I Need To Vent

Decorating By teddy0826 Updated 12 Oct 2010 , 8:39pm by teddy0826

teddy0826 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 2:03pm
post #1 of 13

Hi everyone I need your advice. I Love Love doing cakes and being creative. I really found my passion and have taken alot of classes and continue to do so. I live in a middle class neighborhood but with the economy it doesn't help either. I stay at home right now with my son and do cake, cookies, etc.. on the side. I really need to make some money though. It seems like people only want to spend 25 to 35 for a cake. I always go above and beyond the price because I just don't want to put Happy Birthday on a cake. Should I go work for a bakery instead. My husband gets so angry with me because I put alot of time into a cake and only walk away with the cost of the cake. I think if I charge alot for a cake in my area I just won't get any business because people just can't aford it right know. I don't wonna give up on my dream but I would like to make some ok money out of it. Need some advice.

Thanks for listening

12 replies
diamonds-and-rust Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 3:29pm
post #2 of 13

I don't really have any advice for you, as I am in the same boat. People don't (can't) pay a lot for cakes right now...they want Cake Boss at Safeway prices. I know how frustrated you feel. I guess we can only hope that the economy will pick up (I keep hearing that in the media, but really see no evidence of that in "real life", lol, perhaps its wishful thinking)...and I live in the Seattle burbs, supposedly a more "well to do" area than many parts of the country...my husband, as well, is getting annoyed with my lack of income...I know it is unfair to put the financial burden on him entirely (our mortgage payments are almost 2k and for this area thats not bad) but I cannot stomach the idea of being confined to a stall (cubicle) for 10+ hrs a day icon_cry.gif
I know this wasn't much help, just wanted to offer you a little tea and sympathy.
Good luck,
Cathy

myslady Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 4:17pm
post #3 of 13

You are putting your customer's wants above your family's needs. Raise your prices. If a customer pays for a cake to say Happy Birthday, the customer gets a cake that says Happy Birthday. It sounds like you are trying to build your portfolio. If that's the case, you may be able to up sell them to letting you try something different.

People have not been educated on the cost of cake, so sometimes a little disclosure is necessary. Let them know that the time it takes to decorate the cake is factored in (not that you had to rebake twice, kids got into the cake and had a separate emergency, but something to the effect of it takes time and skill to get a particular design). It's easy to look at the cost of ingredients to make a cake and try to determine the price, but the cake does not come out of the oven decorated.

Sassy74 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 4:52pm
post #4 of 13

Teddy, I know it's frustrating to feel like you're investing so much care, effort, and expense into a cake and getting little or nothing back. But, there are lots of factors involved in making the decision you're describing.

It's a frequent topic of discussion on these boards, but you need to find out if it's legal for you to operate a cake business from your home. I'm NOT telling you that you can or can't...that's up to you, your husband, and the state. Once you find out if it's legal, it's up to you what to do next.

It's not legal in my state, and I CAN'T STAND it. I turned a lady down YESTERDAY who wanted me to do her cake. I only cake for friends/family, and I didn't know this woman, so I had to say no. It stinks, but there it is. I also stay at home with my children, and going outside our home to work isn't something I or my husband wants at this time.

I DO, however, recoup the costs of the cake. I'm not giving away ingredients, even if I don't make any money on my time. Thankfully, my husband is supportive and even jokes that I get to enjoy my favorite hobby at practically no cost lol !!

Sorry I can't offer more help. It's really something you and your husband need to research/decide.

teddy0826 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 4:53pm
post #5 of 13

Thanks for listening cathy, I hate to say this but feels alittle better that someone is the same boat as me.
Myslady thanks for giving me your advice. I understand that I should charge more but then I'm afraid I wouldn't get any business at all. I guess I'm just being too negative. I had my own business for 15 yrs before I turned to this. I didn't have much overhead and could make some good money fast. I have to give myself some time to grow. I am a very impactient person, I have to work on that. Thanks again everyone.

gatorcake Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 5:20pm
post #6 of 13

Teddy I understand your frustration and your concern about what might happen if you raise your prices. My advice is based of your claim that as of now you are simply walking away having covered the cost of the cake. Is that correct?

If so I take this to mean you are breaking even and thus not making any money now. So there should be little problem raising your prices. Yes you might lose orders, but it is the customers who are benefitting from your low prices now. They get an artisan style cake for supermarket prices, and you do not make any money. So if you raise your prices, you may lose orders, but those orders were not making you money anyway.

What do you lose? Now certainly you lose the opprotunity to practice and develop skills. However if your primary concern is making money you have to be willing to sacrifice that element. Otherwise your skills are getting better and you still make no money because you are concerned about charging more.

I understand you are afraid, but right now your customer base does not have to make a choice. They do not have to choose between a great tasting, professionally decorated cake or one from a supermarket, because your price point lets them have (bad pun coming) their cake and eat it too ;p. You need to make them make the decision, that is if you want to do more than break even. They need to be put in the position of having to decide between your cakes and a supermarket cake, do they want the high quality or do they want a cake on the cheap?

Trying raising your prices and see what happens. If orders dry up then you will have to lower them---if you want to keep making cakes. But if that happens then at most you will continue to break even. Thus you will have to decide if you want to keep making them if you cannot make money at it.

Certainly there are other things you can do like expanding your customer base. Find clients who will allow you to make money because they are willing to pay for your work. My comments only reflect the parameters you discuss in your initial post.

TrixieTreats Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 5:26pm
post #7 of 13

Here's the thing. I think what will eventually happen is that you will reach the breaking point where you will realize that it isn't necessarily worth it to do the cakes at cost. I know from experience that after doing so many at cost or less, you finally accept that the effort isn't necessarily worth it.

If you are trying to expand your portfolio, you can do that on your time and on your terms. People that want a 25-30 dollar cake don't appreciate your work anyway. Then, they come to expect that what you have delivered on their budget is what it costs. So, the bottom line is that if they ever come back to you or refer someone to you, that is what they will expect. You are now the "cheap cake lady", which will be hard to shake.

I was in your boat in the beginning, not wanting to turn away any opportunities for experience and exposure, but I reached the end of my rope and decided that if someone walks away...fine. That just means they are not the right client for my product.

Decide on a price, throw it out there. If you are still willing to do it for less, compromise between their price and yours. Most of the time people just want to feel like they are getting a deal. So, if you want $60 for a cake, tell them your price for a cake is $75, they want to pay $40...offer them $55 or $60 as a compromise...one time deal. They feel like they bargained you down, and you got what you wanted. In all actuality, they are still getting a great deal, and you are getting more compensation. Decide what is a fair price for your work, area, costs, etc. and stick to it. Be fair to yourself.

You have to get to that place on your own...I assure you it will happen in good time.

CWR41 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 7:19pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddy0826

Should I go work for a bakery instead.




I thought this was your question (even though there's no question mark).

I can't give you advice about taking a job at a bakery, but I didn't think that was an option since you stay at home with your son.

Best of luck balancing both... I hope you find a solution.

online_annie Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 7:38pm
post #9 of 13

I realize the economy has taken a hit everywhere, but it has had no effort on my cake orders. It seems that although most are tightening their financial belts, they still value an amazing cake. My prices are the highest in my small town and yet I have to turn orders down due to a full calendar. Hang in there, raise those prices. Your time is valueable. Do not concern yourself with the "economy", people will only pay what they feel something is worth. They will not value your time, skills or product if you don't. Don't give up doing what you love!

trishvanhoozer Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 7:58pm
post #10 of 13

I used to do what you are describing and would get frustrated and concerned just like you are doing. Here's the thing. People generally pay what you ask. I eventually decided to stick to my guns and my heart on my prices, and charge in line with what local bakeries charge. Not only did I not lose business, but I really think my work picked up. People might think they want a $25-30 cake but if they really did, they would walk right into a grocery store and buy one. I have earned the respect to charge prices by the quality and end product - and that is truly all you can hope for. If you sell for less than what you are worth, then people will remember that in the future and that will be what you are known for - so if you do yourself right on your pricing, and offer maybe "bonuses" (I throw in a coupon for a dozen cake balls once in a while or I drop and "office" cake off to good customers for no charge once a year) then you will be remembered for the right reasons. I do, however, give discounted rates for non-profit organizations that I support or feel inclined to. That is the only time I "break even" anymore.

Bskinne Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 8:00pm
post #11 of 13

Call bakeries in the area and see what they charge. You should be in line with them. I agree with other posters that you do everyone a disservice be charging so little...you will get burnt out because it's not worth your time, and it also hurts other local business because "why should I pay these prices when I can go to Teddy and get a $20 cake?" Do elaborate cakes for friends and family that will give you an opportunity to build your portfolio, and realize people are paying for an art, not just flour and sugar. If they want to go get a cheap cake, let them; they aren't going to provide a good reference for you anyway. (and of course, do check the legalities in your area. There are always commercial kitchens for rent, churches, etc; and it's always easier to advertise after this is done. Then you can target wedding/party planners, where the real $$$ is.)

Bskinne Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 8:00pm
post #12 of 13

Call bakeries in the area and see what they charge. You should be in line with them. I agree with other posters that you do everyone a disservice be charging so little...you will get burnt out because it's not worth your time, and it also hurts other local business because "why should I pay these prices when I can go to Teddy and get a $20 cake?" Do elaborate cakes for friends and family that will give you an opportunity to build your portfolio, and realize people are paying for an art, not just flour and sugar. If they want to go get a cheap cake, let them; they aren't going to provide a good reference for you anyway. (and of course, do check the legalities in your area. There are always commercial kitchens for rent, churches, etc; and it's always easier to advertise after this is done. Then you can target wedding/party planners, where the real $$$ is.)

teddy0826 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 8:39pm
post #13 of 13

Thanks everyone, I am aways cutting myself short on eveything i do. I cut hair for 18yrs and did the same with my haircut prices. I need a backbone and that's it. Thanks

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