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How much do people think a cake costs to make??? - Page 12  

post #166 of 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

I just read thru this thread... I am so thankful for it because there are some real nuggets of wisdom in here. I am totally guilty of thinking if I go above and beyond what people ask and pay for, if I undercut my competition, if I price myself low enough, I'll get more business and my name out there.

Yes I get business, but I am constantly blown away when I quote a price that I know is WAY cheaper then my competition and I don't book the job or I get blowback that I'm a little too expensive. I KNOW that's not freakin possible, I've priced myself where I am just breaking even. I'm pretty sure I make the cheapest wedding cakes in the City, unless you go to China Town. I'm not kidding. Yet I'm not booking as many as I think I should... I'm loosing out to higher priced bakeries.

A real eye opener was I recently went to a fellow cupcaker's website here (she's become quite a pal to me), anyway we have very similar circumstances, only she bakes from a box and I make organic from scratch. Obviously cost of ingredients are much higher for me. Anyway, I went to her website and saw her prices - she's double what I am for cupcakes and she doesn't do cakes. She has no decorator's ability, doesn't do fondant/gumpaste etc. And she's SUPER busy.

So, this week I'm re-working and raising my prices, and we'll see what happens. I don't think people here really want discounts or cheap cake, they want to feel like they've treated themselves to a quality decadent dessert that's "expensive". Paying the lesser price means there must be something "wrong" with it.

So wish me luck with that! icon_biggrin.gif

And I guess you had good luck with that, whether anybody wished it or not, Jen! I am happy to see this and know you used to do the opposite of what you are doing now, congratulations on your pricing, and I was wondering, do you get more orders now, than you did then?

Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
post #167 of 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCo View Post

OMG- I just logged in here to say something similar! I just had someone contact me on Sunday for a cake on this Saturday and when I emailed her back the quote she emailed me back and said she couldn't justify spending $75 on a cake for her husband's 50th birthday and that she'd have to think about it. HELLO!! I told her she had until COB today to make a decision and also explained how I justified what the cost of the cake was....I probably should have just said to go to WalMart or the grocery store but I reminded her that my cakes are made to order, no frozen/pre-made cakes or icings out of buckets, etc. etc. She had seen a cake of mine at a party she attended (the 50th Man of All Seasons cake in my photos) so she knows my work and the attention to detail that I give to my cakes and all the different items I put on there.

So she wanted these things included in her cake: An airplane (her husband works for an airline/is a pilot), sailing/tropical island (they spend their winters in the tropics sailing on their boat), hiking/mountains, a moose, bears (they spend their summers in the White Mountains of NH), woodworking, skiing and biking and that it didn't need to be THAT elaborate!! LOL Oh, and she only needed it to serve 10 ppl!!!


Are you kidding me....you have a sailboat and spend your winters sailing in the tropics and your entire summer in the mountains a few states away but you can't justify spending money, $75 at that, on a cake for your husband's 50th birthday!!! Give me a break! I'm not to judge what people spend their money on but please don't tell me about your tropical vacations and all of the toys you own and then say you can't justify spending $75 for a cake for a milestone bday!

Well said! I absolutely agree. People can't seem to justify paying for edible artwork. If they would like, I'd be happy to make them a cake display that they can keep forever, if they are worried about paying for something that is gone by the end of the night. You would think all these cake shows on the television would get people to at least get an idea of how much work goes into the creations. Unfortunately you will always have people with a champagne taste, and a root beer pocket book. Its best for you and your business, to let them go. To be honest, if there is someone that wants a cheap cake in my community, I refer them to someone else in my community that does it cheaper. Obviously if they do it cheaper, then either the quality isn't there, or that (cakerator) isn't making anything from there creations. I hope that those that aren't making ends meet, can fix it quick before you get burnt out and find yourself unmotivated to move forward in your business. Don't sell yourself short, if your quality and your flavor is on point, you will get customers.

post #168 of 412
I made some price adjustments at the beginning of the year. I have had people enquire and not order but I am ok with it. Those who are ok with the prices still order. I know someone who charges way more than me but is fully booked for weddings for 2013. She is good and those who have tasted her cakes say they are yummy. She has been doing it longer than I have. If I get less birthday cake orders, I will use my time in building my wedding cake portfolio. There are people who want good things and are willing to pay. I have to work hard to reach them.
Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. -quotebites.com

http://m.facebook.com/Edible.Elegance.cakes.Zimbabwe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73178569@N05/
Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. -quotebites.com

http://m.facebook.com/Edible.Elegance.cakes.Zimbabwe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73178569@N05/
post #169 of 412
I made some price adjustments at the beginning of the year. I have had people enquire and not order but I am ok with it. Those who are ok with the prices still order. I know someone who charges way more than me but is fully booked for weddings for 2013. She is good and those who have tasted her cakes say they are yummy. She has been doing it longer than I have. If I get less birthday cake orders, I will use my time in building my wedding cake portfolio. There are people who want good things and are willing to pay. I have to work hard to reach them.
Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. -quotebites.com

http://m.facebook.com/Edible.Elegance.cakes.Zimbabwe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73178569@N05/
Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. -quotebites.com

http://m.facebook.com/Edible.Elegance.cakes.Zimbabwe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73178569@N05/
post #170 of 412
If it isn't bad enough that total strangers don't appreciate or understand how much work we put in, you would think "family" would! My husbands brother recently got married at the JP on the "romantic" 12/12/12 and I had made a small tiered wedding cake as a gift. Well, his wife's best friend saw their cake and a few weeks later wanted to know if I'd make her wedding cake and the groom's cake ( which she wanted in the shape of a spittoon!). I agreed and told her I would get back with her about the price and design because she stated she wasn't picky and really only cared about the groom's cake and it needed to feed 60 ppl.

Fast forward a couple weeks and my "sis"-in law sends me a picture of what her friend wants and how much will I charge her because she might get it for her as a gift and she kept stressing that it was ONLY going to be two tiers and ONLY now, 50 ppl. I messaged her back and said it was ONLY going to be $300 for both cakes! She replied with well I was thinking of POSSIBLY buying it as a gift she can get the groom's cake and wanted to know the separate prices which was $180 for the wedding cake and I never heard anything back from her. I know it's a long story but I truly feel that she thought because she was my new "sis" that she could contact me and try to get a good price for her friend! Sorry honey but I am no fool and we're not that cool I just met you 3 months ago.
post #171 of 412

I know this is probably going to offend several, if not many, people but I just don't understand the problems with pricing.  And these threads pop up every single day. How can you even contemplate starting a business without knowing ahead of time what you're going to charge for your product?  Does a grocery store or hardware store open without all prices firmly in place and even marked on the shelves?  Does a car dealership open without stickers on every window?

 

How can you even hope to have a profitable business when you have no idea what it's going to cost you to produce your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc., and how many you have to sell to reach your break even point?  Are you even planning on having a profitable business? 

 

There's more to it than "everybody loves my cakes and so many people are telling me I should start my own business".  If you don't take care of the business side of it, you're not going to have a business for long.

post #172 of 412

I have to agree, I am slowly working on putting together plans to open my own business and while it's a lot of work, I want to make sure it's right from the start. Sure, I have people asking me left right and center to make cakes for them, but I'm not going to take the risk of winging it and having it go wrong! 

elsewhere.
elsewhere.
post #173 of 412
All of these stories makes me feel that this business is not worth the aggravation. I understand that this thread is everyone getting there frustration out of there system.
Believe me i have too many to tell. I get undercutted all the time. But I just can't see a solution to this problem. If there is no way to truly educate millions of customers then they will never understand. The tv shows have helped and have hurt business at the same time. People are more interested in custom cakes, but want it done for pennies.

To many, getting a custom cake is a luxury, a luxury that they think they can get on the cheap. There has to be a way that we can educate people what goes into making a custom edible work of art. And if they cannot be educated than this stress of going into this business just is not worth it.

I stick to my prices and if the customer dosent have the money to afford me, I give them the phone number to rosebud cakes in beverly hills, or hansens in L.A.
They are the most famous and most expensive cake studio's in los angeles.

Life is a slice of cake.

Life is a slice of cake.

post #174 of 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnbmom View Post

To many, getting a custom cake is a luxury, a luxury that they think they can get on the cheap. There has to be a way that we can educate people what goes into making a custom edible work of art. And if they cannot be educated than this stress of going into this business just is not worth it.

It's much easier to target a different market segment (e.g. people who are willing to pay for quality) than try to convince someone who is looking for a cheap cake to increase their budget. Any decently-sized metro area should have enough people with larger budgets to create a healthy market for quality cakes, but you may need to do some research to find out where these people are.

If you have competitive advantages, list your starting prices prominently, and target the right market you will not have the problem of customers trying to bargain you down. And if someone does try to negotiate, you will be getting enough other business so you can tell them to take it or leave it.
post #175 of 412

I try not to get too wound up. If they can't afford it, they can visit Wal-Mart. I picked up a little cake flyer at Wal-Mart. The servings are based on a 1" x 1" x 4" slice. My servings are larger. I decided to do a little write up on my facebook page and my website blog page that gives a little "peek" into what is involved in custom cake design. It by no means covers all that is involved, but when customers read it, they should get a whole new appreciation for what we go through to make their cake.

 

Here it is:

 

Ever wonder why custom cakes cost so much more than cakes from the grocery store? I'll try to compare, but honestly, there is not much to compare.

The grocery store usually has X number of cakes to choose from. They have lots of layers mass-baked, for you and a number of other people. That fluffy white icing comes in a lovely white plastic 5-gallon bucket, and the raspberry filling was squeezed out of a see-through plastic sleeve that was on the shelf with all the other kinds of fillings. They purchase in bulk through the store chain, so the ingredients cost very little. The cake bases, cardboard circles, etc. are there, as there are only so many sizes of cakes offered. Customizing? That may vary some from one store to another. Production is key. Get it done fast. They will probably sell it to you at a price that barely breaks even, knowing that when you pick up your cake, you will probably purchase all the chips, soda, burgers, etc. that you need for the party.

Now lets go custom: I'll be asking you lots of questions...
How many people are you serving? Is this the only dessert? Do you need larger servings, or "typical" wedding-sized servings? Do you have an idea in mind? You want a 6-tier cake shaped like a kangaroo? Time to sketch the cake plans, to make sure it feeds everyone, and will stand upright. A few hours of planning, drawing up the contract, meeting with the customer, emailing...

Vanilla-Almond Sour Cream cake with raspberry filling? I'll be going to the grocery store and paying RETAIL for red raspberries, lemons, etc.. After all, raspberry filling should be made with raspberries, right? Chances are the ingredients will be purchased from 2 or 3 different stores. I just spent the afternoon shopping for your cake ingredients. Now, off to the lumber/plumbing store...

The base to hold the cake: Hmmmm... It needs to be very strong. I make a trip to the lumber store for a sheet of 1/2" plywood, nuts, bolts, flat washers, and plumbing supplies. Then I'll have to figure out the size and shape needed. Map it out, saw the plywood, sand the edges, make sure it is clean, and cover it with foil or wax paper. Then, it may also be covered in fondant in a color to match the cake.

That tall kangaroo won't stand on its own. There are 5 more plywood and/or cardboard plates to be cut, sanded, drilled, covered in foil, and make exact so that the kangaroo can be carved to actually look like a kangaroo. A center pipe will have to go from bottom to top, to keep this thing straight. The center hole in the cake will not actually be in the center of each of these boards. One long pipe will attach to the bottom board, and go clear to the top of the cake. Each plywood "plate" needs 4 to 6 holes drilled in it to attach PVC end caps underneath. Yup. Must drill a hole in each end cap, too, so that they can be attached with the right length bolts, flat washers, and nuts. As the cake is assembled, each iced tier is measured for height, and then pvc pipe is cut to exact lengths, put into the end caps, and lowered into the tier below. The weight of the cake has to be held by pipes and dowels, or it would crush the layers under it.

I'm going to need fondant... that will take about an hour and a half to make.
I'll need gum paste... there's another hour.
I'll need modeling chocolate... another hour.
All of these things will need to be tinted different colors and kneeded by hand. This is still a couple days before the cake is due.

2 days before the cake due date... Time to start baking. 6 tiers... a minimum of 12 cakes in varying sizes. The legs and head will probably need to be made of rice krispies treats... need a couple batches of those made. Some heavy wire will be needed to go through the front legs. The rice krispies treats are molded around the wire and pvc pipes here and there and then carved with a knife, made smooth, covered in butter cream, and then covered in fondant/ gum paste/ modeling chocolate, and decorated.

We have not even baked the cakes yet! The filling must be cooked, too. HOURS of baking, making multiple batches of butter cream, icing, stacking, carving, icing the outside, wrapping in fondant and modeling chocolate, sculpting parts, painting with food coloring and airbrushing...

This cake is way too heavy, so it must be made in 3 parts and assembled at the venue. Everything that will be needed must go along in the Jeep. There must be a way to pack that cake in the Jeep for safe travel. It can not slip or fall over. Some dog better NOT run out in front of me.

Time to travel. Must get there 2 1/2 hours before the party to set it up. There goes another half a day. Don't worry, the other half of this day is waiting... the kitchen has to be cleaned. Your 3-D kangaroo probably took at least 35 to 40 hours, and a minimum of $145.00 in ingredients.

This was your little peek into the world of extreme cake design. Now you understand why they cost more than $60.00. :)

post #176 of 412
Here's a link another member shared in another forum in reference to pricing your cakes. She also stated you could copy and paste it and or modify it accordingly. I think it's a good explanation of cake pricing.
https://m.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=492430020803655

Michelle

 

"The only thing better than a cake is two cakes"

Michelle

 

"The only thing better than a cake is two cakes"

post #177 of 412

That is great!

post #178 of 412

Cake Boss wedding cakes I was told START at $1400.  Not sure if that is true. But just goes to show you that people have no idea what cake costs to make. I wish the cake shows would talk about prices too! Just to educate people.   If people want to pay $1/serving then they need to go to the grocery store or wholesale store where everything comes out of a box or bucket or is spray painted.  The people who are deciding against spending the money on custom cakes are those who are use to buying grocery store cakes or making their own rather than going to a bakery.  To them it is a lot of money.  They are not realizing that we are not just charging them for the cost to make the cake but also for our time. We have to pay ourselves too!!!  And at the end of the day you have to decide what you want to make. I shoot for $20/hour per cake (that's not even including materials so my income/profit is much less).  So I try to determine time to bake, time to make decorations, time to make icings/filings, assembling etc. And I find I always underestimate how long each cake will take me. I never remember to include cake cooling times, clean up, coloring icing and fondant colors. Ugh! . Factor in ACTUAL time on a cake and the cost of the extra materials I usually forget (cake boards/drums ($$), boxes, icing bags, etc, all stuff I forget to account for) it ends up being much more than that!  I remind myself that I paid $60 for an 8" baptism cake for my son's baptism. All it had was a buttercream cross on the top with a God Bless on it! 

post #179 of 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnbmom View Post

. I get undercut all the time. But I just can't see a solution to this problem. If there is no way to truly educate millions of customers then they will never understand.

I don't see the customer as the problem. The reason consumers think they can get cheap cake is because they can. Cakers are giving them the wrong idea about prices by working for nothing.   And as if being undercut isn't enough, this also gives the customer the idea that the person quoting a reasonable amount is price gouging.  Before all this baking from the home started, it used to be that people offering cakes (bakeries) had to at least have some business sense or they'd go out of business.  Now people with no business sense whatsoever and no sense of responsibility are making it very hard on those trying to make a living in the cake business and in some cases even putting bakers out of business.

 

It's unconscionable to undercharge, period.  Every time someone undercharges they are cheating themselves and undercutting someone else.  I've seen so many posts by people talking about how little they charge and it's mind boggling to me why they aren't extremely embarrassed to tell anyone. I'm stunned to think that the vast majority of people selling cakes wouldn't want to sell them for as much as they can.

 

Also -- cakers are as confused about who their customers are as consumers are confused about whether they can afford a luxury cake. If you sell high end cakes, your customers are mostly rich people. I sell cakes to people whose means are way beyond mine. I'm not my target market. I cannot afford my cake. My friends and family are not my target market.  If there are no rich people in your area, then maybe you're not going to be making high end cakes.

post #180 of 412

What is the Cake Boss price guide you guys are talking about?

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