If Making A Free Cake...

Decorating By helen3743 Updated 12 Jul 2011 , 7:25pm by costumeczar

helen3743 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 4:42pm
post #1 of 15

If you agreed making a cake for free for someone, is there a tactful way to let them know how much the cake would actually cost if they were to pay for it?

I would want them to know, not because I want to be compensated, but just for them to understand and appreciate more what they are receiving. I feel most people have no idea how much time and money goes into making cakes.

Or would you consider it more something to not mention because if you were giving another type of gift, it's not like you would mention the price or trouble as well?

TIA---!

14 replies
TexasSugar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 4:51pm
post #2 of 15

Are you doing it as a gift or as a favor?

As a favor, then I'd point out how much it is. If it is a gift, something you offered to do, I'm not sure I'd give the price, because as you said, if you were giving another type of gift you wouldn't say, "I paid XYZ for this, but I'm giving it to you for free."

CalhounsCakery Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 4:52pm
post #3 of 15

I agree, unless it's a favor, I wouldn't say anything.

costumeczar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 4:59pm
post #4 of 15

I was going to say the same thing about telling someone how much your gift cost. You just shouldn't do it, it's tacky.

m_willford Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:04pm
post #5 of 15

I don't see anything tacky or wrong about doing up a little "invoice", in some cute font or something. Like, "Ingredients: $$$$. Labor: $$$$. A gift made with love: priceless!" Put it in a pretty little card or envelope that matches the theme of the cake or something, or the colors...

People tend to think that it's just cake, but you're right... knowing the value of something like that makes it more memorable. Anyone can go buy a dish set, or a toy, or whatever gift. Not everyone can give the gift of something handcrafted and delicious. I can guess the value of a store-bought gift, but homemade is harder. Knowing how much time someone spent on something they made me, makes me appreciate it even more.

Of course, walking up to them and saying "Here's your cake. Hope you enjoy the gift that would have cost you X amount but I'm doing it for free." That's tacky.

bakerliz Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:07pm
post #6 of 15

I do a lot of cakes for free and at deep discounts. When I do, I tell people that they got the discount, but if anybody asks how much the cake costs, please tell them that I sell it for $XX.

helen3743 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:11pm
post #7 of 15

Thanks for the replies icon_smile.gif Advice well heeded-

jason_kraft Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:24pm
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by m_willford

I don't see anything tacky or wrong about doing up a little "invoice", in some cute font or something. Like, "Ingredients: $$$$. Labor: $$$$. A gift made with love: priceless!" Put it in a pretty little card or envelope that matches the theme of the cake or something, or the colors...



I would advise against including anything that looks remotely like an invoice with a gifted cake unless you are a licensed business. If you want to include the quoted phrase in a card that would be safer from a liability perspective.

TexasSugar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:40pm
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by m_willford


People tend to think that it's just cake, but you're right... knowing the value of something like that makes it more memorable.




I don't completely agree with that. Someone can give me a hand craft simple card, that didn't cost very much to make, that says something very personal, and that would honestly mean a lot more to me than some expensive gift that anyone would have picked up anywhere else.

I do agree that there is a different 'value' to something homemade, but I don't think that it really has to do with the price, more that that person cared enough for you to do something personal.

I am all for educating people on the value of cakes, but I do believe there is a time and a place for it.

If OP offered to do the cake for free, then I'm not sure that the right time to give a price for the cake would be when she hands it over as a gift. As the person receiving it, I'd be taken back by that a little bit.

Now if she was asked to do the cake and she decided to do it as a favor, then I do feel differently about it.

To me a better time to educate on the price, would be later on, in a different conversation, even discussing a different cake. "You know, I sat down and was looking at how much it costs to make a cake such and such size. Can you believe I spent $abc in ingredients alone, not even counting supports, boards and so on? And wow, that cake took me 8 hours to actually complete. I can totally understand now why people charge what they do for cakes."

GarciaGM Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 6:04pm
post #10 of 15

I actually have a "customer" (I'm using that term loosely) who is a family friend that I also do *favors* for. I usually consider it a gift if I volunteer to do the cake without her asking. She requested a specific cake for her son's birthday, and I gave her a discounted price on it. When I arrived at the birthday party to deliver the cake, as her guests ooh'ed and aah'ed about how great it looked, she announced out loud, "Well it's a $75 cake!!!" Mind you, THAT was my *discounted* price for her cake, and I had told her my usual price when she placed her order. Needless to say, these were all potential customers, so I was floored. Given that experience, I would ABSOLUTELY reiterate BakerLiz's advice about letting them know this is a special price for them ONLY.

On a related note, I just made a three-tier cake for that same customer for free because I wanted to practice making a larger cake. I spent no less than $60 just in ingredients and materials, plus two full days working on it, and I know she's clueless. When it comes up again, I won't have any problem explaining to her how much time and money I invested in that cake, because if this is going to become an ongoing relationship, she has to know why I charge what I do.

Elcee Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 6:24pm
post #11 of 15

Are you going to be at the event? I don't sell cakes but every time I've made a cake for anyone outside my immediate family, someone always asks "how much would a cake like that cost?" and/or "how long did it take you to make that cake?". I've learned to have an answer handy because it discourages people I barely know from asking for cakes.

TexasSugar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 6:50pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarciaGM

I actually have a "customer" (I'm using that term loosely) who is a family friend that I also do *favors* for. I usually consider it a gift if I volunteer to do the cake without her asking. She requested a specific cake for her son's birthday, and I gave her a discounted price on it.




This is the type of situation where I wouldn't have a problem saying a price. Because this wasn't a gifted cake that you offered to do. This was a cake where they asked for a cake and you opted to do it as a favor for less.

On a situation like this, as you said you did from the beginning, I would be sure to let them know the regular price, and the discounted price.

I'd suggest pulling the woman aside and explaining it to her. But then again it could be general confusion on her part, since you said you do both free and discounted cakes for her. She may not really get the value of the cake, because she's never had to pay the full price for it.

GarciaGM Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 7:01pm
post #13 of 15

TexasSugar, you're exactly right. This woman has a reputation for talking a lot (if you know what I mean), so I thought I could nip it in the bud by telling her my usual price up front. Unfortunately, it still backfired.

Back to the OP's point, I don't think it's inappropriate to let people know *discreetly* what's involved (time & money) in making a cake if you think they might want to order a similar cake in the future, although I'd typically wait until they inquire about it. That way they'll be prepared for your prices. But I do agree with other posters here about it being tacky to announce the price of a cake as you are *giving* it to someone as a gift.

ChRiStY_71 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 7:16pm
post #14 of 15

You could mention to her that you were very happy to give her the cake as a gift, but if she recommends you to any of her friends or family, a cake like the one she received would cost $xx.

costumeczar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 7:25pm
post #15 of 15

I still say that if it's a gift, out don't talk about how much it cost, regardless of what it is. If someone gave me a gift and took the time to tell me how much they paid I'd think they were a real jerk. Same thing if someone offered to make me something then told me how much it would have cost if they sold it. That just makes it look like you're fishing for compliments and appreciation, which is pretty sad.

Now that I think about this, my SIL does this all the time. She'll give you something and then tell the long story about how much it cost or how much she saved on it. It always comes off as rude, attention-seeking and pitiful.

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