Friends Are The Worst Customers

Business By wonkycakes Updated 23 May 2014 , 9:48pm by shanter

wonkycakes Posted 22 May 2014 , 6:57am
post #1 of 26

Do other bakers have the same problem with friends ordering cakes, that I do?  It seems to me that when any of my friends need a cake, I suddenly become their best buddy ever.  I realized long ago that if I did all my friends who asked, a favour by giving them a free cake, I would go out of business in no time.  So I made it clear that my policy is to give all my friends and relatives a 20% discount on the first cake they order from me, and from then on they pay market price like everyone else.  Every now and then I will give a cake as a gift, but that's at my own discretion.  I wish I was rich enough to give all my friends and family free cakes, but cakes are my sole income and there are times when I really struggle to make ends meet. 

 

So they all say they're fine with that until the day comes when they want to order a cake from me.  It's happened a few times now that a friend will ask me to make a huge cake for say, 80 people, claiming it will be a "good marketing opportunity for me".  I tell them the retail price, I tell them the discounted price and invariably I get the clasic, "but surely it doesn't cost THAT much to make just a cake".  

 

Tell me, am I just being hyper-sensitive here, or do they really not appreciate what I do for a living?!?!?  There are times when I don't want to make cakes for friends or family at all, as it seems the costs are just too high in the long run (bad blood, lost friends.....).  On the other hand, these cases do reveal who my true friends are, but still.....It is so very aggravating.

 

How do you cope with situations like this?

25 replies
MBalaska Posted 22 May 2014 , 7:26am
post #2 of 26

"What sweetness is left in life, if you take away friendship? Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun. A true friend is more to be esteemed than kinsfolk."

           Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

 

"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. "

           Grace Pulpit

petitecat Posted 22 May 2014 , 7:46am
post #3 of 26

Wonkycakes, none of my friends order cakes from me and to be honest I'm glad because I know they won't understand why my cakes are priced the way they are. I got a request for a quote from my daughter's schoolfriend's mum. Sent her the quote by e-mail detailing the cupcake design and included sketches. Didn't hear back from her at all. I assumed she was too embarrassed to say she's not going to order. I don't take it personally. It makes for slightly awkward situations in the school but I just smile and say hi like normal.

 

I'm resigned to the fact that many people find custom cakes expensive, but there will be some who appreciate the work or simply prepared to pay the price for a special cake. Yes you're right, your friends don't appreciate the work, time and effort you put into making cakes. Keep giving your friends quotes if they ask for it, in time they will realise (or you hope they do) why your cakes are priced the way they are. They'll soon stop asking when they realise you're not giving them the bargain they are looking for. Unless they're being mean and persistent about it, don't take it personally!

Claire138 Posted 22 May 2014 , 8:34am
post #4 of 26

There are loads of threads on this & they are all in agreement - you're better off when your friends do not order from you.

It's such a difficult situation but we have all been there. I unfortunately lost a friend to this, she just made more and more demands for every cake she wanted and although I tried to be fair it just didn't add up.

For every friend that doesn't order from me - I'm grateful.

Norasmom Posted 22 May 2014 , 4:18pm
post #5 of 26

You have to say no or charge full price and collect payment early.  Sometimes friendships are worth more than a cake and sometimes they might not be.  True friends will not rip you off…acquaintances might try though.  When money is involved true colors shine.

 

With my friends, if I have time and money, I will bake them a small cake or cupcakes on their birthdays at no charge.  This is not expected by them, it's generally a surprise gift.

AZCouture Posted 22 May 2014 , 6:21pm
post #6 of 26

ACan't say I have ever had that problem, not once. I actually have the kind of friends who don't think taking advantage of each other is acceptable. Because that's what they're doing, saying whatever they think will trick you into giving them a cut.

-K8memphis Posted 22 May 2014 , 6:53pm
post #7 of 26

i worked with a guy who had sold his full blown neighborhood bakery and he said that it never even crossed his mind to discount to his friends because he thought they came in to show support for him & his business--it helped that he had staff to take orders but that might be something to consider to add to your quotes when you give them-- that thought of his really helped me --

 

  • "hey thanks for supporting me & my business--i'll get that quote right out to you" 
  • "hey i appreciate your support",
  • "it's friends like you who understand how important your support is to a small business"
  • "your support really makes a difference for me --thanks -- i'll get that quote right out to you" 

 

maybe if you add something like that into your wording it will help frame you and set up better boundaries so that in time this will no longer be a problem--

 

what i'm trying to say is be as surprised at them that they are not willing to support you as they are that you are charging them for your work-- "oh i thought you were interested in supporting my business"

 

something like that--i mean not that these people will change their mind and book with you but just that you train them better-- that your business is about your pocketbook not theirs --

 

best baking & selling to you

Pastrybaglady Posted 22 May 2014 , 8:27pm
post #8 of 26

AI take a different kind of approach and it works fairly well. A friend will approach me and ask, "So how much for (insert order)?" I tell them, "Are you sure you want to order from me? I'm not competing with Costco or Safeway. You could get a ton of cake from them for what I charge." If they don't want to pay the conversation stops right there and no time is wasted, but most of my friends come back with something like, "But it tastes like a Costco cake... I don't mind paying for quality, or But I want GOOD cake." They happily pay and some even tip. Though I've had people jokingly try to get free stuff I've never had someone try to haggle with me over an actual order.

howsweet Posted 22 May 2014 , 8:44pm
post #9 of 26

What kind of cakes do you do? There's a huge gap between me and those places - like a $200-300 gap for a 30 serving cake.

Gingerlocks Posted 22 May 2014 , 9:21pm
post #10 of 26

Its always difficult when the free cake friends come around; I usually just say I am booked up that weekend or busy doing something else. It's a nice easy way to politely bow out of the situation. 

Pastrybaglady Posted 22 May 2014 , 9:33pm
post #11 of 26

AI don't do anything that compares with what you do, that's for sure! I do simple celebration cakes, but I still want to avoid the sticker shock with people who think cake is super cheap. I am confounded by these gigantic cakes Costco sell for like $20. It's no wonder people don't understand!

FioreCakes Posted 22 May 2014 , 9:39pm
post #12 of 26

To the OP: I would say to my friend "you do it, and we'll see how good it turns out".   

bakernoob Posted 22 May 2014 , 10:00pm
post #13 of 26

I am always so confused why family and friends think they should get huge discounts or even FREE orders! Do they offer discounts or freebies for whatever it is they do? LOL

-K8memphis Posted 22 May 2014 , 10:24pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 

I take a different kind of approach and it works fairly well. A friend will approach me and ask, "So how much for (insert order)?" I tell them, "Are you sure you want to order from me? I'm not competing with Costco or Safeway. You could get a ton of cake from them for what I charge." If they don't want to pay the conversation stops right there and no time is wasted, but most of my friends come back with something like, "But it tastes like a Costco cake... I don't mind paying for quality, or But I want GOOD cake." They happily pay and some even tip. Though I've had people jokingly try to get free stuff I've never had someone try to haggle with me over an actual order.

 

 

pastrybaglady--this is a great way to go

howsweet Posted 23 May 2014 , 12:40am
post #15 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 

I don't do anything that compares with what you do, that's for sure! I do simple celebration cakes, but I still want to avoid the sticker shock with people who think cake is super cheap. I am confounded by these gigantic cakes Costco sell for like $20. It's no wonder people don't understand!


I see, thanks for explaining :-D It sounds like you essentially do the same thing I do with acquaintances - I try to make sure everyone knows it's expensive and give them an easy way to opt out.  And the people who I would actually call friends know what I charge.

MBalaska Posted 23 May 2014 , 12:47am
post #16 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 

".... And the people who I would actually call friendsknow what I charge."

 

:judge: nailed it ^^^^

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 4:52am
post #17 of 26

Then you are blessed indeed to have such true friends.  Congratulations! xxx

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 4:56am
post #18 of 26

Sound advise!  Thank you :)

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 4:59am
post #19 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Can't say I have ever had that problem, not once. I actually have the kind of friends who don't think taking advantage of each other is acceptable. Because that's what they're doing, saying whatever they think will trick you into giving them a cut.

Then you have true friends who really do respect you!  Fantastic :)

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 5:01am
post #20 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

i worked with a guy who had sold his full blown neighborhood bakery and he said that it never even crossed his mind to discount to his friends because he thought they came in to show support for him & his business--it helped that he had staff to take orders but that might be something to consider to add to your quotes when you give them-- that thought of his really helped me --

 

  • "hey thanks for supporting me & my business--i'll get that quote right out to you" 
  • "hey i appreciate your support",
  • "it's friends like you who understand how important your support is to a small business"
  • "your support really makes a difference for me --thanks -- i'll get that quote right out to you" 

 

maybe if you add something like that into your wording it will help frame you and set up better boundaries so that in time this will no longer be a problem--

 

what i'm trying to say is be as surprised at them that they are not willing to support you as they are that you are charging them for your work-- "oh i thought you were interested in supporting my business"

 

something like that--i mean not that these people will change their mind and book with you but just that you train them better-- that your business is about your pocketbook not theirs --

 

best baking & selling to you

Sound advice!  Thank you! :)

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 5:04am
post #21 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

To the OP: I would say to my friend "you do it, and we'll see how good it turns out".   

Lol!

AZCouture Posted 23 May 2014 , 5:09am
post #22 of 26

I find it disheartening that so many people have this problem. What happened over the past 20 years or so? Are most relationships superficial?

wonkycakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 5:10am
post #23 of 26

Thank you all for your input.  Your thoughts and advice have helped me confirm that true friends want to support you and help you succeed, and the others are there just to take advantage of you.

 

The friends I may lose because of cakes were never true friends to begin with, so losing them will actually be a relief.   Fortunately I do have wonderful friends who do insist on paying the full price, I just need to weed out those who are looking for a free ride. :)

FioreCakes Posted 23 May 2014 , 5:21am
post #24 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I find it disheartening that so many people have this problem. What happened over the past 20 years or so? Are most relationships superficial?

 

Actually, the definition of friend has changed due to social media. People are confusing acquaintances as friends due to them being a "facebook friend" for example. The term friend is used much more loosely these days I believe.

AZCouture Posted 23 May 2014 , 6:19am
post #25 of 26

AMmmm, I believe you're on to something there.

shanter Posted 23 May 2014 , 9:48pm
post #26 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 

 <snip>
I am confounded by these gigantic cakes Costco sell for like $20. It's no wonder people don't understand!

If someone starts talking about Costco or supermarket prices, explain to them that for those stores cakes are loss leaders. They probably make no money on them. They usually make you walk through the entire store to get to the bakery and know that at the same time you will see regular products and chuck them into your basket.

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