"we Will Agree To A Price Before I Bake"

Business By ziggytarheel Updated 24 May 2008 , 4:53pm by Cakebelle

ziggytarheel Posted 22 May 2008 , 7:51pm
post #1 of 17

I'm not in this business, but I do engage in business. I have to say I'm sad every time I read that someone has already baked and now needs to figure out a price to charge. I think a good percentage of the people who ask you to do some baking without you telling them a price are assuming they are getting a deal that might even rival Walmart.

Do yourself and your customer a big favor by figuring out the price before you agree to take on the work. Don't make any assumptions.

Many moons ago, a friend did some work for us. We assumed it would be less than "the going rate" because he was just doing it on the side, to help out friends. When he arrives at our house to do the work, he informs us that his rate IS the going rate. We ask how long it will take him to do the work and he says, "not long at all!" It then took him about 6 hours longer than a typical professional would take to perform the work.

Learn from those who post here. Do not make assumptions when it comes to price. If your customer assumed the cake would cost you about $7.50 to make and then assumes $30 is a healthy profit, they are gonna have a heart attack when you tell them that you need $75 just to break even. And if it is a friend, the relationship may suffer in some way.

I've learned that setting up the rules ahead of time helps in every area of life. No assumptions. Proper expectations. Much less stress.

If this could help just one person, I'll be ever so pleased. icon_biggrin.gif

16 replies
chutzpah Posted 22 May 2008 , 8:13pm
post #2 of 17

Thanks.

There are WAY too many people here who need to read this!!!

MichelleM77 Posted 22 May 2008 , 8:32pm
post #3 of 17

I was just thinking about this earlier when I saw a post for help after baking......I just don't get that. What if the person says forget it? Either you already gave them the product and you now have no money for it, or you are left holding the product and still have no money for it! Doesn't make sense to me!

TexasSugar Posted 22 May 2008 , 11:01pm
post #4 of 17

Bravo and Kudos for saying this!! I dare you to post it in the general section, because that seems to be where those questions appear most. They usually don't look hre becaue they aren't yet 'in business'.

I never understood this practice myself. There is only one person I don't pre-price and that is for my brother/sil. She usually asks for the same thing so the prices is always about the same. Plus he doesn't balk at the prices and usually tips me. icon_smile.gif

As for everyone else, I don't agree to a cake until I know what it is they are looking for and I price it for them. Please don't ask me what I charge for a cake until you give me some details. A flat cake with a skate board drawn on top is not going to cost you the same as a cake shaped as a skate board. After I know what they want, then I will give them a price and I do not start baking until they agree on the price. Clearly agree, not a well they haven't told me no so I'll do it, or anything.

I don't have money to spend on a free cake for someone, nor do I want to waste my time doing it. icon_smile.gif We either agree and I bake or they go to plan b.

indydebi Posted 22 May 2008 , 11:48pm
post #5 of 17

I'm also one who is confused by those posts. I can't imagine doing all the shopping, baking, icing, decorating and NOT have the person know ahead of time how much the bill is going to be..... and NOT know that they've agreed to or WILL agree to the price. Makes no sense to me at all.

ziggytarheel Posted 23 May 2008 , 12:03am
post #6 of 17

Oh man, I wish I had known that the general forum would be a better place to post this!

If someone says they will do something for me and we'll talk about the price later, I actually tend to think they mean they are gonna hardly charge me anything, because it sounds like price isn't very important.

You would never say, "Yeah, you can buy my house. We'll talk about price when you show up with the moving van." If it is important to you to get a certain amount of money for something, you have to talk about it ahead of time. It isn't fair to either of you not to do that.

littlecake Posted 23 May 2008 , 12:35am
post #7 of 17

Man talk about awkward !!!! It seems like if a person did this they'd talk themselves down on the price and chicken out when it was time to quote the bill.

I guess I been in business so long, I don't get emotional when it comes to charging people.

I can't imagine not discussing the price...you're just asking for trouble.

I don't like selling stuff to people I know, they never respect your work...it's like Jesus said..."A prophet (profit...hee hee)...is not without honor. EXCEPT in his own home town.

indydebi Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:14am
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

I don't like selling stuff to people I know, they never respect your work...it's like Jesus said..."A prophet (profit...hee hee)...is not without honor. EXCEPT in his own home town.




I said this some time ago in another thread ....

You know what makes you an expert? 50 miles and a briefcase! icon_biggrin.gif

meaning, just like littlecake said .... no one ever takes the local guy serious as an expert. But if this same guy drove 50 miles and arrived in town with a briefcase, then omg, HE"S the man! The big Cheese!! The one everyone should listen to!!

Gefion Posted 23 May 2008 , 7:50am
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

"A prophet (profit...hee hee)




I totally snorted my coffee icon_lol.gif

tcakes65 Posted 23 May 2008 , 1:24pm
post #10 of 17

Thanks for posting the reminder, and I totally agree! It saves both you and the client a lot of heartache in the end.

One other thing that seems to have occurred lately is people requesting the cake decorator do a design of her choice, creative freedom, and provide a cost after the cake is finished. The customers have no idea what they want and don't want to spend time working with the decorator to come up with a design. I've had to set some rules in regard to those requests. It is very similar to what you mentioned and one of those situations where the actual cost and the customer's anticipated cost don't match. I tell people that I cannot just go with any design because the final cost may be more than they're willing to pay. You provide a price, and we'll come up with a suitable design within that cost range. So I was so glad to see you post this to express how important it is to price in advance. icon_lol.gif

Chef_Stef Posted 23 May 2008 , 4:20pm
post #11 of 17

It's the difference between hobby and business, I guess...

My cake order inquiries start with a clear estimate and go on from there. By the time they sign the contract, the price is clear (and it doesn't change) and the design is clearly sketched and agreed to. By the time I buy supplies, everything is DONE but the baking, including full payment.

Sorry to sound blunt, but fully baking and decorating a cake and then quoting a price is...nuts.

just_for_fun Posted 23 May 2008 , 4:35pm
post #12 of 17

I always assumed that pics w/ a ?? what to charge are the pic the customer gave to please copy this, or something like that. i can't believe ppl will bake a cake w/out discussing price!! & i can't believe the customer doesn't ask!! i would never order something w/out knowing the price unless there is no options and i'll have to order it no matter the cost..

CakeDiva73 Posted 23 May 2008 , 4:45pm
post #13 of 17

Yep, you're right.....those things hardly ever work out where everyone is happy. Talking money is really hard for me, I mean REALLY hard. I have to force myself to think about how long it takes and how expensive the ingredients are while I am "talking money" to give me the little push not to back down.

I am getting better but friends are the killer....especially good friends or ones that do things for me. I always feel bad charging but I feel really bad when I end up stuck in the kitchen for 6 hours doing a cake for $20, lol. Much worse, in fact!

The ones that really make me cringe are the cookie orders. They take forever and a flippin' day and people just don't seem to want to pay $2- $3 for a cookie but have no problem expecting you to make them using 4 different colors and having them all individually wrapped!

cocobean Posted 23 May 2008 , 4:49pm
post #14 of 17

"Live and Learn" is one of those hard lessons. If we could only LEARN from others mistakes we could save ourselves a lot of grief. icon_surprised.gif

SweetConfectionsChef Posted 23 May 2008 , 5:02pm
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by homecook

It's the difference between hobby and business, I guess...

My cake order inquiries start with a clear estimate and go on from there. By the time they sign the contract, the price is clear (and it doesn't change) and the design is clearly sketched and agreed to. By the time I buy supplies, everything is DONE but the baking, including full payment.

Sorry to sound blunt, but fully baking and decorating a cake and then quoting a price is...nuts.




You said it all! thumbs_up.gif

icantcook Posted 24 May 2008 , 2:23am
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by homecook

It's the difference between hobby and business, I guess...

My cake order inquiries start with a clear estimate and go on from there. By the time they sign the contract, the price is clear (and it doesn't change) and the design is clearly sketched and agreed to. By the time I buy supplies, everything is DONE but the baking, including full payment.

Sorry to sound blunt, but fully baking and decorating a cake and then quoting a price is...nuts.




Going through this painful transition myself right now. My recent mess-up: mom attends my niece's bday party, a few months later orders a cake from me. Info and price list I sent her says sculpted cakes are priced per project. She selects 12x16 sheet cake for $35, and sends me a link to the party theme stationery. Email week of party to finalize, mom tells me she is envisioning a cake like the sculpted horse head I made my niece, but in the shape of the cat head like the party stationery. I told her I could carve it from the 12x16, but she would lose servings and it wouldn't be $35. She asked how much more and I told her the horse head is a $50 cake. "Oh, well go ahead and just do the sheet cake like the original plan".
Now, I confess this story not to discuss prices, but that I should have been more specific about the design she had in mind very early in the process. I missed out on the opportunity to "upgrade" because I thought my info was clear on pricing for sculpting vs. sheetcakes. Obviously not! I had to do a sheetcake that I am sure was a letdown, since she and her daughter originally thought they were going to get something cooler. Although I blame myself, a coworker offered the idea that maybe mom hoped I would feel guilty and do the sculpted cat head at $35 anyway to build my portfolio. ( I HAVE learned to not do that anymore!) Just thought I'd post my mistake so someone could learn from it.

Cakebelle Posted 24 May 2008 , 4:53pm
post #17 of 17

Thank you to the OP for posting this!

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