Discouraged. Was I Wrong??

Business By AFBF Updated 30 Jun 2009 , 1:21am by mommachris

AFBF Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 6:25pm
post #1 of 22

I am only beginning in the cake decorating business. I have done cakes for friends and family but no others to this point. I had a "customer" contact me about a potentially huge "job". They would need a 3 tiered square cake, red velvet, with cream cheese icing and black satin ribbon around the bottom. (Which I've never done a stacked cake other than in class so would be nervous...) On top of that, anywhere from 200-400 cupcakes. They had already been quoted a price of $1 from a bakery so in order to get the "job" and potential.y have my business grow, I said I would match the price. Pretty inexpensive, I thought. Well, I gave them a taste test (and delivered), which I didn't charge for. I made the cream cheese icing from scratch but used box mix for the cupcakes. They said: The icing was delicious but the cupcake tasted like red dye!! Well, then they proceeded to say they were smaller than cupcakes they have had from bakeries, grocery stores, etc. But they would be the perfect size as favors. I explained that they were made in standard muffin pans and if I made them bigger they would overflow the paper liner and not look as pretty. Well, they said they could potentially use me if I would make them at a reduced price because they would order so many cupcakes. I told them it wouldn't be reasonable for me with all the time, supplies, and ingredients needed especially since I am working out of my kitchen and don't have a commercial oven. Am I making a mistake? I am really discouraged and thinking from now on I will only decorate for close friends and family since my first potentially big order was a flop. Not to mention they called me on Thursday at lunch and wanted a cake for a b-day party on Friday which I gladly did for them. They say they will order other cakes in the future because they liked that one.... Needing some encouragement!! TIA

21 replies
Auryn Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 6:35pm
post #2 of 22

I think your first mistake was saying you would match the other 'bakery'
you don't even know if that was real, they might have been saying that just to make you bring your prices down.

Personally, I think you should pass on that big job.
It will not be enough money to cover all your time and stress to get it done.

I say, pass on the big order, and just keep doing the cakes, but with more notice, no more 12 hr turn arounds.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 6:37pm
post #3 of 22

You're not running a cake charity. If they were quoted $1 a serving by a (Walmart) bakery, tell them that sounds like a great deal, and that you can't afford to match it.

If they're looking to get a bargain for buying a large quantity, then they need to go somewhere that can buy it's ingredients in bulk. More cupcakes equals more work for you, more hours of heating up your house by running the oven, etc...

Losing an order that would have been that much work without being very much money isn't really losing an order...it's saving yourself from dealing with an ordeal. It sounds like you went out of your way on this one but the potential customers would have been a PITA.

Carolynlovescake Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 6:52pm
post #4 of 22

Price match only if they have a quote on paper and bring it to you.

To many people pull fast ones with "X bakery said X price per serving" when X bakery really said $2 more on their price then what you were told.

bbmom Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:02pm
post #5 of 22

Yikes, were they really quoted $1 a serving? or per cupcake? Thats crazy and ummmm what do they think makes red velvet red??? I'd pass on this customer and fast.

LKing12 Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:04pm
post #6 of 22

I recently did my last "free" tasting. I met the couple with two flavors that they chose from a list of six that I offer. They wanted cake for 400 people. Hexagon with highly intense detail work. He sells luxury cars and she was spending daddy's money. Let me know they were already at $20,000 and the wedding isn't until this fall. Well, I sent them a detailed bid and they let me know immediately that it was "out of their budget". I told them I wished them well. And, will enjoy not stressing over cakes with six edges!! Sometimes you have to remember that your sanity is worth more than cake.
I now charge for tastings, and, I never try to match anybody's anything!!!!!

indydebi Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:16pm
post #7 of 22

"Sounds like you got a great price. Thanks, anyway, for thinking of me."

It is not better to take a job that puts you in the red than it is to lose the job. If you're not making money, it's not a job ... it's charity.

AFBF Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:19pm
post #8 of 22

What would the average price be for red velvet cupcakes?

SUELA Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:40pm
post #9 of 22

To me Red Velvet would be the same as any other cupcake...maybe more for the icing if it is cream cheese?

Also, depends on what area and what country you live in. I am in Ottawa Ontario in Canada and wedding cake servings usually go for $3-$5 per serving.

Also remember that cupcakes are usually a little more time consuming. In teh time you could ice an entire 8 " cake....you might have 10-15 cupcakes iced.

RachieRach Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 7:51pm
post #10 of 22

I guess it depends on where you live. In NYC bakeries charge $3 - $4 for red velvet. BUT the cupcakes are huge and its New York. I suggest you call a couple of local bakeries and ask for a quote. I would be surprised if they were less than $2.50.

As for size, I have noticed cupcakes getting bigger. Maybe look around and see what the "norm" is. 300 cupcakes is a TON of work. I wouldn't do them for $1 per cupcake.

Don't be discouraged. Sometimes customers can't afford your work. That's okay. I find giving too many discounts, lessens your value. I would personally rather do more "smaller" jobs at my going rate, than break my back for pennies.

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:00pm
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

"Sounds like you got a great price. Thanks, anyway, for thinking of me."

It is not better to take a job that puts you in the red than it is to lose the job. If you're not making money, it's not a job ... it's charity.




And technically, wouldn't charity work be for people who were really in financial distress? Cause this gal doesn't consider anyone looking for wedding cake period, to be in financial distress. icon_lol.gif

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:02pm
post #12 of 22

I know how you feel--I recently turned down a job that was just too big and didn't pay enough. I felt terrible for "turning down work" but looking back it really was way too much work for not enough money to justify it.

Move on, count yourself lucky and look forward to the smaller stuff that pays better!

ccr03 Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:07pm
post #13 of 22

ha - I remember that this lady tried to pull that on me too on my first big order!

It was a cake for about 250 (I think) and she said the 'other bakery' was going to charge her $280, and that including the $100 refundable deposit. I just ignored her and stated my price again. Knowingly she was getting a heck of a deal, the mom booked me right away.

As for pricing, call around and get pricing from local bakeries that target your target audience. Check out their pricing structure and be competitive.

1234me Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:08pm
post #14 of 22

It is very hard to turn away a job when you really want the business, experience, and to get the word out. But it is not worth one dime if it causes you lots of stress. It doesn't sound like to me that these are people you want to deal with in the future. If you don't have lots of experience under your belt, continue to do what you have been doing until you get a little more confidence. If your work is worth it, they will come back. Don't let them discourage you - they are nothing compared ot the potential that is out there.

DebBTX Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 8:15pm
post #15 of 22

I honestly would wash my hands of them. They have already complained about the red dye taste in the red velvet, and the size of the cupcakes. It sounds like they would order, then make your life miserable. I would think they would then demand a refund after all your hard work.

When people start off demanding lower prices and complaining, they will most likely only get worse.

Don't let someone like that discourage you. Consider it a blessing that you don't have to deal with them. You have the ability to say no. Sometimes it is not in reality losing a big order. It is refusing to be taken advantage of.

-Debbie B.

littlecake Posted 29 Jun 2009 , 11:23pm
post #16 of 22

some customers COST you money...Buh BYE!....we are not in the business of undercutting other bakeries anyway.

i personally feel like they are lying, PLUS i wouldn't make anything for someone who insulted my work.

NEXT!

these types of customers always target the newbies, they figure they are desperate for orders, AND since when does a customer get to dictate price?

KitchenKat Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:48am
post #17 of 22

Uh. Sounds like trouble to me.

When I was just starting out I'd get so excited to receive orders and inquiries that I'd mentally "figure out" how much to charge. What I've learned the hard way: I don't have to give an immediate response. I've learned to say, "since all my cakes are customized, let me calculate the price and then I'll get back to you on (date and time)".

I haven't regretted price quotes since.

KitchenKat Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:49am
post #18 of 22

Uh. Sounds like trouble to me.

When I was just starting out I'd get so excited to receive orders and inquiries that I'd mentally "figure out" how much to charge. What I've learned the hard way: I don't have to give an immediate response. I've learned to say, "since all my cakes are customized, let me calculate the price and then I'll get back to you on (date and time)".

I haven't regretted price quotes since.

KitchenKat Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:50am
post #19 of 22

Uh. Sounds like trouble to me.

When I was just starting out I'd get so excited to receive orders and inquiries that I'd mentally "figure out" how much to charge. What I've learned the hard way: I don't have to give an immediate response. I've learned to say, "since all my cakes are customized, let me calculate the price and then I'll get back to you on (date and time)".

I haven't regretted price quotes since.

KitchenKat Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:51am
post #20 of 22

multiple post

__Jamie__ Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 12:59am
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCasualKitchen

Uh. Sounds like trouble to me.

When I was just starting out I'd get so excited to receive orders and inquiries that I'd mentally "figure out" how much to charge. What I've learned the hard way: I don't have to give an immediate response. I've learned to say, "since all my cakes are customized, let me calculate the price and then I'll get back to you on (date and time)".

I haven't regretted price quotes since.




Yeah, I rarely ever quote on the first inquiry. Rarely ever does someone ask for exactly an amount of servings, exactly the style, exactly the fillings and/or BC or fondant....so I require specific direction before I ever quote.

mommachris Posted 30 Jun 2009 , 1:21am
post #22 of 22

Another point...'since we are ordering so many, can we have a price reduction?'
Uh, NO! That means the more I make for you the less money I make on the order. The cup cakes cost me the same amount to make no matter now many you buy. Does Walmart cut my price for buying their cake mix by the case? icon_confused.gif
No deals on big orders. It I want to maybe I'll throw in an anniversary tier gift certificate but that is it.

I agree that you should never bake for someone who complains about the taste of your product. You are not the baker they want so let them go with no regrets.

Thanks for coming, good luck on your wedding, have a nice day, bye bye.
mommachris

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