Trying Time With Price Justification

Business By cakesdivine Updated 11 Oct 2009 , 4:29pm by LaBellaFlor

cakesdivine Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 2:31pm
post #1 of 31

Okay so my daughter who is 24 and an amazing cake decorator in her own right, is doing two cakes to deliver to Houston this weekend, one is for a friend and the other for a former co-worker of hers. She originally referred the co-worker to me before she moved here and started working for me part-time (her band performance schedule keeps her from being permenant help for me). Any way, her co-worker wanted a 3D cake in the shape of their new custom built home, and we are not talking a box shape of a cake either, to serve 50 people. I quoted her $9 per serving which would include the almost 400 mile round trip delivery fee to Houston.

My daughter hit the roof and told the co-worker she would do it for her for $100. Skip to this week, she has commandeered the use of the comm. kitchen I rent (that I of course am having to pay for... icon_mad.gif ), using my very expensive fondant (granted I told her she could, but now am thinking I so should have made her buy her own, but the kid is out of work and so is her good for nothing boyfriend...but I digress). She has been working her butt off on just the 3D cake, making fondant people, trees for the front yard, recreating the entire facade of the house. I have to say she is an amazing artist and decorator. I keep asking many hours have you put into this? How much money have you spent? What is your time worth? Are you going to need to borrow money for gas to get to Houston and back? All the while trying to make her understand this is a business, your time is worth something, your artistry is worth something. I even made her read that article that a fellow CC'r alerted us to a couple of weeks ago about why custom cakes cost so much. She just doesn't get it...she still thinks with a cake muggle mind! Her response cost for ingredients was only $25 for both cakes I made $75....UM that is because you used my fondant, my kitchen rental time, my equipment, and probably my money to make the delivery icon_confused.gif Okay so she has currently put in about 20 hours so far into this cake and she has only baked the other cake. I pay $100 a day to use the kitchen I rent (I can have it for the whole 24 hours if I need it for that price) We are in day 3. I did share about 4 hours with her to do a quarter sheet cake - baking and dec time.

So when I get home I am going to let her see that she actually lost major money on this deal, that she ...or rather I paid for this woman to have her masterpiece 3D cake that should have cost her $450 for a measly $75 for my daughter to have in "profit". If I made her pay (which I won't because she wouldn't be able to anyway) it would have cost her because she is slower and still a newbie to this manner of caking $300 in rental, $25 in her ingredients, $25 in fondant, and at least $80 in gas round trip to Houston, 30 hours after all is said & done in time (even at min wage is $217.50) she is in the negative on this cake order alone $547.50 icon_eek.gif her argument will be that she doesn't charge for her time. Um hello during that time you could have been going on job interviews and doing other positive steps to make some money!

I don't want y'all to think my daughter is a sponge she isn't. She is a frugal saver and has quite a bit of money in savings, and an excellent credit rating. The company she worked for in Houston eleminated her whole department. I asked her to come live with me until they got back on their feet and told her she was not to touch her savings except in an emergency. But still...she really doesn't understand why I charge what I charge! icon_sad.gif

30 replies
-Tubbs Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 2:53pm
post #2 of 31

She's just doing what I expect EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US did when we first started out - paying to do a cake for someone! What's different for her, is that she has a mother who can see exactly what's going on, understands the business, and is fortunately still letting her learn this lesson.

I'd say, sit back and let her do this one, on your dime. Then when it's all done, really make her understand how much it cost YOU for her to do this cake, and also let her know that you won't be bailing her out in future!

cakesdivine Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 2:58pm
post #3 of 31

Good advice Tubbs, Thanks for the props! icon_smile.gif

I honestly thought I would be admonished greatly for this...LOL! I am sure that will come too.

-Tubbs Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:11pm
post #4 of 31

Well, yeah, I'll be beating you around the head with a spatula if you're still letting her get away with this on her 10th cake. But, seriously, I'm embarrassed at how much it cost me to do my first wedding cake, but that was a mistake I made ONCE!!

You're a good, supportive mommy! Just make sure she knows that! icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:12pm
post #5 of 31

Do you remember that episode of Bill Cosby where Theo thought he could afford to move out? Dad (Bill Cosby) gave him a handful of money, then started pulling money out for bus fare, rent, lights, food, girlfriend expense, etc. It was funny and enlightening!

As mentioned above, we all go thru it. If she's not writing a check for it, she doesn't think it's an expense.

My restaurant neighbor comes in once in awhile and sees a wedding cake I've got done and says, "what do you have in that, $25-$35?" I told hubby, the next time I get the question, "How much do you have invested in that cake?", I'm going to point to my commercial kitchen and say, "$50,000." Every cake I do costs me $50,000 .... because with no kitchen, there's no cake.

She has the advantage of having a mom who can show her the ropes. Each one is a baby step for her. She'll get it ... eventually ... like we all do.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:14pm
post #6 of 31

For a replica of a house I would now charge around $12/ $600 for the house of 50 servings. THEN on top of that a 400 mile delivery??? That's what, a 14 hour round trip with stops? I don't have a set delivery fee but I kinda try to hover around at least $25/hour so that's another $350 for delivery.

Tell your daughter to add another zero on her price tag. icon_smile.gif

Sorry you have to go through with this! Maybe next time tell her that either she asks YOU what to price her cakes...or she buys all her own stuff. We all have to learn the hard way about pricing, but if she's not buying the stuff herself, she's not learning like we did.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:21pm
post #7 of 31

Debi - Yes I do! That was a super funny episode!

Tubbs - don't worry, my pocket book can't take that big of a hit twice...LOL! funny thing, she sure doesn't question how much I make when I sell choreography, or how much I charge when I teach a dance class! In fact I gave her my leaps & turns class on Thursday evenings so she could make some extra money, she asked me how much I was paying her and I told her $30 an hour...she gave me lip and said "well Paula paid me $35 a class and that was for a 45 min class and this one is an hour" I said, "That was Houston; this is Canyon Lake...your are comparing apples to oranges and I can always just teach it myself and save $120 a month)! She shut up...icon_wink.gif

patticakesnc Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:34pm
post #8 of 31

OMG...I still under price and I know I do, but I don't think I would have ever done that for $100.

Great advice from the others....Good luck with it....for some people it is just hard..... if you don't have anything, you feel bad asking for anything. I know that is how I feel. I am always broke broke broke and I guess it makes me feel as if everyone else is and I would be asking too much of them to charge them a decent amount for a cake...

froglover Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 3:45pm
post #9 of 31

I say do the bill cosby thing put $100 in her hand in cash and maybe some monopoly money and then start taking out the ingredients cost, kitchen rental, gas, etc. She will run out of money before you run out of things to be paid for so maybe she will then see. Again we have all made a cake or two for a lot less then we should have. Sometimes it may not even be intentionally done We just think oh that won't be so hard and then it quickly turns into a nightmare and you think I'm only getting X amount of money for all THIS.
If you don't teach her now she'll never see.

littlecake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:05pm
post #10 of 31
Originally Posted by TubbsCookies

She's just doing what I expect EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US did when we first started out - paying to do a cake for someone! What's different for her, is that she has a mother who can see exactly what's going on, understands the business, and is fortunately still letting her learn this lesson.

I'd say, sit back and let her do this one, on your dime. Then when it's all done, really make her understand how much it cost YOU for her to do this cake, and also let her know that you won't be bailing her out in future!

words of wisdom, i was thinking the very same thing...we all gotta go down this road.

TexasSugar Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:27pm
post #11 of 31

I think I'd present her a list of the expenses in bill form. Even if you aren't asking her to pay you back, she really needs to see how much it is costing, not only her but you. She's very lucky she could use your kitchen and supplies to get this done. She needs to see that if this is something she wants to keep doing, she has to treat it as if she is paying for everything.

I think you are a great mom for helping her out, but I don't think that that should mean you pay $400+ for a cake that she is doing, especially when it meant you could have made money off it. She may not be a sponge, but as a girl who's parents have helped her out alot, it is easy to get into the habit of having people help you and helping you pay for things. And it can be a very hard habit to break.

Spuddysmom Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:32pm
post #12 of 31

Yeah, allow her to finish this one and immediately inform her that next time you will not be able to bail her out. She will be purchasing all her own ingredients and will have to pay for the kitchen time... then stick to it... the sticking-to-it part is the hardest but she will learn. Right now she isn't facing reality, and will probably come away from this experience imagining she made good money.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:43pm
post #13 of 31

Oh believe me Spuddysmom, this is a one time deal, and yes, right now she does think "hey I made $75", don't think I haven't already thought about itemizing it all down for her, I keep hoping she hits a snag decoratively with this and realizes it isn't as easy as she thinks, she has never done a 3D before and I have a feeling she is going to forget to spike it to keep it in one piece for the long distance delivery eventhough I reminded her that she would need supports.

And you are right TexasSugar, I saw it first hand with my cousin and my aunt.

Lcubed82 Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 5:01pm
post #14 of 31

I remember in grade school making and selling cakes as a fundraiser for orchestra. I baked and sold pound cakes for about 5.00. My mother never did tell me what she paid in supplies- and I never even thought about it until years later when MY daughters started doing bake sales!

catlharper Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 5:10pm
post #15 of 31

Ok, so I read this from top to bottom...since I have two daughters, one a decorator as well, but one who doesn't "get" the price of things. You say you are "tempted" to itemize the cost of this cake with her. From experience, don't be tempted...actually DO it. Let her finish the cake, let her drive it down and then come back and THEN sit down with her and explain the business side of cake decorating. Itemize it all out as clearly as you can and make sure she understands that her time needs to be charged for as well as the other parts of decorating. Even without charging for her time this cake is way undercharged for and this time you paid for someone to have a cake on your dime. Make sure she knows that as well as what she will have to charge the next time...and since she's talented, there will be a next time.

You sound like you are a good mom in encouraging her talent, now encourage her business sense.

Love from one mom to another,


tx_cupcake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 5:28pm
post #16 of 31

I can not add anything here that has not already been said in triplicate. You're a good mom to let her learn this lesson on her own.

And I agree with TexasSugar. Just break it down in bill form, and when you give it to her, say "Next time, this bill will be real."

littlecake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 5:55pm
post #17 of 31

i'd love to see a picture of your daughter cake.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 6:22pm
post #18 of 31

I went home at lunch time and because of her inexperience, she rolled her fondant WAY too thin, she didn't let the cake defrost and the condensation dry before putting the fondant on it, so right now it isn't looking that great, the pieces that she did that she did separately and let dry are amazing (windows, brick facade, the house number tile) It will look like two different people worked on this cake...LOL! She is trying to fix all the problems now. I told her to let the darn thing dry then remove/redo what she could.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 6:37pm
post #19 of 31

Hooooooly crap. icon_sad.gif

cylstrial Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:05pm
post #20 of 31
Originally Posted by txcupcake

I can not add anything here that has not already been said in triplicate. You're a good mom to let her learn this lesson on her own.

And I agree with TexasSugar. Just break it down in bill form, and when you give it to her, say "Next time, this bill will be real."

I'd also give her an itemized list of what everything costs so that she can learn her lesson quickly.

CoutureCake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:23pm
post #21 of 31

Time to be the Mom!!! icon_biggrin.gificon_evil.gificon_biggrin.gif ....

O.k. this gal needs to learn that she is NOT WALMART and you don't have the buying power of billion$... She needs to realize that she didn't make $75 and truthfully NEEDS to have you charge her for some of the expenses you incurred, that's the ONLY way she's going to learn here... Seriously, if you have to pay $100/day to rent space, Honey, there's no excuse for her not covering the rental expense here... I know you're trying to be the icon_cool.gif Mom, but you need to be the icon_evil.gif Mom here too because until she sees that $75 go out the window she's going to "see" it as PROFIT... Maybe she needs to pay for her own gas to Houston and back...

The worst thing you can do is not let her in on the itemized expenses here because she'll continue to charge lower than Walmart half-sheet rates for Thousand dollar projects...

cutthecake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 8:33pm
post #22 of 31

It reminds me of the "I Love Lucy" episode in which Lucy and Ethel made and sold salad dressing. They sold it for less than it cost to make. Lucy told Ricky, "We'll make it up in volume." They delivered it all over the New York area on roller skates and a bicycle.

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 9:02pm
post #23 of 31

wow, I thought $9 was crazy cheap. I'm sorry, but I would hand my daughter an itemized bill she would have to pay. Would I make her pay all of it? No, but she would be forking over that $75. And it's not to be mean, but to give her that real reality check. I just don't know how you stayed so calm.

cakesdivine Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 1:46am
post #24 of 31

here is the finished product. She had to do most in BC due to the fondant issue, but all in all not a bad first attempt at a 3D cake.

tx_cupcake Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 2:05pm
post #25 of 31

WOW!!! I am tres impressed! Definitely worth at least $600... and that's if it were to be delivered in Canyon Lake!

Spuddysmom Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 2:59pm
post #26 of 31

I do hope this makes it in one piece! Didn't you say she didn't put any support system (dowels) in? What a lot of work! You would have only charge $9 per serving and that included delivery? Please say at least the delivery would have been extra. $450 for this cake is a steal - $100 a felony! Looks like she did a great job sculpting, btw.

cakesdivine Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 4:02pm
post #27 of 31

She listened to me and put in supports!

Spuddysmom Posted 10 Oct 2009 , 8:31pm
post #28 of 31

It will be interesting to hear what the recipients have to say... bet she gets lots of orders from this.........uh-oh.........

cakesdivine Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 12:35am
post #29 of 31

They loved it! But when she comes home from this success I will let her know that it actually cost me out of my pocket $$$ for her to do this cake for a former co-worker.

Spuddysmom Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 4:18pm
post #30 of 31

Of course they loved it! It is a fabulous cake - especially for $100. Good thing you are going to prepare her cuz she will be getting lots of requests for many fabulous $100 cakes and you'd go broke! Yipes! You are a good mom! Big hug...

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