I've been asked to do a cake for a woman's birthday party in Feb. the catch is that the "party" isn't just for her birthday. The family has decided to incorporate it into a birthday/winter blues/ drunkfest. At these parties they usually all get together and play drinking games and cards but they want the cake to reflect the "birthday girl" too and have bingo and slots.
I told them that I would work up some ideas and give them some pricing options but I know these people. Their daughter has been my best friend for 25 yrs.....I know they are going to want a Collette Peters cake on a Wal-mart budget (and not because they can't afford it). They will love all my fondant inspired, tiered designs but will end up asking me to all the same elements..in BTC on a plain old sheet cake...and still complain about the price!
I want to do something nice because they are like family and they are a HUGE supply of potential future customers but I can't afford to lose my shirt either. So far all the people they know have only seen me do sheet cakes....I'd like to give them something different to both advertise myself a bit better and to give them something special too.
That is tough - you want to show off something different to this audience, but you feel certain you will be held to a sheet cake again. Hmm. If you know they are going to complain about price, this may be one of those times you cut them a deal on a 'greater' cake knowing you will get more clients. But at the same time you don't want them to tell all their friends how little it cost, and they expect the same deal.
In working with a simple design, sheet cake or simple tier cake with some fondant playing cards on it. Use the numbered cards to indicate birthday girl's age. Maybe some fondant poker chips around for a border. Keep it simple and classy. The more details obviously take more time (which is $$).
Some ideas from CC members:
Good luck - I hope this helps!
I've been mulling over the "discount" idea but here's the rub in that......they have a DJ business, I asked them what they would charge me to DJ hubby's 40th if I had a party. I got this big long speach about how even though we've been friends since grade school they aren't giving out discounts or doing it free for anyone because they didn't want to start that trend. I TOTALLY understood where they were coming from UNTIL I found out they have been discounting everyone BUT me....even the bar they play at regularly gets a HUGE discount because he's their friend. They did several gigs for their family free. Call it sour grapes but I just don't feel that I should be discounting anything for them.
I think the biggest obstacle is the cost of my supplies.....fondant would best but also the most expensive....even if it was just for accents and I don't see them paying for that. I could do the cake for the cost of supplies but that's still a round about discount.
I really don't want to do another sheet cake....not for the theme they want.
Man! These sound like people I would phase out of my life. Kudos to you for continuing to work with them! Given this added information - definitly don't cut them a deal. Maybe draw up a couple sketches and give dollar amounts for each. Let them choose the cake's level of difficulty and associated cost. (I hope the pick the grandest and most expensive!)