Cheap Better?

Business By swtangel102 Updated 28 Apr 2014 , 9:25pm by swtangel102

swtangel102 Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 12:10pm
post #1 of 23

Okay...so I only started cake decorating awhile ago and did lots of research on cake pricing.  Up to this day I still have trouble with pricing.  If there's anything I learned, is not to charge cheap cause 1) not fair to yourself and 2) not fair to other people in this profession.  So even though my prices seem fair to me (many still find it pricey) which is fine cause I know there are those who are willing to pay that price.  There's another homemaker in my area that always tries to outdo me (which is fine, but annoying as well).  We post on these mommy forums and local mommies come to us for cakes and I assume many have asked the two of us and compared prices.  I think the other mommy knows roughly what I charge so she would always put in caps AFFORDABLE PRICES after my posts. I've seen her work and its not bad, but I can't imagine her making much.  Now I know diff people have diff mentalities.  There are those who think I start off cheap to get my name out there.  But will it not be difficult to raise prices later on since you're already known as the cheap cake lady?  And I can't imagine her getting paid enough for her time. Can someone help me understand?  Am I missing something? Doing something wrong?  My husband always tells me, well if people go to her then those people are not customers for you.  Seems like everyone just wants cheap cake but not really appreciating the art  and hard work behind it.  

22 replies
Norasmom Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 12:32pm
post #2 of 23

Your husband is right.

Cakejeanie Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 12:36pm
post #3 of 23

AHi Swtangel02. The short answer is NO. There are a ton of posts about people under pricing and therefore undermining cake makers work. Quite a few have realised when they changed their prices that their regular customers disappeared. Best to set your prices now so there are no surprises!

Yes its true a lot of people don't understand how much work is involved in cakes. I blog a lot about my cakes- how I make the cakes and much work is involved/ how many hours. You could do the same so that potential customers realise it ain't all a walk in the park. Other than that there really isnt a lot we can do except say in the nicest possible way that it will take x amount of hours hence the price.

Forget trying to understand why some underprice. The important thing is to value your own work. Don't be disheartened about the lack of work. I barely get any but I know one day I'll get my name out there as a baker who makes top quality (in taste & design) cakes and that I'll start getting a decent amount of orders.

Keep going and make yourself the best in your area, enter competitions & if you win put that fact on your website. Whatever that lady is doing, do it better. Make some dummy cakes and decorate it with something ultra stunning. Make yourself irresistible. You get the point :)

Good luck and don't give up x

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 12:49pm
post #4 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by swtangel102   My husband always tells me, well if people go to her then those people are not customers for you.   

Yes.
 

Quote:


Seems like everyone just wants cheap cake but not really appreciating the art and hard work behind it.

Yes.

 

 

If they aren't willing to pay your prices, they're not your customer. Period.

cakesbycathy Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 3:09pm
post #5 of 23

You may want to find another place to advertise so that you are not on the same forums and groups competing for business.

swtangel102 Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 5:12pm
post #6 of 23

Thanks for the reply cakejeanie!  I do have a blog as well but wasn't sure if I should let ppl see it.  But you're right, they should see all the stuff I have to go thru to make their perfect cake.  I really enjoy what I do, but it's so hard.  Maybe I'm a bit naive.  I wasn't looking to compete with her.  I know she does cakes too, but my mentality is if ppl ask who bakes cakes or where to get them, I just put my name out there and if they like my stuff, they'll come to me, if not, its fine too.  But I am definitely not looking to compete to see who gets more customers.  I've stuck with my prices cause I believe it is worth the effort I put into.  Sometimes in the end when I calculate it, I barely make much for my time.  In one of the forums I saw a mom that posted where she got her cake and she paid a lot for it.  So I'm optimistic.  There are ppl out there that will appreciate it and willing to pay the price.  I'm just targeting the wrong groups LOL!.  

 

Thanks so much for the advices and all...really appreciate it! I will definitely keep going at it! :)

swtangel102 Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 5:13pm
post #7 of 23

Thank you Lovemesomecake and cakesbycathy!  You're definitely right!

anaelisabethlee Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 6:27pm
post #8 of 23

AThe thing is with mummy forums, is that generally people want a bargain. I had a nose through a reply to a cake request on a buy/sell/swap group on Facebook, and the baker that replied she would do this cake for £30 (I would charge £80-100 for that one) had her page full of pictures of cakes that were complete drivel. Awful, lumpy fondant, random crap in the background of the pics etc etc. roses that looked like rolled up fondant. Anyway, moral is, you get what you pay for. I think as someone above said, make yourself irresistible - your work will show why you're more expensive.

Cakejeanie Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 9:37pm
post #9 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by swtangel102 
 

Thanks for the reply cakejeanie!  I do have a blog as well but wasn't sure if I should let ppl see it.  But you're right, they should see all the stuff I have to go thru to make their perfect cake.  I really enjoy what I do, but it's so hard.  Maybe I'm a bit naive.  I wasn't looking to compete with her.  I know she does cakes too, but my mentality is if ppl ask who bakes cakes or where to get them, I just put my name out there and if they like my stuff, they'll come to me, if not, its fine too.  But I am definitely not looking to compete to see who gets more customers.  I've stuck with my prices cause I believe it is worth the effort I put into.  Sometimes in the end when I calculate it, I barely make much for my time.  In one of the forums I saw a mom that posted where she got her cake and she paid a lot for it.  So I'm optimistic.  There are ppl out there that will appreciate it and willing to pay the price.  I'm just targeting the wrong groups LOL!.  

 

Thanks so much for the advices and all...really appreciate it! I will definitely keep going at it! :)

 

You're welcome! My blog happens to be my 'webpage' as I am too poor at the moment to get a proper one. I did buy a domain name and will use that for my blog, and at the very least, its more professional than 'cakes.blog.com'! So in my case, I was forced to blog but it's been great, I could talk about cakes all day! I think reading a cake makers blog makes me more real to potential customers who browse through it, although I am still too cyber shy to post a photo of myself! I think people like to put a face to the name, or rather, website, so I'll have to try and be brave and perhaps put a photo of me up!

 

If you do find the right kind of forum to offer cakes, attach a signature of your website and blog so that people look at your work. They can then make an informed decision whether or not to hire you to make their cakes. 

 

TBH I find all this social media stuff overwhelming, I am updating facebook, blog, the gallery in my blog and my google plus account (which I hate hate hate to use. Its so user unfriendly!!). 

howsweet Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 10:39pm
post #10 of 23

A

Original message sent by swtangel102

Thanks for the reply cakejeanie!  I do have a blog as well but wasn't sure if I should let ppl see it.  But you're right, they should see all the stuff I have to go thru to make their perfect cake.  I really enjoy what I do, but it's so hard.  Maybe I'm a bit naive.  I wasn't looking to compete with her.  I know she does cakes too, but my mentality is if ppl ask who bakes cakes or where to get them, I just put my name out there and if they like my stuff, they'll come to me, if not, its fine too.  But I am definitely not looking to compete to see who gets more customers.  I've stuck with my prices cause I believe it is worth the effort I put into.  Sometimes in the end when I calculate it, I barely make much for my time.  In one of the forums I saw a mom that posted where she got her cake and she paid a lot for it.  So I'm optimistic.  There are ppl out there that will appreciate it and willing to pay the price.  I'm just targeting the wrong groups LOL!.  

Thanks so much for the advices and all...really appreciate it! I will definitely keep going at it! :)

I agree, you may be targeting the wrong groups. But there's this thing about being in business that often isn't obvious. Business is dog eat dog. It just is. It's practically impossible to just go on one's happy garden path plucking cake orders as they sprout up. When you see someone successful, they may want to give the appearance of this all being rosy and then we are like, oh I can do that, too. But it's just a happy illusion they create. And rightly so, if I shared all the negative stuff and tough experiences I've been through in this business, no one would want to buy a cake from me.

So when you start into business, in some ways it's like you're leaving a world where things are sort of civilized and stepping into a snake pit. And this isn't aimed specifically at you, but for others who might read this : if you don't like the idea of getting into the pit, maybe this is not your thing. It's very hard to keep one foot in and one foot out.

Anyway, best of luck to you. I'm not saying anything like all of us selling cakes are snakes, but you will have to fight some. Some of what I mean by snake pit is just that running a business always turns out to be more blood, sweat and tears than you can imagine beforehand. Sort of like how you can't know how much work that first baby will be.

AZCouture Posted 7 Apr 2014 , 11:01pm
post #11 of 23

AI avoid those Facebook groups like the PLAGUE! In fact a few of us in my town that are friends, have gone so far as to ask other people to STOP tagging us or suggesting us on those "Buy Sell and Trade" pages, and mommy pages. ( times out of 10, they're just looking for cheap. I know that may not be the case in ever area, but I can count on one hand the number of projects I've done that started out as a request from one of those pages. Nope, I don't want anything to do with that.

feuerrader24 Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 12:22am
post #12 of 23

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakejeanie 

Keep going and make yourself the best in your area, enter competitions & if you win put that fact on your website. Whatever that lady is doing, do it better. Make some dummy cakes and decorate it with something ultra stunning. Make yourself irresistible. You get the point icon_smile.gif

 

Exactly. On those mommy forums (I can't stand them, but that's me), people are generally looking for a bargain. You have a choice to make. Are you going to be a bargain baker? Are you willing to sacrifice hours of your time without compensation and have a cake business in the red? Or do you want to be known as a baker with excellent quality and fair prices? Would you rather operate in the black?

I like making cakes, but I like a profit more. I do not rely on my cakes as my sole source of income but I still believe I am worth more than minimum wage! And I don't like anyone enough to go in debt to make them a cake!

Your best bet is to find what makes you special and different from your competition. Entering into contests, state fairs, bake-offs, whatever, gets your name out there AND you get bragging rights! Make yourself a forum signature with pics of your cakes (if you can't afford a professional, take clear photos with good lighting, a nice cake stand, and a white sheet for the background) and any awards you have won. There are people out there who will pay more if they know you compete (and win hopefully!) and your cakes look top-notch in photos. I know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.

Also, if you have a signature item...maybe you make an amazing chocolate buttercream, or realistic sugar flowers, or you can airbrush, SELL IT! Brag about what makes you stand out from others...it is not all about price!

costumeczar Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 12:28am
post #13 of 23

AThe thing about telling people how much work is involved in a cake is that it doesn't make people want to pay more. They [B]do not care[/B] how long it took, that isn't their problem. What you need to do is present your product in a way that makes people want to buy them because there's a perceived value to them as far as quality goes, not because it took a long time and a lot of effort to make. Instead of saying " it takes ten hours to ice this cake" you should say "Each cake is given the attention to detail that it deserves in order to make your event even more memorable" or something like that. Tell them what benefit they're getting from paying you, not why they should pay you more because you deserve it, know what I mean? Say what you can do for them, not what they should do for you.

swtangel102 Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 1:08am
post #14 of 23

AThank you everyoneg for your insights and advices. I agree costumeczar, I do let them know that I treat each cake as a piece of art and that each cake is personalized to them and their occasion. And yes, all this social media is very overwhelming. Yes, I'm going to avoid these groups. One mom sent me a cake she wanted for 120 ppl and said her budget was $100. I thought...uhhh.... Anyways LOL, I really appreciate everyones input! Thanks a heap!

swtangel102 Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 2:12am
post #15 of 23

I agree

Quote:

Originally Posted by feuerrader24 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cakejeanie 

Keep going and make yourself the best in your area, enter competitions & if you win put that fact on your website. Whatever that lady is doing, do it better. Make some dummy cakes and decorate it with something ultra stunning. Make yourself irresistible. You get the point icon_smile.gif

 

 



Exactly. On those mommy forums (I can't stand them, but that's me), people are generally looking for a bargain. You have a choice to make. Are you going to be a bargain baker? Are you willing to sacrifice hours of your time without compensation and have a cake business in the red? Or do you want to be known as a baker with excellent quality and fair prices? Would you rather operate in the black?

I like making cakes, but I like a profit more. I do not rely on my cakes as my sole source of income but I still believe I am worth more than minimum wage! And I don't like anyone enough to go in debt to make them a cake!

Your best bet is to find what makes you special and different from your competition. Entering into contests, state fairs, bake-offs, whatever, gets your name out there AND you get bragging rights! Make yourself a forum signature with pics of your cakes (if you can't afford a professional, take clear photos with good lighting, a nice cake stand, and a white sheet for the background) and any awards you have won. There are people out there who will pay more if they know you compete (and win hopefully!) and your cakes look top-notch in photos. I know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.

Also, if you have a signature item...maybe you make an amazing chocolate buttercream, or realistic sugar flowers, or you can airbrush, SELL IT! Brag about what makes you stand out from others...it is not all about price!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by feuerrader24 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cakejeanie 

Keep going and make yourself the best in your area, enter competitions & if you win put that fact on your website. Whatever that lady is doing, do it better. Make some dummy cakes and decorate it with something ultra stunning. Make yourself irresistible. You get the point icon_smile.gif

 

 


 I know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.

Also, if you have a signature item...maybe you make an amazing chocolate buttercream, or realistic sugar flowers, or you can airbrush, SELL IT! Brag about what makes you stand out from others...it is not all about price!

 

I totally agree on this one.  The other baker does exactly what you described.  Her photos are everywhere and you can see all the boxes and wrappings everywhere. If you're going to sell cakes (even from home), should still make it look professional.  I always need my space area to be clean and uncluttered and when I take pics I find a nice table or background to go with it.  It's just my cake and a simple background.  And as cakejeanie mentioned too, spending time making dummy cakes is good as well.  I try to do that during my free time, but I always end up spending that with my kids (which of course is more important). LOL!  

AZCouture Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 3:34am
post #16 of 23

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

The thing about telling people how much work is involved in a cake is that it doesn't make people want to pay more. They [B]do not care[/B] how long it took, that isn't their problem. What you need to do is present your product in a way that makes people want to buy them because there's a perceived value to them as far as quality goes, not because it took a long time and a lot of effort to make. Instead of saying " it takes ten hours to ice this cake" you should say "Each cake is given the attention to detail that it deserves in order to make your event even more memorable" or something like that. Tell them what benefit they're getting from paying you, not why they should pay you more because you deserve it, know what I mean? Say what you can do for them, not what they should do for you.

Absolutely.

Cakejeanie Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 8:28am
post #17 of 23
. I know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.

 

That is gross. And people still buy from bakers like her??? 

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 

The thing about telling people how much work is involved in a cake is that it doesn't make people want to pay more. They do not care how long it took, that isn't their problem. What you need to do is present your product in a way that makes people want to buy them because there's a perceived value to them as far as quality goes, not because it took a long time and a lot of effort to make. Instead of saying " it takes ten hours to ice this cake" you should say "Each cake is given the attention to detail that it deserves in order to make your event even more memorable" or something like that. Tell them what benefit they're getting from paying you, not why they should pay you more because you deserve it, know what I mean? Say what you can do for them, not what they should do for you.

 

Excellent advice and so is everyone elses! I'm new to all this too so this is good stuff for me to know/think about.

AZCouture Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 11:04pm
post #18 of 23

AI know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.   That is gross. And people still buy from bakers like her??? 

[B]Heck yes they do! I mean the ones that are questionable about sanitation and generally look like regurgitated slop, oh yeah, they're totes popular! Popular with the "how much 4 dis" crowd, or the ones who like to ask "Imma need a cake and I'm not tryin to spend no $200, show me ur pics and prices, reasonable only plz". Yeah. Very popular with that crowd.[/B]

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:22am
post #19 of 23

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

I know a girl who is a homebaker and cheap and if I was a customer I would NEVER buy from her because I can always see her house in the background of every photo and it is a MESS. Makes me wonder what may have wandered into the batter or frosting.   That is gross. And people still buy from bakers like her??? 

[B]Heck yes they do! I mean the ones that are questionable about sanitation and generally look like regurgitated slop, oh yeah, they're totes popular! Popular with the "how much 4 dis" crowd, or the ones who like to ask "Imma need a cake and I'm not tryin to spend no $200, show me ur pics and prices, reasonable only plz". Yeah. Very popular with that crowd.[/B]

And if you've ever gone to a farmer's market and bought things without asking about licensing and inspections, you might have bought from someone with no sanitation skills without realizing what you were buying!

AZCouture Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:51am
post #20 of 23

AI won't eat anything from a Farmer's Market unless it is a fruit or a vegetable, and then it goes home first to be properly washed.

justdesserts Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 4:39pm
post #21 of 23

I sell at a farmers' market, am inspected, sanitary, and all that, but I know how some of the other vendors are, and some I would NOT buy from at all. Right next to me, there's a jam/preserves booth, and a customer once had to point out to them that there was mold in their sample jar. *shudder* Another honey vendor spilled his sample spoons on the pavement, then picked them all up again and put them on his table for unsuspecting passersby to use.

 

It's kind of funny though, sometimes I think that the appearance of my wares turn off some people. Not to sound like I'm bragging, but I try hard to be professional and neat. I buy good quality packaging, have worked on my labels to look nice, and decorate my booth to be cute and inviting. I get the feeling from some people that they think my stuff is TOO nice, like it's not homemade or something, and they'd rather buy something wrapped haphazardly in plastic wrap. And it's not like my prices are a lot higher than other vendors, but people THINK they are because of how the presentation looks. Ah well, can't do much about it....

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 5:47pm
post #22 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by justdesserts 
 

I sell at a farmers' market, am inspected, sanitary, and all that, but I know how some of the other vendors are, and some I would NOT buy from at all. Right next to me, there's a jam/preserves booth, and a customer once had to point out to them that there was mold in their sample jar. *shudder* Another honey vendor spilled his sample spoons on the pavement, then picked them all up again and put them on his table for unsuspecting passersby to use.

 

 

ew! Eww! Ew! Ewww!!!

swtangel102 Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 9:25pm
post #23 of 23

Exactly....justdesserts.  I always buy better quality in materials and ingredients but somehow ppl just still prefer to go for cheap stuff.  Ah well....

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