cutiepiecupcake Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:04pm
post #1 of

I had an aquaintance pm me on facebook asking me if I could make her son's 2nd bday cake for this coming Sunday. The messaging went on for about a half an hour or so.. with me asking the general questions re: flavour, size, design etc. I finished the conversation with the question I really should have asked right at the beginning - $$$? What do you know.. the messaging came to an abrupt halt - either fb had technical problems or her fingers went numb from the shock of my prices!!
Ok so here is how the conversation on FB went:
Enquirer: it is ------'s 2nd birthday on Sunday. Would you make me one of your stunning cakes? Call me on ---- ---- ---- if you like.
call her?? hmmm I thought it should be the customer calling me?! icon_confused.gif
Me: Hi.. Can do icon_smile.gif What did you have in mind and how big? You can check out my website for a bit more info if you like.
Enquirer: not sure about size. Is not a huge party. He loves Thomas the tank engine. So is a Thomas cake possible? .
Me: For sure.. how many serves would you estimate? That way I know what size I should base the design around.
Enquirer: Can you work with 10 adults and 5 kids? We are happy to have a larger cakes. Leftovers won't go bad. Oh, and ---- is a chocolate boy!! .
Me: Sounds good.. I will base it around 15 - 20 serves. So would you like to run with chocolate mudcake filled with either white-chocolate or chocolate ganache (smooth creamy truffle filling)? I then cover themed cakes with a vanilla-marshmallow flavoured fondant to finish. .
Enquirer: Chocolate mudcake filled with chocolate ganache please .
Me: Ok.. so next question - 3D sculpted Thomas or stenciled Thomas? For a 3D cake to feed between 15-20 serves you would be looking at a cost of approximately $120. A stenciled round or square cake would cost $80
END
Were my prices over the top? I personally don't think so. I would have thought that considering the time that goes into either of these cakes that my pricing is quite reasonable. Maybe I should throw her a wad of fondant and and a timer & say "here - have a crack". I may just be a beginner, but that doesn't mean I have to go 'cheap'.. and I refuse to advertise myself as such... as in this small town if you do one 'discounted' rate everyone feels entitled to ask for a cheapie.
And what is it with this whole "I would like just a simple cake"... define simple.. simple is a supermarket sponge that you throw together yourself with some canned mock cream and frosting with coloured sprinkles. I've had two calls in the past two days by brides asking for something simple. Does simple = I don't have a huge budget?" IF this is the case why not just be honest and say "this is what I have to play with $$$ what do you think you could do for me?"
End of rant

54 replies
indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:16pm
post #2 of

Yeah.... "simple" cakes can be purchased at walmart!

And you have recognized the best lesson: "How much were you looking to spend?" is always the first question. I'm betting she was looking for a donation and if you had told her $5, the conversation would have ended just as abruptly.

People kill me. At the hotel I work at, we charge $10/night for a rollaway bed in your room. This is WAY cheaper than buying another room for $99!! had a lady call down and ask for one. Told her, "Yes, we have those. They are $10/night."

She LOUDLY proclaims, "I didn't want to have to PAY for it!"

Well, babe, I guess you're not getting one, then are you!?

Dumbas$$es.

TejasRebel Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:41pm
post #3 of

"Maybe I should throw her a wad of fondant and and a timer & say "here - have a crack". "

hahaha - I'm still giggling and snorting at that one!

simplysouthern Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:47pm
post #4 of

I feel your frustration. Lately it seems everytime I give a quote I'm hearing "whoaaaa that's way out of the price range I was thinking of spending". I always start with the basic questions so I know I'm not wasting a ton of time before we get to the prices but its the point. If you want cheap then why are you even calling a "custom bakery"?????????

I've had 2 people in 2 days say no and I was too expensive.....my reply is.....yea its a custom cake, they tend to cost more, hence custom.

Ugh sometimes I can't stand people!!

simplysouthern Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:12pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysouthern

I feel your frustration. Lately it seems everytime I give a quote I'm hearing "whoaaaa that's way out of the price range I was thinking of spending". I always start with the basic questions so I know I'm not wasting a ton of time before we get to the prices but its the point. If you want cheap then why are you even calling a "custom bakery"?????????

I've had 2 people in 2 days say no and I was too expensive.....my reply is.....yea its a custom cake, they tend to cost more, hence custom.

Ugh sometimes I can't stand people!!



Ohhhh this outta make ya smile:.......the dang lady yesterday after I quoted and she gasped said she worked at the local Chilis bar and grill and do I give hospitality discounts??

Inside my head sounded like this. Hdndirhnskixbsuegeidnsosnwywvywvkzoxndbxievw
What I said was: um no I'm sorry but the only discounts I offer go to those who once changed my diaper, paid for my college tuition, or live in my house.

I'm not usually such a witch....w a B...but this lady had it coming. I had just preached the Jo discounts on CC on a thread and so the reply to crazy lady just came out LOL oh well

Corrie76 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:13pm
post #6 of

I feel your frustration OP, I usually don't have people openly freak out on me over the prices but I have gotten quite a few super-enthusiastic people who are insistent I make their cake only to cut off communication as soon as the price is discussed.

I have (finally!) learned that it's best to discuss budget before all else. It saves so much time that might get wasted on planning and discussing a cake that the customer can't afford.

simplysouthern Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:15pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplysouthern

I feel your frustration. Lately it seems everytime I give a quote I'm hearing "whoaaaa that's way out of the price range I was thinking of spending". I always start with the basic questions so I know I'm not wasting a ton of time before we get to the prices but its the point. If you want cheap then why are you even calling a "custom bakery"?????????

I've had 2 people in 2 days say no and I was too expensive.....my reply is.....yea its a custom cake, they tend to cost more, hence custom.

Ugh sometimes I can't stand people!!



Ohhhh this outta make ya smile:.......the dang lady yesterday after I quoted and she gasped said she worked at the local Chilis bar and grill and do I give hospitality discounts??

Inside my head sounded like this. Hdndirhnskixbsuegeidnsosnwywvywvkzoxndbxievw
What I said was: um no I'm sorry but the only discounts I offer go to those who once changed my diaper, paid for my college tuition, or live in my house.

I'm not usually such a witch....w a B...but this lady had it coming. I had just preached the Jo discounts on CC on a thread and so the reply to crazy lady just came out LOL oh well

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:21pm
post #8 of

And is the Chillis chick gonna discount your dinner? phhffft

bobwonderbuns Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:26pm
post #9 of

I know, I'm seriously sick of brides at this point in time (and it's not even wedding season!) icon_confused.gif

GamerGirl Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:49pm

Crazy huh? Same thing I had too. A person whom I have limited aquaintance with FB me and asked if I could make a cake like one I had previously made (carved 3D Lighting McQueen and carved 3D Mac The Truck) to feed 40-50 people. I told her the price of $120 and I never heard from her again. I didn't think that was too far out to feed that many or provide two! carved cakes! Was it?

cutiepiecupcake Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:52pm

Maybe the expectation of being offered a 'cheap/discounted' rate comes from living in a small town and word getting around that I had done a few creative pieces FOC for a close friend (baby shower, hen's cake & wedding cake) plus a few Christmas give aways at season parties. These cakes were done FOC by choice so as I could get some experience, grow a little portfolio and get my name out there... I have now acheived all 3 to a level I am confident with now. Besides.. I feel I must draw the line when it comes to defining the difference between a close friend and an aquaintance.. heck, half the town would act as my 'best friend' for a week prior to requiring a special cake if I let them lol. You want 'stunning' (her own words) you have to pay for stunning. The terms stunning and cheap curdle when used in the same sentence :/

cutiepiecupcake Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by GamerGirl

Crazy huh? Same thing I had too. A person whom I have limited aquaintance with FB me and asked if I could make a cake like one I had previously made (carved 3D Lighting McQueen and carved 3D Mac The Truck) to feed 40-50 people. I told her the price of $120 and I never heard from her again. I didn't think that was too far out to feed that many or provide two! carved cakes! Was it?




OMFreakinG!! are you kidding me (or yourself for that matter?!) Hunny there is NO way I would quote JUST $120 for two such specialised cakes for an 'aquaintance'. No way.. no how.. uh ah. Different case if you are comfortable with discounting heavily for close friends or family.. but aquaintances?! Nope.. to me if you start doing it for one aquaintance.. you end up caving and undercutting for even more people that like to 'act' as your aquaintance. Back bones are a necessity in this business.. and I learnt that golden rule right here on CC prior to starting my own business.

indydebi Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:02am

what in the world is FOC? icon_confused.gif

cutiepiecupcake Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

what in the world is FOC? icon_confused.gif




Free of charge icon_wink.gif

cakenovice2010 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:03am

Shrug and move on. I just started out and between my teacher and I we came up with the price of $75.00 for my cakes to start and prices will increase as my experience increases.

People don\\'t realize that some of us pay for commercial kitchens/rental space to do the cakes in and they think it\\'s as simple as making a box cake and slapping on some store bought icing.

Don\\'t get discouraged, don\\'t send her any further messages even though I\\'m sure it\\'s temping to say, \\"Hello? Did you get my last message?\\" Maybe she\\'s embarrassed because she didn\\'t realize how much cakes cost. Some people really don\\'t know and they feel bad turning you away after asking.

I had a girlfriend send me a message asking for a baby shower cake for this Sunday. I told the cakes start at $75.00 and go up from there depending on the design/servings etc... She answered back that she would have to check with her co-host and I haven\\'t heard anything since. I don\\'t expect to. I think she just didn\\'t realize what the cost was before she mentioned it.

Some people don\\'t often realize the work that goes into a cake. It\\'s hard to explain without sounding mean but I have tried to say, \\"Well it does take 2-3 days to get certain detailed cakes ready, sugar flowers/wedding cakes take longer - would you work for three days for $50? \\","2011-01-12 00:22:37

cupcake99 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 1:57am

Glad I am not the only one....small town usually don\\'t understand. I always want to say ... well how much do you make a week????? Yeah that\\'s what I thought......LOL but I don\\'t. They need to say pricing on the cake shows so clients know what to expect when ordering and expecting something from us. Then they will think they are getting a deal? I don\\'t get it either. I get lots of questions and I price a 3D thomas cake at about $75.00 should be more but know I won\\'t get it...so I have been slowly increasing as time goes on. Get them to love it and then they can\\'t life without the attention they bring at the party!!!!
Thanks for sharing......

mburkett Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 6:45am

I\\'m just a hobbiest and don\\'t sell my cakes. All but two I\\'ve ever made have been for parties that I\\'ve attended and actually got to eat myself. (The only two I \\"sold\\" were for friends who basically covered my costs for materials and a tiny bit of time). They were more for experience anyway. I\\'ve been toying with the idea of starting a business but I need a lot more experience plus I would need to use a commercial kitchen (in CA). Forums like this one scare the heck out of me.

Regardless....I think one of the big problems with cake pricing is due to all the cake shows out there now. They make it look so easy and wow look...they can do a 4ft custom cake in an hour. Viewers don\\'t realize that it\\'s taking several days. One show (can\\'t remember which one) which actually showed total price for the the cakes featured. I loved that. Another thing is that people think a tub of fondant cost the same as a tub of Betty Crocker frosting.

Setty Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 8:27am

As the OP indicated before - you want STUNNING, then be prepared to pay for it.
I remember and article I read once which put it quite eloquently by stating that basically when someone orders a cake they aren\\'t really paying for the cake - they\\'re paying for YOU. If it was easy and cheap then they would be doing it themselves!

pixiefuncakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 10:18am

Tell her to look at the Planet Cake Website and THEN get back to you. I find pricing the hardest part of the transaction (I just wanna make cakes), but I have learnt from your experience to ask for a budget first.
BTW I think your prices were spot on - maybe even a little low for the 3d.

neelycharmed Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 11:27am

It\\'s very sad, but it happens more and more... icon_sad.gif
I know from experience, I probably lose a few a month because of my pricing, but they don\\'t understand (time, custom hand made items, and on top of it- I have to order out of province because the mark up on fondant here is crazy ), and I don\\'t think they ever will.
The only ones who don\\'t mind paying is the ones that know how much time is gone into it ( and their ain\\'t many of those, lol)
Jodi icon_smile.gif

cupadeecakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 2:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutiepiecupcake


And what is it with this whole \\"I would like just a simple cake\\"... define simple.. simple is a supermarket sponge that you throw together yourself with some canned mock cream and frosting with coloured sprinkles. I\\'ve had two calls in the past two days by brides asking for something simple. Does simple = I don\\'t have a huge budget?\\" IF this is the case why not just be honest and say \\"this is what I have to play with $$$ what do you think you could do for me?\\"
End of rant




Yes, in my experience, \\"simple\\" does usually mean \\"cheap\\".

YOUnique_Cakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 4:00pm

It\\'s sad to hear it happens so often but it happens to me a lot. I to live in a small town and they expect to get Wal-mart prices for a 2 tier cake. I finally put a base price sheet up on my facebook page and I direct my inquiring clients to that page first. I also explain on that page how much work and materials go into my cakes. I was tired of people wasting my time just to turn around and run when they hear a price. They were wasting my time and this way they would weed themselves out before I wasted all that time and energy on them. It can definitely be discouraging but everybody these days is looking for a hand out. I just stand my ground and hold my head up high because I now how much work they take and it take lots of talent so be proud of what you have and ignore the cheap asses!!

cowie Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 4:00pm

I too have had issues like this. One lady called me wanting a cake to feed 40-50 people. She wanted a 3D cruise ship cake with all the trimmings and asked me to hide the persons age throughout the cake. This was when I was first starting out so I forgot to ask the questions \\"What is your budget?\\

bakingmama18 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 5:30pm

I go through the same thing as all of you have mentioned, I am also in a small community, and I think my prices are competitively fair, but I get my share of \\"Wow, so much??\\" or the uncomfortable \\"Oh, um ...uh, I uh...\\" -where I feel like I should go down in price, and sometimes I do, I know thats\\' wrong but I worry that people will walk away and spread the word that \\"Mari\\'s cakes are sooo expensive.\\" There is another custom baker in town and people don\\'t go to her anymore becuae they get scared away from her pricey prices... I feel confident in my work, but for some reason I lose all respect for myself when I am put to the test like that, and I dont want to be known as untouchable either....

HeyWife Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 6:11pm

A friend of mine asked me about making a small cake for her daughter\\'s baby shower. Her husband drove my son to the prom in his limo for free, so I told her I would do a 3D teddy bear cake (using Wilton pan) for $25. I guess even that was out of her price range because her excuse was, \\"After I asked you to do a cake I thought about it and since the baby\\'s father\\'s mother is throwing the shower and she\\'s very competitive, if I brought in one of your cakes it would put her over the edge.\\" She ended up buying a 8-in grocery store cake. Hubby said he doesn\\'t want me doing business with them anyway because they\\'d expect everything for nothing. Told him sucks to be them, they pay what I want or they get no cake.

jendardis Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 6:33pm

I live in a very small town and a friend of a friend called for her son\\'s 1st birthday. She had a picture of the cake she wanted so I asked her to send it. It was a 5 tier cake that was crooked (kind of like a topsy turvy cake). Each tier was a story book theme and there was a little boy crawling up the side of the cake, making it lean as he headed for the top tier. It was all covered in fondant and would probably take 3-4 full days to do. It was adorable, but an extreme amount of work. I told her that there was no way I could charge less than $300-$500 for this cake. She freaked out saying that the people on tv would not even charge that much. So I had to go on to explain to her that the cakes she sees on tv are $1000+ and I am a SAHM with 2 daughters. She told me she wanted to spend less than $100. I ended up doing a Mater sheet cake for her and when she picked it up, never thanked me.

I was pretty ticked at the time, but now I just laugh about it.

cutiepiecupcake Posted 14 Jan 2011 , 10:52pm

Well I am thrilled to say my story has taken a surprise twist. It seems that after one full day of not hearing from her, she contacts me and orders not the stencil cake at a lower price of $80.. but opts for the 3D at $120. I am wrapt that I stuck to my guns.. I am content to stick to the prices that I have calculated and know that my work is worth it. I say to all of you have shared a similiar situation to do the same. Know what your worth.. take credit for all you know and for the beautiful art you create.. and reflect that in your asking price.. accept nothing less. Thank you to everyone for sharing their opinions and advice.. I'm happy to share my happy ending.. although I am not gulliable enough to believe that this will be the case everytime.. we all know we have those 'cake muggles' to deal with who just love the idea of their 'simple' cakes... *rollseyes*

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 3:29am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutiepiecupcake

Well I am thrilled to say my story has taken a surprise twist. It seems that after one full day of not hearing from her, she contacts me and orders not the stencil cake at a lower price of $80.. but opts for the 3D at $120. I am wrapt that I stuck to my guns.. I am content to stick to the prices that I have calculated and know that my work is worth it. I say to all of you have shared a similiar situation to do the same. Know what your worth.. take credit for all you know and for the beautiful art you create.. and reflect that in your asking price.. accept nothing less. Thank you to everyone for sharing their opinions and advice.. I'm happy to share my happy ending.. although I am not gulliable enough to believe that this will be the case everytime.. we all know we have those 'cake muggles' to deal with who just love the idea of their 'simple' cakes... *rollseyes*





BRAVO!!!! that's awesome

simplysouthern Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 3:44am

Whooo hoooooo that's great cutiepie!!

vtcake Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 4:07am

well seeing how Thomas the Tank is a licensed character, you shouldn't be doing it at all unless you charge enough to cover your potential fine.

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