Asking And Not Taking Advice

Decorating By Mac Updated 5 Aug 2008 , 6:59pm by Mac

Mac Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:15am
post #1 of 36

Ok, I will probably get flamed for this but feel that I need to get it off my chest.

So many times people ask the CC community for advice on pricing. Advice is given, reasons for pricing, area for pricing and yet, the person will inevitably come back that they quoted a much lower price.

I understand that it may be a cake or technique that someone is not familiar with and feels that their "inexperience" with it deems a lower than normal price. However, once they tell the next customer, Mary, a higher price on a cake "just like Sally had." Mary asks why her cake is costing more, then the cake person feels that she needs to lower the price to keep that customer. I'm sorry, it's just a cycle that I see so much lately.

If you start off by underselling yourself, it becomes more difficult to raise your prices to where it is more financially beneficial for you to do cakes.
Cake decorating is NOT a cheap hobby...I'm sure that the majority of this community has $$$$ tied up in supplies, ingredients, classes, time, time and more time....etc. Sorry, just had to get that out....Whew!!!

35 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:43am
post #2 of 36

Here, Here! Well said, Mac.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

tenleysmommy Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:53am
post #3 of 36

I have never sold a cake before,but I totally agree.If you undersell yourself once you will be doing it again and again!

CakeMakar Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:56am
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac

I'm sure that the majority of this community has $$$$ tied up in supplies, ingredients, classes, time, time and more time....etc.




I think you're missing a few more $$ there. icon_biggrin.gif

I definitely undersell myself because I don't feel I deserve the higher prices, as my work is not up to par. Though I do do it more as a hobby than to make money from.

littlecake Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 5:44am
post #5 of 36

i could never understand how they can ask for a price anyway the whole country has different economies, like the home prices here where i live are a lot different than say, beverly hills.

how can you know what the market in their area will bear?

speaking of this, i need to go up on my prices too...

kimmypooh79 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 7:07am
post #6 of 36

MAC---I'm glad you said that. I've read it so many times before but for some reason it just now clicked. I was one of those people asking for advice on how to price a carrot cake. The actual cost is almost $17 when you count boards, boxes, and of course ingredients. I decided that $30 was reasonable for an 8" but had been considering lowering it to $25.....don't think I'm going to do that now.

chutzpah Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 7:12am
post #7 of 36

Thanks MAC. I've even totally stopped opening those pricing threads, let alone giving my opinion, it's so frustrating.

Raise your prices and you raise the bar for yourself and cake decorators everywhere.

indydebi Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 12:45pm
post #8 of 36

As many of you know, I love and collect quotes. But I carry this one in my wallet so I can pretty much see it every single day. It's even on a laminated card so it will last forever:

"If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assued that the world will not raise your price." ---Anonymous


And my Mom-Lecture here .... as little girls, women are taught to be "nice" and not to hurt anyone's feeeeeeeeeeelingssssssssss. I rarely see a MAN in business wringing his hands and worrying about if someone will think bad of him because of his price. I've seen posts where women on here have actually said, "I dont' want them to think I'm ripping them off I(or screwing them!) on the price." and "I don't want them to be upset with me over the price."

Men don't do that, ladies!! icon_mad.gif Only women do that! And then they whine and cry about some phony-a$$ glass ceiling they can't break thru.

It's business. It's not a popularity contest. Get over it.

tootie0809 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 2:57pm
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

As many of you know, I love and collect quotes. But I carry this one in my wallet so I can pretty much see it every single day. It's even on a laminated card so it will last forever:

"If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assued that the world will not raise your price." ---Anonymous


And my Mom-Lecture here .... as little girls, women are taught to be "nice" and not to hurt anyone's feeeeeeeeeeelingssssssssss. I rarely see a MAN in business wringing his hands and worrying about if someone will think bad of him because of his price. I've seen posts where women on here have actually said, "I dont' want them to think I'm ripping them off I(or screwing them!) on the price." and "I don't want them to be upset with me over the price."

Men don't do that, ladies!! icon_mad.gif Only women do that! And then they whine and cry about some phony-a$$ glass ceiling they can't break thru.

It's business. It's not a popularity contest. Get over it.




Indy, you rock! I always enjoy your posts and your points of view. I agree 100% with exactly what you said above.

Mac Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 3:00pm
post #10 of 36

See, I can relate to what I am preaching as I learned the hard way on pricing a particular cake.

I made a topsy-turvy for a very good friend's daughter because I wanted to. So I knew what was involved, how long it took, the difficulty...etc.
Got an order for one--the customer showed me a pic of one of Rosebud's cakes--very labor-intensive. I quoted a low price ($85.00--I guess I went into a "duh" mode for some reason). Needed only to serve about 20-25 guests.

After I made it and delivered it to the customer. I told her that she was getting a steal and the price of topsy-turvy cakes is now much higher than $85.00. Fast forward 2-3 months...same customer called to order the same cake. Quoted the price of $150.00...silence...then "why is it so high?" I then had to go into the reasoning and specifics. Well, she ordered the cake and responded "But I don't like the price!" I told her, "It is what it is!" End of story.

snowboarder Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:17pm
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac

Ok, I will probably get flamed for this but feel that I need to get it off my chest.

So many times people ask the CC community for advice on pricing. Advice is given, reasons for pricing, area for pricing and yet, the person will inevitably come back that they quoted a much lower price.




This is what most people do in most situations. People can change, but they usually don't. If I give advice to someone, I do so knowing full well the odds are better than not that the person has no intention of following through. They're going to do exactly the opposite /whatever they've always done before. My theory is that the whole advice & feedback thing is just a dog and pony show for them to feel like they tried to do things differently.

If someone actually does follow through, it's a rare surprise.

It is what it is.

Ironbaker Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 36

Dog and pony show...love it. lol

Flaming is unnecessary with this one MAC - it's the truth.

MaisieBake Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 5:36pm
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

And my Mom-Lecture here .... as little girls, women are taught to be "nice" and not to hurt anyone's feeeeeeeeeeelingssssssssss. I rarely see a MAN in business wringing his hands and worrying about if someone will think bad of him because of his price. I've seen posts where women on here have actually said, "I dont' want them to think I'm ripping them off I(or screwing them!) on the price." and "I don't want them to be upset with me over the price."




Then again, these same people judge customer complaints based on whether the customers are nice to them. As if the customer's niceness has anything to do with whether a complaint is legitimate.

When the alternator we replaced last month died this month, the mechanic who sold us the alternator told my husband he was an a***hole for complaining, and refused to fix it because Sam wasn't asking nicely enough. Yeah, right.

SweetPea0613 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 6:11pm
post #14 of 36

Well whenever I do start selling cakes i will ask for advice AND take it...lol

I need all the help I can get and why not start at CC..

I will never undersell myself(when the time comes..lol) icon_biggrin.gif

kimmypooh79 Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 5:41am
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

[quote="Then again, these same people judge customer complaints based on whether the customers are nice to them. As if the customer's niceness has anything to do with whether a complaint is legitimate.

When the alternator we replaced last month died this month, the mechanic who sold us the alternator told my husband he was an a***hole for complaining, and refused to fix it because Sam wasn't asking nicely enough. Yeah, right.




1st, when people are angry or frustrated they tend to exaggerate and pad their complaints. Calmer more logical people give a more accurate and legitimate complaint. I've been on the giving and receiving end of customer service complaints and I can say that I believe personality and attitude has EVERYTHNG to do with it....not to mention the current mood.

2nd, I don't know how your DH approached the mechanic about the defective alternator but I know I wouldn't be happy about it so I can see where he might not have been so friendly about it .....but I am not bias. IF it was a defect in the part then that had nothing to do with the mechanic. I don't think the mechanic should have resorted to name calling though. I've had people come at me b/c something didn't work and take their anger out on me b/c of a manufacturer defect. I won't deal with anybody that talks down to me. Ask nicely or don't ask.

Trixyinaz Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 6:06am
post #16 of 36

If anyone asking for advise would actually price out their cakes and determine what they want to be paid an hour to make a cake, they wouldn't short sell themselves. I was one of these people asking for advise....and I took it. Yeah, I've undersold myself at one time, but that was b/c I wanted to so I could gain experience and get my cake out there. Did I undersell myself by a lot? Not really.

I believe that if you believe in yourself and the work you put out there, then you can ask for a price that won't undersell you. The bakeries near me charge less than what I sell my cakes for, but not by much and there are some bakeries in the surrounding areas that sell their cakes for double what I ask.

In one of my "How much do I charge" threads someone actually said, "How can you charge for your time when you are just starting out?" Easily!!! Basically saying I didn't deserve to pay myself an hourly wage. Just because you are new at decorating, doesn't mean you suck at it or shouldn't include an hourly wage. I think some people feel quilty charging for their time if they haven't been doing it for a long time or don't own an actual storefront bakery.

My advise to anyone asking about what to charge....take the advise on here....it's coming from knowledgable people who know what they are talking about. It's working for me and I'm glad I listened. If you set your pricing low, you will not get the clientele you want. If you set your pricing where it should be, you will get the clientele that will buy your cakes and not squawk at the price. I don't want grocery store cake clientele so I don't price my cakes at those type pricing.

Sorry to ramble, but i totally agree with you!

indydebi Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 12:18pm
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trixyinaz

In one of my "How much do I charge" threads someone actually said, "How can you charge for your time when you are just starting out?" Easily!!! Basically saying I didn't deserve to pay myself an hourly wage.



icon_surprised.gif No way! Did they really mean you should do the work for free? Whoa!! Does that mean a teenager who gets their first job at McDonalds should work for free because they are just starting out??? icon_eek.gif That is so illogical.

aswartzw Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 12:54pm
post #18 of 36

Sigh... I was just having this conversation the other day with my friend who is also interested in cake decorating. I'm completely serious about selling cakes by taking advantage of Ohio's cottage laws. I've done all the work and then she said we should sell them together. I was like, um, not! I do quadruple the practice and put much more pride in my cakes as a product than she does. I am not going to team up with someone who is fine with using cake mixes and Wilton mixed frostings. Not with all the work and expenses I've already put in my cakes. And, then, she and I don't agree on prices at all! She made a cake for someone (RI flowers and basketweave) and didn't even want the $20 the person gave her b/c it's too much. I told her I'd have charged $30 and she was shocked! Said that was overpriced. I told her she needs to appreciate what she does, first, and the time, energy, etc. she puts into it. Sort of made me mad because how can I compete with her pricing? Everyone will always choose her over me.

Someone had mentioned letting her and I alternate doing cakes for church. She said she'd donate. I'm going to charge! Again, how can I compete. Fume....Fume.... icon_evil.gif

I completely understand the pricing frustrations now. Can I join the club?? icon_lol.gif

Mac Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 1:08pm
post #19 of 36

aswartzw--
You will not have to compete with her. If you take pride in your work, it shows. Sure, your cakes may cost more than hers but I bet, the degree of decorating is better and neater.

If I was only getting $15-$20 for a 1/4 sheet cake, I would have too many orders and just start slapping stuff on. That's why they have the supermarkets and Deco-paks. Not that I am saying anything is wrong with Deco-paks, I have used them before.

Every cake that the custom cakers do, is unique and time-consuming. The consumers that use us know that...Know that their cake will not be like the neighbor's next door. Even if a bride comes to me and says, "You made a wedding cake for my friend, Jennifer. I want a cake just like hers." I won't do it JUST like Jennifer's and I tell them I will do it in the same manner but the end design will be different to some degree.

Well, let me back track abit--I can't seem to get away from the C-scroll cake that I have onmy website. Dang, I have made one in red, yellow, blue...

aswartzw Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 1:14pm
post #20 of 36

Mac, thank you for your positive words and encouragement. It does help me view it from a different perspective (and a much better one!)


And the scrolls are just too funny! I want one in avacado, peppermint green, and strawberry red. icon_wink.gif

Trixyinaz Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 1:32pm
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trixyinaz

In one of my "How much do I charge" threads someone actually said, "How can you charge for your time when you are just starting out?" Easily!!! Basically saying I didn't deserve to pay myself an hourly wage.


icon_surprised.gif No way! Did they really mean you should do the work for free? Whoa!! Does that mean a teenager who gets their first job at McDonalds should work for free because they are just starting out??? icon_eek.gif That is so illogical.




Yep. I was asking how much is reasonable to pay yourself an hourly rate so I could factor that into my costs to determine my per serving price. I was floored by that one response. Your reaction was my reaction too, and my comment back to them pretty much asked the same question that you did to me. icon_rolleyes.gif I don't think s/he ever responded back. I'm sure it showed in my response that I was pretty PO'd that someone would even question that. I know I'm not you or half the people on CC in my decorating skills, but I do take pride in what I do and am a perfectionist and feel I deserve to get paid for this because I do turn out quality work....not just cover my ingredient costs.

kimmypooh79 Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 3:47pm
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswartzw

I do quadruple the practice and put much more pride in my cakes as a product than she does. I am not going to team up with someone who is fine with using cake mixes and Wilton mixed frostings.





I can understand you not wanting to sell with her b/c of the way she prices....or doesn't. You don't want her undermining you. I can even understand not wanting to sell with her b/c her product is different. People come to us for a custom designed and decorated cake and they are paying mostly for the time we put into decorating. If it were as easy as putting together a box mix/scratch cake and opening a can of wilton icing then there would be no need for decorators. I know some people prefer scratch and some people just want a beautifully decorated cake whether it's scratch or not. I don't think you should put her down b/c she uses pre-made. If she still does the custom design then the icing shouldn't matter as long as the recipient is happy. (I think she should at least make BC herself but to each his own.) Using pre-made doesn't mean she doesn't put pride into her decorating. Remember, judge not...
icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 7:40pm
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswartzw

how can I compete with her pricing? Everyone will always choose her over me.




Not true. I've been selected as the cake maker for more than one wedding in which I wasn't the cheapest price of all the bakers they checked out. My most memorable was when it down to me and one other person. I'm $3 and the other person was $1.50. The bride selected me to make her cake.

ANd it's worked the other way, too. One bride let me know she was going with another bakery, who is probably the most expensive bakery in town (and they do awesome work!!). My price was lower, but the bride went with the more expensive cake.

For those who are shopping for price only, yeah ... you'll lose those. And you dont' care. Those who shop for all the other reasons will lean toward you because they understand that you get what you pay for.

aswartzw Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 3:00pm
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmypooh79

Quote:
Originally Posted by aswartzw

I do quadruple the practice and put much more pride in my cakes as a product than she does. I am not going to team up with someone who is fine with using cake mixes and Wilton mixed frostings.




I can understand you not wanting to sell with her b/c of the way she prices....or doesn't. You don't want her undermining you. I can even understand not wanting to sell with her b/c her product is different. People come to us for a custom designed and decorated cake and they are paying mostly for the time we put into decorating. If it were as easy as putting together a box mix/scratch cake and opening a can of wilton icing then there would be no need for decorators. I know some people prefer scratch and some people just want a beautifully decorated cake whether it's scratch or not. I don't think you should put her down b/c she uses pre-made. If she still does the custom design then the icing shouldn't matter as long as the recipient is happy. (I think she should at least make BC herself but to each his own.) Using pre-made doesn't mean she doesn't put pride into her decorating. Remember, judge not...
icon_smile.gif




Oh, by no means was I putting her down. She does very nice work! I simply meant we have 2 very different methods of baking and trying to get her to switch to my type of baking or me to hers simply won't work.

CakeMommyTX Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 3:22pm
post #25 of 36

[quote="aswartzw"] how can I compete with her pricing? Everyone will always choose her over me.

quote]

Not always, I did a 3-D Elephant cake for a lady that had apparently price shopped all over town.
She chose me to make it even though I was one of the more expensive quotes she had received. But she was willing to pay to have the cake she wanted.
Of course thatâs not the case with everyone, some people will always want cheap cake over quality cake.

With that said, I did under price myself in the beginning, and it has come back to bite me but I have raised my prices and not only due to rising cost of ingredients and gas, but because I think I deserve to charge what I do. And it took almost a year to realize that.
I am getting better and I have almost grown a full set of [email protected], just a few more people asking for 3-D carved replicas of their husbands cars for 25$ and I will have a full pair!

tamivo Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 3:33pm
post #26 of 36

a big amen from here Mac... wish I had read your thread before I buried myself... however I didnt ask for advise about pricing unfortunately (and probably wouldnt have taken it if I had) and have completely burned out because I priced way too low and just became overwhelmed with the volume to the point of quitting.

Let me tell you from experience folks, DO NOT UNDERPRICE yourself just because you feel you lack experience etc... Pay yourself for your time and all your expenses and people can take it or leave it. I learned this lesson the hard way.

kimmypooh79 Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 3:37pm
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswartzw




Oh, by no means was I putting her down. She does very nice work! I simply meant we have 2 very different methods of baking and trying to get her to switch to my type of baking or me to hers simply won't work.




Yeah I agree. I wouldn't want to do that either. Could be like mixing oil and water...it'll never work.

smoore Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 3:45pm
post #28 of 36

OK, so here's the dilema ... when you are starting out and aren't as confident in your work, you take that into consideration ... you see a lot of people here that do great work that are charging $2.50-$4.00 per serving. You also know in the back of your mind that you wouldn't necessarily pay that much for a cake (I started making my kids b-day cakes 'cause I wasn't buying Walmart cakes or our only bakery in town cakes), so why would I think anyone else would. Then, when you decide to charge you decide, yeah, I can charge more than Walmart and the local bakery, but since I'm just starting, I'll go just a little higher - still reasonable, but not over the top 'cause I'm still just starting out. I still make money, but I admit I could make more. Then, I find out that there is another baker here in town -- been here for years! She actually charges LESS than Walmart and the local bakery, so now just when I'm thinking I can raise my prices I'm learning that I'm already the highest price around. I'm still "new", still charging less than a lot of bakers on this site, but am charging more than anyone else around me. So, even when pricing yourself within your own market we have difficulty. I've had customers have no problem with what I charge and I've had some that I've given my "friends and family discount" that looked at me like "you're kidding, right?" There's many of us who just honestly don't know what to do and only know we've got to do something to get started. I've never personally asked what to charge on CC, but I've read a lot of the threads and took advice from them, so don't get too frustrated with us. icon_smile.gif

aswartzw Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 4:00pm
post #29 of 36

So, then, when pricing, who do you compare your prices too? There are, of course, the higher priced, well-established bakeries charging at least $5 a slice. I can't compare my skills to them at all, nowhere close! icon_lol.gif At the same time, there are others around here who do excellent work but they charge $2-$4 a slice and still have tons more experience than I! So how do you even know where to begin figuring out a decent price for your skills?

rvercher23 Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 4:10pm
post #30 of 36

When I first started out, I was afraid to charge more for my cakes thinking, well, if I charge less, then I will be sure to get them as a customer, and I will get experience. Now I know. I have seen people charge alot for cakes that well, to me weren't even worth that much...... I am more confidfent in my self and my cakes now. It actually feels nice to make money off of my cakes and not just break even or not even at all!

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