missmersh Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 5:09pm
post #1 of

Hi all,
Yesterday I delivered two cakes to a friend (1 cake was 11x15 with a football shaped cake made into a pineapple on top and another cake was a stacked 5 inch and 7 inch cake for a little boy's birthday smash cake). I put alot of time into these cakes but it was spread out over several days.

Anyway, she paid me a fairly large amt of money. I would have never asked for that much being that I am rather naive about pricing...I just ask for what they think it is worth to them. I told her that it was WAY too much, but she insisted and said that she would have paid that at a specialty cake shop.

I do however feel that the amount was fair given the time and thought put into it, I just can't get past the "weird" feeling.

Also, should I call and ask how everything went/tasted? I don't want to seem like a pest, but just wanting to provide good customer service.

Thank you for any advice...
Leslie icon_redface.gif

32 replies
aunt-judy Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 5:44pm
post #2 of

hi leslie,

NEVER feel bad about being paid decently for your work. remember that all sorts of people in this world get paid obscene amounts of money for doing next to nothing. also, consider that the payment you receive is for three things: the cost of the product and your equipment & energy consumption, your time and labour, and also your training, experience & skill (as well as your ongoing baking & decorating education -- think of the time that you spend on cakecentral!).

definitely ask your customer for feedback, but unless she's a friend that you would see or call anyway, i would approach her by email if possible; a phone call might make her feel put on the spot.

cheers,
judy icon_smile.gif

diane Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 5:45pm
post #3 of

sometimes it's hard when a customer is so generous. i get that way too. if they tip me i only will accept no more than five dollars. i don't know, that's just the way i am. some customers do appreciate the time and work that it takes to do a cake and they want to pay accordingly. i know it's hard, but trust in the customer, sometimes they know what's fair. icon_smile.gif

missmersh Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 6:46pm
post #4 of

Thank you so much for your responses.

I keep trying to tell myself that it is ok and that if the roles were reversed, I would have given her the same. I just don't want her to be at home thinking 'gosh I may have paid her way too much'. But she has shopped the local bakeries here and obviously knows what cakes go for...and she knows the care I put into my cakes.

Thank you both again! icon_smile.gif
Leslie

flayvurdfun Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:12pm
post #5 of

I always feel weird when they ask how much I charge...

melissablack Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:33pm
post #6 of

I always feel weird when i tell people a price too! and I hate it, because I feel like my prices are more than fair, if anything I am too cheap, for the amount of blood, sweat and tears that I put into making a cake. But even still, I always cringe when I tell them a price, afraid they'll say, 'no thanks, that's more than I want to spend.' or something like that.

I think if your friend is used to shopping in specialty bakeries, then you don't have to worry at all. Like she said, if she didn't pay you that much, she'd be paying it to someone else. She sounds like someone who truly appreciates a custom made cake, whereas there are some people out there who expect us to charge wal-mart/grocery store bakery prices.

Melissa icon_smile.gif

tcturtleshell Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:44pm
post #7 of

I know how you all feel! I used to feel that way. You will soon get over that feeling!! If you don't people are going to use that against you. If I get a tip no matter how small or large I take it! Gotta be honest.. if it's a small tip I get a bit mad but never let the customer see me that way! LOL!! I get over that fast~
Stick to your prices!!!! Don't do favors either. That gets you feeling like you have to give everyone a favor. Been there, done that!

irisinbloom Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:50pm
post #8 of

Okay talk about feeling weird, this morning when I went into work one of my co-workers approaced me right off the bat and said okay I need a full sheet cake real cheap, he then went on to say it was for his 9 year old sons ball team and it was for a pool party that he is given his sons ball team. He wants the whole top of the cake to resemble a ball field. I was totally dumb founded, and all I could do was keep having flash backs of him saying real cheap. If people only knew the time and stress and everything else involved in making these cakes, well I know I don't charge enough but I am in no way a professional and am still learning, but I feel like we earn every penny we get. Well thanks for letting me vent I feel a lot better.

m0use Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:52pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by irisinbloom

Okay talk about feeling weird, this morning when I went into work one of my co-workers approaced me right off the bat and said okay I need a full sheet cake real cheap, he then went on to say it was for his 9 year old sons ball team and it was for a pool party that he is given his sons ball team. He wants the whole top of the cake to resemble a ball field. I was totally dumb founded, and all I could do was keep having flash backs of him saying real cheap. If people only knew the time and stress and everything else involved in making these cakes, well I know I don't charge enough but I am in no way a professional and am still learning, but I feel like we earn every penny we get. Well thanks for letting me vent I feel a lot better.



The nerve of the guy to say 'cheap', he must want a cheap tasting cake too then. I say "this is my price and that's final"

irisinbloom Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 7:57pm

Oh I forgot I was so stunned I never did give him a price.

aunt-judy Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 8:42pm

irisinbloom: icon_eek.gif
i've had similar experiences, where someone approaches me wanting to get a cake on the cheap. so i tell them to go to a grocey store bakery which gets their ingredients wholesale, and where the workers are paid a pittance and the quality of the ingredients matches the low-low price. there are some very skilled decorators working in such places, and you can get a nice-looking cake, but you'll be eating "shaving cream" whipped topping and greasy buttercream which has the minimum amount of butter that the law will allow before it can no longer be called buttercream. but then, i was raised by wolves and if i'm not making the cake as a gift i have no trouble telling someone volunteering me to do them a favour that i only offer discounts to charities. icon_twisted.gif

of course, you might be more of a lady than i am, so i guess the polite answer, after asking when he would need the cake for, would be: "i'm sorry, i have that time already booked, but i think (insert grocery store name here) does kid's decorated cakes at quite reasonable prices."

CakesbyKimmie Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 9:01pm

If you feel like you were "overpaid" I would make them a Thank you cake. Something small and simple to let them know you appreciate their business. : ) (Or you can just send a card LOL)

nanni Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 9:41pm

I would send her a thank you card and possibly a "discount card" for any referrals. As far as "cheap cake" I would say I don't do cheap cake-I take alot of pride in my cakes and you have to pay for good-my discounts are for charities I'm sorry. But I can refer you to -supermarket name-...hopefully they can help you...

irisinbloom Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 10:31pm

aunt-judy and nanni, if I hadn't been so stunned I would have normally told him to kiss where the sun don't shine just in these very words. I do try my very best at my cakes and sell quite a few at work, thats why I stress so much when decorating them, because your co-workers are like kids they can be cruel and I don't want them talking behind my back. So far so good, if he says cheap again I will take your advice and recommend a grocery store bakery. You folks are great.

veejaytx Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 11:23pm

Just tell this jerk you don't do cheap cakes, you do quality cakes! Janice

meandmine Posted 4 Jul 2005 , 11:57pm

don't sell yourself cheap. I sold real estate for over 10 years and people didn't and don't realize all the time and education it takes to sell real estate correctly and honestly and working on only a few cakes and the time and the work that went into the decorating. I feel that you deserve every penny that you were paid because you are becoming the expert. And it is always nice to receive a thank note. so good luck and i hope that more people pay you more than you think that you deserve.

tcturtleshell Posted 5 Jul 2005 , 12:52am

If this guy had a pool & can afford to do a pool party for the whole baseball team then he can afford a regular priced cake! He should want to help you out in your business! He could get the parents to chip in too.... People use & abuse us cake decorator's!!!!!!

Everyone stick to your guns!!!!

irisinbloom Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 3:10am

Well me and the cheap guy came to an understanding and I bet he don't say cheap anymore, so I ended up doing the cake for him. I would like some feed back as he will be picking it up tomorrow, so here goes.
LL

meandmine Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 3:13am

the cake looks wonderful. and I am gald that you didn't sell yourself cheap

nanni Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 11:26am

Good job-both on straightening him out and on the cake...he will eat his words!!!

cakegal Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 11:43am

That was nice of her to take into consideration all you did with the cakes.... Don't feel bad.... One day you'll get that person who doesn't want to pay you anything....or hardly anything...and you're worth your time and materials...
Happy baking,
cakegal

SquirrellyCakes Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 3:14pm

I think you did a great job on this cake, it looks wonderful!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

SweetCreations Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 3:22pm

Hey Leslie,
Gurl,, Don't you dare feel Guilty at all about the money she gave you. She offered it. and You tried to tell her it was too much. It was just that she was so thrilled with your work that she wanted to show you. I am like Tc I will take the tip. I usually set the tip money aside from my cake money and use it for a special trip to the cake store or if I am saving up for something special. =0)~
Now,, Lets talk about Cheap Cake.. I am with Janice, You do quality cakes and that isn't CHEAP. uggghhh what he think you would do an entire football field for 10.00 pfffffttt,,,, it would cost more then that to get started. I would just figure out what the cost would be. and if he asks again give him the price and if he says no then thats ok too. if you under cut yourself today you will do it again tomorrow. and trust me, I have a time telling my prices too, but have finally gotten to the point where I am not as worried and can't wait to get to the point where I just blab it out and be just fine with it. & not worry they are going to be like O well.. here's wishing us all better Backbones when it comes to telling our Prices!
~Sweet~ =0)

scarlett873 Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 4:00pm

I still have a hard time with pricing my cakes too. I don't do that many right now as I'm still in Culinary School (Baking and Pastry Arts) and I just don't have the time. But I will do them for friends, family, and a few co-workers. I did a cake for a co-worker's son's birthday. This kid is so into electronic anything...I had a hard time coming up with what to do for him. She gave me complete free reign over the design, etc. I ended up doing an electrical outlet. I took 2 9x13 cakes and stacked them, (this thing was HUGE! lol) iced them, then did a buttercream transfer that looked like the outlets on the wall. I then put together some scrap pieces of a round cake and assembled it look like a plug on the outlet. I used licorice for the cord. It came out awesome! My co-worker was thrilled and her son just couldn't stop giggling at how BIG this cake was. She paid me $20. I'm sure it was worth way more than that, but that's all I felt comfortable in charging her.

I did a wedding cake for another co-corker of mine. I did a 6, 8, and 10 in round cakes and wrote out various words and phrases they had given me on the sides of the cakes. I also did about 3 dozen cupcakes to go along the base of the cake stand. It was a big hit at the reception! I told him that I would only tell him how much it was in supplies. Anything beyond that was their call. They paid me about $150 more than the cost of my supplies. Talk about feeling weird! I know my work was worth it, it just felt weird.

I'm doing another cake this weekend for a friend. It's her daughter's first birthday. She and I have already agreed that they'll pay for supplies (I did their wedding cake last year too). I'll probably round the supply cost up just a tad for my time, but that's about it. I do this right now for the experience...and my love of cake decorating! icon_smile.gif

SquirrellyCakes Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 4:11pm

Taking that into a different direction, have you ever noticed how folks think they should get a sheet cake for a lot cheaper than say a round or square or whatever? Well, first of all, it should go by the amount of cake batter and icing and of course, the amount of decoration and the degree of difficulty too.
Take for example a 11x15 by 2 inch deep sheet cake. For one layer it takes about 2 and a bit cake mixes or from scratch recipes. It doesn't take as much icing if you don't torte the cake, often I make two full layers because I don't really like the look of a 2 inch deep sheet cake. But I would say that unless it is strictly a 2 inch deep unfilled cake with a couple of roses and a simple border, it really isn't less time-consuming or cheaper to make. For one thing, I use corrugated boards and I need at least two to support a sheet cake. It costs more to cover the boards as they are larger, the boxes are more expensive too. It takes a lot longer to decorate this larger surface than it does a smaller round cake.
A 9x13 goes for about $25 at a grocery store. I charge about $40 to $50 for an 11x15 depending on how many full layers I make, sometimes $60 if I have made a whole lots of extra molded candy decorations and such. I find this reasonable. It isn't a cake I whip up and decorate in an hour, I also make the cakes from scratch and use cream and butter in the cakes and icing. But even at those prices I am not costing them anywhere near the 3x figures most folks follow.
Just something that always gets to me, when folks ask for a cheaper sheet cake!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

SquirrellyCakes Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 4:21pm

Scarlett873, I think it changes with the amount of cakes you have to do and also, when you start dealing with last minute folks who want something for nothing and are never happy. You are doing it for experience and fun right now.
I always, always did cakes for cost. But the thing is, that is fine if you are doing it for fun in your spare time and are happy with it. Where it gets not so fine is when you get people who want things for almost nothing, they want very complex designs and they are always last minute. It becomes almost insulting. You come up with prices that you feel are fair and they try to bargain with you. These folks tend to do everything at the last minute and don't care how much of an inconvenience they are either. And if you tolerate it you will end up with a whole lot more customers of similar thought.
So this is why, if you intend to do this for business and not just for fun or experience, you need to make sure you are happy with your prices. Otherwise you will end up with tons of business because the word will get around and you will likely start to resent the customers. They will resent it too, if you suddenly start to charge much higher but more realistic prices.
Hugs Squirrelly

cakelady Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 4:24pm

What was this guy thinking? Why do people say things like that.........what an insult!!!!!!!!!

Tell him you don't make cheap cakes......then after he stumbles over his words and says "oh, I don't mean it that way" tell him you have too many orders and you are unable to help him..........I'd never bake for him!!!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry that happened.........don't you just want to slap people sometimes?!

SweetCreations Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 5:13pm

don't you just want to slap people sometimes?! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif oooo Me Me!!! I do I do,, hahhaa..
I had an order for my xbox controller cake and Noone could decide what to do,as in if it was being picked up or I was taking it to them, I was not even called days before it was supposed to be made after several calls and voice mails I left,, I finally got in touch with the granda ma to be on the day they needed it.. and she was like I am too busy to come get it, I was like I am too busy too,, I am baking more cakes for today as well. I must get them done along with, getting my kids signed up for soccer and it was still as if my time were not as important as hers. so I agreed to meet her at a stop sign, well she blew past me,, uggghhhh.. I got very icon_mad.gif and litterally had to CHASE her.. she knew it was me she flung her arm out to WAVE at me and flashed her pearly false teeth as she about blew my doors off.. I am not filmar with that road and it was really curvey, well I could only see the butt end of her van I catch her at the hall.. omg,, wonders never cease.. hahaha. and then I take it in, and get it out of the box, have to Move everything off of the table because she didnt leave enough space for the cake... and then she wanted me to re-decorate the table.. I was like omg, I have to GOOOOOO.. and I gave my 4yr old the sprinkles that she wanted dumped all around the cake, He did a Wonderful Job I must add.. and then she wanted me to Help her UNLOAD her VAN and Set more stuff up.. I was like I am so Sorry I just can't I must go. I have a ton of work still to do.
My Point is,, THIS should have been a Priority to them as much as it was to me, So yes Last minute people will try to take advantage of you. but I did charge them a 5.00 delivery fee for having to chase Granny who drives like a bat out of Heck.. heck, you know that would only get ya 2 gallons of gas these days! icon_twisted.gif
& they all Loved the cake icon_biggrin.gif

O & Leslie,, POST your PIC'S Gurl You Know they are GREAT!
~I Know Cause I have seen them,, Ya'll Help me talk her into Posting them, She is SO VERY TALENTED!!!! icon_lol.gif

~here's to Sticking to our guns and not Slapping the snot out of people when they really need it!!!
~Sweet~ icon_rolleyes.gif

I love the Baseball Field. its Great! and now he will know that we dont believe in CHEAP CAKES! icon_lol.gif

SweetCreations Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 5:14pm

P.s. Sorry for the book!
~Sweet~ icon_rolleyes.gif

alengirl Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 5:49pm

I agree with all the previous comments. Don't feel weird, business is business! My Sister always pays me full price when I make a cake for her. I always tell her to just pay me for the ingredients, but she insists on paying what I would charge anyone else b/c she knows how much work I put into all my cakes. I like to work exclusively with fondant, it's pricier than buttercream alone but, that's my trademark. Sometimes, people make comments on how it's a little more than what they would want to pay. I just tell them, the cake I make is high quality, it does have buttercream, but the top layer is Fondant and that's what I work it.
If they want a "cheaper" only buttercream iced cake, they have to find it elsewhere b/c I don't specialize in that. (Please don't get me wrong anyone, I'm not calling buttercream only cakes cheap, my pervious comment was only meant in reference to Fondant, "buttercream only" is less expensive. I don't want to offend anyone, you know what I mean?) I have no problem if they don't choose me, I think of it, as more time to myself since this is my side business. I have a regular job and although I love making my cakes, I also enjoy my down time icon_smile.gif Ask Mr. "Cheap" Baseball cake, what he considers "cheap" ya never know, what is cheap for him, might be just right for you. If it's too cheap, tell him that for that price, you can only make the cake for _ # of servings (pick a ridiculous low #) and see what he says. If he doesn't like that, then kindly suggest the supermarket route. Don't under sell yourself, I did that once and it still makes me cringe to this day.
Good Luck and keep us posted on his response.

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