Need To Rant And Some Good Advice!!

Business By Yum2010 Updated 30 May 2010 , 4:17am by Jeep_girl816

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 12:54pm
post #1 of 31

Ok, sorry, but this may be lengthy...............
Sooo, I've been decorating cakes for fun for about 3 years now and I never minded doing them for friends and family; however, recently I have started a little business when we built our new house....hubby made me a certified kitchen on our property.....Anyway, to get the word out around my new neighborhood and area I offered to do a neighbor's cake for cost of the ingredients. So, I did the cake (a very detailed double tiered beach themed cake that took me days) and I figured I would just consider it an advertising investment so to speak.... Well, it worked and the words out. I am booking up like crazy (keep in mind I only take 2 to 3 cakes a week because I still do have another full time job and I have two small kids)---Business is good!

The only problem is, now she expects me to do all her cakes for cost!!!!! I usually have a little rule that I go by when it comes to making cakes for close friends or family and that is if I offer to bake the cake, then it's a gift or I just charge cost; if not, they are considered a full-paying customer. It works well. But now this, PITA neighbor (she's not even a really a good friend) is not paying me what I charge while I'm having to turn paying customers away! It's like she feels like I owe her something!!! I know if I charge her she will freak (she's very emotional and EXTREMELY cheap). She nickel and dimes every cake I do for her and frankly, I do not want her as a customer at all, much less a non-paying customer!!

How do I get her to stop expecting free cakes without totally freaking her out and being mean. HELP!!!

30 replies
kayjess Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:04pm
post #2 of 31

Next time she calls for a cake, I would nicely tell her, "I'm sorry, I'm already booked".

Texas_Rose Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:04pm
post #3 of 31

Just be booked for each date that she needs a cake for, whether you really are or not. If she gets grouchy, remind her that you're working full time and you have small kids, so your cake time is limited and people are starting to book way in advance icon_biggrin.gif

KCC Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:14pm
post #4 of 31

Next time she calls just tell her the price! If she dosen't want to pay she'll quit calling! icon_wink.gif

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:17pm
post #5 of 31

Yeah, tried that one.....she is my next door neighbor, so she frequently stops by and she knows my limit and she's already questioned me on why I told her I was booked and she only saw one cake on my "done" rack. I'm telling you, she's a piece of work!!!

eatdessert1st Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:19pm
post #6 of 31

"I know if I charge her she will freak"
You're in a difficult situation with her being a neighbor. Once you start doing cakes for cost (unless you specify to the customer that is what you're charging) they will think that's the normal price. If you don't feel like explaining it to the neighbor just be conveniently booked like others have suggested. You don't owe her anything. She's not even a close friend?
I've had to put my big girl panties on before in the same situation when I was just starting out. I came to the conclusion that it's not worth my time and $ to do this for someone I'm not close takes too much time away from my family and I don't like to grudgingly decorate. Mind you, it took me several situations to get to that point icon_smile.gif
Good luck!
Melanie Mc.

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:28pm
post #7 of 31

Thanks Melanie! Yeah, you'd think that I would be to that point by now ater 3 years, but I'm still a big sucker!...I'm getting better about it though. Esp because of my kids. You're so right, it's not worth the time taken away from them or loss of sleep since i do most of my caking in the wee hours of the morning. Sheesh! I still have alot to learn! icon_cry.gif

tracycakes Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:28pm
post #8 of 31

You have to charge her the real cost. If she freaks, she freaks. If she really wants the cake, she'll pay, otherwise, you don't have to deal with her. This is a business and you have to look at it like that.

moralna Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:35pm
post #9 of 31

Why don't you just be honest and tell her that you did her first cake as an offering to her and to get some exposure for yourself so that it would be a win-win situation, but you cannot continue to give her extremely low-cost or even free cakes. It's going to be harder now because after your first free offering to her, you allowed her to determine the costs of the cakes. But just let her know that you cannot afford to do that any longer. As far as her coming into your home and seeing that you are not overbooked and calling you out on it, when she does that just look at her and smile and say yes, I am - no explanation. If she gets upset - oh well. Since you have gained other, full-paying clients you don't have to worry about this neighbor saying anything negative about you, because your work and your professionalism with your other clients speaks for itself.

cutthecake Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:38pm
post #10 of 31

"I'm sorry but I can no longer afford to provide cakes to you at cost. It takes me a considerable amount of time and effort to produce my cakes, and my time is worth money. The cake you have requested will cost you $XXXXX."
No deals, no bargains. She can take it or leave it.

cakesbymark Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:38pm
post #11 of 31
Originally Posted by KCC

Next time she calls just tell her the price! If she dosen't want to pay she'll quit calling! icon_wink.gif

this is the way to go period you dont need to justify at all, give her your price she either pays it or goes else where period point blank.
you cant worry about losing a customer thats not going to pay you your price, its your hard work and much needed time and not the customers
set your price and stick to it.
i just lost my aunt as a customer as she wanted a $200 graduation cake for $40 and i said no......a discount to family and really close friends are one thing but them setting the price on an elaborate cake is another.
Just tell her this is my pricing for cakes, the first one was a nice jester, a welcome to the neighborhood deal to help out your buisness, but again you need to control your buisness and not her, if everyone let the customer dictate the price then everything would be free.....You are the one in control period

LKing12 Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:42pm
post #12 of 31

One cake on your done rack might have been your limit when you consider your other responsibilities. If she is this invasive, you have a problem. Drop in/by neighbors, just because they are neighbors, need to understand you aren't always available.
You need to meet her at the door and calmly draw the line! Or, this will be on going. Don't you know that she is providing ALL the cakes for her friends and family because she can get them so cheap and doesn't have to go to Walmart!

jadak Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:44pm
post #13 of 31
Originally Posted by Yum2010

Yeah, tried that one.....she is my next door neighbor, so she frequently stops by and she knows my limit and she's already questioned me on why I told her I was booked and she only saw one cake on my "done" rack. I'm telling you, she's a piece of work!!!

This just rubs me the wrong way! It's NONE of her business why there's only one cake on your "done" rack. Does she work or have children? Does she think her time at work and/or with her family are valuable hours? Does she expect to be compensated fairly if she provides something for someone? I'll bet it's a "yes" to all of those questions.

It's tough, I know, because she's your neighbor and you want to be able to be neighborly. Maybe you could type up a flier that will look like a bulk deal but be just for her icon_lol.gif saying something about how you're introducing your new cake business. You want to thank people who have ordered and helped get your name out there. Mention that, as a business, your new prices are printed below and maybe (totally optional) include a coupon for 10% off their next order. On the coupon have a disclaimer at the bottom that this is a one time offer and all future orders will be at full bakery cost.

Maybe that's a dumb idea. I don't know. I am just trying to figure out how you can professionally resolve this one. Good luck and please keep us posted.

Edited to add: No matter how you handle this, as long as you are professional and neighborly, then WHO CARES if she has a hissy fit. She iwill only prove that she is not only NO friend, she's a BAD neighbor as well.

cutthecake Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:51pm
post #14 of 31

Lock your doors, too, to keep out unwanted visitors (ie, snoopy neighbors).

cakesbycathy Posted 27 May 2010 , 1:57pm
post #15 of 31

Practice saying over and over:

This is the price. I understand if you want to get your cake from some one else."

DO NOT get into any other conversation with her. You need to grow a backbone and she needs to learn that you have one and she can't walk all over you.

You might want to also practice this one: "Please call before you come over."

dldbrou Posted 27 May 2010 , 2:16pm
post #16 of 31

It is not just the cost of the ingredients that you should be charging. You have the cost of turning on your oven, the cost of the pans, the cost of your equipment ( mixer, tips, bags, etc.) the time away from your family, the insurance, and most important the cost of your time as a professional decorator.

You just need to tell her that you are glad that she is enjoying your cakes and that from now on, there is an adjustment in your price because of PITA Neighbors.

Well, maybe you should just say the you have a new price list and hand her a flyer and say that from now on this is what you are charging everybody that walks through your door.

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 3:47pm
post #17 of 31

Thanks so much everyone for the advice! I def. took it! She just called to "discuss" her son's bday cake for next month and the first thing i did was ask her budget. and she was perplexed. I just explained to her that I had alot of new equipment that I had to pay off and I no longer can afford to give discounted cakes. She was disappointed but seemed to understand. She said she would call me later about the order when they decided on a theme.....LOL, I won't hold my breath for that call. I feel liberated. I will be bullied no more! Feels good to have a good rant with fellow cakers! Thanks!

jadak Posted 27 May 2010 , 4:22pm
post #18 of 31

WooHoo...good for you. party.gif

leah_s Posted 27 May 2010 , 4:31pm
post #19 of 31

Good job.

I had prepared a lecture, but we'll let that go.

Minstrelmiss Posted 27 May 2010 , 4:44pm
post #20 of 31

Good for you! You teach people how to treat you!

PattyT Posted 27 May 2010 , 5:05pm
post #21 of 31

Congratulations! It must be a relief. Someone here - sorry I can't remember who it was - coined a great phrase. They they called it "growing a cakebone". Thought that was priceless, and appropriate in your case.

As I was reading the thread, I thought it would be great if (no matter what you're doing) you should have a dirty apron and a little bowl of flour or icing sugar close by...when she rings your doorbell, slap on the apron, pouf some flour on your face, answer the door and sweetly say "Hello! How are you? I'm pretty busy baking right now, can I help you?"...

Jenny0730 Posted 27 May 2010 , 5:10pm
post #22 of 31

Good for you! Conversations like that are always hard (at least, for me they are) but I always feel so much better (and proud) of myself once they are over!

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 5:24pm
post #23 of 31

HAHA!!! "Cakebone" that's a good one!!

cutthecake Posted 27 May 2010 , 5:39pm
post #24 of 31

Great job on phase 1! Now, you MUST stick to your guns. Don't falter when she calls back to bargain with you!

TracyLH Posted 27 May 2010 , 5:55pm
post #25 of 31

I just saw this and was going to chime in, but I see you are all set. Congratulations to you on what you did! thumbs_up.gif


Good job.

I had prepared a lecture, but we'll let that go.

Nuts! I gain a lot of strength from Leah's wisdom. I will wait for the next one. icon_smile.gif

Yum2010 Posted 27 May 2010 , 6:02pm
post #26 of 31

Yeah, I'd love to see leah's lecture as well. I also have read some former posts and you got it goin on girl!! and I've got alot to learn, so give it to me!!

kimblyd Posted 27 May 2010 , 6:10pm
post #27 of 31

Yay for Yum's new cakebone!! party.gifthumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

sari66 Posted 27 May 2010 , 6:19pm
post #28 of 31

Was going to chime in but I see you've taken care of the situation icon_smile.gif Congrats to you!!

4realLaLa Posted 27 May 2010 , 8:34pm
post #29 of 31

Sounds like the policy you had before was a good one. She is trying to use you. That stinks. She knows that this is a business and you have a family. Everytime you make a cake for her at cost you are taking time from your family and should be compensated. I would tell her the price politely before I made the next cake and I would charge her full price. Good luck!

Denise Posted 30 May 2010 , 3:57am
post #30 of 31

good for you!!!

Some people have more nerve than a government jack@$$. She sounds like one of them.

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