Why Do We Do This To Ourselves?

Business By brendaonline Updated 3 Oct 2008 , 7:41pm by md79

brendaonline Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:23pm
post #1 of 24

I'm open to doing cottage baking/decorating, but will probably remain mostly a hobbyist. I know I need a lot more practice to be as good as I'd like to be, if only because everything takes me so much time to do.

At work there's a party coming up and having sampled many of my practice efforts they asked if I'd be interested in providing a cake. Since it's a wedding shower of sorts, the person asking wanted a 'mini wedding cake'.

Well, as we know, there isn't much real difference between a 'mini wedding cake' for over 25 people and a 'real wedding cake.' So I thought about it and decided that not only would I want to be sure to cover the cost of ingredients, if I was going to be spending a great deal of time over 3 days working on it -- even if it was practice -- I'd want a little more to help with the bills and make me feel like my time was being spent well, even if it was barely minimum wage.

So I quoted $75, which is nothing near what the cake really SHOULD cost if it were being done as a 'real' cake. And of course the person was immensely shocked, and "has to check the budget."

I know I'm not WalMart, and I'm ok with not being chosen since I really don't want to spend all my time and effort on something without getting at least a pittance in return. It's not as though they'd be getting a CakeWreck. I'm only a little offended that it seemed like my custom designed and decorated item isn't worth that much in their eyes (see: I'm not WalMart). I do not think it's fair to ME to have all that work go for $1 a serving! I have bills, responsibilities, and even hobbies that could use the time and energy.

Yet I still have a little part of me that's a little hurt, offended, disappointed, something. I need some sense smacked into that part. icon_redface.gif

23 replies
Deb_ Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:36pm
post #2 of 24

Welcome to the world of "selling cakes". This experience that you had is exactly the reason why many just do it as a hobby. Don't get discouraged.....many offices have small budgets for cakes and stuff like that and I'm sure it had nothing to do with you or your cakes personally.

You're right, you should not give your work away and you need to at least cover your expenses, so stick to your guns. I think your price was low, but obviously not in the "office" budget. They probably figured you'd just "donate" the cake since you had brought in others before. Don't worry about it, they'll be other opportunities. icon_smile.gif

MikeRowesHunny Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:41pm
post #3 of 24

Not to be harsh, but that's what comes of showering these people with so many free cakes - it's what they will always expect! Stand firm here because you are not choosing to donate a cake, you are being ASKED to do a cake, and that's a whole world of difference. Unfortunately, your colleagues are not going to see it that way now you've spoilt them rotten for so long! Let them get crappy cake from Walmart because you are worth so much more than even $75!

simplysweet72740 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:41pm
post #4 of 24

I hear you loud and clear. I praise you for quoting them that proce. Where I live there is only one cake shop that anyone uses. If people can't afford them then they come to me. So imagine how I feel when I have to cut my prices just so I can make a cake. I know it sounds stupid, but it's my passion, my life, and I love doing it. So you can think of it as they insulted me and my beautiful talent or I can make this awesome kick a** cake and guilt them with it for eternity. Because you certainly don't have to use them as guiniea pigs ever again. Feel better it will work out.

imakecakes Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:57pm
post #5 of 24

Maybe you can find out what their budget is and come to a compromise. A sheet cake or something simple that won't take you as long. Give them some suggestions. There's no better advertising for your cakes than those you see everyday. If they love your cakes then don't let them think you are difficult to work with--just that you want a fair deal.

chutzpah Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:01pm
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysweet72740

So imagine how I feel when I have to cut my prices just so I can make a cake.




Why do you HAVE to cut your prices just to get an order? I don't understand your reasoning here. Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make cakes for 75 cents a serving?

StaceySouth Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 8:06pm
post #7 of 24

I am a novice myself having only been in the cake-making world for a year now. I used my co-workers as my critics when I was going through classes and when I'm practicing which has also caused me to be approached whenever a cake is needed. The first time I was approached they seemed shocked when I said, "This one will cost ya." I pointed out that they would be paying for it if they didn't use me anyway and it's not like we were having a potluck where everyone brought something. They requested a specific service from me and, well, that service takes a lot of time and my own money to do. It's only fair to be compensated for it. When I put it that way, it was accepted and I was gladly paid. I was nervous to quote a price at first but I supplied them a price list based on the size of cake and hoped for the best. No one was offended. YAY! The most recent cake I did for my company was very last-minute (yesterday, as a matter of fact). I did it but it wasn't easy. I think the manager who ordered the cake knew the rush order would be tough (afterall, I work full time and have a family so it's not like I sit at home waiting on someone to order a cake) so he paid me the usual cost of the cake plus an extra $20. I was very surprised but pleased and very humbled by that. Someone recognized my time is worth a lot and recognized my effort. Made me very happy - as did the compliments on the cake! I say all of that to say this - don't feel guilty for having asked for payment for your services. You deserve it. If your co-workers don't realize the worth of your talent, hobby or not, that's their loss. icon_biggrin.gif

Brujalita Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 10:18pm
post #8 of 24

I received a call a couple of weeks ago from someone who called the store I teach Wilton at to get a decorator for a Halloween-theme baby shower cake. On the phone, she indicated she needed cake for 50. When we met the next day, I had priced out a 10"/6" ($140). You'd think I had grown a third eye!! She then goes to tell me that no bakery in town would do what she wants and that she knows how to decorate because her mom taught her how but she doesn't have the time to do it. DUUHH - that's why she would have to pay me to do it!! She was looking for a quote of $60, which come to find out she did get from a bakery in town for what she said was a sheetcake and they told her they could do it if she couldn't find anyone else. I will not be working for $1/serv. I priced out some other sizes/servings for her that was close to her $60 and I haven't heard from her.

Just today I got a message from a plumbing co. in town - someone who works there is interested in a cake for next month. A couple of their plumbers did some work in our house in mid-June and I sent a couple dozen cupcakes back to the office with the plumbers. I'll call and see what they're interested in and see if they're willing to pay my price since they've already tasted cupcakes.

If I choose to make a gift of anything I bake, I will do that. Otherwise, my time and my family's time is worth more than $1/serving.

margaretb Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 4:29am
post #9 of 24

I think when you give away your practice cakes, you need to talk it up a bit. When they compliment you, say, thanks, I spent X hours working on it. Or (what I've started saying): Thanks, glad you like it. I was just thinking that it would cost me less to just buy sheetcakes at superstore, so it's nice to know that my cake is worth the extra expense.

brendaonline Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 5:29pm
post #10 of 24

Thanks much. Now at least I'm mostly miffed that people think 3 days of work for $75 is asking too much, even if it is 'practice' and not 'real'. I can just imagine what they'd say if I told them my yellow cake (in pics) should probably be in excess of $200!

simplysweet72740 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:24pm
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chutzpah

Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysweet72740

So imagine how I feel when I have to cut my prices just so I can make a cake.



Why do you HAVE to cut your prices just to get an order? I don't understand your reasoning here. Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make cakes for 75 cents a serving?




No they aren't but if I want the order, I need to cut back on my prices otherwise they will just go to the other bakery because they are huge around here, whereas I am not!!!

mw902 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 24

I have a good one to add to this! My SIL (yes her again) sent an email to ask if I could do an 8 in french van. with strawberry filling for her work, i said yes for 30.00, is that ok? She said 25.00 will be better, to which I said I will figure costs and let you know.......after figuring cost to see the difference I asked her how many people are splitting the cost of this and she said 11.......so the difference per person was .44!!!!!!!! I also told her that after all that she put me thru I will be adding a 5.00 pita fee!!!

chutzpah Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:50pm
post #13 of 24

Let them go somewhere else then. If they don't appreciate your custom cakes why let them dictate your prices? There are folks out there who actually CAN appreciate a freshly made, custom design and who are willing to pay for it.

iluvjay829 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:52pm
post #14 of 24

I know just how you feel. I had a request for a two tier cake to feed 50 the other day, and a 20 cookie bouquet. I quoted $100, which was way cheap, but she was a friend from high school. She emailed me that it was beyond their budget. What do people expect, that you're only gonna charge them cost?? Stick to your guns, I've had to learn the hard way.

JSuzieQ Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:52pm
post #15 of 24

In response to the original question... you need to gracefully explain to them the time and effort that goes into making a cake, it's not just food cost. If they continue to act offended by your price, tell them you will give them some recipes to make the cake themselves. If they take you up on that, they will get a 'taste' of what making a cake from scratch and decorating it is really about. I have been in the same situation and learned the 'hard' way.

Like someone else said, you are not only spending lots of time shopping, prepping, baking and decorating, you are also taking time from your family. What's your time worth?!

Rebelady Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:57pm
post #16 of 24

I'm so sorry that you are dealing with this!!! I'm new to this also and I too brought my cakes to work after classes to let everyone sample. When the first co-worker asked for a cake I said I'll let you know the price tomorrow. I went home and called every cake shop around to get pricing. I made a list of all their prices and made a sketch of the cake. Every cake on that list was less expensive than my price but none of them could do the design he wanted. So I charged $10.00 more than the highest priced bakery and explained that this was due to the custom artwork. He said no problem yours taste better than theirs and I know it will look better too. My co-workers have become some great customers. Sometimes they can afford me sometimes they can't. I don't get offended or upset. Some weeks I can afford steaks and some weeks I'm on a hamburger budget. Stay true to the price you need and the right customers will find you. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

md79 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:05pm
post #17 of 24

Yes... welcome to the cake decorators world... I would also like to make cakes for living, but I found out, that I need to make three cakes a day minimum. I don t know how, because I need at least 2 days to make oneicon_surprised.gif)
I have made few cakes for others - my friends and i can say people would like to have the best for little money. Here in Slovenia, there are still only few bakeries making with fondant, so when people see my work they just want that cake too.
For example I have sold these for 70 USD:
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1260343
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1262408
and this one for 43 USD (I have also bought that little girl topper and have made flowers)
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1238884
I do not use any mixes.
when I told the price, they were looking at me like I am stealing money from them. They thought it would be cheaper than cake from the store, because it is home made...
At first I was so sad because of their reaction, but after reading all this stories here on CC I just take it like "so it is"...

PJ37 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:11pm
post #18 of 24

MD79, your cakes are beautiful!!!

sweetsbyJ Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:29pm
post #19 of 24

I think your price was more than fair, it was a deal. Dont let this discourage you. You will always stumble upon people who will think your prices are too high. I've been doing this on the side since May and have had about 25-30 orders..out of all those only 2 people have said something about the price. It comes with the job. Thankfully, having worked many years in my moms business (not cake related) I am used to people doing this so I didnt get hurt or upset..just pissed off b/c I know I am giving people a deal and they still have the odacity t o complain about it. I made the mistake of lowering my price once and I will NEVER NEVER EVER do that again. If they dont like my price they can go somewhere else, I value my work and my time.

Good Luck!

LauraLanier Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:33pm
post #20 of 24

I am so glad to know I am not the only one this happens to. I am just starting out and some days it makes you want to quit. I say stick to your price and don't budge, you wouldn't want to do it for less anyway, I like the PITA fee, I will have to remember that one.

Pookie59 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:46pm
post #21 of 24

People are so thoughtless. These co-workers are essentially asking you to work for next to nothing. How would they feel if the boss told asked them to work overtime for a fraction of their usual salary "since we're friends"? They'd run screaming to the nearest lawyer.

debo_04 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 5:50pm
post #22 of 24

I just went through something similar to this at my work. I had a young father ask if I could make a cake for his daughters first birthday. I only do cakes on the weeks that I have a Friday off. His date was not my Friday off so I told him I could not do it but would check with some friends who make cakes. It was going to be a huge party and he wanted the cake to feed at least 115 people. I called every "real" baker I could think of and then I called the local specialty bakeries and ended up getting him about eight quotes. I haven't paid for a cake since my wedding seven years ago and I don't get paid for my (hobby) cakes so I don't have to try and stay competitive. I had no idea the prices of cakes in my area!!! I was totally shocked that the prices were from $200 to above $400 for a two tier 14"/12" BC & fondant cake with just dots on it! I know this is custom work and heaven knows I totally understand that there are many many hours that go into it, but I can honestly say that a lot of people just don't have a clue as to what it takes to make a cake, much less decorate it custom and how much they cost. Don't take it personally, it really just may be that they thought they could afford a cake and once they were informed realized they can't. As it turns out we were hit by Ike the weekend of the party and this guy and his wife and family ended up borrowing a couple of cupcake towers from me and made and decorated their own cupcakes for the much smaller party at a price they really could affordâ¦â¦â¦..FREE!

BlueDevil Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 6:09pm
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by md79

Yes... welcome to the cake decorators world... I would also like to make cakes for living, but I found out, that I need to make three cakes a day minimum. I don t know how, because I need at least 2 days to make oneicon_surprised.gif)
I have made few cakes for others - my friends and i can say people would like to have the best for little money. Here in Slovenia, there are still only few bakeries making with fondant, so when people see my work they just want that cake too.
For example I have sold these for 70 USD:
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1260343
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1262408
and this one for 43 USD (I have also bought that little girl topper and have made flowers)
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1238884
I do not use any mixes.
when I told the price, they were looking at me like I am stealing money from them. They thought it would be cheaper than cake from the store, because it is home made...
At first I was so sad because of their reaction, but after reading all this stories here on CC I just take it like "so it is"...




Lady, you aren't charging NEAR enough for your work!

Great stuff there, especially the figurines!

md79 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 7:41pm
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDevil



Lady, you aren't charging NEAR enough for your work!

Great stuff there, especially the figurines!




Yes, I know, I know... icon_wink.gificon_biggrin.gif When I grow up and learn to make even more beautiful cakes, I will start (legal) bakery business with real prices. This is just a practice now... icon_lol.gif

This is just enough for costs... but I still do not have orders icon_confused.gif
Thank you anyway...

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