Okay, this year my elementary school is having it's 2nd annual reunion. Last year there was a reunion just for my graduating class (1983) and I volunteered to do the cake. I actually donated it. (You can see it at:http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1223039).
Well I received many compliments on it and this year the principal told the alumni committee that she wanted me to do the cake again. I don't remember if it was one of the members of the committee who suggested it (I have to go back and check old e-mails) or if it was a relayed message from the principal, but I was told that I would be paid this time. Ok, great!
So I just found out the final count a couple of days ago and the reunion is a week from today. I had been sort of keeping up with the number as the count's been going up as they receive more payments/RSVP's and they even extended the deadline in which alumni could RSVP. Oh, btw, this year's reunion encompasses ALL grades. In other words, if you graduated from the school, you're invited to attend no matter what year. That being said it's not surprising that last year's number of attendees was about 90-115 and this year's total to date is 300.
So I e-mailed the committee member my price for the cake. I had already told her the other day that since it needs to be a large cake, I'd like to do something special; hopefully make the cake a replica of the school building. So normally I would charge about $5 per serving for something like this which would total $1500, but knowing that this is sort of a "budget" thing and that all the profit made from this reunion goes towards scholoarship funding (and I told my contact all this), I only charged $2.80 per serving. This makes the total cost $840.
I received an e-mail back stating that she forwarded my e-mail to the principal and not to do anything until I hear back. I was planning on shopping today and maybe even starting my baking this evening since I'll be making 6 half sheet cakes. I took this to mean that there's a concern about the price. What do you think?[/url]
Wow, you have a real dilema. It's so hard to sell to "related parties". How much could they expect to pay for a cake for 300? I think you are being BEYOND generous!! I would email her back and cc the principal to say that they could have a cheaper sheetcake option for $2.00 per serving (which is still ridicously low in NJ). Maybe get a quote from the grocery store (not that your cakes should be compared at all to grocery store cakes), but just to show them as a minimum price they would pay for ordinary.
Or you could donate a small cake that you choose to make and have them buy sheet cakes to feed most of the people.
Hard situation. Not many great options for you.
I suspect they were shocked at the $840 quote, and would have died of cardiac arrest at the $1500. As has been said many times, cake civilians have no idea how much time, work, effort and love goes into making a cake like the one you did last year. To them it's just sugar and flour and eggs.
I like PinkLisa's suggestion of giving them an "ordinary cake" comparison price from the grocery store or WalMart. It might enlighten them a bit. A "centerpiece cake" done by you with sheet cakes from the grocery store might be the solution to the money problem. Good Luck!
No school that I know of is going to be able to afford $840 for a cake, and that has nothing to do with anything other than the pitiful budgets they have to work with. Your pricing isn't wrong at all, it's jsut not what most schools can afford. They're probably thinking grocery store prices, so don't be surprised if they say they can't afford it, even at a discounted price.
Thanks for the opinions.
I'm waiting to hear back from the principal, but in the meantime I've been contacted by the alumni committee member again who said she'd call the principal up early Monday morning. She also said that they were sort of planning on about $300 to be allocated towards the cake (they didn't anticipate such a large turnout) and with the cost of the food and the cake they barely had enough for the DJ and some left over for the scholarship fund.
So I e-mailed her back and told her that I could do three plain sheet cakes (mimimally decoarated/piped); each one with one of the school's initials upon it: O - L - G. I also agreed to do it for the $300. My husband is telling me just for love of the school (I attended there from K-8, and the church is where my grandparents, aunts and I were all married, plus two of my aunts and a couple of their cousins also graduated from the school. The school wasn't opened when my mother started and my grandparents didn't want to transfer her, so she attended a different neighborhood Catholic school), and all it represents, I should go ahead and do the 3D carved building cake for the $300. I'm only afraid that I did the cake last year for free and didn't get any business from that (some people said they would call me, but one lived in Bklyn and the other one was from Long Island - quite a hike from NJ!)
I'm so torn about this that I'm sorry I agreed to do the cake. I'd like to do the 3D and get some more experience, and show off my talents, but it's so much work for so little pay. Also I'm kicking myself for having turned down another client who wanted a 3D toy car cake for the day after this reunion cake is due (I thought it wasn't fair to her as I knew it wouldn't be my main focus and I didn't want her cake to suffer for it).
truly, you are not going to make really any profit off of this cake because materials will cost at least $200.00.
However, I like to do things like that for free too because I love doing what I do. If you have the time and you feel like it would be rewarding, do it. Just don't do it for the money AT ALL.
Getting experience is a good thing. I jump at the chance to make a cake for a good cause. I donated a Back to School cake to the teachers luncheon this year (three tier cake for 100 people). At least you will get your expenses back and a bit more. Refocus you thinking on the cake. You'll end up better this year with the $300 than last year getting paid nothing. I'd make a small 3D cake and then sheet cakes to round out the remaining servings. You'll also get a great photo for you portfolio.
Actually the cost to me is about $125-140 (I'm guesstimating the cost of electric since I really have no idea). And my hubby brought up the same point about the photo for my portfolio.
Yes, I've baked in the past for Back to School Nights and unfortunately they only got me three cakes and that was about three years ago! Luckily my neighbor keeps me busy and is the one who referred me to the mother of the twins who purchased a cake and cookies (which totaled $248.25).
Oh well, I already committed myself and I knew I wasn't going to get full payment (though I didn't expect it to be this low either). Another CC member who has learned her lesson. Next time do not agree until I have all the facts and can quote a price and have it agreed upon.
But the experience will be good and at least I won't have the cake lying around here and me eating it, which is the last thing I need. lol