Customer Wants To "help" ?!!!!

Decorating By yamber82 Updated 23 May 2009 , 1:48pm by Minstrelmiss

yamber82 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:02pm
post #1 of 31

i've actually had 2 people ask me this. i actually thought it was a decent idea, but not that i actually agreed to do it i have been beeting my brains out trying to figure out the best way to go about it. it's a girl i grew up with so i think she thinks i'm doing her a favor or something. i also had to explain to here that i don't do the whole thing start to finish in one afternoon. why don't people get that? so i just sent her a message proposing that i bake the cakes, make the icing, and cover the tops of the towers (it's gonna be a castle cake with the wilton kit) and bring it all over to her place the day before and we can decorate it together. the thing is... i'm gonna have to sit there and teach her how to do everything and go behind and fix all her mistakes because i don't want people judging my business by a compromised cake. this really sucks! it would be sooo much easier to just do it all myself. argh!

oh and another thing, i think she thinks i shoudl charge less since she is doing part of the work. it is going to take a lot longer to sit there and help her and show her how to do everything even just to covering the cake in bc. i am wondering how you would go about charging for that?

30 replies
-K8memphis Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:06pm
post #2 of 31

Probably start at about $25- $35 an hour. $35 for one person $25 an hour for two & up.

crystalina1977 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:06pm
post #3 of 31

you say at first that you think it's a decent idea, but throughout the rest of the post you make it sound like you don't want to do it. if you want to do it and don't mind teaching her or fixing mistakes I don't know if you can charge extra for that really. it sounds like you already told her you would do it.

Redlotusninjagrl Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:15pm
post #4 of 31

I think you already know that you should say no thank you. Reduced price and your additional time? Uh no!

pattycakesnj Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:18pm
post #5 of 31

would you assist with a medical procedure? No, then why would you have an untrained person assist with decorating a cake

CountryCakery4 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:27pm
post #6 of 31

It sounds to me like you've agreed to do something you would really rather not do. For this cake maybe you can call this one a team effort so people understand that more than one 'creative force' contributed. And perhaps in the future you can reply to your clients that the only way for you to guarantee the quality of your work is to do it yourself in your own kitchen. People have no idea how long it takes to do these cakes. Most people just use mixes! If you've known this person for a while maybe you can try to reframe the experience from pro vs. amateur to just friends hangin' out doing a cake together? Sure you may know more about this than she does but you can probably still have fun together. Neither of you will have fun if you are feeling resentful. when you're done I'm sure your friend will have a much better appreciation of exactly what it is you do and why it takes so long! Hope this helps.

yamber82 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:42pm
post #7 of 31

lol to the madical procedure.

i did think it was a neat idea at first and was seriously considering advertising it but after i agreed to it i started realising how much i really didn't want to do it, lol. so i already told her i would and i'm gonna keep my word, but i don't think i will ever do it again. i'm also a very controlling personality type when it comes to this type of thing, lol. i'm probably going to get really aggravated at her, haha. anyway, i will see how it goes...

sugarwishes Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:30am
post #8 of 31

I am going through the same situation with my best friend!! Next month, I will be doing a bridal shower cake, and I offered to do it for free since my friend wasn't included in the planning of the shower and I felt so bad, plus I would love the exposure. Anyway, I think because she feels bad I am doing a 3-tier fondant cake for free, she wants to "help."
I do not work well with others at all, when it comes to decorating. I have a process and certain way I do things and I really don't want anyone on top of me asking me how to do each and every thing.
I feel bad telling her no, since she wanted this cake to be as personal from her as possible, but anyone who doesn't actual decorate cakes has absolutely no clue what's involved or how long it takes.

Texas_Rose Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:37am
post #9 of 31

I don't have a problem letting people "help" me...back when I worked outside the home my job involved training people, so that aspect of it doesn't intimidate me. I do decide in advance exactly how much they are going to get to help. I think for the cake you're describing, I would take it over already covered in buttercream, then explain the basic assembly (while doing it yourself), then show her how to make some simple flowers and let her put them on the cake. She just wants to be able to say she helped make her kid's birthday cake, most likely.

playingwithsugar Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:47am
post #10 of 31

Oh, no way! Your name is on this product/project, and any screw-ups will reflect on your business name, not theirs. Why would you risk your reputation because they want to be cheap? I'd turn the job down before I let someone who is not employed by me, and not trained in the necessary skills, touch any project of mine.

Also, they wouldn't be covered by my insurance, so if they get hurt, or if someone gets sick because she lost a fingernail in the icing, you're the one in trouble, not her.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Minstrelmiss Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:48am
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

I don't have a problem letting people "help" me...back when I worked outside the home my job involved training people, so that aspect of it doesn't intimidate me. I do decide in advance exactly how much they are going to get to help. I think for the cake you're describing, I would take it over already covered in buttercream, then explain the basic assembly (while doing it yourself), then show her how to make some simple flowers and let her put them on the cake. She just wants to be able to say she helped make her kid's birthday cake, most likely.




I think TexasRose is absolutely right! Mama just wants to help. Predetermine her tasks and set her up for success! Have her help prepare frostings, (color, fill bags...wash dishes icon_twisted.gif ) Then show her a few things that she can work on while you do the cake. This way, she leaves with a new skill and is satisfied that she helped. She will not forget your kindness icon_smile.gif

yamber82 Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:49am
post #12 of 31

that's what i was thinking at first but after talking to her yesterday to plan the whole thing out, she told me she wants to help with as much as possible for sentimental reasons. it's her first baby's first bday... i first offered for her to have the cakes baked when i got there, but i'm afraid she would get them out of the pan without crumbling and i'm really picky about that. so i am trying to think of what she can do that won't ruin the cake. i think i might fill and crumb coat beforehand. i'm not sure if she could manage a smooth bc, but i might let her try. and of course she is more than welcome to cut out all the little flowers, haha.

i had a girl come help me with the dracula cake i did because it was so last minute but all she could really do was make little "stones" lol. she felt bad she couldn't do more, but that actually saved me quite a bit of time. other than that, there really wasn't anything else she could do without me spending lots of time teaching her first.

this is actually kinda funny... my husband was really getting into the whole gothic castle and he was looking up online what the little torches looked like. i told him i knew what i was going to do, but thanks anyway, but he got his little ball of fondant and was trying to make one. he played with it for seriously like an hour and think i really hurt his feelings when i didn't use his, lol. that was really funny icon_smile.gif btw, he also made the comment aafter a few min that the fondant was a lot harder than he originally though, haha

Minstrelmiss Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:50am
post #13 of 31

You could also come with it mostly preassembled and in need of only the last few touches...just another thought. Good luck icon_biggrin.gif

yamber82 Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:59am
post #14 of 31

i just read the last 2 posts. i totally agree with both. sooo.... the more i think about it, the more i think i can convince her she did more than she really did. i guess that's the jist of it. the cake is really plain and simple. just the wilton kit, white bc and ad some flowers and vines or whatever. anything more difficult i would def have said no. after talking to her i realized she's not trying to be cheap she justs wants to be able to tell her kid she mommy helped. so maybe i should let her mix up the icing. she has a fancy mixer, she was hure to tell me that icon_smile.gif what do you guys think i should let her help with?

oh another thing is, i don't want to be with her all day because i have another cake that same weekend. so i want to get the time consuming things out of the way first. the main concern i have about letting her ice the cake is if she keeps screwing up and we end up with crumbs everywhere. would it be a good idea to bring it over frozen and let her ice it like that? i've never iced one forzen before but i was wondering if that might help

gersie123 Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:02am
post #15 of 31

I don't really have a full cake business yet, I am a home baker who does for friends and family, anyways, my kids are always begging to help, 9 and 7 year old boys, so I usually have them do some small things like colour icing, make simple fondant shapes like grapes, etc. I am sure your friends would feel like she was part of it and helpful with small tasks.
Minstremiss had a good idea too, just some finishing touches.
Also, if you are also attending the event, you could casually mention to people how she helped, if things don't turn out to your standards.

Good luck

Minstrelmiss Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:09am
post #16 of 31

Think of her as a husband icon_razz.gif Play it up to her how helpful she has been and how proud she should be of her contributions..I do this all the time with my hubby, "oh dear, I couldn't have done this without you! You are so helpful...I know I can always count on you!" Really I could have been done 20 minutes ago and already have my glass of wine in hand but he's puffed up and happy so no harm, no foul

Tell her how special it was that she "helped". Give her the warm and fuzzy feelings she is looking for. No harm can come from helping someone feel important and connected. icon_smile.gif

PianoDiva Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:11am
post #17 of 31

Before my dad retired he was an auto mechanic. In his shop he had a sign that advertised his rates:

Hourly Labor Charges: $65
If You Watch: $75
If You Help: $85

--PianoDiva

Kitagrl Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:14am
post #18 of 31

I would go one way or the other. I mean, if its a business, I'd sell the cake I made. If a friend of mine wants to learn cake decorating and do a cake, I'd take time to help my friend make HER cake and it would not be a cake that represented my business...I probably would not charge either for a friend, as I'd have her buy everything and just give her my time. I'm actually going to be doing that here soon...have a teen girl I know over, she likes decorating, and show her a few tips.

BUT I'd never let someone "help" me make a cake that was going to be from my business.

cakeschmake Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:19am
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoDiva

Before my dad retired he was an auto mechanic. In his shop he had a sign that advertised his rates:

Hourly Labor Charges: $65
If You Watch: $75
If You Help: $85

--PianoDiva




That is good!!!
I need to charge my hubby, he likes to watch me while I decorate and it drives me crazy... he's learning though... if I am stressing over the cake, he needs to go away fast..

I had my sister do the "i'll bring over the ingredients and help" routine once, I really think she got tired of sitting around all day cause she had no idea

gersie123 Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:21am
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoDiva

Before my dad retired he was an auto mechanic. In his shop he had a sign that advertised his rates:

Hourly Labor Charges: $65
If You Watch: $75
If You Help: $85

--PianoDiva




That is GREAT!
thumbs_up.gif so funny!

yamber82 Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:26am
post #21 of 31

that is freaking halarious about the mechanic shop! my dad would totally love that icon_smile.gif

thanks for all you guy's helpful comments. i def have a better idea of how to go about it now. if it doesn't look great, i'm not putting it in my portfolio obviously, but i am just starting out and trying to do as many cakes as i can right now so i can actually put a portfolio together. i just explained to her the whole process so i think she understand now tha unless she wants to move in with me for a week, she can't feasibly help with everything.

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 23 May 2009 , 11:10am
post #22 of 31

I actually did a castle cake and the mom helped me. We used cut out flowers and candy hearts to decorate it. It meant so much to her that she was extremely carefull and did just as she was told. At the party I gave her total credit for the cake and she was beaming. Let it go and just give mom the credit. Why not be her assistant? But do not give her a break on the price. Maybe charge her by the hour. I have had more business sent my way from that mom and none wanted to repeat the making of the cake.

Cathy26 Posted 23 May 2009 , 11:47am
post #23 of 31

i would rather die than let someone help me - i just couldnt do it, cakes are my baby and my reputation and i couldnt let someone put stuff on my cakes. i think this is a crazy idea and to have the cheek to say about reducing the price is a joke!! like you say, it will take MORE of your time to show her how to work with fondant - say no, you cant just learn cake decoration in a couple of hours and i guarantee if the finish isnt perfect it wil be you that gets the blame!

Texas_Rose Posted 23 May 2009 , 11:56am
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by beckyw321


I need to charge my hubby, he likes to watch me while I decorate and it drives me crazy... he's learning though... if I am stressing over the cake, he needs to go away fast..




Just put him to work icon_biggrin.gif My husband used to cruise the kitchen looking for scraps he could eat, and rather than kick him out I started asking him for help. He's pretty good at rolling out fondant now...sometimes he has more patience than me. He won't do any girly things like making flowers icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif but he made a gun out of fondant for his birthday cake that looks so real that people stress out when they see it sitting on our bar.

Last year I realized I had to mellow a bit about people in my kitchen (because hubby got me an apron that said "Get your a$$es out of my kitchen!" something I have been known to say when I am working hard)

G_Cakes Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:02pm
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakesnj

would you assist with a medical procedure? No, then why would you have an untrained person assist with decorating a cake




Well put! and enuff said!

Minstrelmiss Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:03pm
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Last year I realized I had to mellow a bit about people in my kitchen (because hubby got me an apron that said "Get your a$$es out of my kitchen!" something I have been known to say when I am working hard)





HAHAHAHA! Where can I get one of those aprons!! icon_lol.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:09pm
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minstrelmiss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Last year I realized I had to mellow a bit about people in my kitchen (because hubby got me an apron that said "Get your a$$es out of my kitchen!" something I have been known to say when I am working hard)




HAHAHAHA! Where can I get one of those aprons!! icon_lol.gif




He had it printed at the mall icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Minstrelmiss Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:27pm
post #28 of 31

That's great icon_biggrin.gif I want one too! Last weekend not only was my hubby in the kitchen but my sister, MIL, and FIL! I was ready to pull my hair out...or theirs icon_twisted.gif

indydebi Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:42pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLizzy

Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycakesnj

would you assist with a medical procedure? No, then why would you have an untrained person assist with decorating a cake



Well put! and enuff said!




"Hello, Olive Garden? I'd like to bring my family there for dinner tonight, but since we blew all of our money on the limo that's bringing us there, I'm wondering if I can get a discount on the dinner if I go into the kitchen and help you cook it?"

Yeah.....THAT'LL work! icon_confused.gif

yamber82 Posted 23 May 2009 , 1:35pm
post #30 of 31

haha! i want one of those aprons too , lol

so the medical procedure thing is a really good comback.

i did charge her full price and she said that was fine. i was debating between charging extra for letting her help, but she's one of my best friend's sisters so tha makes it kinda iffy. i think she considers me one of her good friends. anyway, so she's not trying to skimp out by helping she just wants it to be special

the other lady i had ask me about helping was talking about her wedding cake. i didn't know her at the time but she wanted to have a wedding cake making bridesmaid party the night before. she offered to pay extra for a baker to come to the party and let them all help but no one would do it. i really thought it sounded like a good idea but now that i've thought about it i totally understand why no one wanted to do it. i guess it's a personalty thing. some people are more patient than others. i [ersonally can't stand for anybody to touch my cakes, but at the same time i am also a big softy push-over who can't say no, lol. ...which is why hubby says i'm not allowed to be in charge of pricing, haha.

speaking of cake touching, the last castle cake i made (i did cheat and use the wilton kit, but that was the most time-consuming and complicated cake i have EVER made) ayway, i set it up at the party and was talking to some people and all of a sudden i see this kid running around with one of the towers!!! i was so mad. it was a surprise party and the guest hadn't even arrived yet to see the cake!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%