bighand Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:00pm
post #1 of

Hi everyone, looking advice on what you would do,or maybe you would do nothing.A lady asked me to make a wedding cake for her(have previously done her a christening cake).She sent me a message through my facebook page.Asked for a price for a 3 tier plain white cake,for 60 people choc bottom tier,victoria sponge middle tier and lemon top tier.asked her was she putting anything on it and she said she was putting diamente and black ribbon,so asked her if she wanted me to get that and she said no she would do it herself.Gave her a price and she said that was great could she book it for 26th August.Sent her message back and told her I had put it in my order book.Next message she sends says if she drops the diamante ribbon out before the wedding will I put it on the cake.If she had told me before I gave her the price for her cake I would have charged her more for decorating the cake.What would you do.Would you get back to her and tell her you need to charge more for decorating the cake,or would you just leave it as it is.Thanks in advance,your comments would be greatly appreciated.  

28 replies
ddaigle Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:09pm
post #2 of

Well...that was odd.    I don't know her like you do...I have a gut feeling she was trying to get out of any extra charges she could....get a price, then throw in a "oh..by the way...."    I would've nipped it at the bud right out the gate...I don't let anyone...including florists touch my cakes.  But that is my deal.   I would have told her at the get go that I must add all decorations.   But since it's too late for you to have that conversation, I would charge her a fee for my time....time is money.   But you need to do what you are comfortable with doing....you have to "live with her"....you may just want to suck this one up and in the future stop it at the door.  

Cookie2807 Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:33pm
post #3 of

I agree. I would just put it on and tell her that this was a one time special favor to her. She is repeat customer . You don't want to upset her.
 

Godot Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:38pm
post #4 of

AYa know, not every client is looking to cheat you in some way.

It could be that she realised that putting ribbon on a tiered cake is no mean feat and best left to a pro (that would be you).

How long, really, does it take to put ribbon on? It takes me less than half an hour.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:39pm
post #5 of

A

Original message sent by ddaigle

i don't let anyone...including florists touch my cakes. 

you may just want to suck this one up and in the future stop it at the door.  

auntginn Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 4:57pm
post #6 of

I get similar request all the time, Customer calls a couple of days before and says, Can I ask you to add XXX when you deliver the cake?  I just go ahead and do it.  Sometimes they don't realize just busy they will be for their parties.

bighand Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 5:25pm
post #7 of

Dont think she had time to think that maybe she should get me to decorate the cake,and she did say she was doing it herself,when i asked her did she want me to do it,not accusing her of decieving me and as you say wont take any longer than half hour(I hope lol),just wondered what other cake artists would do.

bighand Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 5:29pm
post #8 of

Thanks for all your comments,will just go ahead as most of you said and decorate it, and in future will make sure to ask the question if they want me to decorate cake very   carefully before i give price.thanks everyone and happy caking

Carrie789 Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 5:40pm
post #9 of

I would tell her you are doing it as a favor for a repeat customer. Then--don't do it again. Are you saying a half-hour of your time isn't worth anything? At what other business could you add a half-hour's service for no change? Your mechanic? Your hairdresser? Your plumber? I think not.
 

tabathaba Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 5:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie789 View Post

I would tell her you are doing it as a favor for a repeat customer. Then--don't do it again. Are you saying a half-hour of your time isn't worth anything? At what other business could you add a half-hour's service for no change? Your mechanic? Your hairdresser? Your plumber? I think not.
 

 

Agreed. Because she says she will drop it off and then forgets and you have to call her and then she says she will leave it for you at the reception when you deliver the cake and then you get there and no one knows where it is and you can't reach her on her phone....

I don't mess with it anymore. I do it, or no one does.

bighand Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 5:54pm

Put like that Carrie789 you are right,who would work an hour for half an hours wages

j92383 Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 6:24pm

I would write back and say "Sure that is no problem. Here's the updated quote for a decorated cake." 

ddaigle Posted 6 Jun 2013 , 6:43pm

Excellent response from j92383.....USE THAT!!!!!    

Jess155 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 12:01am

You know, I'm not a "pro", I do this as a hobby.  But I don't think it's ever taken me 1/2 hour to put ribbon on a 6 tier, let alone a 3 tier.  It's going to take maybe 5 minutes.  If I got a new bill for 1/2 hour decorating charge for ribbon that I bought and brought to the baker, I'd cancel.  That's silly.

j92383 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 12:36am

It isn't silly to charge for your services. If it was that easy she would do it herself. What's silly to me is the notion that because something comes easy to you you shouldn't charge for it. So if it took me 15 minutes to cover a cake in fondant then I shouldn't charge extra for it? If you don't want to pay me to put the ribbon on then do it yourself 

Jess155 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 2:35am
Quote:
Originally Posted by j92383 

It isn't silly to charge for your services. If it was that easy she would do it herself. What's silly to me is the notion that because something comes easy to you you shouldn't charge for it. So if it took me 15 minutes to cover a cake in fondant then I shouldn't charge extra for it? If you don't want to pay me to put the ribbon on then do it yourself 

No, the fondant cost you money and takes longer than the 5 minutes it takes to put a ribbon that the customer bought and delivered to you.  A ribbon is a basic decoration and putting it on should be included in the standard price for a basic decoration cake.  There's no way this should be an additional charge - unless she wanted you to go buy it. 

FromScratchSF Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 3:04am

I have to agree with not charging to add fabric ribbon to a cake - I charge for just about everything but I'd never charge for that - even if I bought the ribbon.  I know I've been doing this a while so I'm pretty fast with a lot of things, but even when I was a n00b it would take me less then 10 minutes to cut and ribbon a cake.  

j92383 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 2:38pm

If this was part of the basic cake decorating package for her she wouldn't have specifically asked the client if she would do it or her. And she probably wouldn't be asking us what to do about it. Every body runs their business differently my basic package is just an iced cake with a shell border.

 

If I have the time and the client is a very good customer I've added extra for free. But that's because I want to not because they purposely asked for it after I had already quoted a price. And because I know they appreciate it and because we a have along history together.

 

I wouldn't set a precedent with a new customer who's only ordered one cake from me. That'll only encourage them to continue to do that.

Sweet_Cakes Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 3:08pm

To be perfectly honest, I don't have my business running...yet...but I have lurked around here for a few weeks and I have a pretty good grasp on what should be done based on stories I have read here and my past experiences as a cake decorator. If the client was a REALLY good customer who ALWAYS gets cakes from me and no one else, I would defintely be inclined to give them something for free ONCE IN A WHILE. However, based on the OP's description, this is only the second cake that has been orderd. I'm not sure that I would be taking a cut on my time. I would say that I would be happy to decorate the cake, however the previous quote was for a undecorated cake. For the decorated cake, the new quote is $XX. Our customers need to understand that anything that we do takes our time and we need to be paid for our time.

cakegirl123 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 4:02pm

I agree with Jess155.

bighand Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 5:33pm

HI JESS 155 If you go back to my original post you will see that it is diamante and black ribbon not just ribbon.  Are you saying that if it takes you an extra half hour to finish a cake for someone who said they would originally do it themselves  you would not charge them.I know we bake the cakes and decorate them with fondant flowers etc so putting diamante and ribbon on doesnt count as time spent decorating as well.With that reasoning why are we charging for doing one part of decorating,ie flowers, fondant etc but not another part of decorating ie diamante and ribbon.What the heck Why dont we just do it all for free in that case.

costumeczar Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 6:32pm

If it's going to take you more than ten minutes to put it on the cake (if it's a double ribbon) then charge her for it if you didn't before. She's basically ordereing an upgrade to her original order. If it's a simple wrap-it-around-the cake thing I agree with just doing it and not charging her for it, big deal.

 

But this is the kind of thing where charging per cake with all decorating included would come in handy...I charge per cake, and when the brides call and say they want to change this or that I say fine and don't need to recalculate anything unless it's something super elaborate like adding a double cascade of gumpaste flowers. If it's a plain white cake it costs as much as something with piping on it, I just finish it faster. http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-i-price-my-wedding-cakes.html

Jess155 Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 6:43pm

You can charge what you want. 

 

It would be nice to let her know that she has to pay for 5 min. of decorating and it will be $1.67 (assuming you make $20 per hour).  No wonder people feel nickel and dimed.   I just don't see how putting 2 ribbons (even when one of them is sparkly and has a fancy name) on 3 tiers would ever take 30 min.  Even if it did, it's an extra $10 (again assuming you make $20 per hour) for a repeat customer.  Not worth it for me, but it's your battle.

 

I agree with charging for your work.  What I don't agree with is the attitude that the customer is always trying to get away with something or charging for way more time than you actually took.  What cracks me up is when people spend hours on CC wondering about a $2 problem. 

bighand Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 7:04pm

JESS155 Nowhere did I say that she was trying to get away with something and actually to put 3 strips of diamante and 3 strips of black ribbon on a 3 tier cake would take more than 5 minutes considering that I have to measure it ,cut, it and apply it properly and professionally,maybe it would take you 5minutes as a hobby baker but it would take me longer. by the way Im from Ireland so dollars and cents means nothing to me. 

VeenasArtofCakes Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 7:27pm

Personally I would do it and not make a big deal of it. It's better you do it then have some one else mess around your cake and make things worst. 
I don't think the ribbon would really take that long to put and it's not a really tiring job. 

I also would not assume that the customer is trying to deceive you by asking about it later. Perhaps she thought she could do it herself and then realized she rather have you take care of it professionally.

Also, if she's a repeat customer... she is allowed to ask a bit more from you. 

morganchampagne Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 7:45pm

AIn cases like this...it's best to go with what you think is right. Maybe the lady will see an extra $10 and she won't think anything of it. Maybe she will see it and get offended. Who's to say. Here's the thing. And not to sound like a cliche....what do you FEEL you should do? If your gut tells you she tried to pull one over on you then charge her. If you think it was a simple miscalculation of available time on get part..then go ahead and throw it in. No harm no foul

Smckinney07 Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 4:05am

AAs DD said I don't want anyone to mess with my cakes, basically if something goes wrong and they're cake gets dented, moved to a wobbly table...they have paid all this money and have no cake. I have a statement in my contract that basically states I'll set up your cake (especially wedding cakes) if they chose to pick it up they are liable. But I've had people dent birthday cakes while putting them in the car and I'll gladly fix or cover it. I know it's not the same situation but it's your work I'd personally prefer to put it on myself, maybe that's something for you to think about in the future. Some situations are difficult and you should do what your comfortable with, you did ask her if she wanted you to do it (I wouldn't have given her the option) so she might not be surprised if you give her a quote for her updated pricing. Personally, I would just do it but your right it is extra time of yours so you'll have to do what your comfortable with.

bighand Posted 19 Jul 2013 , 7:04pm

HI Everyone just wanted to update you all.  I recieved an email from the client who wants this cake and she sent a picture(cant attach it as got new laptop and dont know how to yet),she now wants fine ribbon randomly wrapped round the top tier and bottom tier and she wants the middle tier wrapped from top to bottom in black ribbon and then diamante on it,I hadnt done anything about the ribbon diamante etc that I originally posted about but this is way more than she WANTED ORIGINALLY.She has not asked if it will cost anymore for me to do this on the cake hence she again  is expecting me to do it for the original price.

ellavanilla Posted 19 Jul 2013 , 7:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by bighand 

HI Everyone just wanted to update you all.  I recieved an email from the client who wants this cake and she sent a picture(cant attach it as got new laptop and dont know how to yet),she now wants fine ribbon randomly wrapped round the top tier and bottom tier and she wants the middle tier wrapped from top to bottom in black ribbon and then diamante on it,I hadnt done anything about the ribbon diamante etc that I originally posted about but this is way more than she WANTED ORIGINALLY.She has not asked if it will cost anymore for me to do this on the cake hence she again  is expecting me to do it for the original price.

 

i suggest that you figure out what the cost would be and decide if you want to charge or not, and if you want to do it. If you want to charge, then respond with "yes, mrs, so and so, i'll be happy to put that on, there will be an additional charge of $XX for the labor." Or, "yes, I can do that for you. There would typically be a labor charge of $XX, which I will waive this time because you're such a good customer, but in the future, all decorations must be confirmed at the time of your order."

 

or don't do it. "Sorry Mrs, So and So, but I haven't scheduled enough time to decorate your cake, as I am completely booked that day. For future orders you have to let me know what your decorating needs are at the time of order."

 

go with your gut,

jen

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