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Topic: how much to charge for a cake?
lisa226 08/31/2009 8:51 PM
Hi Everyone,

How much would you charge for a 1/2 or full sheet cake? I'm making one for a baby shower/cookout and I know some people charge $3 a slice, but there are about 100 people. I hate to charge the future aunt (who is 23 and just lost her job) $300 for a cake. What do you think?
However, I'm making a 10 inch square baby shower cake for someone else and told them that I will make it for $3 a slice ($90 for 30 people, also making it special b/c there are diabetics). They were offering to pay me $125, but I said that was too much. I just don't want to screw anyone. I'm kind of new at this.


sweetgrandma 08/31/2009 9:05 PM
lisa...goodness knows I'm not a pro on what to charge but I believe the $3.00/serving is usually more for a layered cake, like a wedding type cake. I personally wouldn't charge that much for a sheet cake. (actually if it was for a family member - future or present - I probably wouldn't charge at all.)

lovegrace 08/31/2009 9:10 PM
The prepared answer is: "It depends on your area. Check your local bakeries (not grocery stores!) and compare your product to theirs. Price accordingly."

My answer is: I charge $2.50 per slice. Now, that's not per person, that's per Wilton wedding slice. If they want a cake that has 150 Wilton servings according to the Wilton chart, I don't care whether there's 1 person or 300 people eating from it.

I also know that people who don't have jobs don't need custom cakes. That's what the grocery store is for. Is she a friend? If so, you could cut the price a little.

Many people charge less than me and many charge more. That's why you should find out the going rate in your area. Your area may be very different than mine.
Jeanne G 08/31/2009 10:17 PM
Perfect answer, lovegrace!

Wilton's wedding slice is 4" high. Often (but not always) sheet cakes are 2" high. Do you adjust for that in your pricing?
cakes06 08/31/2009 10:27 PM
Heck, I only charge $30 for a single layer split with filling for a half sheet and $50 for a double layer. I'm doing a double layer for a b/d on Friday with a little 6" tier sitting on top and am charging $65 for the whole thing. Maybe that's not enough but I don't want to charge by the slice....that's too much.
lovegrace 08/31/2009 11:42 PM
Sorry, I should've mentioned I only do 4" high cakes.
lisa226 09/01/2009 6:28 AM
Thanks everyone! This isn't for a family member, I wouldn't charge for family. That's good to know about the wedding cakes. I was telling someone that I was thinking of looking at the price of sheet cakes around the area and basing my price on that, but they didn't think I should do that. Well, it's good to know that I was on the right track! :-)

Thanks again!
Jeanne G 09/01/2009 7:41 AM
cakes06, $30 for a half sheet? Can I order 6, for Friday? I agree that a simple sheet should cost less than a complex tiered cake, but, $30??!!
sweetgrandma 09/01/2009 8:47 AM had it right to begin with!

I did call around the different bakeries here and found they're fairly comparable in their prices...not differing more than 50 cents/serving. Only one guy wouldn't give me a price on the phone (I think he suspected I was a baker). He said I'd have to come in because the prices depended on what I wanted on the cake.

Let us know what you find out! Good luck!
KTB 09/01/2009 8:48 AM
cakes06 - when you say 1/2 sheet what size are you talking about? Full sheet?

I've said it before but I REALLY wish there was a standard out there for sizes. Drives me crazy that people tell me "I can get a 1/4 sheet at the grocery store for $20" but they have no idea what size it actually is.
cakes06 09/01/2009 8:32 PM
KTB - my half sheets are 12 x 18. I always cut about an inch off the end so it fits on the board better.

Jeanne: hmmmmmmmmmmm, so you think I'm too cheap on charging that price? I use to charge just $25 and went up to $30 this last year. I guess I think about Costco cakes and theirs for a half sheet is something like $16.95 and they're good. But, I know they're not custom designed and they make their money by bulk sales. Maybe I should re-think it, but I still don't want to charge by the slice.
Jeanne G 09/01/2009 11:08 PM
cakes06 ... MacDonald's sells a cheeseburger for $.99 -- do you think that Applebees or Chili's or Perkins should base their prices on that fact? What on earth does the price charged by a discount warehouse have to do with how you price your custom cakes? (Jeanne shakes head in disbelief.) Gal, I've seen your cakes. You're selling a 12x18" decorated sheet cake, that serves 36 party slices, for $30. Have I got that right? What does a nice bakery in your area charge for that size cake?

cakes06 09/02/2009 12:05 AM
I'll have to find out and will let you know, Jeanne.
Sugar Pie 09/02/2009 1:10 AM
It seems like "what do I charge?" is a hot topic.
I charge $35 for what I call a 1/2 sheet - 18x24. I usually receive $40, and I am very grateful for the tips that I receive. I do not split and fill my sheet cakes unless it is requested. And....I deliver them 15 miles away - actually 30 miles counting a round trip since I have to come back home! I do try to center my deliveries around church, or when I know I will be in town for something besides delivering a cake.
When I break down the actual cost of the cake, I wonder if I'm making much of a profit.
3 cake mixes, eggs, oil, at least 2 - 2lb. bags of powdered sugar, butter, shortening, extract, meringue powder, salt, food coloring, cake pad, cake box, eletricity, my TIME, gas, equipment, nerve pills, etc. My goodness!! Do we add these items all up and multiply x 3? How do we calculate our time? Are we selling ourselves short?
I have no nice bakery to compare my prices to. Our small town only has a local grocery store and a Wal-Mart. The closest city is over an hour away. I have no idea what other decorators in my area charge, but I have heard that I am 'high' on my prices. I have no intentions of lowering my prices.
I fall into the 'relative' trap as well. I feel bad in my heart when I charge my family, but if they went to the grocery store, the owner of the store wouldn't feel bad to charge them. Maybe that's why family comes to us to get their cakes done.
A lot of times I catch myself telling family members that I will charge them x amount of $, and for them to be sure and not tell what they paid. What on earth am I thinking?!!! Do I get favors in return? I think not. I just get more cake orders!
I will say that I am very thankful for the wedding cake orders that I get. That seems to be where I make the most money. And then again...when it's a nephew or niece, they only get charged for supplies.
For the ending of my 'book," I will say that I enjoy making/decorating cakes. I enjoy doing them for my family. But...I need to wake up and start charging for the work that I am providing.
Jeanne G, I had one of those McDonald's cheeseburgers the other day, and I wondered what on earth I was eating! It didn't even taste like meat! And my Dad told me to go wherever I wanted and he would pay. I hope I make a better choice the next time I'm given the chance.
KTB 09/02/2009 8:57 AM
cakes06 - thanks for answering I'm with Jeanne though holy great price Batman!! I did one that size ( well 13x18 - 2 9x13's together) and charged $60 for it. I also did a 2 layer one and charged $125 which was too low.

I charge $35 for a 9x13. yikes!
bunnywoman 09/02/2009 9:21 AM
I think $30 bucks is way to low. But that is just my opinion. My 12x18 is $81.00.
Jeanne G 09/02/2009 9:47 AM
And worth every penny, no doubt.
cakes06 09/02/2009 11:16 AM
I checked with two local bakeries and one quoted a price of $48 and the other one said $28.75. So, the pricing around here is pretty diverse. I hardly make them anymore as most of my thing is wedding cakes anyway, so I'm not going to worry about it now.
momascooking 09/02/2009 1:25 PM
Cake06...I live in backwoods rural Mississippi and the bakeries in the next town sell their 12x18's , $45-$50. No filling and minimal decorations as they quote. NO deliveries! Wedding cakes are $1.75 per serving, and I don't think they go to any pains on design. Seems most of you are calling the 12x18 a half sheet, therefore making 9x13 a quarter, question is, where does the 12x15 fit in? I think it is a nice size pan, what would you call it other than odd ball? lol
ladycatisadiva 09/02/2009 1:38 PM
momascooking, this is my breakdown. I know you meant 11x15 not 12x15.

9x13 1/4 sheet

11x15 1/2 sheet

2 11x15's together is my full sheet.

I use my 12x18's for special orders. Just to keep my sheet prices uniform.