Just Got A Earfull Of "whoa! How Much?!"

Decorating By Swede-cakes Updated 4 Oct 2010 , 7:22am by allaboutcakeuk

Swede-cakes Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 2:36pm
post #1 of 40

Just have to get this out of my system...

A local cake decorator w/ home business recommended someone call me for a cake for next weekend, as she couldn't do it for them. The decorator and I know each other and pass clients back and forth.

So I speak with the client about the cake she wants for one week from now. Custom design; shopping cart piped in center of cake, coupons (probably fondant) that look like they're exploding out of the cart, a couple of signs saying "Bargains" or "SALE" or similar, whatever. Worked up a price and just called her back with the price. For the first time, I got: " WHOA! WHOA! HOW MUCH?! I MEAN, THAT'S ALOT MORE THAN WE HAD THOUGHT!! WOW. WE FIGURED LIKE 50 BUCKS OR SOMETHING. WOW. I'M GONNA HAVE TO CALL MY AUNT (wife of birthday man) AND SEE WHAT SHE WANTS TO DO." And I'm not the priciest place in the area either.

This is a cake for 35 servings. For $50, that'd be $1.43/slice. I don't turn my oven on for that. I think my fellow decorator may charge substantially less then me and they've gotten two cakes from her before. Thus, the sticker shock. Oh well...

39 replies
peg818 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 2:52pm
post #2 of 40

maybe they thought writing bargain and sale on the cake would mean they would get it on sale icon_smile.gif

Some people just don't have a clue as to how much stuff costs to make it let alone what you need to charge to make it worth turning your oven on.

Cake_Karen Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 2:57pm
post #3 of 40

Thats your price and if they want it then they will have to pay if not they will go without a cake!
If your friend charges less then so be it because the bottom line is she can not do it for them.

I have a different attitude about my cake making now cause Im the one up till all hours making cakes for people and If im going to do that I want paying for it.

I get sick of people wanting things for cheap.

cakeythings1961 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 3:36pm
post #4 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake_Karen



I get sick of people wanting things for cheap.




Yes, people don't understand how much work goes into a custom cake.

But isn't this true of every industry? Examples: our house recently needed new windows, and we were shocked that these windows alone cost what our first house went for in the 1980's!....I used to work at a nursing home -we're talking round-the-clock skilled nursing care- but families simply could not believe the monthly fees....my daughter recently got married, and we experienced sticker shock at just about every purchase we had to make.....the cost of my son's college textbooks could support a small family for a month! Any purchase that people don't have to make regularly seems way too expensive.

This customer wasn't devaluing the OP's work, she just didn't expect this expense, which probably meant either re-thinking the plans for the cake or increasing the budget for the party. I hope she ends up ordering a cake from you, Swede-cakes, because we all know how a beautiful, delicious cake can really set the tone for the whole party! icon_smile.gif

ddaigle Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:02pm
post #5 of 40

Cake civilians!!! Love 'em when they don't see a flaw on the cake you just did for them....hate them when they have sticker shock! Keep you prices as is.

divinecc Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 4:31pm
post #6 of 40

Yea I know the feeling, I am just starting out and recently have been quoting prices that will actually make me some money. So far every time I have quoted what I should I have been turned down. I get referred and people say she just opened up so they must think I am desperate and do them for free. I am between the lower and higher price bracket in our area so it is frustrating. Everyone wants a cool custom cake for nothing, yesterday I quoted 150 cupcakes and right in front of me they said "We can just go get cupcakes at Walmart for cheaper than that!" Duh. Of coarse you can.....frustrating!

costumeczar Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 5:10pm
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by divinecc

Everyone wants a cool custom cake for nothing, yesterday I quoted 150 cupcakes and right in front of me they said "We can just go get cupcakes at Walmart for cheaper than that!" Duh. Of coarse you can.....frustrating!




When people say something like that to me, I tell them "Sure, you could, but you'll actually be wasting money because people tend not to eat cake that doesn't taste good, and Walmart falls into that category." Even if they don't buy the cake from me, I will still have the satisfaction of saying it, hahaha! icon_evil.gificon_lol.gif

Cake_Karen Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 5:19pm
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by divinecc

"We can just go get cupcakes at Walmart for cheaper than that!" Duh. Of coarse you can.....frustrating!




And my response to anyone that says that to me is
'Yeah your right they are cheaper if you want Walmart Cakes but you came to me and this is my price Im not stopping you buying Walmart.......... Bye!!!'

divinecc Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 5:32pm
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by divinecc

Everyone wants a cool custom cake for nothing, yesterday I quoted 150 cupcakes and right in front of me they said "We can just go get cupcakes at Walmart for cheaper than that!" Duh. Of coarse you can.....frustrating!



When people say something like that to me, I tell them "Sure, you could, but you'll actually be wasting money because people tend not to eat cake that doesn't taste good, and Walmart falls into that category." Even if they don't buy the cake from me, I will still have the satisfaction of saying it, hahaha! icon_evil.gificon_lol.gif




I totally love that, I get a little nervous during the consultations still and always think of things I wish I would or wouldn't have said!

jonahsmom Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 5:36pm
post #10 of 40

I had one of those for a baby shower - they ended up not even getting back to me and I WAS SO GLAD! The friend emailed me and I sent her back a price quote and got a quoted email from another friend about so effing much for cupcakes - is she crazy - blah, blah, blah kind of an email. Don't know what my contact was thinking in sending THAT to me!!!! Dumb. I just sent her a message back that the quality of my cupcakes was totally worth the price. I literally told her that I know my prices are higher than the local wally world - because my stuff is better - and that I wasn't going to sacrifice the quality of my work just to meet her price point. Of course, I said it nicer than that - but that's the gist of it!!! icon_smile.gif

The nerve of some people just kills me!!!!

Alyssa

divinecc Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 5:52pm
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonahsmom

I had one of those for a baby shower - they ended up not even getting back to me and I WAS SO GLAD! The friend emailed me and I sent her back a price quote and got a quoted email from another friend about so effing much for cupcakes - is she crazy - blah, blah, blah kind of an email. Don't know what my contact was thinking in sending THAT to me!!!! Dumb. I just sent her a message back that the quality of my cupcakes was totally worth the price. I literally told her that I know my prices are higher than the local wally world - because my stuff is better - and that I wasn't going to sacrifice the quality of my work just to meet her price point. Of course, I said it nicer than that - but that's the gist of it!!! icon_smile.gif

The nerve of some people just kills me!!!!

Alyssa




Good for you, I need to grow some and start defending my product more!

PistachioCranberry Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 6:02pm
post #12 of 40

I work in a grocery store bakery, and it always trips me out when people thing that we make the cakes from scratch. Uh duh, do you THINK the price would be as low as it is if that were the case.

When I worked at a custom bakery, you always got the "I can get it cheaper at (insert any chain grocery you would like).

If you want something that was made in a factory who only knows how long and then frozen, go for it.

costumeczar Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 6:30pm
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by da757deevalibra

I work in a grocery store bakery, and it always trips me out when people thing that we make the cakes from scratch. Uh duh, do you THINK the price would be as low as it is if that were the case.

When I worked at a custom bakery, you always got the "I can get it cheaper at (insert any chain grocery you would like).

If you want something that was made in a factory who only knows how long and then frozen, go for it.




Hi, Deeva!

I love that they go to the bakery and STILL say they could get it cheaper at the grocery store. You know that they're hoping you'll lower your price to get the sale. I think that there are too many articles about haggling for discounts out there right now, people are getting more pushy about it.

Texas_Rose Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 6:39pm
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I think that there are too many articles about haggling for discounts out there right now, people are getting more pushy about it.




I used to make cakes for friends sometimes, for the cost of the ingredients, because I can't sell cakes and I wanted the practice. Some of them would even try to haggle the price of the ingredients down with me...for example, "I can get a three-tier fondant cake at HEB (local grocery store) for $30, so don't you think you could come down a little bit?" Me: "Gosh, that's a great price! You'd better run over there and get it before they realize how much they're losing on it!"

Of course they couldn't get a three-tier cake for that price even at the grocery store but that didn't stop them from lying about it.

costumeczar Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 6:49pm
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

"I can get a three-tier fondant cake at HEB (local grocery store) for $30, so don't you think you could come down a little bit?" Me: "Gosh, that's a great price! You'd better run over there and get it before they realize how much they're losing on it!"

.




Hahahahaha!

julesh268 Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 6:57pm
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeythings1961

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake_Karen



I get sick of people wanting things for cheap.



Yes, people don't understand how much work goes into a custom cake.

But isn't this true of every industry? Examples: our house recently needed new windows, and we were shocked that these windows alone cost what our first house went for in the 1980's!....I used to work at a nursing home -we're talking round-the-clock skilled nursing care- but families simply could not believe the monthly fees....my daughter recently got married, and we experienced sticker shock at just about every purchase we had to make.....the cost of my son's college textbooks could support a small family for a month! Any purchase that people don't have to make regularly seems way too expensive.

This customer wasn't devaluing the OP's work, she just didn't expect this expense, which probably meant either re-thinking the plans for the cake or increasing the budget for the party. I hope she ends up ordering a cake from you, Swede-cakes, because we all know how a beautiful, delicious cake can really set the tone for the whole party! icon_smile.gif




Well put.

MaryAllison Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 7:12pm
post #17 of 40

Wow! I will use these various responses and thinken my skin in the future instead of having my feeling hurt.
Thanks, everyone!

Swede-cakes Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:07pm
post #18 of 40

Lots of people have budgets to work with and some of them are going to tell us in a blunt outward fashion that they think we're too expensive...that's what we have to been able to handle. When she finished her exclamation, I simply answered her "Alright that's fine, xxxxx, I understand. Thank you."

I truly believe "there's always another client around the corner" and that was proven once again. 45 minutes after I spoke with this lady, another one called to order a cake for a Baptism like one I had on my website. icon_biggrin.gif

christeena Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:49pm
post #19 of 40

A friend of mine just told me that she has a hard time pricing her cakes 'cause she doesn't want to "shock" people with high prices. She just did a 14, 10, and 6" tiered, fondant covered cake for $200! I told her she didn't even cover her costs with prices like that and that she was basically giving her talent away!

allaboutcakeuk Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:50pm
post #20 of 40

I know what you mean, I find this side of business so hard, I want the work but at the same time I've had many a time when I first started out getting frustrated to the point of tears almost when I realised how much work I was doing for a cake for so little if no return. I've toughened up a lot and think sometimes "well that's fine you don't want a custom cake at that price then I don't spend days and days creating a cake for no pay". I've started to learn to tell people things like a diamante number on top of their cake is gonna cost xyz and they are surprised! The other side i think sometimes is that people don't realise how great the cake will look when they first hear the price. I've lost count of people who go "oh wow wasn't looking spending that much" then when I show them pictures of creations they change their mind. I find it hard to ask people if they have a budget as they seem reluctant to tell me but I find if they do we can work something out by changing the cake a little to less work but still a good cake for their money. Now friends asking for cakes.. don't get me started! Word of mouth is good but not when they get friends rates then tell all and sundry what a bargain they got and everyone expects it! icon_sad.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:55pm
post #21 of 40

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who gets that crap!! People want Sylvia Weinstock cakes for WalMart prices and when you tell them "your" price (which is very reasonable for custom work) they get their knickers in a knot!! icon_confused.gif (Can you tell this hit a nerve with me??) icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:29pm
post #22 of 40

Just think of it this way...I don't htink that the people at Rolls Royce cry when someone tells them that their cars are expensive. They know that they are, but there's a reason for it. They're not going to drop the price to match a Kia price just because that type of car exists. Don't feel that you have to drop your price just becasue grocery store cakes exist.

(I'm writing a book on running a small business so I'm just full of "inspiration" these days)

allaboutcakeuk Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:44pm
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Just think of it this way...I don't htink that the people at Rolls Royce cry when someone tells them that their cars are expensive. They know that they are, but there's a reason for it. They're not going to drop the price to match a Kia price just because that type of car exists. Don't feel that you have to drop your price just becasue grocery store cakes exist.

(I'm writing a book on running a small business so I'm just full of "inspiration" these days)




yep that's a good way to look at it. I had a bride who wanted peggy porschen and mitch turner cakes, she came round with all top end designs that they charge £1,000 plus for and wanted the same created but cos i worked from home and a one man band i think they thought i would do for way way less than that. I still thought I came in at a good price for the cost of one that was 4 tier that is tons of RI detailed work that London charge £1,500 for but still that wasn't good enough. then unfortunately you need to look at your design and come down a little on what can be achieved on your budget. I think I am reasonable, i don't look at "wedding" and stick ££££ in front I look at what it costs me more in time, technical detail and cost of ingredients. On some cakes at the start I found once I broke it all down i was making about 50pence an hour!!! I may as well not work!

PaulasPastries Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 1:53pm
post #24 of 40

wow i'm starting to think i'm not charging enough!! I try to stay at $3 a slice minimum but most clients are friends or family so I always try to just make them a cake and come out a little more than breaking even. I made a 2 tier (12" and 8") birthday cake, covered in fondant with pretty elaborate decorations with delivery for $215. I also made a 3 tier (12, 9 and 6 inch) fondant covered birthday cake for a friend that was very simply decorated and didnt have any crazy fillings or flavors, and it was $225. Is this too little?? In both cases, they only wanted to feed 50 people but wanted a bigger looking cake.

Cake_Karen Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 2:25pm
post #25 of 40

The most annoying thing about pricing cakes is when I get a bride call to ask for a price on a cake, They say Oh I only want it plain not much detail at all (So the cake will be cheap) and then as you carry on talking to them all of a sudden the cake is covered in so much detail and piles of handmade flowers.......but remember they only want it priced on the 'plain' cake they asked for!!!

allaboutcakeuk Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 2:55pm
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulasPastries

wow i'm starting to think i'm not charging enough!! I try to stay at $3 a slice minimum but most clients are friends or family so I always try to just make them a cake and come out a little more than breaking even. I made a 2 tier (12" and 8") birthday cake, covered in fondant with pretty elaborate decorations with delivery for $215. I also made a 3 tier (12, 9 and 6 inch) fondant covered birthday cake for a friend that was very simply decorated and didnt have any crazy fillings or flavors, and it was $225. Is this too little?? In both cases, they only wanted to feed 50 people but wanted a bigger looking cake.




No I don't think you probably are charging enough if they are very elaborate decorations esp including delivery too. I think it is different though if it is for friends. Maybe make a table of just friend's rates for say a single tier, 2 tier, 3 tier etc. so they can see what your costs are and the small amount you are putting on and the good value they are getting. i don't mind sometimes doing just for the cost of ingredients but when it takes a long time I don't think it is fair not to charge a little something for the time involved. I look at it that I'm doing a good cake at a really good price and I could be doing a cake for a paying customer that I am losing out on doing this. I don't mind if i don't have work on but otherwise I've lost money lots of times icon_smile.gif

allaboutcakeuk Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 2:57pm
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake_Karen

The most annoying thing about pricing cakes is when I get a bride call to ask for a price on a cake, They say Oh I only want it plain not much detail at all (So the cake will be cheap) and then as you carry on talking to them all of a sudden the cake is covered in so much detail and piles of handmade flowers.......but remember they only want it priced on the 'plain' cake they asked for!!!




LOL oh I so hear you on this! Had exactly same thing. Just want a simple cake, plain with ribbon then I price then 5 mins later i get "can I have a spray of sugar roses on top and some on sides of each tier". Yes you can but they cost extra. Oh but I only having it plain. no you're not you're adding. Quoted again on a heart cake, just plain with a star burst. oh but can I have a shoe instead of the writing, and some beads instead of the fondant cut out.. mmmmm ha ha

bobwonderbuns Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 3:02pm
post #28 of 40

Okay let me throw this out there for y'all to get your thoughts on it -- I prefer to charge per slice. On wedding cakes I don't negotiate that. However, on party cakes, I do have a price per slice but that seems to get me no where. Other designers in my area have a set price for a party cake that looks good but isn't overly decorated. For example, a 10 inch pillow cake (feeds about 20) at say $4.00 per slice = $80.00. Now you would get some fabulous decorating for that money too. But around here nobody will pay more than $50 IF that! So what is a designer to do? What are your thoughts?

allaboutcakeuk Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 3:15pm
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Okay let me throw this out there for y'all to get your thoughts on it -- I prefer to charge per slice. On wedding cakes I don't negotiate that. However, on party cakes, I do have a price per slice but that seems to get me no where. Other designers in my area have a set price for a party cake that looks good but isn't overly decorated. For example, a 10 inch pillow cake (feeds about 20) at say $4.00 per slice = $80.00. Now you would get some fabulous decorating for that money too. But around here nobody will pay more than $50 IF that! So what is a designer to do? What are your thoughts?




yeah this is a tough one - i am in similar situation as I live in like a very low populated area so people more often than not don't want to pay much for cakes. I'm finding it hard to balance between charging for what I see is a really well decorated professional cake, good quality and tasty cake and having no customers at all for some weeks. Like last week - zero orders. I guess the only way I see it which is what i'm thinking about at the moment, is to have a basics range. basic cakes, basic decoration that don't take hours and hours of labour and thereby being able to charge that kind of cost thereby hopefully more customers and more orders? Maybe this would be an idea for you? its rock and hard place as it's not the market I want to target when I know how much hard work I put into my cakes. Just can't seem to sometimes get past people wanting elborate designs but at low prices

luckylibra Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 3:54pm
post #30 of 40

I love the debates about walmart or whatever v/s custom made. I made the heavenly pumpkin spice cake by aztomcat this past weekend and brought it in to work.. it was amazing, if I say so myself.. awesome recipe. Someone else had attended a wedding on Sunday night and brought back quite a few cupcakes that were leftover from that wedding.. purchased at the local superstore..thus the reason a bunch were leftover and they ended up being thrown away while I caught one person scraping the cake plate for crumbs on the spice cake... Love that!!!!

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