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Cake prices

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Most of my customers are family, friends or friends of friends. Almost all are continuously repeat customers who have seen my prices raise as my skills and the complexity of the cakes they are asking for get higher. But, I get so sad, like tears in my eyes, when my customers complain about the price of their cake...or, they tell me what kind of cake they want and I show them some examples and then they tell me they only want to spend a small amount of money. Yeah, I know, I should ask for a price point ahead of time.

I'm not an expert and my cakes are FAR from perfect. I make cakes out of my home so there are minimal overhead costs. I never charge a delivery fee and I try to cut people some slack but after paying for ingredients and materials, I go back and figure how much time I spent on making the cake and sometimes I don't even get paid $2.00 per hour.

I work hard on these cakes. I try to make every cake as real and as close to the real thing as possible. I spend time researching every detail, figuring out sizes with a ruler, making templates, etc. I spend time away from my family to make them and then the anxiety and stress involved.

I'm just frustrated and no one else understands how I feel because they don't do this. I am alone...no one else in my area sculpts cakes or makes cakes like I do, just me. I turn away customers that want sheet cakes because that's not what I do.

How do you guys deal with people complaining about prices? I know I'm not overcharging but I live in a small area and I don't think people are used to spending $80. and up for a cake. I understand but damn, some of these people expect an edible masterpiece to only feed 10-20 people and don't want to spend more that $40.00

It makes me so sad and so bummed, I just want to quit this business but every time someone comes to me with a new cake idea, I'm back at it. HELP!!!
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerapiaDolce

Most of my customers are family, friends or friends of friends. Almost all are continuously repeat customers who have seen my prices raise as my skills and the complexity of the cakes they are asking for get higher. But, I get so sad, like tears in my eyes, when my customers complain about the price of their cake...or, they tell me what kind of cake they want and I show them some examples and then they tell me they only want to spend a small amount of money. Yeah, I know, I should ask for a price point ahead of time.

I'm not an expert and my cakes are FAR from perfect. I make cakes out of my home so there are minimal overhead costs. I never charge a delivery fee and I try to cut people some slack but after paying for ingredients and materials, I go back and figure how much time I spent on making the cake and sometimes I don't even get paid $2.00 per hour.

I work hard on these cakes. I try to make every cake as real and as close to the real thing as possible. I spend time researching every detail, figuring out sizes with a ruler, making templates, etc. I spend time away from my family to make them and then the anxiety and stress involved.

I'm just frustrated and no one else understands how I feel because they don't do this. I am alone...no one else in my area sculpts cakes or makes cakes like I do, just me. I turn away customers that want sheet cakes because that's not what I do.

How do you guys deal with people complaining about prices? I know I'm not overcharging but I live in a small area and I don't think people are used to spending $80. and up for a cake. I understand but damn, some of these people expect an edible masterpiece to only feed 10-20 people and don't want to spend more that $40.00

It makes me so sad and so bummed, I just want to quit this business but every time someone comes to me with a new cake idea, I'm back at it. HELP!!!



Oh hon. It's time for some tough love. You call this a business, but you're not running it like a business, you're running it like your personal cake charity. No business owner would be brought to tears if someone complains about the price of their product.

It is entirely possible that there is not a market for high end sculpted cakes where you are. You may be targeting the wrong customers. You may be happier if you decide to stop "selling" cakes, and focus on the joy that giving a cake as a gift can bring you, because your "business" is certainly not bringing you joy, and it's not bringing you any money if you really make less than $2/hour.

I do have people who balk at my prices, and if they do that's perfectly all right. I will admit that in the beginning, I got really upset at my first customer who grimaced and said she wasn't expecting to pay as much $2/serving for a tiered cake. 5 years later, my price for the same cake is $3.50 per serving, and there are some people who are glad to pay it, and some aren't. That's just the way it is. As Indydebi says, the proper attitude is "Who cares? Who's next?"

It also sounds to me like you may actually be spending too much time on your cakes, and that is another thing that leads me to believe that you would enjoy this more as a hobby. Hobbyists spend 25 hours on a cake out of love (and, let's be honest, obsession). But when you're doing this as a business, you have to make your time count. Remember Ruth Rickey's rules:

1. Will the customer notice?
2. If they notice, will they care?
3. If they care, will they pay?

So while you are poring over every minute detail of a cake, it's likely that what you are doing is taking time away from your home, your family, your sleep, and your sanity, to add details that only you care about.

Bless your heart, dear. Please read the article in my signature, click on the words "How to Price Your Cakes" below this post. And check out the other article on my site while you're there, "Top Cake Business Mistakes." I just did a Facebook post about this yesterday. You're letting your business run you, not the other way around. *hugs*
post #3 of 15
I could have written this post myself! I have the same problem. My sister (who has never done a cake in her life) always wants to talk about what I would charge for this cake or that cake (mind you...some of these are cakes that I have done for her for FREE!!!). When I tell her what I would charge Joe Blow for it, she rolls her eyes. She thinks she's a cake pricing expert and tells me I'm too high. I might be too high...for HER!. She doesn't have a lot of money, and because she couldn't pay those kinds of prices for a cake, she thinks others won't either.

I seriously think I undercharge for my cakes that I do actually sell. I do it more as a hobby then anything else. A lot of my satisfaction comes in giving someone more than what they expect. I add those details that "are they going to notice?", and they do...every single time! But I do get frustrated when I do sell one, and the people balk at the price. I have no problem sticking to my guns and letting them walk if they chose to. These aren't cakes we're selling. We're selling them edible art. If the customer "gets that", they'll buy...without batting an eye. If they customer just wants a cake, they'll huff, roll their eyes, and threaten to go to Walmart for their cake.

Just hang in there!
post #4 of 15
I could have written this post myself! I have the same problem. My sister (who has never done a cake in her life) always wants to talk about what I would charge for this cake or that cake (mind you...some of these are cakes that I have done for her for FREE!!!). When I tell her what I would charge Joe Blow for it, she rolls her eyes. She thinks she's a cake pricing expert and tells me I'm too high. I might be too high...for HER!. She doesn't have a lot of money, and because she couldn't pay those kinds of prices for a cake, she thinks others won't either.

I seriously think I undercharge for my cakes that I do actually sell. I do it more as a hobby then anything else. A lot of my satisfaction comes in giving someone more than what they expect. I add those details that "are they going to notice?", and they do...every single time! But I do get frustrated when I do sell one, and the people balk at the price. I have no problem sticking to my guns and letting them walk if they chose to. These aren't cakes we're selling. We're selling them edible art. If the customer "gets that", they'll buy...without batting an eye. If they customer just wants a cake, they'll huff, roll their eyes, and threaten to go to Walmart for their cake.

Just hang in there!
post #5 of 15
I could have written this post myself! I have the same problem. My sister (who has never done a cake in her life) always wants to talk about what I would charge for this cake or that cake (mind you...some of these are cakes that I have done for her for FREE!!!). When I tell her what I would charge Joe Blow for it, she rolls her eyes. She thinks she's a cake pricing expert and tells me I'm too high. I might be too high...for HER!. She doesn't have a lot of money, and because she couldn't pay those kinds of prices for a cake, she thinks others won't either.

I seriously think I undercharge for my cakes that I do actually sell. I do it more as a hobby then anything else. A lot of my satisfaction comes in giving someone more than what they expect. I add those details that "are they going to notice?", and they do...every single time! But I do get frustrated when I do sell one, and the people balk at the price. I have no problem sticking to my guns and letting them walk if they chose to. These aren't cakes we're selling. We're selling them edible art. If the customer "gets that", they'll buy...without batting an eye. If they customer just wants a cake, they'll huff, roll their eyes, and threaten to go to Walmart for their cake.

Just hang in there!
post #6 of 15
I call myself a hobbyist , because caking is not my main source of income, it pays for my little and sometimes big luxuries , so I guess if someone does not want to pay my price I am fine with that. I am aware that not everyone can afford me , I happily refer them to woolies or the cheesecake shop.
I do cakes for immediate family including wedding cakes for free , this is my gift to them and quite frankly they probably can't afford me.

I have found I work smarter not harder , I take fewer commissions but the ones I do take count.

You just have to realise your worth . Stick to your guns on pricing and don't pay people to make cakes for them.

As for your sister ask her how much an hour she works for or would she work for $1 and hour . I don't know many people that would.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thankfully, caking is not my primary source of income so I'm not financially hurt whatsoever if someone would rather get a cheap slab cake from Wal-Mart.

I guess I felt better when my customer replied back "I know they are totally worth every penny don't get me wrong, we are all just broke right now lol so anything you can do in that price range please!" After all, this is a repeat customer who I've already done 4 cakes for and will be doing her wedding cake next fall, prob shower cake, groomscake, etc.

My joy has always been the end result masterpiece that my customers goo-goo and gaa-gaa over. Their happiness makes me happy so I guess I need to look at it in that light instead of how much I'm NOT making.

Thanks for your input and tough love!!
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thankfully, caking is not my primary source of income so I'm not financially hurt whatsoever if someone would rather get a cheap slab cake from Wal-Mart.

I guess I felt better when my customer replied back "I know they are totally worth every penny don't get me wrong, we are all just broke right now lol so anything you can do in that price range please!" After all, this is a repeat customer who I've already done 4 cakes for and will be doing her wedding cake next fall, prob shower cake, groomscake, etc.

My joy has always been the end result masterpiece that my customers goo-goo and gaa-gaa over. Their happiness makes me happy so I guess I need to look at it in that light instead of how much I'm NOT making.

Thanks for your input and tough love!!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thankfully, caking is not my primary source of income so I'm not financially hurt whatsoever if someone would rather get a cheap slab cake from Wal-Mart.

I guess I felt better when my customer replied back "I know they are totally worth every penny don't get me wrong, we are all just broke right now lol so anything you can do in that price range please!" After all, this is a repeat customer who I've already done 4 cakes for and will be doing her wedding cake next fall, prob shower cake, groomscake, etc.

My joy has always been the end result masterpiece that my customers goo-goo and gaa-gaa over. Their happiness makes me happy so I guess I need to look at it in that light instead of how much I'm NOT making.

Thanks for your input and tough love!!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thankfully, caking is not my primary source of income so I'm not financially hurt whatsoever if someone would rather get a cheap slab cake from Wal-Mart.

I guess I felt better when my customer replied back "I know they are totally worth every penny don't get me wrong, we are all just broke right now lol so anything you can do in that price range please!" After all, this is a repeat customer who I've already done 4 cakes for and will be doing her wedding cake next fall, prob shower cake, groomscake, etc.

My joy has always been the end result masterpiece that my customers goo-goo and gaa-gaa over. Their happiness makes me happy so I guess I need to look at it in that light instead of how much I'm NOT making.

Thanks for your input and tough love!!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Quote:

Their happiness makes me happy



Me too icon_biggrin.gif I honestly feel sometimes that I would pay customers to receive a cake! nuts I know and obviously I wouldn't but it's just their giddiness is often worth more to me than their money! ....im sure running a business will soon cure such delusions icon_smile.gif
...I have just thought though that if my wife were reading this she'd argue their money is worth more to me than her company icon_eek.gif ...hope you're not reading this dear....
post #12 of 15
I just don't find some of these comments funny at all. Unfortunately, some people *are* giving their work away, but they're completely ignorant of it because they have no business sense. But here in this thread, are people perfectly ok with it, and probably aware that legitimate businesses are losing orders to you. Bravo. But it makes you happy....
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #13 of 15
Well, I may have misread that, my apologies if so.
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #14 of 15
For what it's worth, I knew I had made it the first time I heard "Oh, that's way too much. I'll just go to Wal Mart" and it didn't bother me at all. I told her "OK - if you change your mind be sure and give me plenty of notice" with a big smile on my face and that was that. I know I produce quality cakes that are beautiful and are totally worth the prices I charge. For every customer who walks away, there are 2 to take their place.
post #15 of 15
Illinois does have a Cottage Food Law in place as of 1/1/12.
http://www.ilstewards.org/blog/13104

Pretend you are fixing air conditioners instead of making cakes. Would you charge less?
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