Not Sure How To Handle This Request??

Business By AngRose Updated 24 Jun 2014 , 1:41pm by AngRose

AngRose Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 4:01am
post #1 of 24

I have worked as a pastry cook/cake decorator for a few years and have now been decorating cakes as a side business for a few years now.  I relocated from Michigan to Indiana 5 years ago.  Someone I knew from church in Michigan contacted me and asked what I would charge to travel to Michigan to do a wedding cake for 250 guests for her son's wedding in August.  I told her what my rate is per serving, etc., and also said I would need to rent a car so I would need to add on a "delivery fee".  Obviously she wasn't thrilled with my price and asked if I would be willing to let her bake the layers and I would just have to come and "make them pretty". 

 

First of all, would you do this??  Secondly how would you handle the fee?  I would really want to do my own buttercream so there is that expense also.  I explained I would have to miss a day of work in order to travel and finish the cake. And I would still need to rent a car.  Lodging is not an issue since I have family in the area.  I know she is a good baker.  She has decorated cakes herself but I have been told she is not at my level. I am not really concerned about the flavor of the cake. 

 

I'm not sure what to charge if I decided to do this.  Any thoughts, ideas, etc?

23 replies
Nadiaa Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 4:44am
post #2 of 24

It sounds to me like she wants a cheap cake. I would say no. If they won't contact a local baker and are asking you to travel there, I would guess they're hoping you'll do them a 'good deal' - otherwise known as you losing  money. 

cazza1 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 6:29am
post #3 of 24

If they are not prepared to pay for you to bake the cake they are hardly going to want to pay for you to miss a days work.  Does not sound reasonable to me to expect you to forgo that money so they can have a cheap cake.

gemini1959 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 7:34am
post #4 of 24

AI too have had this issue. I did a wedding cake as their gift. I didn't buy them a wedding present

Cakechick123 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 8:49am
post #5 of 24

if you are happy with decorating her cakes, give her two options

1 if you do the whole cake

2 if you go and decorate her cakes

in both cases work out exactly what you cost will be, including your ingredients for the cake and or buttercream, car hire, day leave ect.

I would then leave it in her hand to decide if she wants to pay you or not.

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 12:38pm
post #6 of 24

I had a similar situation - not for a wedding cake but for a birthday cake.  I desperately wanted to make it for them (it was the first birthday of a good friend's daughter) but I was just as honest as I could and said that for the cost involved, it wouldn't be worth it for her.  Could you recommend someone who still lives in the area?

-K8memphis Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 1:04pm
post #7 of 24

no, i would not do this--too complicated--too many areas out of your control--a wedding cake, as you know, needs pinpoint accuracy so it's freshness and beauty peaks and holds at just the correct moments in time--no i would never do that --

 

you could offer to make some flowers that you would sell to her to apply to the cake--even a few bouquets-- but no i'd never do this otherwise--

 

i'd show her where some tutorials are where she could learn to do a pearl border and how to stack a cake -- she can buy a lump of fondant and roll small balls and make a border on a cake--cut out some flowers like you cut out cookies and adorn it--it's too easy for her to do this and too hard for you --

cupadeecakes Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 1:27pm
post #8 of 24

Honestly, the baking of the cakes is probably the simplest, least time-consuming part of the cake making process. So if I was in your situation, it wouldn't change the price that much really at all.  You still have to be paid to get there (you also should be compensated for all the other work you would miss) and to decorate the cake.  And I wouldn't really even consider decorating someone else's cake.  I know the cakes and icings I make like a dear old friend - I know their strengths and their weaknesses - I know what they can and cannot do. I have no idea about some other cake that someone else baked.  Should it be fine?  It should.  Would I be willing to risk it over the cost of ingredients?  Nope!

-K8memphis Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 2:15pm
post #9 of 24

i have a friend who had her wedding party and family do her cake--she borrowed/bought footed white cake stands, she baked everything in advance kept frozen -- then when they all arrived maybe a day ahead for the wedding -- everybody sat around and iced the cakes and it was lovely-- one tier per stand -- no dowel -- no problem -- the table would have different heights at which to place the cakes--using upside down cake pans, cans, books stacked up then all covered with scrunched up table cloth -- the tablescape alone can make the cake -- yes?

 

i was her consultant and i had talked her into getting similar cake stands-- and i talked her out of fresh calla lilies -- so everyone survived too :-D

 

your friend has a world of possibilities to consider 

just4fun26 Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 6:33pm
post #10 of 24

AIf she wants your cake, she will pay for it, in its entirety.

MimiFix Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 6:33pm
post #11 of 24

I think she expects you to be more flexible. Her primary motive is a cheap cake and she wants you to help her achieve that goal. 

MimiFix Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 6:37pm
post #12 of 24

At the very beginning of my career, the director of my daughter's day care center wanted to bake her own cake and asked me to decorate it. This woman was an excellent baker and I'd planned on giving her a present, so I agreed. The wedding was Saturday and although we had agreed on my receiving the cake on Thursday, Friday afternoon she brought her lopsided mess into my bakery. On almost every point (burned on one side, unbaked in the middle, not the size or flavor we had put into the contract), she was proud and clueless. I was amazed at how she rationalized her behavior because, you know, she was a bride and allowed to do whatever she felt necessary to have a perfect wedding.
 
While fixing this nightmare I learned two important lessons: 1) I should never again agree to something when I have no control over each step and 2) loud music and uncensored cursing can help a bad mood.  

costumeczar Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 8:59pm
post #13 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

I think she expects you to be more flexible. Her primary motive is a cheap cake and she wants you to help her achieve that goal.

right, and why should you be flexible, it isn't your problem if she doesn't want to go to a local baker. She should know that hiring anyone from out of town will cost more. I wouldn't do it, it just sounds like it would end up being a ridiculous situation.

maybenot Posted 16 Jun 2014 , 10:48pm
post #14 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by AngRose 
buttercream....... day of work....... rent a car....... 

So, the cost of the buttercream [ingredients+labor], the car [rental+the driving time], and the time+labor to ice the cake+stacking+added decorating............................is likely more than she'd pay a competent baker closer to her.

 

I guess her request is flattering, but she still would have to pay me a boatload of $$ for me to go out of my way to either provide the cake in toto OR to work with her cakes.

 

She wants one-on-one, concierge service, then she has pay for it....................................

mariel9898 Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 12:17am
post #15 of 24

I can see so many things going wrong here. Just say thank you, but no!:-t

cai0311 Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 3:03pm
post #16 of 24

AThe quality of her cakes is not going to be the same as the quality of your cakes. Simply because she doesn't know all the tricks we do to get that perfectly flat, perfectly baked cake. Same goes for icing and filling. What happens if you get there and the baked cakes or icing/filling is a complete disaster? Are you will to stay up all night rebaking/making icing/making filling for free?

Also take into consideration all the supplies you will have to bring with you. That would be a giant pain. And if you forget something, who pays for it?

This is not only a recipe for a disaster but also to lose a friend and ruin a bride's cake.

If she wants a cheap cake, tell her to go to Myers and buy one. If she wants a less expensive cake tell her to go with a local bakery. If she wants to pay for your cake and travel expenses tell her to your price. You will be the most expensive option - which is correct in this instance.

Now, if you were going to be invited to the wedding as a guest you could offer to make the cake as a gift or offer a discount as a gift. For the gift part you could take the delivery fee off since you are going to the wedding anyway and maybe an additional $150.

My SIL got married a month ago. The wedding was 4 hours from my house. I offered to make her wedding cake and groom's cake as the gift. We were going to the wedding anyway so the cost for our gas/wear and tear on the car was already going to happen. I spent about $120 on creating both cakes. Had my SIL purchased her cake elsewhere we were going to give them $250 as a gift. So, by doing the cakes as a gift we saved $130 and my SIL saved around $810 (that would have been what I charged a client for the cakes).

Now, I know someone is going to point out that the $130 saved is not accurate because that is material only and does not include my time. I am aware of this. I did not include it because I only included out of pocket expense since the cakes were a gift.

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 3:23pm
post #17 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 

My SIL got married a month ago. The wedding was 4 hours from my house. I offered to make her wedding cake and groom's cake as the gift. We were going to the wedding anyway so the cost for our gas/wear and tear on the car was already going to happen. I spent about $120 on creating both cakes. Had my SIL purchased her cake elsewhere we were going to give them $250 as a gift. So, by doing the cakes as a gift we saved $130 and my SIL saved around $810 (that would have been what I charged a client for the cakes).

Now, I know someone is going to point out that the $130 saved is not accurate because that is material only and does not include my time. I am aware of this. I did not include it because I only included out of pocket expense since the cakes were a gift.

I have done this for my 2 best friends who are both getting married this year.  They pay their materials and I am giving them the labour for free as their wedding present.  It's a win win as far as I can tell :-)

tesso Posted 18 Jun 2014 , 1:47am
post #18 of 24

Ahmmmm.... i would compare that request to.... this scenario ... you call mcdonalds tell them their big mac is too expensive, and if you make the hamurgers can you then come in and have them finish making the sandwich... so it will be cheaper. what do you think they would say?

TheSugarLab Posted 18 Jun 2014 , 3:46am
post #19 of 24

I'm with the people saying don't do it; if she can't afford for you to do everything then it isn't going to be worth it. Even if she is a good baker, things can go wrong and you would be the one who would have to fix it. It's great that she thought of you but she should also take into consideration your cost. 

 

I am actually doing an out of town (two hours away) wedding cake from one of my friends from college. Soon after she was engaged, she emailed me about doing a wedding cake. They new the area they were getting married just not all the specifics yet. I gave her a general idea of what things would cost, including the delivery free that was almost as much as her cake. And guess what?! She actually budgeted for me doing her cake. I was thrilled that she wanted my cake so badly that she made sure she could afford it. I wish more brides would look at it that way. 

ellavanilla Posted 20 Jun 2014 , 12:15am
post #20 of 24

yeah, i agree with everyone else. nothing in her request makes any sense, unless she just has to have a cake made by you, which is clearly not the case, since she is willing to bake the cake. 

 

all your time is money, right? if she's not able to pay for that, then you are out of the deal, IMO. 

 

 

jen

cakegrandma Posted 20 Jun 2014 , 2:22am
post #21 of 24

After reading your post, I too say......Don't do it unless she agrees to pay for everything you need.

 

A few years back my parents were to have been married 50 years and my brother and sisters and I decided to throw them a party.  I shipped 5 boxes of items that I would need to make the cake.  I am one of those people that makes a list and of course adds to it the longer it sits.  I wrote a list of things I would need, spatulas, icing bags, tips and couplers. On and on, my list got longer and the numbers of boxes increased. 1, 2, 3.....I had to wrap 50 gum paste roses and buds in bubble wrap and try to pack them so they would not get broken.  Luckily only 1 petal and a leaf did. But back to my diatribe, I packed all I would need, after all I make cakes and my family wouldn't know how to do something other than a Duncan Hines cake and slap some icing on it.  Luckily my sister had a Kitchenaid! and I would have hated to have to pay for the mixer to be shipped!

 

Believe me, it cost an arm and a leg to ship them, some $45.00 and they weren't that big.  I saved on a rental car as I could use my parents second one.  I would not decorate anyone's cake, you never know what can go wrong and you would have to do so much more in a shorter time to correct all of it.  Are you stressing yet?  

 

I would make it an either or situation;

 

Either she pays all of your expenses

OR she get a cake elsewhere

 

Problem solved!!!! No stress and you still have a friend.  Good Luck!

TaraBscakes Posted 20 Jun 2014 , 2:26am
post #22 of 24

A

Original message sent by AngRose

I have worked as a pastry cook/cake decorator for a few years and have now been decorating cakes as a side business for a few years now.  I relocated from Michigan to Indiana 5 years ago.  Someone I knew from church in Michigan contacted me and asked what I would charge to travel to Michigan to do a wedding cake for 250 guests for her son's wedding in August.  I told her what my rate is per serving, etc., and also said I would need to rent a car so I would need to add on a "delivery fee".  Obviously she wasn't thrilled with my price and asked if I would be willing to let her bake the layers and I would just have to come and "make them pretty". 

First of all, would you do this??  Secondly how would you handle the fee?  I would really want to do my own buttercream so there is that expense also.  I explained I would have to miss a day of work in order to travel and finish the cake. And I would still need to rent a car.  Lodging is not an issue since I have family in the area.  I know she is a good baker.  She has decorated cakes herself but I have been told she is not at my level. I am not really concerned about the flavor of the cake. 

I'm not sure what to charge if I decided to do this.  Any thoughts, ideas, etc?

cindys sweets Posted 21 Jun 2014 , 9:13pm
post #23 of 24

I've been in business for 26 years. How I have handled this in the past is to thank them so much for the opportunity and thinking my work is that good, but due to the distance, I would rather not.  To have her bake it and not be your recipes and if you forgot something you needed and no where to get supplies of importance would be more pressure on you before to pack, and during while you're working on it.  Stay local.

AngRose Posted 24 Jun 2014 , 1:41pm
post #24 of 24

AThank you everyone for your comments. They are all exactly what I was thinking. I figured out my expenses and she wouldn't get a bargain either way. I haven't heard back from her yet. However I have decided its either I do the cake at what I normally charge plus cost for travel or I'm not doing it. I am not invited to the wedding so I would not have made the trip otherwise. I did a cake for another reaaly good friend for my cost and my labor was their gift. I would have attended that wedding either way but they did give me extra cash to cover my travel expense without asking.

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