How To Tell Someone I Expect To Be Paid For Cake

Decorating By HokieFan Updated 25 May 2009 , 11:26pm by he_calls_me_angel

HokieFan Posted 18 May 2009 , 10:06pm
post #1 of 36

I've been asked by a colleague to make a cake for a baby shower (about 20 people). She asked me on Friday on my way into the office. Today she came down and told me the colors. Both times I was very busy and didn't have time to talk details. The problem is, neither of us have brought up money. I certainly will not do the cake for free. I'll be making a 2 layer 9X13 cake and will probably spend 3 nights making it (1 to bake and 2 to decorate). I have a very busy job so giving up 3 nights to bake is asking a lot. How do I politely tell her I expect to be paid? I was thinking $25. I'm not in it for the money, but my time is important!

This is the first time someone has asked me to make a cake, so I've never been in this position before. Help!

35 replies
lilthorner Posted 18 May 2009 , 10:09pm
post #2 of 36

ask her what she would like the cake to look like/be designed like and how much her budget is.

cylstrial Posted 18 May 2009 , 10:25pm
post #3 of 36

Is the baby shower for a co-worker as well? If it's not for a co-worker, why wouldn't you both have brought this up before? Just wondering! It seems like it would have been easier to get the price out in the beginning.

I would just say something like, normally I would charge $XX for this cake. But since we are co-workers, I thought I would just go ahead and give you a really good deal and only charge you $25 (although that seems EXTREMELY LOW).

I really like lilthorner's idea as well.

cheeseball Posted 18 May 2009 , 10:34pm
post #4 of 36

I laughed when I saw your subject line because my first thought was just that, "I expect to be paid."

Before you start ANYTHING, call her extension and simply say, "Hey, I know we were talking about that cake on the fly, so I thought I'd make sure you knew how much it would be before I start." Then, you tell her it'll be (insert price here); do not say "Oh, what ever you think"icon_wink.gif

candynumber1 Posted 18 May 2009 , 11:06pm
post #5 of 36

My reaction was more like icon_confused.gif . Seriously?
Tell her you'd like to go over the details for the cake and when you do, let her know what it will cost.

SugarFrosted Posted 18 May 2009 , 11:22pm
post #6 of 36

$25 for a 2 layer 9x13....that's 48 servings...I'd be charging about $100 for that. I agree with lilthorner..."What's your budget? What did you have in mind for the design?"

It may be the first time anyone has ordered a cake from you, but if you charge her $25 and she tells the whole office that's what she paid, you will never be able to ask much more than that for another cake for anyone you work with. And you will seriously have a lot more than that invested in ingredients AND your time.

2txmedics Posted 18 May 2009 , 11:58pm
post #7 of 36

wow, that is low for a cake!!!! especially that one. I would contact her and say:

Ok, I just want to verify the color theme on the cake...and how much did you want to spend on this cake. Because the design and how much detail will depend on the price. Whats your budget or what were you thinking? and take it from there.

KrissieCakes Posted 19 May 2009 , 12:06am
post #8 of 36

I know you say you're not in it for the money - neither am I - but does $25 even cover your costs? I was really surprised when I sat down and broke everything down - the ingredients, the cake boards, the boxes. I didn't even include anything for electricity and such, but when you think about it, $25 may not even cover all of your costs, much less compensate you anything at all for your time.

Lita829 Posted 19 May 2009 , 12:09am
post #9 of 36

I like Lilthorner and Cylstrial ways of going about it.

$25 for the cake is an awesome deal your giving her so I'm sure there won't be any drama about the cost.

HokieFan Posted 19 May 2009 , 12:18am
post #10 of 36

Thank you all for your comments. Let me give you a little more details. The cake is not for a shower at work. She will be picking it up on Saturday for the shower. We recently went to a conference together and on the way I mentioned I decorate cakes and how it would be a fun way to make extra money whenever I stop teaching to raise my own children. I don't work in a normal office. I am teacher. This is why I haven't been able to talk to her much. It's kinda hard when the bell is ringing and I've got 20 children in my room. Because we are teachers I can't ask to be paid $75 or more dollars for a cake. We just don't make that much. icon_lol.gif Would $35 be better? Like I said, I'm really not in it for the money. $30 would reimburse me for the ingredients and then give me a little extra.

I think I will send her an email tomorrow with some ideas for the cake (been getting some great ones from CC). In the email I can ask her what her budget is and tell her the simpler cakes (BC) are $25 and the more detailed ones (like using fondant details) are $35. I know that is low for you all who are professional bakers, but I'm just a teacher having fun and keeping cost down for my underpaid buddies.

SugarFrosted....is that really 48 servings? That's the size I made for my SILs shower. I guess I am just used to 2 layer cakes (probably from childhood). Would a 1 layer cake be alright? I'm afraid it wouldn't be tall enough.

Krissie, I make my own cakeboards (cut cardboard and cover with foil from the cake shop) and I plan to let her use my plastic cake carrier to transport the cake. She can return it to me on Tuesday. If she wanted a cake box, I would be asking her to purchase that, but figure she will be find with the carrier.

Thanks for your help. I hate confrontation and wished I could have discussed it more when she came to my room this morning. Unfortunately the bell had rung, kids were everywhere, and I had a college student show up for observations. It just wasn't a good time.

Lita829 Posted 19 May 2009 , 12:53am
post #11 of 36

I see where you are coming from, Hokiefan. I think your plan will work our just fine because its fair icon_smile.gif I think she will be very appreciative.

And I agree...teachers have one of the most important jobs on earth, besides motherhood, and they you ARE underpaid.

Have fun decorating that cake icon_wink.gif

Price Posted 19 May 2009 , 1:43am
post #12 of 36

2 - 9x13 cakes would take about 3 WASC recipes which comes to about $12.30, BC Icing for that size cake approx. $6.00. So far that's already 18.30. figure in your electric or gas for baking, hot water for cleanup. That's sure not going to leave you much for 3 nights work!

HokieFan Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:04am
post #13 of 36

I've been talking with my husband and he thinks $25-$35 is too low. Okay, he (and y'all) are probably right. I am going to tell her a simpler cake made out of BC is $30, a more detailed cake with fondant details is $40, and booties made out of gumpaste are $5. I hate asking others for money......this is why up until now I've only made cakes for family members!

cata29 Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:13am
post #14 of 36

I know how you feel... you feel that if you give the people a price to high they wont ever ask you again my husband also tells me that i dont charge enough! icon_redface.gif I really hope everything works out

SugarFrosted Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:19am
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by HokieFan

Thank you all for your comments. Let me give you a little more details. The cake is not for a shower at work. She will be picking it up on Saturday for the shower. We recently went to a conference together and on the way I mentioned I decorate cakes and how it would be a fun way to make extra money whenever I stop teaching to raise my own children. I don't work in a normal office. I am teacher. This is why I haven't been able to talk to her much. It's kinda hard when the bell is ringing and I've got 20 children in my room. Because we are teachers I can't ask to be paid $75 or more dollars for a cake. We just don't make that much. icon_lol.gif Would $35 be better? Like I said, I'm really not in it for the money. $30 would reimburse me for the ingredients and then give me a little extra.

I think I will send her an email tomorrow with some ideas for the cake (been getting some great ones from CC). In the email I can ask her what her budget is and tell her the simpler cakes (BC) are $25 and the more detailed ones (like using fondant details) are $35. I know that is low for you all who are professional bakers, but I'm just a teacher having fun and keeping cost down for my underpaid buddies.

SugarFrosted....is that really 48 servings? That's the size I made for my SILs shower. I guess I am just used to 2 layer cakes (probably from childhood). Would a 1 layer cake be alright? I'm afraid it wouldn't be tall enough.

Krissie, I make my own cakeboards (cut cardboard and cover with foil from the cake shop) and I plan to let her use my plastic cake carrier to transport the cake. She can return it to me on Tuesday. If she wanted a cake box, I would be asking her to purchase that, but figure she will be find with the carrier.

Thanks for your help. I hate confrontation and wished I could have discussed it more when she came to my room this morning. Unfortunately the bell had rung, kids were everywhere, and I had a college student show up for observations. It just wasn't a good time.




Standard single layer/sheet cake serving size is 2x2x2.
A two layer cake serving size is 1x2x4.

A 9x13 cake will give you approx 24 (2x2x2) single-layer servings or 48 (1x2x4) 2-layer servings.

JaimeAnn Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:43am
post #16 of 36

HokieFan,

Charge her whatever you feel comfortable charging her, Its your time and if you just like getting the practice and covering your costs that's great, but make sure to tell her that price is only for her because she is a fellow teacher.

I make sure that even when doing cakes for family or friends I give them the actual price I would charge the public then give them a VIP discount.

I recently did a grooms cake for my DH's best friend, when I delivered the cake the invoice showed the regular price which was $300. Then below that I wrote "Paid in full, Gift from JaimeAnn & Hip"

IF I were doing this cake and it is only for 20 people I would bake 1-9x13 torte it and fill it. It would give the appearance of a 2 layer cake and give you a little more height. That way you aren't shelling out for more ingredients than are needed. There would be PLENTY of cake for 20 people. I charge $50 for that size just buttercream simple border writing and a few flowers if any fondant is involved I start at $75.

HTH

JaimeAnn Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:49am
post #17 of 36

SugarFrosted,

I love the quote in your sig line

"Good cakes aren't cheap & cheap cakes aren't good"

I think I will Tattoo that on my forehead!!! and when people ask me how much I will sweep my bangs to one side and point!

Hhahahahahhahahahah

Lita829 Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:51am
post #18 of 36

I have the same problem cata29. I also tend to underprice...big time. Its tricky when you are just starting out or are turning a hobby into a means of income.

Its tough.

Hokiefan...I think the way your gonna go about it is fair icon_smile.gif .

HokieFan Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:51am
post #19 of 36

Great Idea! I hadn't thought to torte the cake. Can't say I've ever done that before. The cake won't get soggy, will it? I use SugarShack's BC.

JamieBrooke Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:09am
post #20 of 36

why is it so hard for us to tell someone a price? I am the same way... CakeBoss really helped me alot. I actually saw how much I was spending and was able to calculate how much I wanted to make off of my cakes. I have established a good customer base now and have people that are booking cakes like a month in advance, now there is more demand for my cakes and I have gone up on prices. People now know what I can do with my cakes and how good they are, that they are willing to pay the amount that I ask for. I would definatly recommend CakeBoss to ANYONE who needs help figuring this all out though. It's really been awsome for me.

en-passant Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:11am
post #21 of 36

I'm not even going to comment on these prices.

get a cash deposit on that cake carrier.

JaimeAnn Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:13am
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by HokieFan

Great Idea! I hadn't thought to torte the cake. Can't say I've ever done that before. The cake won't get soggy, will it? I use SugarShack's BC.




No they wont get soggy, I always freeze my cake overnight if I am going to Torte it. It is a lot easier to cut evenly and fill when frozen. Then you can Torte, fill and frost right away. icon_biggrin.gif

TexasSugar Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:21am
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by HokieFan

Because we are teachers I can't ask to be paid $75 or more dollars for a cake. We just don't make that much. icon_lol.gif Would $35 be better? Like I said, I'm really not in it for the money. $30 would reimburse me for the ingredients and then give me a little extra.




Why does it matter what she makes? How do you know she is the only person paying for the cake?

I don't make alot of money, so I look at things like this... Why should I take money away from my house to be super nice and give a deal to someone else? And by spending 3 evenings working on a cake you are not only taking money from your family but you are taking yourself away from them as well. Why in the world shouldn't you be paid for that?

I usually as people how many servings they need, and then I tell them I'll get back with the cake sizes and prices for those sizes. I usually give them two or three sizes so they can pick what works best for them. If they are on a budget they can pick the cheapest option. I've also done this if they aren't sure what they want, or if I think they may go for something more than a basic cake I'll give a basic cake with price then something more with another price.

We teach people how to treat us. Do you really want all the other teachers at your school coming to you for a .40-.70cent a serving cake? If you asked for $20 for a two layer 13x9 that is only .40 cents a serving. If you asked for $35 that is still only .70 cents a serving. That can snowball in to getting alot of detailed cakes for low prices, and a chance at hating to do cakes.

Even if you aren't looking at a cake business right now you have to remember those that are paying you .50 cents a serving are totally going to question why at some point you are asking for $2 or $3 a serving. Why not start out on the right track?

en-passant Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:54am
post #24 of 36

Well said, Texas Sugar.

SugarFrosted Posted 19 May 2009 , 5:34am
post #25 of 36

Yes, very well said, TexasSugar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaimeAnn

SugarFrosted,

I love the quote in your sig line

"Good cakes aren't cheap & cheap cakes aren't good"

I think I will Tattoo that on my forehead!!! and when people ask me how much I will sweep my bangs to one side and point!

Hhahahahahhahahahah




Thanks! I like it too, but I can't take credit for it. Someone here on CC said it in a thread a while back...I think it might have been indydebi, but I'm not sure. So if it was you indydebi, and you see this, Thanks for the quote thumbs_up.gif

JaimeAnn Posted 19 May 2009 , 5:37am
post #26 of 36

The more cakes you do the more you will realize the monetary and mental cost on yourself when you undercharge. I put a lot of energy into each cake and like Texas Sugar said it is time away from my family and other things I could be doing.(Caking isn't my only Passion) I started out doing cakes for friends and family for free because I needed to practice to be able to charge what I do now $2/serving for BASIC BC $4/serving BASIC fondant, some cakes are up to $7/per serving.

But the bottom line is It is your time and your cost and you can charge whatever you want and shouldn't have to feel bad about it, whether it is high or low, But these are the reasons I recommend letting them know what the cost of the cake would normally be. That way if it comes up in the future and you want to charge more you haven't devalued you work and they already know they were just getting a great discount on the previous cake.

JaimeAnn Posted 19 May 2009 , 5:41am
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarFrosted

Yes, very well said, TexasSugar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaimeAnn

SugarFrosted,

I love the quote in your sig line

"Good cakes aren't cheap & cheap cakes aren't good"

I think I will Tattoo that on my forehead!!! and when people ask me how much I will sweep my bangs to one side and point!

Hhahahahahhahahahah



Thanks! I like it too, but I can't take credit for it. Someone here on CC said it in a thread a while back...I think it might have been indydebi, but I'm not sure. So if it was you indydebi, and you see this, Thanks for the quote thumbs_up.gif





That makes sense! Sounds exactly like something IndyDebi would say!
icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif

madgeowens Posted 19 May 2009 , 5:49am
post #28 of 36

Wow I could never fit a two layer sheet cake into any of my cake holders, where did you find one that deep? You can cut one layer in two and frost in between the layers if you use the extender recipe, it will give you more batter and a higher cake...just a thought....I think nothing less than $50 if you are putting all that time into a cake.

jlynnw Posted 19 May 2009 , 5:57am
post #29 of 36

I think you have to charge what you are comfortable with not what the person wanting the cake is comfortable with. We all have budgets in our lives and we will all pay the least amount we can, but that doesn't mean to charge yourself.

I am a bit chicken to tell anyone what I charged for cakes. (I now only make them for friends and family) When I have to give a quote and feel uncomfortable about it, email worked for me. Send an idea or two, confirm the colors, and state that you are willing to work with a "reasonable" budget, not their budget, but a reasonable budget.

Best wishes

HokieFan Posted 19 May 2009 , 8:01pm
post #30 of 36

I just wanted to thank everyone for your help last night. I talked to my friend today. I am going to make a 9x13 cake (torted), iced in buttercream with fondant details for $40. She said the price was very reasonable. I am more than happy with that price. I plan on telling her I would normally charge $50, but she is getting the school discount. This way, if others ask for my info and want me to make a cake, I can feel comfortable charging them a little more. Also, I was telling another co-worker about this today and she said her daughter is having a baby in the fall and she would love for me to make the cake for her shower! The best part is, she already knows the base price, so I won't have to worry about it then. I am ecstatic right now! I'll post pictures when I am done. Thanks again for all your help and advice!!!!!!!!!!!!

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