I have recently agreed to bake for a bachelor friend of mine. He says he likes anything, but I think it would work better if I give him a list of items with a price for each. My problem is determining what I should reasonably charge. I need a general technique or formula for figuring out the cost to make things like 1 dozen cookies, l dozen muffins, a cake, a pie, l dozen tarts and a way to figure out a reasonable markup for my time, electricity etc. Anybody have any ideas?
Mary Lou from North Bay, Ontario
no suggestions but maybe the cost of the baked goods, maybe you could go to your local grocerie store bakery and make a list of the cost of the same items per dozen you would be making him to know what to charge him. on gas i'd zero out my mileage odometer from your house straight to his then double that number for a days mileage then depending on how often you go there per week see how much miles it ends up being then see how much gas you used then. hope that helped.
The first feedback was good. Also, determine if you are cooking as a friend or to make money. If you are a friend and enjoy doing this, I'd think doubling the cost of ingredients. That would be a favor to them and cover your cost plus a little for your kindness. I assume he appreciates your help and picks up what you have made.
Your baked goods will be 100 times better than the ones they sell in the grocery store, so charge more than they do! Charge a bit more than what they'd sell for in a bakery or a 7-11... I think you should get at least $1.50 per single muffin & about $5 or so for a 6 pack??? Call & check the prices in a large health food store's baked goods area... Health Food Stores are your closest competition for healthy & tasty, freshly baked goods!
--->You are interested in BAKING only, but this may lead to WHOLE MEALS! ...
* There's money to be made by stay-at-home folks by cooking good, old fashioned, fresh meals... as people these days don't have the time to cook for themselves or their families, BUT, they still want healthy, good tasting food. Here's some things to think about if you decide to expand your baking to whole meals.
* I've gone to many classes about making things (arts & crafts) & selling them. To determine the price to charge for your work. Here's a bare-bones formula: (IF you used VERY LITTLE labor to make the item!) You could charge about 4 times what you paid for the ingredients. This formula can work for selling some art, but I doubt it will work for food. This (4x) formula, is just a "bare bones" way of determining a price. Look to the list below to REALLY determine your costs & prices. You are basically selling a "Craft". Cooking is your "Art"... I tell my students that are interested in selling their home-crafted wares to keep in mind the things below when determining their prices:
1) How much did the contents (Ingredients) cost?
2) How long did EACH item take to make? (Time yourself & keep a record & a "time log" book, & keep this book with you!) I tell students, You need to get AT LEAST minimum wage! But twice to 3 times minimum wage is best! ... If, after you've subtracted your costs, you can't get minimum wage, then forget doing it, as it's just not worth your time!
3) Location you are in: If you're located (or selling) in a "Super-High Income" area you can sell your product for more than you could get in a "Middle to Lower" income area of the same city.
4) What was this guy paying to go out to lunch & dinner every night??? Your food will be fresher & better for him, so don't "rip yourself off"! ...Charge accordingly! Most people undercharge. Don't fall into THAT trap!!!
5) What are others in the same area charging for the same thing. Do your homework, call around & have friends pick up "take-out" menus so you can look at their prices.
6) Are you doing this work to benefit you BOTH?... Because if it's not a favor & you don't want to build up resentment, you'll need to charge a top price, OR, it's just NOT going to be worth you time!
7) Don't forget to add into your costs & time-log records how long it takes you to SHOP for your materials & how much GAS it takes to shop for the ingredients!
8) If you get a super-good deal on something (because it's in season or whatever) don't drop your prices. Always charge the "regular" price for your product.
9) If your customer buys more of one thing, like more meals or orders a week or more ahead, you can charge him (or her) a bit less because you can make up a half dozen of whatever, then freeze these for the rest of the week, whether it's baked chicken, blueberry muffins or whatever.
10) Equipment Costs: Like plastic bags, utensils, paper bowls, tupperware, seal-a-meal & maybe even a freezer would be needed. Don't forget to figure these into your final costs & price list!
11) Contracts: You'd not want to but the things above & spend money buying containers & stuff to wrap his food & keep it fresh, and then he change his mind & no longer wants your meals! You may just need a "verbal agreement" that he'll continue to buy from you for whatever time period (1 month, 3 months?). But, with a stranger, you may want some kind of written contract, not just a verbal agreement. (It could be a week to week contract, or none at all...)
12) The more the merrier: Getting his friends to buy from you too could lower your costs, & it takes nearly the same amount of time & money to cook for 3 or 4 as it does for one! You could make up small menus on your computer with your phone number or e-mail address for him to hand out to his buddies at work when they see him eating this wonderful food!
* But never let strangers come to your home to pick up their food! Find a safer way!
13) If he likes food your family also likes, you can make his meals up at the same time you make up meals for your family. This could save you a whole lot of time!
14) What kind of food DOES he like?... Does he want fresh, vegetarian & low fat fare? Organuc? Or does he like down-home fried chicken with a side of fried potatoes?... I'm the former, my boyfriend is the latter, so we can never cook for each other!... Your idea of a menu is a GREAT idea! Make sure you're VERY CLEAR about his likes & dislikes! (& food alergies too!)
15) Electricity... How much gas or power are you using to cook & freeze his food? Add this in to your price.
---> As far as a menu goes, you could have a 2 week rotating menu of food that both you & he like... Once you sit down with him & find out what food he likes, also, does he want low fat used, less salt, is he trying to loose weight, diabetic? etc... But in the end, after the first week or so, you'll know his tastes, His likes & dislikes. Make sure you ask him what food he hates (Lima beans? mushrooms? etc) You can even have him fill out a questionnaire about each meal in the beginning just to get to know his tastes... (for example, with me, I hate my food salted... & I never want butter added to my cooked veggies) everyone is different. Take no offense if his taste buds work differently that yours!
---> TO FIGURE PRICES: I'd start by adding up how much time it takes to shop, How long it takes to cook, wrap & store his food & clean up afterwards, then multiply this figure by (at least) the minimum wage in your state (In WA it's a little over $7.50, so I'd start with that figure) Then add: how much it cost for the food itself, plus how much gas you use to shop. Add these up, then that should help you know where to start when figuring out your costs. Plus, look around & see what restaurants & take out places in the area are charging for the same things!
* One last thing. (I know this from doing daycare in the past) You'll see him everyday or nearly everyday... Will he stick around your home & drive you nuts because you can't find a nice way to get him to leave... Maybe not, but it's just one more thing to think about...
---> I've been thinking about these things for a while because my daughter was planning to cook healthy meals for her brother. They decided against it because he car-pooled & didn't want to go back out to pick up his food every day. But if you have a large enough freezer, this problem can be solved. As your friend could pick his food up every 3 days or so, if you froze it. Make sure to write down the re-heating & cooking instructions!
---> Here's what you can do: On a recent TV show called : "WHAT'S YOUR TIME WORTH?" on the "FINE LIVING" cable channel they showed several places that cooked homemade meals then delivered them to peoples' homes. Their prices could be a starting point for you. I believe that food delivery service posted a menu on their web site. They'd give people a choice of 2 or more different options each day for each category (2 deserts, 2 main courses, 2 veggies, etc.) Each day the menu was different, but folks could order weeks ahead if they chose to do so....
--->It's called "Meals Made Easy" with "Wally's food Company"
Wally's food Company: (They even offer Gift Certificates, how about Gift Certificates for your muffins!)
THIS WEEKS MENU (& high prices! ..I think they are in San Fransisco)
Hi Mary Lou,
The suggestions from Cyinda, moja and the seamstress are excellent :-)
My friend owns a catering company, and she takes the price of the ingredients and marks them up, $30.00 food cost, she charges $90.00, etc..... This is one option.
I agree with everyone about getting paid what you deserve to be paid, but my advice is not to go overboard. He isn't going $1.50 per muffin if he can get bakery items at the grocery store or local bakery for cheaper and have a larger selection. If I were in your place I would sit down with my potential customer and find out what his expectations are price wise. If he tells you he thinks $5.00 per dozen muffins is the highest he would pay and your price sheet says $10.00 you know there is a problem! Likewise you don't want to be taken for a ride either! Remember you are only making money if you are SELLING your stuff! Good luck! This sounds like a fun way to make some extra money with potential for growth.
I would not pay more for the items than I would pay at a bakery. What would be the point? Fresher maybe, but weighing the options, I still wouldn't pay more.
Advice: Don't do this at all. It nearly caused a huge battle with an elderly friend of mine who got to where whe didn't even want to pay me for the basic costs of foods. I ended up LOSING money, making NOTHING and worked to DEATH, trying to package the items to her satisfaction! Rather, suggest that you will call him and share extra portions from what you cook normally for your family. Believe me, it isn't worth it, unless the person cares NOT what you charge. They forget gas, time, sweat, inconvenience, delivery, packing, AFTER the purchases and cooking. We just can't compete with decent cooks, prices, at restaurants or grocery stores deli, believe me. Gracefully back out before you begin! God bless and help you. : )
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