I started decorating cakes very recently, and really enjoy it. Now, I am new, but I think my quality of work is very good for someone new... (check out the pics!) But I am so tired of hassling with people over prices, and the few that I have gone down on, I have been so discouraged with either barely breaking even or even losing money on them! The amount of work that goes into these are crazy! And people don't understand they need to pay for your time, even a "simple" cake is not as simple as it looks! Anyone have any words of inspiration? Does anyone feel the same way? I'm now debating on whether I give up on this dream to go back into the workforce where I have a lucrative career, make great money, or whether I fight through this and keep working on the cakes....
Sorry if this post is a little too philosophical (for lack of a better term), but I would love to hear how everyone deals with it....
we bake our cakes.. then come to cake central and vent to our friends here, who are nice enough to either give encouragement when needed or a give a good kick in the arse if needed.
I am not going to get into all the legal stuff.. I just want to say.. stand your ground, figure out your prices, there are stickys on here that can help you with that. and then bake your heart out for those who will pay the price, and get the great cakes!
to me there are two types of cake buyers out there.. the wally world mass produce consumers and then those with taste buds. who will want the cakes we have to offer. those are the clientel you want.
My husband and I have been making cakes for a long time and pricing has always been an issue. People always want the very best for the least amount. We hear all the time... well walmart can make it for... The best advice that I can tell you is that find a price you are happy with and STICK with it no matter what. Dont waffle on the price. As soon as you do it once you will start to tell yourself its ok to do it. When someone calls about prices be firm but polite when you give a quote. More times then not the clients who give you a hard time about prices aren't clients you are going to want to deal with. With that said when your starting out dont price yourself out of the market.....
As far as you picking your job over cakes you have to be realistic. More then likely even if your the best there is in your area you are not going to make enough money on your own to support yourself. Each cake takes a lot of time. Its not possible for you to make that many cakes on your own. Company's who make tons of money on cakes are ones who have a staff and have the experience to turn out cakes really quickly. My husband has a full time job and I make cakes as my job. I do pretty well but I know there is just no way I could ever make enough cakes to live comfortable on my own. Just think is through carefully before you make your decision. having to make 6 or 8 cakes in a weekend to support your family isn't as fun as one would think.. take it from someone who knows.
I looked at your pics, I love the fish out of water one. Regarding the haggling of price, DO HAGGLE! Like tesso said, if they want wally cake then they need to go to wally world. This price thing is a pet peev of mine. I am very direct with people when I do a consiltation. I have a large portfolio because I've been in this for a while. I simply asked what their price range is and what they want. I've divided my porfolio into price point. I don't list the price in the albums. I usually will give them the album in their price point. When they start saying things like, I wanted something more detailed, or I wanted something more original. Here is my reply....." ohhhhhh you want the wow factor, well that costs money".
My motto is this
YOU WANT WOW, I'LL GIVE YOU WOW, BUT THAT WILL BE $XXXX
oops thats suppose to say DON'T HAGGLE!!
Now, I am new, but I think my quality of work is very good for someone new... (check out the pics!) But I am so tired of hassling with people over prices, and the few that I have gone down on, I have been so discouraged with either barely breaking even or even losing money on them!... I'm now debating on whether I give up on this dream to go back into the workforce where I have a lucrative career, make great money, or whether I fight through this and keep working on the cakes....
I will. Why not do both? I'm not sure why/when you left the workforce to begin with or how easy it would be to get back into these days, but you can't continue to break even or lose money on your hobby unless you seriously raise your prices and/or learn how to be more productive. Your work is good... I'd say you're either not brand new to decorating or you've taken classes before because it shows. (Presentation is everything, so my only recommendation would be to use cake drum bases or more professional-looking base boards--and that's a huge compliment BTW!) Only you can decide how far you want to take your newly found passion. Much luck trying it out until you can make your decision.
I'm new too, compared to some of the experience around here, and cakes. I don't sell cakes because I'm not licensed. But, I do notice when ppl ask about prices, or what it would cost and I tell them, they think it's alot. When I tell them what well known cake artist charge they understand then. Hmmmm, I think ppl expect the higher price from a "professional", and I guess I can see thier point. There is a skill difference, and I'm still learning and perfecting. I hope to be in business soon, as my skill level increases so will my prices. Family and friends are the hardest, they think they should get a good price, FREE. LOL.
Now for your pics, they are great! You might want to give your cakes a liitle more of a "professional" look, by learning to make cake boards that compliment your cakes. As far as income, I think sticking to what your worth, is important. If you don't take yourself serious who will? To start any business, it is hard to get started. Usually ppl dont make much if any money at first. So take a look at what you need, and go from there.
Thanks everyone. I'm a little discouraged right now because I'm in the middle of a grooms cake that I am TOTALLY losing money on. I have been decorating now for 4 months, no prior experience, and I sold this cake 3 months ago, when I really didn't understand pricing. Now, I know I can't take less than $4/serving (I only do fondant, no buttercream). I'm doing this one for about $2/serving....
I was laid off when I was 7 months pregnant in 2008, so understandably I didn't even start looking for a job for a long time, and then found out I had a talent for decorating when I did my son's 1st birthday cake - not that it was the most beautiful cake, but I was also cooking for 100 people (don't ask me why we had such a large 1st bday party!!!). So then I thought I would focus on this, and I stayed steady. Of course I don't make what I was making before, but I love doing this. Unfortunately, I love money too, lol, but to get back into my previous career, I won't have the time I need to do cakes. I wish I could do both, cake+career+16 month old=no sleep. Sigh.
So, decisions, decisions. But I appreciate everyone humoring me, and hearing your stories, too!
Wow! Thanks for telling us your story... I really enjoyed it. If you can afford it, I'd say you need to be at home with your baby as long as you aren't the primary breadwinner! (at least do it for as long as you can because you'll never get to do it again... the young years go by too quickly!) Perhaps you can continue doing what you're doing at home, see how you like it, and consider doing it as a career after your little one starts up with going to school. Good luck!