Tis the Season

A month ago, I flew to Orlando for the Florida ICED Cake Show. I had rented a car to drive to Ocala, the site for the show. When the lady gave me the price for my three day rental, I gasped. Out loud. I double checked that I had rented a midsize for just three days. She said yes.

I expressed surprise since the same rental the week before in New Jersey had been a third of the price. She shrugged and said “It’s spring break.”.

Turns out that everything in resort areas costs more during the busiest times of the year.

Then I got to thinking about florists and how that $12 bouquet of a dozen roses becomes $75 around Valentine’s Day. They are so busy, they can charge almost anything. Other businesses do the same and charge more during the peak business times.

It made me wonder, why don’t we charge more for weddings in May and June? Why don’t all bakeries shrug and say “It’s wedding season”? Can you imagine? We could all make double or triple the money to offset the ridiculous number of hours we work (and overtime we pay) during wedding season.

Do any of you implement seasonal pricing? If I still had my bakery and if I thought other shops would follow, I would certainly have been willing to give it a try. After all, ’tis the season!

What do you guys think?


4 thoughts on “Tis the Season

  1. I’ve tossed that idea around a couple of times….but, I haven’t dared try it for fear other shops won’t do the same. I could be shooting myself in the foot! One way I’ve talked myself out of it is by thinking about other special times of the year. We don’t charge extra for heart shaped cakes on valentine’s day….or santa cupcakes at Christmas, flag cakes for 4th of July, etc. I guess I think of wedding season as a Holiday.

    Great question!

  2. I’m not going to say this is a bad idea, it’s not. There are those who would pay it, those who just want a deal, and those who would be left out because they just can’t afford it. Cake is not about only those who can afford it.

    It comes down to integrity for me. I do my best and put extra into every cake I bake and decorate. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s on- or off-season. I’d rather keep my reputation consistent and intact. It’s all I have when it comes down to free advertising.

    Also, the philosophy of charging more because we are busier does not lend itself to reminding us to not burn ourselves out. I am a home baker with a full time job and a disabled husband who can’t help with things around the house much. I am doing good to squeeze one cake in a week – on or off season. There have been times when I’ve done 2-3 a week, but wore myself out, not only for my job but also for my baking. Who did I really serve by doing that? How much did I really get to enjoy what I did? and honestly how great was the work when my brains were fried? The clients were happy, thankfully. But I wasn’t happy because I didn’t feel like each cake got my undivided attention.

  3. I agree. It’s a great idea. It works for most other types of businesses, why not cakes? I say people try it, you can always go back to what you were charging before you implement a “peak season” price if it doesn’t work.
    Oh and Ruth, I’m sorry your car for ICED was so expensive. We’ll try to take the spring break dates into account for next year. 🙂

  4. I just did this! I didn’t institute a price increase, but set a minimum. It’s very difficult for me to complete and deliver 3 and 4 cakes in a weekend, so I’m limiting it to 2 cakes. I have a minimum of $750 for wedding cakes from May thru October. That’s about 150 servings at $5.00 per serving. If I booked 2 cakes of 100 servings, I max out at $1000 for the weekend, so I’m really tempted to take on another order, which leads to 3 deliveries, 3 consultations, 3 final payments, etc. However, many of the cakes have been $900 or $1100. I even had a $1600 and a $2000 wedding cake order! When cakes are in demand, if I can’t make good money, I’d rather take it easy or spend time with my family. November – April, I’m happy to book any size cake.

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