Disappointed--Just Sharing

Baking By DallasTexas Updated 9 Aug 2011 , 8:51pm by Mamasan

DallasTexas Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 9:25pm
post #1 of 31

I've been a bit of a lurker and finally joined to post just so I could share with sympathetic souls. I know many of you have been disappointed in many ways with customers, payments, etc. I hope you don't mind my sharing.

I have a small (licensed) baking business, and a friend of 20 years asked me to make 5 dozen filled cupcakes for his birthday party. He wanted cherry cream cuppies filled with organic cherry cream (I make this myself in small batches from my own fruit), with two-toned cherry buttercream icing that would have glitter dust and decorative white teeny candy balls and a half of a candied cherry on top (organic and homemade).

In Dallas, TX, my competitors and I usually sell these cupcakes for at least $3.50 each, and a "discount rate" for 5 dozen would be $180.00 USD.

I quoted him a personal discount of $100 USD for five dozen as described above. Anything lower than that and I'd be donating my time, my gasoline, and my oven use. I generally hope to make a profit, even if it's a $10 profit.

After hearing the price for the filled and decorated cuppies, he cancelled the order and said it was too expensive. javascript:emoticon('icon_eek.gif')

I offered an alternative of plain cherry cupcakes with plain cherry-flavored buttercream icing, no cherry cream inside, no decorations except a fresh cherry half on top, at a lower price, but that didn't work for him either.

I know this isn't personal because he is on a budget (aren't we all?).

Do you think maybe he was expecting me to do the job for what it costs me?

(sigh) Thanks for listening.

icon_eek.gif

30 replies
TexasSugar Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 9:43pm
post #2 of 31

You quoted him 60 custom made, gourmet flavored cupcakes for $1.67 and he didn't want to pay it?

Then it is totally his loss. Don't worry about it.

Sucrea Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 9:47pm
post #3 of 31

I think that you did the right thing. Don't we always want the biggest and best things but in reality we get what we can afford. Don't feel bad. You offered a very generous discount and if that still wasn't in his budget, he should look elsewhere. If you gave those kind of discounts often, you wouldn't have any business. Good luck and I have to say that I was thinking yummy when you were describing those cuppies!!

bakencake Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 10:03pm
post #4 of 31

first let me say hi to my fellow Dallas caker, well I live in Irving but it's close enough. I feel your pain. The thing is I've noticed that many people are "walmart" people. that means that they are used to going to walmart and getting the same amount of cupcakes for a fraction of the price. Once in a while you actually get somebody who knows what a good cake or cupcake is worth and wont blink an eye. dont take it personally. sometimes it's just not what they are used to spending and wonder why if you are doing it from home are charging more than walmart since you dont have the overhead. icon_cry.gif

southerncross Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 10:30pm
post #5 of 31

It's just a sign of the hard economic times. I admire that he stays within his budget. I admire you that you generously offered him a substantial discount. In the end there was a gulf between his upper limit and your lower limit. There should be no hard feelings on either part.

Oddly, I had a woman call me last week inquiring about a 9" birthday cake for her daughter's 11th birthday. She wanted a strawberry cake, strawberry mousseline filling, with white chocolate ganache undercoat and white chocolate fondant...all done in a zebra design and big fondant bow with a plaque on the top with her daughter's age....and all on a pearlized fondant covered cake board decorated with the child's name and pearls ... Sure I said and quoted her $50 which included rental of a special cake plate AND delivery (my usual price for highly decorated fondant cake is $3.50 per serving)....she nearly dropped over and said she never expected to pay that much for a child's birthday cake. I told her I completely understood but the work for such a customized cake warranted my price and I completely understood that she might want to get the cake from Walmart. She called back 2 hours later and said she really wanted my cake (they are all scratch, organic ingredients ...my own chicken eggs, strawberries, butter and milk) and had no problem with the cost. I sure hope she didn't have to take a loan out.

Osgirl Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 11:26pm
post #6 of 31

Try not to take it personally! I think a lot of people are out there for a good deal. A friend of a friend called me the other week and was so excited about my cupcakes. My friend had thrown a shower for this woman's daughter and loved my cupcakes. There was another shower coming up and she wanted to order the same cupcakes. I quoted her a price, she called her sister (who was hosting the shower), and then called back to say they were anticipating more people than expected and just couldn't pay my price.

This same woman, when I quoted her a price, said, "Well, (insert our common friend's name) only paid X dollars." Well, yes, she paid less but she is my friend so I took a bit of money off, and what that lady told me was an incorrect amount. If I had made them for what she said I charged her friend, I would've been paying for most of the ingredients as well!

I think she just wanted a really good deal.

Harrisburgcupcakes Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 12:59am
post #7 of 31

I think sometimes friends think they can get something for close to free because they know you. I wouldnt worry about it. From what you posted, he lost out on great tasting cupcakes! I have to be honest and for the most part, I charge full price for my cupcakes to my friends/family. I do other things though, like allow them to use my cupcake stand for free or deliver the cupcakes for free. I have also thrown in more elaborate fondant figures at no cost if its on a cake, or thrown in a free smash cake for a 1st birthday. When giving prices specifically for large events, I typically ask what budget they want to stay in and how much they want. From there, I give them options. Then they can choose. Sometimes they pick the more expensive option thats a little over their budget, and other times they go bare bones. I think it depends. These are hard times for everyone, but that doesnt mean you have to work for free! icon_smile.gif

GuiltyPleasures Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 2:44am
post #8 of 31

I know many will disagree with me but I believe there are times when doing a cake or cupcake for cost is a good idea. OP mentioned a friend of 20 years, what I don't know is how good of a friend this is. I strongly believe there are a small group of people in my life who have been there for me, provided support when I needed it, and would donate (or have donated) their talents to help me. To these people I would consider doing an order for cost because I believe a strong support system comes from being willing to also give of your time, talent, and services. However, these are also the people who if they make unreasonable requests I am comfortable enough with them that I have no problem looking them in eye when saying "are you off your rocker?" while I am laughing.

On the flip side of that, I really don't care if you are a friend of a friend of a friend or extended family. Unless I offer to do something at a discount you can pay the full price. Unless of course you want to barter with me. I am always open to hearing a proposal for an exchange of valuable services but if you would rather go to Walmart and pay that price, please do so. I will hold no hard feelings.

I feel for you. It is a tough situation but you have to trust yourself and be comfortable with whatever your decision is.

DallasTexas Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 5:14am
post #9 of 31

Thanks, everyone! Sharing my frustration made me feel better, as did hearing encouraging words from you and also your own stories. It's never boring, is it?

Best baking,
Dallas

scp1127 Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 5:38am
post #10 of 31

sometimes our friends and relatives don't know the price of custom baked goods. When a friend or relative asks me to do something that would be expensive, I always say the same thing to make the conversation easier.
I say, "You don't want me to make 200 of those cupcakes. They run $600.00. I'll definitely discount it some for you, but the time and ingredient cost will still make them close to that."

This way, the friend knows the price and it will only be slightly discounted. Now the friend can say, "Wow, I didn't know that". Or they can say that they are still interested. This way the conversation will be over or you can proceed. No one feel sguilty. In any price situation, it is always easier to address price immediately before the planning goes too far and it gets uncomfortable.

FromScratchSF Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 6:00am
post #11 of 31

<raises hand> I'd pay for what you just described! OMG I have to tell you those sound amazing. I am a cherry freak and would LOVE your recipe, especially for cherry cream. I don't know what that is, but I really want it in my belly icon_biggrin.gif

See? Plenty of people out there that appreciate fine baked goods. Chin up icon_biggrin.gif

Jen

heather208 Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 6:16am
post #12 of 31

yeah...I know how this feels! I had a friend who wanted to order sheet cakes to serve 100 with "some of my pretty flowers" which are fondant etc. and other buttercream decorations. I quoted her 100.00 and she about fell out of her chair. She said she didn't think it would cost THAT much. I explained that was already deeply discounted due to the cost of ingredients, and all the time it would take for me to bake, frost and decorate it. I heard later she went with another local lady who did sheet cakes for her for "half the price" I quoted. Sometimes I wonder how in the heck people can afford to sell cakes at such a little cost!

scp1127 Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 6:16am
post #13 of 31

I'm with FromScratch... just was waiting because she was new to posting. There is definitely a niche for this type of baking, and the good news is that there are very few providers of this level of baking.

Funny, tonight I have been researching Black Forest Cake. I want it to be close to the German original version, but tweaked for American palates, but, as usual for me, a little over-the-top. If you would like to share, it would be much appreciated.

funtodecorate2 Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 6:44am
post #14 of 31

HI ,
Being very new to all this.... I have been on this site nearly everyday looking at everyones beautiful cakes and cupcakes. I have learned so much from all the forums pictures, utube videos. I'm now working on my daughters wedding cake. I've started making the roses . I wish I would of started the timer when I started because I haven't got a clue how long I've been working on the roses and practicing the different techniques everyone else is doing. I just know i've put in many hours already and haven't even baked the cakes yet. When I hear the price of what everyones cakes are selling for I am blown away. But when I look at all the detail, work and craftmanship that goes into these cakes no wonder you get the prices you do. So My point is ... you deserve the price you asked. Most people don't have a clue! I sure didn't , and until they realize how much work goes into one they can't possibly appreciate it.

Smallfrye Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 7:06am
post #15 of 31

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Can you please share the recipe for the cherry cream. I love cherries and this sounds so good.

leah_s Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 8:47am
post #16 of 31

[quote="southerncross"]It's just a sign of the hard economic times. I admire that he stays within his budget. I admire you that you generously offered him a substantial discount. In the end there was a gulf between his upper limit and your lower limit. There should be no hard feelings on either part.

Oddly, I had a woman call me last week inquiring about a 9" birthday cake for her daughter's 11th birthday. She wanted a strawberry cake, strawberry mousseline filling, with white chocolate ganache undercoat and white chocolate fondant...all done in a zebra design and big fondant bow with a plaque on the top with her daughter's age....and all on a pearlized fondant covered cake board decorated with the child's name and pearls ... Sure I said and quoted her $50 which included rental of a special cake plate AND delivery (my usual price for highly decorated fondant cake is $3.50 per serving)....she nearly dropped over and said she never expected to pay that much for a child's birthday cake. I told her I completely understood but the work for such a customized cake warranted my price and I completely understood that she might want to get the cake from Walmart. She called back 2 hours later and said she really wanted my cake (they are all scratch, organic ingredients ...my own chicken eggs, strawberries, butter and milk) and had no problem with the cost. I sure hope she didn't have to take a loan out.[/quote]

$50 was a typo, right?[/list]

DallasTexas Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 8:51am
post #17 of 31

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and encouragement and ideas. As a matter of fact, when I sent my friend an email with the pricing for 4 dozen cuppies, I noted the regular price, and then I noted the discounted price. Ah well.

I have a few cherry cream filling recipes I use--probably very similar to what you use.

#1. This is my favorite--per dozen regular size cuppies, use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Beat 1/2 C cream with 1/3 C powdered (confectioners; 10X) sugar until stiff peaks form. Add a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp vanilla before you finish beating. Fold in the cherries.

#2. This is a cherry cream cheese filling-- per dozen regular size cuppies, use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Whip 6 to 8 oz room temperature cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1/3 C confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and beat until just blended. Fold in the chopped cherries.

#3. This is cherry ricotta cream filling--use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Mix 3/4 C ricotta cheese (drain it over a sieve if it looks "wet" in the container, and pat it dry with a paper towel too) with 1/3 C granulated sugar (not confectioner's) and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Fold in the chopped cherries.

#4. Easy peasy--cherry buttercream filling--mix chopped cherries in with your regular buttercream and use that as a filling.

For an extra little something, I might also add 2 tsp of Amaretto to the filling and maybe back off a bit on the vanilla.

Another thing you can do is to make up whatever filling you like, and put a little bit in the middle of the inside center of the cupcake (I use a pastry bag with a decorating tip big enough for the cherry pieces to go out and sorta puncture it & squeeze--but gently, of course) and then I'll add a whole maraschino cherry (that's been dried on a paper towel) on top of it but below the top of the cupcake, then frost or ice as usual. Folks love the cherry cream center and they get a bonus surprise of a whole cherry too.

I don't use fresh cherries for the cherry cream unless someone requests it--and it's seasonal of course--because most palates are used to maraschinos. If I was going to use fresh cherries, I'd add some LorAnn cherry flavoring or extract to bump up the flavor a little bit.

neelycharmed Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 10:53am
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

It's just a sign of the hard economic times. I admire that he stays within his budget. I admire you that you generously offered him a substantial discount. In the end there was a gulf between his upper limit and your lower limit. There should be no hard feelings on either part.

Oddly, I had a woman call me last week inquiring about a 9" birthday cake for her daughter's 11th birthday. She wanted a strawberry cake, strawberry mousseline filling, with white chocolate ganache undercoat and white chocolate fondant...all done in a zebra design and big fondant bow with a plaque on the top with her daughter's age....and all on a pearlized fondant covered cake board decorated with the child's name and pearls ... Sure I said and quoted her $50 which included rental of a special cake plate AND delivery (my usual price for highly decorated fondant cake is $3.50 per serving)....she nearly dropped over and said she never expected to pay that much for a child's birthday cake. I told her I completely understood but the work for such a customized cake warranted my price and I completely understood that she might want to get the cake from Walmart. She called back 2 hours later and said she really wanted my cake (they are all scratch, organic ingredients ...my own chicken eggs, strawberries, butter and milk) and had no problem with the cost. I sure hope she didn't have to take a loan out.



$50 was a typo, right?[/list]




I was thinking the same thing! icon_eek.gificon_confused.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 2:52pm
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasTexas

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and encouragement and ideas. As a matter of fact, when I sent my friend an email with the pricing for 4 dozen cuppies, I noted the regular price, and then I noted the discounted price. Ah well.

I have a few cherry cream filling recipes I use--probably very similar to what you use.

#1. This is my favorite--per dozen regular size cuppies, use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Beat 1/2 C cream with 1/3 C powdered (confectioners; 10X) sugar until stiff peaks form. Add a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp vanilla before you finish beating. Fold in the cherries.

#2. This is a cherry cream cheese filling-- per dozen regular size cuppies, use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Whip 6 to 8 oz room temperature cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1/3 C confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and beat until just blended. Fold in the chopped cherries.

#3. This is cherry ricotta cream filling--use 1/2 to 3/4 C maraschino cherries. Drain them, then chop them into teeny tiny pieces and then put them on a paper towel to drain some more. You want them as dry as possible.

Mix 3/4 C ricotta cheese (drain it over a sieve if it looks "wet" in the container, and pat it dry with a paper towel too) with 1/3 C granulated sugar (not confectioner's) and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Fold in the chopped cherries.

#4. Easy peasy--cherry buttercream filling--mix chopped cherries in with your regular buttercream and use that as a filling.

For an extra little something, I might also add 2 tsp of Amaretto to the filling and maybe back off a bit on the vanilla.

Another thing you can do is to make up whatever filling you like, and put a little bit in the middle of the inside center of the cupcake (I use a pastry bag with a decorating tip big enough for the cherry pieces to go out and sorta puncture it & squeeze--but gently, of course) and then I'll add a whole maraschino cherry (that's been dried on a paper towel) on top of it but below the top of the cupcake, then frost or ice as usual. Folks love the cherry cream center and they get a bonus surprise of a whole cherry too.

I don't use fresh cherries for the cherry cream unless someone requests it--and it's seasonal of course--because most palates are used to maraschinos. If I was going to use fresh cherries, I'd add some LorAnn cherry flavoring or extract to bump up the flavor a little bit.




Thank you!

Smallfrye Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 7:44pm
post #20 of 31

Thank you icon_smile.gif

DallasTexas Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 9:07pm
post #21 of 31

You are very welcome. Glad to share and hope you get some use out of the different recipes--thankfully they are not complex at all ! lol

TexasSugar Posted 26 Jul 2011 , 9:50pm
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuiltyPleasures

I know many will disagree with me but I believe there are times when doing a cake or cupcake for cost is a good idea.




At the price she quoted him for what she was doing, I'm not sure it could have been too much above cost.

I'm all for doing something great for a friend, especially a good friend. I do my best friend's, of 14 years, children's birthday cakes for free. Why? Because I love them, she appreciates the work I put into them, and doesn't ask for anything outrageous. But I offer that.

In my opinion, if you ask me to do something for you, then you should expect to pay me what you would have to pay someone else. Why because you know me, should I offer my time to you can get something cheaper.

OP mentioned this is her business, so in the end the discount would be coming out of the bottom line.

chilicat57 Posted 1 Aug 2011 , 7:11pm
post #23 of 31

Don't feel bad, we had this lady come to our Farmer's Market booth wanting to do a wedding tasting and was SHOCKED we didn't have them there to taste. We told her to e-mail us and we would set up a tasting, then when we quoted her a price of $2 per cupcake and would require a non refundable deposit of 25% she told us she didn't expect to pay until she had seen the final product ... ummm HELLO do you usually get to order a wedding cake without a deposit? Needless to say we did not get the gig ... I am crushed, NOT icon_biggrin.gif Oh and the best part was the wedding was in LESS THAN two weeks! Gotta love dealing with the public LOL

Lemmers Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 8:20am
post #24 of 31

See this is my biggest worry about eventually going into business- that people simply will not be willing to pay what your cakes are worth (admittedly mine are still very much in need of work, hence why I will be keeping to friends and family at pretty much cost price until I feel my cakes ARE worth more). I guess you just have to rely on those that appreciate good, homemade cakes which of course include a whole lot of love!

On the plus side- thank you so much for those recipes!! I can't wait to try some out. I love cherry flavoured anything, so they sound wonderful icon_smile.gif

sweetideas Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 12:58pm
post #25 of 31

I think there should be no hard feelings -- if I had a budget and had no idea what something like that cost, then couldn't afford it, I wouldn't be mad at my friend, I would just have to face reality. I think many people think cupcakes are less work and should be cheaper. I never had a clue about cost until I got married, then later got into decorating. But now I appreciate the effort and would pay for something if I knew people would really enjoy it. But hard times will change that, and that would not be within my means right now. Don't take it personally, and hopefully no hard feelings will exist between you.

Sigh, I do wish I lived closer to TX so I could taste them, though. ;0)

Crazboutcakes Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 1:25pm
post #26 of 31

I have found myself having person's so excited about me designing a cake for them and once a price is quoted, they come back and say " I can't afford that", icon_twisted.gif Thinking to myself I am undercharging anyway, icon_confused.gif not giving these away,anyway you tried to help and that's that! Don't worry about it, the ackwardness goes away icon_redface.gif and they second guess asking me for another cake that they can not afford and me waisting my time to price what their looking for. icon_lol.gif

scp1127 Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 1:38pm
post #27 of 31

Craze, I quote the total price in the first sentence and then ask if that is in the budget before we proceed to details. This helps you and the client to not invest time and energy if it won't work out.

olleharr Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 1:47pm
post #28 of 31

Sometimes I have the feeling that people think they're doing ME a favor by "letting" me make their cake. LOL!

Crazboutcakes Posted 3 Aug 2011 , 2:13pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Craze, I quote the total price in the first sentence and then ask if that is in the budget before we proceed to details. This helps you and the client to not invest time and energy if it won't work out.




Most of the time I do, They usually ask me at work and I do not discuess or qoute prices while at work unless they are sheet cakes, it just comes down to the construction of 3-D cakes and such and the servings of the request, that makes me shake my head icon_twisted.gif

soapy_hopie Posted 4 Aug 2011 , 10:07pm
post #30 of 31

Don't take it personally, I happen to me about a month ago (form someone who married into the family and has since been divorced).....she wanted a walnut torte and the price for the walnuts alone was $24 and change, not to mention all the other ingredients or my time. When were first talking on the phone she told me price was not a issues, so when I calculated I charge the amount per serving plus the cost of the nuts, or else I would not be making any thing off of the cake and she flat out changed her mind (and of course I had already bought the nuts, since I don't normally bake with nuts so I was unsure of how much they would cost, and she asked me on Monday for a cake due on Wednesday, so she was pushing her luck for time anyways, and it was the only spare time that I had to go buy the nuts, so I was an expensive lesson learned). And it happened 2 mouths before that another x of the family was getting remarried and she wanted 2 wedding cakes for her wedding (while she came and showed me the picture of the cake she wanted she gave me a sob story about how she is running out of money and she has only spent two grand on the whole affair) keep in mind she wanted two different cake they would both feed 64 people so I quoted her $192 ($3.00 per serving) plus a delivery fee of 25 which = $217 (she could have priced it up her self and saved $25) she said it was far to much money and she only really wanted to spend closer to $60....I told her to go to Walmart and buy some slabs if that is all you want to pay. So needless to say that is is for people who are family. At least for now.

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