A Little Irked...

Decorating By cvoges Updated 20 Jan 2009 , 7:35pm by Ayanami

cvoges Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 7:09pm
post #1 of 79

Though I've been a lifelong hobbyist-baker, I started decorating cakes a little over a year ago as a means of dealing with stress. There are times when I bake and decorate just to be doing it. During those times, I happily share with co-workers, neighbors, and family, and I'm always the one who brings the cake to any occasion. I've donated the occasional cake for a school function, and I've made a wedding cake for a friend. On both occasions, I had plenty of notice, and the receiving parties were very gracious and appreciative. Generally, I've had very positive experiences.

Now here comes the part that pisses me off: Back in December, one of my daughter's coaches called and asked me if I could pull off a January wedding cake. She said she figured that I could save everyone a ton of money, I guess because she figures my time is worth so little. I shot her a price of $2.50 a serving for a simply decorated buttercream wedding cake. I considered the price to be more than fair, considering the time factor, as well as the supplies involved. She acted shocked, and I heard nothing else from her about it. I have to assume that they chose to purchase their cake at Sam's.

Then, last Wednesday, a co-worker e-mailed me and asked me to "donate" a full sheet cake for a Friday evening event for a group of students. This lady knows that this was the week that grades were due (I teach) and that we've all been covered up this week. Besides that, what makes people think that I can just whip out a sheet cake (something I really hate messing with, anyway) like it's nothing? I ended up talking to the person in charge of the event, who understood that if I'd been asked last week, I could have worked it in.

That's it. Just griping. Thanks for listening.

78 replies
Melvira Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 7:17pm
post #2 of 79

I know exactly how you feel. My new pet peeve is being asked to donate from someone who is not even a customer. If one of my 'regulars' who brings me lots of business through the year contacts me about a donation I almost always say yes, unless it is simply impossible due to schedule conflicts, but these people who have never purchased from me, and have no intention of doing so, FORGET it. That's just rude to me.

ddaigle Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 7:18pm
post #3 of 79

Most of my cakes have also been give-aways. It is very easy to be taken advatage of. When my co-workers (who all get free b'day cakes from me) want something for their kids, or a family function, I charge a very minimal fee. I started this from the get go, so they understand I do expect to be reimbursed if it is not MY choice to bring in a free cake. It's awkard, but start asking for at least reimbursement for your ingredients. I donate my time because I love to decorate.

scoutmamma Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 7:26pm
post #4 of 79

My husband works for a non profit, so we are always asking for donations... HOWEVER. we try to support those that support us. I donate cakes to scouters who are generous with what ever they have to spare... some it is time, others it is money. But we try to help out those that help us out. I hate when someone asks me to donate to a cause and they are outspokenly against what i stand for...

just my humble opinion.

LisaR64 Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 7:37pm
post #5 of 79

I follow the same rule as ddaigle, if I volunteer to bring cake, it's free. If someone asks me to bring cake, they pay for ingredients. The next time someone asks for a free cake, tell them you'd be more than happy to donate your time to bake and decorate the cake if they'll pick up the all of ingredients (and hand them a list). I think most people just don't realize how much it costs to make a quality cake.

I was really uncomfortable asking friends & family to chip in for ingredients at first, but after the first couple times, word got around, and now everyone just expects to chip in, I never have to ask anymore.

Monkess Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 10:52pm
post #6 of 79

I think it is cheap of someone to ask for a cake or any other food item, unless it is a potluck and you are a guest. There have been times when I know I was invited just because they wanted a killer cake for free...lol...how did I know? i hardly knew the person!

Melvira Posted 17 Jan 2009 , 10:57pm
post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkess

There have been times when I know I was invited just because they wanted a killer cake for free...lol...how did I know? i hardly knew the person!




Oh I know how that feels! Hahaha!

On the flip side I've discovered the down side of being the 'town cake maker' is finding out all the weddings and cool parties you're not invited to! icon_sad.gif

cakesdivine Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 3:10am
post #8 of 79

Our local Stewart Title office contacted me for a quote on catering their Christmas party, so I sent my menu and pricing info. The manager called me and told me what menu choices they wanted, and definitely wanted my cakeballs they had sampled at a business expo earlier in the year...Then the manager had the gall to ask me if I would consider doing it pro bono as a way of advertisement for my business...I was sitting there thinking how is catering their Christmas party for 160 people going to be advertisement for my biz...Oh so a job that normally would cost a client over $2000 I'm am suppose to just DONATE to a very wealthy company on the off chance one of their employees might order something from me in the future?! I was ticked! I didn't even respond to her request.

weirkd Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 3:24am
post #9 of 79

Really, people have no clue what so ever how long it takes to make a cake. Especially a wedding cake. Usually when you get people asking for donations like that, their not interesting in paying you in the first place. So I try to avoid people like that. If someone is rude enough to ask you for a donation, and doesnt even order from you in the first place, then their only out for #1. So even if they came back and said to do the job, they probably would skip out on the payment. One of the red lights in your head should go off. Warning! Danger!
The only thing you can do is when someone asks for a donated cake or to do their party "probono" then smile (if your meeting them in person) and kindly decline. You can either say that your already booked or you can as politely as possible tell them that your time and supplies are money and your not in a place financially to donate (throw in "in this economy").

Melvira Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 3:39am
post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Then the manager had the gall to ask me if I would consider doing it pro bono as a way of advertisement for my business...




O...M...F...G!!! I cannot even fathom... the nerve... I am almost speechless here. And anyone who knows me knows what a feat that is!

weirkd Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 3:47am
post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Then the manager had the gall to ask me if I would consider doing it pro bono as a way of advertisement for my business...



O...M...F...G!!! I cannot even fathom... the nerve... I am almost speechless here. And anyone who knows me knows what a feat that is!


lol, too funny! But yah, its amazing how big a set people have! Sometimes Im really shocked at some of the things Ive encountered! I dont know why, I should be used to it by now but one time or another someone will do or say something that is really unbelievable and my jaw will drop! I guess it just takes all kinds!

cvoges Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 4:07am
post #12 of 79

[Oh so a job that normally would cost a client over $2000 I'm am suppose to just DONATE to a very wealthy company on the off chance one of their employees might order something from me in the future?! I was ticked! I didn't even respond to her request.[/quote]

It's one thing when a charitable organization or someone with a cause asks for a donation, but a private business? Nope. I don't think so. They should have been ashamed to even ask for such a thing.

Mac Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 6:43am
post #13 of 79

If I offer a cake--it's free! If you call me to ask for a cake--it's an order/business transaction! Plain and simple! This is what I told people that would try to get free cakes from me when I seriously started my business.

And my favorite lines were..."I know alot of people." "You will get lots of referral from this party." or "free advertising."

JenniferMI Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 3:02pm
post #14 of 79

John Q public doesn't have a CLUE how much time/effort/skill and $$$ go into making a cake! Stick to your guns girl, your time is just as valuable as the next guys. If they don't want to pay your price, don't do the cake, simple as that.

Dang.... people can be something else!

Jen icon_smile.gif

Twopeasinapod Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 7:34pm
post #15 of 79

I just had a "friend" ask me to teach her to decorate cookies and cakes so she could do her own. This is a "friend" who has never purchased anything from me and has had parties and not asked me to make anything for them. One of the parties I was even a hostess and offered a cake (free or course) and was turned down. Now she wants me to teach her my art! icon_twisted.gif Don't think so! icon_evil.gif

Niquie Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 8:02pm
post #16 of 79

This is crazy because I was just talking to my husband and a fellow CCer where I live about a lady wanting "a lot" for "a little". My husband was very upset with the whole situation and told me to either not do it, or to charge her more for all the extra stuff she is asking for. The fellow CCer said I should charge more also.

The thing is, I don't want her to bad mouth me, since I am just starting off. But at the same time, I don't want everyone else to think that their cakes etc. will be as cheap as the cake she wants. What should I do???

She wants a 2 tier cake for a baby shower next Sunday. Chocolate 10" for bottom and vanilla 6" for top. Decorations started out as simple pink dots on top and stripes on bottom. Now she wants 4 different colors for the dots and stripes, fruit fillings, a fondant/gumpaste baby, fondant/gumpaste butterflies, and she even asked if she and a friend could do a tasting. Mind you the starting price for the simple cake was $30 which I have been being told is cheap for a 2 tier cake anyway. I'm not sure what to do. I don't mean to steal the forum or anything, but maybe someone could help me figure this out. Judging from the emails, she still expects this cake to be $30. Any opinions on this one????

Twopeasinapod Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 9:34pm
post #17 of 79

This is always a hard situation. I would email her back and say something like you don't mind changing how things are but that because of the changes you will need to send her another price and tell her that it is up to her if she still wants all the changes or to just stick with the original cake. I don't know if that will work or not but it is worth a try. Your time alone in mixing colors and making the figures is worth more.

Mac Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 9:45pm
post #18 of 79

$30... icon_eek.gif
Heck--I'll order all my cakes from you and then re-sell at MY price. What a profit.

Seriously--for a cake like that...my low price would be $178.50 and high would be $255.00

C'mon people--charge a decent price to these customers. You are only hurting yourself when you charge next to nothing. That is unless you get all your utilities free and have nothing else better to do than to bake a cake for someone who apparently does not appreciate quality work. Or appreciate you, your time or your family.

This is serious disrepect not only by the customer but by yourself as you are putting so little a value on your time and talent.

Melvira Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 10:50pm
post #19 of 79

Nique... I'd let her know that the $30 cake you quoted, and the cake she designed are not the same cake. DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT let her do that. You will be treated like that from now on, if you let her do it one time.

kjgjam22 Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 11:20pm
post #20 of 79

most people want a lot for little. you teach people how to treat you. by giving away your cakes thats what they expect. you just have to be firm and put your foot down. continue to do your cakes as your stress relief for free if you wish. but make it known that when approached to make a cake for whatever occasion then there is a charge involved. that charge is however up to you and no one else. they dont like it then fine go elsewhere.

hope that helps. icon_smile.gif dont let them stop you though.

cvoges Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 11:39pm
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjgjam22

most people want a lot for little. you teach people how to treat you. by giving away your cakes thats what they expect. you just have to be firm and put your foot down. continue to do your cakes as your stress relief for free if you wish. but make it known that when approached to make a cake for whatever occasion then there is a charge involved. that charge is however up to you and no one else. they dont like it then fine go elsewhere.

hope that helps. icon_smile.gif dont let them stop you though.




You're absolutely right. I don't run a bakery here, and Lord knows I do my part of charitable works. When I bake for family birthdays, that's stressful enough for me, even though I know that most people are super-appreciative of my work. And for this one particular person who asked for a donation, I would have been happy to support her cause had I been given some notice, but, like anyone else, I can only juggle so much of my time. I guess they'll figure it out eventually.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to plan some special cupcakes to give my students while we're watching the Inaugural Day coverage. icon_cool.gif

Butterpatty Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 11:41pm
post #22 of 79

Niquie= I would say that the price definitely has to change! The lady that did my friend's shower cake charged $30 for a ladybug cake (the Wilton character pan) and I told my friend that she was getting a good deal because of someone having to do a jillion little stars. If you are doing fondant stripes and dots, it will up the cost to just purchase ingredients, let alone how much time you will put in.

weirkd Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 11:41pm
post #23 of 79

Yah, Sounds like one of my old "friends". Had this HUGE party for her son at MY Gym. Tons of parents there and she knew I was trying to get my cake business going. Do you think she could of asked me to do it? Nope! She instead bought a Sams Club cake, invited me to the party and then ignored me the entire time. Needless to say we are no longer friends (it actually took more kicks in the head before I realized she really wasnt my "friend")

jammjenks Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 12:03am
post #24 of 79

Oh, one other thing Nique- tell her you do not have time to do a tasting with only a week's notice on the cake. Sounds like this one is going to drive you crazy.

summernoelle Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 12:29am
post #25 of 79

-sigh-talk about frustrating! This has only happened to me once or twice. But last week, I had someone who wanted a 3 tiered topsy turvy cake from me. I quoted her, it was too much. OK, fine, no big deal. 2 tiers? She couldn't believe it would be over $100, and that it would be that much since I was a local girl. Sorry, but living in the same town does not equal huge price discount!!!

jlsheik Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 12:50am
post #26 of 79

If you think your cakes are cheap by pricing them that way...so will she, and everyone one she tells. Chin up shoulders back and get some back bone...charge what it is worth and show her you mean it. You have to charge what it is worth and never look back... it will get easier.

Melvira Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 1:59am
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

Oh, one other thing Nique- tell her you do not have time to do a tasting with only a week's notice on the cake. Sounds like this one is going to drive you crazy.




Amen to that. Tell her she can do a 'tasting' at the party when she buys the cake. I wish people would pull that at the grocery store! A tasting for a birthday or shower cake my fanny! Give me a break. If you want to taste my cake, buy a small one.

lolobell Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 2:12am
post #28 of 79

Being very new at cakes.....only do for friends and family, I am already starting to feel the "burn" from people. This weekend (flu and sick toddler and all) I got my nephews b-day cake done and his mom says, "oh, it's fine I guess." Um, it's FREE. Then, THEN, she calls me later to ask if I could do little mini footballs for his entire class on Tuesday. Yes, this tuesday. The castle cake in my photos...first try granted but given to a neighbor for free. Asked if I could do a castle cake and then said nothing about cost. I felt terrible saying, "um, wheres my $$" but then she bought my daughter some hair bows so I guess she thought we were even.
And then just about 1 hour ago a friend who lives one hour away asked if I could make a cake for her son....and deliver it. I said, "well, how much did you want to spend." and she said, "oh, I thought you did them for free for friends?"
Hmmmmm????
being new at cakes I understand that my work is far from professional. But, it is my time, my money going into the cake etc.......I have no idea how to handle it.
Sorry, this turned into a *!#&* session about me...not intended.
I understand your frustration totally and I'm sorry you have people treating you that way.
Take comfort in the fact that us nice folks always come out on top! thumbs_up.gif

pastriegirl Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 2:22am
post #29 of 79

This happens to me alot as well. Just becuz I bake cakes and some think I can pull them out of my **** like nothing from one day to the next or that I wont charge them that much. The sad thing is that these people are relatives. Like if its OWED to them to have free cakes and so forth.

lolobell Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 2:28am
post #30 of 79

for me personally, if someone handed me a cake and we hadn't talked money (like a friend/family member), I would still say, "what do I owe you?" If they were to say, "oh nothing, it's a gift" then fine. But no-one asks me! Next month I have to do that damn castle cake again for my niece...and the kicker............ My SIL called me and said, "oh, I think I'm going to have the girls birthdays on the same day" (my other niece) "and Brynne decided she wants a choo-choo cake." WHAT!? So, I have to make 2 cakes...one being totally huge and pain-stacking and a choo-choo? How in the world am I going to pull that off!?!?
But, I just said, like I always do, "um, well, sure...I'll have to scale down the castle and make it several days ahead in order to pull this off." AHHHH

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