Wedding Cake Tastings – Why You Should Be Charging For Them
Hey sweet friends! I hope you are all staying warm and dry. I’m cozied up on my couch on this wet and blustery Sunday. It’s actually my birthday today and the thing I really was looking forward to was bundling up on my couch with a warm blanket and a cup of tea, and evaluating my last year of cake business. I know – call me a workaholic, you wouldn’t be wrong. But, I truly ENJOY it! I know, I’m weird. I think it’s a Capricorn thing.
This post is going out to all my cake friends who have a cake business.
I am doing a little business re-vamping this winter and evaluating some of my business practices & policies, trying to get a better balance and changing some things that have not been working. So, I thought I’d share a few little tidbits I have learned along the way in my cake business ventures.
Here’s the crux of it. Don’t sell yourself short. Charge what you are worth and compensate yourself for ALL of your time and hours you spend on your business. All. Of. It.
This is a question I have seen countless times in online cake decorating forums and communities:
Should I be charging for cake tastings?
When I first started doing wedding cakes, I did not charge for my wedding cake tastings. I checked and none of the other cake decorators in my area did at that time. Granted it’s a tiny town and there are only a handful of us. But since they weren’t charging, I felt like if I was the only one charging, brides would just go for the freebies. But, after experiencing several flaky brides that didn’t show up for our tasting appointment, I started charging. After wasting my time baking them a special tasting and setting up a beautiful table, and and then sitting there realizing I just wasted so much of my time and effort, I knew I had to change my policy.
Initially, when I first started charging, if the couple booked me after the tasting I would apply the tasting fee towards their order. Then I actually sat down one day and figured out my exact cost for producing the cake tasting (I was baking fresh for each tasting at that time). I included my labor for preparing the cake tasting, the time for setting up the tasting, meeting with the couple and cleaning up the tasting. I realized how much I was doing for FREE. Even if the couple ended up booking me for a small cake or cupcakes, they still got the tasting for free. That FREEBIE comes right out of your profits. When you are only selling a $150 cake, that hurts. I started checking out well known cake decorators in other cities and they all charged for their cake tastings AND most of them did not take it off the total if the couple booked them.
Why should you charge for wedding cake tastings?
Now I have heard the argument from time to time from people who do free tastings that say “it’s like you are being interviewed for a job and you don’t charge for that”. I just don’t feel that way. I feel like it is a professional service you are providing that cost you money and time. You should be compensated for that. Period.
Think about it this way, if you were going to have a dinner party at a restaurant, would you be able to go in ahead of time and sample some of their meals, for free, to decide if you wanted to have your party there? NOPE!
So, when I started charging the tasting fee and NOT taking it off the order total. Do you know what happened? No one blinked an eye. Not one bride. And I wasn’t doing a cheap tasting! It started at $45 for 2 people and $10 for each extra person. And this year I am raising my tasting fee to $50.
How can you make cake tastings that are cost effective, without a lot of waste?
So, here’s the kicker, I choose the flavors. Period. I have a set flavor menu and it’s the same for everyone. That way I can prepare tastings ahead of time in batches. This saves time & money. BINGO, we have a winner! I provide 5 of each of my classic cake flavors, 5 fillings and 5 frosting flavors. I seal and freeze the variety packs they so are ready to grab and thaw without the need to bake a tasting fresh for each client, which usually results in a lot of leftover cake (*read- wasted profit). It’s also super handy for last minute tasting inquiries. I can grab and rapid thaw a tasting and be ready in an hour when you get an inquiry that you really don’t want to miss out on. And don’t be afraid that freezing a tasting will make it dry and ruin it! If a cake tasting is sealed and frozen properly you cannot detect the difference between a fresh or frozen one.
If you are interested in how I do this I have a Wedding Cake tasting Tutorial here>>> Wedding Cake Tasting Tutorial . It’s especially helpful to home bakers, like me, who need a portable tasting when they don’t want to meet with clients in their home. It’s a game changer.
If a potential client really wants to sample one of my premium flavors that is not included in the classic flavor tasting, I will accommodate them, and yes I do have an extra charge for that. Charge for your time.
So, the moral of the cake story is:
Like I said earlier, Don’t sell yourself short. Your time is worth money. Every bit of time you spend on your business you should be compensating yourself for. From the cost of your electricity and gas to bake, to the time you spend consulting with potential clients, emailing and calling, ordering your ingredients and materials, washing the dishes, even bookkeeping and taxes! Include those hours in your overhead costs. It’s ALL part of your business, don’t do it for free. God knows how many ridiculous hours we cakers put into just our cakes, let alone the rest of our business!! If you want your business to grow and thrive you need to charge what you are worth.
I hope this helps some of you out there that have been trying to figure out what to do for cake tastings. If you are interested in more in depth help on how to figure out your pricing, business policies, how to figure your overhead costs or any other cakey business details, drop me a note in the comments and if there is enough interest I can start a series of cake business posts. Ultimately: remember this! If it takes your time, charge for it!
Have a sweet day!
Thank you for sharing this, Shani. I don’t do many weddings, but I do charge for my tastings. I’ve been deducting that if an order is placed, but based on your advice, will change my policy. Happy and prosperous 2019.
Question: When you say you do 5 of each flavor , 5 frostings, and five fillings. Do that mean there are 5 prices of cake or is thier 5 slices of each of the 5 flavors ?
So helpful! My daughter (11 y.o) is starting a home bakery and this has been something we’ve been thinking about. It’s a good economics lesson!
You’re a darling!
Thanks for this exposé
Thanks have come out with a bunch of insights…
This is very helpful! I definitely don’t charge the way I should! Your advice has been extremely helpful! Would love to learn more!