Help! Client Wants A Lot For Little Money...

Business By lynmn2 Updated 28 Nov 2010 , 12:53am by steffiessweet_sin_sations

lynmn2 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 4:39am
post #1 of 50

I got a request from a prospective client to do two individual sized birthday cakes for her children. At first she wanted a 3D monster cake and tiara which I quoted $40 each for. She thought this was too expensive. So I offered the choice of a normal cake cut out as a monster truck and a tiara. for $25 each. She bargained to $20 each to which I agreed (not making any profit now due to the overhead costs). After agreeing with the price, she came back to me with detailed pictures, specific designs, etc that seems a lot of work then I bargained for. Sure, its a individual sized cake but the work is more intricate and her demands too much. Question: is $20 per individual cake too much or am I reasonable? How much would a detailed cake as such cost?

I'm so tempted to turn her down...all the time and work involved doesn't seem worth it..

49 replies
LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 4:47am
post #2 of 50

TURN HER DOWN!!!! There is no way you can be making any money at those prices. In fact, I'd bet you would LOSE money. Definitely not worth it. Any kind of sculpted cake, whether 3D or 2D, should be more than $40. We charge a minimum of $120 for a cake like that.

kelleym Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:01am
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Quote:

She bargained to $20 each to which I agreed (not making any profit now due to the overhead costs).




Huh? Why on earth did you agree to this?

Cake buying is not like shopping at a foreign bazaar where haggling is the name of the game. The price is the price is the price. Don't let customers talk you down in price -- ever. Really.

howsweet Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:02am
post #4 of 50

I agree - turn her down. You will feel so much better afterward.

I learned early in this business (and you will too) that there are a group of women who are tuned into finding a "cake lady" who works for nothing. When that cake lady comes to her senses and starts charging something realistic, they move onto the next "victim". They are usually smug "pat her self on the back types" for managing their money so well and always getting the best deal. They don't have the sense to realize that what they really are is freeloaders taking advantage of others.

After awhile you can smell them a mile away. And when the first thing they say is, "I used to have this wonderful cake lady but she moved", 95% of the time this person is after cake for about a quarter of market value.

cakegirl1973 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:03am
post #5 of 50

I would be surprised if you could even cover your costs at that price. You should turn her down or requote her a fair price to you and don't let her talk you down. Your time and talents are valuable--don't give them away for free!

SugarandSpice3674 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:04am
post #6 of 50

I agree with CakeMasterSRC about turning her down, here where i live in Alberta a 3D cake for example of Lightening Mcqueen (25-30 servings) is $150-$175! The last thing you want to do is cut yourself short, if you let one client undervalue you then others will try to do the same. People will always try to get the most bang for their buck but they have to remember that you need to get a profit out of it too icon_smile.gif

howsweet Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:06am
post #7 of 50

I wouldn't waste another moment of my time bothering to figure up a quote - she wants the cake for nothing.

3GCakes Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:16am
post #8 of 50

Don't even bother.

Let her haggle with Wal-Mart.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:27am
post #9 of 50

Turn her down NOW!

She will tell all her friends you can be manipulated and you will end up doing cakes for less than zip. I shall rephrase...you will need to get a job just so you can do cakes for other people.

Explain to her in no uncertain terms, the cakes were decided at a certain price, if she wants to change them up, she will pay a change fee!

Do not back down on this. The woman will only bring you other bargain hunting hags.

Your cakes won't be remembered for their beauty but how cheap they can be had.

lynmn2 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:31am
post #10 of 50

Thank you all so much. You don't know how relieved I am. I'm obviously new at this. My business is only two weeks old and I'm trying to reel in customers so they can spread the word but this lady is too cheap for that. I live in Marin County in the Bay Area so I guess $20 is cheap...I should tell her to check with Safeway or buy a cupcake.. Thank you all for your advice - I feel so much better!!

all4cake Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:32am
post #11 of 50

"IIIIIIIIII saaaaaaaaaaaaaid, a normal cake cut out as a monster truck and a tiara. To create something with this much detail would be priced considerably higher. Would you like to continue with the order as discussed or would you like to order the more detailed cakes?"

How big are the individual cakes supposed to be?

howsweet Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:38am
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowCoolGomo1

The woman will only bring you other bargain hunting hags.
.



Exactly right - it's one big awful network - RUN! icon_lol.gif

lynmn2 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 5:50am
post #13 of 50

At All4Cake: The individual size cakes are supposed to be about inches...Trying to do detailed work with that size is too intricate a job and time consuming it seems... Here were her demands:

"FOR MY SON:
A blue monster truck should be the focal point of the cake, made as big as possible to cover the diameter of the top.
The attached "MonsterTruckPicture" is a good example of what I'm looking for, as far as the look of the truck goes. I'm not necessarily looking to have these exact details, although I really like them. If possible, please make all the black details (wheels etc.) dark chocolate instead. I'd like to stay away from black food coloring. Perhaps the cake itself should be light brown/milk chocolate (like the ground), and the truck blue with dark brown and maybe some yellow details?
The attached picture "Truck 1" is a good example of what I like (if it were flat and raised, not 3D) and "Truck 2" is nice too if it were neater.

FOR MY DAUGHTER:
A pink/purple/fuscia tiara should be the focal point of the cake, made as big as possible to cover the diameter of the top. (I decided against the wand -- let's keep it simple.)
I like the tiara on a "Crown" picture you sent. Attached pictures "Tiara 1" and "Tiara 2" have very nice tiaras too. As far as details go, the hearts are better than the swirls. It would be nice to have an edible element or two somewhere on the cake, like a puffed heart or a flower or a star, like in the attached picture "Tiara 3." If not, it's not a big deal. I'm thinking the cake should be light pink, with the tiara a combo of pink and purple and fuscia -- the girlier the better! If you use any edible sparkles in your creations, a little of that would be great too."

all4cake Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:00am
post #14 of 50

? inches ?

FBCT...done.

pixiefuncakes Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:04am
post #15 of 50

This woman knows what she is doing - she knows what cakes cost and she is playing you. Let her make her own cakes for $20 a piece.

lynmn2 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:05am
post #16 of 50

At All4Cakes - Sorry, 6inches

sacakesandbakes Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:07am
post #17 of 50

You could also tell her that from the pictures that she sent you that it would take __ hours to decorate. You could also suggest she buy the toy truck and tiara to be placed on top of the cakes. Tell her that your cakes are also a better quality than the grocery store cakes. Those cakes are flash frozen and have been in the freezer for several months and they sell so many of them they can afford to sell theirs at a cheaper price. If she asking for a custom cake she needs to understand they can not be sold at grocery store prices.

all4cake Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:09am
post #18 of 50

A 6 inch , single layer, with a frozen buttercream transfer...doesn't seem unreasonable for either side.

lynmn2 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:13am
post #19 of 50

I offered her the frozen buttercream transfer option but she wants the 2D version....I already told her thanks but no thanks. I have three kids under 4. I'd rather spend my time with them then fuss over a cake that will only cause me grief.

Thank you all for your valuable input!

Corrie76 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:15am
post #20 of 50

drop this lady fast...or just let her know that after figuring the materials and the time involved that you cannot go that cheap. you are right by or in sausalito, and I know for a fact that you can and should be charging WAY higher prices. Call the other custom bakeries around town and see what they are charging to get an idea.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:24am
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynmn2

At All4Cake: The individual size cakes are supposed to be about inches...Trying to do detailed work with that size is too intricate a job and time consuming it seems... Here were her demands:

"FOR MY SON:
A blue monster truck should be the focal point of the cake, made as big as possible to cover the diameter of the top.
The attached "MonsterTruckPicture" is a good example of what I'm looking for, as far as the look of the truck goes. I'm not necessarily looking to have these exact details, although I really like them. If possible, please make all the black details (wheels etc.) dark chocolate instead. I'd like to stay away from black food coloring. Perhaps the cake itself should be light brown/milk chocolate (like the ground), and the truck blue with dark brown and maybe some yellow details?
The attached picture "Truck 1" is a good example of what I like (if it were flat and raised, not 3D) and "Truck 2" is nice too if it were neater.

FOR MY DAUGHTER:
A pink/purple/fuscia tiara should be the focal point of the cake, made as big as possible to cover the diameter of the top. (I decided against the wand -- let's keep it simple.)
I like the tiara on a "Crown" picture you sent. Attached pictures "Tiara 1" and "Tiara 2" have very nice tiaras too. As far as details go, the hearts are better than the swirls. It would be nice to have an edible element or two somewhere on the cake, like a puffed heart or a flower or a star, like in the attached picture "Tiara 3." If not, it's not a big deal. I'm thinking the cake should be light pink, with the tiara a combo of pink and purple and fuscia -- the girlier the better! If you use any edible sparkles in your creations, a little of that would be great too."




Tell her to stuff it! $20 for each cake? The way this she devil wants them done? Uhn Uhn, no flipping way!

Did I read this right and you live in Marin County, the Bay area? If I did she's taking you for a ride on her broomstick of 'she's so fabulous in her own mind fantasy'. If you back down to this woman, you will never ever get decent prices for your creations.

Her comments; it's not a big deal and yet she directs your artistry. She's a bridezilla wrapped up in Mommy clothes. I especially don't care for if you can do or think about this. Passive aggressive stinky stuff.

Get rid of her! If you're a new studio, you will probably find out every other bakery has turned her down or flat out refuses her orders.

If it was me and I'm massively snotty. I would respond with this is the designs we agreed on. If you would like me to change them up to your ideas in your last email, I'd be happy to do that for you. The cakes will now be $50 each.

dreamdelights Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:35am
post #22 of 50

She is insulting you by saying 40 dollars is expensive. That is cheap

biscocoFJ Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 6:51am
post #23 of 50

glad to hear that you turned her down not worth it...

mommachris Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 7:02am
post #24 of 50

Repeat after me...
"Have received your detailed descriptions and at this time I will not be able to met those expectations for that amount of money. In fact it will cost about $200 to assemble them in the manner you are describing.
I will not be making your cakes. Thank your for considering my bakery.
May I suggest ( highest price bakery in the area). Hopefully they will be able to make your dreams a reality."


You don't want any part of this lady.
Dollars to doughnuts a day after the party she'd be on the phone knocking the cakes and seeking some sort of deal on the next one since you 'didn't do what I asked' for her little darlings.

Trust your gut. If you are uncomfortable with the request before you even heat up the oven...this is not a customer you want to deal with.

mommachris

leah_s Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 12:16pm
post #25 of 50

Shoot, I charge $40 for a topper. The tiara BY ITSELF would be $40. Seriously. 6" is a lot of real estate to cover with a tiara.

leah_s Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 12:17pm
post #26 of 50

Oh, and an "individual serving" is not a 6" cake. An individual serving is a CUPCAKE.

LindaF144a Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 1:29pm
post #27 of 50

Seriously, people who live in your area can afford more than that for a cake. There are people in your area who make cakes and they charge way more than $20 per cake. That is why she came to you, she probably has been turned down dozens of times. Now she found someone who is hungry to start a business and get the word out. The only thing, like others have said, you will be getting the word out that you work for cheap. You do not want that reputation.

Drop her like a hot potato. Explain to her that after seeing her photos, this is your price and price it according to your competition. Do you homework. Do not let her take advantage of you.

This is wrong on so many levels. You are worth more than what she wants you to do.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 1:48pm
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet

I agree - turn her down. You will feel so much better afterward.

I learned early in this business (and you will too) that there are a group of women who are tuned into finding a "cake lady" who works for nothing. When that cake lady comes to her senses and starts charging something realistic, they move onto the next "victim". They are usually smug "pat her self on the back types" for managing their money so well and always getting the best deal. They don't have the sense to realize that what they really are is freeloaders taking advantage of others.

After awhile you can smell them a mile away. And when the first thing they say is, "I used to have this wonderful cake lady but she moved", 95% of the time this person is after cake for about a quarter of market value.




Howsweet got it right on the money--or the lack thereof I guess.

I think we should call them cake gypsies. There definitley definitely (pick which spelling you like best) is a gaggle of women who literally prey on another gaggle of women where gaggle #2 aka 'the mark' ALLOWS theirselves to be taken advantage of by a cake gypsy until the mark quits playing. And the gypsy absolutley moves on and sniffs out another one with the exact line HowSweet quotes up there. Exactly.

AbouttheCake Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 2:09pm
post #29 of 50

Something to consider. If you bake 2 6" cakes (assuming these are to be single layer cakes), you have at least 30 minutes in baking time, 10-15 minutes in icing prep, 2 cake boards, foil, 2 boxes, 3 eggs (assuming you use a mix and both cakes are the same flavor), oil, mix, addt'l ingredients if you doctor, water, water to wash the pans, dish soap, electricity to run the oven and the mixer, plus at least 1-2 hours in decorating time. Even if you're only charging 2.00/hour, you've lost money before you've turned the oven on.

Pricing in California is higher than in most areas. Ingredients are higher, electric/gas is higher, phone and other things are higher. So why would you do a cake for 20.00 each?

I suppose it'd be different if you were also baking a larger cake that you could just slide these puppies in along side.

Glad you said no. It's hard to stick to your pricing, but if you don't you will think about it the whole time you are working on your cake and will regret it. Your irritation will show through rather than your artwork.

ShaunPepe Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 2:39pm
post #30 of 50

NO NO NO! Please don't work for free! Because that will be what you are doing. $20 for any kind of cake is giving it away. Even $40 for a cake is cheap no matter where you live. Anyone not willing to pay $40 for a detailed cake is just trying to rip you off and get a deal.

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