Feel Kinda Bad....gun Shy To Donate Further?

Decorating By Kitagrl Updated 10 Mar 2009 , 3:20pm by Butterpatty

Kitagrl Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 8:42pm
post #1 of 32

Several weeks ago I donated a cake to the local pediatric ER break room...it was a contest cake I needed a photo of and then I donated it. It did have a couple fondant figures on it, which I don't do alot of and really don't enjoy actually.

So this week one of the managers there decided to order a cake for a work party there at the hospital...10" round with a hand molded hockey player figure on top. I quoted $80. She wrote back today saying the staff agreed that is far too much to spend on cake in this low economy.

Now, I really didn't want to do this cake, and especially not for $80. Frankly. However my concern is that my reputation may have turned from a generous philanthropist to a greedy baker. I was considering making a yummy ganache cake for the local police department this week but now I'm not sure, if its only going to pull in queries that are then upset with my pricing (which is not cheap, definitely way higher than your regular bakeries...but more average for the bakers on CC here).

I did write her a nice email back saying thank you and that I understood, but also explaining that most of the cost came in with ordering a handmade hockey player figure which takes hours of work....and that she could order a cake with an edible image for cheaper. And that due to the customized work that I do, I am not able to offer my cakes for bakery prices.

Should I just stop donating cakes? I sure don't want to get the reputation of the girl who goes around town giving out cake in order to scalp people for their money in return. thumbsdown.gif

By the way, why do people keep complaining about the economy to me? As if it would lower my prices for them? Gee, if nothing else, I'm raising them like everybody else!!!! LOL....

31 replies
lucysmam Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:38pm
post #2 of 32

I would say yes, donate the cakes, they are a lovely way of showing that the people they are for are appreciated. But, make sure when you actually deliver them that you explain that you are not actually after business, just doing something nice which you hope will be enjoyed.

& maybe get some printed leaflets, not necessarily quoting prices or anything like that, but explaining that some people have enquired but found your prices too much & that since prices have gone up for your supplies, your prices also have to raise in line with them. & that your work is specialised and unique to you, creating one-offs or whatever they may be so the extra hours that go into your creations have to be accounted for somehow. Or, just have a quiet word with whoever accepts the cake & tell them that you're not after business from them & if people want to enquire they are welcome to but let them know there are other, less specialist bakeries around as well where they may be able to find something on a smaller budget if needs be.

I hope that made sense, I didn't explain myself very well I don't think, it kind of came out in a jumble of thoughts as I was typing icon_smile.gif

lucysmam Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:39pm
post #3 of 32

I would say yes, donate the cakes, they are a lovely way of showing that the people they are for are appreciated. But, make sure when you actually deliver them that you explain that you are not actually after business, just doing something nice which you hope will be enjoyed.

& maybe get some printed leaflets, not necessarily quoting prices or anything like that, but explaining that some people have enquired but found your prices too much & that since prices have gone up for your supplies, your prices also have to raise in line with them. & that your work is specialised and unique to you, creating one-offs or whatever they may be so the extra hours that go into your creations have to be accounted for somehow. Or, just have a quiet word with whoever accepts the cake & tell them that you're not after business from them & if people want to enquire they are welcome to but let them know there are other, less specialist bakeries around as well where they may be able to find something on a smaller budget if needs be.

I hope that made sense, I didn't explain myself very well I don't think, it kind of came out in a jumble of thoughts as I was typing icon_smile.gif

lucysmam Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:40pm
post #4 of 32

I would say yes, donate the cakes, they are a lovely way of showing that the people they are for are appreciated. But, make sure when you actually deliver them that you explain that you are not actually after business, just doing something nice which you hope will be enjoyed.

& maybe get some printed leaflets, not necessarily quoting prices or anything like that, but explaining that some people have enquired but found your prices too much & that since prices have gone up for your supplies, your prices also have to raise in line with them. & that your work is specialised and unique to you, creating one-offs or whatever they may be so the extra hours that go into your creations have to be accounted for somehow. Or, just have a quiet word with whoever accepts the cake & tell them that you're not after business from them & if people want to enquire they are welcome to but let them know there are other, less specialist bakeries around as well where they may be able to find something on a smaller budget if needs be.

I hope that made sense, I didn't explain myself very well I don't think, it kind of came out in a jumble of thoughts as I was typing icon_smile.gif

lucysmam Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:42pm
post #5 of 32

oops, I refreshed my screen & managed to post 3 times! sorry

Kitagrl Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:49pm
post #6 of 32

Thanks...we did explain that I just entered a contest and I wanted to drop the cake off somewhere people would be sure to eat it...I did leave business cards though. Maybe I shouldn't do that.

Maybe I'll just hold off on the police station cake idea.

Kiddiekakes Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:01pm
post #7 of 32

Sometimes a good gesture turns into a bee sting..I would feel gun shy too if that happened also...The problem here is people would take advantage and expect a cake for free so I just don't do it except for the teachers at the school 3 times a year at report card time...we the parents supply the dinners for teacher interview nights and I always donate cakes or something...At the end of the year the teachers throw a volunteer luncheon and we are treated so I don't mind.. but they are the only ones!! Go with your heart!!

Kitagrl Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:04pm
post #8 of 32

It happens to be the pediatric ER that, if needed, we take our kids to so I hope nobody thinks of me as the greedy baker. haha.

I am donating cookies to someone for an event supporting leukemia but that's different than just bringing a cake in "off the street". I may have to hold off on that type of donation from now on.

I guess I didn't think about the fact that people who eat a cake have no earthly idea how much time goes into the cake (esp if it was given free, I guess) nor how much it would cost if actually purchased.

Kiddiekakes Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:06pm
post #9 of 32

Maybe from now on you can make a cash donation to the children hospital...then you can still give but not be seen as a greedy baker..HA!HA!

I'm not laughing.....I know how it feels!!

indydebi Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:09pm
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

By the way, why do people keep complaining about the economy to me? As if it would lower my prices for them? Gee, if nothing else, I'm raising them like everybody else!!!! LOL....




"Oh I know what you mean! You'd be amazed what I have to pay for eggs, oil, flour, sugar and all the other special ingredients it takes to create this kind of cake for you!" icon_rolleyes.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucysmam

& maybe get some printed leaflets, not necessarily quoting prices or anything like that, but explaining that some people have enquired but found your prices too much & that since prices have gone up for your supplies, your prices also have to raise in line with them. & that your work is specialised and unique to you, creating one-offs or whatever they may be so the extra hours that go into your creations have to be accounted for somehow.




I agree that leaving some general info is a good idea, but I would not point out that "some people have found my prices too high". Phrase everything in a positive, what's-in-it-for-them format .... never never plant the negative idea in their head for them.

"Our cakes are specially designed for each of our customers, with handmade decors and it can take many hours to create the cake of your dreams ..... " Perhaps offer a base price or a range, just so they at least have an idea and don't get blindsided when they call for gen'l pricing info.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:14pm
post #11 of 32

Well, I did leave business cards and that information was on my website. Oh well.

Did they think I just snap my fingers and out comes a gumpaste figurine? She even specified the color of pants, shirt, and position along with jersey number. So I know I did not misunderstand the detail they wanted on this cake....as the cake I donated contained figures and that is where she must have gotten the idea to order another one with a figure.

Oh well hopefully my kids won't get deathly ill anytime soon. LOL.

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:33pm
post #12 of 32

I agree with Debi. I would never publish something that basically apologizes for your prices. I just don't think you have to justify what you charge. Macy's doesn't explain to me why their clothes are so dang expensive.

I think if you do a brochure you write something like, "Our cakes are custom designed and created just for your special occasion. We take the extra time and attention needed to create a unique and personalized cake for your celebration.

I also don't think there's anything wrong with leaving business cards when you donate a cake. Let's face it, those donations, besides being helpful and generous to those who receive them, are a very good way to get some visibility for your business. You should expect to get orders from your donations. The recipients of organized events generally expect that you'll want some recognition for your business when you donate something.

This was ONE woman's opinion about your pricing. She's not exactly the voice of America. She was just expressing the general frustration and fear we all have about how hard things are for so many people these days. But it doesn't change anything.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:36pm
post #13 of 32

Well it wasn't just her, she discussed it with the staff there at the hospital and they agreed it was too expensive. So it was like the whole entire group to which I just donated the cake. haha.

Eisskween Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:45pm
post #14 of 32

The economy may be at an all time low, but prices for ingredients haven't decreased. Just my thought on the ones playing the sympathy card.

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:50pm
post #15 of 32

My point is, if you've done your homework and know what you need and want to charge based on your talent, overhead, and competition, then don't worry about it.

If someone doesn't want to pay it, then fine. She can go to the grocery store and get what fits in her budget. Just because she doesn't like your pricing doesn't mean it's wrong or that you're being greedy.

If you do additional research and your prices are too high based on the declining economy, then you might consider adjusting them, but don't do it based on one customer's reaction.

costumeczar Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:54pm
post #16 of 32

I think that what you wrote back to her was fine...Too bad if they don't want to pay you, they can go to Walmart. If they were having a work party and had a budget, that's fine, Your cake pricing didn't fit into their budget, but that doesn't mean that your pricing is wrong. Don't undervalue yourself just because someone doesn't want to pay what your time is worth.

psurrette Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:57pm
post #17 of 32

We all get that "oh that's so much more than I expected" that's when I say yeah I cant believe how much I spend on the ingredients alone never mind my time baking, decorating and lets not forget cleaning up the mess. I once asked someone if they would like to spend a day with me shopping, baking decorating and cleaning..............she laughed and said I understand that price isn't so bad after all. She has ordered several cakes since.

Your cakes are amazing don't back down on your prices.

Kitagrl Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:30am
post #18 of 32

Thanks all... I really don't care about the price complaint, its just that since it came from a donation I was concerned about that, and since she said she discussed it with the staff....Also I charged a small delivery fee (for an $80 cake?) and they didn't like that either.

I am not entirely sure about my pricing...I know I charge more than the bakeries but I also know that for what I do regarding 3D work I charge less than the wedding cake shops.

I have not compared myself price wise to any of the other home bakers in the area.

paulstonia Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:52am
post #19 of 32

Sounds like they wanted a custom cake for a K mart price. Don't take it personally, some people just have no idea what goes into a cake like that.

classiccake Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:43am
post #20 of 32

If the prices all businesses currently charge is based on our economy, then all businesses would be dropping their prices, INCLUDING the hospital!

The employees of the ER are oblivious to custom cakes. My recommendation is not to quit donating, but next time, take your handmade figure off. Only donate basic work so they can "work their way up" to the more pricier designs.

juleebug Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 2:13am
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Quote:

Our cakes are custom designed and created just for your special occasion. We take the extra time and attention needed to create a unique and personalized cake for your celebration.




Perfectly worded - Can I use that on my advertising?

Ruth0209 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 3:11am
post #22 of 32

Juleebug, feel free to use it if you like it. It actually sounds kind of like a mission statement to me. You could also say "...a distinctive cake... although I like the "personalized".

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 4:50am
post #23 of 32

I just had this happen as well. I am new in business in town and when I saw that a local charity was asking for donations for their dessert auction I decided to make and donate a cookie bouquet basket to start getting my name out there.

The people were very nice when I dropped it off and they had me fill out a form showing the value of my donation. In return I received a very nice letter of thanks, which also serves as a donation tax reciept. My bouquet sold for a lot, so I was happy they made money.

The next day I got a phone call for a large cookie order for the local day care center. She was so excited because she saw the cookie bouquet at the auction but when I quoted a price she was speechless! She told me she thought the hand decorated cookies would be about $1.00 each. I felt so bad. Like I had donated just to get the business and here I am scalping her or something.

We ended up coming to an agreement about the price (since they are non-profit) and the fact that they would let me leave cards at their front desk and recommend me to all the parents was a bonus for me. I have already had a birthday cake order from the contact, so it worked out O.K.

I am hoping people will come to think of me as a bakery to order special things for special celebrations from and just go to the grocery store for everyday bakery items.

I think it was very kind if you to donate the cake and the people in the ER should probably just stick with Walmart for what they need.

Kris

indydebi Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 10:26am
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladiesofthehouse

She told me she thought the hand decorated cookies would be about $1.00 each.




"Gosh, I'm sorry .... why would you think that?" (bat eyelashes, look confused, do the blonde head tilt).

or....

"Well, you might try (national chain name) .... oh wait, no, that won't work because they are WAY more expensive than I am. How about that local grocery store? No .... that won't work either because they dont' do these."

icon_biggrin.gif

I did one of these for a lady who wanted them for a meeting. 20 cookies ... $100 bouquet. She said everyone loved them ... until she told them the price. I just told her, "Wow, then they would REALLY hate that other national chain that sells these hand over fist, because I'm about 20% cheaper than THEY are."

Jenn2179 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 10:54am
post #25 of 32

Yes some people will think you are too expensive but not everyone. My husband is a police officer and I always send extras to work with him. They love me for it. Last week I met with the daughter of a guy who went to the police academy with my DH 2 years ago. He has had my stuff and seen my work. The daughter told me she already talked to another lady who would do a wedding cake 150 servings for about $200. I quoted a cake being almost $500 with delivery and sales tax. Her dad told her I don't care if she's more expensive. I know her work and have tasted her cakes and then are worth it so they are going to buy the wedding cake from me.

indydebi Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:45pm
post #26 of 32

Jenn, I agree that price is not always the deciding factor.

I booked a wedding cake where the bride narrowed it down to me and one other baker. I was twice the price ... and I made the cake.

mgdqueen Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 2:00pm
post #27 of 32

Don't be afraid to donate. This kind of thing happens all the time. I agree with maybe taking off the figure next time so they don't assume it's a simple thing you just include with the cake.

I've found that many groups of people-teachers, band parents, booster clubs, etc, are just not aware of your kind of prices because they are used to ordering a cake from Sam's club...where I kid you not, they pay $37.50 for a FULL SHEET cake! They just assume that everyone else will be in the same price range until you teach them otherwise.

Some you will win as customers and some you won't. Don't take it personally. It's not YOU they are rejecting, just the bill. Don't settle for less. It just makes you look like you are somebody that can be bargained with. I had a horrible time with this until I came to the realization that for every group that turns down the price, there is another one that is willing to pay good money for quality.

(Thanks especially to CakesbyLJ, Leahs, and IndyDebi for teaching me that over two years!!)

traceyjade Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 2:10pm
post #28 of 32

Wow $80 for a cake with a figure on top. Judging by your amazing cakes and the details you put into them, they got an amazing deal. Some people just don't get it, I would like to see them do a cake like this and see what happens.....Hey that would be a funny show!!! When they charge you for anything at the hospital, do you say.. I have discussed this with my family and $200 is too much for a cast...lol. Its sad icon_cry.gif

nonnyscakes Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 2:14pm
post #29 of 32

IMHO, if it makes you feel good to donate your work, then do it. In my mind, it is "paying it forward"... the good deed goes round and round. Your kind gesture may just make the day, week, month or even year for someone who is really have a rough time of it.

If you feel your prices are fair, then don't change them and don't feel bad about a negative reaction. I can just about promise you that everyone she discussed the cake with did not think it was overpriced. She was using the "entire staff" as a scape goat to get out of the order and make you feel guilty about your price.... possibly in the hope that she could encourage you to discount your work for her.

julzs71 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 2:42pm
post #30 of 32

I worked in an emergency room. I understand they wouldn't pay 80 dollars for a work cake. However, I bet they will for their house or wedding. If you have the occasional cupcakes or small cake to drop off then go ahead and do it.
Doctors, nurses, radiology dept, lab technicians, and clerical staff are always down there roaming around. When anyone sees food they start grabbing. Especially at night when all the restaurants are closed.

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