Local Business Want To Partner With Me

Business By summernoelle Updated 29 Jun 2008 , 4:05pm by Ruth0209

summernoelle Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 6:34pm
post #1 of 41

OK, so there is a business in my area that holda weddings. It is one of those gorgeous Victorian houses, and they have everything they need except for a baker. After I delivered a cake there last weekend, they want me to be their wedding cake maker. Basically, they would offer a package for food, reception, etc, plus a wedding cake.
So what do I ask for?
1. I currently charge a base price of $3/serving. I am thinking that I should still make at least that. Would they charge like $4/slice, and I receive $3? Or how does that work?
2. I am not happy with my current kitchen rental: Would it be fair to ask them for kitchen rental in return for 1 "free" wedding cake per month (where I do not take any of the profit) up to a value of like $500?
3. Do I need a contract with them?

I would really appreciate any help or advice that anyone has to offer. Thank you!!!!!

40 replies
KHalstead Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 7:00pm
post #2 of 41

oh wow, what an opportunity...........I would see what they offer........ask them "what did you have in mind?" For all you know, they may reflect your cost right to the customer and just want to be able to offer a cake in their package deal. I make cakes for our local party store and they charge the customers what I charge and they give me all of the money. They don't make ANY profit! but it's something they want to offer to their customers because it gets them in the door. Once they're there to pick up a cake, they buy balloons, plates, etc. maybe this place is thinking the same thing. Your cakes are stunning and that may get someone in the door and if they're getting the cake there why not the whole shabang??? i would ask them to make an offer and then negotiate from there. You wouldn't want to ask for too little. they may be willing to let you use their kitchen free of charge for all you know!

southerncake Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 7:10pm
post #3 of 41

I agree that I would first ask what they are looking for or what they already have in mind. And once you know, yes, I would have some type of contract since it is dealing with large/possibly pricey wedding cakes.

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:27am
post #4 of 41

Thanks for the advice! It is a little intimidating going in to something like this for the first time. I have no idea what is "fair" or what I should expect. I guess it is time to not just be a baker, but a business woman, too. Scary!

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:34am
post #5 of 41

OMG that sounds like a exciting opportunity Summer!!!! And what a cute place to work right?
Get the details...

I would think the one free wedding cake for rental would be awesome... but don't offer it till they tell you what the rental charge would be.. cause it might be less icon_smile.gif

I know you are nervous.. and can't wait till you get to talk more about it... when will you find anything out?

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:35am
post #6 of 41

OOPS I just seen it LOL... That is one BEAUTIFUL house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:43am
post #7 of 41

Thanks Christi icon_wink.gif

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:48am
post #8 of 41

When will you know anything Summer?

and your welcome icon_biggrin.gif

doitallmom Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:51am
post #9 of 41

What a great opportunity!! I just wanted to chime in w/my congrats. Other than that, I agrre w/the others. I learned from my husband, always find out what they're willing to offer before you decide what you'll take! Good luck with negotiations!

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 10:10am
post #10 of 41

If I got an offer like that I'd create an attractive portfolio with maybe a dozen designs. Like scrolls, package cakes, the MS one with the tower of flowers, a bare naked smoothie with or without ribbon, pearls y'know like a certain number of classic or hot styles right now. I would avoid doing all wide open custom work for something like this. This is a sweet deal with the exta benefit of burn out insurance built in if it's set up that way.

Then when someone does have their heart set on something that needs to be charged extra then you can still work from your base price with your venue people and charge the extra to bridelette free and clear.

But all custom work in this case is possibly not what is best for you. They want to offer a nice deal. I'd say keep it simple for everyone. And I'd use the same setup for flavors.

I mean most brides will be happpy with the hot current styles in their colors y'know? A couple tweaks here & there & you got it type of thing. It's a package deal use it to your advantage.

And this way, the bride deals mostly with them. The venue knows how to take the order for you and you save lots of time, money and effort. Until you need to be there for something extra special.

Just some thoughts for you.

Congrats on sucha sweet deal.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 10:22am
post #11 of 41

Kitchen rental is tricky. How much cooking do they do there? I mean what if it's steaming hot when you need it cool.

Feel them out a little on kitchen availability by asking about if they have frige or storage space sometimes for a cake. Some place in there away from fresh cut onions and the open pickle barrel. Just see how they respond about stuff like that to see if it might be feasible. Vintage houses often have no extra space. But if they built on to the kitchen that'd be cool. I mean they'd need storage for thier own cakes and whatever others you're doing--that's a lot of storage space if you do a few cakes a week.

I would offer a percentage of each cake in payment plus kitchen rental of $200. Otherwise you have no leverage. One free one per month is too variable. Too iffy.

Just some things to consider.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 10:25am
post #12 of 41

Yes just charge the same as you already charge or 80% of what they charge whichever is greater.

playingwithsugar Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 10:42am
post #13 of 41

The offer, as you have written it, sounds vague to me.

You do not mention whether they will be employing you, or retaining your services. There is a difference between the two. If you will be employed by them, then they will end up offering you an hourly wage or commission, and working under their liability insurance. If they will be retaining your services, then you will be their subcontractor, and will need your own licensing and liability insurances, if you do not already have them.

Either way, make them offer you a contract, and ask the input of the pros here before signing.

Provision of supplies will be determined by the type of offer made (employment or retainer). This also applies to use of the kitchen.

After having managed the restaurant section of a local establishment, many years ago, I can tell you that I would never accept an offer from someone to use my kitchen in exchange for a free cake. What if you end up doing 4 wedding cakes per week? I would be losing out on a lot of money.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

grama_j Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 10:47am
post #14 of 41

I wouldn't even mention a price on the kitchen..... just say something like , " I would be interested in USING YOUR kitchen for my cakes..... perhaps we can work something out on that end also".......They may just offer the use of the kitchen without payment as long as you are working with them anyway..........What are you paying for kitchen rent now? That rent money would just be in your pocket !

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 12:06pm
post #15 of 41

I think the venue rents out rooms for small parties... and they cater to parties but don't cook all the time (Am I right Summer?)

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 12:31pm
post #16 of 41

See I could do cakes at my church but the odd times they are catering an event would create a conflict. I can't change my cake order to accomodate thier schedule and vice versa.

I think one big thing these folks like is that you just showed up at the right time with a great cake for their event. It changes the whole dynamic if you want to move in y'know? I think you should consider brokering one deal at a time. Broker the for sure cake deal for these marketing points:

1. You want to enhance their package deal.
2. You want to make life easier for them.
3. You want to make pretty cakes.
4. You want to get paid.

Then as you go see if you even want to rent from them. Then broker the next deal for kitchen space.

I mean it might work out to perfection to rent from them but I would wait on it.

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:10pm
post #17 of 41

Wow, thanks everyone!
I am still trying to schedule a time to go out there. It is about 20 miles away from me, and they can only meet on certain days.
My understand is that they recently found a caterer to work with. So I am not sure if the caterer will be using the kitchen. Other than that, it is a venue that just hosts lots of weddings and parties.
Hopefully I'll know something soon!

Thanks again for all the input!

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 1:25pm
post #18 of 41

I could be your worker icon_wink.gif

I could live in your new cake fridge icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif LOL

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 2:40pm
post #19 of 41

Move on down. I need the help! We can be business partners. icon_wink.gif

KHalstead Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 2:47pm
post #20 of 41

summer, just wanted to add when you do go.........don't accept any offers on the spot. (I am notorious for doing that and then later on I always kick myself) Because you're going to be so excited you're going to want to be like yes yes yes!!! I would keep a straight face if you can (this is so exciting) and tell them you'll think about their offer and be in touch. Then go home and discuss with the DH, they have a way of pointing out things that could be wrong when we're on cloud nine over the possibility of a whole new customer base and kitchen!! LOL Good luck!!

wgoat5 Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 2:47pm
post #21 of 41

Ok packing now... as long as I don't have to touch a wedding cake we will be fine... whilst you work on wedding cakes I will scour in the corner like a beat mule LOL

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 3:25pm
post #22 of 41
Originally Posted by KHalstead

summer, just wanted to add when you do go.........don't accept any offers on the spot. (I am notorious for doing that and then later on I always kick myself) Because you're going to be so excited you're going to want to be like yes yes yes!!! I would keep a straight face if you can (this is so exciting) and tell them you'll think about their offer and be in touch. Then go home and discuss with the DH, they have a way of pointing out things that could be wrong when we're on cloud nine over the possibility of a whole new customer base and kitchen!! LOL Good luck!!

So true. My DH always thinks I ask for too little, so when I go home that night, he will def. tell me what to counter offer.

I'll let you know how it goes!

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 4:23pm
post #23 of 41
Originally Posted by wgoat5

Ok packing now... as long as I don't have to touch a wedding cake we will be fine... whilst you work on wedding cakes I will scour in the corner like a beat mule LOL

Just tell her they are very pale birthday cakes. You'll be golden!

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 4:36pm
post #24 of 41

Exactly. icon_wink.gif

We'll just have her make them, and then tell her after she is done that is was actually a wedding cake.

pianocat Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 4:40pm
post #25 of 41

Congratulations! I can see why they asked, your cakes are beautiful. But I will say the same everyone has already said--ask them what they have in mind first.

summernoelle Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:07pm
post #26 of 41


If anyone is interested in what happened when I met them yesterday, here it is (as told to one of my good friends here on CC through PM icon_lol.gif )

So I show up about ten minutes early, and it looks pretty empty, except for some guy working in the yard.
I get out the samples I have for her (Four different types of cakes and frostings and fillings) and all my paperwork, etc, and go inside. Empty. The gardner guy comes in and I say "So where is everybody?"
He says "I'm it!" I pause and then he says "She couldn't make it in today." WTF?!?!? Then he says "I'll give her a call on her cell phone."
So he pulls out the cell phone, calls her, and I speak to her for about 2 minutes about very preliminary things. She is like "I hope you aren't too dissapointed that I'm not here."
He takes some business cards from me, but doesn't really know anything about running the business, so I get out my keys, then pick up my papers, and leave.
So I drive 40 miles out of my way (85 total) to meet with this lady, and she can't even call me to say she isn't coming in. What we discussed on the phone was stuff we could have done with me at my house on the phone.
Anyway, I am shocked at how unprofessional this lady is. I've decided that when she contacts me again, I am just going to politely tell her that I am not interested. Seriously, if someone can't make a simple meeting, and stands me up, and lets me bring in samples and drive that far, they are not someone I can rely on.

Anyway, to continue the story, my CC friend and my DH thought I should send her an invoice for a missed appointment, to cover my time and gas, etc. I decided to do that, and got the following email
I do not consider the appointment "missed". I am ill and my husband was there to receive and taste the cakes and I also was able to taste them at home. I realize that you took time to make the samples and bring them over and our only intention was to explore featuring your beautiful cakes in our "exclusive package". How would the outcome of the meeting have been any different had I been there? We may still consider offering your services but do not expect payment of your invoice."

So, there it is. The whole ugly thing. I hope I didn't make too much of an tapedshut.gif out of myself!

wgoat5 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 10:57pm
post #27 of 41

Ok loading up the piping gun now my friend icon_wink.gif

I KNOW you didn't .. YOUR time is just as important as hers.. the ole cow!!!

She could of called and told you she was sick... The maintenance man could of told you HE was HER husband couldn't of he?

I can't believe they refused the invoice first of all.. second of all to get all that cake for free.. no wonder she is sick!!!!!

Ruth0209 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 11:20pm
post #28 of 41

If there is a next meeting, I'd make them come to you. Let them spend $4/gallon on gas.

lutie Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 11:32pm
post #29 of 41

I know you were all excited, but this is a big, big point to make.... do you not think that someone up "there" was trying to tell you something? If they treat you like this on the first go-around, what will it be after you have made a really special cake for a big event and they do not pay what they promised? I would be very, very leery of this situation... especially, for leaving out pertinent information (i.e. she was sick and this maintenance man is her husband). How professional is this operation?

zoomzone Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 11:33pm
post #30 of 41

Be happy to be through with them. She was very inconsiderate. If she was sick, why wouldn the handyman say so??! and explain who he was??

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