Dayyi Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 1:46pm
post #1 of

I've been decorating cakes for a year and a half now. I LOVE to cake, it's what I think about most of the day. BUT, man is it hard to stand there and tell people who are in some way shape or form known to me..."ok, this cake will be 100,200?" And you know really I'm giving them a deal as it is? And what do I get? Crickets or head lights? (look on their face). So I tell myself well if you make it dirty cheap at lest I'm getting experience? But my patience is wearing thin. And I've read not to sell myself short and charge what your worth but really how many of us are charging dirty cheap just so we can play with cake? But they will go to local grocery stores and buy their frozen cakes and bucket icing. Go ahead vent with me? icon_cry.gif

57 replies
mrslivvix Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 2:00pm
post #2 of

Don't feel bad this happens to me also! I live in a small town of 3000 ppl and it's certainly not a rich town by no means. I don't know how many times I have sold myself short and they still sometimes scoff at the prices I charge. They normally go ahead and order it and then love it when they get the cake because I do put time and effort into it. But they have NO idea how much time and effort costs!! I've had lots of repeat customers so they were happy with what they got for the price they got it for apparently.
Right now me and another girl are about to start a cupcake/cake shop in town and I'm trying to figure all the costs but I'm also trying to just go by what others around are typically charging for a sheet cake/round/or layered cake. I am really pretty busy just off of my friends on my fb page and word of mouth. Right now I am doing cakes at home but it's taking over my life here. On a normal week I'm making 3-5 cakes now each week/weekend. I've had up to 11 in one week. icon_surprised.gif So the way I look at it is if they want a CUSTOM cake, not something off the shelf at IGA or Wally World then pay the price. Explain to them it WILL be worth it and of course follow thru! icon_biggrin.gif

TexasSugar Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 2:26pm
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayyi

But they will go to local grocery stores and buy their frozen cakes and bucket icing. Go ahead vent with me? icon_cry.gif




Then let them!

I'm past the I want to do every cake offered to me to practice. If I want to practice now, I'd rather do a cake just because, with the theme I want and to practice what I want, and give it away to people that will appreciate it.

If they don't want to pay for my time, then you know what, I'll take that time and use it for what ever I want to do. Because in the end that makes me more happy. I'd rather not do a cake, then do a cake that I'm pissy about because I'm barely making any money off it, because they want something cheap.

scp1127 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:25am
post #4 of

It sounds like you are trying to sell a premium product to the masses. If you choose not to market to those that can afford your product, then you will always have to live with this. I never ever get this because I market to the right group and I am up front with my pricing.

Website that are vague with the pricing will always get this type of shopper because you have not given them the proper knowledge to determine the prices before they contact you. Not only do you waste time and lose a sale, but that customer is irritated that their time was wasted by having to play the price game. You don't like it when you are put in that situation by a salesman or business and they don't either.

Seasoned cake businesses don't necessarily fall into this category with their sites because they know how to give pricing information up front before the details and their reputation preceeds the contact.

jamieq Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 4:01pm
post #5 of

I understand completely!! I am not in the business to sell cakes quite yet, but have been more than happy to make birthday cakes and other occasion cakes for my family... My last cake was for my FIL's 60th birthday party. I made a Frankenstein head popping out of a graveyard. http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2167847
It took me about 12 hours to complete... My in laws were wowwed and it got a fantastic reaction from the party. One of the guests came up to me to explain that he could tell what a time intensive project it was, and that it tasted even better than it looked. Then, of course... the "if you were to charge for that cake...???" I said that it would probably be very pricey... His response, "i bet you could get $40 for that cake EASY!" Ummm...yeah, seriously?

mariacakestoo Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 4:45pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayyi

And you know really I'm giving them a deal as it is?


So these are family members or friends? Because if it's the general public, then I don't understand this comment.

BizCoCos Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 4:58pm
post #7 of

I'm still laughing at the jamieq comment, $40, easy, lol. A pregnant woman approached me when she saw that i had several books by famous cakers. she leafed through the books and said, can you do this? Long story short, she said should would pay whatever, cake for a hundred, sculpted, tiara, etc. I'm thinking 600.00 for a simplistic design, she's thinking, $125.00. again she said whatever it is I'll pay, the second time she saw me, she wanted a sculpted baby cake, Well, I told her I don't do those. Actually, I find them kind of icky but can do them. I'd rather bake the cakes, take pictures to build my portfolio and make the majority dummy cakes. From now on, I'm carrying my price list that way i can whip it out and there's no room for these type of situations (Not true-they will tend to change your prices if you let them0 good Luck

kathie-d Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 5:11pm
post #8 of

Wow, I feel ya! I usually feel really good about my pricing and don't have any trouble telling people my prices, but I made the mistake of giving a girfriend a really deep discount when I first started in this area. Now of course she expects more detailed cakes for stupid cheap prices. She recently called me wanting to do a cake for her daughter's 3rd birthday. She prcedes to tell me what design she wants and her budget is $60. It was the straw that broke the camels back! I told her that I would give her a discount and it will cost you $150 and for anybody else it would be $200. She was a little taken back to say the least. I don't think she realized how much my cakes cost, which is my fault because I have never told her. I had just letting the recentment build up. So she agreed to the price....BUT then she wants to add this, that, some more of this...REALLY? I told her sure ...but it will cost you another $60. "Oh? really?" "Yes, really. Let me know if you still want it." She decided to go with the original design. I think now that I have stood my ground and started to to educate her she may be more reasonable and if not she will get her cakes somewhere else. Phew, thanks for te vent! I feel better now!

Colly69 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 5:24pm
post #9 of

I've decided to stand firm on the price quoted. I don't haggle. If you don't want it, I have to move on because my time is valuable and my cake is delicious.

JJGITA76 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 5:33pm

i might be wrong, but maybe it's human nature to expect something for nothing icon_confused.gif
well i made only few cakes for family and friends all of them as gifts. so i had coments 'you should start bussiness ,etc...' and 'you can easy get a £10 for it!that's money in your pocket' icon_eek.gif not really http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2116459

sweetts99 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 5:40pm

kathie-d I hear you on that one! I made the same mistake. Now I will not do any cake for my friend. It is just easier to not mix my cakes with my friend anymore. Given time, she will see just how much I was discounting for just her.

Dayyi - - pricing is hard for almost everyone. I still struggle. It is hard sometimes to quote a price (for me) because then I start thinking, gosh times are hard, maybe I am over charging. I have to tell ya, you have to stand firm, cause some people will try to take advantage if you don't. I agree with TexasSugar (but still struggle with myself). If you don't like my prices for whatever the reason, that is fine, I get it, you are more than welcome to go someplace else. I would much rather spend that time with my children, while they still want to spend time with me.

GeminiRJ Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 5:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieq

Then, of course... the "if you were to charge for that cake...???" I said that it would probably be very pricey... His response, "i bet you could get $40 for that cake EASY!" Ummm...yeah, seriously?




LOL! And he probably thought his estimate was on the high side! I get this too, but mostly when it comes to my cookies. I have relatives that can't imagine ever paying more than a $1 for a decorated cookie, no matter how elaborate. So I make them for myslelf and find people to give them to who will appreciate them....or eat them myself!

plunker219 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:03pm

I know how you feel. I'm waiting on a reply right now for a cake. Design is an 8" tree stump with the initials carved out like a regular tree would. Also with leaves and wedding bands on it (all fondant). Told the lady $55 although I want to charge $75 just because I REALLY want to do this cake. She replies that she doesn't want to spend that much but will let me know by this morning. Well this morning has come and gone and never heard from her. If she doesn't want to pay for a beautiful and great tasting cake, that's her problem. I don't want to do cakes for people who are so cheap like that.

Don't give up, if you believe in your work then your customers will too, hopefully.

auntginn Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:26pm

ROFL.... I've had my share of those stories as well. Knowing what the cost of materials, overhead and what my time is worth has helped me alot. I periodically do a check sheet to make sure I'm staying on top. You know the price of our materials keeps going up and all..

I come from a long line of business owners and we always have had one rule of thumb. Family ONLY GETS 10% DISCOUNT. Keeps it fair.

My daughter came to me last week with a request for 50 of my signature lollipops, but she only wanted to pay $1.00 for a $3.50 item. I told her only if she would go shopping with me to buy all the ingrediants, pay for them with her money and then pay me a salary. Told her, she doesn't work for free and why should I. She quickly ordered something else.

luvbug2552 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:50pm

I've been lucky to have only one customer in the year and a half that I've been doing cakes for people other than family to complain about the price. A lady wanted a cake simalar to the new ones at walmart but with a different design then what they had to offer. When I told her the price wich wasnt a hole lot more than the wal mart price she was shell shocked. She asked why so much? When I explained to her my cakes are made fresh along with the different types frosting (BC and MMF). that I do the decorating to her request and my cakes are not frozen or decorated and shiped in from who knows where ( Are wal marts do not deal with fondant). She had second thoughts and ordered the cake. Since then she has become my most regular customer and not once questioned a price. Just the opposit. She usally throws in a nice sized tip. I tell her she doesnt have to, but she says "you can buy more cake things for your cakes." So I have..lol So I hope you have better luck in the future with customers.....

kathie-d Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:57pm

The way I look at it...If nobody is complaining about your prices then they are definitely too low!

mariacakestoo Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 6:59pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvbug2552

I've been lucky to have only one customer in the year and a half that I've been doing cakes for people other than family to complain about the price. ..


I'd be raising my prices then. I'd be willing to bet you are giving your products away then, especially when you say "not a lot more than Walmart!" icon_smile.gif

mariacakestoo Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 7:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathie-d

The way I look at it...If nobody is complaining about your prices then they are definitely too low!


Exactly! I know for a fact that the one or two I will do in a weekend pay more than the 3 or 4 others in my area do in a week. No thanks....that's so not worth my time.

luvbug2552 Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 7:35pm

In responce to mariacakestoo. That was for that one cake that was rather simple. I still made a nice profit. As with all my cakes.

mariacakestoo Posted 7 Oct 2011 , 9:15pm

Good to hear, which means you probably aren't undercutting the others in your area too. Don't take my comments personally, no one wants to see someone give their hard work away. icon_wink.gif

scp1127 Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 7:15am

For family member with rediculous requests, say, "you don't want me to do that cake. it is $$$. I was planning a gift of $$ and I'm sure you don't want to pay the difference". They have two choices. Accept your gift or pay the difference. I am very giving with my family, but sometimes the kids get a little crazy with their requests.

auntginn Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 8:00am

scp1127, that would be a great response if I had a reason to give that gift. My daughter wants me to make things for her to give to people that I don't even know or have no reason to give them a gift. And knowing my DD she would say she'll pay the difference, rofl...

scp1127 Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 8:48am

auntginn, how old is your daughter? Mine are teen and twenties. When they want a cake, they become my minions. They love it. They can give a cake and I have assistants and maids. Plus we have a great time. If your daughter is younger, it's a great opportunity for her to assist you with her requests.

auntginn Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 6:17pm

scp1127 My daughter is already a grandmother herself, she doesn't like working in the business but she does promote me to all her friends and relatives. Her daughter loves the biz, so I guess theres my trade off, lol..

Vista Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 6:58pm

Completely relating!! I combat it by asking for a theme and a budget. I will tell them what I am "willing" to do for that. I always end up over doing it, But I do make sure to let them know when I give them the cake how much I would "normally" charge for it. Then they appreciate the cake more, and do not flinch so much the next time they have a request.

Just yesterday I had shown someone a picture of one of my very large carved cakes and told him that if I were to do it for a customer (it was for my son's birthday) it would have cost about $300 minimum. He looked at me and said "Why so much? What is so difficult about that?" icon_eek.gif I just wanted to say "well then you do it, and tell me how much it is worth!!"

We are not just charging for materials and time, we are charging for the experience we have. It is our experience that makes our cakes so wonderful!! Just because I can now do an intricate design in half the time it used to take me doesn't mean that I should receive half the compensation!! [/u]

Jess1019 Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 7:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayyi

But they will go to local grocery stores and buy their frozen cakes and bucket icing. Go ahead vent with me? icon_cry.gif



Then let them!

I'm past the I want to do every cake offered to me to practice. If I want to practice now, I'd rather do a cake just because, with the theme I want and to practice what I want, and give it away to people that will appreciate it.

If they don't want to pay for my time, then you know what, I'll take that time and use it for what ever I want to do. Because in the end that makes me more happy. I'd rather not do a cake, then do a cake that I'm pissy about because I'm barely making any money off it, because they want something cheap.




Couldn't have said it better myself!!!

BizCoCos Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 8:18pm

I think that unless you are a genius of a sculptor and can whip up/carve sculptures in no time, then these cakes are labor intensive. It took me 3 hours yesterday to sculp a tiny cat in a basket with his rag doll, ball, favorite blankie on a rug. (yes, he's been gone a couple yrs. now, but he was given a rag doll and he refused to give it uo, I threw it away & bought him a new one, he refused it.-the cat was my sister's and I'm recreating him for one of her bday cakes-sorry we adored him).

Anyway, I'm new at edible figurines & sculpting but gosh it takes hours to get it halfway right.

Even on the cake shows, it takes hours and multiple individuals are working on thecakes. Besides they edit the hours it takes-we never see every step of the actual work.

cakelady2266 Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 2:33am

Set your prices and stand firm. Take everything in consideration when doing so, what you can or can't do and what the others in your area are charging. When you get hagglers or the "I can get this at so and so much cheaper" politely thank them for contacting you and instruct them where "so and so" is located. Don't back down. Always remember if you were in the market to do charity work you would be volunteering somewhere for folks that were truly in need.

I list my prices on my website as "starts at" If they don't understand that they probably not the customer base I wanted anyway. And sometimes it wouldn't matter if it was written in billboard size letters some folks are truly clueless.

auntginn Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 3:44am

Thank you CakeLady, for reminding me. Its what I've preached for years to my students but the last couple of weeks have seemed like hell dealing with these people. I have been asking myself where have they been hiding all this time.

I have been feeling bad all day over a price quote that I felt was very generous but am now getting the cold shoulder. I hate it!! Just gonna turn around and walk away, bet I'll sleep better.

GarciaGM Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 4:19am

This topic has had me sick all week. I've been working towards getting my kitchen licensed and have been all doing the necessary homework, and part of that is for me to price out what I would charge for each cake I give away. I made the mistake of asking my mom and sisters what they thought was a fair price for my most recent cake, and they all quoted about a third of what I would've charged. That was a big let-down, but they seem to think this stuff just comes easy to me.

The other thing I am starting to consider would be to charge a minimum amount. It isn't really something I had thought about before, but when someone wants a relatively small cake (like an 8") with lots of detail, I don't think they understand that it still takes the same amount of time to decorate it as it would take to decorate a larger cake. I mean really, doing a small cake for $40 still occupies nearly as much kitchen time as a much larger cake - there isn't a tremendous difference. Do most of you guys who are in the business charge a minimum amount?

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