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Ask for the rest of my money??

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 

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. 

post #2 of 65

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

It is not what you teach that has the greatest impact, but what you tolerate ~ Shoemacher

 

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It is not what you teach that has the greatest impact, but what you tolerate ~ Shoemacher

 

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post #3 of 65

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

It is not what you teach that has the greatest impact, but what you tolerate ~ Shoemacher

 

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It is not what you teach that has the greatest impact, but what you tolerate ~ Shoemacher

 

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post #4 of 65
Assuming 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.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits View Post
 

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. 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti View Post
 
 

 

  • 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.

~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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Halloween
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post #7 of 65
Thread Starter 

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.

post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits View Post

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.
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #9 of 65

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

post #10 of 65
If you are too timid with money matters, maybe you shouldn't 'run' a business. Money is a pretty important part of business.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits View Post
 

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. 

post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits View Post
 

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.

post #13 of 65
Quote:

Originally Posted by luvmykids2bits View Post

 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?

post #14 of 65
If 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.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #15 of 65

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

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