TheHeat Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 12:42am
post #1 of

How do I charge someone for a wedding cake when I only decorate for a hobby? I'm not a professional and I don't claim to be. I made my sister's 3 tiered wedding cake, but that was my gift to her. An aquaintence saw the pictures and would like me to make one for her. I'm happy to do it as long as she realizes I'm not a professional. But what do I charge to make it worth my time? I don't want to charge her what a professional bakery would, but I also want to be compensated for my time. Help!

52 replies
ayerim979 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 1:04am
post #2 of

Girl.... you are going to probably open a can of worms icon_confused.gif

Do you really want to make this lady the cake? Try searching to see if anyone has asked a similar question to see what the responces were.

I made my best friend her wedding cake, Also as a gift but she insisted on giving me a donation. After not taking it she mailed me a Visa gift card lol !!!

prterrell Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 1:24am
post #3 of

Here's a story from my own experience.

I am a *very* good cook and can cook for large numbers of people easily, but I am not a professional caterer. Two of my very dear friends were getting married. They really wanted an Italian themed wedding reception, but couldn't find any caterers in the area that could/would do it. I offered to do it for cost as long as other of our friends could chip in to help with the prep work the day before and early on the day. The reception was held in the church fellowship hall. It was an afternoon wedding, so it was heavy finger foods, not sit down supper. Even so, it ended up being three of the most hectic days of my life (shopping, prepwork, and work day of). Prior to agreeing to do the catering, I was supposed to do the cake, but I knew I couldn't do both. Fortunately, they were able to find someone else to do the cake. The reception turned out wonderful and everyone loved the food. The bride and groom gave me a very generous thank-you gift (a very large gift card to my favorite restaurant). I was happy to do this for them, because they were my friends and I was doing it out of love for them. There's NO WAY I'd do the same for someone I didn't consider dear friends UNLESS I was being paid at a professional rate. There's just too much work involved for me not to be reimbursed accordingly and I'd end up hating doing what I was doing otherwise.

Honestly, charge her a price based on the rates in your area. Call around to a few bakeries and get a quote for a cake for the same number of servings as the cake they want you to do. Unless it's someone you love, for whom you'll gladly stay up all nice baking and decorating, you're gonna end up hating the process without proper reimbursement. Also, if you don't charge enough, you'll quickly become swamped with people wanting cheap cake. That's the quickest way for this hobby to get out of hand!

HTH!

joyfullysweet Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 1:57am
post #4 of

Also you need to look in to if their venue will even allow you to bring in a wedding cake if you are not licensed. Some places require it for insurance purposes!

chouxchoux Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:01am
post #5 of

it's too hard and costly to do it for a cheap price. but i'm having the same problem. i think i need confidence.

LaBellaFlor Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:38am
post #6 of

You don't. Hobbies are for your enjoyment and they cost.

indydebi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:08am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

Even so, it ended up being three of the most hectic days of my life (shopping, prepwork, and work day of)........There's NO WAY I'd do the same for someone I didn't consider dear friends UNLESS I was being paid at a professional rate. There's just too much work involved for me not to be reimbursed accordingly and I'd end up hating doing what I was doing otherwise.



Amen!! As a caterer, I use the example all the time of "Gramma may be a good cook, but she doesn't know how to cook for 100. It's a WHOLE 'nuther ball game!"

anotherslice Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:17am
post #8 of

What prterrell said. Ditto!

tesso Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:39am
post #9 of

been there done that!! I started out the same way. What i did in the beginning was figure out my costs and then double it. I know it feels so weird charging for a cake when you first start out because your like...what if it's not good enough? what it it's.. and the list goes on.

You can also figure out how many hours it takes you to do the cake. You don't want to be getting paid practically nothing for all your work. With the confidence comes the pricing !!

Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself and your work. icon_razz.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:47am

If you're going to do this, you might take a look at this thread where a CC'er compared the "ingredients times three" and then figured a price that actually accounted for her time. I think you'll find it very interesting. You have to scroll down quite a ways to get to the pricing posts: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=6475557#6475557

jlh Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:59am

I decorate as a hobby too. I make ice cream cakes, and am constantly asked "if I'll sell them'. No, I don't sell. For me...I have to back away for a day or two, and get over the flattery (that someone saw my cake and wants to pay me for one). Then, I picture myself running around that week, kids, homework, possible outbreak of swine flu in my house...then after all that.. I say "do I REALLY REALLY want to do THIS CAKE and for THIS PERSON". If I even have to think twice, the answer is no. If I'm DYING to make the cake, or LOVE the person...I know right away. Unless you pull a professional rate, you'll most likely be totally kicking yourself about 10pm that night when you're behind schedule. Good luck..I know the agony.

craftybrandi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 4:05am

I too decorate cakes as a hobby. For me, it is something that cost me money, passes the time and allows me to express myself creatively. I usually do them as gifts, mostly birthday gifts. When I do this, I just get more practice, I am doing something constructive and I am doing something nice (and tasty) for someone. That said, I do get asked to make cakes for people. Since this is just a hobby, and not a business, I limit my "request" cakes to family and close friends, no one else (basically the people whom I would not charge if I did have a business). I would not do a cake for an acquaintance or friend of a friend. Should something go wrong - hopefully a close friend or family member would understand and eventually forgive you - not so with others, why take the risk.

As for charging, since these cakes are requested for some occasion important to that person and not a situation where I am "gifting" it, I do ask to be reimbursed for the cost of materials, but not my time. I consider my time is paid through the further experience I gain with making the cake. After all its not a business, you shouldn't be "making" money on the deal. Some may even say getting a reimbursement for the ingredients is not right, but I say if I am going to spend three or four days of staying up all night baking and decorating after working all day, that goes a bit beyond an enjoyable hobby I do at my leisure.

Of course there are always the legalities. Maybe you legally cannot sell a cake made from your home kitchen without a business license. If you are wanting to have this experience as your stepping stone to open a business you should first look into what the requirements are for your area - you would hate to start down a new path on the wrong foot. As with any business you see what others are charging and try to stay competitive.

LaBellaFlor Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 4:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by craftybrandi

I too decorate cakes as a hobby. For me, it is something that cost me money, passes the time and allows me to express myself creatively. I usually do them as gifts, mostly birthday gifts. When I do this, I just get more practice, I am doing something constructive and I am doing something nice (and tasty) for someone. That said, I do get asked to make cakes for people. Since this is just a hobby, and not a business, I limit my "request" cakes to family and close friends, no one else (basically the people whom I would not charge if I did have a business). I would not do a cake for an acquaintance or friend of a friend. Should something go wrong - hopefully a close friend or family member would understand and eventually forgive you - not so with others, why take the risk.

As for charging, since these cakes are requested for some occasion important to that person and not a situation where I am "gifting" it, I do ask to be reimbursed for the cost of materials, but not my time. I consider my time is paid through the further experience I gain with making the cake. After all its not a business, you shouldn't be "making" money on the deal. Some may even say getting a reimbursement for the ingredients is not right, but I say if I am going to spend three or four days of staying up all night baking and decorating after working all day, that goes a bit beyond an enjoyable hobby I do at my leisure.

Of course there are always the legalities. Maybe you legally cannot sell a cake made from your home kitchen without a business license. If you are wanting to have this experience as your stepping stone to open a business you should first look into what the requirements are for your area - you would hate to start down a new path on the wrong foot. As with any business you see what others are charging and try to stay competitive.




Applause, applause! You said this so well from a hobby baker's perspective! thumbs_up.gif

Smashme Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 4:20am

I was told as long as you don't make over $500 a year, it's just a hobby. How the goverment would know is beyond me icon_eek.gif . But i don't think i'll be making over that in a year, but again its just a hobby for me and i'm only starting out. thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 4:27am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smashme

I was told as long as you don't make over $500 a year, it's just a hobby. How the goverment would know is beyond me icon_eek.gif . But i don't think i'll be making over that in a year, but again its just a hobby for me and i'm only starting out. thumbs_up.gif




The money part is under the arm of the IRS.

THe "legal" part is under the arm of the health dept (or in some states, the agriculture dept).

Two totally different concerns.

cakesdivine Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 5:39am
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHeat

How do I charge someone for a wedding cake when I only decorate for a hobby?




You Don't.

Deb_ Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 12:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHeat

How do I charge someone for a wedding cake when I only decorate for a hobby?



You Don't.




Agree.

You do what most of us did before we started a legal business.

When asked to sell a cake, your response should be "Sorry, I only make cakes for family and close friends, I don't sell them".

Pretty simple.

Abbiedal Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 1:29pm

In this day and age I'd be wary making/selling cakes for anyone other then family!!!! You just never know

leah_s Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:02pm

The worst thing you can possibly to do those of us who are professionals/legal/insured/etc is to undercut us on price. We're trying to keep the lights on and our families fed.

emrldsky Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:10pm

I make cakes for my coworkers' birthdays, for free. I get practice, and they get a cake. I also make the cakes for my nieces and nephews birthdays.

I've had people ask me how much before, so I came up with a price:

"$5 a serving for butter cream, $7 for fondant, but the cat hair is extra."

For some reason, no one wants to order a cake after that! icon_eek.gif

I do have a funny story though...my brother had his neighbor ask if I would make her wedding cake. I came up with some really high price (for the area, it was REALLY high) and she told him, "I thought, since she was your sister, she would do it free?"

I love my brother, because he said, "Are you nuts? She's MY sister, not yours. Go get a cake elsewhere because she's not gonna do it for you now."

*snort*

The only reason I give really high prices is because I really just cannot be bothered to explain the legalities. Most of the people around here would say, "I wont' tell anyone!" Sorry, YOU might not tell anyone, but that doesn't mean someone who ate it won't.

LaBellaFlor Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:28pm

I LOVE this story! thumbs_up.gif

AverageMom Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:31pm

You charge $0.00. It is a gift. You do not receive money. You do not receive any compensation, of any sort.

PuffCake Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:43pm

In some states in the US, it really is legal for a hobbyist to sell a cake. We don't know where the OP lives. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt. She asked a valid question. icon_smile.gif

emccle Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 2:45pm

When I first started taking Wilton classes, (and got hooked on CC), I was bringing a new practice cake or cookie idea into work every Monday. I made the mistake ONE TIME of letting someone talk me into baking cookies for them for pay. I way undercharged, and resented taking the order. The next request I got, I simply said I don't have a legal kitchen, sorry I can't do it. The coworker said she wouldn't tell anyone, and kept insisting, and finally said, "well fine, I thought you would appreciate the extra money, I'll just give it to someone else". That totally convinced me that I would not bake for that particular person. I only bake for family now, and of course, I don't charge anything.

Also, one time when I had a really busy weekend, I didn't bring anything in on Monday. One co-worker walked into the staff room and asked very loudly "what? no cake today?" I never brought anything in again!!

Yes, it's very flattering that she asked you to make her wedding cake, but I would only do it for family, not for an acquaintance.

julzs71 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:18pm

I would only do it if I had insurance. Even if you are allowed to do it in the state you are in. People these days try to scam any and everyone. If they get "sick" from it, they can take you to court.

Mike1394 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:46pm

You don't

Mike

Stephi1 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:47pm

Wow, she asked a valid question. Why is everyone going down this road again. Everytime I come on here someone is being snippy and hateful. I come on less and less lately!

_Jamie_ Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:51pm

Stephi? Really? I see short to the point answers. Are you interpreting those as snippy and hateful? Please. Enlighten us. Please copy and paste the answers that were snippy and hateful. This should be fun.

kjskid Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:53pm

I've done this, being a hobby baker. I was asked by a friend at my church to do her daughter's cake. It was a three-tiered cake for 75 people (the fall-colored one in my pics). I asked her first off what her budget was, and she said $150. That's what I was thinking, so I agreed. After I finished it, I calculated my expenses, and realized I had only paid myself $35 for all the work that I'd put into it. If I ever do it again (and for a good friend only!), I would charge more, probably $225, or $3/serving. It's a lot of work to go through, even if you love doing it.

Mike1394 Posted 22 Jan 2010 , 3:57pm

Ok Stefi, If you really want snippy go to the Mix thread, and there I get snippy.

As a hobby why in the world would you want to take the chance of not delivering a cake the bride is expecting? Why would you want the pressure?

Mike

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