One of the hardest parts of doing something you truly love is understanding how to value your time. Whether you decorate cakes on the side or run a full-scale bakery, you’ll eventually find yourself wondering how to charge for cake delivery.
Yes. You should charge for delivery!
Cake delivery takes time — time you deserve to be paid for. It also consumes fuel and puts wear and tear on your vehicle.
So if you’re ready to launch your pastry business or expand your bakery services, here’s how to charge for cake delivery confidently and fairly.
How To Charge for Cake Delivery
Deciding on a pricing structure for cake delivery before you actually need it gives you time to run the numbers and shows customers that you understand what your time and skillset are worth.
If you’ve never delivered cakes before, this can be easier said than done. Fortunately, the math is relatively simple.
Let’s walk you through it:
Set a flat fee
Setting a flat rate for cake delivery is the simplest option. However, it can be difficult to do if you’re just starting out.
To decide on a flat fee, you need to know how much the average delivery costs you in time and resources. Without this information, there’s a good chance you’ll under or overcharge.
If you’re a one-person show, then you might be okay delivering your creations at cost.
But if you plan to hire someone to deliver your baked goods, you need to account for things like their wage, insurance, and other expenses in your price.
Even if you opt for a different pricing structure, it’s a good idea to come up with a flat fee as a minimum.
It’s very unlikely that every delivery you make will require the same travel time or distance. So how do you scale your fees to match the actual work that goes into the delivery?
One of the most popular pricing systems charges for cake delivery by the mile.
As we mentioned, it’s a good idea to decide on a minimum rate, too.
Delivering a cake takes time and work, even if the destination is next door. This minimum rate will cover your time and expenses that don’t involve physically traveling.
This price structure is also helpful to your customers.
As long as your customers know your delivery fees and the distance to their chosen destination, they can estimate the cost for delivery themselves.
Remember the setup
Do your clients expect you to display their cake when you arrive? Are you providing cutlery, disposable dishes, or another extra item?
Unless you want to invoice these services separately, make sure to account for them in your price to deliver a cake.
Don’t forget to include the hours you or your staff work setting up as well as driving!
Taking Care of Business (Expenses)
Charging the customer is only the first half. As a small business owner, you also need to account for your cake delivery services in your bookkeeping and financial planning.
Plan for tax season
For business owners in the United States, the IRS allows write-offs for mileage driven in your vehicle (as long as that mileage is done for work).
The IRS’s mileage rate changes year to year. Recently, the rate has been between $.50 and $.60 per mile.
You won’t get this tax write-off automatically. If you don’t accurately track and report the mileage driven for work during the year, you can’t claim the write-off on your business taxes.
You can use a handwritten tracker, digital spreadsheet, or mobile app to track your business mileage.
Remember, your staff might qualify for these same write-offs if they use their personal vehicle for deliveries.
Be sure everyone is on the same page and educate your delivery drivers about how to properly track their mileage.
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Track your labor
If a customer wants cake delivery, they need to pay for your time. Choose an hourly rate for yourself and include this in the total delivery fee.
Do you have a delivery that requires more than one person for transport or setup? Every single person involved in the delivery needs to be accounted for in your labor cost.
Account for equipment
Depending on the type of cakes you bake and deliver, you might need to invest in some specialty equipment. This could include things like a dolly cart, portable cooler, non-slip mat, insulated bags, or securing straps.
You don’t need to recoup these purchases in a single delivery charge. Instead, estimate how many deliveries you can complete and spread the cost over the lifetime of each product.
In most cases, this will only add a few dollars to your delivery fee. But it will make a big difference in your business finances over time.
Cake Delivery FAQs
Do you still have questions about how to charge for cake delivery? Or if you should offer delivery in the first place?
Don’t worry. We have answers.
Do I need to provide a delivery service?
Many bakers and pastry chefs choose to forego delivery altogether. This decision is entirely yours to make.
Delivery services can be a huge drain on resources. If you work alone or with a small staff, you might not physically be able to go and deliver every cake.
Even if you don’t want to offer delivery for every cake sale, there may be times it’s unavoidable.
For example, large, multi-tier cakes can be extremely fragile, and customers might not have the skill or equipment needed to transport their cake in one piece.
So, you don’t need to offer delivery to each and every customer. But you should have a pricing structure in place for those times when delivery is a must.
How much should I charge for a delivery fee for the cake?
There is no one delivery fee that will work for every business and scenario. Some people charge $5 for delivery, others charge $50 or more.
Look at how much bakeries and pastry chefs in your area charge for cake delivery. This will tell you the average rate for your town or city, as well as what local customers are willing to pay for this service.
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How much should I charge per mile for cake delivery?
Per mile cake delivery fees can range from $.50 to several dollars.
The most important thing is that your total delivery charge covers your time and expenses. Don’t forget that you’ll need to drive back to your workplace when deciding on a rate.
You can use the IRS’s current mileage rate to estimate the cost of using your vehicle (if you know your vehicle gets low mileage per gallon, adjust your estimate accordingly).
For the sake of you and your business, it’s always best to slightly overcharge than to undercharge.
How much should I charge for cake delivery out of town?
This is when charging a fee per mile can be extremely useful. All you need to do is calculate the total mileage from Point A to Point B.
If a customer is willing to have one of your cakes delivered to a different town or even state, you might be tempted to cut them a deal. This is totally up to you.
Remember that you are still spending valuable time and resources on this service, and deserve to be fairly compensated.
What if customers won’t pay my delivery fee?
If a customer isn’t willing to pay your fees, then they’re not really a customer.
As long as you offer customers the option to pick up their cakes themselves, delivery is a luxury service.
Not everyone will be able or willing to pay what you charge. This applies to delivery fees and your baked goods themselves. That’s okay.
Avoid haggling or waiving fees to ensure people order from you. If your prices are fair (for both you and your customers), those who are willing to pay your rates will more than makeup for it.
Expert Delivery Comes at a Price — And That’s Okay
Providing cake delivery might not be necessary. But this service can be a huge help to your customers, especially if they’re planning a big event like a wedding, surprise birthday, or graduation party.
As a small business owner, you know how much trial and error goes into your success. This also applies to charging for cake delivery.
Don’t hesitate to adjust your prices as you go. There’s a good chance you’ll underestimate your rates when you first start out!
Whether you choose to deliver cakes to all your clients or only on a case-by-case basis, it’s important to plan out your pricing structure in advance.
If you don’t, you’ll be left giving out random numbers that don’t fairly compensate you for your time or expenses.
And as long as you know your worth, your customers will feel confident paying the price!
What pricing mistakes did you make when you first started baking? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to find the best rate for your services? Share your thoughts in the comments below!