This is my first time posting on here.
So I run a small cake business I'm only new to cake decorating starting about 6 months ago, I know I have room for inprovement and am always learning but I think I do ok for someone who has done no training and is totally self taught.
I am a mother of 2 and my cake business is my only source of income. I'm in australia where ingredients etc cost much more than in the states but the minimum wage is much higher (around $17 an hour minimum wage). For these reason cake prices are obviously higher here. Most cake artists (running a business not just hobbyists) for example charge minimum $800 for a 4 tier decorated wedding cake with the average price around the $1200 mark and ranging anywhere upto and over the $2000 mark (not comparing my quality of work to people on the higher end of the scale, obviously they are amazing and have been at this much longer than I have and have been professionally trained, but I feel I reflect this in my prices.)
Lately I've been feeling very defeated by constantly being told my prices are too high and having many many many enquiries but after quoting for work not hearing back from people again. Its basically like "oh really, thy much? But it's just a cake?" I work extremely hard for quite a small profit margin, it is especially stressful seeing as I have a 8 month old at home who requires constant attention at the same time as trying to for example get a 5 tier intricately detailed wedding cake done!
I want to know from you guys if you think my pricing is reasonable. So for example for a 4 tier cake fully decorated with everything excluding stenciling or sugar roses I charge $500 (6"8"10"12" x 4" high minimum) I say this excludes sugar roses and stenciling but alot of the time if a customer is arguing about pricing I end up just doing them at no extra cost anyway, because I need all the work I can get. Now of this $500 around $250 goes straight away on fondant and ingredients and that's not even factoring in boards ,boxes, dowels, ribbon or the cost of power/ fuel to make and deliver the cake. I spend about 5 days straight making 4 tier cakes working usually at least 10 hour days (some days I've even worked for over 18 hours straight to get a cake finished!) so let's just say on average 40 hours of work goes into it) so that's $250 divided by 40 hours of work means I'm working for around $6.25 an hour which is VERY far below the $17/ hour minimum wage here.
Yet people hear my prices and run for the hills, I try to explain the costs and hours involved and even urge my customers to get quotes of others as I know they will struggle to find anyone cheaper. I just feel like I'm beating my head against a wall and I don't know what to do. Should I just drop my prices to get more work or keep them at what I think is reasonable even if it means much less work and less income