Cake Decorators, But Not Bakers

Business By 4dollars Updated 26 Jun 2010 , 6:33pm by tokazodo

4dollars Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 5:15pm
post #1 of 32

I'm curious if any of you that are in business are strictly decorators. I have been approached by one of the only liscensed caterers in our area to decorate the cakes she makes for her business. she has a licensed kitchen and said she would provide the space needd to decorate. At 1st i declined, but told her that i would think about it. What are your thoughts. i only decorate as a hobby, and this person would rather concentrate on the food preparation, not the decorating. at 1st it sounds great, but i'm thinking that there may be a few pitfalls with it as well. Has anyone else ever had this happen?

31 replies
Kitagrl Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 5:33pm
post #2 of 32

I suppose it could work IF you could have a good relationship with the caterer, and get paid WELL for your work, and if you don't mind your decorating being credited to her business name....

I worked for a caterer for a year (upscale...just as asst pastry chef) and I enjoyed it..but its probably not for everyone....

endymion Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 5:37pm
post #3 of 32

I'd love it! Do make sure you have an agreement on how many ordres can be accepted in any one time period. I'm thinking if you are a hobbyist (like me) and used to a low volume, it might kill you if you suddenly had to do several cakes a day!

in2cakes2 Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 5:51pm
post #4 of 32

This is what I would like to do someday. My flavors are top notch but with the onset of the different cake shows the decorating bar has been set so high and my decorating skills don't match my baking skills.

nonilm Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 6:10pm
post #5 of 32

Sounds like a good opportunity if you are looking for a job. Because it really wouldn't be a hobby anymore. You would probably have to work with her schedule and would not be able to decide IF you want to take an order or not. I would find out how much say you would have in the designs and timing. Sounds like a unique opportunity.

catlharper Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 6:33pm
post #6 of 32

You would be working as her employee as strictly the decorator which means SHE gets the credit for your cakes, not you. I do consider myself a caker, not a baker...I don't make struesell and all that sort of thing..I just make cakes. Other than that I'm a cake artist...that means this is my art, my creations and I want to share that vision with the world. As with any other art, the artist does want recognition...not just money for the art (not that the money isn't great!<G>icon_wink.gif as part of payment for the work. If you just love to decorate and have no emotional need for the recognition then this sounds like a dream job to me...especially if she lets you determine your own hours to fit in with any family or other employment schedules!

Cat

nonilm Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 6:48pm
post #7 of 32

She may be willing to give you credit for the decorating, as she should. thumbs_up.gif I would not even consider this if she is going to be taking the credit for the complete finished cake.

adventuregal Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:06pm
post #8 of 32

I agree with nonilm-
This sounds like a great way to do what you love without the hassel of baking IF you are okay with her taking the credit (assuming that she will). For me personally I would not be okay with that. I put alot of love and creativity into my work and I think it would piss me off to see someone standing next to it pretending they did the design. If you think you can keep a cool head about good for you and then yes I think its a great idea!

Elcee Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:22pm
post #9 of 32

Another thing to keep in mind when you're making your decision is that anything you decorate while your employer is paying you belongs to your employer. She would be well within her rights to not allow you to publish or use photos of those cakes in a portfolio.

Smallfrye Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:31pm
post #10 of 32

Maybe you could work something out with her where you are a "private contractor" to do the cakes and not her employee. That way you keep credit for your cakes and she gets great cakes for her clients.

carmijok Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:43pm
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonilm

She may be willing to give you credit for the decorating, as she should. thumbs_up.gif I would not even consider this if she is going to be taking the credit for the complete finished cake.




I doubt she would give credit to the decorator--and no she shouldn't. I don't see a whole lot of bakeries passing out that info. When you work for a business, that business pays for your work and they own it! Why should they give the name of the decorator...especially since some customers may decide they want to deal directly with her instead of the caterer. Not a good idea.
If just decorating and getting lots of experience without the personal expense is appealing, I think she should do it. Think of all the fun stuff you could do without having to buy the materials...and you'd get paid for it! But I do agree that you need to know going into it how many cakes you will average a week and what kind of time you're given per cake.

all4cake Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:58pm
post #12 of 32

Like working in a bakery as a decorator...they bake, you decorate...who gets the credit there...the bakery. "ooooooooooooh, Maaaaaaaaadge! You've just gat to get yuuuuur caaaaaaaake from Blah Blah Blah's! I got lil' Suuuuzie's from there and it's gorgeous!"

If the money is right, give it a shot. You may find the absence of stress from baking will enable you to better (everyone can tolerate getting better, eh?) at decorating, time management, organizing....

Be wary of the signing of contracts and no compete clauses.... icon_cool.gif

LNW Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 8:17pm
post #13 of 32

I had someone approach me with a similar opportunity a few years ago. She was launching a party planning business. She would offer party packages and do all the planning, decorating, food, cleanup etc. She needed someone to make cakes for her and my name got passed along to her somehow. She already had a space with a kitchen ready to go that I would work in.

I was afraid to do it though. I dont think my cakes are at that level yet. I wouldnt have had any control over the cakes. She would do all the talking to the customer and hand the order over to me. I was afraid of that since she didnt have any experience with cake decorating. She would also end up with all the credit too since shes the owner and running the show. We had issues trying to come up with a way to pay me as well. She wanted to offer a package deal at a firm price, $300.00 for a princess party for example. But she wanted to give her customers big tiered cakes that would probably cost every bit of $300.00 alone. She wanted to pay me a small percentage of the total profit for a party and I didnt feel like I was going to get my fair share of that money. She was also anticipating this thing to really take off and that I would be very busy with cake orders. I like being a hobby baker and able to turn away orders whenever I feel like it. Id loose all that flexibility once I became her employee.

I ended up recommending she take some decorating classes and make the cakes herself. I believe that is exactly what she did too.

If you do decide to do it hammer it all out, every tiny detail. It could be a really great opportunity for you!

nonilm Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 8:24pm
post #14 of 32

OK, I'm not in the professional cake world but why wouldn't a caterer be willing to "advertise" and/or reveal to customers that her cakes were decorated by 4dollars? Especially if 4dollars has done cakes for others and they liked them. Would the caterer actually lie and say that she did it?

Sounds like "being contracted" to decorate the cakes may be a better choice?

Very interesting.

all4cake Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 8:30pm
post #15 of 32

Just had a thought...I didn't even for a split second mean to insinuate that your skills (OP) weren't worthy of recognition. I hope that isn't how it came across.

DeeDelightful Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 8:49pm
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

Just had a thought...I didn't even for a split second mean to insinuate that your skills (OP) weren't worthy of recognition. I hope that isn't how it came across.




If it helps, i took it as a response to what 4dollars (OP) said: that her decorating skills were not as great as her baking skills. I think she recognizes and opportunity to better her decorating skills. I would personally like the opportunity, but would want to have rights to photos and use of the kitchen for my own projects....asking for a lot?????

4dollars Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 9:00pm
post #17 of 32

Thanks for your input everyone.

The situation would be more like I was contracted; I would be there with her when she did the consultations so that I could discuss the cake. I would have the right to turn down cakes if I wasn't available. From what I know of this lady, she would not take credit for the cake decorating, but will be advertising that the cakes are baked by her.

I had to meet with her today about another event (not cake related, she does florals as well as catering). While waiting for her to finish with the customer before me, he asked her if she knew of any decorators for the cakes. She told him that I did cakes, but that I had not committed to her yet. All in a friendly way of course.

I dont mind doing this even if she did take credit for the cake. I am just curious what it is like to actually work for a true business and see what REALLY goes on behind the kitchen door. There is so much more to being a cake decorator than the actual cake, that I think it would be a good learning experience.

4dollars Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 9:07pm
post #18 of 32

all4cake, no offense taken...i honestly didn't see it like that until you pointed it out! icon_redface.gif

although, I definiately need to work on my skills. quite honestly, i'm suprised that anyone would want to work professionally with my cakes. I just don't think im there yet.

all4cake Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 9:11pm
post #19 of 32

You don't think you there yet? I'm not sure where there is but you are definitely in the vacinity of a fantastic job on your cakes.

Maybe she (the caterer) doesn't think she is there yet either and ya'll can use the carpool lane and arrive together????

Unlimited Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 9:32pm
post #20 of 32

Keep in mind that subcontractors don't typically work by the hour, it's by the job, they are typically required to use their own tools (probably not a problem for a decorator, rather than a caterer), they can choose if/when they want to work and set their own hours, and they have to be the responsible party to claim the wages that are being reported plus pay the income tax.

4realLaLa Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:47am
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by in2cakes2

This is what I would like to do someday. My flavors are top notch but with the onset of the different cake shows the decorating bar has been set so high and my decorating skills don't match my baking skills.




Ditto, I mean I'm in the same boat.

endymion Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 1:19am
post #22 of 32

I bet you could find a "partner" here on CC who would handle the decorating if you would do the baking! (Where do you live?)

in2cakes2 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 7:49am
post #23 of 32

I'm about an hour and a half south of Chicago.

noahsmummy Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 9:30am
post #24 of 32

errrrm, OP, what do you mean your cakes arnt upto scratch?? they are AMAZING!!!

i would go for it if the pay is good, and your happy with terms and conditions, just to get some experience on the business side of things. =)

minicuppie Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 12:20pm
post #25 of 32

IMO it would be a great opportunity to make a name for yourself without all the hassle of the business side.
Believe me it will be no "dirty little secret that you are doing the decorating)
I agree with the OP about any contracts you need to sign, tho.
Expect for there to be some sort of non compete clause.
Take it to an attorney and have it explained to you before you agree to never open a cakery in the state you live in for 25 years after you leave her employ. (or some such nonsense).

Unlimited Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 3:26pm
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by minicuppie

Expect for there to be some sort of non compete clause.
Take it to an attorney and have it explained to you before you agree to never open a cakery in the state you live in for 25 years after you leave her employ. (or some such nonsense).




According to my attorney, even if you signed a no-compete agreement with some sort of crazy time constraint, they couldn't legally enforce it because it would be preventing you from earning a living. It's very likely that it could be enforced for 12-18 months (and within a 20-25 mile radius, or specified city) but no longer than that.

(I wouldn't worry about signing whatever is in the no-compete agreement... it's easier to sign off on their "implied" rules than to disagree with any portion of it. I seriously doubt that any problem would arise that would cause them to go after you. They are most likely only trying to prevent you from competing while you work there--moonlighting--or stealing proprietary trade secrets.)

indydebi Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:47pm
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Keep in mind that subcontractors don't typically work by the hour, it's by the job, they are typically required to use their own tools (probably not a problem for a decorator, rather than a caterer), they can choose if/when they want to work and set their own hours, and they have to be the responsible party to claim the wages that are being reported plus pay the income tax.


Absolutely. One can't "just decide" that a person is a sub-contractor or independent contractor. There are certain IRS rules that must be adhered to before that status can be claimed.

Many employers try to designate someone as "independent contractor" to avoid paying certain IRS taxes. The IRS spends a LOT of money to track down and audit these situations. Check with a tax attorney or a VERY qualified CPA to confirm this situation meets these guidelines.

I've done a lot of research on this one.

in2cakes2 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:52pm
post #28 of 32

Good to know, thanks Debi!

minicuppie Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:12pm
post #29 of 32

Just because something cannot (which I doubt as all states, counties and cities have different laws and more important, different judges) be enforced doesn't mean they cannot file against you. Which means you will be out the $$$ for an attorney to appear in a civil court where a judge may allow the contract to stand as written.

** OBTW...the company my DH works for has a 5 year non-compete clause. Well... the company sued an ex-employee for breaking it and and was awarded 2 million dollars per year for the 5 years the clause was written for. Moral of the story...don't believe everything you read on cake forums.

etr2002 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:45pm
post #30 of 32

According to my attorney, even if you signed a no-compete agreement with some sort of crazy time constraint, they couldn't legally enforce it because it would be preventing you from earning a living. It's very likely that it could be enforced for 12-18 months (and within a 20-25 mile radius, or specified city) but no longer than that.

(I wouldn't worry about signing whatever is in the no-compete agreement... it's easier to sign off on their "implied" rules than to disagree with any portion of it. I seriously doubt that any problem would arise that would cause them to go after you. They are most likely only trying to prevent you from competing while you work there--moonlighting--or stealing proprietary trade secrets.)[/quote]


Be VERY careful here. I don't know were you live but don't make sweeping generalizations about non-compete agreements. They are highly enforced in many jurisdictions. When you sign an agreement, it is presumed you actually read it and if you sign it, then you are saying that you AGREE to the terms - all the terms - so this is a very slippery slope. Yes, the court may determine that a period of time was too lengthy but the argument (a very strong argument generally) for the opposing side is that you knew the terms beforehand AND agreed to them - this is often a successful argument for the opposition. If you want problems, go ahead a non-compete agreement and you'll find out just how bad of an idea it is to ignore the language.

This sounds like a creative opportunity for you, so enjoy it if that's what you decide to do but honor your contracts - it's a moral thing as well as a decorative thing.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%