootie I'm sampling her a few!
post #6 of 31
Yes, i totally agree. For large orders where the customer is going to pay a lot, it's definately worth some samples.

indydebi, that's amazing that the planner actually expected them to be pricey. Good luck to you and can't wait to see pics!!
post #7 of 31
I have seen on-line places offer, for tasting, an end-of-run cookie i.e. one that is surplus from another order. This seems a fairly good way to do it for smaller orders - you don't have to bake a whole batch for them to have a taste, and they don't have to pay. For whopping great orders, I also would be very happy to make samples for them!

Indy - that order will take a ton of dough. I'm sure you have a giant mixer - do you also have a sheeter? Makes my arms hurt thinking about all that rolling! Would love to see pics when they're done.
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
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- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
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post #8 of 31
Tubbs, I have a 20 qt. I made 3000 drop cookies for a college graduation once. With my 2 helpers, it was a great lesson in assembly line baking! Dough was made WAY in advance, cookie dough balls were formed and stored in the freezer. On baking day, we filled the 18x26 baking sheets and I can get 10 baking sheets in the oven at one time. It actually didnt' take very much time at all, once all the prep work was done.

So if I can get 18-20 cookies on a baking sheet, it will only take about 15 baking sheets to bake all of these. I can actually have them all baked in under 30 minutes. I plan on covering them in fondant, so the fondant shapes will already be cut out and waiting. When they come out of the oven, slap the fondant on them. Add the detail decors and we're done.
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I can actually have them all baked in under 30 minutes.


Ah, the joys of commercial equipment! Am envious!
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
Reply
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
Reply
post #10 of 31
yeah, but you sure wouldn't envy my monthly payment! icon_cry.gif
post #11 of 31
True!! It would take me a month to bake all those cookies, but at least the oven was free!!
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
Reply
- Natalie
"Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
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post #12 of 31
I understand the pricing dilemma. I'm "newish" as well. I've baked for over a 10 year period for unofficial orders. Anything from grad party cookie/cakes to corporate Christmas party cake/favors. I am now unable to find an Accounting/Finance job (boo-hoo...(enter sarcasm)...hated the cubicle anyway) and am trying it "for real".

I expect to deal with the cost of samples/demo type stuff. But, there is a line. I agree with the big order & how it's appropriate to extend some samples. Once you get a buzz going about how delicious your cookies are, people will be less inclined to ask for a tasting.

One other thing...I've read about some other CCers struggles with price. It seemed that people were questioning paying even what seemed to be a minimum price. And of course, frustration was felt. But other CCers suggested to raise the price even more. That way, you get only the people who expect to pay for quality. Clever really.

I had a lady trying to take advantage of me. I am focusing on selling event favors locally to start. And, she thought I was "young & stupid". To drive business, I am offering a lower price until I get the word spread. She thought she could buy my favors and no doubt jack up the price to resell to her brides. The minute I explained to her I would retain control over the order, I haven't heard from her since. I even am offering a % commission for a finders fee. Haven't heard a peep.

So...PRICE....be honest and fair. If you put days of work into these things, state a price that reflects that. Shop the competition. Be willing to lose an order.

I live in a somewhat depressed area so I know I'm not going to fetch a "city" price. But, if you have a great personality and are professional...people will pay more for that as well. I know I would!
post #13 of 31
I understand the pricing dilemma. I'm "newish" as well. I've baked for over a 10 year period for unofficial orders. Anything from grad party cookie/cakes to corporate Christmas party cake/favors. I am now unable to find an Accounting/Finance job (boo-hoo...(enter sarcasm)...hated the cubicle anyway) and am trying it "for real".

I expect to deal with the cost of samples/demo type stuff. But, there is a line. I agree with the big order & how it's appropriate to extend some samples. Once you get a buzz going about how delicious your cookies are, people will be less inclined to ask for a tasting.

One other thing...I've read about some other CCers struggles with price. It seemed that people were questioning paying even what seemed to be a minimum price. And of course, frustration was felt. But other CCers suggested to raise the price even more. That way, you get only the people who expect to pay for quality. Clever really.

I had a lady trying to take advantage of me. I am focusing on selling event favors locally to start. And, she thought I was "young & stupid". To drive business, I am offering a lower price until I get the word spread. She thought she could buy my favors and no doubt jack up the price to resell to her brides. The minute I explained to her I would retain control over the order, I haven't heard from her since. I even am offering a % commission for a finders fee. Haven't heard a peep.

So...PRICE....be honest and fair. If you put days of work into these things, state a price that reflects that. Shop the competition. Be willing to lose an order.

I live in a somewhat depressed area so I know I'm not going to fetch a "city" price. But, if you have a great personality and are professional...people will pay more for that as well. I know I would!
post #14 of 31
That's really good advice. Thank you! I never thought that event planners would do something like that. Good idea to take a hold of the orders. The customers should come to you for the order and not go through her. Giving a finder's fee commission is the smart way to go too.
post #15 of 31
That's really good advice. Thank you! I never thought that event planners would do something like that. Good idea to take a hold of the orders. The customers should come to you for the order and not go through her. Giving a finder's fee commission is the smart way to go too.
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