Friend Pricing Issue-Long

Decorating By sarahpierce Updated 15 Aug 2008 , 5:47pm by tjsmommy

sarahpierce Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:12pm
post #1 of 41

So, my DH friend is getting married. It's not a close friend, but he did film our wedding for us (although he missed half of it). Anyways, I told them months ago I would give them a great deal on their wedding cake because I could use the experience. Well, now the bride has decided she wants 250 cupcakes plus a cake to cut. Plus they want a cake for the rehersal dinner which I have never heard of since everyone will be eating cake the next day. Now I feel that I am pretty talanted for being completely self-taught. And nobody in my area does fondant cakes or designer cakes(sorry i have no photos posted yet, need help from my DH with that). I work full time and have 2 children, so I'll have to take off work to do this. I feel like the bride is taking avantage of me by going overboard. Besides the fact that she hasn't even sent out invitations yet so she doesn't even know how many are coming. If I tell her $2 a cupcake and I'll include the cutting cake is that unreasonable? Considering I will be delivering and setting up, and building a cupcake stand. I feel so overwelmed right now, but this could bring in a lot of orders for me. By the way I'm not legal yet, so the $500 would be a tip. I have to meet with them on sunday, any advise would be appreciated. Thanks.

40 replies
kelleym Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:23pm
post #2 of 41

I wouldn't meet with her until she has her guest list under control. According to indydebi's rule, you will need cake for approximately 60% of the invited guests. If she actully needs 250 cupcakes, that means she's inviting 416 people, which doesn't know?

ziggytarheel Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:31pm
post #3 of 41

Groom's cakes at the rehearsal dinner aren't uncommon in some places. However, you told them you would give them a great deal on their wedding cake, right?

So, it seems reasonable to me that you can, if you want, 1. Not do the cake for the rehearsal dinner 2. Not do cupcakes because they are not what you offered, which was a cake 3. Offer a "great deal"...which can be on a small percentage off a normal rate.

They can decide to go with you or not, you know?

And, I would think you also have the option of saying sooner than later, "When I offered to do this, I had no idea you had in mind something so _____ (elaborate? big?). I'm not in a position to do that right now.


terrig007 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:35pm
post #4 of 41

Sarah, I actually had the groom's cake at the rehearsal dinner because the place I got my cake from had a "no other cake" clause in the contract and I brought the cake up from GA as it had my husband's military unit and the Third ID Bulldog on it. I didn't think they'd eat it all either but they ate and ate and ate that cake until it was gone.
She defintely needs to figure out who is coming and go from there. What if she has only 180 people show up? I think $2 is a bit low but if he gave you a break on your video service you probably feel you owe it to him? Also be careful, I just heard from someone I used to take cake classes with in GA who made a cake for her nephew's wedding. Seems the bride's aunt wanted to do the cake and works in a bakery near Atlanta. This girl works illegally out of her house and did the cake. The health department showed up on Tuesday (the wedding was about 10 days before that) and fined 5K. Aunt claims to have "gotten sick" as well and is pursuing legal action.

tiggy2 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:39pm
post #5 of 41
Originally Posted by ziggytarheel

Groom's cakes at the rehearsal dinner aren't uncommon in some places. However, you told them you would give them a great deal on their wedding cake, right?

So, it seems reasonable to me that you can, if you want, 1. Not do the cake for the rehearsal dinner 2. Not do cupcakes because they are not what you offered, which was a cake 3. Offer a "great deal"...which can be on a small percentage off a normal rate.

They can decide to go with you or not, you know?

And, I would think you also have the option of saying sooner than later, "When I offered to do this, I had no idea you had in mind something so _____ (elaborate? big?). I'm not in a position to do that right now.


Ditto - Everything ziggytarheel said!!

FromScratch Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:42pm
post #6 of 41

You said a great deal.. you didn't say exactly what that deal was at the time right? So tell them your price and they can say yes or no. It's up to them. icon_smile.gif

If you don't want to do the rehersal cake don't. Or if you do.. don't give them a deal on it. You have to approach this like a business person. I know they are "friends" but it is not your reponsibility to give them everything they want for almost nothing.

I would tell them this.. I will do your wedding cupcakes and topper cake for $x.xx per serving which is $x.xx off of my regular price. The rehersal cake will be full price at $x.xx per serving. Let me know how many people you are inviting so I can assist you in figuring out how much cake you should order.

The worst that will happen is that they will not get the rehersal cake from you and if not.. oh well. icon_lol.gif

How much would you normally charge for a serving of cake? Let's start from there and see if a) we need to slap you up for not charging enough icon_wink.gif, and b) how much you should discount the price.

sarahpierce Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:47pm
post #7 of 41

I am afraid of the legal aspect. But, the groom said he talked to the hotel and they just want him to sign a waiver if anyone gets sick because I'm not licensed. And I am going to have him sign something saying he won't come after me. I sanitize everything when I bake, but you never know. I do let everyone know that I am not licensed, and this is a hobby right now. But I do accept a suggested "tip". And if they end up not paying me. well then that's that, and there's nothing I can do. I also don't have a business name,nor do I hand out cards. I am trying to protect myself and my family as best as possible. You'd think I'm making grain alcohol in my basement, or putting pot in my brownies as much as I have to sneak around. icon_lol.gif

sarahpierce Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 4:55pm
post #8 of 41

Thanks jkalman I think I do need a good slap icon_lol.gif ! But with all the confidence I can muster - I would say $2.50 - $3.00 a serving, depending. Now keep in mind I haven't actually charged this before, but I think it's time I put on my big girl panties, and see what happens. icon_razz.gif

akgirl10 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 5:03pm
post #9 of 41

Depending on the design, 250 cupcakes could be pretty doable or a real pain. I wouldn't agree to anything that made you take a lot of time off.

And though you are giving a discount on the cake, I would charge for the stand or have them provide one.

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 5:20pm
post #10 of 41

I love everything ZiggyTH said too.

1.) I would not do the cake if I had to take off work. Period.
I mean unless it's for like an hour to deliver.

2.) If you do go ahead with it. Add up every iota including delivery. Then take off 10-15% that's a great deal man. This is too much work to just give it away.

The time it takes to do pictures is not comparable to what it takes to make a cake.

indydebi Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:00am
post #11 of 41
Originally Posted by terrig007

Aunt claims to have "gotten sick" as well and is pursuing legal action.

Can we assume she's also suing the caterer and the bartender? Or since she KNOWS it was the cake that made her sick, she's only pursuing the cake lady? icon_confused.gificon_rolleyes.gif

The reason I threw "bartender" in there: Had a friend who went out with friends on saturday night and said, "I must have gotten some bad popcorn last night! I felt so sick this morning!" We asked "What were you drinking?" She said, "Singapore Slings and Seven-Sevens." icon_eek.gif

Yeah ... it was definitely the popcorn! icon_lol.gif

terrig007 Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:16am
post #12 of 41

Debi, that's what I asked this girl. She laughed and said that was exactly what the lawyer said. I know what you mean, that popcorn does it all the time. icon_smile.gif
On a side note, I was a bit surprised that she got such a heavy fine but she said the lawyer thought that could be dismissed since it was a "first offense". I guess Aunt is a pita according to the bride who called to apologize as well. This girl who did the cake is the baby in the family and only about 7 years older than the groom. He's devasted as well and said he would have never asked her to do it if he dreamt it would be this much trouble.

sarahpierce Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 6:13pm
post #13 of 41

So, the couple will be here in a few hours. This is my first wedding cake, and the first time I'm going to stick to my guns about price. I'm so nervous, I can't even type. I'm having anxiety. This is so ridiculous, they should be begging me to do their cake at whatever cost icon_lol.gif ,right? lol.
o.k. I'm going to go outside, smoke a cig, and then get my house picked up. Because I assume no one wants to spend $500 on a cake that comes from a house with toys everywhere. O.k. now I'm just rambling to avoid the real task at hand. But what's the worst that can happen? They say no, well then my stress is gone, or they say " that sounds great! double the order, and I'll take them next week!" icon_surprised.gif . Just kidding, O.K I'm still babbling, and still stressed. I wish I was a drinker, because then I'd just take a shot of something and feel fine.just kidding. Alright I'll stop talking, err I mean typing now. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the advice and listening to my ramblings.

FromScratch Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 6:26pm
post #14 of 41

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!! The first wedding tasting is alwyas the most stressful. Just clear your mind and go about it like you do these in your sleep. icon_biggrin.gif

I can't wait to hear what they have to say. GOOD LUCK AGAIN!!!

sarahpierce Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:33am
post #15 of 41

O.K., so they showed up an hour late, which really annoyed me. But, they are having their wedding on Sep. 26, which is a friday. The reason for this is this was the only venue that would let me make the cakes (since I'm not licensed). And the groom specifically wanted me to do it. He even has a licensed baker that he knows offer to do it, I guess at a discount. This hotel isn't as nice as the other ones, so now I feel bad about being annoyed by them. But anyways. They want 306 cupcakes fully decorated in 3 different flavors. They want cala lilies on some of them. They also want a 1 tier cutting cake, a groomsmen cake in the shape of a royal flush with 2 dice, and a cake for 50 for the rehersal dinner! they want 1 large stand in the middle to hold the cutting cake and a couple tiers of cupcakes, and 2 cala lily illusion stands to hold more cupcakes. But the groom is willing to build these. I am so overwelmed. I will have to probably literally rent a UHaul to transport all of it. I can't turn the order down because they settled on a lesser venue and a date they didn't want to accomadate me. I didn't mention a price because it was way more than I expected. But, I know they spent at least $800 on invitations, and they're inviting 450 people. The groom did ask me to let him know how much I need to get started. I think I'll ask them what their budget is, if they say $800 or $900 then I won't feel bad about charging $700. If they say $400 then I'll say we need to talk icon_confused.gif . Keep in mind my biggest order has been 2 birthday cakes in 1 day, so it's an understatement to say I'm knee deep. Sorry so long.

BarbaraK Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 7:33am
post #16 of 41

Bearing in mind that I am here in Australia but I think that even if you charge $700 for the whole lot, you are seriously undercharging. I charge $3 per cupcake, plainly iced. If they want flowers, etc it is extra. So for 306 cupcakes, there goes their whole budget.

Then you have the 1 tier cutting cake ( what size?), the groomsman's cake (cake carving involved) and cake for 50 people at the rehersal dinner!!!

Not to mention the cala lily illusion stands, etc. Who is paying for the flowers?

You seriously need to think this through before you accept. You will essentiall be working for nothing. Don't let the fact that they settled for a lesser venue and different date pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with. They should have checked with you on pricing before they committed to the venue and date.

Dear Lord, don't do it. Walk away,,,, no.... RUN!!!!!

FromScratch Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:40pm
post #17 of 41

How many people are they expecting? That's enough cake for almost 400 people. I am sure they are thinking cupcakes.. people will have more than one, but that's not usually the case. Find out how many people they are inviting first and foremost. Find out what kind of dinner service they are planning. If it's just hors d'oeuvres and dessert then yes.. they should order more cake than normal, but if they are having a full dinner with hors d'oeuvres and then cake they do not need to plan for 2 cupcakes per person.

I wouldn't charge less than $2.00 per plainly iced and unfilled cupcake. If they want them all decked out then more. The topper cake the same. If it's a 6" cake.. that's 10 servings. No less than $20.. and this would be for a GOOD friend. A carved groom's cake.. no less than $4.00 per serving.

So find out their # of invited guests and help them make an informed decision. icon_smile.gif

Stick to your guns.. people think of cupcakes as an easy option.. they are far from it. You have to decorate every little cupcake and then transport them all.. total pain in the ass.

ziggytarheel Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:56pm
post #18 of 41

I know you feel like you are in a jam because of the decisions they made so they can use you. However, as soon as possible, I would make some calculations as to how much the ingredients alone will cost you as well as calculations as to how many hours it will take you to do this. I think this will help you keep a proper perspective and not end up really hurting yourself. It will help to give you the guts to ask what you really need to charge. It is really in no way comparable to video taping a wedding, even if he did a good job with editing. My son has been editing video since he was in middle school. Yes, sometimes he spends forever on it, but sometimes it doesn't take him all that long.

So, please, for your sake, be sure that you at least are fully compensated for all of your expenses and make something for all your trouble. And if your calculations tell you that it is going to take some outrageous amount of time to do all of this, please just tell the couple. For example, "You know, I can make a standard wedding cake for X # of people in about Y hours. But when I look at what you are asking me to do, it will take me 4 times as long. I'm not sure I have the time/I'll have to miss work/I don't have the childcare (I'm sorry, I don't remember your situation!)

I really feel for you here. But I think good, thorough, QUICK communication is key here. At least it would be for me.

foxymomma521 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 2:01pm
post #19 of 41

What do cakes sell for in your area? I wouldn't even be thinking about flat rate pricing, I would calculate a "normal" price and offer 15% off of that. I know it's tough now, but when you are up to your elbows in buttercream you will be thankful. icon_smile.gif

wendalynn11 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 2:13pm
post #20 of 41

What struck me is you said you would ask them what their budget thought is don't worry about their budget, tell them how much the cupcakes and cakes will be and if it is too much they can downsize their order. We shouldn't be responsible for catering to the brides budget, they can change their order to something less elaborate if it is too much for them!!!

dreamn900 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 2:29pm
post #21 of 41
Originally Posted by wendalynn11

What struck me is you said you would ask them what their budget thought is don't worry about their budget, tell them how much the cupcakes and cakes will be and if it is too much they can downsize their order. We shouldn't be responsible for catering to the brides budget, they can change their order to something less elaborate if it is too much for them!!!

I agree. And I find it a little hard to believe that they switched the day solely because of the cake. That makes no sense to me, but if they say so. They are probably getting a cheaper rate because it's on a Friday, not a Saturday. I'm sorry but that's way too much that they're asking for. And $800 on invitations? Seriously? icon_confused.gif

sarahpierce Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 2:35pm
post #22 of 41

jkalman- They have sent out 420 some invitations!

It's so hard for me to price because I've never done something like this before. And the fact that this is my art, I have even less confidence in it. You guys have way more experience than I do, and apparently you all have a backbone which I'm still trying to grow. But, I'm in the process of calculating cost, and it's very overwhelming. I just need to get organized, and use my head instead of my heart. Thanks everyone. I'll try to keep you updated on my downfall into the looney bin. I hope I make it out of this alive lol.

ziggytarheal- I have 2 young children, I work full time 3rd shift, and I have a disabled husband. So let the pity party begin lol.

MaryAnnPriest Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 2:45pm
post #23 of 41

If they have manuevered important aspects of the wedding, venue, date, time, etc around having you do their cakes & cupcakes then they can manuever budget money around to afford you. Don't worry about their money - that's their job.

I agree with everyone who has said determine the price you would charge & then offer a % off on that for the 'good deal'. You may find that when you are up to your neck in frosting & cake batter some feelings of resentment will start creeping in - for me, that makes it difficult to work.

Good luck! Let us know how it all turns out. icon_wink.gif

NikkiDoc Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 3:00pm
post #24 of 41

Oh my I am rushing to that pity party. I am a SAHM, DH works full time. I have a 5 year old and my youngest just turned 3. I just made her birthday cake for her party this past Saturday. It was the largest cake I've ever made, a nontraditional castle with edible turrets. I had some trouble and had to replan and go from there. There was so much more that I was going to do but eventually just had to finish because I just ran out of time. I am pleased with the way it turned out, even though it is not what I originally planned. Proceed with extreme caution. It seems that they are asking for quite alot.

sarahpierce Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 3:06pm
post #25 of 41

Thanks for coming to my pity party NikkiDoc icon_biggrin.gif . Thank you for the laugh. I can tell the tone of voice you were typing in- it was the mom talking baby talk, wasn't it? lol. I'm sure others will arrive at the party icon_lol.gif .

FromScratch Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 12:02am
post #26 of 41

You can figure about $0.75-$1/serving as your costs including travel time and ingredients.. one cupcake is equal to a serving of cake. How big of a cutting cake are they looking for? And the groom's cake? How big? If they have sent out 420 invites that can expect about 250-ish people to actually show up using the 60% rule. So cake for 300 would be more than enough. Finalize all design elements,, find out if they want fondant on anything.. any flowers or other intricate design on the cupcakes and the topper cake? Find out exactly what she has in mind before you give her a quote. Come back here and let us know and we'll help you get that backbone. icon_smile.gif They are asking a lot of you and making you feel guilty by saying they took the lesser option on the venue to have you make their cakes.. don't let them guilt you into giving to them for cost.

indydebi Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 12:15am
post #27 of 41

Is that 420 people invited or 420 invitations sent? That will make a diff in the number of folks expected. thumbs_up.gif

sarahpierce Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 1:07pm
post #28 of 41

O.k. so here's the update. I told them $1000 for everything. They said sure. Well now after 2 months of F-ing around they can't afford it. They wanted to know how much ingredients were just for the 306 cupcakes, because it seems like an awful lot. icon_confused.gif I told them just for ingredients and supplies it was around $350. I explained that I have to buy everything retail, so if they have to go to another bakery feel free. I was so frustrated at this point because they're taking advantage of me. Only me. They aren't trying to get a better deal from anyone else, only me icon_mad.gif . So apparently the grooms father knows a guy who will make them 300 cupcakes and a cutting cake for $400 icon_eek.gif .I have a pretty good feeling they will have a blop of canned frosting on each one. I really wanted them to have pretty cakes, but I'm not getting screwed in the process. Oh, the groom still wants me to make a strawberry shortcake for the rehearsal dinner. icon_confused.gif He says he loves my cakes sooo much he wants at least one. I think he's trying to get pity so I bake for free. I may do that cake as a wedding present. But here's the shocker that pissed me off the most : The reason they can't afford the wedding cakes is........

Because they are paying for a pig roast for the rehearsal dinner! A whole pig roast for 50 people the night before their big wedding! WHAT icon_eek.gif . Where are their priorities? A wedding cake OR a pig roast? That's a hard decision. Idiots.

Sorry, I've been dealing with this for 2 months now. They didn't skimp anywhere else- except the cake. You spend probably $20,000 on a wedding and you forget to budget for a cake? icon_confused.gif

indydebi Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 1:19pm
post #29 of 41

When I get comments on cost of ingredients or cost of food (usually in the "we can buy it ourselves cheaper than that!" Well, duh!!), I respond with "The cost of food or ingredients is the LEAST expensive part of this equation. I'm not a product business ... I'm more of a service business. You're paying for the service and skill involved in knowing how much you need, how to prepare it, the talent to do both AND the cost of my van, my equipment and my staff to present it to you. Cost of food? Shoot, darlin' that's nothin'!"

Yeah, they can buy the INGREDIENTS cheaper! But I want to see their bill on the other incidentals that are needed to create that cake or buffet!! (can you imagine them baking 400 cupcakes 12 at a time! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif)

sarahpierce Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 1:41pm
post #30 of 41

One of our mutual friends is a tattoo artist. I asked the groom, "Does Austin do tattoos for just the cost of the ink? No, he's an artist and should be payed for his time and talent." DUH! icon_confused.gif
I guess I'm just frustrated at their priorities. To throw such a big party the night before a huge party seems ridiculous. He didn't even know what the rehearsal dinner was all about. He asked me "So, who gets invited to the rehearsal dinner?" I looked at him in awe and said slowly "The people that need to rehearse." [email protected] Of course the [email protected] part was mumbled under my breath. I feel so bad that they aren't going to have nice cakes. But I'm still going to the wedding to see what $400 and a can of frosting looks like icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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