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Am I charging to little? - Page 3

post #31 of 55
A question for professional bakers- when you first started selling cakes how much did you charge? You weren't always this good (everyone starts somewhere right?) and couldnt always command the sort of money you can now. Did you start off giving them away or just covering your costs or did you jump straight in with charts, portions, minimum wage etc? Forgive me if this question shouldn't be on this thread but i've no idea how to start a new one!
post #32 of 55

Right above your question is a box that says "start a new thread".  That's the one you should push the next time to get another question answered.  Usually it all starts out from home.  Baking cakes for family then it spreads out to extended family members then friends of the extended family members.  All the while you're practicing on them without them knowing it........gaining more and more knowledge as you go then suddenly one day you have to sit down, make out a calendar and cost sheet to figure out how much to charge.  You wonder what others in your areas are getting so you pick up the phone and ask each one how much they charge per serving then base yoour prices on the lower end (because you are still new to this).  Then all of a sudden you'd like to grow and meet others who decorate so you join your local ICES chapter and attend meetings.  So much fun.  It's ALL fun.  But it takes time and it's a progression from one stage to another - gradually.  Don't rush it.  A child needs to go through 12 years of school before they can graduate with honors.  :-)

post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisie73 View Post

A question for professional bakers- when you first started selling cakes how much did you charge? You weren't always this good (everyone starts somewhere right?) and couldnt always command the sort of money you can now. Did you start off giving them away or just covering your costs or did you jump straight in with charts, portions, minimum wage etc? Forgive me if this question shouldn't be on this thread but i've no idea how to start a new one!

 

Everyone does start somewhere, but most professionals have been "practicing" a long time.  I personally am just now opening a bakery, but have been baking for over 30 years!  When you have enough baking under your belt to figure out any problems that arise by yourself, and can look at a cake and know how it was iced/decorated without seeing a tutorial, I would say you are getting close!  Most important thing to learn is about how to run a business - take some classes at a local college or do a lot of research on what it takes.  Good luck

 

Liz

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

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post #34 of 55
Thankyou icon_smile.gif i'm on the Iphone so maybe that's why I can't see the new question bit. I've no intention to do this professionally, I'm happy doing it for friends and family for free or cost of ingredients. I just wondered why some proffesionals seem to be down on home bakers who don't charge much.
post #35 of 55

We ALL started out as Home Bakers.  And have been kicking ourselves for not charging enough in the beginning because we didn't think we were good enough or deserving enough of higher prices.  So it's great that you had the guts to ask us how much to charge and if you under or over charged.  We applaud you for that.  We're very honest here but it's because we've been there, done that and REALLY want to help you out.  Your family and friends will tell you what you want to hear, we tell you what you need to hear to improve.  It may hurt a bit but the sting goes away   -  after you do your next cake that's even smoother, and smoother - while uttering under your breath "I'll show them!!!".  You'll come back here and show us how proud you are of your future cakes and thank us for being brutally honest.  It's done with sisterly love......I promise.

post #36 of 55
I'd love to post pics of my cakes here for some honest opinions (you're right, my friends and family think I'm the best baker in the world!) but I don't know how to upload them, because I'm on the Iphone again I expect. So have I got it wrong then? Proffessionals don't have a problem with home bakers charging too little?
post #37 of 55
I am a home baker, and I have a problem with anyone charging too little. I have a problem with it because it devalues the market.

Of course everyone has different costs, but so many home bakers jump right in with no concept of how much they should be charging- they never do the math to figure out their materials cost, overhead, labor costs, and profit, so they end up charging 20 bucks for a cake that cost them $15 in ingredients and took them 5 hours to bake and decorate. The result of this is a ridiculously low price that does not accurately reflect the true cost of the cake, and customers who think anyone charging accurate prices is price gouging.
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Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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post #38 of 55
"How much they should be charging" now that's what I don't understand. Who's to say how much I "should" be charging? I'm a very amateur decorator but I've been baking for years, I'm nowhere near as good as everyone here on CC. I started to decorate my cakes because I couldn't stand the taste of shop bought cakes but my plain, un-decorated cakes didn't look nice at parties and celebrations. I could never afford to buy a custom cake so the answer was to learn to decorate myself.......and I love it! I'll never have my own bakery and never be good enough to make money doing it but I love the process, I love the satisfaction I get from knowing I made that, from scratch, knowing every ingredient that's in it and I love seeing the joy on people's faces when I present them with their cake. I know my limitations, My husband and I are paying £600 for our sons wedding cake, we have to save for that, it's a special occasion, a one off. Nobody I make cakes for can afford to buy cakes from that shop, they get their birthday cakes from Tesco or ask me to make one. I'm hardly going to put Tesco out of business and I'm not taking business away from the high end cake shop. So surely the individual is best placed to decide how much his/her cake is worth?
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisie73 View Post

A question for professional bakers- when you first started selling cakes how much did you charge? You weren't always this good (everyone starts somewhere right?) and couldnt always command the sort of money you can now. Did you start off giving them away or just covering your costs or did you jump straight in with charts, portions, minimum wage etc? Forgive me if this question shouldn't be on this thread but i've no idea how to start a new one!

You don't go into business until youre good. The concept of practicing only when you get orders Is a strange one to me. If you're in business you have to invest in yourself, that means making cakes that sometimes just won't be eaten.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by morganchampagne View Post


You don't go into business until youre good. The concept of practicing only when you get orders Is a strange one to me. If you're in business you have to invest in yourself, that means making cakes that sometimes just won't be eaten.

I don't get that mindset either. Where the heck did that start? An accountant doesn't say  "Well, I'm telling you up front, I've never done this before and I'm not very experienced, so I'll charge you less. But you can't be mad at me if you get audited." If you pay money for a service, most people assume that person has COMPLETED some level of training and has a basic knowledge of how that service is safely produced/product made and a minimum quality standard is in place. COMPLETE your training before you sell. That means a great tasting, level cake with straight sides and smooth buttercream or fondant without bulges. Those are the basics. If you can't produce it every time, then your training is not yet complete. There's no timeline, some people only take a few weeks to get the basics, some people take years. But the more you practice, the shorter that time frame will be, as long as you are "perfect" practicing every time.

 

Dummies are great for practicing. Buy a set of dummies and practice, wash off, practice some more. Learn about food safety and respect people (customers/paying people) enough to want to give them a good product (in looks AND taste) if they are spending their hard earned money with you. They've put their trust in you and that's a great responsibility you have to their celebration, their special event. The people ordering from you have feelings and expectations too. They don't know you can't whip out a high level cake, but they'll expect it, even if you tell them you can't achieve that standard, they will still expect it and be very disappointed if you don't measure up. And that's not good for them or you.  Complete your training before you start to sell and you'll feel good about what you are producing, they'll be happy and come back for more and we'll all stand up and give virtual high-fives! ;-D (And this wasn't directed at anyone in particular, just to anyone wondering if they are ready to sell a cake or not.)

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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post #41 of 55

I'm gritting my teeth - trying to calm myself down because you unknowingly just insulted everyone here on Cake Central.  

I'm only going to say this once then I'm bowing out of this thread...................listen to me carefully "Home bakers ARE professionals"  We've been in business or years and years and have the time storefront bakers oftentimes don't - to give extra product and services to our customers.  I hope you now understand.  I'm outta here.

post #42 of 55

Before you get yourself worked up and ruin your day I AM A HOME BAKER. When I say "professionals", I mean anyone who is selling to the public. I don't care if you have a store front or commercial kitchen or a home kitchen. Good grief. I guess I should also then clarify --  by training, I don't mean a degree. I mean whatever classes (online or in a classroom or youtube or whatever) it takes you give you the skills to perform the basics well. (Here's another tidbit -- I've never taken an in-person class -- just in case you also ASSUME I think you need a culinary degree.) *sigh* I hope that clarifies. Geez would anyone like to help me sew my head back on?? 


Edited by sixinarow - 3/7/14 at 12:13pm
Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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post #43 of 55

Here, I brought my needle.

 

I didn't see your post as an insult whatsoever.  You just said people need to practice and obtain consistency before they sell.  People in some professions need more training than others.  There is no degree or class that's going to teach you how to ice a cake smooth.  Wait a minute...in pastry school they teach it to you but that doesn't mean you will KNOW how to do it.  I went to a friend's wedding and her cousin-in-law made her cake.  This girl had graduated pastry school and the cake looked like it had been patched and spackled together.  True story.  So practice makes perfect, degree or not.

post #44 of 55

Ladies, basically we're all on the same side, with only a few minor differences. None of which makes a significant difference when we realize it's all about our prospering in a difficult business climate.

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VISIT US at BAKINGFIX

 

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post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill View Post
 

Here, I brought my needle.

 

I didn't see your post as an insult whatsoever.  You just said people need to practice and obtain consistency before they sell.  People in some professions need more training than others.  There is no degree or class that's going to teach you how to ice a cake smooth.  Wait a minute...in pastry school they teach it to you but that doesn't mean you will KNOW how to do it.  I went to a friend's wedding and her cousin-in-law made her cake.  This girl had graduated pastry school and the cake looked like it had been patched and spackled together.  True story.  So practice makes perfect, degree or not.

Haha -- thank you Annie -- I'll hold still! ;-D

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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