amberc727 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 5:59pm
post #1 of

This is annoying me so badly, but I'm sure everyone has dealt with it. Customers wanting time consuming cakes and only want to pay Walmart prices. I had a friend of a friend approach me to make a cake and cupcakes for her daughers 1st birthday. She wanted a carved cake and 7 dozen cupcakes, each one topped with a fondant or gumpaste flower. I quoted her $50 for the cake because it was small and covered in buttercream, and $2/ea for the cupcakes. She was appalled. If she wanted cheap, she should have gone to a grocery store or Walmart. icon_sad.gif There's no way I can make scratch made cakes and handmade accents for those prices, nor would I want to!

72 replies
malene541 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 6:19pm
post #2 of

Can you even order 7 dozen cupcakes from Wal-mart or do you have to choose from what they have??
I've had people call with crazy cake expectations then want it for around "$20-$30". I usually reply with "well, Walmart might be your only option, they have a book of cakes to choose from". The funny part is usually they end up coming back and paying for the cake or cutting it down a little for cost.
I like the term "you get what you pay for"! Wal-mart can be proof of that!!

yodasmom Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 6:26pm
post #3 of

I think we have all felt that. I had a friend just this week ask for a 3 tier topsy turvy cake for a party this saturday. I told her I could do it at cost, no charge for labor, which came to $60.00. She said that was too much and maybe they will make it themselves. I said ok, but what I was thinging was that I would like to see them try to make a 3 tier topsy turvy for less than that.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 6:36pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasmom

I think we have all felt that. I had a friend just this week ask for a 3 tier topsy turvy cake for a party this saturday. I told her I could do it at cost, no charge for labor, which came to $60.00. She said that was too much and maybe they will make it themselves. I said ok, but what I was thinging was that I would like to see them try to make a 3 tier topsy turvy for less than that.




Umm, what part of "at cost" does she not get?? That's what it costs you to buy the materials, that's what it would cost her too! People are so clueless. icon_confused.gif

yodasmom Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 6:46pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMaster2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasmom

I think we have all felt that. I had a friend just this week ask for a 3 tier topsy turvy cake for a party this saturday. I told her I could do it at cost, no charge for labor, which came to $60.00. She said that was too much and maybe they will make it themselves. I said ok, but what I was thinging was that I would like to see them try to make a 3 tier topsy turvy for less than that.



Umm, what part of "at cost" does she not get?? That's what it costs you to buy the materials, that's what it would cost her too! People are so clueless. icon_confused.gif




I know! I even used the Cake Boss program which splits the price down to the teaspoon. I think they just didn't understand that it's not just cake. Its support structure as well. I broke down the prices to the penny for them. I think what irked me the most was they only gave me 5 days, which when you have a day job means you have to start right away. I had already done the decorative things they wanted in gumpaste.

RussellsCakes Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 6:52pm
post #6 of

I decorated at Wal Mart for about 7 years. That is where I learned to do what I do. I think one thing that no one realizes is that everything is pre made. They buy their cakes in a box, their cupcakes 144 to a box, their icing by the 5 gallon pail. Its an assembly line. According to the wal mart program, a decorator should be able to decorate 4 half sheet cakes in an hour. Most wal mart's decorator pay is 15-20 an hour, so lets say 17.50 (thats a high estimate) So their labor cost is 17.50/4 4.38 per cake. I charge 10/hr for my time for my personal cakes. When I was at wal mart I was turning 6-10 flat iced and bordered cakes an hour.

Sell your quality and workmanship over anything. Tell them it doesn't come pre made from a factory, its fresh made, not pre-frozen. Ask them how many horror stories of mis-spelled names, botched cake designs, or any other cake disaster they have heard from the cheap cakes! They don't train their decorators, they hire tom dick and sally to decorate and hope for the best!

Kpow Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 8:46pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellsCakes

Ask them how many horror stories of mis-spelled names, botched cake designs, or any other cake disaster they have heard from the cheap cakes! They don't train their decorators, they hire tom dick and sally to decorate and hope for the best!





Then send them to CakeWrecks dot com for the proof!!

costumeczar Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 9:27pm
post #8 of

You'll always run into people who don't have a realistic idea about pricing. It's annoying but unavoidable. Just roll your eyes and walk away.

amberc727 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 12:25am
post #9 of

I guess the part I hate is how they insinuate that I'm trying to rip them off. icon_sad.gif

lorieleann Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 12:32am

i had a couple of great moments this week when I 1) was told that they wouldn't be using me because they wanted something less expensive and 2) said no to a cupcake 'pull apart' cake.

no looking back or second guessing. I finally got that it's not worth my time to try to save each and every order. icon_biggrin.gif

jo3d33 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 12:44am

This is why they need to put pricing on TV!!!! Everyone see the cakes on cake boss, fabulous cakes, ace of cakes ect and thinks...."I want that" BUT if they knew how much "THAT" cost, maybe they would have more realistic expectations!

CAC74 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 12:49am

I had a gal a couple of weeks ago that wanted an 8 in. round, double layer cake, with 2 dozen custom elmo and cookie monster cupcakes. I quoted her $40 for all of it, partially because she is a gal I went to high school with, and partially because I know they don't have a lot of money. Normally, I would have charged more. She said no, because that was "too much money for that". Psh!!! Ok.... CYA! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 12:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann

said no to a cupcake 'pull apart' cake.




Glad we're not the only ones who don't do cupcake cakes...we don't get many requests for them, but when customers do ask for cupcake cakes they are shocked that we don't make them. They usually end up ordering a regular cake or a couple dozen cupcakes instead.

Ummeiko Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:10am

I don't think it's 100% fair to blame the customers. I know at least in my personal experience, it's been fairly recent that I've taken note of more designer cake stores and cakers. I'm mostly a hobbyist, and I can honestly say I have very little clue what's reasonable when friends/cowokers/friends of relatives ask how much to make them a cake. (I generally just ask for cost plus whatever tip they feel like since it's more of a hobby than a way of life for me)

I think Jo made a great point about pricing on TV. Designer cakes are thrown into the spotlight. But no one really knows how much those sorts of cakes cost. The ONLY thing a lot of people have experience with in regards to pricing is the Wal-mart and grocery store prices.

And I think part of it is just the nature of society. We live in a place right now where getting great deals and getting things as inexpensive as possible is ingrained in us. And where a lot of things are mass-produced. I don't think that's a completely bad thing (mass-production has brought about a LOT of good things), but I think it causes people to not know or not understand the value of things that are hand made.

Still, there's a difference between unaware/ignorant and obnoxious.

Cakeswithtlc Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:41am

I recently had a request for a huge Appa (flying bison from The Last Airbender), with 7 characters out of gumpaste on the cake. She wanted it all in Dark Chocolate. When I gave her the price she said, "Oh, no, no!" I suggested maybe to scale down on characters and on the size of the cake and she said, "Oh, no I think my husband and I can make it!" I just told her that was great! We live in a small area, the nearest place to get a custom cake is 4 hours away, and the prices are WAY more than I charge. At first I was offended, I felt she thought I was overcharging her, but it's ok. I hope she and her husband do try to make it themselves. I always tell people if you just want a cake, then Wal Mart has that. If you want a WOW, then I can help!

gladysrdz24 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 5:01am
Quote:
Quote:

ad we're not the only ones who don't do cupcake cakes...we don't get many requests for them, but when customers do ask for cupcake cakes they are shocked that we don't make them. They usually end up ordering a regular cake or a couple dozen cupcakes instead.




Did I miss something? Cupcake cakes are bad? icon_redface.gif

MrsMoe07 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 6:04am

I wish I was quoted ANY of the prices I'm seeing on here. I was quoted $100 for an 8" cake with minimal designs for my son's 1st birthday!

scp1127 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 6:14am

I'm going to be the bad guy... Don't blame the tv shows when you don't post prices yourself. This is the only industry I can think of that sells a readily available retail product and forces the public to stay ignorant of the prices. I practice what I preach. Every fondant cake on my site has the sizes of the tiers, number of servings, price per serving, and total price for that cake. I then state that other sizes and styles are available. I don't even specialize in wedding cakes and I get about 20% of my calls for wedding cakes. I start talking price and budget immediately before I get any deeper.

Katiebelle74 Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 6:17am

people are clueless. One of my good friends asked me if I could beat grocery store prices icon_confused.gif
I about fell over. How could she even ask such a thing. She hates grocery store cakes because of the shortening icing, um hello? shortening $ vs. butter $$$ baby! My eyes nearly popped out of my head. Uh no I cannot beat or match grocery store prices. My cakes are made with natural ingredients. If you want grocery store prices go to the grocery store. And she does. Whatever. Friends and family can be the worst for expecting grand cakes on busy weekends at little to no cost. There are two pieces of advice I am still working on putting into practice, but they are both good ones.

1.tell friend/family member you will sit down with them and work up a quote (NORMAL PRICE for customer) and then take off a discount since it's them and SHOW them the regular price and their discounted price.

2. another great idea I need to implement.... If the cake is a gift I choose the design, if your paying for it you choose the design.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 8:44am

I understand how annoying that can be, I get it too sometimes. What I have been doing for a while is trying to refer everyone to my website or fb page before they actually call me. When they do call me and seem unsure of what they want or prices, I say "well have you checked out my website? its www.abcd.com, you can see photos of things I offer along with the prices. Why dont you take a peek and then call me back?
If they can afford me, they call back. If not, they at least see on the website how much I expect to charge. It saves me a lot of wasted talk time and explaining.

sweetmonkeycheese Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 1:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I'm going to be the bad guy... Don't blame the tv shows when you don't post prices yourself. This is the only industry I can think of that sells a readily available retail product and forces the public to stay ignorant of the prices. I practice what I preach. Every fondant cake on my site has the sizes of the tiers, number of servings, price per serving, and total price for that cake. I then state that other sizes and styles are available. I don't even specialize in wedding cakes and I get about 20% of my calls for wedding cakes. I start talking price and budget immediately before I get any deeper.




that is great!!!! as a new hobby baker I am still clueless how much cakes really cost (only bought b-day sheet cakes from publix and my wedding cake was part of the package deal from the caterer) I dont know much much it cost me to make a cake b/c each time I have made one I have wanted to make one, yea I buy the stuff but it's mixed in w/ all my other grocery items so I am not sure how much the caking part costs.

That is great that you are upfront about the prices on your site, I am sure it helps ppl quickly know what they are getting themselves into when wanting a custom cake.

mzunique Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 2:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberc727

I guess the part I hate is how they insinuate that I'm trying to rip them off. icon_sad.gif




I had one of my best friends do that to me last week! I made her a 10 inch round cake, with a 6 inch 3 layer flower pot cake ontop, ALL covered in fondant and 2 dozen or more gumpaste flowers, I charged her 70$, at cost, I assured her I wasn't charging her for labor, and she questioned everything that she was paying for etc, etc. I was a little insulted, I worked my butt of on that thing!

mzunique Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 2:30pm

Speaking of which, can anyone please tell me the most reasonable way to price a cake or direct me to where I can find out? I too just started doing this as a hobby, and now I have so many people asking me for cakes. It's really great, but I guess I feel guilty charging since I'm so new at this. BUT... newbie or not, any cake I make is made the right way, using the best ingredients, and I can't afford to give them away either! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

warchild Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 2:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladysrdz24

Quote:
Quote:

ad we're not the only ones who don't do cupcake cakes...we don't get many requests for them, but when customers do ask for cupcake cakes they are shocked that we don't make them. They usually end up ordering a regular cake or a couple dozen cupcakes instead.



Did I miss something? Cupcake cakes are bad? icon_redface.gif




No, they're not bad, but the popularity of cupcake cakes has all but died off. I used to make them fairly often when the craze was on, and general feedback was cupcake cakes were a lot messier for little kids to eat.
Which makes total sense when you think about it.

1. You have to ice the cupcakes to make them look like a certain solid shape. To do that, you have to use a lot of icing to hide the fact you're using cupcakes, not a solid slab of cake carved into that shape.

2. A lot of that icing ends up falling between the cracks where the cupcakes meet, as its impossible to get round cupcakes to fit snug together on all sides.

3. When its time to pull the cupcake cake apart to eat, instead of getting an indiviual iced cupcake, the kids get an iced cupcake with extra blobs of icing stuck to the sides of the liners, and in no time, stuck to their little hands. icon_confused.gif

Hence the cupcake cakes are messier to eat feedback.

HTH icon_smile.gif

jason_kraft Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzunique

Speaking of which, can anyone please tell me the most reasonable way to price a cake or direct me to where I can find out? I too just started doing this as a hobby, and now I have so many people asking me for cakes. It's really great, but I guess I feel guilty charging since I'm so new at this. BUT... newbie or not, any cake I make is made the right way, using the best ingredients, and I can't afford to give them away either! Any help would be greatly appreciated!



NJ does not have a cottage food law yet, but one is in the works...until NJ passes a cottage food law you cannot legally sell cakes made in your home kitchen, so I would hold off until if and when it passes.

In general, you calculate price for a product by adding the ingredient cost, labor cost, and per-order overhead cost, then adding 20-30% for your profit margin.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladysrdz24

Did I miss something? Cupcake cakes are bad? icon_redface.gif



Cupcake cakes are not bad per se, they just tend to look amateurish in our opinion and we're not comfortable putting our name on a product like that.

SweetCakesbyAmy Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:09pm

I always do my friends birthday cake for her as a present to her. Well her sister is now getting married and she wanted me to do her cake. Again as a favor to my friend I charged her a super cheap price for the cake and the whole family was appalled! I even showed them how much the ingredients were going to cost and how little i was going to get from it..They ended up buying their wedding cake from WALMART!! Let me tell ya.....it tasted horrible, was ugly, and was not what they asked for!! Afterwards they apologized and realized they pay for QUALITY with me---not QUANITY!!

Melvira Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 3:29pm

Ok, I have to add this aspect. I live in a small town and a while back I had my first person EVER stiff me on a cake. She got the cake and didn't pay for it. (Long story as to why I didn't get cash up front) Long story short, her ONLY grandson turned 1 this year, she want a very specialized cake (Chuggington) that no one else around here can do. (This is where my rambling is pertinent... not something she could get at WalMart) So... since she stiffed me $25, instead of calling me and giving me the $25 she owed plus the amount for the new cake up front (which I would have happily done for her) she had to drive 80 miles away to get a cake from a specialty baker, paid twice what I'd have charged, then 80 miles back home to the party. No lie. 160 miles. What do you spose that cost in gas in her older SUV? Her daughter asked me why I wasn't doing the cake and I told her, she never asked. She still owes me for the last one. She was like, "SHE NEVER PAID YOU!?!?!" Nope. Sorry to go off on a rant.

RetiredNavyChief Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 4:06pm

I feel your pain I run into that also, but I have taken pictures of a simply decorated cake and said here is a cake, then take a picture of something crazy, figures, flowers a 3d cake, well you get my idea and then tell them THIS IS ART!

warchild Posted 15 Apr 2011 , 4:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by gladysrdz24

Did I miss something? Cupcake cakes are bad? icon_redface.gif


Cupcake cakes are not bad per se, they just tend to look amateurish in our opinion and we're not comfortable putting our name on a product like that.




Jeepers, you could have said that in wee bit nicer way. Such as we don't make cupcake cakes as there is no demand for them in our area etc, and leave it at that.
To actually say you think they look amateurish and you're not comfortable putting your name to them, is a bit of a slap in the face for decorators who still make them.

Everyone is different in where they are in the field. Thats why using tact when talking cakes or cupcake cakes, with other decorators is so very important.

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