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Am I underpricing?/ first order experience!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My first order: a 2 layer 10" round cake filled with nutella ganache covered in buttercream and fondant. After giving me the design a gift cake ( a round cake with a bow and two figues (car + kitten) we agreed on a price of 50$ then she said she'd email me the colors and I was shocked to find out that she also added more details to the cake, two more figure and the gift cake was now a giftbox cake (with a separate lid which was extreeeemely difficult to make) but nonetheless I made the cake (photos in my gallery). I was really upset and felt underpaid while working on it cause it took days to finish with all the figures and the drying of the lid and I used a looooot of Fondant and gumpaste but my friends said it was okay since its only my first cake order. anyhow I felt so much better after delivering the cake the client was very impressed and said she'd refer me to all her friends and sent me a thank you email icon_smile.gif

I'm currently working on my second order and Ive been getting a couple of requests as well, I need advice on how to proceed with such clients and what should I have done and if I'm underpricing my cakes?
post #2 of 16
Um, yes ma'am. I only sold two cakes a loooooooong time ago before I realized it wasn't legal for me to do so. However, I have been on here long enough to know that $50 was terribly generous on your part. But you are most likely about to get a ton of advice on how to proceed from here. I am not business-minded, but I mostly just wanted to let know that your skill set warrants a much higher price. Happy caking!
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post #3 of 16
Yes, Yes, Yes.

In my opinion, yes you are underpricing!! I don't do much with fondant, but to make that cake with all those figures, and the lid, you definatly should have been paid much more.

When she e-mailed with the extras she wanted I would have told her there would be an extra cost for all the work and materials you would need.

Your work is beautiful, and you should be rewarded properly for it. Good Luck next time.
I'm sure someone here will give you good advice on pricing with fondant.
post #4 of 16
Your cake and the rest of your work is beautiful. I think you were under paid, Im sure youll get some good advice how to move forward in the future. Best of luck to you icon_smile.gif
post #5 of 16
Well, the price you agreed upon was for the first design. As soon as she added extras you should have emailed her back that there would be extra cost associated with that. The best way for you to be confident in what you charge (and to know exactly what to charge on the spur of the moment if a client requests changes) is to create a pricing sheet with a breakdown of the items you offer. Determine what you're going to charge per slice or per a certain size of cake. (the pros here have different methods of determing how much their cake sells for). Determine what your fondant accents/flowers/figures need to sell for. Just make a pricing sheet so that when a client comes to you with their design you simply crunch the numbers. If they increase the design elements then add in that cost appropriately.

You'll be confident in what you have to charge once you've determined what it costs you to make these cakes. You'll know what number you can't go below and still make a profit. If the client questions your prcies you simply show them the pricing sheet and say that you can't charge less than that or you are working for free. End of story icon_smile.gif
Hobby baker for now.....
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Hobby baker for now.....
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post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, that really helped. and like TheSweetTreat suggested I think i'll create a spread sheet determining all the costs. I guess since it was my first order I was embarrassed to go over the charges for the design change after what we have agreed upon. lesson learned!
post #7 of 16
I totally understand. Once you have a price list for clients to look at it will become 100% easier icon_smile.gif There will be no surprises for them and you'll be confident in what price you have to give them. If they question anything you point them to the price list.
Hobby baker for now.....
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Hobby baker for now.....
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post #8 of 16
I totally understand your frustration on the cake pricing. I experienced the same with my first fondant cake orders. Don't let this bring you down or feel that your work is unapreciated. Every time you make and decorate a cake you learn something new and take that experience to your next cake. I did some research online and learned that the best way to price a cake is per serving. Anywhere between $2 and $5 per serving. You must determine first how much it is costing you to make the cakes so you are not lost when pricing a cake and you feel confident about your price. I charge a flat fee of $2 per serving for buttercream 2 layer and I charge the fondant covering and decorations extra. For example, a 8 inch 2 layer vanilla cake with lemon curd filling finished in buttercream feeds 12 to 15 people I sell for $25. If it is the same but 3 layer, I sell for $35. If the customer wants fondant finish, I charge another fee for covering and a fee for the decorations depending on how complicated they are and how many. Another thing to keep in mind is that fondant is very inexpensive to make but it is time consuming and it tastes much better. So you are giving them a fresher better tasting product. Make the customer aware of this if they question your pricing.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Millysweetdeals88

I totally understand your frustration on the cake pricing. I experienced the same with my first fondant cake orders. Don't let this bring you down or feel that your work is unapreciated. Every time you make and decorate a cake you learn something new and take that experience to your next cake. I did some research online and learned that the best way to price a cake is per serving. Anywhere between $2 and $5 per serving. You must determine first how much it is costing you to make the cakes so you are not lost when pricing a cake and you feel confident about your price. I charge a flat fee of $2 per serving for buttercream 2 layer and I charge the fondant covering and decorations extra. For example, a 8 inch 2 layer vanilla cake with lemon curd filling finished in buttercream feeds 12 to 15 people I sell for $25. If it is the same but 3 layer, I sell for $35. If the customer wants fondant finish, I charge another fee for covering and a fee for the decorations depending on how complicated they are and how many. Another thing to keep in mind is that fondant is very inexpensive to make but it is time consuming and it tastes much better. So you are giving them a fresher better tasting product. Make the customer aware of this if they question your pricing.



Thank you so much! this clears a lot of stuff for me and make it much easier.. this way it makes more sense. I will keep everything you said in mind when pricing my future cakes.. you've been very helpful icon_smile.gif
post #10 of 16
Yep, it's time to sit down and figure out your costs, and also your business policies. I am betting you are in the red on materials alone for your $50 10" gift cake, not to mention labor. You paid them to make a cake for them.

There is a link on pricing in my signature, and here is an article I wrote about common cake business mistakes, which also might help you as you are just starting out. Top 5 Cake Business Mistakes

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post #11 of 16
First, an 8" round cake, 4" tall serves 24.

From the OP, a 10" square (which was ordered in the end) serves 50.

My pricing, which is a bit dated is $4 per serving for a fondant cake, so that 10" box cake would have been $200, +at least $10 per figure and +$40 if there was also a bow. And that's the pick up price. Delivery is extra.

And don't tell me about depressed areas of the country that can't afford things like designer cakes. People find a way to pay for what they want, whether is designer shoes or clothes or getting their mails and hair done, etc.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #12 of 16
Leah took the words out of my mouth. That's basically what I would have charged for a fondant covered 10" square - $200 + for the figures/bow. And if it had just been the original 10" round that was first quoted, It would have still been $150 as that cake serves 38. You ended up charging her $1/serving.

So now the other thing to keep in mind is that she loved what you did and is now going to refer you to her friends. She's going to tell them that she only paid $50 for that awesome cake. And when she comes back to order again, you're going to need find a way to explain to her why you are upping her pricing to something more reasonable. The referrals you get from her are going to expect the same kind of pricing that she paid for that first cake.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

First, an 8" round cake, 4" tall serves 24.

From the OP, a 10" square (which was ordered in the end) serves 50.

My pricing, which is a bit dated is $4 per serving for a fondant cake, so that 10" box cake would have been $200, +at least $10 per figure and +$40 if there was also a bow. And that's the pick up price. Delivery is extra.

And don't tell me about depressed areas of the country that can't afford things like designer cakes. People find a way to pay for what they want, whether is designer shoes or clothes or getting their mails and hair done, etc.




I think its best if I start charging per serving and added charges per figure as well. This way the clients will understand what they're paying for. Thanks a lot for the advice! icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmarks0

Leah took the words out of my mouth. That's basically what I would have charged for a fondant covered 10" square - $200 + for the figures/bow. And if it had just been the original 10" round that was first quoted, It would have still been $150 as that cake serves 38. You ended up charging her $1/serving.

So now the other thing to keep in mind is that she loved what you did and is now going to refer you to her friends. She's going to tell them that she only paid $50 for that awesome cake. And when she comes back to order again, you're going to need find a way to explain to her why you are upping her pricing to something more reasonable. The referrals you get from her are going to expect the same kind of pricing that she paid for that first cake.



I'm aware I'll need to explain to her that I under-priced the cake the first time cause I'm new to the business and such and hopefully she'll understand and if she doesn't like my new pricing she can find another baker she's more comfortable with. I enjoy the process of decorating the cake and all but certainly the hours I spent on that cake was worth much more.
post #15 of 16
OP I'm glad you feel this way. Your work is quite beautiful and worth much more. The next time you give a client a price, think of how it sucks to be underpaid for such good work. It should motivate you to give them a price that is fair to you.

One more thing to add to the advice you've already gotten: Never give a client a final price until you are sure you know exactly what they want and you've done the math. Often clients want to throw a cloudy idea at you and expect a solid final quote. No way. They tell you exactly what they want, how many servings etc then you do your math and give a quote. If you have to get back with them to give the quote, you do just that.

If they insist on an amount or a quote before you've done your math you may give them a ball park range. Here's where preparing your worksheet in advance and determining the average price per serving for certain types of cakes: plain BC, plain fondant, ganache + fondant, av. price for 1 bow etc. So you know what your minimum possible price is and tell them something like "Fondant cakes START at $x.xx per serving but until I sit down and analyze what your order will take, I cannot give you a final quote." That way if they're expecting cake at 10 cents per serving, they know they're out of the running.

If a client changes the design or type of cake after you've given a quote, that previous quote is no longer valid and the client should be made aware of that.
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