woman holding a red velvet cake on a platter with cake business partner in the background

In the cake community there are a few hot topics of discussion that constantly circulate every year.  One of them is pricing, and another one is its younger sibling – earning more money! While both work together and are fundamental to a strong cake business, this article will focus on how to earn higher profits (by increasing your value), and sell fewer cakes.

How are you adding extra value to your cake orders?

Let’s talk value. Top sales experts will always advise on focusing showing value to your clients, versus focusing on the price. What does that mean to you, the cake business owner?  It means offer something that makes the sale and purchase better for the client.

Value is the extra enhancements or services that you can provide the client, but they do not necessarily have a dollar amount. Although sometimes they can, however that is not the primary intent. Value allows you to have a higher price point because you are offering more than “just cake”.

For example, the average customer cannot tell the difference between a grocery store cake and a custom cake made from scratch. That is why you see over and over again, people who balk at the price of a cake and then they can get it at the local big-box retail store for less than your price. They do not know the difference until you show them the value of what you are providing.

A tall cake five tier cake with white chocolate shavings and two smaller chocolate cakes on each side

The average customer also does not know that retail stores get their cakes shipped in from a manufacturer who froze the cakes 3 months ago, and then it was distributed to stores. They also do not know that the grocery store icing comes in a bucket and is not made fresh. It is also manufactured and made with fillers and preservatives so stores can keep stock on hand that is easy for them to sell.

This is not to say that a customer can’t get custom designs and flavors, because they can, there are just limitations to what they can get, the designs come from a book, and the flavors can only be a combination of what the bakery offers from their distributor. The grocery store shows their value by providing something fairly nice, consistent in looks regardless of the location, fairly tasty, and relatively inexpensive, and fast!

Your standard grocery store birthday cake. Nice enough but nothing special about it.

Your value as a custom baker is in the quality

Show your value by highlighting the time and effort that goes into creating a custom cake. Show your value by:

  • Showing the care that you take when delivering and setting up your cake,
  • Illustrating the different flavor combinations that you have available, and the fresh fruits and special fillings that you provide,
  • Offering personalized tasting appointments and then customized sketches to the client  (after they hire you of course)
  • Your customer service from start to finish,
  • Showing your value in your work
  • Offering a specialized menu and flavor offerings.

To maximize your earning power, evaluate your work. Ensure that your icing and piping work is clean and well put together. Your cake is well stacked and level, and your overall presentation impeccable. Clients buy with their eyes first, and if your work appears flawless, you set yourself apart from the rest.

turquoise blue tiered cake with pink sugar handmade flowers
Perfectly imperfect cakes don’t earn you premium profits. 

Increase your prices…continuously

We would not be doing our due diligence if we did not bring this up. Bakers are notoriously bad about making up arbitrary prices or copying someone else, instead of doing the math and calculating the numbers themselves. While we won’t cover exactly how to do that right now we discuss it frequently so you want to make sure you are subscribed. We offer tips, tools, and even webinars on how to price your cakes and desserts. This information is only available to subscribers so make sure you sign up below!

A last word on pricing.  When establishing your pricing, your numbers must be aligned with your skills. What that means is that if you have not perfected smooth icing, sharp edges, and preventing cake bulging, you are not ready to charge top dollar. A few might pay for it, but word will get around through mediocre or bad reviews, and then you will have another problem to handle. This does not mean you need to be the cheapest, it just means that your value and pricing must be in alignment and includes alignment in your skills.

Work smarter not harder (or longer)

Getting a cake order is exciting, especially when you are just getting started because someone else is putting their trust in you to create something special their celebration or event.

Since it’s a paying client you want to do your best and get those five-star reviews. You might even work until the early hours of the morning to make it perfect.

Rookie mistake. Don’t do it!

We all have done it, but this is one of the primary reasons why your profits dwindle away on your cake orders. The hours you put in, and the amount you actually charged the client does not add up and you end up working for minimum wage or less, and you unintentionally subsidize the client’s event. Working in this manner means that you have to work longer hours and you have to produce more cake in order to increase your profits.

This is a very easy fix which only requires some planning on your part. We have created a guide which you get below. This will help you plan out your orders for the week so that you are maximizing your time, working smarter, and keeping more money in your pocket. By completing your order in a certain time frame you are ensuring that you stay on track and on target with your numbers.

Stop buying specialty tools, supplies and cake decorating items

A final way in which you can earn higher profits is by stopping the frivolous spending. As much as we love the art of cake decorating, it’s easy to buy the gadgets, tools, pans and trinkets that just end up sitting on the shelves waiting to be used. If you want to stay a hobbyist, keep buying the items as you please. However if you are transitioning into a cake business, be mindful of where your dollars are going and don’t buy any extra items unless it is needed for an order. That way the costs can be absorbed by the client, instead of coming out of your pocket. By reducing or eliminating the extra spending on tools, you are increasing profits by keeping more money in your pocket.  

White it is tempting to go above and beyond for every order, it’s important to add as much value as you can, track and manage your time and efforts for each cake, increase your pricing on a regular basis, and reduce or eliminate your spending on extra tools and supplies that you don’t need. This is how you sell fewer cakes and earn higher profits!

What are tips you can share with other bakers on how to earn higher profits? Let us know in the comments below…looking forward to hearing your tips!

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