Cakes Used To Be Fun Until (Very Long)

Decorating By flowermom Updated 10 Jun 2008 , 6:01pm by flowermom

flowermom Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 5:29am
post #1 of 23

people starting asking me to do this shower cake, can you do a wedding cake next year? Yesterday I accomplished my first wedding cake, needless to say it was very stressful, but successful. This was the first time I got paid for it, not a gift as I usually do, so I wanted to do a great job, and follow exactly what they wanted. The couple loved it and so did the rest of the family. I was pleased and glad it was over!

However people started asking at the reception, when I would do their cake, I should go into business, etc. I have always done cakes just for fun, for the experience of learning and being creative. I am not all the interested in starting a business because it's nearly impossible for me to have a legal full-fledged cake business where I live. But yesterday when someone said "I need 300 cupcakes for August 12th." (Mind you this was the same person who asked for a cake back in February, I put it in my calendar, all of my calendars. Then the day before the shower (the end of April) she asked me if I was bringing the cake. What, it's next week, I have it on my calendar..no it's tomorrow..no it's on my calendar..see here in my purse. Needless to say I was mortified even though I knew the date I had was what she had told me, because I asked several times to confirm. Of course no contract because it was for a friend. Well, she didn't get the cake, I was already booked with another commitment.)

What you Need 300 cupcakes????? With plumeria fondant flowers????? I told her that I was probably going to be out of town. Disneyland anyone???? Two other friends have asked me to do their baby shower cakes, and wedding cakes. Until this wedding, I have only been asked once to do a cake and it was for a bridal shower at church. I agreed because I knew it could be my contribution and gift. Since last August I have offered to do cakes for different events at church, showers, birthdays, holidays. For all these cakes I had somewhat free reign of what I could do. I have truly enjoyed doing these cakes and seeing the recipient's reaction.

But now it's not fun, it's like everyone EXPECTS me to do their cake, and they are telling me what they want on the cake and has one person offered to pay me anything for it! No, just assuming I am available and willing to do their cake. I would just love to hang up my cake pan and not do anymore cakes for anyone except close family members.

What should I do, besides grow a backbone? Should I write up a contract and price list and hand it to them? Can I even do that if I am not a legal business??? How do you handle it for yourselves so you can enjoy cake decorating and not having everyone take advantage of you!!

Sandi

22 replies
Kiddiekakes Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 7:40pm
post #2 of 23

I would simply state that you would be happy to do all their cakes for a fee.....you can no longer do them for free as it cost you money and valuable time to do each and every one...Oh yeah....Learn to say"I'm sorry but I am unable to do your cake" I have learned to say NO...and it feels good!!!

Texas_Rose Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 7:46pm
post #3 of 23

Usually when someone asks me for a cake, I offer to show them how to make one. I've never had anyone take me up on the offer.

flowermom Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 9:07pm
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Usually when someone asks me for a cake, I offer to show them how to make one. I've never had anyone take me up on the offer.



LOL, I do that with my knitting, guess it's time to start with the cakes! icon_lol.gif

Sandi

indydebi Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 9:15pm
post #5 of 23

What you need to say to them when they "tell" you that they are expecting a cake (and it's a good first step in that backbone growing thing!) is "How much are you looking to spend?"

A bride planning a wedding for 300 and tells you "Around fifty bucks" (once she swallows her tongue at the SHOCK that she might have to actually PAY for this cake!) will give you the perfect opportunity to say, "I'm sorry .... I just can't do a cake that large in that price range. Thanks for asking, though! icon_biggrin.gif "

Then walk away. Practice this part .... just walk away. thumbs_up.gif

miss_sweetstory Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 9:16pm
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowermom


I would just love to hang up my cake pan and not do anymore cakes for anyone except close family members.




This is a very valid answer...stick with it!!!

fondantfrenzy Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 9:52pm
post #7 of 23

I totally feel your pain..my cakes are always "as gifts". Plus it makes it easier to make a cake if you know the person and make it around their personality. The same thing just happened to me. I guess this lady at work in which i didnt know was going through someone that was a home baker (not legal in california) and she was being flakey. It was a cake for her daughter's shower, she was complaining to her friend that she was scared the lady was not going to come through, then my coworker told her that i made cakes, to make along story short, the original lady ended up making the cake, but we had discussed cookies for favors. She asked me if i would make them (MIND YOU THIS IS NOT EVEN MY FRIEND, NEVER EVEN MET THE LADY ALL OVER THE EMAIL). I agreed, then she proceeds to tell me that she went way over budget and is going to offer me $30 for 30 cookies, i was like WHAT? icon_eek.gif but figured since i was not in it for profit, i would do it. I emailed her back and said...since she was so in so's friend and this was her first grandchild i would do it for that price, but please dont pass that price to anyone. She agreed, the whole time she made me feel like my cookies were not going to be good enough. Then she proceeded to tell my friend that told her about me..."well her cookies are only worth $1 anyaways" icon_mad.gif You tell me do these look like they are worth a dolloar (NOT TO MENTION I GAVE 6 EXTRA COOKIES INCASE SHE DROPPED OR BROKE SOME)

Believe me i feel you pain..i tell everyone, the minute you start taking money..>THAT's it. I would continue to make them as gifts.....but you might have better luck, my thing is ...my ego gets hurts...that really pissed me off. That kinda wanted to make me stop making cakes.

Just play it by ear and do whatever feels right.....i totally understand how it takes the enjoyment out of it.
LL

flowermom Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:48am
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

What you need to say to them when they "tell" you that they are expecting a cake (and it's a good first step in that backbone growing thing!) is "How much are you looking to spend?"

A bride planning a wedding for 300 and tells you "Around fifty bucks" (once she swallows her tongue at the SHOCK that she might have to actually PAY for this cake!) will give you the perfect opportunity to say, "I'm sorry .... I just can't do a cake that large in that price range. Thanks for asking, though! icon_biggrin.gif "

Then walk away. Practice this part .... just walk away. thumbs_up.gif




I like that! I would even appreciate it everyone who asked for a cake offered to at least pay for the ingredients! icon_confused.gif

flowermom Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:55am
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fondantfrenzy



Believe me i feel you pain..i tell everyone, the minute you start taking money..>THAT's it. I would continue to make them as gifts.....but you might have better luck, my thing is ...my ego gets hurts...that really pissed me off. That kinda wanted to make me stop making cakes.

Just play it by ear and do whatever feels right.....i totally understand how it takes the enjoyment out of it.




Your cookies are beautiful and definitely worth a lot more than a measly $1! I did NFS cookies with MMF for the first time in May. I practiced with royal icing and fondant and they time consuming, not to mention hard to get the details just right! I ended up doing my in fondant, and they still took me two full days to make over a 100 cookies. I can totally understand why decorators charge up to $5 a cookie. I didn't mind doing these cookies because I really wanted to learn and the person asked me back in January very nicely!

I never imagined that so many people would start asking for cakes, let alone just assume I would do them for them!

KKC Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 6:59am
post #10 of 23

FondantFrenzy ur cookies are absolutely beautiful and worth more than $1. I would've told the chick to take her $30 and make the cookies herself, I bet she would've sang a different tune. The nerve of some folk!

cakesbycathy Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 7:02am
post #11 of 23

"Sorry, it's illegal for me to have a cake business. I only make cakes for immediate family. Have you tried X Bakery? Their cakes are delicious."

Be firm. If they pester you, just keep repeating "Sorry, but I just can't do it."

Curtsmin24 Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 10:44am
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Quote:

I never imagined that so many people would start asking for cakes, let alone just assume I would do them for them!




Oh yeah!! They got some nerve. Funny story:

sis: oh my sister makes some banging cakes and they are really good.

sis's friend: you could make my daughters cake ( like I need practice and with a tude)

me:if you want a special cake your going to pay special prices, my shhh!! isn't for free.
The look on her face was priceless icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

sis's friend: her birthday is on june 30th and i'll pay it. I got the money.
( but with that embaressed, feeling dumb look )

me: (politely said) icon_wink.gif I will be out of town that month on a well deserved vacation. icon_smile.gif

her: Cricket......cricket.........cricket......

me and sis smile at each other and I walk away! thumbs_up.gif

There must be a bug going around. I shall dub it walletightess!!!

CakeInfatuation Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:24pm
post #13 of 23

I'm noticing this too. I keep getting requests from people to make cakes and they want quotes. I'm so hesitant. I LOVE making cakes and seeing peoples reaction. But I also love having free reign to make it how I want, how big, what colors, whether it has fondant, butter cream, or both.

The thought of trying to get everything the way a client pictures it or in a way that will exceed their expectations really stresses me out.

It's not helping at all that people keep saying things to me like... "Oh... you could make the cake for xxxx event. I got a quote from xxxx bakery and they wanted to charge $80! I'm sure you would be much cheaper!"

I want to scream! NO I WOULD NOT BE CHEAPER! Why would they even think that because they know me, my prices are going to be below the going rate? They tell me that my cakes are better than anything they've seen and then in the next sentence they say I'm not worth what the inferior bakery will charge? I'm not sure this is territory I'm willing to venture into. I haven't even started selling cakes and people already have me frustrated!

Valli_War Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:37pm
post #14 of 23

All of you should send them the link to the huge machinery that is automated that is used for decorating cakes. There are a bunch of them in youtube. They will see why a bakery would sell the cake for less. Everything is done by machines over there starting from torting, filling, icing and decorating.

Or, if you are doing it like I do just for fun, you should do what I do. I just started learning and I am not great it nor I have time to spend too much on practicing and getting it perfect. One of my colleague asked me if I could make a cake for his son's birthday. I just said I will be very expensive compared to what you spend for a cake in a grocery store. He asked me how much would I charge for a 9 X13 cake (I had taken that to work), I told him not less than $30. He kept quiet and no one talks about that now.

Just sharing my experience.

strawberry0121 Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:43pm
post #15 of 23

Well, I decided when I started this whole thing that I would be firm on my prices. I don't WANT to be the cheap one in town. My time is too valuable for me to give my cakes away. Not only that, but there is nobody else around here that does them as well as I can do them. I'm not tooting my own horn, just being honest. I have seen the cakes and they are horrible!!!!

Cake_Princess Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 1:57pm
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

What you need to say to them when they "tell" you that they are expecting a cake (and it's a good first step in that backbone growing thing!) is "How much are you looking to spend?"

A bride planning a wedding for 300 and tells you "Around fifty bucks" (once she swallows her tongue at the SHOCK that she might have to actually PAY for this cake!) will give you the perfect opportunity to say, "I'm sorry .... I just can't do a cake that large in that price range. Thanks for asking, though! icon_biggrin.gif "

Then walk away. Practice this part .... just walk away. thumbs_up.gif





LOL.... This is classic.

LanaC Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:03pm
post #17 of 23

I always start the coversation with "I've got to warn you, I'm expensive." That usually shuts down most of the freeloaders.

CakeInfatuation Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:08pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Quote:

I've got to warn you, I'm expensive.




I'll have to use that in the future. Do you find that you scare away good customers who would have paid your prices? Or do most of the reasonable people ask "How expensive?"

I just don't grasp why they think it will cost me LESS to make a cake when I don't get supplies wholesale and I have to make all my cakes to order. No big bakery ovens, no giant mixers, no machines to automate. Just ME! My little kitchen and my standard Kenmore oven. I often have to bake the cakes in batches because it all won't fit. That takes HOURS!

aswartzw Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:10pm
post #19 of 23

I feel your pain. I at least live in a state where I can sell cakes via the cottage laws but for now all I've ever done is at cost. I decided for immediate family will get free cakes for birthdays and such and the next group of family I'm offering to do at cost. But that's where I stop. Not sure if I want to jump to actually charging full amount for a regular customer yet. Too much stress and legal jargon for me. icon_confused.gif

FromScratch Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:11pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

"Sorry, it's illegal for me to have a cake business. I only make cakes for immediate family. Have you tried X Bakery? Their cakes are delicious."

Be firm. If they pester you, just keep repeating "Sorry, but I just can't do it."




This is what I'd say too.. "Sorry, but in California it is illegal for me to bake from my home kitchen and accept any money for my products. I only do cakes for family members right now. I can recommend X bakery."

If they persist just recommend the other bakery... smile and walk away. Even if you just take money for ingredients it's still considered a sale and is illegal. No one is going to fault you for getting ingredients from your sister to make her a cake, but when you start doing that for friends of friends or strangers you aer putting yourself at risk.

Just put your foot down. If you don't want to go into business and rent a kitchen and all that jazz then don't. And don't feel obligated to make a cake for free for everyone who asks. Only you get to pick and choose when you makes cakes. icon_smile.gif

ntertayneme Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:13pm
post #21 of 23

I have family and extended family members that do the same to me too. My comments back to them whenever they say "I'm going to get you to do my cake for me when _______" (whatever the occasion is), "I will do your cake, but remember, I'm not cheap" .... I do this with a straight face, no smile and as serious as I possibly can. So when approached for a cake for whatever occasion it is they need one for, they always ask me how much, and I do not hesitate to charge them what I feel the cake is worth. icon_smile.gif

Tootall Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 2:22pm
post #22 of 23

With my personality, I would not make it as a business and I don't WANT to sell my cakes. I like to keep it a hobby icon_smile.gif People around here are impressed with my cakes, but that's only because they're not members of CC! icon_lol.gif I have a hard time telling people (especially friends) a price, so I end up getting them to buy the ingredients and I make them for them *shrug* SOME of them, though, are a little greedy, so I'm slowly learning to say "NO". In a nice way of course icon_wink.gif I'm such a sissy! icon_lol.gif Plus, since reading up so much here on the legal issues, I'd feel guilty if I asked someone for money for a cake. Haha! So I just pick and choose which ones I want to do icon_smile.gif SOOOO much simpler and less stress.
As far as why they think we can do them cheaper than a bakery... people just think homemade=cheap. My hubby's family isn't impressed with homemade gifts. They think we're being cheap with gifts. So I stopped making them special gifts for Christmas, etc. They get gift cards and MY family gets to enjoy homemade goodies icon_smile.gif They love and appreciate them. (So do my coworkers icon_lol.gif)
Oh, I have started working in how much they'd pay for the cake somewhere else, based on what I've learned here, when people start talking about me making one. "Well, typically, it would be a $75 cake..."icon_lol.gif I'll still do the freebie, but I like to think I'm educating them icon_wink.gif

flowermom Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 6:01pm
post #23 of 23

(Ok, let's try this again, having a bit of trouble getting on the site and posting!)

I think I am right where Ashley is...I want to just be a hobby for now. I also have a family to consider! I volunteer at my church and homeschool my kids so cake baking is definitely a side thing for the time being.

I have done my research on the legal issues here in CA, there is no home baking as a business. And a licensed kitchen isn't available right now. I just don't feel right charging for my cakes until I start my business. I have already been working on my contract and pricing guide and look into what I need to get me started. It just not the time for me to transition into a business.

I do have several friends who are legal cake decorators and plan to write down their information and give it my friends who inquire about cakes. I am just going to have to pick and choose what I do, and not feel guilty about my choice. I appreciate you all so much, because you truly do understand the effort and time that goes into decorating cakes and cookies! You also are all wonderful and talented people!!! Thanks for all the advice!!!

icon_biggrin.gif Sandi

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