skip to content

FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $60! *Limited to domestic U.S. orders only.

Discussion Forum

Topic: 12x18 sheet cake price
topofthehill 06/08/2011 1:15 PM
I know pricing is different in different areas of the country, but could anyone give me some rough ideas on what to charge for a 12x 18 sheet cake. No filling, minimal decorating. Most of the cakes this size that I do are donations or for family.

I have a bride who wants sheet cakes for her wedding, but wants walmart pricing. I can't compete with walmart's price of course, but I'm willing to drop my price just to get this job and the word of mouth advertising it would give me.
cakedujour 06/08/2011 1:36 PM
I hate those big sheet cakes and it is almost not possible to pay me enough, so I won't offer any advice on pricing. BUT, I do want to caution you about dropping your price for the word of mouth advertising that you'd get.

If you do decide to lower your price to get this job, make sure you tell this bride that this is a ONE TIME OFFER. This price WILL NOT BE OFFERED AGAIN. Her friends and family who enjoy this cake will have to pay your regular price of $____. Otherwise, you'll be inundated with brides looking for champaign cakes on koolaid budgets. And you also don't want to get the reputation of being the cut rate baker in town. And when her BFF calls you to make her cake, and couldn't you please give her the same deal, the answer is sorry, but it is not possible.
cakesbychrystal 06/08/2011 1:41 PM
Ditto, ditto, ditto on what cake said. When people get "the hook up" they ALWAYS tell their friends and family. Your phone will be ringing off the hook with people who don't want to pay full price! My 1/2 sheets start at $85.
topofthehill 06/08/2011 9:26 PM
Thanks for the good advice ladies!
I sent her a text saying that I'd miscalculated the price and that they'd be $10 less than I originally told her. Haven't heard back from her, so I'm assuming I'm still out of her budget. Kind of relieved. I wasn't looking forward to doing six sheet cakes.
swtnsvry 06/08/2011 10:32 PM
Just remember people come to us because they want custom work, not frozen all week and out of a bucket of icing that's massively reproduced during the month. They want fresh made product. Be up front with the customer that you are not WALMART and will not match Walmart because you give your customers made to order product. Make sure to get paid for your time plus what you have in the product. I've been told a good rule of thumb is 3x the product total you have in it. But I live in a rural area if I charged 3x the product total they'd drive the 30 min to Walmart and settle for a crappy assembly line repeat bakery cake. I worked in a chain grocery store bakery so I kind of know how they did it 13 years ago so when people want Walmart pricing I'll tell them when I worked in bakery this is how they did the cakes and that is not what I do. Most people that call me its because they don't want that whipped icing crap and that's what they tell me. I asked a friend who also does cakes because she was going to be moving away so there would be a bit of a business gain for me possibly and what they charged which wasn't much more than what I had figured or had in mind so I figured other than those who I already told a price for when they asked. If enough time lapses I'll just tell them that product went up and I had to up my pricing a little. Call around the area to a few independent bakers. Some will be willing to share their pricing some won't because they'll see you as competition. I asked because I wanted to know if I was under, over or just about same pricing for what people were paying. Trust me her work is better and she's alot younger. I judged her 4 H cake decorating project. I decided the next time someone calls I was going to make sure I find out what type cake they want or how they want it decorated because it will depend on price I quote them and I use a purchase order form I did off the computer and put down what I gave them for quote so I don't forget when they pick it up. If they want simple its a little less than if they want me carving it out into something they see on a cake show and fondant covered their gonna pay me for my time. Unless its out of my comfort zone then I will be upfront I'm up for a challenge to my skills and will do my best with my artist skills it won't be an exact but will do my best to get close to what they want. IF I take it on then the price I give is a "First Time" challenge quote because I want to grow my portfolio but will adjust cost for later if anyone else calls for a similar cake. Good Luck!
ginnyl 06/09/2011 7:07 AM
Topofthehill, even simple sheet cakes take time and money to produce. My basic sheet cakes also start at $85.00.
And any discount is listed as a volume discount for this order only...
And, it is paid for in advance - balances due 2 weeks before the event.
I am sure she did not ask her cater for McDonald's pricing..LOL
Don't sell your time and talent short..
topofthehill 06/09/2011 7:08 AM
Thanks Swtnsvry. I'm in a very, very rural area and people aren't willing to spend big dollars here. We rarely get a wedding in town. I've been doing pretty much the things you suggested for awhile now. Honestly I'm about ready to give up on the whole cake thing. People love my cake, but when it actually comes to buying one, they'll go the cheaper route almost every time.
ginnyl 06/09/2011 7:23 AM
topofthehill..please don't let other people make you give up what you undoubtly enjoy doing..
Have you ever figured out what it would cost you to make and decorate the sheet cakes the bride wants...?
This will be a good indicator of what you should charge...adding in the cost of your time.. Then decide what would work for you and the bride...
sharridee 06/09/2011 8:40 AM
OMG... I live in Indinana and I charge 30.00 for a 12x18 sheet cake..They don't take that much time, to do. or cost much.
cakesbychrystal 06/09/2011 10:02 AM
Sharridee, have you calculated the cost of ingredients for your 12X18? Are you calculating cost of utilities and gas to go shopping? What about the cost of the cake board and box? Also, are you paying yourself an hourly rate? Once you deduct all of that from $30 what are you left with? While you may not be able to charge $85 for a basic sheet cake, $30 is more like grocery store pricing and you are charging less than $1 per serving. I have a minimum order of $50, so if you want a cake from me, even if it's just a 6" round it will be at least $50 because I value my time greatly and don't find it cost effective to step into my kitchen to bake for any less than that. I cannot afford to work for free.

Topofthehill, sorry that you are feeling discouraged, but I guess there isn't very much you can do in a rural area. I do think that custom cake creations are in higher demand in metropolitan areas. Is there a larger town or city close to you that you can start soliciting business from?
sweetgrandma 06/09/2011 10:04 AM
sharridee........people here charge that much for a 9 X13 sheet cake....I think you're way underpricing your cakes, but if that's what you want to do that's your business. To each his own!!

Personally I think sheetcakes are a pain and IF I charged for my cakes I'd charge a lot for a sheetcake. Mainly to discourage them! The one or two people I've had that didn't seem pleased with their cakes had ordered sheetcakes. One was a friend and the other was a relative who both, by the way, only paid for the ingredients. Maybe that's why I don't like doing them!!
topofthehill 06/09/2011 1:41 PM
I finally told the bride that $35 is as low as I can possibly go on the sheet cakes. I have done similar ones for that and since there is no gas involved (it's a block from my house) I figure I can do it for that, though not making much profit.

As for a bigger market I can go to, no there isn't, at least not while gas prices are so high.

I had an encouraging word from a woman this morning who LOVES my cupcakes. She really thinks I should pursue my baking. And yet..... she never orders my cupcakes when she needs something for a coffee party or birthday.
ginnyl 06/09/2011 3:52 PM
People are really funny..they love your cakes but don't want to pay the price. They would rather eat a cake from the grocery...As a point of information..I do add a delivery charge do matter how far away it is...
I found once I started treating my caking as a "real" thing..I did not have any trouble asking for what I thought my work was worth. I feel the same way cakesbychrystal posted..and when that happened I started to attract a different type of clients - they didn't quibble about the price..They wanted a quality product and did not nickle and dime me. And, from them I got some nice referrals...
I know I can't expect to get rich but I want to be paid for my time and talent. I know my Dentist will not bargain about his bill..why should I..Just my opinion.
BlackWidowNor 06/09/2011 8:12 PM
My half sheets start at $75.00. That's buttercream with little decoration and no special filling.

Why are you short changing yourself?
creative_rb 06/09/2011 9:55 PM
In defense of people who don't want to spend much or just don't buy from you: I don't have a high income (from cakes and my other job) so I have to be careful how I spend my money. I can admire the fancy jewelry at the jewelers but then settle for knock-off or jewelry I make myself. Great cakes are the same, awesome, but far from a necessity. People who choose not to spend much on cake should just realize their options are limited and not ask us to take a loss so they don't have to.
melgarmania 06/10/2011 8:29 AM
First off I don't do sheet cakes, I refuse to. If someone insists on a sheet cake I tell them go to walmart. I don't charge enough for that kind of head ache and they always argue over the price. I always charge about twice what it cost to make the cake and I can't even make sheet cakes at walmart prices and still cover the price of ingredients. When I started out making cakes for friends and family I was a little uncomfortable charging so much because I still needed experience. I would give them a shopping list and then just charge for my time that way I got the experience and didn't have to charge so much and they were able to see how much it actually costs to make a cake. I had a lady once say to me "Are you freekin kidding me, cake mix is only $1 a box". I told her if she wanted cake mix she could go buy it and make her own cakes. She wanted a four layer castle cake 12 X 12 using the wilton castle kit with added turrets and a tower for $40 and wanted me to buy the castle kit. I told her that wouldn't even cover my cost to make the cake. I talked her down to something smaller and a little simpler and only charged her $50 because I needed the experience. On the morning of the party she called to tell me that she would only be paying $40 for the cake and if I wouldn't except that then she would go to walmart and get a sheet cake. I had to give it to her for that price because I had to recoup my costs. She ended up getting a $50 serving cake for $40
CakesByJune 06/11/2011 4:07 PM
melgarmania, wow I just saw your picture of the cake. That should of been like a $50 or $60 dollar cake maybe even a little more. Well good luck happy baking/decorating

cycakes 08/13/2011 2:55 PM
cakesbychrystal - is that for 1 layer or 2 layer? I couldn't figure out why the stores had so few servings comparatively to the wilton suggested chart, then the light bulb went on and the wilton chart is for 2 layers! Just wondering what your pricing is based on. I have had specific requests for 2 layer sheet cakes! what a pita those are!!!