Friends Taking Advantage...

Decorating By cfpeoples Updated 1 Dec 2011 , 3:54pm by inspiredbymom

cfpeoples Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 6:34pm
post #1 of 31

Years back when i first started selling my cakes, I would make cakes for friends at basically cost. Now, I am so busy anyway, and more and more friends, (usually from church or parents of other school children) want cakes for honestly next to nothing. It takes me just as long to do their cakes as a normal client, so if i am spending 8 hours or more on a cake, I don't like it that I am making $10. I have told these people how long it takes, and they want to basically pay cost plus $10 or something ridiculous like that. I want to tell them that if they want me to continue making their cakes, they have to pay full price, or maybe a small discount like 10%. I am not very good at confrontation, and i would honestly rather lose them than continue to work for nothing, and having to turn down cakes for paying customers if i have alreay booked a friend. Most of these people I really DO like as people, and do not want to be mean to them but at the same time, I don't feel i am being fair to myself. I have 4 people like that booked for december. Advice on how to tell them nicely while still getting my point across? Thanks!

30 replies
mariacakestoo Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 6:36pm
post #2 of 31

Here's the deal, and I'm not even going to read what you wrote. Friends don't take advantage. Period.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 6:39pm
post #3 of 31

To actually address your question, you may want to have someone else who is better at confrontation handle your sales. If people ask to place an order you can tell them to contact your business manager to work out the details, and they can be the "bad guy" who quotes a price and sticks to it.

kelleym Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 6:59pm
post #4 of 31

People will suck you dry if you let them. You have to put your foot down or, as Jason said, get someone else to put it down for you. My advice on what to say, nicely, is, "The price for your cake is $XXX.XX, and I require 50% down to book your order." Seriously. It's not mean to give people a price and your terms.

leah_s Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 7:10pm
post #5 of 31

NO ONE can take advantage of you without your permission.

AnnieCahill Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 7:43pm
post #6 of 31

Hell with that. Tell them to cough it up. Say look, I can't do this $hit for free anymore when I have people who are willing to pay for my supplies AND my time. Your cakes are sucking up all my time and preventing me from making money and paying my bills.

Send me a list of email addresses and I would be happy to handle your PR. LOL.

Annie Creative Cakes Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:17pm
post #7 of 31

I think that you should bill your friends as you usually bill your customers. Make them understand that you do not do this for fun and your time is priceless. If they do not understand tell them to go buy their cakes at a store because the cakes that we make taste better than the store bought. Do not be afraid, just put your foot down.

jamieq Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:21pm
post #8 of 31

I was told early that you will have the few "friends" that want your cakes next to nothing, but your real friends WANT you to succeed in your business. THEY WANT TO PAY FULL PRICE!!! I even had one try to pay me full price AND tip me... I love her!! icon_smile.gif

jgifford Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:30pm
post #9 of 31

Annie, I love your post. icon_biggrin.gif Truely, I'm still lolling. You wouldn't happen to be from NY, would you?

Beckalita Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:41pm
post #10 of 31

Tell those so-called "friends" that you'll do their cake for less if they'll come work as an unpaid "intern" to clean and wash dishes while you work.... If they still persist in demanding cheap cake, point them to the nearest Walmart or grocery store!

dldbrou Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:43pm
post #11 of 31

The first thing I would say is "What is your budget? then tell them what they get for that price. Do not discount unless you are giving it to a charity of some kind. Or tell them they will have to come over and do all the clean up as you go to help out with the labor cost.

artscallion Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:45pm
post #12 of 31

I hope everyone who thinks that starting out cheap so you can build up business is paying attention. You just end up with lots of cheap business that's hard to convert to something that will actually pay your bills. As OP demonstrates, it's much harder to stop a ball from rolling down a hill than it is to never have let it go in the first place.

carmijok Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 9:55pm
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

I hope everyone who thinks that starting out cheap so you can build up business is paying attention. You just end up with lots of cheap business that's hard to convert to something that will actually pay your bills. As OP demonstrates, it's much harder to stop a ball from rolling down a hill than it is to never have let it go in the first place.




I tend to disagree with this. Mainly because I believe price should partly be based on skill level...and I think someone who starts out may not be at the level they will be a year or two down the road and their pricing should reflect that.

There's nothing wrong with raising your prices! What's the worst that can happen? If you don't want face-to- face 'confrontation' then send an email to all your past "friend' customers that states something like the following:

Dear Friends. I want to thank you for the business you've given me in the past and I look forward to doing future business with you. It is with the future in mind that I must inform all my customers that my prices will be increasing as of (your date here). As you know, everything is more expensive these days, and a good custom cake needs quality ingredients and also good design...which takes time to do the job right to make sure it meets your specifications.

My pricing will be as follows:

(and then list your pricing here).

If you have any questions please let me know. I am always willing to work within budgets to provide the best cake for the price.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support!

PS. Because you have been a valued customer, bring this letter in and you will receive 10% off your next order (one per customer)

By offering a small one-time discount you still will be getting higher prices, but you will also be soothing any ruffled feathers.
And if anyone stops ordering from you that's OK. You're saving yourself lots of time and effort down the road.
Anyway, this is just an idea! HTH! thumbs_up.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 10:30pm
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

I hope everyone who thinks that starting out cheap so you can build up business is paying attention. You just end up with lots of cheap business that's hard to convert to something that will actually pay your bills. As OP demonstrates, it's much harder to stop a ball from rolling down a hill than it is to never have let it go in the first place.



I tend to disagree with this. Mainly because I believe price should partly be based on skill level...and I think someone who starts out may not be at the level they will be a year or two down the road and their pricing should reflect that.

There's nothing wrong with raising your prices! What's the worst that can happen? If you don't want face-to- face 'confrontation' then send an email to all your past "friend' customers that states something like the following:

Dear Friends. I want to thank you for the business you've given me in the past and I look forward to doing future business with you. It is with the future in mind that I must inform all my customers that my prices will be increasing as of (your date here). As you know, everything is more expensive these days, and a good custom cake needs quality ingredients and also good design...which takes time to do the job right to make sure it meets your specifications.

My pricing will be as follows:

(and then list your pricing here).

If you have any questions please let me know. I am always willing to work within budgets to provide the best cake for the price.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support!

PS. Because you have been a valued customer, bring this letter in and you will receive 10% off your next order (one per customer)

By offering a small one-time discount you still will be getting higher prices, but you will also be soothing any ruffled feathers.
And if anyone stops ordering from you that's OK. You're saving yourself lots of time and effort down the road.
Anyway, this is just an idea! HTH! thumbs_up.gif




I absolutely love this note!

madcobbler Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 10:45pm
post #15 of 31

It's not just friends who will take advantage of you. Coworkers, neighbors, family, friends, and acquaintancesfrom church,gym, social club,etc. will all take advantage of you if you let them. I charge everybody full price except for my parents. Alot of people think they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake from you. If you do it at cost or near to that amount you'll shortly go out of business or grow resentful towards those asking for major discounts. Sending out a 10% coupon to everyone who's ordered a cake from you this year is a great way to drum up business. I only do free cakes when I offer to bring a dessert to a potluck or holiday party.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 10:49pm
post #16 of 31

Offer a school or church discount of 10% if you want to. Your child's classmate's parent is not automatically a friend and is not entitled to take advantage of you.

If you can't tell these people no, then be booked when they ask for a cake. And don't justify prices by telling them how long a cake takes. Your price is your price, and people who will pay it are your customers. People who want it at cost aren't your customers and they aren't your friends either.

jgifford Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 10:51pm
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Offer a school or church discount of 10% if you want to. Your child's classmate's parent is not automatically a friend and is not entitled to take advantage of you.

If you can't tell these people no, then be booked when they ask for a cake. And don't justify prices by telling them how long a cake takes. Your price is your price, and people who will pay it are your customers. People who want it at cost aren't your customers and they aren't your friends either.


What she said!

QTCakes1 Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 12:32am
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieq

I was told early that you will have the few "friends" that want your cakes next to nothing, but your real friends WANT you to succeed in your business. THEY WANT TO PAY FULL PRICE!!! I even had one try to pay me full price AND tip me... I love her!! icon_smile.gif




This is the absolute gospel truth. My best friend has NEVER asked for a cake for free all these year's until her daughter's baby shower and even then I told her I would make it. She has always told me,"I can't afford you", even though she knows full well I will make a cake for her for free.

AnnieCahill Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 12:57am
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Quote:

Annie, I love your post. Very Happy Truely, I'm still lolling. You wouldn't happen to be from NY, would you?




Virginia actually! icon_redface.gif

thin4life Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 12:59am
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

NO ONE can take advantage of you without your permission.




DITTO!

Kiddiekakes Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 1:18am
post #21 of 31

I started charging friends and family from day one..I have never had to make a cake for FREE unless I decided to or donated it...I just got a huge holiday order from my BIL for cupcakes for his business clients..I invoiced him and he paid no problem..

LadyTangerine Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 2:15am
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by madcobbler

It's not just friends who will take advantage of you. Coworkers, neighbors, family, friends, and acquaintancesfrom church,gym, social club,etc. will all take advantage of you if you let them. I charge everybody full price except for my parents. Alot of people think they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake from you. If you do it at cost or near to that amount you'll shortly go out of business or grow resentful towards those asking for major discounts. Sending out a 10% coupon to everyone who's ordered a cake from you this year is a great way to drum up business. I only do free cakes when I offer to bring a dessert to a potluck or holiday party.




Totally agree! People who may have met you once and know you by face (not even by your name!) or vice versa ask for discounts. It's not fair and I would not call them friends if all they want is to leech off of your talents. I like the email suggestion and the 10% discount idea as well. It's a firm yet gentle way of getting your point across without losing business!

scp1127 Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 4:56am
post #23 of 31

Consider making up a price list and refer to it. Never give them the idea that the prices are negotiable.

Edit for typo.

cindy458 Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 1:09pm
post #24 of 31

My suggestion is to type out a form listing your prices and send a copy to each of your "friends". That way the next time they want a cake they will have the info before they order. This way you have it in writing.

inspiredbymom Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 3:55pm
post #25 of 31

I had the same problem in the beginning. However, I offer 10% off for certain people (I choose) but it is upfront. If they can not afford the design they wanted, they work with me to lower the price or they they just go someplace else (Wal-mart). I am learning not to stress myself out. I do give some of my cakes for free to charity but again, it is my choice and I don't feel the pressure that I used to. I know that in the end, I was getting resentful for "loosing money and time". However, others don't always realize how much time and energy goes into some of this stuff when they watch TV and see that all is well after 30 minutes or an hour!

lisa198107 Posted 30 Nov 2011 , 8:17pm
post #26 of 31

I had the same problem as well as I was doing cakes for cost when I started to get practice. Now that I feel I am worth more I have had 'friends' stop calling me after I told them my prices. I realised those people were only hanging around to get my cakes and actually were not friends. My real friends understand and did not ask for a cake unless they had the money to pay. I never had a 'special' cake as a kid, only the basic ones my mum made me so I think if parents want a cake and cant afford it or dont want to pay they can make a cake for their kids. End of story. I don't offer a discount for this reason. Its too hard to draw the line and most of your customers are who you know.

mbn504 Posted 1 Dec 2011 , 6:55am
post #27 of 31

I am having a similar problem with a friend. Earlier this year I gave her a wedding and groom's cake as a wedding gift (valued at $1250). I then did two birthday cakes for her son at cost. Now she wants me to do a two tier cake for 50 people in camouflage, with guns, dog tags, etc. on the cake. I gave her prices based on the sizes she was interested in. These sizes ranged from $108 to $170. She came back and asked what she could get for $50 for feed 50 people. I am doing her a sheet cake with buttercream icing done in camo and basic decorations. This will probably be our last transaction together.

noahsmummy Posted 1 Dec 2011 , 12:56pm
post #28 of 31

isnt this the trap... i agree your true friends truly value your skills. =)
perhaps even explaing to people how much money you are loosing in labor if they do get confrontational? i dont think most people realise this! they just think youll be able to whip it up in no time at home or while your are working on other things not realising that you are loosing out on money. Im only a hobby baker but i am almost at the point of telling people NO MORE CAKES!!! i usually do them as gifts.. but honestly.. it would be way way cheaper for me to just buy a regular present. Its the expectation of some people that annoys me most. they will ask if i can do the cake for the present, or i offer, and then it turns into this huge monstrosity thing that i cant afford either finacially or time wise! and then, if i have a rough night and dont get it done to tip top perfection, i hardly get a tthanks.. raaa! sorry may be venting a bit here! but honestly, i agree your true friends will understand.. i had to surprise my best friend with her bday cake because she was dead set on paying me or my not doing it because she is one of the few who really understands how much it takes for me to make a cake.. she then preceded to eat the entire cake (bar two slices) to herself.. in one night! ha.

Baker_Rose Posted 1 Dec 2011 , 2:19pm
post #29 of 31

I ran into this recently selling my eggs (chicken eggs, not MY eggs icon_smile.gif )

I haven't raised my prices in a long time and feed prices have gone up and up. At one time I had many customers, but then here and there they have dropped off. The last big weekly buyer was a cousin of my husbands. This branch of the family is the cheapest, stingyist people I have ever met. And this cousin is a mooch for lack of a better word. He is wealthy, works full time, paid cash for his property/built house and has full retirement benefits from the military. He brags on and on about how much his motorcycle cost him and the hand made, custom leather saddlebags that cost close to $1000. So, it isn't money that he is lacking.

Every week he bought 4 dozen eggs, two for he and his wife and 2 for his parents who live next to him. He parents used to pick up their own eggs when they passed my house on Saturday's, but they are becoming very hermit-like and leave their house infrequently. Since the cousin drives past every day to work he now stops.

I was sitting at $1.25 a dozen for a long time. I knew I should have raised my prices several years ago, but I didn't because the girls were putting out the eggs and I really wasn't in it to make money. However, money is very tight now and feed is almost $34 for two bags. I figured it out and I pay about $3/day in feed no matter how many eggs they produce. I also made the mistake of not paying attention to egg prices in the market. I started looking and saw that normal, white eggs were $2.29 just about everywhere (I don't bother even looking at wal-mart). So raising them up to $2 wasn't a stretch for me. Every other person I told was fine and a few even said, "I'm shocked you didn't ask that price a long time ago!". My fault.

Except this cousin. You would have thought that I was stealing from him! He went on a rant about my "unreasonable" price hike, and how he "can get them for $1 a dozen in the stores". I told him flat out that if he could get free-range, pasture raised, organic vegetarian fed, less than 4 days old eggs for $1/dozen then he should go elsewhere. No, he bought mine that week, the usual 4 dozen, bi$ching and moaning the whole time. I told my husband that if he calls again I may not have eggs for him!! He has only bought them one other time (they have been buying my eggs since I first got chickens 9 years ago) and that day we got into a shouting match in my front yard. He went on and on about how so in so has eggs this week for $1.89 and I told him again that the white eggs from caged birds are not comparable to mine, organic eggs in the market are $4 a dozen and in the city (Pittsburgh) they can go for $6 a dozen in the organic markets.

He starts to yell about it, and I tell him that I have been subsidizing his eggs for years. It costs me $3 a day in feed if I get one egg or twenty. At the time the molt was just starting and I was seeing as little as 6 per day, so MY COST was $6 a dozen and I was STUPID enough to sell them to him for JUST $2 a dozen. So he yells back that "YOU get all the free eggs you want!!!!" I couldn't believe how stupid he was. My eggs are NEVER free. It costs $4 for each peep, the lights cost about $100/electricity to bring them up AND more than $500 in feed for 26 weeks BEFORE they lay even one egg and that doesn't include the fencing and housing costs.

Let's just say that we parted red in the face and he still thinks my eggs are free and I'm ripping him off. He has never called for eggs again and if he does I will never have any to sell.

I know this is eggs, not cake, but it's the same. To some people we make cakes because we just can't help ourselves and they are doing US a service by taking the final product off our hands for us, so "It doesn't go to waste." You need to sit down and write up a solid price sheet for ALL your offered cakes with a full disclaimer of how to price heavy on the labor cakes and EVERY person who asks for a cake, you can greet them with a "I'm now doing this officially and I have a full price sheet, would you like a copy?" Keep it light and pleasant and those people who know your quality will NEVER have a problem with your prices. Those who think that you are their "cake-guy" will find someone else to leach off of.

AND, in all the years of doing cakes for people (22 years) MY MOTHER was the only person who ever did the "I get a discount" game. Every other person saw the value in my product. To this day she still thinks that my creations should be free to her and all her friends.

Tami icon_confused.gif

cfpeoples Posted 1 Dec 2011 , 2:36pm
post #30 of 31

AnnieCahill...i love your response. I wish i could say that! lol
Thanks everyone for all the input. I love Carmijok's letter idea. I think i will be doing that. If they don't want my normal prices, then i dont' want them as a customer. I'm using up all my supplies, having to reorder, when that could have been used on good customers. Thanks for al the input! I will be putting my foot down!

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