luvmykids2bits Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 12:45am

I made a birthday cake for a friend of a friend.  We agreed on the price, and then she asked for a specialty cake flavour which I said was an extra $5, which she agreed to.  I wasn't here when she picked up the cake, and she gave my husband the money I had originally quoted.  It's only $5 outstanding, but I don't really just want to let it go because I did have to put out extra cost for the specialty flavour.  I am sooo timid about money matters!  I honestly think it was just an oversight on her end, as this is not the first cake I've made for her and she's been great to work with.  I had e-mailed her a pic of the completed cake and she was thrilled with it.

 

What is the best way to word an e-mail asking for the extra $5?

 

I know.  I'm a wimp.  I appreciate the help, though. 

65 replies
-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 1:03am

i don't know--i'd say something to the effect--oops my husband forgot to collect the $5 for the special flavor--instead of dropping a check in the mail--how about if i just add it onto your next order--

 

i'm not saying that really helps with your assertiveness but i'd kinda let $5 ride a bit or forever (if she never orders again)

 

there's probably a better answer but that's what i would do

-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 1:36am

not that your husband forgot--but just to get the ball rolling

 

and of course she's going to order again i'm just saying it's a potential risk to not getting the five

jason_kraft Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 3:15am

AAssuming you are a legal business, send her a copy of the invoice with the total amount of the order and the amount she has paid so far. Include a note indicating that the remaining balance is due within X days.

Apti Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 3:40am

Quote:

Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

I made a birthday cake for a friend of a friend.  We agreed on the price, and then she asked for a specialty cake flavour which I said was an extra $5, which she agreed to.  I wasn't here when she picked up the cake, and she gave my husband the money I had originally quoted.  It's only $5 outstanding, but I don't really just want to let it go because I did have to put out extra cost for the specialty flavour.  I am sooo timid about money matters!  I honestly think it was just an oversight on her end, as this is not the first cake I've made for her and she's been great to work with.  I had e-mailed her a pic of the completed cake and she was thrilled with it.

 

What is the best way to word an e-mail asking for the extra $5?

 

I know.  I'm a wimp.  I appreciate the help, though. 


Use this as a very, very, cheap, $5 lesson in what "NOT" to do.   Involve a friend or relative who will be able to offer solutions to put in place so this doesn't happen again.

 

If you are timid about money matters, then appoint someone else to handle the money matters.  If  you are concerned over $5, a small amount in the overall cost of a custom cake, you are not charging enough.  Is this a hobby and you just wish to recover your actual ingredient and supply costs, or do you wish to "make" money?   Either way, you need to have someone who is excellent with money review your procedures. 

 

 

 

 

MBalaska Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 4:18am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apti 
 
 

 

  • If you are timid about money matters, then appoint someone else to handle the money matters.
  • If  you are concerned over $5, a small amount in the overall cost of a custom cake, you are not charging enough.
  • Is this a hobby and you just wish to recover your actual ingredient and supply costs,
  • or do you wish to"make" money?
  • Either way, you need to have someone who is excellent with money review your procedures. 

Apti:  Excellent points.

luvmykids2bits Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 4:26am

Apti - I know.  I'm hobby toying with business, but I struggle so much with the business side of things.  I KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  That's why I'm not sure I could do this as a business....and that's why I'm thinking I should push myself and ask for the full amount rather than just "letting the $5 slide".  The easy way out for me would be to let the $5 slide, but that's not good business sense, because next time it might be a bigger amount.

 

I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.

AZCouture Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 4:53am

A

Original message sent by luvmykids2bits

Apti - I know.  I'm hobby toying with business, but I struggle so much with the business side of things.  I KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  That's why I'm not sure I could do this as a business....and that's why I'm thinking I should push myself and ask for the full amount rather than just "letting the $5 slide".  The easy way out for me would be to let the $5 slide, but that's not good business sense, because next time it might be a bigger amount.

I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.

So you're only selling to close friends and family then right? You're not taking orders from the public? Please don't until you can bring yourself to charge appropriately and not potentially take business away from established decorators that are pricing appropriately. Some great advice upthread, hope you consider it.

Jenny BakesAlot Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 5:06am

I don't think it was an oversight on her end.  I think you should request the $5 from her.

IAmPamCakes Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 5:38am

AIf you are too timid with money matters, maybe you shouldn't 'run' a business. Money is a pretty important part of business.

Apti Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 7:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

Apti - I know.  I'm hobby toying with business, but I struggle so much with the business side of things.  I KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  That's why I'm not sure I could do this as a business....and that's why I'm thinking I should push myself and ask for the full amount rather than just "letting the $5 slide".  The easy way out for me would be to let the $5 slide, but that's not good business sense, because next time it might be a bigger amount.

 

I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.


If your talent lies with the artistic side (baking and cake decorating), then I say again, LET SOMEONE ELSE HANDLE THE MONEY SIDE.  Getting this $5 back is just a symptom of a HUGE problem.  You already know that.  Is there someone among your family or friends who is good with business matters?  Ask them to help you.  Show them this thread. 

 

If you can't handle the "un-fun" side of a hobby "toying with becoming a business", you already know you cannot succeed as a business.  (this is probably why the $5 is bothering you so much)   

Here are some excellent articles/threads:

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/742057/new-cake-business-at-home-help

 

(notice the superb response by Leah_s from 4/3/12.)    I LOVE her last line:  "Then of course there is the baking."

 

http://staceyssweetshop.blogspot.com/2011/08/howd-you-arrive-at-that-number.html

 

http://www.cakeboss.com/CakeStuff/Articles/HowMuchShouldICharge.aspx

 

Write down every single thing you needed to make the exact cake you mentioned in your original post.  Paper towels, hot water, toothpicks, flavoring, frosting, filling, cake boards, fondant--EVERY SINGLE THING you had to touch in order to make that cake.  Then, assign a cost to every single item.  (Not fun is it......)   Then, write down exactly how long it took you to shop and buy the supplies and ingredients, the gas/mileage to get to and from the store, put up the items, bring out the items, store the excess, and breakdown the amounts used for the recipe and figure out if you can use up the excess ingredients on a "future order".  (Not fun is it......) 

 

You are not allowed to "guess-ti-mate".  If you didn't keep track by writing all this down when you made that cake, then make a second, identical cake.  (You can always freeze it for a "future order.)  Write down EVERYTHING.  Then, after the cake is done and setting on the kitchen table, ready for "pretend" delivery, the dishes are done, the supplies are put up, and everything is restored to order and cleanliness..... Take the number of hours that you spent, probably between 4 and 15+ and multiply those hours and minutes by the prevailing minimum wage.  [the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which translates to just $15,080 per year for a full-time worker.]

 

Let's suppose your COST of ingredients and supplies was $23.20 for the cake.  (Total guess on my part.)

Let's suppose your time to do everything related to the cake was 4 hours.  (Total guess on my part.)

4  hours at $7.25 per hour = $29.00

$23.20 + $29.00 = $52.50

 

$52.50 is your COST if you are only paying yourself minimum wage.    (Total guess on my part.)

 

Let the $5 slide.  The $5 is not the problem.    The problem is to figure out if you paid this person "$xxx" to "take your cake".  Chances are you did. 

howsweet Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 7:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

Apti - I know.  I'm hobby toying with business, but I struggle so much with the business side of things.  I KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  That's why I'm not sure I could do this as a business....and that's why I'm thinking I should push myself and ask for the full amount rather than just "letting the $5 slide".  The easy way out for me would be to let the $5 slide, but that's not good business sense, because next time it might be a bigger amount.

 

I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.

If you can't bring yourself to price appropriately, this may not be your thing. People tend to think that going into the cake business is about a love of caking. That's part of it, but to be successful, enjoying the business end is extremely helpful and it could be argued that it's even necessary. At the very least, it's an inescapable time consuming part of it .  Sometimes I have days when I spend 8 hours answering emails. Not fun, but it suits my nature, if that makes sense.

 

Can you overcome your fears? Of course!  But personally, I'd let this one go. I don't know that confronting this person is the place to start. It was basically your fault that it went down the way it did in that it was preventable had you reiterated the total, used an invoice and made sure your husband collected the right amount of money.

Five dollars is just drop in the bucket if you're charging correctly. I know how aggravating it is to not get that $5 since you did the cake for so little in the first place - it's like adding insult to injury. Just treat yourself better and charge what you're worth from now on. That the place to start pushing yourself.

cakefat Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 7:52am

Quote:

Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 

 I KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  

 

Sounds like you have no business at all selling cakes. That's Lemonade Stand 101, the basics of doing business, you know?

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 1:50pm

AIf you don't want to charge appropriately for your cakes, only do them for people who you want to gift cake to. Because that's what you're doing, giving people a cheap/almost free cake out of your own pocket.

If it's a confidence issue, don't sell your cakes until you are sure they're worth what other bakers in your area charge.

liz at sugar Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 2:26pm

So much great advice upthread, so little time . . .

 

On the lemonade stand comment, my husband used to teach 6th grade, and had his kids go to the Cool Math games site.  There is a fun game there called "Lemonade Stand" that explains the basics of running a business (I do mean basics).  You buy ingredients, guessing how much business you will have, then have to price appropriately depending on the weather and foot traffic.  Each day it gives you a grade on how well you did, how much money you left on the table, etc.  It may be a good starting point for someone who has absolutely no idea how a business operates.  (Obviously this isn't how a cake business prices - based on weather and foot traffic - but it is a fun game that might get someone thinking.  If you have kids, they'll love it.)

 

I agree that the $5 is the least of your worries.  Had your husband handed her an invoice, the correct amount would have been paid. :)

 

Liz

MimiFix Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 3:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

I'm hobby toying with business, but I struggle so much with the business side of thingsI KNOW that I underprice my cakes, but I just can't bring myself to charge more, so it ends up being the cost of ingredients and a pittance for my time.  That's why I'm not sure I could do this as a business...and that's why I'm thinking I should push myself and ask for the full amount rather than just "letting the $5 slide".  The easy way out for me would be to let the $5 slide, but that's not good business sense, because next time it might be a bigger amount.

 

I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.

 

I am amazed at what you posted. You need to re-read what you wrote above. Then read it again.

 

Being a hobby baker is fine if you stick with free cakes (and whatever else you make) for friends and family. But if you continue "hobby toying with business" then the next time you do not charge correctly, read your post again, along with the responses. Instead of posting here. 

-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 4:23pm

idk i think what you posted is a very common conundrum for cakers and for a lot if not most all cottage industries-

 

some of us just do for f&f friends & family, some as a hobby where they get reimbursed, some go balls to the wall (lovely sport terminology that) hang up a sign and blow it up with cakes and sweet creations for money--anything from pin money to house payment money--not for the timid--

 

i think we all find our place on the big cake thermometer from smokin' hot on down

 

in other words you don't have to find bgcp--do what you want to do and are comfortable with--nothing wrong with that

luvmykids2bits Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 5:35pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

idk i think what you posted is a very common conundrum for cakers and for a lot if not most all cottage industries-

 

some of us just do for f&f friends & family, some as a hobby where they get reimbursed, some go balls to the wall (lovely sport terminology that) hang up a sign and blow it up with cakes and sweet creations for money--anything from pin money to house payment money--not for the timid--

 

i think we all find our place on the big cake thermometer from smokin' hot on down

 

in other words you don't have to find bgcp--do what you want to do and are comfortable with--nothing wrong with that

 

Thanks, K8memphis.  This actually really resonates with me.  I KNOW that I am not a business person.   However, I didn't struggle as much with setting prices, etc, until I started hanging out on the forums on CC and seeing how much other people would charge for cakes equivalent to mine (the cake is question I charged $75, on here I'd guess other bakers would charge at least double that).  To be honest, though, I covered my costs and made about $8-10 an hour for my time.  It's something I love to do, I can do it with my preschool son around, on the days that I'm not working my part-time career job.  It's a hobby that makes other people happy, including myself.  I guess I got all dizzy as more and more people are telling me I should open a bakery, and it's got me thinking, well, maybe I should.  But you know what?  I love my career job, I love the flexibility of being able to refuse cake requests if I'd rather take my kids to the beach that weekend, and I think I might end up resenting caking if I have to make a go with it to cover the mortgage and stuff.  I live in an area where there's not a lot of people who will pay $200 for a two tier kid's birthday cake, and that's just the reality of it.

 

I'm too hard on myself....maybe I don't need to find my bgcp, because I do like things just the way they are.

 

Thanks.  I guess that was $5 well spent on personal self-reflection!

-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 5:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

 

Thanks, K8memphis.  This actually really resonates with me.  I KNOW that I am not a business person.   However, I didn't struggle as much with setting prices, etc, until I started hanging out on the forums on CC and seeing how much other people would charge for cakes equivalent to mine (the cake is question I charged $75, on here I'd guess other bakers would charge at least double that).  To be honest, though, I covered my costs and made about $8-10 an hour for my time.  It's something I love to do, I can do it with my preschool son around, on the days that I'm not working my part-time career job.  It's a hobby that makes other people happy, including myself.  I guess I got all dizzy as more and more people are telling me I should open a bakery, and it's got me thinking, well, maybe I should.  But you know what?  I love my career job, I love the flexibility of being able to refuse cake requests if I'd rather take my kids to the beach that weekend, and I think I might end up resenting caking if I have to make a go with it to cover the mortgage and stuff.  I live in an area where there's not a lot of people who will pay $200 for a two tier kid's birthday cake, and that's just the reality of it.

 

I'm too hard on myself....maybe I don't need to find my bgcp, because I do like things just the way they are.

 

Thanks.  I guess that was $5 well spent on personal self-reflection!

 

 

*:-)/\:-) high five 

Elcee Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 6:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

 

I didn't struggle as much with setting prices, etc, until I started hanging out on the forums on CC ...To be honest, though, I covered my costs and made about $8-10 an hour for my time.  It's something I love to do, I can do it with my preschool son around, on the days that I'm not working my part-time career job.  It's a hobby that makes other people happy, including myself.  I guess I got all dizzy as more and more people are telling me I should open a bakery, and it's got me thinking, well, maybe I should.  ...there's not a lot of people who will pay $200 for a two tier kid's birthday cake, and that's just the reality of it.

 

I'm too hard on myself....maybe I don't need to find my bgcp, because I do like things just the way they are.

 

Thanks.  I guess that was $5 well spent on personal self-reflection!

So, you've decided you'll no longer sell to friends of friends and keep it a hobby. That's great.

 

People who tell you that you should "open a" bakery, or a restaurant, or a cupcake shop, or a deli don't REALLY mean it literally. It's a way of complimenting you that isn't intended to be taken a face value :)  but it is a wonderful compliment.

costumeczar Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 7:16pm

A

Original message sent by Elcee

People who tell you that you should "open a" bakery, or a restaurant, or a cupcake shop, or a deli don't REALLY mean it literally. It's a way of complimenting you that isn't intended to be taken a face value :)   but it is a wonderful compliment.

Right, because they're the first ones who will refuse to pay your prices when you try to charge enough to cover the overhead involved with a physical storefront. Even opening a business out of your home has costs that people don't count on, including insurance, license fees, extra utilities etc. Once you charge enough to make more than that $8-10 an hour the people telling you that you should have a business will be the first to cry "family discount" or "your prices are too high" or "don't i get it for free?"

If you add up all the time it took you to shop, clean, plan, answer emails, negotiate that extra $5 that you didn't get paid I bet you'd be surprised to find out that you didn't actually make $8-10 an hour, either. i'm being the voice of reality here, sorry to say.

Apti Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 7:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

 

I covered my costs and made about $8-10 an hour for my time ;-D

It's something I love to do ;-D,

I can do it with my preschool son around ;-D;-D;-D

It's a hobby that makes other people happy, including myself  ;-D

But you know what?  I love my career job, I love the flexibility of being able to refuse cake requests if I'd rather take my kids to the beach that weekend  ;-D,

 

 I guess that was $5 well spent on personal self-reflection! :party:

Well said!  Big virtual hug <<<hug>>>!

 

*K8memphis---"I think what you posted is a very common conundrum for cakers and for a lot if not most all cottage industries..."   I agree wholeheartedly

 

*Elcee---"People who tell you that you should "open a" bakery, or a restaurant, or a cupcake shop, or a deli don't REALLY mean it literally. It's a way of complimenting you that isn't intended to be taken a face value but it is a wonderful compliment."  Yes, it is indeed.

 

what is bgcp?  Bowling Green Cumberland Presbyterian?  Burner Gas c o c k Position?  Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence?

-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 8:04pm
Quote:

Originally Posted by Apti 

 

what is bgcp?  Bowling Green Cumberland Presbyterian?  Burner Gas c o c k Position?  Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits 
 

...I need big girl cake panties and I don't know where to find them.

 

 

bgcp

jenmat Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 8:47pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 


Right, because they're the first ones who will refuse to pay your prices when you try to charge enough to cover the overhead involved with a physical storefront. Even opening a business out of your home has costs that people don't count on, including insurance, license fees, extra utilities etc. Once you charge enough to make more than that $8-10 an hour the people telling you that you should have a business will be the first to cry "family discount" or "your prices are too high" or "don't i get it for free?"

If you add up all the time it took you to shop, clean, plan, answer emails, negotiate that extra $5 that you didn't get paid I bet you'd be surprised to find out that you didn't actually make $8-10 an hour, either. i'm being the voice of reality here, sorry to say.

This. I get told every day I should "open a REAL bakery." Well, I have one, it's in my house, and right now if I had to do any more work than I already do I'd go nuts. Being a business is not for the timid, especially if you have a preschooler at home. Good for you to admit that you aren't ready for the big commitment. I would leave the $5 as it is and keep your caking a real hobby until you're ready to turn it into a job. Good luck!

-K8memphis Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 9:09pm

some people do but i do not think selling to friends and family makes it more than a hobby--

 

i think one can sell to f & f and it still be a hobby in a lot of areas maybe not everywhere -- 

 

especially selling to f & f where you do not intend to be a business-- then it's a sugar hobby imo --

 

no need to remind me of all the tax obligations--i'm not talking about how to do it--i'm just saying

 

i think it's fine in most areas to bake a cake for your sister, the neighbor, or a co-worker and get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses or something even additional to that--

 

norman wilton is the one who opened pandora's box almost 50 years ago--not today's cakers

 

http://www.wilton.com/about/history.cfm

 

fwiw--i've been to the roseland showroom--i'm a fossil :lol:

bubs1stbirthday Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 9:24pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

some people do but i do not think selling to friends and family makes it more than a hobby--

 

i think one can sell to f & f and it still be a hobby in a lot of areas maybe not everywhere -- 

 

especially selling to f & f where you do not intend to be a business-- then it's a sugar hobby imo --

 

no need to remind me of all the tax obligations--i'm not talking about how to do it--i'm just saying

 

i think it's fine in most areas to bake a cake for your sister, the neighbor, or a co-worker and get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses or something even additional to that--

 

 


Completely agree (not that I get any money back for anything I make) but I don't understand why people think it is not ok to get the cost of the ingredients back - if I were to help my sister to put up her fence and I picked up and paid for the fencing materials I would certainly think it was on the proviso that she reimburse for the materials so I really don't understand the difference there, it doesn't make me a fencer, simply a person helping out my sister. Also I am not asking for someone to explain it to me - in my belief it just doesn't and will never make sense. :smile:

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