How Do I Say No?

Decorating By eatCakes Updated 11 Apr 2010 , 5:04pm by TracyLH

eatCakes Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 5:45pm
post #1 of 38

I bake cakes out of my home, and after a slow couple of years after I had my youngest daughter, business is starting to really pick up again and I am so excited! However... lately I've been faced with a couple situations where I know that I need to just say no and walk away and not feel bad, but that's not how I am. I try to please everyone, and generally get taken advantage of greatly. Whether it's someone wanting a sculpted armadillo cake that only feeds 6 people, or someone who wants a 25 serving cake but only wants to pay $20. I'm sorry, but that's going to cost ME almost as much to make it, and even if I didn't have to purchase the supplies, that's not even $1 a serving.

So what do I do? Do I say "I'm sorry but I don't think I'm the right person for what you need" and recommend them to Walmart? I hate doing that, but I undercharge as it is- accepting cake orders like this just doesn't make ANY sense for me. I feel extra bad because it's a friend of my sister-in-law, but after many e-mails back and forth it's just not going to work out.

I feel like some people want to pay for just the ingredients, but not everything else that goes into making these cakes, like my time and talent. icon_sad.gif

37 replies
Lenette Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:04pm
post #2 of 38

Let me preface by saying that I am not being mean or rude this is said in friendship so...

icon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

Okay, now that you can read my tone. icon_lol.gif

You are in this to have a business and make money, not to please people in the sense of doing what they want for what they want to pay you. You have to set your prices and be firm. You should have at least a list of starting prices and make sure any potential client is sent this info within 1 or 2 emails.

You cannot be the baker for everyone, it's just not possible. You don't need to feel bad at all. It's not anything personal, the price is $xxx, they can't afford it or don't want to pay it and that is OKAY!!

I betcha Macy's isn't worried about me not being able to afford that $200 purse I was eyeballing the other day. We as women have to learn to stand up and be about business and not taking care of everyone else. It is natural to be a giver, to want to please--I am the same way. I just had to learn to set my price and be good with it.

You are not doing yourself or your little ones any favors by taking on orders and losing money or barely breaking even. Think of the time and energy and possibly $$$ that you would be taking away from them.

So, do yourself a favor, know your cost and make a price list. Once your are contacted about a cake respond with my pricing starts at $xxx in there somewhere. And finally, know that you are worth it. thumbs_up.gif

That's all I can think if right now but I may be back! icon_wink.gif

jones5cm Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:14pm
post #3 of 38

eatcakes-I have found myself in the exact same situation that you are in and I know how tough it can be. But I am in the throws of moving past it just as Lenette says. It is possible to forego the guilt; I know it is, because I've seen it happen and it will get easier for you! Oh sure, there will still be those tough orders when you will feel like you're right back where you started; but hang tough...you can do this!

Lenette - Thanks for the pep talk; felt like you were talking to me as wellicon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:16pm
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by confectionperfectionIA

... where I know that I need to just say no and walk away and not feel bad, but that's not how I am. I try to please everyone, and generally get taken advantage of greatly.




People can only take advantage of you and make you feel bad if you let them. You have to train yourself not to base your happiness off of other people and their feelings.

Quote:
Quote:

Whether it's someone wanting a sculpted armadillo cake that only feeds 6 people, or someone who wants a 25 serving cake but only wants to pay $20. ....

So what do I do? Do I say "I'm sorry but I don't think I'm the right person for what you need" and recommend them to Walmart? I hate doing that, but I undercharge as it is- accepting cake orders like this just doesn't make ANY sense for me. I feel extra bad because it's a friend of my sister-in-law, but after many e-mails back and forth it's just not going to work out.

I feel like some people want to pay for just the ingredients, but not everything else that goes into making these cakes, like my time and talent. icon_sad.gif




Read over all of that. I think you know what you need to do, you just need someone to tell you to do it.

What do you say to them? You say: Sculpted cakes start off at XYZ a serving with a min of ABC servings. Sure I can make you a sculpted armadillo but the cake will serve 25 people and will be $125.

When they want a cake for a cheap price then you simply say: The smallest cake I can make is an 8in round that serves 24. My price for that cake is $50 or $60 or$72. What ever it would be based off your serving price. If they cant afford or dont want to spend $50, $60 or $72 for the cake then they can go to the local grocery store and get one.

You can always laugh it off with a, You want to pay $20 for a custom home baked cake that serves 20 people? Wow if I did that then Id be paying for you to take the cake off my hands. Or you can always compare to the twinkies price or what ever snack cake. Wow, you want to pay .83 cents for a serving of cake? Even twinkies cost xyz per serving.

It is not, and I repeat, it is not your responsibility to do what ever you have to, especially taking a hit in your finances to provide a cake for someone. I feel people tend to take advantage of people that bake from home because they dont think they have the overhead and they know them. Most of these people wouldnt walk into a bakery and expect them to cut the costs of the cakes because they only want to pay so much for it.

Now go stand in front of the mirror and repeat after me: It is not my job in life to make everyone happy. I do not have to do ever cake I get asked to do. And I will not take money or time away from my family just because I am worried someone will be mad at me.

KHalstead Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:21pm
post #5 of 38

I'm in the same boat as you..........what I do (so I don't feel mean) is I get out a pricing sheet and this is how the conversation goes


Me: According to my pricing sheet it looks like a 20 serving carved cake will be $X.XX

Them: I had no idea they were so expensive!!!!!

Me: Do you have a budget for this cake?

Them: Well, I was hoping to spend around $20.00

Me: I can give you 2 dozen cupcakes for $20.00, that will give you 24 servings.

Them: Well, I really wanted cake

Me: The only cake I can offer you for $20.00 would be a 6" round and that will only serve 10.

Them: I guess I"ll check somewhere else

Me: ok, well if you need anything else do call back....good luck, hope your party is successful!

Them: yeah, thanks, bye

jones5cm Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:27pm
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I'm in the same boat as you..........what I do (so I don't feel mean) is I get out a pricing sheet and this is how the conversation goes


Me: According to my pricing sheet it looks like a 20 serving carved cake will be $X.XX

Them: I had no idea they were so expensive!!!!!

Me: Do you have a budget for this cake?

Them: Well, I was hoping to spend around $20.00

Me: I can give you 2 dozen cupcakes for $20.00, that will give you 24 servings.

Them: Well, I really wanted cake

Me: The only cake I can offer you for $20.00 would be a 6" round and that will only serve 10.

Them: I guess I"ll check somewhere else

Me: ok, well if you need anything else do call back....good luck, hope your party is successful!

Them: yeah, thanks, bye




How would this conversation go (if any change at all) if you were talking to, lets say your SIL??

TexasSugar Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:33pm
post #7 of 38

Why would someone being related to you change anything?

My SIL asks me for cakes all the time and never has she asked me to charge her any less because we are related. My brother who pays the bill acutally often asks me if I am charging enough.

Loucinda Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:36pm
post #8 of 38

I think having a price list right there helps you be firm. ALl of the above is excellent advice! Print out that sheet, and keep one by each phone!

It is tough the first couple of times, but it gets easier. You may possibly make fewer cakes, but MORE money in the long run!

jones5cm Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:41pm
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Why would someone being related to you change anything?

My SIL asks me for cakes all the time and never has she asked me to charge her any less because we are related. My brother who pays the bill acutally often asks me if I am charging enough.




You're right, it shouldn't change the converstion; but that's where the guilt comes into play! I'm talking about a sil that you have made her 8 year old's first 8 birthday cakes...and gifted them!! Any suggestions how to stop that trend??? I'm all earsicon_smile.gif

dalis4joe Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 6:49pm
post #10 of 38

loving this... I used be like that.... and reading the threads here showed me that I was doing it all wrong... u r talking about that won't even cover the ingredients... how about your time?? your time IS VALUABLE!! and I know We take so much pride in what we do that we put it hours and hours....

listen to all the advice posted here... and just learn that....
NO is a powerful word (there's a book with this title... seriously!!)

we tend to only think about the ingredients and how we feel bad for them... we need to know like stated above... Macys - Walmart - Burger King... they don't care if you can afford it or not.... they have a price and that is that.... so we HAVE to be the same....
else...
u will end up losing money of every cake u do...

icon_smile.gif

eatCakes Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:13pm
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jones5cm

You're right, it shouldn't change the converstion; but that's where the guilt comes into play! I'm talking about a sil that you have made her 8 year old's first 8 birthday cakes...and gifted them!! Any suggestions how to stop that trend??? I'm all earsicon_smile.gif




Oh my gosh do I feel you on this!!! I have had to implement a new policy- If I ask you if you want a cake, it's free. If you ask me for a cake, you pay. It got to the point where I wanted to ask for the difference between what I would've charged for the cake and what present I would've normally bought the person in question. Because I don't generally buy $75 birthday gifts, but they were asking for $75 cakes!

eatCakes Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:17pm
post #12 of 38

Thank you all so much. I know that I shouldn't want to please people so much and that their happiness is not up to me, it's just hard. I'm just starting out, ya know, so there are places that I'm willing to sacrifice. I'm willing to go the extra mile and do extra unexpected details on a cake, or make a super fantastic flavor, something extra- at no extra charge. But when people do things like this, it's like a slap in the face.

Whoever said that Macy's doesn't care whether you can afford a $200 purse, you said it so perfectly, thank you. icon_biggrin.gif

uabcjgrad2006 Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:19pm
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jones5cm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Why would someone being related to you change anything?

My SIL asks me for cakes all the time and never has she asked me to charge her any less because we are related. My brother who pays the bill acutally often asks me if I am charging enough.



You're right, it shouldn't change the converstion; but that's where the guilt comes into play! I'm talking about a sil that you have made her 8 year old's first 8 birthday cakes...and gifted them!! Any suggestions how to stop that trend??? I'm all earsicon_smile.gif




Tell the SIL that in today's economy is it not financially feasible for you to gift the cake and if she is willing to front the cost of the supplies, you'll provide the labor. I certainly think that is more than fair. I've charged my "kin" folks before--typically just only for supplies and it's worked out quite well for us.

uabcjgrad2006 Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:21pm
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatCakes

Thank you all so much. I know that I shouldn't want to please people so much and that their happiness is not up to me, it's just hard. I'm just starting out, ya know, so there are places that I'm willing to sacrifice. I'm willing to go the extra mile and do extra unexpected details on a cake, or make a super fantastic flavor, something extra- at no extra charge. But when people do things like this, it's like a slap in the face.

Whoever said that Macy's doesn't care whether you can afford a $200 purse, you said it so perfectly, thank you. icon_biggrin.gif



Also, I read a quote the other day from a very young top of the line florist in my area "You can try to please everyone or you can try to run your business" apparently it's not just the flower world, but the caking world too where you have to make decisions that make the most sense.

TexasSugar Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:29pm
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jones5cm

You're right, it shouldn't change the converstion; but that's where the guilt comes into play! I'm talking about a sil that you have made her 8 year old's first 8 birthday cakes...and gifted them!! Any suggestions how to stop that trend??? I'm all earsicon_smile.gif




Does she say what kind of cake it is? Does she pick big cakes? This goes back to my general rule, If you ask me, you pay. If I offer, it is free and I come up with all the details.

I do my nephew's cake every year. He is the only one I have and I get to try different things because I haven't had to worry about making it a certain size and how much they want to pay. The design is between my and my nephew and I make it as big as I feel like.

I do the same thing with my best friend's kids. She just tells me the theme and I do what I want from there, and that is my gift to them. She doesn't for anything big or give me any details about the cake.

Do you do this as a hobby or is it a business? If this is something you use to pay the bills then you shouldn't have any problem explaining to her. Tell her that while you enjoy making her child's cakes you can't just do it any more for free. Just because you have done it for 8 years doesn't mean you have to do it for a 9th.

Even if this is just a hobby, you have ever right to let her know that you need something in return for it, especially if it is a case of her wanting bigger and better every year. If she is getting a little outrageous with what she wants, then you can always tell her you will take a discount off it, based on what you would normally spend on a gift, but that you just can not afford to gift her an expensive cake. If it is your gift to them, you get to pick how much you are comfortable gifting. She doesnt have the right to dictate how much money you spend on a gift to her child.

Loucindas idea of a price list is a great one. You can even pass it out to your family and friends letting them know that as of such and such date your cakes will cost xyz per serving, no matter who it is for. That is one of the problems with giving cakes for free or giving them at low, low prices when you start out because then you have to deal with changing it all up later on. It can be done though. icon_smile.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:41pm
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar


You can always laugh it off with a, You want to pay $20 for a custom home baked cake that serves 20 people? Wow if I did that then Id be paying for you to take the cake off my hands. Or you can always compare to the twinkies price or what ever snack cake. Wow, you want to pay .83 cents for a serving of cake? Even twinkies cost xyz per serving.






Cripes, you can't even get a happy meal for that price! icon_cool.gif

KHalstead Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:44pm
post #17 of 38

that's when you say.........and because you're my SIL I'll give you 10% off!!!!


honestly if she orders a $100.00 you'll be charging her $90.............by the way I give 10% off for all new customers! It really doesn't wind up being that BIG of a discount!! But it makes them feel like they're getting a deal!

TexasSugar Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 7:44pm
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar


You can always laugh it off with a, You want to pay $20 for a custom home baked cake that serves 20 people? Wow if I did that then Id be paying for you to take the cake off my hands. Or you can always compare to the twinkies price or what ever snack cake. Wow, you want to pay .83 cents for a serving of cake? Even twinkies cost xyz per serving.



Cripes, you can't even get a happy meal for that price! icon_cool.gif




There isn't a whole lot you can get for that price.

jones5cm Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 8:21pm
post #19 of 38

Thanks so much for your advice TexasSugar; and these are all things that I am currently working on...it's just hard with some kin-folks if you know what I meanicon_smile.gif

I am a hobby baker with a full time job raising kids and doing some foster care as well. I've always just used the little bit of income from my caking for the little extras...dinner out for the family, getting my hair done, when funds are needed for the arcade, etc.

And I really do LOVE what I do! But like everyone said...my time is as valuable as anyone elses and I should be compensated accordingly. That's what I have to keep repeating over and over and over and over......

Thanks again for everyone's words of wisdom...I wouldn't expect any less from fellow CCersicon_smile.gif

HauteCoutureCookies Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 8:35pm
post #20 of 38

I agree with Lenette. I couldn't say it any better...

tmac670 Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 9:43pm
post #21 of 38

Charge what you are worth. You - your family- AND your WORK deserve nothing less. End of story.

indydebi Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 9:54pm
post #22 of 38

Repeat after me:

I am not a doormat.

I am a valuable person in my own right.

I do not have to buy friendship by giving away my cakes. People will like me anyway.

I am not a doormat.

My talent has value and I should be compensated for it.

Ingredients to make cakes are not free to me.
The cake made from these ingredients are not free to you.

I am not a doormat.

eatCakes Posted 9 Apr 2010 , 10:26pm
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Repeat after me:

I am not a doormat.

I am a valuable person in my own right.

I do not have to buy friendship by giving away my cakes. People will like me anyway.

I am not a doormat.

My talent has value and I should be compensated for it.

Ingredients to make cakes are not free to me.
The cake made from these ingredients are not free to you.

I am not a doormat.




icon_smile.gif Thanks Debi

TracyLH Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 1:17am
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Quote:

Repeat after me:

I am not a doormat.

I am a valuable person in my own right.

I do not have to buy friendship by giving away my cakes. People will like me anyway.

I am not a doormat.

My talent has value and I should be compensated for it.

Ingredients to make cakes are not free to me.
The cake made from these ingredients are not free to you.

I am not a doormat.




Thank you also, Debi. I will need to remember this, especially about the "valuable person in my own right" and "People will like me anyway."

You are a wise, wise woman. Thank you. icon_smile.gif

malakainrop Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 1:38am
post #25 of 38

Hey, if you really think about it - no matter how NICE you are - or how much you do for people - there are still likely to be people that won't like you!! and heck, most don't even need a reason!

I have just suddenly come to this realisation ! haha - and you know what - once you do actually realise this fact - it really does become less important to you to seek other people's constant approval.

newmansmom2004 Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 1:47am
post #26 of 38

Over the years I've learned that I'd rather spend 5 MINUTES feeling badly about not pleasing someone else than 5 DAYS stressing and hating myself for agreeing to do the impossible for them!

You just have to learn to say "no" and be OK with it. After the first couple times it gets easier! icon_lol.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 1:55am
post #27 of 38

When I first started my business, I couldn't say no to anyone. Now get this -- once they saw I was a doormat (Indy's term), they treated me like one!! People got demanding, were never satisfied, yada yada yada...

Finally I decided enough of this! If I asked any of them for anything what did I hear? "Well I'd love to help you but I just can't." icon_confused.gif Really?? Well the next time one of them asked for an unreasonable cake order, I very calmly and politely explained "I'm sorry, I'm booked for that weekend and I can't do your cake." icon_eek.gif

When pressed on it, I told them "Look, I appreciate you wanting me to do your cake, but if I said yes to everyone, the quality of my work would suffer and surely you don't want an inferior cake?" (Said VERY nicely!) Guess what -- now I'm treated with respect and those who didn't aren't in my life anyway. icon_twisted.gificon_biggrin.gif

cheatize Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 5:00am
post #28 of 38

How about this thought: those who get upset when you won't let them take advantage of you are not people you necessarily want to spend much time around.

Who wants to be around someone who only wants you for what you can/will do for them?

KarmaStew Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 5:34am
post #29 of 38

You teach people how they should treat you.

JUST SAY NO.

totallymomma Posted 10 Apr 2010 , 8:43pm
post #30 of 38

I am so grateful for all the replies that now have given me permission to charge a fair and proper amount for my cakes. I just did it again, today. I charged 45.00 for a cake that should have sold for 65.00
Clients don't understand all the time involved in making cakes. I am no longer going to apologize for the prices I charge anymore. In fact, someone turned down a party cake for 100 people that would have cost 112.50. She said it wasn't in her budget. So I did suggest the cupcake thing. Honestly, if they want a bargain go to Costco or Wal Mart...and then come back and get a real cake!

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