The Unrealistic Client

Business By cakesdivine Updated 10 Feb 2013 , 8:39pm by howsweet

Godot Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 6:12pm
post #121 of 157

Gather all info before you do - her name, address, all phone numbers. Do screen dumps of any and all on-line marketing she has - FB, Titter, Craig's List, and print out. Collect any other marketing she does - business cards, ads in magazines etc. Send to HD.

melanie-1221 Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 6:24pm
post #122 of 157

Thank you! 

I am a live and let live kinda girl, but this is really starting to light my fire .

I was waiting for one of the shops in my area to file a complaint  but that hasn't happened yet, that I know of.

I'm going to get the ball rolling.

AZCouture Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 6:42pm
post #123 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by melanie-1221 

Thank you! 

I am a live and let live kinda girl, but this is really starting to light my fire .

I was waiting for one of the shops in my area to file a complaint  but that hasn't happened yet, that I know of.

I'm going to get the ball rolling.

Good for you. Hopefully in time, she'll get her act together and play fair.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:16pm
post #124 of 157

i don't know~~as i've mentioned many times--we had people here get busted in this manner--'anonymous' call in

 

but everyone knew who did it

 

the baking community here rallied 'round the four illegal/busted bakers and it was not as pleasant for the anonymous ones here--they very shortly abruptly went out of business--probably because they turned in family--

 

everybody from the health department peeps on down were pissed at them

 

i'm just not a cake policeman--not for me

 

but who knows maybe this will spur the illegal person to get legal and kick everybodys baking butt

 

i don't know--i've blown enough whistles in my time that needed blowing and the repercussions sometimes are worse than the reason the whistle blowing occurred

 

just another thought for you--

 

i have called and emailed and cautioned cakers who advertised when i knew they were running a speakeasy but i'd probably never turn them in--it ain't my business to do that

 

just my opinion

jason_kraft Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:19pm
post #125 of 157

A

Original message sent by -K8memphis

everybody from the health department peeps on down were pissed at them

The health dept was pissed at the people who were helping them to do their job?

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:19pm
post #126 of 157

I write blog posts weeks in advance and schedule them, so this wasn't written in response to this thread, but it applies.  http://www.acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2013/02/weird-undercutting-practices.html

 

The illegal baker's activities that Melanie is dealing with are proof that this kind of thing does affect the market and trains customers to think prices should be lower than a living wage.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:34pm
post #127 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


The health dept was pissed at the people who were helping them to do their job?

 

 

four at one time was kinda much maybe -- they were not happy--were not gleeful

 

it was perhaps an embarassment to the department how it all came down--it embarassed/saddened me and i'm a complete bystander

 

but i know most of these chicks

 

it's not right to be illegal- not at all

 

our health department works as hard as any

 

they took care of everything--everybody got duly busted--and in this case so did the busters get busted  icon_rolleyes.gif

 

just by circumstances or something?

jason_kraft Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:40pm
post #128 of 157

A

Original message sent by -K8memphis

they took care of everything--everybody got duly busted--and in this case so did the busters get busted  :roll:

I could see something like this happening in extremely small markets, but for the most part legal businesses thrive once the illegal businesses are shut down. Aside from making the cakes themselves or enlisting friends and family the only option customers would have at that point is ordering from a legal business which would presumably provide a product most people can't make themselves.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:42pm
post #129 of 157

i'm not saying it's ok to be illegal period--evidenced by me not baking professionally from my home for the past blablabla

 

ok but one of those chicks was a widow on social security--she was absolutely wrong to operate illegally--no question

 

and now she has no extra little bit of income

 

so why be the catalyst of that--why take up that cause--what is the motivation

 

i don't know~~not for me but whatever

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:46pm
post #130 of 157

the people that called in on the other four--they had a thriving business--it was going gangbusters

 

ironically they started their business in their home kitchen aka illegally

 

and the cousin they turned in

 

taught them encouraged them helped them get the ball rolling at first

 

can you imagine the drama?

 

but that made all the more business for others

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:51pm
post #131 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


I could see something like this happening in extremely small markets, but for the most part legal businesses thrive once the illegal businesses are shut down. Aside from making the cakes themselves or enlisting friends and family the only option customers would have at that point is ordering from a legal business which would presumably provide a product most people can't make themselves.

 

 

no because two of the four kept all their business and transitioned to legal

 

the widow did not continue

 

one lady was moving anyhow

 

oh man it was five--because three became legal, one quit and one moved

 

it was five!!! dang!!

 

so the only extra business came from the legal chicks that closed

Godot Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:52pm
post #132 of 157

But see, that's just the thing - it IS my business.

 

I've busted my @$$ working my bakery, paying off loans, renovating, doing bookkeeping, cleaning, baking, etc, and it is very much my business to help shut down the illegals. Our HD has limited resources and I know they appreciate tips.

 

I don't go trolling around for illegals (ain't nobody got time fo' dat!*), but if do happen to stumble across them I will report it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Thank you, Sweet Brown, for enriching my vocabulary:-)

Godot Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:53pm
post #133 of 157

great blog article, by the way, CostumeCzar.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 8:04pm
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and--this is jogging my memory more

 

even porfessionals in the area were upset for the illegal cakers

 

the community made room for them

 

damn, memphis must be weird -- in a good way i think

 

but come on, if you're gonna do bridal fairs and advertise online & in the phone book you're asking for it too

 

still hate it for the widow but...

DeliciousDesserts Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 8:08pm
post #135 of 157

AQuote CostumeCzars blog: "stop it! Just stop it!""

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 8:25pm
post #136 of 157

A

Original message sent by Godot

But see, that's just the thing - it IS my business.

I've busted my @$$ working my bakery, paying off loans, renovating, doing bookkeeping, cleaning, baking, etc, and it is very much my business to help shut down the illegals. Our HD has limited resources and I know they appreciate tips.

I don't go trolling around for illegals (ain't nobody got time fo' dat!*), but if do happen to stumble across them I will report it.

*Thank you, Sweet Brown, for enriching my vocabulary:-)

Hahaha! I knew the quote!

But I make time on a Tuesday when I am not doing anything, but trolling CC. I hope over the Craigslist Cincinnati, type "cake" in the search bar, and have a little look-see. I warn all the KY people that it is illegal to operate out of their home, and if I see them advertise again, I will be calling then health department and IRS. When the pricing is particularly atrocious, I mention how much it cost me to get legal, and how it hurts my business for them to undercharge.

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Feb 2013 , 3:37am
post #137 of 157

Got to love a bit of Sweet Brown! 

 

A lot of people think its fine for someone to run a small illegal business that 'isn't hurting anyone'. Until someone does get hurt, and then everyone's up in arms that these people go unchecked for so long. 

BakingIrene Posted 7 Feb 2013 , 5:25am
post #138 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by melanie-1221 

Also , to chime in with the somewhat off topic conversation here:

.......

I have potential clients come to me with photos of 3 tiered cakes, but they only need 30 servings but want the EXACT cake, and if they have already priced my  ' competition ' they are expecting me to make the 3 tier cake and only charge for the 30 servings they need as she does. ( Who does that?!? ) 

 

You really have to wonder...an illegal baker...charging a small fraction of  the actual ingredient cost of the cake...why on earth is somebody dumping money down the drain like that?  Teenagers with a job like babysitting or paper delivery are smarter than that.

 

So if you get nowhere with the HD you still have the IRS as an option. Also your state department of labour.

 

And you should tell these nonclients, that they can go right ahead and pay somebody else 50 cents an hour for labour...if they don't mind ending up being identified as participants in a violation of minimum wage laws.

costumeczar Posted 7 Feb 2013 , 11:55am
post #139 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

You really have to wonder...an illegal baker...charging a small fraction of  the actual ingredient cost of the cake...why on earth is somebody dumping money down the drain like that?  Teenagers with a job like babysitting or paper delivery are smarter than that.

 

 

Some people just honestly don't think about it. They'll go grocery shopping for the household and buy the cake ingredients during that trip. They make the cake, charge someone the $30, and think to themselves that they made $30. There is a genuine disconnect between their understanding of costs etc and the reality of actually running a business to make a profit. I think that's probably why so many home bakers go out of business after a relatively short time trying to sell to the general public. They realize that they're working a lot harder than they thought they would on the marketing end of it, and they're not making as much as they think they are once they actually start tracking costs.

melanie-1221 Posted 7 Feb 2013 , 1:08pm
post #140 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

Some people just honestly don't think about it. They'll go grocery shopping for the household and buy the cake ingredients during that trip. They make the cake, charge someone the $30, and think to themselves that they made $30. There is a genuine disconnect between their understanding of costs etc and the reality of actually running a business to make a profit. I think that's probably why so many home bakers go out of business after a relatively short time trying to sell to the general public. They realize that they're working a lot harder than they thought they would on the marketing end of it, and they're not making as much as they think they are once they actually start tracking costs.

I think this is exactly what is happening. I had a price increase immediately when I recently sat down and put a pen to paper and factored in cake drums, fondant to cover the cake drum, cake boxes, support dowels, and the price increase in the ingredients from the time I started making cakes. She may not have factored all this in. I highly doubt she is making any profit, just muddying up the market here . 

cakesdivine Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:16am
post #141 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Art is subjective. Generally it is easy to distinguish beginners from experts, but different people will have different opinions on the finer distinctions between levels.

Objective criteria like location and the amount of labor required for a design are better judges of expected price.
Actually it plays a pretty big role in establishing unrealistic expectations among potential clients, since illegal bakers have an artificially low cost structure and tend to not account correctly for even those costs. It's a financial issue, not a moral issue.

 I do believe I was the originator of this thread and there was absolutely NOTHING in my post about other cakers, them being legal or not.  It was about clients having unrealistic expectations for their cakes and ways of educating them of what to expect.  Another person stated that it would be a good idea to for cakers to post pics and prices for their area and so forth.  You hijacked my thread I am asking to please get off the darn legal or illegal statements...there are plenty of other threads on this site for that discussion, take it there!

 

Personally I think anyone who isn't at least an advanced decorator has no business trying to sell cakes.  Call me a snob, so be it.  I also think that if they do choose to do so, they should not ask the price that an expert decorator can demand.  Ability is not subjective, it is pretty definitive as to what constitutes different ability levels.  Natural talent also factors in so someone can go from beginner ability to advanced ability rather quickly, there is no time table for progression from one ability to the next. Rylan is an example of that. 

 

Oh btw I am a legal storefront owning cake artist. Now please let's take this back to the original discussion. Thank you.

NOW

DeliciousDesserts Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:29am
post #142 of 157

 Wow.

 

Threads get hijacked all the time.

 

Honestly, I don't even really remember the OP.  It was 10 pages ago & there have been several topics of discussion.

 

What was the question?  Oh yes...Unrealistic Clients.  Then we got sidetracked with who is to blame.

 

CakesDivine, what do you suggest we (as a collection of bakers) can do to educate the masses?

jason_kraft Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:34am
post #143 of 157

A

Original message sent by cakesdivine

 I do believe I was the originator of this thread and there was absolutely NOTHING in my post about other cakers, them being legal or not.  It was about clients having unrealistic expectations for their cakes and ways of educating them of what to expect.  Another person stated that it would be a good idea to for cakers to post pics and prices for their area and so forth.  You hijacked my thread I am asking to please get off the darn legal or illegal statements...there are plenty of other threads on this site for that discussion, take it there!

It's fine if you believe that, but my opinion is that unrealistic pricing expectations is the symptom, while the underlying root causes are businesses that do not price according to their market for whatever reason (including operating illegally).

If you want to have complete control over the conversation I recommend posting on your blog instead of on a public forum.

Personally I think anyone who isn't at least an advanced decorator has no business trying to sell cakes.

There are many different market segments out there. I agree that catering to the higher end of the market requires advanced skills, but plenty of people are successful at the lower end of the market without having advanced baking and decorating skills. I would argue that a business's success at any level (in terms of profitability and avoiding creating unrealistic expectations) is more proportional to the owner's business skills than their decorating talent.

kikiandkyle Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:35am
post #144 of 157

I think it went in that direction because someone was citing their non-professional status as reason to undercharge clients, and we were trying to explain that not being licensed doesn't mean they're not professional, or that it's OK to charge less than other bakeries, since the customers then have unrealistic expectations about prices...

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:55am
post #145 of 157

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

I think it went in that direction because someone was citing their non-professional status as reason to undercharge clients, and we were trying to explain that not being licensed doesn't mean they're not professional, or that it's OK to charge less than other bakeries, since the customers then have unrealistic expectations about prices...

yeah, that's it! It was so long ago I had forgotten but that definitely rings a bell!

gatorcake Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 5:02pm
post #146 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

It's fine if you believe that, but my opinion is that unrealistic pricing expectations is the symptom, while the underlying root causes are businesses that do not price according to their market for whatever reason (including operating illegally).
 

 

Facile reasoning.  While businesses that do not price according to market may contribute to unrealistic pricing expectations they are far from the "root" cause.  There are any number of factors including: low cost providers that do price according to a market (Wal-mart, grocery stores, Sams Club etc); cultural beliefs (it is only cake) which are based on experiences with cake other than encounters with specialty cakes; television shows which show everyday individuals who look like average folks ordering elaborate cakes without showing prices producing the belief that anyone can afford these cakes; and a lack of knowledge (I am sure there others).  The elimination of the kind of establishments you cite would not result in an end to unrealistic expectations. 

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 5:10pm
post #147 of 157

AToo bad we can't just eliminate all the under privets and see if it helps ;-)

jason_kraft Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 5:39pm
post #148 of 157

A

Original message sent by gatorcake

While businesses that do not price according to market may contribute to unrealistic pricing expectations they are far from the "root" cause.  There are any number of factors including: low cost providers that do price according to a market (Wal-mart, grocery stores, Sams Club etc); cultural beliefs (it is only cake) which are based on experiences with cake other than encounters with specialty cakes; television shows which show everyday individuals who look like average folks ordering elaborate cakes without showing prices producing the belief that anyone can afford these cakes; and a lack of knowledge (I am sure there others).  The elimination of the kind of establishments you cite would not result in an end to unrealistic expectations. 

We are generally talking about customers who want quality cake here. I agree that TV shows can contribute to unrealistic expectations, but price-sensitive customers who shop at Walmart, grocery stores, or ethnic bakeries do not overlap with the ideal target market for a bakery that specializes in quality.

If all custom cake businesses priced correctly, there would be no undercutting for customers looking for something better than a grocery store cake, and customers entering the market with unrealistic expectations based on a TV show would quickly modify their expectations to match reality (which would mean increasing their budget if possible or settling for a grocery store cake).

itsacake Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 5:54pm
post #149 of 157

As a business owner with high overhead, I have to agree with Jason.  I can explain to a potential customer that Duff''s 8 inch non-custom cake is $250.00 and his custom cakes start at $1000.00, so mine are not impossibly priced.  On the other hand, if this client can see on Craig's list that a three tiered cake for 100 people is $100.00 they don't want to hear that that is because the baker loves decorating so much that they don't really care if they make any money, while I have to cover the rent, insurance, licensing, etc.  The buyer doesn't  care if the baker is legal (if they even know there are laws about who can sell food) unless they get sick, which with cake is very very unlikely.

 

People who want to justify underpricing are going to convince themselves that it doesn't hurt the industry, but it certainly does.  And yes, I didn't sell cake until I could do it legally, first renting space and then building a kitchen.  Until I was legal, I gave away a lot of cake for five long years.

sweetaverys Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 6:47pm
post #150 of 157

icon_eek.gifnever thought I would hear sum1 say the same thing I say...tell it girl!! get ur $...free cake don't tast as good any way!! I do 185.00 mi self. but we know we r worth far more..but what ta do,what ta do..

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