Why Did I Let Her Talk Me Down In $$$??

Decorating By christeena Updated 13 Oct 2006 , 1:34am by Melvira

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christeena Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:31am
post #1 of 46

I feel like a complete idiot! A friend's relative wants me to do this cake for her 3 year-old in November - lots of time! But when I quoted her $50 for a 10" and 6" tier cake she said she'd get back to me. She calls back and asks if there is anyway to "cheapen" it so it would only cost $35 icon_cry.gif

So I told her, that I could pipe the border instead of making fondant pearls and that I could nix the fondnat crown and pick up a cheap tiara at the Dollar Store. I would also make it a 9" and 6" tier stacked cake, iced in buttercream with only fondant stripes. Told her that should feed 30 -35 people easy if she cut it like a wedding cake - small pieces!!

Do you think this is fair to me? I HATE this aspect of decorating icon_mad.gif I let her know that the creator of this cake (Sugarshack) could get $100 easy for this cake but she still wants it for $35 icon_cry.gif I was so torn about agreeing to do it, but I'm trying to build a reputation and a portfolio!

45 replies
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Doug Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:38am
post #2 of 46

you could have (should have?) also said: NO fondant (not even the stripes), no quilting, now dragees, no bow or plaque (which are all fondant/gumpaste) and that SHE buys the tiara and gives it to you.

FAIR? NO! not in any way -- but then that is the way the world of business works...everyone always trying to drive down the price/find the lowest price (consider how far some will drive to save even ONE penny on the cost of a gallon of gas!)

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lsawyer Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:45am
post #3 of 46

Tell her that you forgot to say: no fondant (all BC), and no filling. Be sure to use a box mix, with no enhancers.
"As is" for $50 seems sooooo low! I'd expect to pay $150!!!

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mmdd Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:46am
post #4 of 46

A friends relative...hmm.....sticky situation!

If you're going to lose money by doing this, simply tell them so.

Sure you want to build your portfolio, but you could buy dummy cakes & practice on them for your portfolio!

I'd call them back and tell them that it has to be $xx.xx or you just simply can't do it.

Good Luck to you!!!!!!

Creating a portfolio is one thing, giving cakes away for free is another.

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Kitagrl Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:47am
post #5 of 46

I try to work with the person's budget but if they can't pay for the cake, then changes have to be made.

I agree, all buttercream and use fake decorations like a ribbon bow and a cheap tiara from the dollar store.

Still, even at 1.50 a serving for 30 servings you still should be getting $45 minimum for this... icon_sad.gif (I charge novelty cakes just like wedding cakes)

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nefgaby Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:48am
post #6 of 46

OMG, even the $50 you were asking for was too cheap! I'm so sorry to hear that happend to you. I would call the lady and tell her that you did you math and $35 will not even cover your expenses and that you are sorry. Good luck and chear up! Your work is worth more that you think!

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CakeRN Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:50am
post #7 of 46

Yep we all do it to ourselves. We think we will lose a possible client if we charge what we want to charge. What we fail to realize is that if they want it bad enough they will pay and if not then someone will. We can't go into a grocery store and say " oh...i think this meat is to high can you give it to me for this amount?". If you want to leave room for bargaining then increase your prices more.
I am doing a cake for a lady and when I told her how much she said she thought it would have cost more. So she feels like she is getting a bargain. I just get to do a cake to please a little girl. I am not doing it to feed my family (they would definitely starve if that was the case)....just doing it to have fun and cause I have the money to play and cause I am a lonely woman in a small town.

Live and learn...

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Fahina Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:52am
post #8 of 46

That cake for $35.....tell them to go to wal-mart and see what they can get $35. It's rude of her to drive the price down so much for what she is asking for.

Just my two cents.....really just two cents......cause with people like this.....I really have a dollars worth to give 'em! icon_mad.gif

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morphis1208 Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 12:52am
post #9 of 46

I agree wholeheartedly with Doug. People just don't understand how much time and effort that goes into making a beautiful cake. I am constantly telling the girls that I work with that people want extravagent cakes at Walmart prices...well hellooo...go to Walmart!!!!! Either pay the extra for a unique specially made for you in mind cake or get over it and go where they are massed produced. Sorry just had to vent. icon_razz.gif
Anyhow I think that $35 is very inexpensive even with the modifications, and what if she starts passing your name around with that price and people expect those lower prices. Don't compromise your craftmanship just to build your portfolio.

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christeena Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:16am
post #10 of 46

Thanks, everyone for your support! I know I'm going to have to suck it up and do this cake but it will be done in the cheapest way imaginable icon_evil.gif

Believe it or not, the mom let the three year-old pick out this cake and now the "little princess" has her heart set on it. I'd feel like a schmuck if I didn't do it at all. I'm such a softy icon_surprised.gif I am going to have to get a backbone if I am going to do this very much. Right now, it's just a hobby and if I can do an occasional cake for $$ for friends and family, I jump at the chance. BUT . . .now I'm having to deal with relatives of friends who want to have decorator cakes at Wal-mart prices. icon_mad.gif Funny thing is, when we discussed my doing this cake for $50, I told her that Wal-mart wouldn't be able to do this cake for her at all icon_lol.gif

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debbie2881 Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:22am
post #11 of 46

ok i agree with the others that $50 was a very good price, i cant believe you will be doing it for $35. Definately do all buttercream, even the stripes. some people wouldnt even roll out fondant for $35. goodluck but sometimes family are the hardest people to deal with. i know what you mean about being a softy though, i'm the same way always trying to please others!!.

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justfrosting Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:25am
post #12 of 46

ITA agree with whoever said to let her know--at least--that you are losing money on this cake.

That way, if she sends a referral to you, the new person will not expect the same price.

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7yyrt Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:32am
post #13 of 46

A 3 year old is seeing pink,stripes, pearls, bow and tiara. She does NOT care if they are from the Dollar Store (she would probably prefer that, because then she gets to play with them afterwards). icon_smile.gif

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christeena Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:32am
post #14 of 46

Believe me - she knows!! She just doesn't care! icon_mad.gif Her little boys' birthday in in Oct. and her DD is in November and they only budget $35 for each kid's
cake! SHe also talked about using me exclusively for cakes if this went well! You can bet I WILL NOT back down on FAIR pricing next time . . . if there is a next time!! Nov. 17th isn't here yet and alot can happen between now and then! icon_twisted.gif

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slejdick Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:49am
post #15 of 46

You can always tell her that the only reason you reduced your price is that you've been wanting to make a cake like this, and you're excited to be able to make it for a little girl who will appreciate it.

Then, be sure to tell her what a "real" $35 cake is like, so the next time she needs one she'll be aware of what she can get for that price.

I think we've all done something like this, the key is to use it as a learning experience and don't do it again! icon_eek.gificon_biggrin.gif


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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 1:50am
post #16 of 46

Until I came to Cake Central I had NEVER met anyone who lets a customer set the prices...come on guys! When I have someone try and talk me down this is what I say "look, this is the price and my prices are not negotiable. You are going to have to either choose something in your price range or pay for the one you want." I got a back bone when a friend from church called and said she was at her spending limit on her daughter's birthday party because Build A Bear charged her $350 for 8 girls. She wanted a cake for $20! I told her "I don't sell any cake for $20, but I can make you a dozen chocolate chip cookies for $12 and individually bag and ribbon them for $20". So, to save 15 lousy bucks her daughter got cookies instead of a birthday cake! And the way I look at it, that was on her! I am not responsible for a child that belongs to someone else!

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debbie2881 Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:00am
post #17 of 46

SweetConfectionsChef so she spent $350 at build a bear and wanted you to make a cake for $20. the nerve of some people. that is just ridiculous. you know those build a bear places are just a rip off!!! i would never spend $50+ for bear my child will be throwing around the house and forget about in 2 days. ahh

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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:11am
post #18 of 46

Her and I talked about this over the phone....had she seen my face when she told me this ridiculous predicament she was in....she would have been too embarressed to walk in my shop! And the kicker to the whole thing is she will give you the third degree if she sees you've bought any scrapbooking supplies from Michaels.....because she sells Creative Memories! She actually says it a "quality" thing! icon_eek.gificon_confused.gificon_surprised.gif

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debbie2881 Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:14am
post #19 of 46

LOL what the hay does she know about quality? some people!!!!

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slejdick Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:15am
post #20 of 46

Well, I think the difference between having a nice cake for your kid's birthday and having a chocolate chip cookie in a bag for each guest is a "quality thing" too, but I doubt she'd see it that way! icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gif


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Melvira Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:22am
post #21 of 46

Not to be rude to your customer, but you know there is a VERY simple way to cut the price down to $35... two ways actually. Order a plain BC sheet cake, or get it at Wal-Mart. Sorry, that's what I would have told her. You are an artist... you should be paid as such. It kills me how people will throw these elaborate parties for their kids, but they want the cake for $7. *sigh* We are a misunderstood lot, aren't we?

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lonestarstamper Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:29am
post #22 of 46

Oh believe me I have learned the hard way too. I haven't been doing this very long but I spend a lot of time decorating my cakes and when I subtract my costs and divide the difference by the number of hours I spend, I realized that my hourly rate is way too low. I had a friend's brother call me just a couple of days ago asking for a Star Trek logo cake to serve 30 people. I quoted him $50 and he said he would check with his wife and call me back. He did call back and told me his wife said it was "too much". He seemed kind of embarrassed but I thanked him for calling me back to let me know. And you know what? I didn't even feel resentful or anything. I would have felt resentful if I didn't think I charged enough and was putting alot of time and energy into it and not making it worth my while. So just chalk this up to a lesson learned. And another poster was right regarding an artist being paid for their work. The customers want custom work but don't want to pay custom prices. Just stick to your guns. You will feel so much better when you do. Please post a picture of what you end up making.


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christeena Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 2:35am
post #23 of 46

Sweetconfectionschef - thanks for making me laugh!! icon_biggrin.gif That Build A Bear mom story cracked me up!! This entire thing has me wanting to never do cakes outside of my own little circle, whom by the way appreciates the time and effort (stress & occasionally tears) that goes into my cake decorating icon_rolleyes.gif and who pay what I think is fair for my art! After this learning curve, it WILL BE my price or not at all - friend's relative or not!!

slejdick - I think I will approach this mess as you suggest! Thanks! icon_lol.gif

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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 3:11am
post #24 of 46

Christeena, I've got 101 stories of INSANE customers, friends, or relatives! When I first opened my shop I would come home and tell my husband "you're not going to believe what this customer asked me today". After 1 1/2 years I come home and say " icon_rolleyes.gif ".

But I must say, for every &^%$$ I have a great customer that appreciates my time & effort! There are GOOD customers out there so just knock the &^%$$ out of the way because the good ones will come to you time and time again! thumbs_up.gif

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alicegop Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 3:27am
post #25 of 46

Costco/Walmart is my nemesis... they make their cakes for dirt nothing so this is the price people put in their minds for cake.... half a sheet cake for $17. The person who made that spent no more than 10 minutes making that cake... sooooo since I am a math teacher allow me to do a little math... That is $102 an hour. Tell the lady you agree to make the cake for her for Costco pricing.... That princess cake would take me AT LEAST an hour so tell her the price is now $102!!!!!!

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7yyrt Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 8:01pm
post #26 of 46

Take a look at these:
P.S. I think you need a 'Mary Alice" like Duff has... icon_wink.gif

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JulieBugg2000 Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 8:22pm
post #27 of 46

I too have a history of not charging enough for my cakes (if I charge at all icon_redface.gif ). It urks the heck out of me to think about it too! I need to grow a spine and just start telling people to go elsewhere if they think my price is too high. Of course I've never actually gotten that comment because I automatically undersell myself to begin with! icon_evil.gif

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clsilvus Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 8:36pm
post #28 of 46

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I am a softy and when I do charge it's definitely not enough. All my cakes have been for family/friends kids birthday's so I just say it's part of their gift...I'm still learning so and need tons of practice so I don't mind.
But I wanted to thank you for posting that picture I've been searching for the perfect cake to make for my niece who is turning six and that is it!!!
Fortunately my sister doesn't like fondant so I will be using cream cheese icing where I can.

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nikic Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 8:46pm
post #29 of 46

I would make a cheap cake with cheap decorations! You don't want the word to spread that your work is like that!

I would make the cake nicely, and then the next time don't settle so low on a price. If she complains I would simply say you gave her a break the first time but you simply can not do it and remain in business. Be very nice, but firm.

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christeena Posted 12 Oct 2006 , 8:47pm
post #30 of 46

OMG! I cannot believe the prices on those 2 cakes! icon_surprised.gif I should copy them off and let this cheapo see them!! icon_twisted.gif

At the restaurant where I wait tables, all of the waitstaff got to hear me tell this story and I let them know that from here on out my $$$ are going to be what I feel is worth my time & talent! icon_lol.gif Although, I don't think I could ever charge as much as these two, and I know for a fact I could replicate them to a tee!! The staff still asked if I could do this or that cake for them!! thumbs_up.gif

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