valora387 Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:29pm
post #1 of

I decorate cakes as a hobby, and today my brother in law called me and said someone he knows is in a bind for a cake for this weekend. He gave her my number and she called me and gave me her long story about how her friend was supposed to make her son's christening cake for THIS SUNDAY, and now they're not friends anymore and the friend won't do it, so she needs a cake. She told me that her friend was going to make her a sculpted cake, made to look like a Bible, something "much better than some supermarket sheet cake." Oh, and this cake is supposed to serve 30+ people.
Now, like I said, I decorate as a hobby. I don't keep boxes and cake boards around the house. So, I told her my lowest price, for a simple sheet cake is $40. I'm going to have to buy all of the ingredients, the board, the box, everything. It'll probably run me about $20-25 just for materials. She sounded shocked and told me that she didn't want just a sheet cake, she wanted something special, and her friend was only going to charge her $25. I was kind of shocked too, and couldn't stop myself before I said to her, "Well, I'm not your friend."
With the time it will take me to bake and decorate this cake, I'll probably get paid somewhere between $3-5 an hour after I pay for everything.
Now I'm waiting to hear from her if she even wants the cake or not. I almost want to just say no, because it's very last minute, and I go to school, work, and have three kids.
People never cease to amaze me when they undervalue our time that it takes to make something beautiful (well, at least very pretty) for them.

17 replies
BellaSweet Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:43pm
post #2 of

As a stay at home mom, home baker, homeschool teacher for a 2nd grader and a 2 year old, I do not under any circumstances accept orders less than 2 weeks in advance. With you, we are talking a few days. It's more trouble than its worth. I wouldnt do it. Although my husband has said i should charge a "short notice" fee to make it worth my time. LOL

grama_j Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:44pm
post #3 of

Well, what she WANTS and what she is going to GET are two different stories......Her "friend" was probably only charging what the ingredients were going to cost her, and she was donating the rest....... I think when you quoted her the price for a sheet cake, and she said she didn't WANT that, you can pretty much write her off......... she won't be calling back...... Let it go....... she is asking to much of you........

kellikrause Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:49pm
post #4 of

A big NO to this lady...she wants way too much and doesn't want to pay. I would be too busy if she calls back!

kakeladi Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:50pm
post #5 of

I so understnad what you are going thruicon_smile.gif It happens, similar - to everyone.
*Their* emergency does NOT make *your* emergency.
Don't worry if you never hear from her again.
BTW: what to someone like you is 'very last minute' would not be for me icon_smile.gif but......granted I don't go to school nor have a family to care for.

SoFloGuy Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 9:51pm
post #6 of

If she calls you back tell her you realized you can't do it. No need to give a reason. She wants a special cake to feed over 30+ people for $25, which is less than $1 a slice. Tell her to bake her own Pillsbury cakes. Three 8 inch two layer cakes with frosting and eggs and oil will run her under $25 and will feed her crew. It's not worth your trouble even as a favor and even if she pays what you want, she will still find a reason to complain. If it was so important to her she would not have ruined her friendship with the lady that was going to make it for her, To make matters worse she probably doesn't care if it puts a strain between you and your brother in law.

Elcee Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 10:49pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by valora387

She sounded shocked and told me that she didn't want just a sheet cake, she wanted something special, and her friend was only going to charge her $25. I was kind of shocked too, and couldn't stop myself before I said to her, "Well, I'm not your friend."




OMGosh! I LOVE that you said this to her! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

BakingIrene Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 10:55pm
post #8 of

The hostess is probably fishing until she finds a free cake. Or until the day of the party arrives and she discovers that there will be no guests...

DeniseNH Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 10:57pm
post #9 of

NOW you know why the "friend" said no and isn't this blood-suckers friend any more and if you're wise you'll make sure she isn't your friend either .............in the future.

BlakesCakes Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 11:02pm

This cake fed 50. With baking, freezing, cutting boards, tinting fondant, making filling, leveling, stacking, settling, carving, decorating, and DOING THE DISHES, it took no less than 8 hrs. to get together.

Image

The recipient understood that it was worth 10 times what she would have paid for a similar serving number grocery store cake.

It's up to you how you allocate your time and resources, but in no way should you cheat yourself. If you want to do it, tell her what it will take to get it done. If she doesn't like it, she can go elsewhere.

Explain nicely to your BIL that what she expected for $25 was RIDICULOUS and that you're not in the business of rewarding unrealistic expectations.

Rae

SoFloGuy Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 11:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

This cake fed 50.

Image




That's a beautiful cake, Jesus would have fed a couple of hundred people with it. icon_biggrin.gif

tokazodo Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 11:53pm

I would make her a cake for $25.00, but then again, it would only be a $25.00 cake!

Why don't you show her what you can do for $25.00, and for $125.00 and let her make the choice?

If she doesn't call you back, go enjoy some found time with your family.

No worries, Be Happy!

Apti Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 12:17am
Quote:
Originally Posted by valora387

I decorate cakes as a hobby, and today my brother in law called me and said someone he knows is in a bind for a cake for this weekend. He gave her my number.............
People never cease to amaze me when they undervalue our time that it takes to make something beautiful (well, at least very pretty) for them.




I am also a hobby baker. Your BIL was probably acting in good faith and may even have been somewhat excited to give you a possible "cake order referral". The person referred probably had no idea what custom cakes cost or the time involved in making custom cakes. If the original baker quoted a price of $25 (with no explanation of how much it would cost and how long it would take), then that is probably what she expected to hear from a second baker. She could quite easily have had no intentions of undervaluing your time and ingredients and supplies.
-----------------------
p.s. Just because someone calls doesn't mean you have to do a cake.
----------------------
One of the constants on all cake forums is that "cake muggles" (non-cake people), have ZERO clue of the time and money it takes to make a custom cake. Two years ago when I walked into my first Wilton class, I had no idea!

Another constant on the forums is that family and friends of cake hobbyists rave about the cakes and say, "You should SELL these!!!! You could make a LOT of money!". They mean well, but the reality of profitable custom cake sales involves far more than nice cakes.

I would suggest that you thank for BIL for the referral, but the person had "unrealistic expectations" (Rae's quote) and you are unable to fulfill any cake orders at the last moment. Then I'd begin the process of educating my family and friends about your "hobby".

Tell them how long it takes and how much it costs. If you actually DO want referrals, tell them your lowest price is probably $$ for a 1/4 sheet cake, $$$ for a two-tier fondant round cake, etc. (You will obviously need to work out your own pricing structure.) If you do NOT want referrals, tell them you only do custom cakes as a hobby for friends and relatives. (Then make sure they know the VALUE of the "gift" when you do provide a custom cake!)

Shelly42 Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 12:35am

I know exactly what you mean about last minute orders and people expecting a cake for almost nothing...I had no idea how much time is involved in doing cakes until I started over a year ago...I totally agree with those saying to NOT do it if she calls back...been there and done that! I have a problem also with people wanting a quote then totally changing the design afterwards and still expecting the price to stay the same....

akaivyleaf Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 12:51am

I can see why her "friend" said no. If her friend won't deal with her, that is a great indication that I wouldn't be able to deal with her either.

I'm skeptical of sob stories, especially when it comes to someone paying me for my expertise. I generally choose, while they are telling me their tales of woe, I'm already formulating my exit strategy.

BlakesCakes Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 2:00am
Quote:
Originally Posted by akaivyleaf

I can see why her "friend" said no. If her friend won't deal with her, that is a great indication that I wouldn't be able to deal with her either.

I'm skeptical of sob stories, especially when it comes to someone paying me for my expertise. I generally choose, while they are telling me their tales of woe, I'm already formulating my exit strategy.




thumbs_up.gif Yep. I suddenly see that I must have made a mistake and I'm NOT available for that date. Sorry.

I had a recent request for a cake from someone who made the process very hard the first time. I gave her some reasonable parameters to make it go more smoothly this time.
I haven't heard back, but I have this nagging feeling that she'll try to back door it at the very last minute, even though I told her that I needed to settle all of the details ASAP--like 2 weeks ago.........well, I'll be unexpectedly going out of town now.

Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile, for sure.
Rae

AMACakes Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 3:28pm

Given that she is not your friend (I love that line), I wouldn't feel obligated to do anything for her last minute, let alone a cake worth more than what she is willing to pay.

I sometimes do last minute requests, but they are usually for good friends who appreciate how much time and effort it takes to make our wonderful creations.

idgalpal Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 3:49pm

I agree with everyone else, basically - RUN!
I just had a similar experience with someone I work with. She wanted a fancy luau/graduation cake to feed 60 people for a Costco price. I told her I couldn't compete with Costco on price - but Costco couldn't compete with me on decoration and design-lol. I guess price was more important because I didn't hear back from her and that's okay with me!

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