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Sucker for underpricing! - Page 5

post #61 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistygaildunn

I think it would make life a lot easier to just be able to say, I'll let you know the price once I see how many hours it's going to take me. But since that's not reality, I think that putting it in writing is a good idea. But then if you say that an 8" B-day cake is $15-20 then they are going to think that an 8" wedding cake should be that too. Don't ya think? I don't know I'm still losing my bottom. I did 1/2 sheet for $25 and was tickled. But it was very simple with a shark tales kit on it. I'm still learning too.



I made a portfolio with pictures of my cakes and a price list. The grocery stores sell a 1/2 sheet for $25-$30 ($26.99 at my local Food Lion) so I would not charge less than $30 because for that $30 they are getting a better quality product. My cakes weigh about 2 times what theirs do because of the filling and such. Trust me when I tell you, if you raise your price you will still get orders. I get more orders now than I ever did before at $30 plus, and I live in a small area. I used to sell them at $25 to compete with the stores, but not anymore. Trust me, I looked at the photos of your cakes and you can charge at least $30 for a 1/2 sheet in any marketplace.
post #62 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetAsLemmons

My biggest problem comes when someone asks "How much would you charge to do a _____ cake for ___ people?" I feel like a deer caught in headlights. Too many times have I been suckered into underpricing a cake to the point where end up working for pennies. icon_cry.gif It's just that I'm afraid quoting a price that's too high will result in no clients. Pathetic, I know.

Also, how can I develop a quick way of quoting cakes?
Help! Advice! Please!



I hate quoting on the spot for cake. ESPECIALLY since a simple order can always become bigger than orginally expected.

What I usually do is say it depends on what you want. What flavors are you looking for (chocolate icing costs more to make, as does fondant)? What kind of filling do you want? What type of decorations? What size do you need or how many people are you trying to feed? Then I tell them I will get back with them.

You can always give people a couple of different options. That away if the want to go with the cheaper option they can always pick a smaller design.

When it comes to explaining why you charge what you do, I think you have to be careful. There are people out there that use others and can see openings for doing so. If they see that you are unsure of your prices they are going to work you down to a lower price.

If they compare your cakes to the local grocery store, then tell them your cakes are baked fresh and are custome made for them. Grocery store cakes are frozen and are picked out of a book, or are generic cakes anyone could bring home.

If you haven't already you should sit down and find out how much it costs you to make your cakes. Do you bake from scratch or a mix? How much does the mix cost, including the ingerdients you put in it? How much does your icing cost you to make? What about cake boards and boxes? As well as all that other little stuff.

When you know how much it costs you to make your cakes it will help you figure out how much you should charge. The general rule is that you should charge 3 times what it costs you to make it.
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post #63 of 68
Howdy ya'll,
I just wanna put in my two cents worth here. I do work at a (omg, for shame) Walmart bakery. And, after reading the posts on this particular thread, I was both ashamed and just a little teeny, weeny bit upset. You are right we do get our cakes frozen and yes we are very limited on the flavors (white, chocolate and marble) but, I do take umbrance at the accusation that we just "throw" together cakes in a coupla minutes.
I don't know about other stores, but at this store, I take great pride in providing the customers (most of whom can't afford the lovely, and I mean lovely cakes that ya'll make) with a product that they can be proud to have at their b-day party. I know, I know, most of you are already looking down your noses at me, but just a minute, I was reading a thread the other day about the comparisons of professional (the kind ya'll do) and the "slab" cakes that we have. There is actually no comparison at all. You can do way more things on your cakes than I can ever do on any of mine: fondant, gumpaste, ganache, bct (which by the way I am gonna teach my decorators how to do). but all in all you have an advantage over us in many ways.
I figure, the problem is that the consumer is uneducated when it comes to cake, and your job is to educate them about quality over quantity,
I have looked at the cakes you ladies have done and can only hope one day to be able to come even half to what you do.
So, that said, DO NOT sell yourselves short!
Like the lady said, you sell beemers, I sell carollas, and not everyone can afford a beemer.
Just remember your demographics and do things that I can't. But please, don't bash me for selling carolla's. o.k.?
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Look twice, save a life. Motorcylcles are
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post #64 of 68
I am definately with you Melody. I am notorious for not charging enough, because I am not confident with my work. My first paid order was for a babyshower for my friend's sister. The finished project is posted in my pics. Anyhow I charged $45.00. My husband's jaw nearly hit the jaw, I had to jab him and smile. He is always after me about not pricing what I should. My friend and her sister were so impressed my friend gave me an extra $20.00, which was very sweet. The second order I have is for December. It is the fondant babies on cupcakes, on the cupcake stand shown in the Wilton 2004 yearbook. This is for my best friend's babyshower. The price quoted $25.00. (I am surprised I'm not single yet...lol) I haven't been doing this for long but am somewhat knowledgable since both my mother and grandmother did this for a living. I decided I need to build up my self esteem. I got a request for a carousel cake. A 12in round with 9 in round on top. Using the carousel separator plates (like the one on the box of these) AND the carousel horse for another baby shower. Guess what I quoted for both $150.00. Mind you I would have to buy the plates and look for the discontinued carousel cake pan since I have neither. They have not contacted me since I quoted the price. I called a local bakery and asked how much the carousel cake alone would be, they said it would be approx. $181.00 to look identical like the one on the box and $135.00 if they did a much simpler design. As my husband says: "If they want Walmart cakes, tell them go to Walmart....you don't need those kind of customers." Easy to say, hard for me to do. Best of Luck!!!!!!!!!!!
post #65 of 68
Not to be hijacking this post, but I think that you are getting the wrong idea Chaptlps as to where our disdain is aimed when we scornfully speak of the -MART Cakes. It isn't aimed at the decorator who is just doing their job. And occasionally ( as it seems with you) there might be one who truly loves what they are doing and really takes pride in it. I think most of us are more annoyed by the consumer who is looking to us to work for the same wages or cheaper than the mass production places.Not at a sister decorator just in a different venue.

And I cannot speak for anyone else but for myself but in the case of the MARTS... I am full of contempt for the huge chains cornering the market on EVERYTHING under the sun. I would never bash you for selling Corolla's but I guess I would bash the company that in trying to sell Corolla's includes EVERYTHING from gas to clothes to smokes to fastfood and medicines and bakery items and do your nails and lube your car and your eye exam and your contacts and cut your hair and a book of stamps and grab a money order while you are here and get your groceries, sets the bar for the rest of us to make our cakes for 15.00. They have their finger in everything and it makes it rough on small business including specialty bakers.

You arent the one who sets the standard of frozen cakes and greasy icing you simply are doing your job and it sounds like with a lot more pride than most I have seen in that job, so kudos to you and I hope that someday you are doing it for yourself and can utilize all the things you like and not be a cog in the machine but an independent, doing it your way. But for now I wouldnt feel a bit ashamed. Its good that folks CAN get someone in those places who care about what they do.I remember a day whn a lady who worked in our local foodworld astounded me with her pretty cakes and I was more than happy to set one on my table (lookswise, because I never liked the taste) and thought ...I could NEVER do that!
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post #66 of 68
Kayday,
Thank you soo much for your kind words. I really do appreciate what you have to say. And I am sorry if I "came off" as a crackpot or something silly like that. I am foremost an artist who just happens to find herself working in about the only place you can at the "mart" where one can be creative.
But once again, thank you so much for your thoughts.
Look twice, save a life. Motorcylcles are
Everywhere!
ABATE of Colorado
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Look twice, save a life. Motorcylcles are
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ABATE of Colorado
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post #67 of 68
chaptlps, I think you raise a really good point about educating consumers about quality of cakes. Before I knew anything about cake decorating, I have to admit to dashing into a grocery store for a colleague's birthday cake, simply because I knew I could get it quickly, with the "personalized" name added, and be on my way--just like a bouquet of flowers. It just didn't occur to me to purchase a cake for anything that wasn't a wedding, because the beautiful cakes people make here aren't mass marketed the way, say, a Dairy Queen cake is, or the advertising the grocery store gets every time you pass the cake case. This was also before I had my son--I think often when you have children and it becomes ESSENTIAL to have Insert Critical Cake Theme Here--you educate yourself about your cake buying options, or upgrade your decorating skills.

Sorry I'm rambling a bit here, but I guess my point is for all those decorators looking to get started in birthday and party cakes, I say keep your prices where you need them to be and don't be afraid of losing the customers because the prices don't compare to the "marts." I think the real challenge is to make people aware of your abilities and all the potential designs you can do that they can't find in most chain stores. Before I saw Colette's books (and others) and started becoming addicted to cake sites, I had no clue that all of these amazing designs were even an option--I thought cakes had writing and flowers!

Just my 2 cents--pricing and marketing and running a business are all complicated things . . . it's encouraging to hear about and see so much success on these boards! It's inspiring! icon_biggrin.gif
post #68 of 68
Hello all. I must say I have been caught in this situation as well icon_redface.gif . What I try to do now is tell the client if it is a wedding cake that it depends on the design and I will have to get back with them. I usually sit down and add all cost associated with the cake and multiply times 3 and that will be my fee. That way you are getting what you paid out back plus your time. I hope this helps....... icon_smile.gif
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