Getting Paid

Decorating By rocky5777 Updated 2 Jul 2010 , 9:34pm by rocky5777

rocky5777 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 4:05pm
post #1 of 19

Why is it people don't want to pay for cake? I have been decorating for a few years now, and I keep running into the same problem. Everyone wants me to make them a cake, but no one wants to pay for it. I am way under priced based on the prices on CC. But still no one wants to fork over the dough. Most recently I had a customer want a 2 tier Sweet 16 cake with fondant accents and a crown. I told her it would cost approx. $60.00 (should have been closer to $100.00) and she never got back to me. I have people ordering Sheet cakes ( which I already think is a waste of time) and expect to pay $30.00. I realize sheet cakes take almost no talent but they still take time and ingredients. I actually sat down and figured it out. I make approx. $1.00 a hour on sheet cakes.
I guess I am just wondering how you get paid what you are worth. At this point I am thinking just forget it! I don't have the time or energy to work my butt off on cakes and not ever make any money.

18 replies
ddaigle Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 4:26pm
post #2 of 19

Have to respectfully disagree with ya rocky. I do LOTS of sheet cakes and many of mine do take talent...except for the random, easy kit cakes. You are worth what you market yourself. I get as much for my sheet cakes as some small 2 tiered cakes. I wish I had requests for tiered, fondant cakes, but I don't. I take what I get and sell it accordingly.

But I agree...people have not been educated on prices. There are too many cake shows saturating the public with no price being publicized. I wish for every cake shown on a tv show, that down in the bottom corner of the tv screen, the price would appear.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 4:36pm
post #3 of 19

If the only reference to the price of a t-shirt is walmart, then people think a t-shirt is $7. If the only reference to the price of a t-shirt is nordstrom's, then people think a t-shirt is $25. It all depends on their exposure.

It's all in the marketing.

To those who might voice opposition to a cake price by proclaiming "A cake mix doesn't cost that much!", then my smart-a$$ answer is, "Ohhhhh! You wanted just a cake mix! No problem! I can sell you one of those for a dollar. But if you want that cake mix converted to a 2-tier, sweet 16, fondant covered with a crown cake for your daughter's very special birthday, well then THAT'S gonna cost ya! But a cake mix? Darlin' I can set you up right now." icon_twisted.gif

I learned years ago that I had the personally to be able to pull off a conversation like that ..... some folks may not be able to pull it off. But find your style, your niche, whatever it takes.

It's all in the marketing.

pattigunter Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 4:47pm
post #4 of 19

I agree with Debbie - if the cake shows that are so popular on tv would advertise the price they get for those cakes it would help us out tremendously when we tell someone that the cake they want is more than they thought it should be!

kkbritt8 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 5:29pm
post #5 of 19

I agree with everyone above, especially ddaigle. If someone wants a sheetcake, then I use that opportunity to make it the best sheet cake I can (within their budget). As cake decorators I think we are always wanting to try new ideas and challenge ourselves and skills, but we have to remember that each cake we do is for someone's special event and they look forward to their cake if they're paying for it.

And, yes, people are definitely uneducated on what it costs and the time it takes to bake a cake. Just watching the cake challenges on TV, they get these beautiful cakes completed in 8 hours (but only one hour to us). If you have a different idea other than a sheetcake, suggest something else to them within their budget. But don't be disappointed if they choose to still go with the sheetcake.

catlharper Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 5:34pm
post #6 of 19

I agree...marketing is the secret...learn to use phrases like "one of a kind" "custom designed for you cake" "your own unique party centerpiece" "a cake no one else will ever have except you" "I'm happy to be a Cake Artist and provide works of Art for my clients". When someone complains about your prices then you can use Wedding Gowns as an example. Yes, they can go to David's Bridal and get a very pretty wedding gown for $300 that at least a thousand other Brides will be wearing this season but when you go to Vera Wang for a gown you get a designers version of your dream, an artists touch to your custom made gown. Yes, that costs more but you end up with your own personal work of Art...something no other Bride is wearing down the aisle.

BTW...you don't want the clients who only have $30 to spend on a sheet cake...they are Costco's customers, not yours. Keep marketing your art and in time you will find your clients. (did you notice the "verbage"...Costco has "customers" Artists have "clients")

Someone here suggested something wonderful to help get your name out...make mini masterpieces and then donate them to your local hospital, local firestation, local police station...believe me, word WILL get out that you create amazing cakes...sure it's going to cost you in the short run but then advertizing always does!

Cat

tinygoose Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 5:58pm
post #7 of 19

Here's a few new ones I've been using lately.

Them. "I just want a cool "simple, easy" motorcycle cake, it doesn't have to be really elaborate." (we all know what that means....lol yes simple=cheap cake)

Me. "Ahh, you wouldn't be happy with a "simple" cake. You know I've found that with cake, "simple" doesn't turn out cool cake, and a cool cake is never simple."

Them. "I just don't know if I can spend that much on a cake."

Me. "Fancy cakes are a lot like ice sculptures, they are a luxury item. They are meant to wow and impress. And like ice, they are gone at the end of the day, but people remember them for years."

lol...people seem to relate better to that...I mean everyone knows ice sculptures are expensive, but they don't say...."What, how much?! Its just water?"

jones5cm Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 6:19pm
post #8 of 19

Now here's a posting that's dear to my hearticon_smile.gif I agree with all that's been said!
I get frustrated with a lot of my cakes because I'm told exactly what flavor, color design, etc. that the client wishes. But every once in a while, I'll get to create my own and I use that opportunity to use the skills that I've learned (here on CC and other places that I research) or want to experiment with. The problem is those are NOT the ones that I get paid for (BTW, I'm a P/T hobby baker), so I'm not compensated for my 'new' ideas and creativity. But that's ok, I'm learning and I design in my head the cakes that I'd love to do and keep taking advantage of those few wonderful clients that just want me to create a special cake for them and don't even ask the price of it before deciding if they want my services!!

CBMom Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 6:46pm
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

...........

...I mean everyone knows ice sculptures are expensive, but they don't say...."What, how much?! Its just water?"




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

icer101 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:15pm
post #10 of 19

i agree with indydebi, my sheet cakes DO take talent. I don,t charge 25-30 dollars for my sheet cakes. Aint worth my time. But give me a challenge and you want to pay me for it. I,m here to do it. 2 little tiers, sheet cake , whats the difference. Like i say, if they got the money , honey, i got the time. lol I don,t turn down 50-100 dollars for a sheet cake. Depends on what they want on it. I don,t just pipe roses, i make people, animals, cars, etc. hth

Katiebelle74 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:39pm
post #11 of 19

do not underprice yourself. When I first started I underpriced.... one bride and groom said they were shopping around and going with someone in the middle price wise. Did not want to go with the highest or the cheapest. As if that was the only criteria to judge the quality of the product by. None the less I knew I needed to up my prices and I did.... and you know what?! I have more business and better clients! I have seen other threads on here where other decorators had the same experience. Do not be afraid to charge what you are worth, people will not respect you or your work until you do.

KHalstead Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:39pm
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CBMom

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

...........

...I mean everyone knows ice sculptures are expensive, but they don't say...."What, how much?! Its just water?"



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif






yeah, or how about..........."Well, what if I give you the water for it.......how much will it be then?????" LOL icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

rocky5777 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:42pm
post #13 of 19

I have been a firm believer in If you want a sheet cake go to the store and by one. If you want something more fancy come to me. I am not talking about specially designed sheet cakes. I know you can decorate them more complex. I know even for simple sheet cakes I should charge more. But then I get the same response. HOW MUCH? But it is just a sheet cake.
I love to decorate cakes and I love the challenge of trying something I have not tried before. Like I said earlier, I already feel like I charge on the lower side, and I have people not willing to pay minimum for my cakes.
How do you get the clients willing to pay for the center piece?
I loved the costco reference. SO SO SO true. If you want ordinary go to the store and buy it. If you want extraordinary then come to me.
Great point on the ice sculpture, It is only water !

Thank you everyone for your responses. Definitely gave me some things to think about! [/quote]

tinygoose Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:51pm
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

Quote:
Originally Posted by CBMom

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

...........

...I mean everyone knows ice sculptures are expensive, but they don't say...."What, how much?! Its just water?"



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif





yeah, or how about..........."Well, what if I give you the water for it.......how much will it be then?????" LOL icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif




That's funny. I bet people are more careful when they use the word "simple" with ice sculptures, because they know they will just end up with a big ice cube.

jillmakescakes Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 7:59pm
post #15 of 19

I'm just gonna touch on the sheet cake thing--

I have customers call and as for sheet cake pricing. I tell them that my sheet cakes are still 4 inches high, so a 9x13 has 45 servings. Once I tell them that, then they say "Oh, well we only need 12 or 15 servings.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 8:00pm
post #16 of 19

LUV the ice sculpture comparison! That is a great one!

rocky5777 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 8:37pm
post #17 of 19

Ok and the thing with the sheet cake is. They cost the same amount of money as other cakes. Same ingredients, same fillings, same frostings. But to people if they are a rectangle they should be 1/2 price.

I loved the article in the Cake Central Magazine, breaking down the cost of a cake. I think I should have all my clients read it before I price a cake for them!

TitiaM Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 9:21pm
post #18 of 19

I agree with the other posters about not underpricing your products. If you make an exceptional quality product, then charge accordingly. Many people will see you're price as a hint to you're quality, no matter what you're pictures look like. If they see Walmart prices they are probably going to think they are getting a similar quality product. (Even if you do beautiful decorating, then they may guess you use sub par ingredients)

Plus, for me at least, I am more likely to spend that extra time on making a super special cake for say $250 than for say $50...... JMO

rocky5777 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 9:34pm
post #19 of 19

Plus, for me at least, I am more likely to spend that extra time on making a super special cake for say $250 than for say $50...... JMO[/quote]

I agree, I want to spend the extra time on things when I know I am getting The money I deserve!

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