Custom Bakeries (Not Grocery Stores) How Much Can I Make?

Decorating By JCE62108 Updated 6 Jul 2010 , 11:42am by loriana

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 11:51am
post #1 of 49

My life is about to change. I just got the devastating news that my husband of 7 years has decided he no longer wants to be with me. Im going to be left with a 2 year old and one on the way. I had stopped taking orders out of my home in order to concentrate on family life and start the conversion to a SAHM and just be there for them. Well, now Im faced with moving out and trying to figure out how Im going to support two little kids, pay rent, food, medical, etc, etc. Ive never lived on my own before so it's all a little scary.

I need to know. Would I be wasting my time trying to find a job doing what I love? I mean, Ive never worked at a custom bakery before. I worked at a grocery store bakery for $9.50/hour and obviously that is not gonna cut it here in FL. Price of living here is a little higher. In order for me to make ends meet, I figure I need at least $16-$20/hour. Do these custom bakeries pay that? What is the normal range for someone just starting at one of these bakeries?

I start job hunting next week so I just want to be prepared. If they offer me something too low I would like to feel comfortable turning them down. Honestly I think my skill level is worth that kind of money, but I just dont know what these places pay. Someone can you help please?

48 replies
KHalstead Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:07pm
post #2 of 49

I"m not in Florida, so I have no advice for you there. I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss and to let you know that I will most definitely being praying for you and your family during such a difficult time! I have been in a similar situation as you before (having to all of a sudden without warning, have to make it on your own with a kid in tow), it CAN be done...hopefully you have some nearby family or someone else you can lean on during this time? Once you get through this, you will look back and you won't remember it being as bad as it felt when you went through it (kinda like child birth). Are you certain this IS the end of your marriage? Maybe your DH is just freaking out about all the responsibility with the 2nd child on the way and the idea that you would stay home on top of that? Maybe he's just freaking out about supporting all 4 of you?

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:16pm
post #3 of 49

He just got a new job in real estate and is training 4 hours away with the intention on coming back when his training is done. He has been gone over a month and a half and says he likes being on his own, and he feels like he isnt in love with me anymore. Its scary, because its not like something happened. His feelings just changed...and mine didnt. So it hurts. Something similar happened about a year ago. Its been a scar ever since and I dont think we ever healed from it. Im making plans as if it is over. I think it is. If there is a problem to fix that's one thing, but if someone doesnt love you anymore, there's nothing to be done.

Thank you for your kind words. Im feeling better today, but now that the reality is setting in I am feeling a panic to get my life in order. I have a cake order Ill be working on for the next few days, and starting next week Ill be looking for a job. My mom has a condo I can stay in, only thing is it's $800/month! That's kind of a lot for just me to be paying. That is why I need some kind of job in the $16-$20 range. I think that may cover it ok, correct? Plus, you know, all the other bills...car, electric, etc, etc.

minicuppie Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:21pm
post #4 of 49

You didn't mention that you had any college hours or a degree to fall back on.
Check with your local human services office and see if you can get on the tuition gravy train that the gentleman sitting in the White House is pushing. Tuition, living expenses and even day care can all be paid for if you qualify.
Then it wouldn't matter if you can only find a job that pays nine dollars per hour.
OBTW...get a good lawyer and make sure you get a hefty chunk of change in the form of child support and spousal maintenance.

peg818 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:38pm
post #5 of 49

Sorry for your situation

BUT you need to get a lawyer before you move out of your house! DO NOT leave until you speak to a lawyer, even if you think you can't afford a lawyer you can't afford not to have one!!

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:39pm
post #6 of 49

The only experience I have is retail and cake decorating. That's it. Never even did anything clerical or anything like that. I started going to college, then got married, he was in the army, we moved around everywhere...so college kind of went out the window.

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:40pm
post #7 of 49

I would still really like an answer to my question if anyone works at one of these bakeries, maybe you can give me a little insight.

mommy1st Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 12:41pm
post #8 of 49

I am not sure about Florida, but around Chicago a good decorator can expect to be paid approx $12.00 - 15.00 pr hr. Alot depends on what all you can do, your speed, and how easily you pick up on what they expect from you. In a bakery expect to work every weekend. At a grocery store you have set hours and can request off alot easier than at a bakery. Bakeries busiest days are Friday and Saturday. Hope this helps.

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 1:47pm
post #9 of 49

This is ridiculous. Ive been doing research online and it seems like pretty much its $9-$12/hour for most places. That's a downright slap in the face for people with talent like ours. Why in the world go to pastry school and spend $38,000 when you can only come out making $10/hour????? There has to be something better. I just flat out cant believe this.

If you have the money to start your own business, I can see making more...but honestly isnt our talent worth more than $10/hour???? For goodness sake I can carve a 2ft x 3 ft sea turtle out of cake, I can make gumpaste shoes, I can make any decor out of fondant. All this practice, research, and skill is only worth $10/hour??? I could push buttons on a cash register for more than that!!!

auntginn Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:07pm
post #10 of 49

First of all I would like to say that I too am sorry to hear you are going thru such a rough time in your life. Like many others we have all suffered thru lots of bumps along the way. They only serve to make up stronger.

I agree with you that all the hours of hard work should be worth more than that but unfortunately many times the market will not bear it. It was for that very reason that I started my own business and even then in the beginning I did not make more than $5.00 an hour if that.

Can you find a place to live with cheaper rent?

dreamcakesmom Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:24pm
post #11 of 49

I too am so sorry to hear about the whirlwind you are stuck in right now. I am in the Northeast but bakeries here only pay 10-15 per hour for super experienced decorators. I agree that seems crazy for someone that has an education in pastry arts, etc but truthfully the more they pay the staff the more they have to charge for the cakes an some prices are just too high to charge the consumer even for an upscale bakery. They have to consider what the market will bear. I too was super frustrated with the pay level as it did not cover my daycare expense of putting my 2 kids in childcare for the hours I worked. I am turning towards opening my own business so the $$ comes directly to me. Good luck and keep your chin up!

KHalstead Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 2:38pm
post #12 of 49

You know, there was someone on CC who used to work in an upscale hotel doing their wedding cakes and from what I recall she was making REALLY GOOD money!! I mean like close to $30/hr. just to decorate......she didn't have to bake or anything!

Maybe you could try calling around to area hotels and put together a resume with some photos of your best work. Might even be worth it to make up some VERY dramatic cake dummies that really showcase your strongpoints.

What about Disney? Are you near there? From what I understand their decorators make good money too!

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:07pm
post #13 of 49

I didnt know disney had decorators! Well, When I move Ill be about 45 minutes away...I supposed that isnt too bad. The idea about the hotels is a good idea too. I didnt know hotels staffed decorators. Maybe only the really upscales ones do? Ill check around on that. Thank you guys!

rosiecast Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:13pm
post #14 of 49

Hi! So sorry you're going thru this.

Yes, check out Disney. I know they have the fairy tale weddings. Best of luck.

pinky73 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:19pm
post #15 of 49

I am very sorry to hear about your situation and I know how scared you are. While I can't give you any information on wages paid to cake decorators, I can give some food for thought as it pertains to juggling a full time job and raising two little ones. Beggars can't be choosers but in your search for employment, remember to pay attention to the work hours required and daycare availability. A few years ago my husband died unexpectedly and I have two small children, so for me, finding a job that didn't require surprise requests for staying late or coming in earlier than usual was really important..I have a great daycare but I have no backup in case I would have to stay late...know what I mean? As I understand it, most bakeries need people there really early or really late and that could be tough for you to arrange childcare. I hope you have family close to help, I'd give just about anything for some family support once in a while. You will be faced with a really tough road for a while and I feel for you...but you are talented and smart and you will find that you will handle things that you never thought possible, you have strength you don't know you have. I know you have to worry about an hourly rate to make sure you can pay bills, just don't forget to think about the other stuff like your commute, daycare, stuff like that. Best of luck to you!

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 3:59pm
post #16 of 49

pinky, Im sorry. I cant say I know how it feels, but I almost feel like I do. When this situation came up a year ago and my husband said he wanted to leave, it was the most traumatic thing Id ever been through. I was in denial for the first day...the second day I was so angry at him for ruining my life. My whole idea of a happy family collasped. I felt crushed and broken. I would go outside and scream. Id scream at him. After that I begged him to love me. I pleaded with God and asked why he allowed my family to be broken. I didnt believe he loved me and I was devasted. A few days later I realized I needed to move away from my husband and made arrangements for me and my son to stay with my mom.

I didnt realize until later I was going through the exact stages of grief. It felt like a death. Actually, it would have been less heartbreaking if it were. At least then I wouldnt have felt rejected. Before I could move he decided he didnt think his feelings were accurate. He was in terrible pain with his back and he thought maybe that was causing some misplaced feelings. Apparently now it seems, the feelings werent misplaced.

Im sorry to throw my heart out there like this, I know it's really no ones business, but it feels better to talk about it than to hold it in. I dont have many people I can trust in my life, and it's nice to be annonymous sometimes.

I appreciate the kind words from everyone.

Well, I dont know what Im going to do. Costco seems to have one of the higher rates of pay. The one in my area isnt hiring though. I guess plan b is to find something else. I just wish I had more experience of other things besides retail and decorating.

pinky73 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:24pm
post #17 of 49

Oh yes, you certainly will and have gone through the grieving process...A breakup such as yours is a great loss and you are right about the added insult of feeling rejected. I am so sorry for you and I know you are exhausted just thinking of it all...and with little ones, you often don't get the "luxury" of crying for hours..you gotta put on the brave face for them and take care of them as best you can.
I know this is a cake forum but I don't think anyone will begrudge you for venting your fears...people here are kind and are willing to bestow their compassion and mental fortitude to others. Sometimes life just really sucks and it's really unfair..and it's in those times that you find out what you're made of. As I said before, you are very talented and you can draw on that experience to hopefully find work that can get you on your feet. I'll be keeping you in my prayers.

DeeDelightful Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:33pm
post #18 of 49

I saw an episode on Oprah once and as much as we HATE to involve people in our personal business, sometimes we have to reach out to get help from family/friends. They won't mind helping watch your children, fix meals, clean your house or whatever they can do while you concentrate on other things. Some may even be able to offer financial help. It was amazing what family and friends pitched in to do for a millionaire stay at home mom, whose husband committed suicide, leaving her with $10,000/month mortgage. I agree, get a lawyer, who won't mind waiting until later to get paid. As for bakeries, i don't THINK they will pay what you will need to survive, but it would make a great side job.

veghed Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:46pm
post #19 of 49

I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I wish I had something to say that would soften the heartache, fear, and angst that you are undoubtedly feeling. I'm sure that many of the good people on this board have been through this and can tell you that they are stronger and better off, but that does little to help you now.

As far a work, have you thought of working at a retail bakery and doing cakes on the side? That might provide you with the extra that you need without taking you away from your children.

I cannot stress the importance of getting a lawyer. My ex acted as if we were going to have an amicable divorce so I relinquished much more than I should have thinking that if I went along to get along, it would be in the best interests of the children. As soon as the divorce was final, he went became horrible and I was in a compromised position. I spent years living in day-to-day fear (financial) and my children were the ones who suffered as my fear affected my well-being. You need to protect those children. You don't have to be nasty, but I cannot stress enough how important it is that you calmly take a stand here.

tcakes65 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:50pm
post #20 of 49

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I was in a similar situation years and years ago. It is definitely a grieving process. I lost my dad couple of years prior to my divorce, and the grieving processes were very similar. Keep in mind that just because your husband wants a divorce, it does not relieve him of his financial responsibilities or obligation to his children. He must continue to assist in paying the bills and supporting the children. I also highly recommend hiring a good attorney. These days it is a must, and you can discuss with your attorney having your husband pay your attorney fees since he initiated the divorce. I will keep you in my prayers.

Now as for the business side. I own a cake business here in Florida. Granted mine is a small, family owned business that is by appointment only. However, the country is still going through tough economic times. As someone else mentioned, cakes are priced according to what the market will bear. I pay my current assistants, $10/hr. If you can get hired at $10/hr., it may not be much but at least it is a job where you can get your foot in the door. You may have to work your way up to a higher hourly wage. In the meantime, it is a job while you seek employment elsewhere that you consider an appropriate salary. At this point, something is better than nothing. Just make sure they owner/manager is willing to be accommodating if you have a sick child, etc.

I wish you all the luck in your job search, and with your current family situation.

patticakesnc Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:51pm
post #21 of 49

Ok Alimony and Child support will cover your rent in the Condo. You have put your life on hold to follow him in his Army career. Now he has decided to walk away and leave you with two children (well 1 and one on the way). Go to your local DSS office and they normally have plans to help you get on your feet, helping with deposits etc.

Food stamps for your food and WIC for the needs for your baby when it is born (formula juice etc).

Then you get a job you love. He also needs to keep medical on your children and you since he has decided to end the marriage.

Trust me on these. Legal services will offer help as well. They will give him NO leaniancy on anything either. Hell make him pay for you attorney as well.

As a previous divorcee I am sorry to say he doesn't want to be on his own. Not trying to bring you pain, just the truth. My ex husband came in one day and threw his ring and house key on the table and said he wanted a divorce. Ok???? We had two children 4 and 1 and he is going to walk out. I didn't work, I was a homemaker. He is now married to the woman he was seeing. I of course went on to marry the most amazing man and it was all a Godsent but I didn't see it at the time.

You cannot let him leave you high and dry. He took and responsibilities and he MUST be help accountable. I don't mean to come off as "its all about money" but honestly you have to have it to live. And he is not to live the high life while you and your children struggle. I mean it don't let it happen. I am in NC and I will come down there if I have to......keep it on track.

You are talented and you need to follow your passion and he needs to supplement for the difference to keep you and your kids in the life you are accustomed to.

auntginn Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 4:57pm
post #22 of 49

Also thought of this, since Disney was mentioned. Don't know if you have a Costco store where you are. they are like Sam's Club. I know for a fact that they pay very well for their decorators. Like slightly over $17.00/hour. I know this because they send them to me to train them. That is entry level cake decorating. It is considered retail and you will not use any of those learned skills. No fondant cakes, their 1/2 sheet cake is less than $20.00 (please keep this for another post) You can get set hours, more during holidays and benefits which lots of custom cake bakeries will be hard pressed to give you.

tcakes65 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 5:07pm
post #23 of 49

I forgot to mention, the military is very strict about it's members paying support during a divorce. If your hubby balks at paying support, his Command can and will intervene. Please keep this in mind. You can contact his Command, but do so without any emotion, just be matter of fact. Otherwise, they will shut you down. Also, the staff judge advocate can assist you as well.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 5:39pm
post #24 of 49

I am so sorry that your family is being torn apart. Patticakesnc gave you very good advice. He cannot walk away and leave you with nothing. If you don't currently work outside the house, don't go looking for a job now. Why? He will have to pay child support for 2 kids, plus alimony to you. He will have to carry medical/dental and daycare expenses. I guess all states have a WIC and some type of food program to provide the family with nutritious food. Don't be too proud to get assistance from government programs. You are probably eligible for some type of grant to go to school.

I would not even think about working with a toddler and an infant. Your kids come first, and they are too small to leave in daycare for 8 or more hours a day. I would leave them in daycare (preferably with a family member) for a couple of hours a few times a week to go to school. I don't know your state law, but in some states the man pays alimony until the woman finishes school and finds a job or remarries.

Once reality hits him in the wallet, if he wants to come back, please say no. You will only be prolonging the inevitable. Again, I am very sorry. Be strong and put the kids first. It does get better.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 5:42pm
post #25 of 49

I'm not sure what Disney pays, but a few friends worked there through an apprenticeship or internship last year. They were disappointed. They said they were provided board and minimum wage. Meals were not even included.

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 5:56pm
post #26 of 49

Patticakesnc...hit the nail on the head.He doesn't want to be alone...He has met someone else (While training 4 hours away) icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif He is having the Grass is Greener on the otherside of the fence issue..Regardless....it is time to move on and and be done with him...Get a lawyer first and do not move out until you talk to one....I wish you the best of luck.

Us Sista's stick together!!! thumbs_up.gif

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 7:11pm
post #27 of 49

Thank you guys. I really appreciate your support. I had a very gracious offer from my mom that would allow me to stay in the condo, do a few cakes on the side, and be with my son until the baby is born. She is afraid I wont be able to get a job being 3 months pregnant (Im already showing). I know employers are not supposed to discriminate...but, well, they do. She is really offering to help me out.

Only thing is Im just not sure Im ready to make the move. I want to stay put for a bit and talk to my husband a little more. I want to leave here thinking I did everything possible that I could to have a healthy relationship with my husband. When he gave me all this information, that he liked being on his own, didnt miss me, didnt love me anymore....I asked him what he wanted. WHY was he telling me this and what was his plan? All he said was he didnt know. He had to think about it. I dont know if that means he wants to try to work on it, or if he is just too scared to say the "D" word and wants me to say it first. In any case, Im going to try to stick it out until I can get more information. I dont want to have any regrets. I mean, it doesnt look good, and I know that, but 6 months from now I want to be sure without a doubt that I couldnt have done anything (within reason) to prevent this. Oh, and he's not cheating. I know this deep down in my heart. I did ask him if there was someone else. I know when he's lying, I know when he is unsure about something, and I know when he's telling the truth. He said he wasnt seeing anyone and I completly believe that. That just comes from knowing him for 8 years. It's really just a matter of a change of heart, I believe. I guess sometimes people just grow apart...or one person does, apparently.

As far as employment, I did try Costco. The one in my area wasnt hiring. I did see that they pay well and Ill probably be watching for opportunities there closely. I dont know how in the world they can pay so much with such cheap cakes!

KHalstead Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 7:14pm
post #28 of 49

You know, thinking about the military thing........is he still in the military or is he retired?

My dad was in the military for 20 yrs. and my parents divorced after 32 yrs. of marriage (he had a girlfriend), and my mom gets $1400/mo. in air force retirement LOL Half of his retirement goes to her.......not sure how long you have to be in the military to receive that benefit though, all I know is "her" retirment goes up every year..........gotta love the military! They told my dad "as your wife, SHE was in the military too and it's her due pay....fair is fair" (he fired that lawyer after that comment, but it didn't matter...she was awarded half"

auntginn Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 7:22pm
post #29 of 49

Mass production. At least the one I deal with, they sell hundreds of cake a day. They don't spend but 10 minutes on each cake. The decorator "only" decrates. They do not prepare, bake, or even ice the cake. That is left to another person. You would have to decorate between 30 - 50 cakes during your shift.

But I've seen those cakes. Not really what I call decorating. Sorry now I'm running away with the post

Glad to hear that you are giving it your all. Will be praying for you.

JCE62108 Posted 29 Jun 2010 , 7:24pm
post #30 of 49

No we got out a few years ago. He was in slightly under 3 years, then was medically discharged for herniated disks in his spine. He had to have surgery last year.

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