WeekendBaking Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:23am
post #1 of

Hi everyone,

 

I've recently started decorating cakes with fondant and for the past 5 months have been accepting any order I can get from friends just so I can practice and  build my portfolio, charging just a small amount, enough to cover ingredient cost and a little extra for labor.

 

My question is: How would you respond to a friend who keeps criticizing you for the minimal fee you charge other clients but she herself always hint on a discount when she's ordering from you? Recently she even attempted on getting my cupcakes on credit and insisted on my making her daughter a two tiered birthday cake but hinted that I price it the same as another cake I made for someone we both know (I priced that cake low because the design was not all that difficult to make; for her daughter she wants a mermaid cake.)  I'm starting to feel being taken advantage of. She's been a regular client of mine for 3 years and I don't want to lose her biz but with the way she's been acting of late, balking at the mere mention of my upping the price I give her, I'm wondering if I should still continue being chummy with her.  How would anyone of you deal with a situation like this?

24 replies
AZCouture Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:29am
post #2 of

AShe's not a client anymore than I'm the president. If you keep working for free like this, not only will you lose her (I would want her gone anyways), but everyone else that will balk at the sudden increase in price when you finally start charging correctly.

AZCouture Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:32am
post #3 of

AMake dummies to satisfy the portfolio padding. When you've got the business end of things down and a good skill set (haven't looked at your work, so I'm just saying that in general), and can price in line with current established businesses, then you can go after clientele that weren't a part of the current ones you have now. Of course if some of them will stay.with you, great!

ApplegumPam Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:35am
post #4 of

Upgrade your friend's   icon_razz.gif

Seriously though,  I DO give my REAL friends FREE cakes - I don't charge them anything!

BUT....... they MUST qualify as a REAL friend

 

ie.  They are the one's that would come and rescue you on a freezing night at 3 in the morning when your car breaks down.

 

They are the ones that come and make you coffee, hang your washing out AND be your dish-pig just to hang out with you because they know you are under pressure to get cakes finished.

 

They are the ones that WILL drop in with lunch - just to make sure you are eating  LOL

I think you are putting an acquaintance into a 'friend' category - it rarely leads to anything other than what you are describing
 

AZCouture Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:40am
post #5 of

AI know right? The crappiest situations around here regarding cake seem to revolve around so called friends. What's up with that? Don't people have real meaningful relationships anymore? There's not one person I call a friend who would ever act like that. Not even acquaintances.

Norasmom Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:46am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I know right? The crappiest situations around here regarding cake seem to revolve around so called friends. What's up with that? Don't people have real meaningful relationships anymore? There's not one person I call a friend who would ever act like that. Not even acquaintances.

Agreed!  true friends don't behave like that.

 

\I am finding, however, that the word "friend" has been cheapened by Facebook.  Who has 2000 friends....?

ApplegumPam Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 3:47am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I know right? The crappiest situations around here regarding cake seem to revolve around so called friends. What's up with that? Don't people have real meaningful relationships anymore? There's not one person I call a friend who would ever act like that. Not even acquaintances.


LOL - I am a firm believer in the quality over quantity factor.  Also proud to say that 80% of my extended family, including in-laws would be included as REAL FRIENDS

I've got 3 sisters that are on the discard pile!!   bwahahahahahaa

AZCouture Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 4:28am
post #8 of

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

Agreed!  true friends don't behave like that.

\I am finding, however, that the word "friend" has been cheapened by Facebook.  Who has 2000 friends....?

You're probably on to something there about Facebook.

AZCouture Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 4:28am
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by ApplegumPam

LOL - I am a firm believer in the quality over quantity factor.  Also proud to say that 80% of my extended family, including in-laws would be included as REAL FRIENDS

I've got 3 sisters that are on the discard pile!!   bwahahahahahaa

I bet!

vgcea Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 4:48am

A

Original message sent by WeekendBaking

Hi everyone,

I've recently started decorating cakes with fondant and for the past 5 months have been accepting any order I can get from friends just so I can practice and  build my portfolio, charging just a small amount, enough to cover ingredient cost and a little extra for labor.

My question is: How would you respond to a friend who keeps criticizing you for the minimal fee you charge other clients but she herself always hint on a discount when she's ordering from you? Recently she even attempted on getting my cupcakes on credit and insisted on my making her daughter a two tiered birthday cake but hinted that I price it the same as another cake I made for someone we both know (I priced that cake low because the design was not all that difficult to make; for her daughter she wants a mermaid cake.)  I'm starting to feel being taken advantage of. She's been a regular client of mine for 3 years and I don't want to lose her biz but with the way she's been acting of late, balking at the mere mention of my upping the price I give her, I'm wondering if I should still continue being chummy with her.  How would anyone of you deal with a situation like this?

It's okay to be "chummy with her" and remain friends, just don't sell her any more cake. When you refuse her "order" tell her the pricing issue is causing friction, and you would prefer to prioritize your friendship with her over business. Then proceed to hand her the information of the nearest custom caker. I bet she would appreciate you more after one full priced cake from the competition.

kikiandkyle Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 5:01am

AAsk yourself this - if you weren't doing cakes anymore would she still be friends with you? Or if she were the one making cakes, would she be giving you a virtual freebie?

I agree with vgcea that you should tell her you're not doing the cake because its become too much of an issue. Remove the cakes from the equation and see what's left. That will give you your answer. You're not making anything on these cakes anyway, and it doesn't sound like she's going to suddenly start paying full price once you start charging real prices so you'll lose her business one day in the end.

Smckinney07 Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 5:20am

AYour obviously resenting this arrangement and she's ungrateful! Get practice on dummy cakes or donate them if you want to do something nice. Just stop this arrangement or you'll have more 'friends' creeping out to accept free/discounted cakes.

Godot Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 5:34am

AFor god's sake - start saying no.

You do realise that we teach people how to treat us, and that no one forces us to take an order, and that it is perfectly okay to "unfriend" people IRL?

ApplegumPam Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 6:18am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot 

For god's sake - start saying no.

You do realise that we teach people how to treat us, and that no one forces us to take an order, and that it is perfectly okay to "unfriend" people IRL?




Hero of the month...... GODOT ! 

Godot Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 7:59am

A

Original message sent by ApplegumPam

Hero of the month...... GODOT ! 

Aw shucks.

Looks humbly down and scuffs toe in dirt.......

Kadesan Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 9:43am

"It's okay to be "chummy with her" and remain friends, just don't sell her any more cake. When you refuse her "order" tell her the pricing issue is causing friction, and you would prefer to prioritize your friendship with her over business. Then proceed to hand her the information of the nearest custom caker. I bet she would appreciate you more after one full priced cake from the competition."

 

 

 

 

^^ This. What vgcea said.

 

I did this successfully with a friend. After taking her business elsewhere initially and she saw that her only other two options seemed to be bakers who charged her the whole full price (I always gave her a discounted price on every cake she ordered from me frequently) or bakers who where cheaper but the quality of their cakes didn't match up to what she was used to getting from me (her words), she quickly came back to me and now pays what I quote her. Stand your ground. Good luck icon_smile.gif
 

tracyaem Posted 16 Aug 2013 , 12:15pm

It's so hard dealing with friends/family. When you are first starting out they are your main customer base, but quickly you realize what a PITA they are!

 

I've had to re-think my strategy in the past fe months.Now, all immediate family members get a cake on their birthday (it's part of my gift) and I will take flavor/theme suggestions but ultimately I design the cake - so it's something I want to do for my portfolio! And I'm not talking huge tiered cakes, usually a single layer 8-10".

 

Other (very, very) close friends get 20% off and I clearly write up the invoice and state the 20% discount (so they don't go running around telling everyone I'm the cheap cake lady).

 

Everyone else pays full price. I used to give the 20% to almost everyone I sort of knew and a) it's just bad business, might as well just charge less b) they didn't appreciate it anyway and still complained!

 

I actually kind of cringe now when people I know socially ask about the cake business. I really prefer to keep the two circles separate just to avoid this issue. I know my prices aren't cheap and I don't want them to feel awkward asking for a quote then going elsewhere. Or worse going with me out of a feeling of obligation and resenting it.  Friends and business just don't seem to mix.

WeekendBaking Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 2:55am

Thanks everyone for giving me your opinion on the matter. I think more than her wanting a lower price what irritates me most is her wanting sole benefit of the discounts I give. I mean, I've given her discounts on every order for the last 3 years, her daughter even got a free birthday cake from me last year, and I don't skimp on the design even when she tells me that this is all I can pay you for this cake I ask you to make, so if I decide to up the price a bit on all her future orders, I kind of expect that as a friend, she would understand that she's already benefitted from my services for 3 years, time to pay for my services properly and that if I want to give a discount to another acquaintance, that is my call.  True, she was responsible for my getting my  first big order, but that person didn't even haggle when I charged her full price. I'll try vgcea's advice, quote her on the mermaid cake and tell her to check out other established bakers as well. If she doesn't come back I'll just make a dummy as you guys suggested and post it for her to see what I can do at the price I wanted to charge her. icon_biggrin.gif   I know it's kinda mean but...if she wants to make money, so do I! stuff we use for the trade aren't exactly cheap.

WeekendBaking Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 2:59am

Oh, oh, I can't wait to try this tactic (clap clap) oh, I love you guys!

WeekendBaking Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 3:02am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kadesan 

"It's okay to be "chummy with her" and remain friends, just don't sell her any more cake. When you refuse her "order" tell her the pricing issue is causing friction, and you would prefer to prioritize your friendship with her over business. Then proceed to hand her the information of the nearest custom caker. I bet she would appreciate you more after one full priced cake from the competition."

 

 

 

 

^^ This. What vgcea said.

 

I did this successfully with a friend. After taking her business elsewhere initially and she saw that her only other two options seemed to be bakers who charged her the whole full price (I always gave her a discounted price on every cake she ordered from me frequently) or bakers who where cheaper but the quality of their cakes didn't match up to what she was used to getting from me (her words), she quickly came back to me and now pays what I quote her. Stand your ground. Good luck icon_smile.gif
 

Oh! oh!  Will try this tactic (clap clap) I love you guys! Thank you!icon_biggrin.gif

WeekendBaking Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 3:23am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom 

Agreed!  true friends don't behave like that.

 

\I am finding, however, that the word "friend" has been cheapened by Facebook.  Who has 2000 friends....?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 


You're probably on to something there about Facebook

Facebook has become a medium for some people to show -off what they have materially at times I noticed...

ReneeFLL Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 8:43am

A

Original message sent by Godot

For god's sake - start saying no.

You do realise that we teach people how to treat us, and that no one forces us to take an order, and that it is perfectly okay to "unfriend" people IRL?

This!!! The word no can be very liberating. If they will work for 5.00 an hour, then I might consider working for that cheap. They would never do it so I don't have to worry about it.

cadams011 Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 4:23pm

A

Original message sent by ApplegumPam

Upgrade your friend's   :P

Seriously though,  I DO give my REAL friends FREE cakes - I don't charge them anything!

BUT....... they MUST qualify as a REAL friend

ie.  They are the one's that would come and rescue you on a freezing night at 3 in the morning when your car breaks down.

They are the ones that come and make you coffee, hang your washing out AND be your dish-pig just to hang out with you because they know you are under pressure to get cakes finished.

They are the ones that WILL drop in with lunch - just to make sure you are eating  LOL

I think you are putting an acquaintance into a 'friend' category - it rarely leads to anything other than what you are describing

 

Well said!

Kadesan Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 6:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeekendBaking 

Oh! oh!  Will try this tactic (clap clap) I love you guys! Thank you!icon_biggrin.gif


You're welcome! I don't regret making this decision at all because she now better appreciates both the quality and taste of my cakes. And of course pays what I quote her and she still sends quite a few customers my way as well as ordering all her cakes from me. icon_smile.gif

BatterUpCake Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 8:40pm

You have become the dreaded "CHEAP CAKE LADY" good luck fighting way out of that reputation. People talk. You give one pseudo friend a deal everyone will know and expect the same.

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