Pearl645 Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 5:59pm
post #1 of

I got an email from a lady in NY who is getting married *drum roll* Aug 29th..and we are in July. She won't be flying into my country till exactly one week before her wedding which means everything has to be co-ordinated via email. Her fiance lives in my country. She says "If you can do my wedding cake for $300 US with 2 doz cupcakes, you will be my baker". At this point, I'm thinking August is right around the corner and you're asking me to do a last minute wedding cake on a breakneck budget as if I owe her some favour. I have another employee to pay. She wants the cake attached in red velvet plus 2 dozen cupcakes. I am trying to see if I can offer a smaller cake. Just don't see how a 2 tier cake with cupcakes is fitting into her budget.
LL

57 replies
debidehm Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:06pm
post #2 of

That's a lot of detail on the cake, plus 2 doz. cupcakes?? I personally would tell her I couldn't do it for less than X amount of dollars, and leave it at that. $300.00 just seems too low to me.

BakingIrene Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:21pm
post #3 of

Those look like 6" and 8" cakes (you didn't specify). All those shells come from one candy mold, and there are only pearls (round balls) in addition to the shells. For 36 SMALL servings in those tiers plus 24 cupcakes, she is offering $300.

Today is July 7--wedding August 29. She is asking for 7.5 weeks lead time which is maybe all that your country's immigration system gave her.

I'm sorry but she is not out of line.

So maybe you should just say "sorry, no":

kazita Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:24pm
post #4 of

I agree that cake has alot of detail plus size and im assumeing she wants you to set up the cake and cupcakes i would be saying no way not for that price

kakeladi Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:33pm
post #5 of

I agree w/Irene. I'd say It's *just* do-able for that price. Don't k now just how busy you are but 7 weeks isn't all that bad. If you are already booked just tell them no.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:45pm
post #6 of

I agree that this cake is simpler than it looks. It looks like a 6" and 8". That's 36 servings at $5 gets you to $180. 24 cupcakes at $3 is $72. Total is $252 so far. The extra $48 should cover the extra decorations. Molds for those go for about $5 or less. Here, $6 a slice would be reasonable for something that did not require carving or sculpting.

If you are not booked and $6/slice meets your pricing, why not do it?

If it doesn't work, say no. Of course, delivery and set-up would be extra.

scp1127 Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 6:55pm
post #7 of

I agree that it is not unreasonable in price or time.

I took the weekend off to work on my other business. Thursday night at 9pm, a lady called about a three tier fondant cake for Saturday. Her baker was in an accident and in the hospital. I helped her and made $400.00. I made the cake, will deliver it in an hour, and still have time for my other project.

Sometimes things just happen that are not so convenient. I do them when I have time and refer when I don't.

Because I'm not a primary wedding baker, sometimes I pick up on what others can't do. I always have two extra helpers and can usually pull off a last minute order, even when I'm booked. I like helping people in a jam. They remember it.

costumeczar Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 7:06pm
post #8 of

I'm thinking that if you do decide to do the cake, you'd better get payment up front and soon so that you have time to see if the payment clears.

bobwonderbuns Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 7:19pm
post #9 of

With all due respect, NOBODY goes into a store and says "I want this, this and this and I'll offer you $xxx for it." To the customer I say "Sorry Sweetums, it doesn't work that way. My prices START at $x.xx and go up from there depending on the complexity of the cake." PERIOD. Trust me, if you start letting them dictate how much THEY think a cake is worth, you will NEVER get what it IS worth.

scp1127 Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 7:36pm

The woman didn't dictate, she just stated her budget and asked if it was feasable for that baker.

My prices are my prices too. The offer was not unreasonable. It sounded pretty close. If it was slightly more, the OP could have said that it would be $$$, or just declined the order.It has to be hard for the client to deal with vendors in a foreign country. It looks to me like she had a good idea of market price.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 8:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

With all due respect, NOBODY goes into a store and says "I want this, this and this and I'll offer you $xxx for it."



That happens more often than you'd think, especially when products are custom-made. I don't see what the big deal is, since the business owner is free to accept the offer (if it is greater than or equal to their usual price), reject the offer outright, or counter with a less expensive product that can meet the customer's budget.

I actually prefer "bold" customers, since I can tell right away if we will be able to work with them or not.

kakeladi Posted 7 Jul 2012 , 8:04pm

.......... The offer was not unreasonable. It sounded pretty close. If it was slightly more, the OP could have said that it would be $$$, or just declined the order..........

Totally agree w/this ^^^

sfandm Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 12:38am

I didn't see any posts as to whether she has been talking to you via phone or only in emails. If she has been via emails only, be very careful, as there are many people who like to "prank" businesses.

I had this very thing happen to me. I owned a party supply and linen rental shop in Texas a few years back, and a man from out of state emailed that he wanted to hire me to do his party, and he would be in town at a later date for the party.

Long story short, a** of a kid playing pranks on his computer, could have cost me $$$ to do what was asked, I only got smart and asked for a phone conversation at which point emails stopped. This happens alot. So just be careful.

My 2 cents

tokazodo Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 12:54am

There was a forum thread about 6 months ago about a similar type e-mail going around. Someone ordering a cake, via e-mail, from out of the country.

The person who was writing the e-mail was doing something hinky with a credit card, I forget exactly how the scam went down, but it left the baker in debt some how.

I would avoid it. If her husband to be is here in the states, let him bring you cash.
Explain to her, that you usually do deposits, 6 months in advance and it is just too close to the wedding date for you to do otherwise and that you need to purchase the ingredients and materiel for her cake, so cash is the only way you can go.

If she is truly interested in having you make her cake, she will come up with cash.
If not, then oh well, go do something else that day.

Hope this helps,
tokazodo
Cake Hatteras

P. S. You make beautiful cakes! thumbs_up.gif

cakegrandma Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 12:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

.......... The offer was not unreasonable. It sounded pretty close. If it was slightly more, the OP could have said that it would be $$$, or just declined the order..........

Totally agree w/this ^^^




I'll second this also. Can be done, if you want to and of course are not booked up. Be sure to make sure the payment clears or ask for cash only.

step0nmi Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 1:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

There was a forum thread about 6 months ago about a similar type e-mail going around. Someone ordering a cake, via e-mail, from out of the country.

The person who was writing the e-mail was doing something hinky with a credit card, I forget exactly how the scam went down, but it left the baker in debt some how.

I would avoid it. If her husband to be is here in the states, let him bring you cash.
Explain to her, that you usually do deposits, 6 months in advance and it is just too close to the wedding date for you to do otherwise and that you need to purchase the ingredients and materiel for her cake, so cash is the only way you can go.

If she is truly interested in having you make her cake, she will come up with cash.
If not, then oh well, go do something else that day.

Hope this helps,
tokazodo
Cake Hatteras

P. S. You make beautiful cakes! thumbs_up.gif




there IS that scam that goes around where they say they want XYZ and they will give you extra money and then you pay them back the difference. icon_rolleyes.gif i remember a couple months ago that these out of country scammers WERE getting a little more swift on how they approached the scam and how they put it out there to the bakers. I think you're best bet is to look for strange wording ("I am to be be wed on... OR writing "Happy Marriage" on the cake) and/or if you say you need cash up front because they are from out of the country and they say "no" that...then it's a sure sign it's that scam...just in a better disguise icon_wink.gif

BakingIrene Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 1:13am

No cashee no bakee no problem.

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 1:51am

That seems like a good deal to me, I would take it! It is close to double what I would charge for the same cake. Actually, I would tell her the actual cost, but have her pay the whole thing then.

Pearl645 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 2:55am

Interesting responses. Thanks for all the posts. 2 tier cakes like that usually go for $390 US here (and that is without the cupcakes). I assume our local prices are different because we don't charge by the serving so there is no 36 cake servings x $y. Our prices are set by total cost of ingredients, overheads, etc etc with a mark-up and that resulted in a higher price than what most of you said you would charge for this cake as well as the lady's budget. Delivery is about 2 hours drive through a mountain to get to the venue. Most ppl assume delivery is included or free for their wedding cake. Appreciate all the feedback.

Pearl645 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 3:10am

I forgot to mention that I switched from BC to chocolate ganache under my fondant cakes recently and the cost of using ganache has made fondant cakes way more expensive. If I use BC under this fondant cake $300US is great but with the high cost of ghirardelli chocolate here (that is all we have besides hershey's chocolate which I don't find makes great ganache) the costs are adding up. I posted last week asking if there was an alternative to ganache under fondant...to reduce costs. Anyone uses an all-shortening BC and still get sharp edges under fondant? I switched to ganache because my cakes were rounding on the edges with BC which is always soft in our heat. Hoping someone can advise. I assume because all of the cake supplies and a lot of the good quality cake ingredients are shipped in from the US to the Caribbean we may have higher costs. Just seeing everything adding up.

shanter Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 3:14am

Prices vary greatly depending on market. It sounds to me that the bride's budget will not work with your costs. It's hard for us in the US to know what is acceptable in the Caribbean. If you don't think you can do it and make money on the deal, don't do it.

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 3:26am

She may not know what the costs are there, just let her know. It would be very generous for the States, but most of us aren't familiar with the pricing. I use a 50/50 butter and shortening, and freeze for 45 minutes before I use fondant if I want a sharper edge. You can also add some melted chocolate to your icing.

Pearl645 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 3:43am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

She may not know what the costs are there, just let her know. It would be very generous for the States, but most of us aren't familiar with the pricing. I use a 50/50 butter and shortening, and freeze for 45 minutes before I use fondant if I want a sharper edge. You can also add some melted chocolate to your icing.




Thanks. This is similar to what I use but it still makes the fondant sag at the corners. I guess I will stick to the chocolate ganache. I wrote her back and said I would do it for her price. It isn't what would normally be charged but I have an opening for that day. Since I'm the only one baking, decorating, admin etc it is hard for me to do more than 2 wedding cakes each weekend. Only have another person who washes up and cleans up so I try to take a minimum $ value on wedding cakes for my business to make sense financially. As for our costs vs US costs, sometimes what costs $5US is sold at a really high mark-up here. I buy a lot of stuff from US websites like GSA and amazon and they are great prices as is but we have to pay TWO sets of shipping fees. S&H from the seller's warehouse to my skybox in Miami. THEN, another set of S&H costs from Miami to the Caribbean and I am the last island at the base of the Caribbean islands so imagine how that freight charge adds up. PLUS there is a heavy charge for customs and duties on cake decorating items shipped in. It is just crazy.

Monkess Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 4:23am

Scam emails usually do not have cake photos attached with them. They could not care less. Having said that, they may be getting down to details now! Best to speak to someone on the phone and get landline numbers for her fiancee and call him.

BakingIrene Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 4:26am

Pearl, if you take a little time to explain your island economics to this prospective customer, you will be doing her a favour. She needs to know, and she will encounter the same issues with other service providers. And her design isn't asking for the time to make sharp corners.

There is an ebay dealer that ships worldwide--for one example of their price

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nautical-SHELL-ASSORTMENT-Chocolate-Candy-Mold-2-1-4-x-1-3-4-x-1-2-2-x-1-1-2-x-/200673735668?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb91633f4#ht_1549wt_906

and the mould will have a reasonable working life.

There is an Argentinian company cortantescairo.com that manufactures excellent gumpaste cutters and veiners, they should be a more "local" dealer. Ebay vendor bluelakefox imports them to Canada with minimal markup so you can see if it's worth to pay the postage from here.,

Well we can't help with the import duties, but maybe this bride could help you by sending a parcel to her fiance? Like the mould and some pearl dusting powders...

Pearl645 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 5:20am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Pearl, if you take a little time to explain your island economics to this prospective customer, you will be doing her a favour. She needs to know, and she will encounter the same issues with other service providers. And her design isn't asking for the time to make sharp corners.

There is an ebay dealer that ships worldwide--for one example of their price

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nautical-SHELL-ASSORTMENT-Chocolate-Candy-Mold-2-1-4-x-1-3-4-x-1-2-2-x-1-1-2-x-/200673735668?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb91633f4#ht_1549wt_906

and the mould will have a reasonable working life.

There is an Argentinian company cortantescairo.com that manufactures excellent gumpaste cutters and veiners, they should be a more "local" dealer. Ebay vendor bluelakefox imports them to Canada with minimal markup so you can see if it's worth to pay the postage from here.,

Well we can't help with the import duties, but maybe this bride could help you by sending a parcel to her fiance? Like the mould and some pearl dusting powders...




Thanks Irene, I ought to check out ebay more often for cake supplies. Yes, you are right I have a duty to explain to her the economics here and why costs are the way they are since she lives abroad. Thanks for advising this.Yes she would experience the same from other vendors for her wedding. Got some good advice tonight icon_smile.gif

vtcake Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 4:53pm

Sounds like a scam.

Other than that, why can't customers be bold? They are people who can ask for whatever they want.

Pearl645 Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 7:38pm

Well imagine I told her I will do it $300US and she is sending me 3 emails a day since Sat a.m. with cake flavour changes and asking to do a tasting one week before she flies in to make up her mind on what ONE cake flavour she will take for her 2 doz cupcakes. She can't decide between lemon and vanilla for her cupcakes. She has changed her cake flavours 3 times and it is a 2 tier cake. She wants her husband to do cake tastings with me this weekend yet she emailed me saying he is allergic to almost everything. Really not sure what is going on here. I put the email aside..mentally... and carrying on with my day. Will respond to her tonight when I think about how to be honest with her politely about all her changes and setting up a tasting this weekend. That is done only when I have extra cupcakes in the flavours they want to try.

BakingIrene Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 7:48pm

Ask her for a list in writing of all the allergies.

After the list arrives, you will be the best judge of whether you can work with that--if not, decline the order specifically because of the allergies. Not worth losing a moment's sleep.

And while you are busy working, your email should be set to auto-respond with a message saying "I'm busy making a customer's cake. I will respond when I can give you my full attention" OK because people don't have any clue at all of how a kitchen works when you bake for customers.

kakeladi Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 9:02pm

.........She wants her husband to do cake tastings with me this weekend yet she emailed me saying he is allergic to almost everything.......

On my goodness!! I would be running - as FAST as I could from this!
Allergies are nothing to sneeze at. They can be *VERY!* serious....I know as I have a list a foot long icon_sad.gif If he is that sensitive just *cross contamination* can cause serious problems.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%