Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No Caking for Assholes: Lesson 3- PRICING!

This post is part three of the NC4A series for cake decorators. If you are not a caker, this post isn't intended for you. But you'll probably read it anyway. Nosy.

Pricing is something of a taboo topic in the cake world. Newbie cakers frequently ask, "How much should I charge for this cake?" and the veteran cakers sigh internally (or out loud) and ignore the question.


Well, because nobody can answer that for you!

And we all did it! I asked pricing questions when I was new. I think we all did. At some point, there were so many pricing questions flying around the cake world that we decided to answer any "How much should I charge for this?" with "$62.50."

Five tier wedding cake? $62.50.

Looks like $62.50 to me.

Dozen cupcakes? $62.50.

Why can't the cake world give you a straight answer on what you should charge? Well, because that would be cheating. We don't want to do your homework for you.

  • We don't know your materials cost. How much will the materials and ingredients for this cake cost? Don't forget to charge for the cake board and box! There's a huge variance in the cost and availability of ingredients across the country (and the world).  

  • There's no way we know your overhead. Are you a home baker? Do you have a shop? Employees to pay? Rent? What's your profit margin for your business? 

  • Nobody but you knows your hands. How long will it take your hands to bake this cake? To decorate it? To color all the icings or make the fondant? To clean up after? Yes, you should charge for clean up time! That's part of the job. How much do you charge for your time? If you're not charging at least a living wage for your time, you're part of the reason people think they can pay $30 for a 50 serving, two tier cake. If you think you're not good enough to charge for your time, you're wrong. 

You and your time have value.

You should be charging more to create a custom cake than someone gets paid to put together a Whopper. Sadly, there are a lot of cakers out there working for (literally) pennies. Don't believe me? Check your local yardsale site.

Work for free for your family and friends if you want. But if you're going to advertise cakes to the public, you need to act like a professional and charge for your time. Nobody respects people who give it away for free. (Remember high school?)

  • We haven't done your market research. What are reputable bakers in your area charging for comparable cakes? You should find out! We're not going to do it for you. And I mean reputable bakers, not the people who are willing to work for free on yardsale sites. They aren't trying to make a living.
Once you've figured out your materials cost, time estimate, overhead, and market comps, you can set your price.

See? This is why nobody can tell you what to charge for a cake. Learning to price your cakes takes a fair amount of trial and error. Just like decorating cakes! Practice, practice, practice.

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