Is She Asking For Too Much?????

Business By mom42ws Updated 28 Oct 2007 , 5:16am by wgoat5

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mom42ws Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:10pm
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Hi. I've been making cakes for friends for a handful of months now. Getting better but defnitely need to make more cakes for practice. I have someone, who's not a friend, that wants me to make a sweet 16 cake. I would love the opportunity to create a more elaborate cake and have some more exposure.

Their budget is $80.00 but I feel like she's asking me to do a lot of detailing. Maybe because this is so new to me and it takes me longer $80 doesn't seem like enough. What do you think???

This is the photo she sent to me for me to do with some small revisions. The cake is to feed approx. 60 ppl.

She wants the first layer to be chocolate (bottom half)and vanilla (top half) butter cake layered with buttercream. The second layer to be choc./van. marbled (I don't even know how to do this yet) with raspberry filling and the third layer to be all van. with raspb. filling. So, with all that is $80.00 a good price for this cake or should it be more given all the detailing??? Thanks for your input!

Instead of roses on the top (which is actually 3 layers) she wants her name in glittery fondant standing upright and with glittery ribbon and small dots.

35 replies
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spring55 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:17pm
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I would charge around $500 for this cake and I work pretty quickly! $80 is way too low for a 3 tier cake, much less one with this amount of detail.

Another way to look at is she's only paying 1.33 per serving. Probably can't get a sheet cake at the grocery store for that.

Go with your gut.

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jojo0676 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:18pm
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I think $80 is no where near enough for this cake. That's only $1.33 per serving and this cake is completely fondant. I don't sell cakes either but there is no way I would make this for only $80, that would barely cover supplies.

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Jenn2179 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:19pm
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I would charge $150 for that many servings in buttercream and $210 for it to be covered in fondant.

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amoos Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:22pm
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$80!! for all that work.....uh NO, you should be charging alot more than that. I mean I just finished my first wedding cake, a small 2 tier for FRIENDS and still charged them 50 Euro. She wants 3 layers WITH filling and detailing all for $80?? I mean I'm no expert but seems like it should at LEAST be $100......then again, if you really want the practice and exposure it could be a good opportunity. It's all up to you, but don't sell yourself short, beginner or not.

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woodyfam Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:22pm
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That is way too cheap! I am still the cheapest around and always say I should have charged more. That will barely cover all of your supplies.

I normally charge 2.00 minimum per serving, then add all the extras. $5 per filling other than buttercream. $10 for fondant work, more if extremely detailed.

This cake for me would be $150. Stand strong, they won't go anywhere else!

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schildwaster Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:24pm
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If you are doing the cake for practice then go for it. it will take you more time than 80 will pay for and half will go to supplies. I would make her only choose 2 flavors chocolate and vanilla with one filling for each cake. It made it sound like she wanted 1- 10" round of one flavor/filling another cake flavor, filling and then the first cake layer. Repeat with top layer? If you are covering your costs and you want to make this cake, do it. Don't let price stop you from trying something you wanted to try anyways.

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jibbies Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:28pm
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This is one of those areas that is hard for beginners sometimes.
I would charge $2.00 per serving for that cake, so it would be $120.00
You have to weigh exposure in getting started and the area you live in, check out some bakeries prices and if you let us know where you are located we can help you with regional pricing.


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vrmcc1 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:29pm
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I charge $1.50/serving for buttercream. A 6,8 and 10 inch is 74 serv. (according to Wilton's Chart). So that comes out to $111.00 Then I charge $.75/serv. for fondant so $55.50 and would charge an extra $15.00 for the bow and topper. So total $181.50


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MikeRowesHunny Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:35pm
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Hmmmm, a tiered fondant cake with the kind of detailing you described? $240 from me and not a cent less!!!

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amysue99 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 12:40pm
post #11 of 36

IF you do decide to do it for her price so that you can get the practice and exposure, make sure you give her an invoice stating the actual charge. This way she knows that you gave her a GREAT deal. Also, it will prevent other people from expecting the same cake for the same price. And give her LOTS of business cards to hand out to her friends. Satisfied customers are the best advertisement.

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maryjsgirl Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:11pm
post #12 of 36

I am not sure about the pricing, because I am pretty clueless in that department. Although it seems very unnecessary...the different layers will pretty much be easy. When all is said and done it's just vanilla and chocolate. Making marble cake is easy. I just make the vanilla batter and throw it into a bowl and then make the chocolate(don't even clean the mixing bowl, lol). I then take a measuring cup and take turns scooping the two flavors into the pan. I make a pattern of chocolate, vanilla, chocolate, etc. Then I take a spatula and run it through the batter to swirl it around.

If you aren't making your own fondant I would say most of the $80 will go to purchasing it won't it?

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mbelgard Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:14pm
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I hadn't even seen the whole picture before I started laughing, she's taking advantage of you.

IF you do it for her DO NOT give fillings, fancy cake flavors, etc. Tell her that those are extra and she has the choice of vanilla or chocolate and you're not going to make each layer in the cakes different.

Even if you tell her that she's getting a discount she'll probably spread around to all her friends about how cheap you are and how willing to work within a budget.

If you really want to do it tell her that you can but the cake is going to be much plainer than what she wants for the price she's willing to pay.

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Chef_Rinny Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:18pm
post #14 of 36

I am famous for undercharging on cakes and I do mainly b/c I want to work on my portfolio, so I don't mind if its something I would like to do. But just keep in mind that doing different filling/flavor combinations is a pain-and all that detail! Even I would charge ATLEAST $150-and I would let her know that was a good deal. She would never be able to go anywhere else-even a supermarket-and get anything close to that price.

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aundron Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:20pm
post #15 of 36

I think that you should charge at the MINIMUM, 150.00 for the cake she is asking for!! OR you can try to do something that is within the 80.00 budget OR you can do what she asked for just because you need the practice and the exposure!!

Another thing you can do is PM PinkCakeBox (because that's her cake) and ask her about the cake!!

HTH!! icon_smile.gif

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Chef_Stef Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:22pm
post #16 of 36

I charge $4.25 minimum per serving for that style of cake, and the bow and a fondant monogram would cost extra.

A 6, 8, and 10" will serve 74 (wedding sv), which is how I charge (if they want to cut larger servings, that's up to them, but I charge for per wedding serving, either way), so it'd be around $350.00.

$80.00 won't even cover cost. Don't forget the cost of fondant (unless you make it yourself), let alone cake ingred and your time!

I'd say no, or tell them you'll do it for "cost" and just basically give it to them as a practice cake, if you really want to do it.

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adonisthegreek1 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:22pm
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If you decide to do it for $80 just for practice, I would not do raspberry fillings or marble batter. It would be straight buttercream and chocolate or vanilla layers. I'd at least charge another $15 just to cover the cost of the fondant accents.

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onceuponacake Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:23pm
post #18 of 36

I agree with bonjovibabe..$240.00 because it is fondant.

if she wanted buttercream with fondant accents, i'd charge $180.00.

Also no fillings like raspberry, just buttercream.

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mom42ws Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:25pm
post #19 of 36

Wow! Thanks everyone for your advice!!! I think because I am a beginner, I don't feel like I can really command much in price. I DO want the exposure and am excited about making the cake but I do think she's getting a bit out of control with the specifics.

I guess I need to learn how to price everything out and just stick with it. I will be certain to invoice her for the "real" price and then put the discount on there. Thanks everyone!!

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kansaslaura Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:28pm
post #20 of 36

Her "budget" is not your problem. I can't tolerate people who shove money across the table and expect a business person to bend, twist and some how create something out of nothing to meet their demands.

I wonder how many times she's pushed her cart through the grocery store, filled it full of top of the line items and gotten to the check-out line and handed the clerk a $50 because that was all she had in "her budget"

Bolognieeeeeee! Her so called budget is her way of forcing you do do what she wants at what she wants to pay.

Trust me on this one. After you've made all the different fillings, different cake batters and frosting---and you're standing at the sink cleaning up all the mess from all the work you've just done (and this is before you decorate) you'll curse the day you agreed to do that for $80.

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jibbies Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:28pm
post #21 of 36

Happy to be of help


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kathik Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:32pm
post #22 of 36

I don't know where you live, but here in Raleigh I would charge $4.00 a serving for a fondant covered cake, and that is for one cake flavor with buttercream filling. I would definitely charge more for each flavor and each filling, plus extra for the girl's name in "glittery fondant". My total charge would be closer to $300, maybe more.

This is a whole lot of work and she is majorly taking advantage of you. icon_eek.gif I know you are a beginner, so am I, but you still have the right to be paid fairly. Have you ever paid a doctor, mechanic, or accountant less just because they were "beginners"? They get paid just like one who's been aound for awhile.


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indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 1:43pm
post #23 of 36

What Laura said!!

It always kills me when I hear stories of the people who have already decided: "I'm, feeding this many people and i've decided this is what it will cost." especially when they've NO IDEA what the market price is. They've "just decided".

You can do it for cost, you can do it for the P/R .... it's your call.

But that is at least a $150 or more cake. For $80, I, personally, would walk away and send her to the local grocery store bakery.

I wont' even do sheet cakes for that price.

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cakesbycathy Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 4:44pm
post #24 of 36

My response would be:
"Dear So and So, due to the amount of work involved, the cake you have picked out is $175. If your heart is set on this cake then that is the price. however, if your budget is set at $80, then this is what I can make for you________________."

Pricing is hard. It is very important that you figure out your costs. As another poster wrote, if you do all that work for only $80, I guarantee you are going to end up feeling very resentful (especially as you are cleaning up icon_rolleyes.gif ). While, I agree it would be great practice and exposure to do the cake, you can't let someone take advantage of you.

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darandon Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:16pm
post #25 of 36

My neighbor works as a hairdresser at one of the more expensive place around here. Haircuts are expensive, well over $100 for the full treatment- I would not dream of telling her that I want her to cut my hair, but I'm only willing to pay a "Great Clips" price because it is only a bit of shampoo and some snipping on the ends of my hair.
Make sure you stand by your price and it should be alot more than $80.
BTW - I trade my neighbor a haircut for a cake - works great for both of us.

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StephW Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:19pm
post #26 of 36
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

My response would be:
"Dear So and So, due to the amount of work involved, the cake you have picked out is $175. If your heart is set on this cake then that is the price. however, if your budget is set at $80, then this is what I can make for you________________."

Very well put!

Don't let this woman dictate what your services are worth - and don't sell yourself short!! I can understand wanting the practice and exposure, but this woman is not even a friend of yours, so why should you offer her such a major discount? If you are set on doing the design she asked for, at least put your foot down on the flavors and fillings! You already know how to bake a tasty cake and fill it. Even with limiting the flavors and buttercream fillings - I would add additional charges for the nameplate and fondant work. List out exactly what you will do for $80 and then have separate charges for anything else she asked for so she can pick and choose.

I beg you -- STOP THE INSANITY!! icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

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justsweet Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:40pm
post #27 of 36

I know I have seen this cake it is from Pink Cake Box. It is on their main page and on her blog.

here is the link, call and get a price if you can.

the cake

Plus do not let anyone take advantage of you. She wants to spend $80, how about a sheet cake with dots and a ribbon in the corner.

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Ladivacrj Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:49pm
post #28 of 36

Just becasue you are just starting out doesn't mean that you should be charging less. And unless you tell someone, nobody knows that but you.

Charge what the going rate is. Once you get a following which is more than likely going to be word-of-mouth, you don't want to have to explain why (her) friend or friend of a friend was charged so much less then (she) is.

Also, the best thing I ever did was put a website together, if for no other reason than to post my price list. Keeps people from thinking you are charging some more than others.

hth a little

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crazy4sugar Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:52pm
post #29 of 36
Originally Posted by StephW

I beg you -- STOP THE INSANITY!! icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

It saddens me to see these posts. Woman especially have to stop devaluing their services!

My Mom told me: You teach people how to treat you. In this case, if you quote a fair price for your product with confidence, they will respond with respect. Either they can afford a custom made cake or they can't.

I wouldn't get far if I walked into a jewelry store with $80 and picked out a $300 item. Why won't that work? Because they have taught me how to treat them. They set their prices for a quality item and it's no longer negotiable. If I ask for a ridiculous discount, I would expect them to show me the door and suggest a "budget" place to shop.

p.s. A fondant cake in our area is approximately $4 per serving. I'm very new and that's what I charge everytime for everyone (only immediate family gets it for cost). Fondant/gumpaste bows start at $20 a piece.

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DEBBIE157 Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 6:42am
post #30 of 36

So how did this story turn out? Even rock bottom prices, 60 people x $2 is still $120, which is still way too low for this kind of work.

How does the story end? Did you do the cake? Did you change designs?


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