Growing A Spine...

Business By HeatherWantsCake Updated 11 Sep 2009 , 10:41pm by Jen80

HeatherWantsCake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 11:28pm
post #1 of 40

How does one go about this??

I've only been caking for about three months and I suppose with practice and experience and success I'll grow a pair ... but in the mean time, I'm losing money and making myself mental.

Following along with the "I won't turn my oven on for less than..." thread, I've confirmed something that I've suspected for a while now. I'm waaaay undercharging and I'm far too accommodating.

Just had a customer change her order from 4 baby blocks to six ... five days before the party. icon_confused.gif It's doable, but I should charge more, right? Even if I make them smaller than I would have if I was only doing four, it'll take longer to decorate six. I'd already quoted a price for four and emailed back letting her know I could do six for a higher price, or we could stick with four. And now my stomach is in knots! icon_rolleyes.gif I know it's not unreasonable to charge more. I know this. And yet ... I'm all freaked out.

I love baking and originally figured that, as long as I was making a bit of money on top of my costs - great! Now that I've started haning out here at CC a bit, I realize that I could, and probably should, be making a lot more money than I am. But I'm chicken.

I want to be strong and confident and smart like indydebi or labellaflor when I grow up .. what do I need to do to get there? 'Cause I'm about ready to find myself a mirror and start repeating "I"m good enough.. I'm smart enough and.. gosh darn it.. people like me." That's how out of ideas I am. icon_razz.gif

39 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 11:41pm
post #2 of 40

No money - No cake.

More cake - More money.

No negotiations. No "I can pay you Tuesday for a birthday cake today."

Carry on.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

newmansmom2004 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 11:59pm
post #3 of 40

^What Theresa said. You also need to have a clause in your contract (you DO have a contract, right?) that states no changes to the order "X" number of days prior to delivery. . .like two weeks prior or something like that.

You did the right thing - if they want two more blocks they pay for extra for it. You have to be firm right from the beginning. Accomodate the customer but reasonably. They shouldn't be calling you sixteen times, three days before the cake is due, asking for changes.

sugarandslice Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:00am
post #4 of 40

A bit of "you're worth it" mirror-talk never hurt anyone.
Change the way you talk to yourself and you'll change the way others see you/treat you.
Good luck, I know how hard it can be to see (and demand) your true worth, but they're coming to you for a reason: you make great cakes! Step by step, you can do it. Sounds like your email to the current client is your first step.
Deep breaths, you'll be fine!
icon_smile.gif

heavenlys Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:00am
post #5 of 40

I was such a people pleaser when I started in this business and it took me a lot of getting stepped on to finally grow a pair. I think it definintely comes with experience and not always because you are more confident but you evolve out of abuse. You can only be used and abused so much before you survival instinct kicks in. And if you don't they will suck everything out of you and leave you to rot!
Can you tell I have been through the same thing? I truly love what I do but I had to learn to do them on my terms not theirs. For my sake and my families. Good luck!! And don't let them take away your love for cake!
!

JBCakesCo Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:11am
post #6 of 40

I'd love to know everyone's input on this delima I had last weekend. I did a cake for a lady accidently wrote down white with buttercream then fondant over it and she wanted devils food with choco buttercream then fondant over it two tiered birthday cake for her 2 yr old son. I called her and told her I would take money off the price because it was my mistake and she tells me well he really wanted the chocolate. So she asked me to redo the cake overnight! So I did but said she'd pay the full price. Then when I meet her with the cake she tells me its not the cake she ordered. I must have forked out 40.00 between both cakes. I was so fed up I said just take it don't worry about paying and she goes no because its not what I ordered! I'm like wow whatever and I left. I've never had a rude customer like this. She was mad because she wanted fondant balls around each tier and I did them in bc because I was restricted on time. I also had my daughter's birthday party the same day and she knew but didn't care.

HeatherWantsCake Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:23am
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmansmom2004

^What Theresa said. You also need to have a clause in your contract (you DO have a contract, right?) that states no changes to the order "X" number of days prior to delivery. . .like two weeks prior or something like that.




Um .. no. I don't have a contract. icon_redface.gif And I've never made anyone give me a deposit. And I've delivered for free.

I bet when Theresa says it sounds all assertive and excellent.. when I try, it comes out all apologetic and whiney. I suck. icon_lol.gif I'll work on it.

I have a feeling it might be a bit of a "fake it 'til you make it" kind of deal. The email to my customer worked - she just replied and said the higher price was no problem at all. icon_rolleyes.gif

Thanks for the pep talks, gang.

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:29am
post #8 of 40

If you have an order, that you make a mistake on (and the wrong flavor is a big one), then you have to redo the cake or give the money back. Now as far as doing buttercream over fondant balls, oh, she should have paid the balance witha little knocked off. The same border in a different medium does not mean they pay nothing else, it means they get a discount, and if they don't want to pay, cause of that small mistake, then NO CAKE!

HeatherWantsCake Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:34am
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBCakesCo

I'd love to know everyone's input on this delima I had last weekend....




JB, I've already admitted I've got no appreciable spine at all but in this case ... it's a shame the lady wouldn't even accept the cake for free (did her child go without a cake, then?) and unfortunate that she handled things rudely, but you did mess up. Twice. As a customer, I'd have been mad, too. But I probably would have been too much of a suck to say anything about it. icon_rolleyes.gif

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:43am
post #10 of 40

I know it's hard to be forceful and stick to your guns, but you must.

But, boy oh boy, you just wait until IndyDebi, Leah_s or Doug get ahold of this thread. {sing songy, like a child} You're gonna be in tru-ble! icon_wink.gif

kjskid Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:50am
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherWantsCake

How does one go about this??

I love baking and originally figured that, as long as I was making a bit of money on top of my costs - great! Now that I've started haning out here at CC a bit, I realize that I could, and probably should, be making a lot more money than I am. But I'm chicken.

I want to be strong and confident and smart like indydebi or labellaflor when I grow up .. what do I need to do to get there? 'Cause I'm about ready to find myself a mirror and start repeating "I"m good enough.. I'm smart enough and.. gosh darn it.. people like me." That's how out of ideas I am. icon_razz.gif




DITTO! thumbs_up.gif

HeatherWantsCake Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:54am
post #12 of 40

I know. I should be in trouble. icon_redface.gif

I've kicked my own butt plenty already. Like, the train cake in my photos.. I did that for free because I couldn't figure out how to ask for money for it. It was for a client at my day job and I worded it wrong from the start. Instead of saying "Do you think they'd like to order a train cake?", I said "Do you think they'd like a train cake?" icon_rolleyes.gif Of course they'd like one. I didn't mention money right off and they assumed I was "donating" it to the party and I was too lily-livered to correct them.

I know it's nowhere near the quality of the cakes you guys do, but it was a LOT of work and more than a few bucks out of my pocket. They said "thanks, it looks great" and kept the plastic bear and trees. Gave me back the plywood cake board, though. <sigh>

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 1:17am
post #13 of 40

By the way my comments were for JBCAKES Co. I'm rereading the thread and my own comments were confusing me! LOL!

And to HeatherWantsCake, if your asking someone about a cake and it comes off like your offering (ex. the train cake) there is no reason in the world why you can't go back and tactfully ask, "By the way what is your budget?" And if they looked shocked and appauled that your charging, say,"Oh, I didn't explain myelf well did I? Yeah, this is a business for me. I understand if you want to go somewhere else for a cake." Of course how anybody less then family would assume you would do a free cake is beyond me. Heck, not even family can get a totally free cake!

indydebi Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 1:56am
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherWantsCake

Just had a customer change her order from 4 baby blocks to six ... five days before the party. icon_confused.gif It's doable, but I should charge more, right?




Call #1: "Hello, McDonalds? I'd like to order 4 Big Macs for lunch. I'll be there to pick them up in two hours."

Call #2: "Hello, again, McDonalds? I need to to add 2 more Big Macs to that order. The total stays the same, though, right?"

I'm sorry..... WHAT was the question? icon_confused.gif

costumeczar Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 2:12am
post #15 of 40

Would YOU expect to do what Indy just illustrated? If not, then why do you think you should let other people do this to you, or anything similar?

Women are raised to be "nice" and not cause trouble (well, some of us are icon_wink.gif ) Since we tend to be peacemakers it's hard to stand up for ourselves until you get some practice at it. Don't be afraid to tell people how much something costs, and don't change your mind on the price if they balk at it. That's not your problem, if they can't afford it they can change their request to something they CAN afford. (I just saw a book that's just out about this topic, I'm going to try to find it.)

I just had a bride email about changing the design of a groom's cake (the second time she's done a change.) She wanted to add more fondant people to the cake...TEN more. I told her it would be $200 extra for that, since I figured it would take me 45min to an hour for each of them. She declined, oh well. Now I don't have to make 10 extra people, and I have ten extra free hours! thumbs_up.gif

Don't shortchange yourself, you're the one who sets the bar for yourself. Set it low and people will be glad to keep it there.

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 2:47am
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar



Women are raised to be "nice" and not cause trouble (well, some of us are icon_wink.gif )





Check out my sig. icon_lol.gif

littlecake Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:10am
post #17 of 40

customer like to play tricks an ya sometimes to get the cheaper price....i was just talking about this with another caker the other day....they change it on purpose to more...thinking you won't change the price....ugh.

dstbni Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:20am
post #18 of 40

When I was first starting in my current line of work (financial services) we had to practice quoting the fee for our services. The natural inclination was to raise our intonation on the last syllable so it sounded like a question ("the fee for my services is $1200?") What helped me was to channel a little Dr Evil ("100 billion dollars") It was amazing how when I said the price as a statement, rather than a question, people said yes way more often. Even more amazing is that the more I practiced that exercise, the more comfortable I became with quoting higher prices.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:21am
post #19 of 40

Swear. To. Gaawd. And how the hell did I not start a thread about this???? Not kidding----last month, I had a MORON try to change the total price on the contract. Really, I mean, changing the contract on your computer, buddy-pal, idiot, dipsh** of the year...does not change it on mine! No cake for you!

Yep...I returned his deposit and a shredded contract back in the mail that day, with no call, email, nothing. That had me rolling for a loooooooong time!

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:40am
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Swear. To. Gaawd. And how the hell did I not start a thread about this???? Not kidding----last month, I had a MORON try to change the total price on the contract. Really, I mean, changing the contract on your computer, buddy-pal, idiot, dipsh** of the year...does not change it on mine! No cake for you!

Yep...I returned his deposit and a shredded contract back in the mail that day, with no call, email, nothing. That had me rolling for a loooooooong time!




icon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gif

A LOT of tough cookies on this site!

KKC Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:47am
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Swear. To. Gaawd. And how the hell did I not start a thread about this???? Not kidding----last month, I had a MORON try to change the total price on the contract. Really, I mean, changing the contract on your computer, buddy-pal, idiot, dipsh** of the year...does not change it on mine! No cake for you!

Yep...I returned his deposit and a shredded contract back in the mail that day, with no call, email, nothing. That had me rolling for a loooooooong time!



icon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gif

A LOT of tough cookies on this site!


Tell me about it! I've learned alot about how to grow a pair when I joined this site. I don't do free cakes for family or friends unless I want to experiment then they get free cake. I don't do discounts. If you try to place an order in less than 2 weeks, I charge a rush fee but thats only if I have the time to squeeze you in. I charge for late pick ups..the list goes on and on.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:55am
post #22 of 40

In any other situation, I would have composed myself and thought of something clever like, oh I don't know....no, really how would you handle that?

Dear Moro...I mean Mr. Brainiac:

I received the contract and deposit in the mail today. I couldn't help but notice that the amount was changed from xxx$ to xx$. I can see on my contract (and remember from memory) that it was xxx$ when I e-mailed it to you. Did your cursor accidentally fall on the total, and did your mouse feel the need to double click over the dollar amount, and oh wow! Look! New numbers magically jumped into it's place before clicking PRINT?!?!

Anyways, since I'm sure it was a total accident, I realized a mistake I made as well. I am fully booked that day, good luck with your search for a decorator who will ummmm, work?? with your budget.

Sincerely,
Not an Idiot.

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

I mean really....what do you do? It's not an accidental thing. I think we need to sign this guy up for a job with the Nigerian E-Mail Scammers Association.

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:59am
post #23 of 40

icon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gif

jaime, I swear you are such a mess sometimes! And the way me and my friends use that phrase, it's ment as a compliment.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 4:05am
post #24 of 40

icon_biggrin.gif Yay!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 4:07am
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBCakesCo

I'd love to know everyone's input on this delima I had last weekend. I did a cake for a lady accidently wrote down white with buttercream then fondant over it and she wanted devils food with choco buttercream then fondant over it two tiered birthday cake for her 2 yr old son. I called her and told her I would take money off the price because it was my mistake and she tells me well he really wanted the chocolate. So she asked me to redo the cake overnight! So I did but said she'd pay the full price. Then when I meet her with the cake she tells me its not the cake she ordered. I must have forked out 40.00 between both cakes. I was so fed up I said just take it don't worry about paying and she goes no because its not what I ordered! I'm like wow whatever and I left. I've never had a rude customer like this. She was mad because she wanted fondant balls around each tier and I did them in bc because I was restricted on time. I also had my daughter's birthday party the same day and she knew but didn't care.




I had a similar thing happen once but it was in a shop where I worked--I wish I wish I wish I woulda dropped that second cake --no it was the third cake!!!!!!

The first was a 8" Batman design but she said she ordered a quarter sheet cake--we were almost closed so I whip her out the dang quarter sheet. Well that decor was not exactly like the first one and she wants the decor on the first cake--the difference from an 8" to a quarter sheet--I said we're closing--

She was my first batzilla -- so I redid that quarter sheet--oooh I was mad. I so shoulda dropped that cake but she woulda made me make it again. This being my embryonic spine days icon_lol.gif bitch!

So my advice, drop it--drop it in slow motion upside down and watch her face and enjoy yourself--just kidding --at least daydream doing it.

But I mean I'm seriously ready to if I ever got another one like her--

<high five>

soccermom17 Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 4:29am
post #26 of 40

speaking of growing a spine. i just emailed a bride (for this weekend), just to verify design, etc. Then I had to ask her if she mailed the final payment. I don't have a record of it! I may have received it and deposited it and not written it down. I didn't tell her that. Just that I couldn't locate a paid in full receipt for her wedding. First time that has happened. And LAST time! I hope she did pay, but sure could use that money if she didn't!
I know it takes time to get comftorable with certain aspects of this business. But noone should assume they don't have to pay more when ordering more. get those knots out of your stomach! you did the right thing! good luck to you.
-Michelle

Jen80 Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 4:57am
post #27 of 40

Of course you should raise the price. You quoted her for a four block cake not six.

A lot of my spine growing usually takes place at 3 in the morning when I'm fiddling with a cake that I've charged @ cost.
By 4am I'm usually mumbling to myself "I'm never gonna $%#(*& do this again!!"


icon_lol.gif

kaseyrconnect Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 5:42am
post #28 of 40

This thread has come at just the right time for me. I am such a jelly fish and people have really picked up on that. I will be asked to do cakes at last minute and they will tell me that they forgot to call and order the cake and they need it the next day. I have always done the cake even though they made me feel pretty unimportant because they just assume that my time is not important. I realize that this is my fault and if i keep being a doormat then they will keep walking all over me. Someone said something earlier about thinking more of yourself and others will think more of you also. Well i can feel that spine growing right now. I have done cakes for waaaay to little money int the past and last minute cakes are going to cost a pretty penny or can't be done.
Okay so i can sound confident right now but i am already feeling a little jellyfishy.

zdebssweetsj Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 7:13am
post #29 of 40

I love this thread, I'm the original people pleaser, can't say no for the life of ME. I've really had to work on it. Those "friends" who always need something at the last minute and cheap or free to boot are the absolute worst!! Couple of years ago I had a friend ask me to do a 5-tiered,fondant covered,wedding cake with a full orcid and calla lille spray made from gumpaste,and a grooms cake. I was new didn't know any better, the bride and grooms family were sharing the cost, I told them $200.00 each. I had to wait almost a month to get paid anything and then the grooms family never paid. Now I'm crystal clear if your wedding cake is not paid in full 1 month prior their will be no cake. And no refund of your deposit!! I could go on and on please, you owe to yourself and your families, place a value on your time if you don't no one else will.

JBCakesCo Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:52pm
post #30 of 40

I just think some people want something for nothing or they just want something to complain about. People in this day and age can't just be satisfied they have to find something to complain about any little thing.

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