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Price for Decorated Sugar Cookies: determining your profit

How to price for decorated sugar cookies. It’s okay, be brave. All cookie artists have to move out of their comfort zone.

When we price decorated sugar cookies, there is a long list of things to consider:

  •  cost of ALL supplies, general and packaging items (tape, planners, stickers, business cards, etc.)
  • how much do you want to be paid hourly
  • delivery costs/shipping costs
  • utilities (sometimes your oven/s will be on all day)
  • accountant fees

Remember these when trying to price decorated sugar cookies:

  • how much time it takes you
  • how much time is taken from your family
  • continued education in this field
Phew emoticon

Don't worry...

By the end of the page, you should arrive at a fair price for decorated sugar cookies for you and your customer.

Include ingredient/supply cost when crunching the numbers for how to price for decorated sugar cookies.

Most cookie decorators when starting their business do not realize just how much money they put out.

To make the ingredients easier to figure out, here’s a free online ingredient calculator for recipes. It's called COOKKEEPBOOK. There is a paid version, but you won't need it. The video is at the start of this page.

Just make an account and start adding the individual ingredients, amounts, and costs.

This is your first step in determining how to price for decorated sugar cookies.

The video you saw at the top of this page is the one I made so you can see what to expect. It takes a little time but once saved, it'll always be there for you. Make sure to go and update rises in ingredient costs periodically. 

Add in all the information. Remember the sugar cookie icing ingredients! Believe it or not, that's 1/2 of the ingredient cost per cookie.

This gives you the dollar amount it takes to make your recipe.

Now, supply costs.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • cookie bags and boxes
  • parchment paper to bake on
  • tissue paper
  • ribbon (if you are using it)
  • wax paper
  • tape
  • planners (a must)
  • business cards

ANYTHING to conduct your business.

Here's a free worksheet download to figure out your hourly wage. It'll only be up for a short time before I place it for sale in Shop Gotta-Havs! So get it now! Just click on the image below. It'll open in a new tab.

If you buy in bulk, cookie boxes will cost around 2-3 dollars each depending on the size and style. If you have to pay to ship, the customer needs to pay for that as well. After all, they are the ones receiving the box in the end.

Here is a hypothetical scenario for cookie boxes…

A case of 25 boxes= $50

Shipping= $20

Total= $70

25 boxes ÷ $50= $2/box

$20 shipping ÷ 25 boxes = .80/each for shipping

1 box = $2 +.80

Each box costs you $2.80

Add the cost of any stickers, ribbons, business cards, and flyers.

Include the time you spend on how to price for decorated sugar cookies.

Let's cut to the chase in this second part to price for decorated sugar cookies.

What is your worth?

That’s a good question, one that only you can answer.

However, here’s a perimeter for you.

Keep in mind what the minimum wage is where you live.

How much an hour would you like to be paid? $10? $15? $20?

The first step is snooping around. See what your competition charges. If you don’t know who they are, search for 'bakers' on Facebook. Choose only those who are on your level. Be objective about this on both ends.

Yep, this is all a part of figuring out how to price for decorated sugar cookies.

1. Contact three, or have a friend do it for you. If possible, make sure they are in the same community. Just 30 miles out could skew results. No problem! You may have to adjust it by a few dollars in the end.

Take notes if there’s a minimum, by the dozen, or 2 or 3 dozen, along with the cost and if they have a tiered plan (more on that below).

2. Average the cost of the 3 competitors. This gives an idea of what people will pay in your area.

If you are great at decorating sugar cookies, it’s okay to go a little higher. The customer will see the quality...but your recipes have to be top-notch-delicious.

If you are a real whiz-banger, know all the decorating techniques and unique ideas, excellent decorator/baker, and plan to leave your competitors in the dust  flour, that means you will be going all-out with equipment. This also will position you to make a bit more.

The other items such as utilities are harder to calculate. If you will be baking a lot, it could be substantial on your bill.

Here's that download link for the worksheets again:

Here's a simple calculation you can do.

1. Write down your total cost of ingredients from CookKeepBook

2. Write down your cost of all supplies for 1 dz cookies

Add those together.

What is the average cost of your competitors?

What is your desired pay per hour?

Here’s a rough scenario:

Expense per dozen (total ingredients and supplies) $13

Charge per dozen cookies for a basic design $40

Pay per hour $12

If you are charging $40 a dozen for a basic design, that means you will end up with $27 per dozen.

Sounds great!

Or does it?

Let’s dive deeper into how to price for decorated sugar cookies...

If it takes you 4 hours from the beginning to make the dough through baking, decorating, and cleanup, you need to divide the $27 you get by 4 hours. That tells you what you are getting paid per hour.

In this case, it means you would get $6.75 per hour.

Is $6.75 satisfactory for you? It may be if you see the benefits of staying home and not having to pay a sitter. Or, it could be a financial jolt.

It will depend where you live. In northeast U.S., they have to charge substantially more because their cost of living is extremely high, for instance.

However, you will be pricing in tiers.

The above example is only for basic decorating.

Tiers involve more colors and complexity of the design.

If you are doing wedding cookies, as with wedding cakes, they are quite pricey due to the stress involved.

KNOW THAT IT’S EASY TO COME DOWN IN PRICE BUT MUCH HARDER TO RAISE YOUR PRICES WHEN YOU START LOW. I learned the hard way!

If the people inquiring don’t like your prices or want to quibble about the price, then you do not need or want them as customers. They will not respect you as a professional or see the value in you as an artist.

YOU are the master of your own business, not them.

Your price for decorated sugar cookies needs to be firm. Respect comes with firmness.

Let's sum up the price for decorated sugar cookies

What is your worth?

Are you good at what you do? Average? Very skilled?

The better your artistic ability and having the perfect recipes (like cookie dough, royal icing, glaze, or buttercream) the more you can charge. However, there’s always a limit in each community.

You will need a pricing chart with photos. Do not charge the same for a tier 4 as a tier 1 cookie!

Here is one I made up as an example.

Example of tiers with photos to help price for sugar cookies

Always charge extra for airbrushing and/or custom stencils. These charges help to pay for your equipment. Especially an edible image printer. This is where I got mine: