From Excited To Frustrated In Under 10 Minutes...

Decorating By Pebbles1727 Updated 29 Mar 2009 , 1:32pm by Deb_

Pebbles1727 Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 5:17am
post #1 of 14

I don't even know how to feel at this point. The more I think about it, the less excited I am about this cake... Here is what happened:
I get home from work the other day, and my hubby is talking to my neighbor. As soon as I get out of the car, she says:'" oh your h says you now make cakes too, can you make my son's 1st bday cake in April?" I get immediately excited, I have not done 1st bday cake yet. I asked her how many people she is expecting, and she replys that it's going to be pretty small, maybe 15-20 people and she does not want anything big. So, I'm thinking 9-10 inch and all the pretty cakes in the gallery are running through my mind. And then she says she wants it to be two tiers (circuling her hands in the neighbourhood of 10 and 6 inch) and then a smash cake for her son, but nothing major. I say oh my, that will be a little too much cake for your gathering, to which she replys that it's going to be perfect and I can do whatever design I would like as they don't have a theme. I'm not as excited now as I was in the beginning of the conversation. I have a full time job and this is just a hobby, and even simple two tier cake will take me more than just couple of hours. Of course, there is no discussion of reimbursement of ingredients, much less payment. And as she is walking away, she says I'll drop by with the invitation that you can match it... What? I thought I could do whatever I wanted, no theme, nothing specific, and now I need to match something... My heart just sank... I know this is not a big deal to most of you. I'm just a newbie, it seems like it takes me an eternity to make a cake, and this went from a fun experience to a somewhat of a nightmare. All I can think of is all the things that could go wrong with that cake. Somehow I got to get excited about this one and figure out how to get it done. I'm just so unprepared for having these conversations, I just do it for friends and family....
Thanks for listening, P

13 replies
CakeDiva73 Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 5:36am
post #2 of 14

I think you should go back to her with a price quote and tell her "Hi - I went home and worked out the numbers so a 10 inch tiered cake with a 6 " on top and a smash cake would be $XX amount of dollars ( It BETTER be more than $70, btw).

If she looks at you crosseyed or tries to make you feel foolish, you need to say "What would make you think I could afford to do your cake for free?" or something to that effect...... shame her. Because honestly, shame on her for thinking you would do this for free.

Or perhaps she intended on paying you... sorry to assume the worst. Either way, payment really needs to be established before you do anything.

People can only take advantage of you if you allow them to. icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 5:37am
post #3 of 14

Whats to get excited about no money was discussed. Its definitly stressful now. Why? Nomoney was discussed. Come up with a price & let her know the price now...& you'll be happy again...at least I know I would be. icon_biggrin.gif

Pebbles1727 Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 5:56am
post #4 of 14

$70.00 wow... I don't think she can afford that. She just doesn't seem like an expensive kinda girl. I guess that's why I was so suprized when she started talking about 2 tier cake and a smash cake. She just always seemed like a sheet cake type, but I don't know her all that well of course. We just neighbours not friends. I just can't even imagine how to approach this conversation. Maybe I'll just wait till she stops by with the invitation...

Peachshortcake Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:05am
post #5 of 14

I would do as first suggested and drop off a quote for a basic 2 tier and smash cake. Make sure to stress that all it is is basic icing and border.... as well i totally agree to make sure the price is at least 70$ and may go up if needed to match the complexity of the invites. If you wait until she drops off an invite it just gives her more of a chance to think it is going to be free/very cheap...

KellBell22 Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:07am
post #6 of 14

I'd say that the fact that you don't think she'd be willing to pay you money for your time and talent says alot about why you're dreading this cake now. Don't get me wrong, I'm the hugest doormat in the universe when it comes to standing up for myself, but I can see that she's taking major advantage of you here. Hopefully something works out, either monetarily or by her deciding to not go with it...

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:07am
post #7 of 14

Please, don't wait. Let her know, cause I'm with Cakediva (and we could be wrong) I think she's looking for a major hook-up. Who wants such an elaborate cake for so little people. And you know when some people give you a small count they assume its going to be a low price, even if they turn around and order a 5-tier cake. "But it's only for 20 people" Yeah, and your ordered enough cake for 50 people, so a 50 people price tag it is.

all4cake Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:24am
post #8 of 14

Wrong or not, CakeDiva73 is right with telling her you went home and done the figuring....give her your quote and possibly say something like, "I brought over a quote for the cake in the size(s) you described. Let me know by Friday if you'd still like me to make the cake. Payment is expected in advance. I gotta get back to the house, I need to see to dinner/laundry/the nap on the papertowels...." don't hang around for her to dicker with you in any case. Set your price and be firm!

2txmedics Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:35am
post #9 of 14

*raising hand*...This happened to me and Im also a newbie!!!! Ive been doing this now for 1 1/2yrs..and Im a slow learner, but Im LEARNING!!! lol...Im firm on my prices now, alittle faster at making cakes...

But when I have someone now that talks like this lady...I keep asking #of people, color theme...etc...then I ask, in the same tone...Ok, so how much are you wanting to spend for a cake for 20people?

Because what your asking, thats going to be alittle pricey, I just want any misunderstandings with us being friends. And I'd like to be fair to us both, and keep it in your price range. I can do something along those lines, but simpler..let me show you how. and you think it over.

I stay firm, and nice...word of mouth travels quick when someone is angry...lol

Pebbles1727 Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 6:44am
post #10 of 14

I see what you are all saying, I'll have to find a good way to do this. We've been neighbours for several years, and they just started coming to our church, I really don't want to mess with that... What is the size of the smash cake anyways? Another 6 inch? Sounds like a lot of waste...
Thanks, P

sweetiesbykim Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 7:48am
post #11 of 14

Being a newbie also, I get requests, but think of them more like practice which gets rid of all my pressure! I plan on a week, which sounds crazy to some: day of baking, day of making decorations, short day to make enough frosting and color it, day to frost and chill, then assemble, decorate and chill if any time left. I would also have another idea or two from CC you can present to her. Designs you know you can handle easily with simple but impressive results. I've learned to tell them what I can/will do first, instead of having them come up with an "Ace of Cakes" design they saw on tv last week! That's when I give them a HUGE $$ quote for what they want. I always end up doing the designs I want in the end icon_wink.gif

soygurl Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 8:16am
post #12 of 14

I do a 4" for the smash cake. It seems like the perfect size to me. If you don't have a 4" pan, consider picking one up. I like the 2" tall spring form type, because it's a pain to cut parchment circles that small, lol! Just that one 2" layer, or maybe cut in half and fill with frosting. Nice and simple, no fondant (ruins the big "smash")!
Since it sounds like a pretty major order for you, maybe consider telling her you'll do the smash cake on the house, and that it will be x, y, and z (size, flavor, frosting or whatever). Free stuff is good for buttering people up, and it's a good way hint that the rest of the cake needs to be payed for. icon_twisted.gif
Seriously, you HAVE to figure out a way to talk about $$. You don't by any chance have her email addy do you? I'm a chicken, and I tend to get flustered and can't talk coherently sometimes, so email is ideal for those typs of convos IME.
Here's what I might do (without email): Next time your see her (if its more than a couple days from now call her!), ask when is the soonest she can bring by the invitation so you can start coming up with a design ASAP, and go over the price options with her. If she starts balking about paying, simply let her know that yes, you DO charge for your cakes ("didn't hubby mention that? icon_rolleyes.gif Oh gosh, so sorry for the miss-communication!"), and tell her that once she gives you her budget and shows you the invite, you'll give her a few different options for size and complexity of design. If she asks for a range of prices right then, you can say something like "oh, it can vary so much depending on the design... lets just talk about it when you come over." *insert "winning" smile*
You can do it! thumbs_up.gif If you act professional about it (don't waiver or over-apologizes) she'll be much less likely to get offended or snippy (IME). People can smell fear, lol! Be confident! Pretend that it never occurred to you that she would expect a free cake!

Hint: When she comes over with the invite, have a list of prices for her to see (bonus if you can sketch a couple cake outlines of different sizes that could work for her and label with the basic price (for all BC, simple borders and message) and # of servings for each (e.g. 9" cake alone, 10" cake alone, 6" and 8" stacked, 6" and 9" stacked, etc.). Also, figure out in advance, aprox. how much extra it will be to do more complicated decorations (e.g. simple BC decorations, complex BC decorations, fondant decorations, fondant icing, etc.). If you have a list ready, you won't get flustered as easy, and she won't question your prices as much. thumbs_up.gif

lostincake Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 8:30am
post #13 of 14

It happened to me too...went from elated to "oh she's expecting it for free", so I know how you feel.

I agree with CakeDiva73 about going back to her and saying you worked out the numbers and the price is $xx.xx. Then if she balks at the idea or the cost, ask her how much she was thinking of spending, then discuss what she can get for that amount. Definitely don't do it if she is expecting it for free...a cake of that size would be costly even if you just considered the ingredients.

Deb_ Posted 29 Mar 2009 , 1:32pm
post #14 of 14

I'd call her today and say "Hi _______ I've been thinking about the cake and I realize that I forgot to ask you what your budget is." Short and sweet and she'll get the hint that YES she has to pay you for it.

If she says $25, then you go on from there and tell her what you can do for that price.

Never start a cake design without knowing the budget, it just allows the client to set the price. Try and get that out of the way first.

Tell her that her budget will determine the overall size and design.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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