I am very new to charging for cakes (I've only charged for 2 out of about 20, with a 3rd coming up). I am still doing them mostly for friends or acquaintances. An old friend of mine wants me to make her son's birthday cake, but is about a 3.5 hour drive from me (she doesn't know how far it is yet). She would be the 4th cake for purchase.
What would you do? Would you charge separately for driving/gas at this phase in your business (still doing a lot of marketing and gratis/discounts for promoting). Or would you just do it, and chalk it up to marketing/promotion?
All opinions welcome! Thanks!
I would drive a cake 3.5 hours if the customer was willing to pay the $420 delivery charge, we charge $1/minute round trip.
How far along are you on establishing your business? If you have all the legal hurdles squared away (i.e. you have an inspected commercial kitchen or you live in a state with a cottage food law) and you still have a lot of idle time then you might consider offering a discount, but then again marketing to people who live 3.5 hours away from you might not be worthwhile unless you are willing to make that drive on a regular basis.
I would encourage your friend to come and pick the cake up. If you need to deliver, I would definitely charge. You would be out quite a bit of money (nearly two tanks of gas, I imagine) and you'd be gone most of the day which means you are unable to make any money making other cakes during that time.
I agree with jason_kraft that you also need to consider whether you'd be willing to do that drive for other customers as well. If you aren't, then it's not really worth it IMO to promote yourself in that area.
Maybe you & her could agree on a meeting place about 1/2 way for both of you.
I only agree to make a cake for out of town if it is an event that I am already going to be attending. Because I am an invited guest anyway, I wouldn't charge for delivery. I've driven cakes up to 5 hours away to a friend's wedding and have been paid for the cake, but not for delivery.