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Flower Pricing Question: Do I charge more or work less?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I think I need a reality check on some gumpaste flowers.  I am at a loss at how to charge for them, and then how much time I should be allotting to making them.  I have a love/hate relationship with the darn things!  I really enjoy making them and I think that I do a really nice job on them, but I just end up spending too darn long on them for the price that I am charging.

 

So my reality check question is trying to figure out how much an arrangement of flowers like this one i recently did be charged based on how much time you would spend making them by hand.  I don't think that I can compare them to mail order flowers because these are thinner than the flowers that I have ordered (and also with the lower prices that come with larger produced items).  

 

 

For my business, I charge a basic $3.50/serv buttercream and $4.50/serv fondant as base prices (though buttercream may be going up now that I am fully baking from scratch and moving towards fresh fruits and SMBC). And then I add on details work for other design items like flowers and sculptural items/figures.  

 

This swag had one x-large, four large, and three medium roses with a bit of greenery.  I charged $45 and it took me about 5 hours to do.  Obviously that isn't a proper return on time, so another backwards way of looking at is, based on a fair market price, how long should I be taking to make something like this?  I don't want to be overcharging customers based on being a bit slow in production, however if you think the work warrants a higher price, then what would that price be?  

 

Should I consider having two tiers of flowers, like a stylized flower choice and then the full blown, botanical lovelies? (maybe if I learned to make a rose the right way, I wouldn't find myself going overboard and spending hours and hours on them).

 

Thanks for your insight. I appreciate it. 

 

 

post #2 of 12
Your roses are lovely and so real looking!! I think that it was Ruth Rickey that said there were several different kinds of "flower customers"...those that will know the difference and are willing to pay for custom made flowers, and those that won't know the difference and won't pay the extra money for the custom ones (my paraphrasing of her statement). I believe that she is correct. You can order very nice flowers at very reasonable prices that would probably satisfy most customers. But then there are the customers that understand the time and technique necessary for making such beautiful flowers as you make. They are the ones that will pay more for the flowers. I think you have to sort out how you feel about using commercial made flowers vs custom made ones.

An example of the costs that some very high quality custom flowers can be found on etsy. I looked this one up after reading your post: http://www.etsy.com/listing/36256754/gumpaste-sugar-rose-2-sugar-flower?ref=sr_gallery_11&ga_search_query=gumpaste&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmadegumpaste. The price for two roses is $50 plus shipping.

It takes everyone more time in the beginning when learning to make decorations, and some take more time than others. You will get better and more efficient as time goes by. I've seen several posts by other decorators who make flowers while,watching tv or movies and store them for times they need them, and then color as needed.

Whatever you decide to do, your finished product is beautiful and I would buy some from you anytime!

Hope that helps:)

Pam
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the compliments on my roses.  (I have to say that I *thought* they were pretty nice, but didn't want to fall into the trap of 'my baby is the most beautiful baby in the world' just because I made them.  It's great to hear some outside affirmation that I make a nice rose). 

 

I think I do remember that comparison from Ruth Ricky and I may be offering a basic, stylized rose and then the custom, realistic rose for consideration.  The client who wants that look will have the option.  And if I don't have many bites on the higher price roses, I'll just have to make some display cakes with them to satisfy the need to make them icon_biggrin.gif

 

 

Here's another question:  does anyone know how the Big Name shops price for flowers?   

post #4 of 12

I know some of the big name shops charge $12 - $18 a serving, and the price of the flowers is in there. Please have a camera ready so you can capture the look on their faces when you tell them your new prices :-) I'd love to see them!

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.
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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.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

I know some of the big name shops charge $12 - $18 a serving, and the price of the flowers is in there. Please have a camera ready so you can capture the look on their faces when you tell them your new prices :-) I'd love to see them!

 

 

See Annabakescakes--i'm not looking to shock people with prices (and thankfully I do have some clients who aren't price shopping, but are looking for a specific look and are willing to pay for it).  What I am asking is what is a standard going rate for custom flowers and then more basic flowers--and how are these options presented to the client?  If the accepted rate for flowers is way less than what would give me an acceptable hourly rate, then I will have to find a way to fill that need with a less-time-intensive flower (or an ordered flower that is spruced up by me).  Then I will save the custom and realistic flowers for those clients who would appreciate and pay for them--or for display cakes.  

 

thank you all for the input.  Any other flower pricing structures would be appreciated thumbs_up.gif

post #6 of 12
I knew of a person who charged $25 per flower in a small town. She couldn't make them, so she ordered them for like a couple bucks a piece online. Then she airbrushed or painted them. I thought she was ripping off the customer since she said they were handmade but they weren't.
Some people paid for them, but not a lot.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann View Post

 

 

See Annabakescakes--i'm not looking to shock people with prices (and thankfully I do have some clients who aren't price shopping, but are looking for a specific look and are willing to pay for it).  What I am asking is what is a standard going rate for custom flowers and then more basic flowers--and how are these options presented to the client?  If the accepted rate for flowers is way less than what would give me an acceptable hourly rate, then I will have to find a way to fill that need with a less-time-intensive flower (or an ordered flower that is spruced up by me).  Then I will save the custom and realistic flowers for those clients who would appreciate and pay for them--or for display cakes.  

 

thank you all for the input.  Any other flower pricing structures would be appreciated thumbs_up.gif

I know, right? I just give them my price, about $3-12 for each flower, and them give them the Bakery Craft option, plus shipping. Mine aren't as nice as yours, though!

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.
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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.
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post #8 of 12

I have found that most of my clients aren't too concerned about botanical correctness. Almost all of them have just been fascinated that "you can do that with sugar?!!" For the basic, no frills cake I tend to do fantasy flowers that I can knock out in 10-15 minutes with minimal amount of materials used. If I'm spending time to be botanically correct I'll charge accordingly. Many times I've gone to Etsy to get an idea of what similar flowers are going for.  This one I did in no time with my magnolia cutter. The client literally jumped up and down when she saw it. I added it as a freebie, cost me very little but her response was priceless. Maybe you can use simple fantasy flowers as your budget friendly option.  I personally don't like those mass produced flowers. They look so... mass produced. Almost too perfect.

.

post #9 of 12
The purchased one are quite cost effective, and are indeed handmade. Just not by your hands. By purchasing them you are circulating some money into some poor countries that benefit from the sales.
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 #10 of 12

Glad I stumbled on this thread considering I was just about to ask the same question. My pricing is the same as the OP for buttercream and fondant. So far, I haven't had any customer who seemed to want something botanically correct. I was trying to figure out how to price my peony. I've made a few that I absolutely love using the Nicolas Lodge technique from craftsy. I don't remember it taking me longer than 2-3 hours (depending on how many wired petals I did) so I am charging $20-$30 depending on the size. It would be great so see what other people charge for their flowers. I know it should be based on time, but just want to see what other people charge (and where they are). I'm in Southern California (Ventura to be exact) and I'm the only one in my area that I know of doing more than roses. 

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post #11 of 12

 

How much i would have to pay for this..?

post #12 of 12

One place to look to see how much people are charging would be on Etsy, since I sell on there and a lot of other people do too. There are a wide range of prices depending on the level of detail and how fragile the flowers are. Make sure to add the shipping charges onto the listed price, though. Some people on there charge next to nothing them charge a high shipping charge. I only sell things that I can make pretty fast, and that ship well. Some flowers just don't ship easily without being broken, so that kind might be hard to find comparisons for.

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