How Do I Get Out Of The Free Cakes.....

Decorating By korine Updated 15 Sep 2008 , 7:07pm by mcollins

korine Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:06pm
post #1 of 31

What I'm wondering is How do I get myself past the point of giving everyone their cake for free or cost and actually start charging.... icon_sad.gif I can't seem to bring myself to discuss cost with people and end up doing the cakes for free. I know its my own problem, Im just wondering if anyone else had this problem and how did you get over it?
I just did my first big wedding cake/ grooms cake on the weekend, and still haven't talked to the bride about cost....So I guess it will be my own fault if I never see a dime for it. Someone please help me...... icon_cry.gificon_wink.gif

30 replies
leah_s Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:09pm
post #2 of 31

At the risk of sounding harsh, you need to grow a backbone.

The oven doesn't get turned on if the cake isn't paid for in advance.

The last time you went to Target to buy something, did you get past the checklanes without paying?

Make a simple invoice form. There are templates in Excel and you can also get them at any office supplies store. While you are discussing the cake complete the form. Then push it across the kitchen counter or pop it in the mail.

mixinvixen Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:19pm
post #3 of 31

people will take advantage of you as long as you let them....sometimes, even friends. i myself would never let someone do a service for me without paying them in either money or labor, but there are some who will.

please do not take what i'm getting readY to say as mean or me trying to brush you off and be offensive...i honestly and sincerely do not mean it that way! HERE GOES:

...there is no one on here who can help you in growing a business backbone; that is 100% your own load to carry. you will not start charging until you have sat down and really thought about what your time is worth, how much your family time is worth, how much money you're taking out of your family's pot to make someone else's income bigger. how much do you value yourself, your skill, and your time?

i'm not sure if you have children, but one cake can buy a pair of shoes, an outfit, a toy...now visualize being in a room with your loved one and the person who needs a cake. do you still see yourself handing a free cake to that person and telling your loved one "sorry, they're more important"? that is, essentially, what you are doing. even if you're not married or don't have children, you're shorting yourself.

YOU ARE IMPORTANT. icon_smile.gif
YOUR TIME IS IMPORTANT. icon_smile.gif
YOUR SKILL HAS A VALUE. icon_smile.gif
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE. icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif
YOU REALLY CAN DO IT!!! thumbs_up.gif

starla

SpoonfulofSugar Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:36pm
post #4 of 31

Ok so I've only been in business since around March and I know where you are coming from it's hard to charge people but if you want to start a business you have to do it. Here's what I did....I researched what other bakers are charging and started figuring up my costs to come up with prices. I then created a brochure with set starting prices.....then if an order comes through email I send them my brochure with the set prices or in person works just a good. That way the customer knows up front what to expect. I have not done this yet b/c my friends & family do insist on paying me but if they did not....I would send them my brochure and say hey take a look and send this around to get the word out.....then they know how much your cakes are worth.

By the way your cakes are beautiful! You should be charging for them. Think of all the time you spend on them.

tracycakes Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:37pm
post #5 of 31

I know it's difficult but you have to do it. Your time, your ingredients, you deserve to be compensated. If you allow it to happen, it will keep happening.

michellenj Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:42pm
post #6 of 31

Simply ask "How much do you want to spend?" when they ask you to do the cake? That will let them know right there.

mommyle Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:44pm
post #7 of 31

Listen girly. Your cakes are awesome. I actually have 2 of them in my faves. As ideas to copy!!!
If I were you, the next time someone who is expecting a free cake is discussing this with you, you need to state (whether it is true or not), "Oh, actually I have a paying client already booked for that day," then smile cheekily and say "Paying clients first" with a little sing song in your voice. And if you get a LOOK, then say "But if you would like to PAY me for a cake, I can put you at the top of the list". Keep telling people that you are getting busy, and that others are paying you for your cakes.
Good luck, and remember, You are good and you deserve it!!!

CakeComeTrue Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 4:45pm
post #8 of 31

I started making cakes about 2 months ago, and I have made 7 cakes. 2 of which were made for a profit. I make cakes for my family for practice and I hope the word will spread for me to make money. My last cake was for one of my best friends. I made a Transformers cake and it probably cost me $15 to make. I had anxiety over charging my dear friend. I didn't want to over charge or undercharge either. After all, it took alot of time, effort and heart to make it. She told me to charge her what i would charge a stranger. She knew that it took alot to make it and she would never ask me to give it away. She let me know that i deserved to be paid. I started at $2.00 a serving at 30 servings. Which is $60. She paid me $65, i guess that was a tip....lol I'm not sure, but i didn't turn it down. That's a $50 profit. If anyone takes one of your beautiful creations and doesn't insist on paying you all that it's worth, they are 100% taking advantage of you. I still wonder how I'm going to price things, but I know, it won't be for free. Good people will pay for their cakes and come back to you for more. That person that doesn't pay you, even though they know they probably should, is unlikely to be calling you again for another. As my 9 year old son would say to me as I finish up a cake and worried about what everyone will think of it, " You just have to believe in yourself, anyone would love that cake"
Even enough to buy it.[/i]

CBMom Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 5:03pm
post #9 of 31

I hear ya icon_biggrin.gif

Our local flower shop has one of my dummies on display - looks very nice if I do say so myself icon_cool.gif

The first request I received - while waiting for a pedicure - was for an anniversary cake for a friend's parents.

I took a deep breath, marshalled my *little* bit of confidence, and said:

"My cakes start at $75, and I would be happy to check and see if I'm booked that day. I will call you when I get home, and if I'm available, I can email you my contract".

They spent $50 on a grocery store cake.
.
.
.
.

I spent the weekend relaxing icon_biggrin.gif

Everyone was happy - life is good.
On to the next one!! LOL!

Tell your friends and family the first ones were free to get 'em hooked - laugh and they'll laugh with you...then say you'd love to check your schedule.

That way, you have an out...and they do too...because the next chat about cost isn't face to face.

HTH!

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 5:10pm
post #10 of 31

I've never charged for any of my cakes either. I've taken money for supplies but lately (since I started hanging out on the forum and learned what really goes into really good cakes) my ingredients can get kind of expensive. The last cake that I made for someone else (Hello Kitty in my photos), I estimated my ingredients at $30. She gave me $40 which was good because grocery prices seem to vary a lot from week to week lately and I ended up spending the whole thing on the ingredients. Still, $40 was a great bargain for the cake.

The reason I don't charge is because I don't want to get into any kind of legal trouble (and because my husband's identity was stolen I have the cops at my door at least twice a month so I feel like I have to be extra good). If it were possible to get my home kitchen licensed here I would do it in a heartbeat, and then I would have no trouble charging people for my cakes icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif But lately it's getting tempting to just go ahead and start selling cakes...I need the money and have the skills.

It's really true that people will take advantage of you if possible. I used to have a bunch of so-called friends mooching off of us, not just cake but dinner, toilet paper, school clothes for their kids, etc...and it got really old explaining to my kids that they couldn't have a new toy, or see a movie at the theater, or have new fuzzy boots because everyone at school was wearing fuzzy boots, just because I had fed the neighbors...especially when the neighbors who were taking advantage of me would be buying their kids whatever it was that my kids wanted.

blue123 Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 6:29pm
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixinvixen

people will take advantage of you as long as you let them....sometimes, even friends. i myself would never let someone do a service for me without paying them in either money or labor, but there are some who will.

please do not take what i'm getting readY to say as mean or me trying to brush you off and be offensive...i honestly and sincerely do not mean it that way! HERE GOES:

...there is no one on here who can help you in growing a business backbone; that is 100% your own load to carry. you will not start charging until you have sat down and really thought about what your time is worth, how much your family time is worth, how much money you're taking out of your family's pot to make someone else's income bigger. how much do you value yourself, your skill, and your time?

i'm not sure if you have children, but one cake can buy a pair of shoes, an outfit, a toy...now visualize being in a room with your loved one and the person who needs a cake. do you still see yourself handing a free cake to that person and telling your loved one "sorry, they're more important"? that is, essentially, what you are doing. even if you're not married or don't have children, you're shorting yourself.

YOU ARE IMPORTANT. icon_smile.gif
YOUR TIME IS IMPORTANT. icon_smile.gif
YOUR SKILL HAS A VALUE. icon_smile.gif
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE. icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif
YOU REALLY CAN DO IT!!! thumbs_up.gif

starla





Amen to all of it ! Starla, you hit it on the head. My husband and I were just having that conversation this morning. He does construction and remodleing work. He always feels bad about how long a job takes, which in turn, costs the customer more. The work he has to do takes time. He does nothing half-hearted. He is so good at what he does. He has 24 YEARS of experience. He is called because people want his skill, no matter the cost. I gave that exact same example about how 1 day of his work will pay the phone bill...groceries...electricity, etc. We ALL need to value our time and talent, for our families sake.
So, I say , charge for your service. I promise you that you will feel so much better about yourself for doing so. You will eliminate that "awkwardness" that comes when people pick up the "free cake". Let your talent be a blessing to your family. God says that He desires us to prosper even as our soul prospers. icon_biggrin.gif

Deb_ Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 6:55pm
post #12 of 31

Korine, I definitely know where you're coming from. I not only make cakes as a hobby and actually get paid for doing it "sometimes", but my main career is hairstylist. I've been cutting/styling hair for 24 yrs and I've owned my own salon for the past 13 yrs.

I have had all kinds of people try to take advantage of me over the years for example I had one woman who wouldn't schedule a haircut. Instead each week when she came in for her shampoo and set, she'd say "could you just take a little off my bangs, sides, back etc., to get me through til my next cut". Well, after a few weeks she had a full haircut without paying. I finally smartened up and told her there would be a charge for each "little snip" that I did. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do to stand up to this woman, but it felt wonderful afterward.

Being taken advantage of su--s!...this is what these people are doing to you, taking advantage. You will feel so much better about yourself and others will respect you for the talented baker/decorator that you are. Cake making is an art and skill....not everyone can do it, just like hairdressing. It takes years of practice to get to where we are today and we should be compensated for our time and skill.

Definitely make up a brochure....either on line or on paper and e-mail it or mail it to all of your family and friends. Attach a note saying that you are trying to "expand" your business and that you are counting on all of them to tell their family and friends where they can "buy" their next cake.

I guarantee you that all of these people that have been getting "freebies" from you will appreciate a price guideline. If they don't like the price, there's always Sam's Club or BJ's where they can get a cake to fit their budget. Do not do any more freebies, you need to stand up for yourself and be proud of your work...it's beautiful, by the way.
thumbs_up.gif

Good luck, I'm rooting for you!
Deb

Jasmine33 Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 7:32pm
post #13 of 31

dkelly27

Great way of handling that politely, yet firmly!

korine Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:23pm
post #14 of 31

Thanks everyone for your kind words. I know the problem is my lack of a backbone... icon_redface.gif I guess I just have to grow one.... I will still get in touch with the last bride and discuss my pricing with her. I do plan to give her a deal, especially since she already got the cake.... But I plan to make it clear what the cake would have cost. I just have to build up the guts to ask what I believe its was worth! icon_smile.gif

Jasmine33 Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:40pm
post #15 of 31

WHy did you deliver before you got the money?

Will she really pay you now?

Deb_ Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:02pm
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine33

WHy did you deliver before you got the money?

Will she really pay you now?




Unfortunately Korine, Jasmine has a point here. I think this bride may be thinking...."Wow, wasn't it great of Korine to make us this cake for our wedding?!" I think you may have to use this as a learning experience and don't expect her to compensate you now after the fact.

My policy...especially for large orders like a Wedding cake is we meet to discuss the specifics at which time I draw up an estimate and a deposit amt. If they decide to go with me, the deposit is due when they sign the contract.
Usually I require 25% deposit depending on the design, with full payment due 7 days before the date of delivery. I think you will find this to be the industry standard, never bake a cake without at least having the deposit in your hand and if the order is not paid in full by the due date, call the client and tell them that unless the final payment is made, you are assuming that they no longer need the cake.

Until you stop thinking of this as your "hobby", that's exactly what it will be. You need to move past those thoughts and start to think as a businesswoman. People will take advantage of your good heart if you let them.
Toughen up girl thumbs_up.gif [/quote]

korine Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:57pm
post #17 of 31

It was for a family memeber, a bit removed. I'm pretty sure she still plans to discuss the cost with me. I guess she has faith, just like I do! icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 11:45pm
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by michellenj

Simply ask "How much do you want to spend?" when they ask you to do the cake? That will let them know right there.



Exactly what I was going to say!

I can't really relate to this issue very well ..... I've NEVER had a problem telling people how much their cake will be. I may have undercharged, or I may have figured the costs wrong on a few of them, but I never had a problem giving them a number.

I guess it's the entrepreneur bug in me .... when we'd play "house" as little kids, I always played the store owner. icon_biggrin.gif From my very first cake, 25 years ago, I was EXCITED to be able to tell them how much MONEY they were going to pay me for the cake!!! party.gif

indydebi Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 11:49pm
post #19 of 31

P.S. I totally forgot my original intent in posting. HEre's a quote that I carry in my purse and I share it with quite a few folks:

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

korine Posted 3 Sep 2008 , 2:44am
post #20 of 31

indydebi.....LOL I can just picture it...
I like your quote as well...so true, so true.

zubia Posted 3 Sep 2008 , 3:01am
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

P.S. I totally forgot my original intent in posting. HEre's a quote that I carry in my purse and I share it with quite a few folks:

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





thumbs_up.gif going right to Debi's wisdom folder

kandu001 Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 2:55am
post #22 of 31

Don't worry, I am the same way. I started by saying "you can pay me what you want" and then I had a friend/client tell me that I need to decide on a price and tell her. When I did (thanks to this site) I told her and she actually made me accept more than what I was charging. Then she told me that I should also start requiring a deposit from people. A good friend won't accept a freebie. I'm still working on the backbone thing and I think with time you will too! icon_smile.gif

DerrellC Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 4:45am
post #23 of 31

It's always nice to know someone in that business(insert any business here, mechanic,baker,builder,etc. ) Just remember,they have to make a living to stay in business.Cakes are just a end product,what you are really selling is your time and great talent. Good luck on getting that backbone.

knel Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 5:01am
post #24 of 31

I definitely need a backbone!!! I have a really hard time, especially with family and close friends. Part of me feels like they just expect me to give them a GREAT discount/or FREEBIE due to the relationships. I especially have a hard time with sculpted/carved cakes, fondant figures, etc... My husband fusses at me all the time that I'm not charging enough for my time put forth, but I don't know if I could ever really be paid fairly for my time put into decorating a cake. I just take my time and try to make every detail perfect.

Then I think, "Wow, would I want to spend that much on a cake?" But then again, I think about what a piece of art- and so personalized... "

I think I'm just really too analytical.... and a little OCD!!!!! icon_confused.gif

CakeRN Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 8:46am
post #25 of 31

I remember the first cake I did for money. I spent hours and hours on this and it was really cute. When the girl ( I worked with her) came to pick it up she asked how much and I said oh I don't know....what do you think? So she say's ...well I would pay 12 - 15 for it. It was a 1/4 sheet cake and like I said I had spent hours on it and thought...shit if that was all you thought it was worth then you should have gone to the bakery and bought one. Lesson learned. I never ask anyone how much they think it's worth..

A girl I work with now though wants me to do her grooms cake. The Bakery she is getting her wedding cake at ( 2 grand for it ) wanted 1000.00 for the grooms cake ( colts horseshoe) Holy crap is it covered in gold? So tonight she says....so you need to tell me how much for the cake so I can get you the money this weekend. As long as it's less than a thousand my mom will think it's a bargain....lol.....So I guess I am going to charge around 270 or 300. I think my pan is a full sheet cake plus she actually want's the colts cheerleader cake and it will have fondant on it too plus delivering it. She is leaving the flavor up to me.

korine Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 3:00pm
post #26 of 31

Pricing is half my problem. I never know what to ask. Even the per serving price, I just don't know what to go with. Take this last wedding/grooms cake. I figure the wedding cake should be worth around $200 and then the grooms cake...I don't even know..... Anyways I know, it really does come down to back bone....telling people what its worth to me, and if they don't want to pay it, walk away! icon_biggrin.gif

knel Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 3:59pm
post #27 of 31

That's what my hubby keeps telling me, "They are coming to you. They are obviously impressed and pleased with your work. If they aren't pleased with the price, they can go to Walmart or elsewhere." It's just easier said than done...

I have a basic price list I use for my stacked cakes and sheet cakes. But they are only BASE prices. (Much lower than what I'veseen most of you on CC charge, and a little lower than local grocers' costs.) This includes borders and a written SHORT message on the cake. I run into trouble tacking on the extra cost with fondant vs. MMF; what to charge for polka dots or stripes, figures, toppers, etc... I just know that others may be "impressed" with personalized cakes, but I just don't think they really appreciate the work/time. I just need to have a little more self worth and believe that if someone wants a custom cake badly enough, they'll fork out the bucks...??? Thanks for posting this thread. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Happy Backbone growing ALL! thumbs_up.gif

KHalstead Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 4:14pm
post #28 of 31

The first thing you have to realize is that all the people getting the "FREE" cakes from you, at some level realize that they're costing you money. I would simply say when someone says "I need a cake for such and such" I would just reply.........I'm available but I can't afford to make them for free anymore....I get so many requests and it's costing me a ton in supplies....I hope you understand....more than likely they will respond with a "of course, I never expected to get it for nothing" how much???


This is what I did to go from giving away cakes and actually selling them. I didn't start selling them until I felt like they were good enough to charge for......and to this day I still have trouble charging what they are worth (or at least according to how much of my time I spend on them)

pastriegirl Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 4:32pm
post #29 of 31

I know what you mean about charging for cakes for anyone, family or friends. I have yet had anyone turn me down...but I have turned down some only becuz it is like a cake for that same day or the next day. And well with kids sometimes its impossible. I also have a hard time charging for the cake but i do have a cousin that helps me out if I tell her i will charge your friend 50bucks she tell them its 65.oo and they pay so she helps. But I do need to put my foot down from here on out!

calivettie Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 4:28pm
post #30 of 31

Amen to it all!

Statistically, we as women tend to undercharge for our services because we don't see ourselves as worthy. So, whenever I say a price my boyfriend always quotes at 25% higher and I fret about it, but always end up getting it...

The funny thing is that I don't even think I undercharge anymore, but he still gets them to pay the 25% more, so I guess I still might. icon_smile.gif

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