After 8 months of unemployment, I've been working since the end of March for just about 1/2 of what I was before I lost my job. My cake orders are sparadic at best and sometimes I have almost too many. Most are for my friends so I don't make a lot of money on them.
Here's my point for putting this in this forum:
If I don't have a lot of money nor an order, I still want to be able to practice and keep my skills up. What's the best way to be able to make test cakes without cutting to far into my meager grocery budget?
Offer to make them for friends for just the cost of ingredients? Practice different techniques instead of making whole cakes? make 6" practice cakes to try the things you want to try?
Practice on styrofoam cake dummies, upside down pans, or waxed paper.
I offer friends and family 1 discount a year... I add $20 to what the cost is for me to make it.
And I make sure they know how much I would charge someone else for it.
I'm charging you $60 but this would cost someone else $160 because it takes 8 hours to complete.
There is not one friend or family member that didn't give me more $ on delivery because they understand.
If they want another cake through the year I still give them a discount but more like 20-25% off
so that $160 cake would then be $120 instead of the $60 I charged for the first.
Be upfront with the cost and time especially if its your friends and family.
If you have no orders and just want to practice decorating why not buy a styrofoam dummy and you can decorate and redecorate as much as you want
What is it you are wanting to practice? There are things you can practice with out baking a cake.
Why are you not charging your friends very much money for cakes? Your friends should understand that you are going through a hard time and pay you what your time is worth. All of my cakes are for friends and family. My rule is if you ask me to make you a cake, you pay for it, just the same as you would pay if you went anywhere else to get a cake.
Good advice everyone. The answer to why I don't charge them more I guess is guilt. I have one friend who knows I'm short on evyerhting and she always says don't give me the friend and family discount. I don't have a dummy so I guess I'll just have to use the turned over pan idea.
Don't feel guilty!
If you didn't make the cake they would have to go somewhere and pay full price for it, so why shouldn't you get the same treatment?
Never never never never NEVER feel guilty for charging the right amount of money for your time and talent!!! What you do is specialized, customized work. Charge accordingly. And definitely make sure that you are taking ALL of your costs into account when figuring a price so that you are not potentially losing money on a cake.