Pricing Guidelines: You Want to Charge What?

Leanne's left arm (and Leanne herself) will be manning the register again this year.

Leanne of Three Dog Kitchen was our head cashier extraordinaire last year. Being the one who handled most of the money, she’s in a great and unique position to offer advice about pricing for this year’s sale. Read on here, then go visit her blog and say hello to her, The Mister, the pups, and a whole lot of chickens!

Hey there, fellow bakers!

Getting excited about the Food Blogger Bake Sale? Figured out what you’re going to be baking, yet? Better yet, have you decided what you want to charge for your portable, packaged, snackable goods?

Based on a review of how things went last year, we’re providing some general guidelines to better help you price your goodies. The guidelines are totally optional and not written in stone. You’re free to do what makes you happy; we just thought we’d offer our two cents (and then some).

One rule that is mandatory: You must LABEL your goods with your price.

    It can be on the description tab, the label with your name/blog, tied around the bag tie, or written on a sticker. It can be on top, on the bottom, on the side, or in the air. But your price must be visible on your treats.

Some bakers set up a sign listing their treats and prices on the table. This is helpful for the customers to see how much things cost as they browse. The reason we emphasize pricing on the treat itself is not so much for the customer but for the register folks. If your treat makes it up to the register and isn’t labeled, the kind cashiering folks may shout over to you and ask for a price check. But, more often than not, if there’s a long line of customers waiting to pay, those same folks may just make up a price on the spot in order to finish adding up a customer’s haul. We don’t really want that to happen, so please make sure each individual treat has a price tag.

Meandering Eats' labels for the sale. Mr. Meandering Eats would want you to know that a) his labels followed all of Leanne's recommendations and b) he did do the bulk of the baking for ME's part of the sale.

How much should you charge for your delicious goodies?

The major “rule” we’ve set for pricing is that you price your treat to the nearest $0.25. The register won’t be equipped with nickels, dimes, and pennies. Plus, adding multiples of $0.25 plus $0.50 plus $0.75 can be kind of tricky enough, under pressure. Help keep the register people sane by sticking to the round-to-the-nearest-quarter pricing strategy.

For a rule of thumb on pricing, take whatever you’re baking (cupcake, cookie, brownie, tart) and think of what you might be willing to pay for it in a bakery. Now, take that price and reduce it a little. Our goal for the Bake Sale is to move goods and raise money. We’re not trying to compete with gourmet shops or turn a profit. We want to move as many treats as we can off the tables and into customers’ hands, getting your names, faces, and blogs out there at the same time!

Now, let’s say you’re bringing cookies to the Bake Sale: one is a classic chocolate chip cookie and the other is a cocoa nib, caramel, chocolate chunk cookie (As a side note, this sounds delicious and if someone makes these I will totally buy some). They are individually wrapped and each cookie has a label on the front with the cookie name, your name, and the price. Typically, each baker’s label has a distinctive look and this look is carried through from treat to treat. It’s like a brand! Your treat has a brand “look” and label. If you were a store, you could charge $1 for the chocolate chip and $2 for the fancy, loaded cookie. But, this isn’t a store. It’s a bake sale, so here’s our request to each baker:

To make things easier at the register, please consider pricing your like items the same. For example, all of your cookies are priced the same. All of your cupcakes are priced the same. This applies to your treats and only yours (so your neighbor’s cupcakes don’t have to be priced the same as yours).

It helps to see a baker’s cookies and know each one is $1 (or $1.50, or $0.50) instead of having to look over every treat to see that one cookie is $1 and the other is $1.25. We know that some of your fancier treats take more time, effort, and ingredients and we know that they are fabulously worth every bit that you’re asking. Perhaps you can consider averaging the prices to come up with one base price. This issue really only comes up when adding up similar goods from the same baker.Don’t worry too much about how your treat pricing will line up next to someone else’s.

On that front, please make all of your treats the same size! We did receive questions like, “Why are this baker’s brownies not the same size, but being sold at the same price?”

Now, up at the register, we love to see “cheap treats” that can be used for upsells. When a customer has $4.50 worth of goods and a $5 bill, often they’ll grab another $0.50 item just to make things even. Same goes for $1 goodies. It’s kind of like staring at the candy bars while waiting in line at the grocery store… it’s just a small purchase, what can it hurt?

Whew! Thanks for sticking with us through this pricing post. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got baking!

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