I Don't Want To Sell, And She Doesn't Want To Buy! Way Long

Business By mandyloo Updated 16 Jun 2009 , 12:22am by CoutureCake

mandyloo Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 9:42pm
post #1 of 19

....so what is the damn problem?

Ugh. I am brand new at learning to decorate cakes, and I really enjoy it. I've learned so much from youtube and cakecentral, but I would also love to take a class sometime (too bad there are no classes for 60+miles in either direction, but that's besides the point).
I make cakes for fun, and to give to family on birthdays. My cakes are not up to "selling standards", and though I want to get as good as I can, I don't ever plan on selling them.

So (getting to the point), I made a cake for my boyfriend's stepdad's birthday last week. It was a John Deere Tractor Farming Cake that was inspired by a lovely cake by lenajackson. Mine didn't hold a candle to hers, but it was okay, and more importantly (to me, anyways) it tasted great. (sorry, still getting to the point)
A guest at the party loved it and informed my boyfriend's mother, who is her boss, that she'd like me to make on just like it for her dad's birthday. Future mil told her she'd check with me, but that it wouldn't be a problem.
Bf's mom called him and told him about the cake, and said "ya know, maybe she'd even pay Mandy for ingredients or something!", like, wow, what a huge break for me that someone would be willing to maybe pay for ingredients. My boyfriend, being the great guy he is, asked her if she had any idea how much people can charge for decorated cakes. Of course, she said no, but that she's not expecting to pay more than $20.

I know my cakes are up to selling standards, but if I were to sell them, even as they are, I would charge more than that.

Meh, I don't know.
My costs, as I've figured them:
My Expenses (Per Cake)
Cake board $5.50 per 6 = .91
Cake mix $1.65 x2 = 3.30
Pudding Mix .99 x2 = 1.98
Butter $3.50
Powdered Sugar $1.50 x1.5 = 2.25
Creamer $2.50 x.25  = .62
Fillings $2-$10

My total cost to bake a cake: $14.50-$25
Not counting toppers (eg John Deere Tractor Set = $22.50)

My time!
Baking 1hr per cake x2
Torting, mixing, decorating 3-6hrs
Clean up 1-2 hours

Total hours: Anywhere from 6 to 10

Minimum wage = $6.90
6.90x10hours= $69.

What should I tell his mother?

The cake she wants (please don't flog me, I know it's not worth selling!):

18 replies
Deb_ Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 9:47pm
post #2 of 19

Tell her you don't sell cakes.

I mean "she may be willing to even pay the cost of ingredients" WTH is that about? icon_eek.gif Is it supposed to be an honor to bake a cake for this woman's husband?

No way would I even entertain the thought..............in the words of indydebi............."NEXT" icon_lol.gif

mandyloo Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 9:54pm
post #3 of 19

okay, the cake pic didn't post, I'll try again, if it doesn't work, it's in my pics, not that it really matters, the cake itself isn't really the point.

BTW it was a double layer german chocolate cake 9x13

shanna_banana Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 10:03pm
post #4 of 19

How about asking the woman when she needs the cake. Tell her you are having your kitchen sprayed for a nasty roach infestation and you don't know when they will let you get back in there. icon_twisted.gif Then, after the shocked and horrified look on her face starts to disappear, offer the name and number of another caker who might be able to help. Maybe then she will realize how much professionally decorated cakes really cost! icon_wink.gif

Just a thought. HTH!!!

CakeMommyTX Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 10:05pm
post #5 of 19

Tell her if she's willing to pay for the ingediants then you're willing to only charge her for labor, which by your calculations would be 80$ (I took the liberty of adding a PITA fee in there for ya) icon_lol.gif

Jocmom Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 10:22pm
post #6 of 19

What's wrong with telling her the truth? You aren't comfortable selling your cakes yet . . . and even if she was willing to pay, she probably wouldn't want to pay for a custom cake.

Whenever I'm approached by someone that wants a cake that's out of my league, I refer them to the cake shop where I took decorating classes. They keep a list of skilled students and their specialties (wedding cakes, sheet cakes, kid's cakes, etc.)

JanH Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 10:33pm
post #7 of 19

I can totally understand her "wanting" one of your cakes... birthday.gif

Your cake is spectacular. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif The design and decorating style are absolutely perfect for a hardworking John Deere tractor driving man. icon_biggrin.gif

Originally Posted by yourstrulytx

Tell her if she's willing to pay for the ingediants then you're willing to only charge her for labor, which by your calculations would be 80$ (I took the liberty of adding a PITA fee in there for ya) icon_lol.gif

Originally Posted by dkelly

Is it supposed to be an honor to bake a cake for this woman's husband?

Because her budget of $20.00 isn't going to cut it.. She needs to walk her "honor" down to Wal-Mart and buy a sheet cake. judge.gif



cakesbycathy Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 11:02pm
post #8 of 19

"I appreciate you thinking of me, but I don't sell my cakes."
"Well, if her budget is only $20 she's much better off going to Walmart."

End of discussion.

The beauty of these comments is that they can be said in either a pleasant or a snarky tone. Whichever fits your mood.

__Jamie__ Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 11:11pm
post #9 of 19

Oooohhhh, Jan! Snarky-snark...love it!

audrey0522 Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 11:17pm
post #10 of 19

I also only make cakes as a labor of love for family and CLOSE friends of my choosing. When someone else asks for a cake I very nicely say I am so sorry but I am not going to be to make them one. I don't owe them an explaination and I don't feel obligated to give them one or make one up.

bebea Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 11:20pm
post #11 of 19

love the cake! we are john deere collectors, so i understand the cost of the toppers completely!

i would thank your fmil for her confidence in your abilities, then explain that since you are not licensed or anything, you can't do it. you are honored to do them as gifts for family, but just don't feel that it is right to sell and represent yourself as a professional. should keep the peace for everyone!

mkolmar Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 11:52pm
post #12 of 19

Love the comment Jan! Good one!

Your smart not to fall into this trap starting out, otherwise this pattern is hard to break.
I don't even make an 8 inch plain iced cake for 20 bucks. Time to do a cost break down for those so willing to offer your services for cheap, or better yet tell them they have to pay the price difference.

indydebi Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 12:04am
post #13 of 19

"Their eyes have seen the glory but their brains haven't caught up." ----Debi

In their little pea-brain, they are STILL thinking 1972, when "just a birthday cake" was a twenty-buck sheet cake. 35 years later, they watch Ace of Cakes and Cake Challenges, they want the above-and-beyond cakes, but in their little pea-brain, they are STILL thinking "Birthday cake ..... twenty bucks".

If she wants a new Cadillac, then she has to fork over the price of the new Cadillac. Otherwise, Billy Bob's Used Wrecks can probably set her up.

CarrieBear Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 12:12am
post #14 of 19
Originally Posted by indydebi

If she wants a new Cadillac, then she has to fork over the price of the new Cadillac. Otherwise, Billy Bob's Used Wrecks can probably set her up.

lol amen! icon_lol.gif

mandyloo Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 11:10pm
post #15 of 19

Thank you so much for all the responses and input. Hopefully, one of these days I'll grow my very own set of "cake balls". icon_lol.gif

shanna_banana: my bf laughed out loud at your response. Definitely the way he'd go. icon_razz.gif

JanH: thank you so much for the positive feedback on my cake, it really means a lot to me.

Thank you guys again. I don't have to see/speak to fmil until this weekend, and thankfully, I'm armed w/some responses now.


shannonmoody15 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:26am
post #16 of 19

simply put it this way, im not exactly confident in selling cakes yet, but if you really want one, you have to take time and labor into consideration aswell as ingredints, which is more than $20! icon_wink.gif

Evoir Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 12:12pm
post #17 of 19

Man - I would give her a copy of the costing as you set it out in your first post!

And then add the kicker: "And I have no intention of working for minimum wage!

tallgood Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 12:38pm
post #18 of 19

Your forum title says it all..."I don't want to sell.." I would go with that to be followed by "right now, but maybe his birthday next year. Besides professional cake decorators would charge over $150 for that particular cake." That will give you another year for developing your skills, and the door to be open for her next year.

Then give her the website of Ace of Cakes and their minimum fee. After that $80 would seem like a great bargain.

CoutureCake Posted 16 Jun 2009 , 12:22am
post #19 of 19

Just FYI, your pricing doesn't include a few key things you need to factor in to your "cost" of doing the cake...

Misc. ingredients (Flour/sugar/powder/soda/vanilla/almond/etc.)
Dishwasher Detergent
Water for cleanup
Laundry detergent/water for dish cloths/towels added powder sugar covered set of clothes
Extra Paper Towels used for washing your hands/quick wipeoffs
Aluminum Foil/Plastic wrap used for covering cakes temporarily while chilling in fridge or on counter
Gas to replace said ingredients
Power bill for extra lights on in the middle of the night for finishing said cake

That $20 at cost cake now really costs you closer to $40 in ingredients.. Without paying for one single cent of your time...

I agree with Debi though, tell them to go to the Cadi dealership and ask for the below factory cost discount... They'll laugh you right out of there...

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