How much to Charge?
In the business of cake of sugar decorating, among other concerns that we might find, there is always that doubt in our minds on whether or not we are charging a fair price. In my experience, I have encountered different type of clients that are willing and of course those that are not willing to pay the fair price. And it is okay, we all have limitations on how much we can spend on a cake, etc.
I know, I know, we have a business to make money and to cover all the expenses the business bring, yes that is correct, BUT sometimes humans can get greedy. Unfortunately, this happens anywhere, and for this reason many talented sugar artist have closed their businesses and gone back to working for others.
I have done a bit of research that has helped me to set a prices for the items I offer. hopefully this will give you an idea on how much to charge. The same below would be the basic formula to come up with your prices, regardless if your order consists of cake, cookies, cupcakes, or cake pops.
Let’s start with Cookies
Cookies are one of the easiest to bake, UNLESS you go all fancy on the flavors, they are pretty basic usually just butter, flour, sugar, and flavoring. Now, the complication comes when we decorate the cookies.
When deciding on the price to charge, we have to look at the actual expense we incur in buying all ingredient we are going to use to make that particular cookie.
For example: if we are making 10 dozens of cookies, and we spent $10 in flour, 2 dozens of eggs are $10, then 2 pounds of sugar $10, then the colors you will use $5.00, flavoring (if any) $5, then your time (usually takes an hour or more per cookie – if it is a really intricate design -since we need to wait to dry before applying an additional color, ($20 hour)
You have 10+10+10+5+5+20= $60 just to make the 2 dozen cookies.
Depending on the state you live, these prices may be higher or lower, the above example should serve just as reference. If it is a very intricate design and live for example in Miami, you can charge between $40-$60 per 2 dozen of cookies. Usually, a less intricate design, simpler looking cookie is sold in many bakeries between $2.00 to $5.00, just to give you an idea. In the end is your decision how much you want to charge.
Usually, to have a recurring client, and if it is affordable to YOU, it is a good idea to offer an incentive, such as perhaps a x% discount if more than X amount purchased. The client would definitely appreciate it.
Tip: It is a good idea to keep a journal of how much you spent on making a dozen of basic cookies, from there you can just add the extra charge for the more complex designs, this way you do have to be adding number at the time of the order, you just look at your chart and take it from there.
Let’s talk about Cupcakes/Cake Pops
When your order is made up of cupcakes or cake pops or even both at the same time, we do the same procedure as above (get the price of the ingredients) and add it all up to come up with a fair price based on the size of the order and where you live (state). It is always a good idea to browse a local bakery to get an idea on what they offer and their prices. Remember the point is to make a good recurring clientele and not just a one shot client and never see them again. The more competitive (but fair) your prices are, the more your product will be known, without affecting your baker fellow.
Let’s talk about Cake!
Now, we move to the main topic, Cake. When you get an order for a cake, the order is a bit more complex. The process of ordering may include a tasting of the flavor on cake, fillings, and frosting you offer. It may include more than one visit, it may include more than one flavor in each tier or each tier being a different flavor if the cake if two tiers or more. All these options will impact the pricing of the cake. The pricing of the cake also is impacted by the following:
1- How many persons would the cake need to fee? The more number of persons, the bigger the cake, the more expensive,
2- What flavor, filling, does the client want more than one flavor and filling?,
3- And, I would say more important, whether the cake is covered with Fondant, Buttercream, or Naked (meaning no buttercream or fondant is applied).
To give you an example on the pricing of a 3 tier cake [10-8-6″ in size] (which usually would feed about 50-60 persons), and being all buttercream, the standard price ranges (in Miami where I live-remember your locations also plays an important role in the price) $3.00 to $4.00 per person. So a three tiered cake to feed 50-60 persons would be: 50 x 3= 150 or 50 x 4= 200 or 60 x 3= 180 or 60 x 4= 240, this is again on the style, if it requires flowers, each flower can be between $3 to $10 per flower depending on the style and amount of the flower.
If you have a fondant covered cake, usually for wedding and we take the same example above, the price would be higher. Fondant covered cake price per slice (or person portion) prices can go from $5.00 to $10.00 per person. Taking the example above the price for a 50 to 60 person fondant covered cake would be:
As low as: 50 x 5= 250 (plus any additional embellishments), 60 x 5= 300 or has high as: 50 x 10 = 500 or 60 x 10 = 600 (plus any additional embellishment)
Remember, the more intricate the design and the more details the cookie, cupcake/cake pop or cake has the more you should be charging, always and I mean ALWAYS charge for your time.
Yes, clients may go and get a less expensive cake at the market, but remember, you get what you pay for and the hand-made art is pricey, the client is not paying for what we do, but for what they cannot do. It is a skill that requires a lot of hours, sacrifices, burns, errors, frustrations and sometimes even tears….our work is worth every penny.
Until next time!
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