ken Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:08pm
post #1 of

I have a customer who just asked me to make a cake this saturday for a 1 yr old party. They want a 3 tier cake for about 25 people. The cake is to be designed as 1/2 Mickey Mouse 1/2 Minnie Mouse with the hat on top as the 3rd tier. I told them $150. And now they are having a heart attack over it because they don't want it to be a big cake. What should I do? Reduce my price or let them decide or not if they want to take my $150 price?!

40 replies
Godot Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:18pm
post #2 of

They don't want a huge cake but they want three tiers?

 

Champagne taste on a pond water budget. Give 'em the number to Wal-Mart.

 

Seriously, why would you even consider reducing your price on this? Because they want you to? Not good enough - if you don't value your work no one else will, either. Buck up!

Claire138 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:31pm
post #3 of

I can't see how you can make a 3 tier cake for only 25 people. How small would your tiers be?

MadeWithYum Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:31pm
post #4 of

Really? They don't want a "big cake" - yet they ask for three tiers? Honestly, this kind of customer is not worth the hassel. Over the pricing, OR the clear annoyance it'll be that they don't understand what they want.

 

And, for wanting a cake this short notice (a week ahead of the party? For custom work? Sheesh.) - NEVER lower your price. It cheapens your work. Your cakes are valuable because of the work you put in them. If you do the same work, for less - it says your work isn't worth that much.

 

And; if you do it once, if they're a repeat customer
A) They'll always be last-minute orderers. (Frustrating and rude)
B) They'll always expect a lower "more manageable" price.

 

I agree with the poster before me. They want caviar but expect to pay for sardines. Give them the number to a grocery store; there's nothing wrong with going to where you can afford if that's your budget. Don't sell yourself short.

MadeWithYum Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:34pm
post #5 of

I thought the same thing. Customers rarely know what cakes serve. O_O Either they'd have to make a miniature tiered cake (like, 4,6,8) or - if they do decide to pay - I usually recommend dummy-ing a layer. If they're set on the look of three tiers but don't need that much cake, instead of throwing away good ake, I just say to dummy one of the tiers. But - clients usually don't know what they're really wanting. They see a big pretty/cute cake and think that exact style/size is what will work for them. *shrug* part of the business. :)

vgcea Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:41pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by ken 

I have a customer who just asked me to make a cake this saturday for a 1 yr old party. They want a 3 tier cake for about 25 people. The cake is to be designed as 1/2 Mickey Mouse 1/2 Minnie Mouse with the hat on top as the 3rd tier. I told them $150. And now they are having a heart attack over it because they don't want it to be a big cake. What should I do? Reduce my price or let them decide or not if they want to take my $150 price?!

Reduce your price? REALLY? What are you running? A charity? How about you pay them to take the cake too. Does your doctor reduce your bill because you threw a hissy fit? Does the utility company drop their prices because you don't want your bill to be a big one? Does your land lord/mortgage company drop your mortgage cost because you cried foul? But, but, you wanted a 5 bedroom house but you didn't want it to be a big house. GTHOOHWT.

 

And they need to do the same.

louanne Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:46pm
post #7 of

If they want three tiers, they pay for three tiers, regardless of if they need that much cake or not.   You tell them I can do it in this size, it will feed this may epopel this is the price,  if you only need it to feed 25 we can go with another design that better fits your budget.  Personally I think 150 is a little low for a three tier, i assuming from the cake discription you would be doing 10 8 6, don't know that a 8 6 4  would work well for the concept they are going for.   Anyways, stick to your guns, tell them this is what you want, this is the price if you are really wanting to mess with a short notcie order.   Never compromise your price because they will expect it and tell their friends then you will spend too much time haggling with people on your price.

louanne Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:47pm
post #8 of

oh good lord, just reviewed after posting, sorry for my bad spelling/grammar,mommy brain is on full drive today.  lol

AZCouture Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:51pm
post #9 of

4-6-8 serves 35, almost what they need. I do little tiered cakes like this all the time, they're adorable. But they aren't cheap. 

vgcea Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:53pm

I tried covering a 4 inch round with fondant the other day. Very frustrating. It seemed to be much more work than the larger tiers.

Claire138 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:58pm

I tell clients all the time that just bc the cake is smaller does not make it easier to decorate & therefore half (or even less) the price of a big one (obviously a smaller cake is cheaper but in terms of decorating it's not easier at all), au contraire it is usually harder bc of all the finicky bits.

AZCouture Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 7:59pm

They can be a bit more work for sure.

ken Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 8:21pm

thanks you all! I told them my final price of $150, and they chose to not get the cake they originally wanted. Instead, they want me to come up with an idea for a cake that has both minnie and mickey for $80. I can tell you one thing, they are starting to become a pain! I'm flattered that they want me to be the one to make their cake, but you all are right about something: I can't sell myself short!

Claire138 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 8:27pm

400400

 

 

This are photos  I recently did of Mickey & Minney cakes, can you make 2 separate cakes or do they want just 1 with both on it? these were for a brother and sister sharing the same birthday.

Jrzygrl34 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 9:16pm

I had a similar situation, anytime a customer balks at the prices that I charge for my cakes, I advise them to get what you can afford, they have affordable sheet cakes at Wal-Mart in the freezer.
I actually had a customer want me to decorate a sheet cake they bought from somewhere else.
Some people are just ridiculous with their requests. They want large cakes and have no idea what it takes to create them or 3-D cakes
I don't get angry or anxious, I merely explain that is the cost, it covers my costs and materials and the time required to decorate the cake.
If they want a cake to fit their $80 budget, let them find it...If it's within your comfort range, then make it.
Have you ever heard the expression" fire a customer" If I were you, I wouldn't do a cake for them, they've already shown you they don't value your work or time; they'll never be satisfied and it's not worth the aggravation.
It's Ok to say No sometimes,

maymay0829 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 9:19pm

Its funny they knew $80.00 is what they could afford but yet requested a 3tiered cake! Wow.

cheatize Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 12:25am

Want to get rid of them fast? Tell them you assume they have written permission from Disney.

 

Say, "hello!" to the beach for me! :)

costumeczar Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 8:00pm

I'd tell her that $80 won't cover the royalty fee that Disney charges, or your lawyer fees if you get sued by Disney.

jason_kraft Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 8:08pm

AA simple BC single layer half sheet cake with store-bought Minnie and Mickey toppers (which is the only way to legally include them in the cake) should easily feed 25 people and come in at around $80.

ApplegumPam Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 9:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrzygrl34 

I had a similar situation, anytime a customer balks at the prices that I charge for my cakes, I advise them to get what you can afford, they have affordable sheet cakes at Wal-Mart in the freezer.
I actually had a customer want me to decorate a sheet cake they bought from somewhere else.
Some people are just ridiculous with their requests. They want large cakes and have no idea what it takes to create them or 3-D cakes
I don't get angry or anxious, I merely explain that is the cost, it covers my costs and materials and the time required to decorate the cake.
If they want a cake to fit their $80 budget, let them find it...If it's within your comfort range, then make it.
Have you ever heard the expression" fire a customer" If I were you, I wouldn't do a cake for them, they've already shown you they don't value your work or time; they'll never be satisfied and it's not worth the aggravation.
It's Ok to say No sometimes,


EXACTLY this !!!!!    Seriously I often wonder what is in the DNA of cakers that seem to want to be 'people pleasers' - WHY WHY WHY do they think they have to create a business that sells things where the customer dictates the price??

 

The most important sentence above is this...  "they've already shown you they don't value your work or time; they'll never be satisfied and it's not worth the aggravation"

 

DO not do this cake -  out of that $80 that they are planning to give you - exactly HOW much will be profit?  You will barely cover costs and perhaps an hour of your time - let alone making anything substantial.   I would rather save my energies for people that DO appreciate what I do
They will NEVER value what you do ....... until YOU do -  and show it !!

jason_kraft Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 9:08pm

ATo be fair, the customer may simply not know how much work goes into baking and decorating cakes, especially if they have no experience in the field. It doesn't help that TV shows featuring cake decorating make it seem like a 20 hour cake can be done in 20 minutes.

I've found that once you explain this to customers they tend to have a more realistic idea of how much cake will fit in their budget, so don't be too quick to "fire" them.

Claire138 Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 9:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

To be fair, the customer may simply not know how much work goes into baking and decorating cakes, especially if they have no experience in the field. It doesn't help that TV shows featuring cake decorating make it seem like a 20 hour cake can be done in 20 minutes.
I've found that once you explain this to customers they tend to have a more realistic idea of how much cake will fit in their budget, so don't be too quick to "fire" them.

 

I agree with Jason, in my limited experience (just over 2 years) people have no idea but absolutely no idea what goes into making these cakes. Saying this, I once again this week priced myself too low and am now just furious. My mum tells me constantly that custom cakes are a luxury item and if people can't afford them they shouldn't order one.

ApplegumPam Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 9:40pm

Educating the customer may help in SOME instances - but clearly the OP'c customer is ONLY considering price!!  

They ask for a particular design and then 'have a heart attack' at the quote -  I agree that she should EXPLAIN why she can't make a 3 tier cake for $80 - so that next time they will know what to expect.

 

I just don't get the whole.... "Customer questioning my price - help???"   bit

 

Why do people seem to feel GUILTY about charging for cakes?   even more so .... charging a REASONABLE price??

We have a new range of budget 3D cakes just entering the marketplace here in Australia - sold at our grocery chain Woolworths.

They are baked &  decorated in Scotland and shipped to Australia (with a 28 day shelf life!!!!)  -  they have loads of character cakes - like Lightning McQueen, Elmo etc

They are selling for $22 - $40 (which is SUPER cheap for here)

Decoraters are all running scared here - thinking ... OMG  we will lose so much business !

NO THEY WON"T  - because the people that WILL be buying these sorts of cakes - would never by MY customer - its just about widening the scope of affordability - to include people who can't/or choose not to - spend the big bucks on custom cakes.


Its great that there is now an alternative for people who want a 'similar' (using that term loosely LOL) looking cake for a fraction of my cost.  I don't fret over it.

Check out a review by local cake decorating supply shop

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Glasshouse-Cakes-and-Supplies/187704901264619

candacethecook Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 10:28pm

Oh, my.  Your friends/customers are exhausting with their requests.  I'm a home baker with a Cottage Food Industry License and I usually stick with the price per serving rule.  Less for BC, more for fondant.  And even more for detail work like creating exact replicas of Minnie and Mickey!

 

This will take you all day if not half of another making the fondant pieces (minnie and mickey and a hat).  You'll have (I would) 10-15 hours into this by the time it's done.  I'd say it would have to be at least $150 even if the tiers are small at 4,6,8 or 6,8,10.

 

Even the smaller version you're doing for $80.  Making the fondant characters is a lot of work.  Worth more than $80.  

 

Good Luck.

MMueller Posted 15 Nov 2012 , 6:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ken 

thanks you all! I told them my final price of $150, and they chose to not get the cake they originally wanted. Instead, they want me to come up with an idea for a cake that has both minnie and mickey for $80. I can tell you one thing, they are starting to become a pain! I'm flattered that they want me to be the one to make their cake, but you all are right about something: I can't sell myself short!

 

You shouldn't sell yourself short and I really hope you wont.  I know of a few places that will add in a dummy tier or two for height to help make that big cake dream come true. They still charge for the cost of the dummy and the decor but its cheaper than real cake with frosting. If they will meet you halfway on the price, maybe you could do the top tier and the hat out of styrofoam? Mickey/Minnie hats are pretty basic so it would be fairly simple.

cakesdivine Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 6:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadeWithYum 

I thought the same thing. Customers rarely know what cakes serve. O_O Either they'd have to make a miniature tiered cake (like, 4,6,8) or - if they do decide to pay - I usually recommend dummy-ing a layer. If they're set on the look of three tiers but don't need that much cake, instead of throwing away good ake, I just say to dummy one of the tiers. But - clients usually don't know what they're really wanting. They see a big pretty/cute cake and think that exact style/size is what will work for them. *shrug* part of the business. :)

Even a 4/6/8 would serve 40 you really can't do a 3 tier for 25 servings.  I would sell them the 4/6/8 and tell them they can cut it into 2 servings for all I care but they will be paying for the 40 servings the cake will yield.

vgcea Posted 19 Nov 2012 , 8:34am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine 

Even a 4/6/8 would serve 40 you really can't do a 3 tier for 25 servings.  I would sell them the 4/6/8 and tell them they can cut it into 2 servings for all I care but they will be paying for the 40 servings the cake will yield.

Bwahahaha! Thanks for a good laugh.icon_lol.gif

BakingIrene Posted 19 Nov 2012 , 1:04pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplegumPam 

We have a new range of budget 3D cakes just entering the marketplace here in Australia - sold at our grocery chain Woolworths.

They are baked &  decorated in Scotland and shipped to Australia (with a 28 day shelf life!!!!) 
 

These 29-day-shelf-life objects aren't made of real cake.  They are made of recycled paper that has been converted to starch and baked with petroleum by-products and enough sugar to disguise the taste.

 

My childhood-favourite bakery ships cakes across North America for those ex-pats who will pay through the nose for next-day-air delivery.  They don't ship otherwise.  Their reputation means so much to them that they impose such conditions and people actually pay that much more for the shipping.  People with good taste who can't bake... 

 

And I have said it before, that NOBODY has the right to even think to ask any person to work for less than the local minimum wage. Maybe it's time for us to say that to customers who want to pay $0.50 a serving.

Dani1081 Posted 19 Nov 2012 , 1:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire138 

 

I agree with Jason, in my limited experience (just over 2 years) people have no idea but absolutely no idea what goes into making these cakes. Saying this, I once again this week priced myself too low and am now just furious. My mum tells me constantly that custom cakes are a luxury item and if people can't afford them they shouldn't order one.

I agree with Jason and Claire138.  Instead of turning them away, maybe explaining what they can get that will fit into their budget and coming to some sort of working professional relationship with them would be worth the time and effort.  If I were just someone off of the street that had no cake decorating knowlege, and I wanted a cake for 25 people, I would be shocked at a $150 dollar price tag too.  People don't have a clue what we do, what's involved, the time, ingredients, skill, etc. Their intention is not to insult you, I'm sure - they just truly do NOT KNOW! SO TEACH THEM to appreciate you. TEACH THEM what's involved. TEACH THEM the difference between your cakes and Walmart's cakes. And they will not only buy your cake, but they will explain to their friends why you are worth the extra money.  And instead of losing one customer, you might just gain 10. I will never understand a business person that gets insulted and turns away business instead of educating people and SELLING their product.  That's what we do people - we SELL our prodcuct.  People have options - why is your option worth it?  SELL it.  Or don't.  They will spend their $150 somewhere else.   

costumeczar Posted 19 Nov 2012 , 6:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani1081 

I agree with Jason and Claire138.  Instead of turning them away, maybe explaining what they can get that will fit into their budget and coming to some sort of working professional relationship with them would be worth the time and effort.  If I were just someone off of the street that had no cake decorating knowlege, and I wanted a cake for 25 people, I would be shocked at a $150 dollar price tag too.  People don't have a clue what we do, what's involved, the time, ingredients, skill, etc. Their intention is not to insult you, I'm sure - they just truly do NOT KNOW! SO TEACH THEM to appreciate you. TEACH THEM what's involved. TEACH THEM the difference between your cakes and Walmart's cakes. And they will not only buy your cake, but they will explain to their friends why you are worth the extra money.  And instead of losing one customer, you might just gain 10. I will never understand a business person that gets insulted and turns away business instead of educating people and SELLING their product.  That's what we do people - we SELL our prodcuct.  People have options - why is your option worth it?  SELL it.  Or don't.  They will spend their $150 somewhere else.   

You can teach them and sell all you can, but if they can't afford it they can't afford it. I explain if people want to hear it, but if you start with the hard sell you can turn some people off. It's a balance, but sometimes educating people goes in one ear and out the other, or they just can't spend that much money, and that's fine. You can usually tell if someone is interested in the quality or just the price, too. The former will look favorably on an explanation of why your cakes are better and worth the money, but the latter will just think you're a jerk who's insulting other businesses by saying that your cake is better than theirs.

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