Did I Quote Too Much??

Decorating By cupcakeco Updated 23 Jun 2010 , 4:33pm by LindieLu

cupcakeco Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 3:59pm
post #1 of 39

I should start off by saying that I am no where near a professional decorator, but have a considerable amount of experience and know the ropes. I have done enough cakes to know what goes into them, etc...

I was approached by someone I worked with back in '07 on Facebook about making a cake for her boyfriend's 30th. She wanted something along these lines:


only more realistic and of fondant, not buttercream. She wanted the "boobs" to be more realistic and have a fondant "bikini" made to look like the balls.

She wanted this for 60 people. So I planned to do four 9x13s, aligned landscape and double stacked and carved (because I don't have a quarter/half/full sheet pan)...the finished product would have been about 13x18x2-3. About 54 party size servings.

Knowing the amount of time and work this is going to take, I quoted $225, which works out to about $4.00 per serving. Hadn't heard from her in awhile but just got another facebook email from her saying that she found someone who could do it for $170 and will be going with them. Ok, no problem, unless of course I can do it "for around that."

Did I charge too much? I need to know I don't charge often but I don't want to scare off people in the future either.

38 replies
KASCARLETT Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 4:08pm
post #2 of 39

You win some, you lose some. Only you know how much work goes into something like that. Wonder what that other cake will look like? lol I would tell her, I'm sorry - but I really can't and wish her luck! icon_biggrin.gif If that's your price, that's your price!

kaat Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 4:09pm
post #3 of 39

$4.00/serving for a carved caked is still a good deal IMO. I've gone through the same dilema many times but what I have come to realize is that I don't enjoy doing the cakes that I've dropped the price for. I have chosen to make quality cakes that I enjoy doing. And if that means Jane Doe doesn't want my kind of cake then she can go else where, because I don't want that kind of client.
I've been a lot happier since then - though I still feel that twang of guilt occasionally!

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 4:12pm
post #4 of 39

I can't help but think that it might be a better idea to make the boobs out of cupcakes or use a softball pan from wilton. Rather than making a whole extra layer of cake just to trim away. That would help cut down on your cost.

Honestly couldn't say if it was over priced or not. I know a lot of decorators charge a minimum for carved cakes. But I don't know where you are. In New York, 4 dollars a serving is cheap. In say, Iowa, 4 dollars might be a bit pricey.

cupcakeco Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 4:17pm
post #5 of 39

I'm in Boston. And the extra top layer wouldn't have been just for the boobs--like I said, we were going for more "real" and so there was going to be a lot of contour involved.

erinalicia Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:06pm
post #6 of 39

sounds like a fair quote for the amount of work involved. Maybe she's just experiencing sticker shock.

From my experience, most people never think that a cake should cost that much, but if they could do it themselves they wouldn't be going to someone else to do it. They also lack any respect for the amount of time and experience involved in creating their "unique" cake to show off to their friends.

cakesdivine Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:10pm
post #7 of 39

Very fair quote! A fondant covered carved cake in my pricing is $7.50 per serving.

KHalstead Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:24pm
post #8 of 39

I charge $3.50/serv. for fondant carved cakes and I'm in rural Ohio!!!!! You definitely didn't overcharge at all!!

indydebi Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:30pm
post #9 of 39

i knew without even reading your story that my answer would be "no".

cathyscakes Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:33pm
post #10 of 39

Your cakes are beautiful, i don't think you charged to much.

Bluehue Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 5:50pm
post #11 of 39

$4.00 per serving x 60 people = $240.00 so no way have you charged too much.

The other baker is charging roughly $2.83 per serving icon_confused.gif - so the customer will get what she pays for................ a $170.00 cake.
Wonder if this includes her delivery fee...

Perhaps she has just emailed you that info hoping you will come down in price - Stay with your price thumbs_up.gif don't sell yourself short. icon_smile.gif


cupcakeco Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 6:59pm
post #12 of 39

Thank you all-- your responses definitely made me feel better. I'm not lowering my price because honestly, I don't think it's worth anything less for all that work. Thanks again.

BekkaBoo82 Posted 11 Mar 2010 , 10:46pm
post #13 of 39

I dont think you have over quoted at all. I have found that because I only do cakes as a hobby, my prices have to be slightly higher than a cake shop as I cant buy ingredients etc in bulk therefore it costs me more to make. So far I have only charge people what the cake costs me to make (as they are friends and family) but I just received a cake order (2 'ying yang' style hearts using fondant to feed 60 people quoted $60). I've now worked out I have seriously undercharged them by almost $50 (they are getting the cake for $1 p/s). That doesn't include my time and effort and she was uming and aring as if that was a bit steep! People dont seem to realise how much time and work we actually put into making their cakes so stick to your original price! I wonder if there's a possibility that she either didn't get another quote or was quoted around the same price but is just trying to get it cheaper from you? IMO the quote 'Unless you can do it for around that' seems to imply that she wants you to make but, but is just trying to haggle a bit.

me_mysister Posted 13 Mar 2010 , 12:51am
post #14 of 39

I agree with erinalicia. When I was ordering cakes, I was like,"Why in the heck do they charge so much?" Now that I'm doing it, I understand why they charge so much! It's a lot of work!

cupcakeco Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:10pm
post #15 of 39

Ok girls! An update, I know everyone likes updates! Recieved another message from the girl today... it said...

"Hi I showed the bakery the picture and they said the owner wont allow to have that kind of cake because they look like boobs so stupid. I really can only afford 180 the most. its for April 3rd so in 2 weeks if you can do it can you please email me back if not that's fine"

Ahh!! Is she kidding! Now pity..omy. What do I do??!

pastryjen Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:18pm
post #16 of 39

If you want the $180 let her know that you can't do that for $180 but you can do this other design.


endymion Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:24pm
post #17 of 39

Don't do ANYTHING! Your price is your price. She can take it or leave it.

If you really want to be accommodating, you can offer to help her scale back on her design (e.g. more "cartoony" like the original picture so no carving) and her number of servings...

But honestly, I think you are better off just saying "I'm sorry... I hope you can find someone else, because I simply cannot do it for any less."

Win Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:28pm
post #18 of 39

I'm not trying to discount what you say would go into making a cake that looks a little more realistic which justifies you charging the original amount... if you want the job, then decide what modifications you need to make to make it a cake that costs $180.00 vs. the $225.00 --there's not that much difference in the math, really. I'd go with the suggestion to use a Wilton ball pan vs, the carving which cuts down on the amount of cake you need to bake. To me, that looks like the $45.00 right there. It would not be a huge sacrifice in the overall design either. Your work proves that you can adjust your mind-set and make compromises that don't compromise the overall effect you desire in the finished results. It will just be whether or not you want to...

cupcakeco Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:30pm
post #19 of 39

I think the issue is with the actual size of the cake. It is going to be a big thing...for 60 people...im looking at 4-5 mixes, 5-6 batches of handmade bc, and dying all that fondant. Holy S*&t. A lot of work. A lot of time involved. And at $180 I'm hardly getting paid for ANY of it. Or should I just be charitable and do it for $180?? I am so confused... icon_sad.gif

geri4292adams Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:32pm
post #20 of 39

Tell her that if she was to go with BC instead of fondant then you could knock the price down a little. Tell her if she's willing to make some changes, then you could do it for abetter amount than what she wants. I agree with everyone that said to use a ball pan instead of the other. When I made a cake like that, I used the ball pan and it worked out great.

For the record though, when you are smoothing your BC around the boobies, you WILL feel dirty. I know I did.

cupcakeco Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:37pm
post #21 of 39

Maybe I can suggest a two-layer 9x13 carved/with the boobs which means less fondant, less carving for me, and the rest of the servings made up in cupcakes iced in BC? Thoughts?

endymion Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:38pm
post #22 of 39

Like I said, I think you're better off to skip it. BUT it sounds like you really don't want to do that (because you keep saying, "well, maybe I should...")

SO you could offer to do a smaller cake, not carved but cartoony like the original... and she could buy undecorated sheet cakes (or cupcakes) to supplement the servings if need be.

Cakechick123 Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:41pm
post #23 of 39

I wouldnt change the price of that cake, but why not suggest something else that would fit into her budget? Maybe do a heart shape with the Wilton ball pan, those shouldnt take 4-5 mixes and no carving
This is one I did a while back.


This way you wont compromise on price and have a happy customer.

mamawrobin Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 3:02pm
post #24 of 39

Whatever you decide to do please keep us updated. I hate it when people try to negociate prices. Can you imagine going to the grocery store and telling the butcher that you want New York Strip for the price of round steak because your budget is so and so? I mean really icon_lol.gif

Mizza Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 3:11pm
post #25 of 39

Unless you really want to do this cake and she is someone you know well, I would say not to do it any less than what you originally quoted. I don't think you will enjoy it as much knowing you have cut the price and it will just become a hassle. People always want the fantastic cakes we can make but most are not willing to pay what they are worth. Don't cut yourself short, it is an art and if she wants your skill then she needs to pay for it.

cownsj Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 3:20pm
post #26 of 39
Originally Posted by cupcakeco

Maybe I can suggest a two-layer 9x13 carved/with the boobs which means less fondant, less carving for me, and the rest of the servings made up in cupcakes iced in BC? Thoughts?

You sound like you really want to do this cake. Do you? That will have an impact on what you decide. If it's not really something you want to do for that price, like everyone said, offer an alternative that you can live with and she can live with. If you really want to do it, then don't feel guilty about going ahead with it. But tell her confidentially that she is NOT to tell anyone what you charged because it's a one time only special deal for her. Or, take a shot at telling her you need the $180 up front and you'll take "x" amount per week to pay off the balance. You may never see that money from her, but 1. She'll never come to you for another cake if she doesn't pay, 2. You go into it not expecting to see the money so 3. If she does give it to you, it would be a bonus and 4. She knows that is the cost of the cake even if she was sort of allowed to skate on the balance. If you were to go this route, just don't expect to see the money and don't sweat it, it's just a ploy.

paulstonia Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 3:31pm
post #27 of 39

I have a heart shaped boobie cake in my pics. I did use the ball pan for the boobs and its not so time consuming. And I think it's pretty realistic looking. I use mmf fondant and I think it only took one batch. Of course she wants a bikini so that means a second color. But I think if you really want to do it that would be the way to go. The 14 inch heart pan serves 72 if it's two layers.

moralna Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 4:55pm
post #28 of 39

First of all, you are not overcharging! Do not undercut or underrate yourself. Second, I knew even before reading your update post that she was going to get back in contact with you because she never had a 2nd baker doing it cheaper; she was testing you. If you really want to do this cake you have 2 options - from what I see - make the cake much smaller and not so realistic or come down in your price a little and have her come up a little - maybe charge $200. Here is the thing that you have to ask yourself though - do I want to be the cake lady that can be haggled with on her prices? You do beautiful work and if you undercharge and the cake takes a little more work that anticipated - and you know that happens very often - you will have no one to blame but yourself. I say stick to your guns. If she only has $180 to play with offer her a cake that you can do for $180.

indydebi Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 5:03pm
post #29 of 39

If I only have $2000 to buy a car then I can only get a $2000 car.

Hate to be the one to inform her that this is how the real world works.

ArtieTs Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 5:16pm
post #30 of 39

I just had the same experience with an order today. I quoted a client $350 for a 5 tiered wedding cake to feed approx. 190 people not including the $30 delivery & setup fee I was going to charge & she handed me $300 & asked if she could have the cake with delivery for that price. WTF?!?!?! Funny part is I was going to at no charge cover it the cake in fondant for her & since she changed the cake flavor after the quote I was not going to charge her the difference in the price. That was my extra discount to her. I could really use the money but I politley told her no way mam. She was already getting a great deal in my opinion. I should've been charging her by the serving but I figured since I'm not a professional I could never charge her that much but she still was not satisfied. I can not understand people some time, no matter how much of a deal you give them, Its never enough. I feel good about my decision though to pass on that order because I know I'd be kicking myself later on once I started doing the work. TFL, CC fam.

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