Getting Discouraged

Business By Jenna217 Updated 16 Mar 2008 , 9:23pm by mkolmar

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Jenna217 Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 7:05pm
post #1 of 13

Firstly, I'm going to start off with the most common phrase I read here: I live in a rural area. Secondly, I'm thinking of giving up cake making. I haven't had an order in months. I charge my cakes at $1.50 a serving for any buttercream cake including tiered cakes and $2.00 per serving for fondant cakes including tiered.

So 2 months ago I got asked to do a tiffany box cake and they dropped out after the price quote. I was going to charge her $64 for the cake. She acted like I was going to snatch her firstborn child as payment!

And for the past month I've been getting a call from this lady telling me she'll need a celebration cake for a little over 100 people and it's a big adoption party! So I've been talking with her and yesterday we got it finalized on design and colors and flavors etc...well she calls me not more than 10 minutes after everything is looked over and after we met saying she needs to cancel BECAUSE OF THE PRICE! She wanted a 3 tiered buttercream iced cake with fondant accents. I quoted her a total of $217. That would be approx 118 servings out of a 12x4",10x4",8x4" tiered cake and then I tacked on $40 for all the fondant doo-dads she wanted and I was going to have to start 2 weeks prior so they would dry hard enough.

I'm getting so discouraged!! All my cakes are made from scratch and there's another lady in town that does sheet cakes for $17 a piece. Well I guess they can go there then and get a from-the-box cake with just plain writing on it. *bah-humbug*

To make myself feel better, I called the next town over this morning where there is a bakery and asked for a quote playing as a customer for exactly what the above lady wanted from me. They would have chared $490!! UGH!! People!!

I really wanted to take my hobby and make it into a small bakery business someday and even am starting to take business management classes in May...but now I'm not so sure. *sigh*

Thanks for listening to me whine. I really needed to vent. icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif

12 replies
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mommicakes Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 8:31pm
post #2 of 13

sorry that you had this experience. Some people are just dooey heads. They don't realize that the others (store bought) mostly are frozen, and they most likely, get exactly what they want.

I am sorry that this makes you feel disappointed. Let me tell you, I STILL feel that way most of the time. I live in a very rural area, and there are at least 2 other people in my TOWN that do cakes. (our town is so small, we don't even have a stoplight here). So I can feel your pain.

Seems that people don't want to pay for anything anymore.

Hope you feel better, and keep your chin up, it takes a little while, I still don't have the business that I want yet, and it has been about a year. thumbs_up.gif


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step0nmi Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 8:40pm
post #3 of 13

I am so sorry to hear that you lost that customer!

Maybe what you can do is up front tell them you BASE price per serving and explain what it includes and doesn't. I think this may save you a lot of time and discouragement from having to still deal with those customers that want to take you through the ringer BEFORE you give them a price...
Also, some people just feel that it's CAKE! icon_surprised.gif Like they want this nice centerpiece but don't expect to pay that much! Unfortunately that is what some of these cake shows are doing to us decorators! NOT showing the price!
and last...the country is in recession. People just don't have that much money now days. Especially with the way the prices are on gas...AND if they just paid a whole bunch for an adoption that would seem like a lot of money for cake.
Oh, so sorry so long...just my two cents! icon_smile.gif

(I really do know how you feel though!)

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cariage Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 9:03pm
post #4 of 13

oh I feel your pain. there is a lady in my small town that does sheet cakes for $10 and $15 dollars. And she has been doing this for many years. EVERYONE in my town does/has bought cakes from her. But her cakes are just plain sheet cakes with writing and maybe a few roses. And they taste awful. I provided a 3 tiered cake with fondant accents for a party recently. I donated this cake as a gift and while everyone is standing around my cake ooohing and ahhhing at my cake, there were several ladies saying " Oh I use Ms. **** to do my cakes they are wonderful and sooo cheap" AAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!! They were actually passing her name and number around while looking at my cake. But I am hoping when my cakes get seen a little more, people will appreciate a cake with design more than a rectangle with writing. Good luck to you. Don't give up...I'm NOT!!

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littlecake Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 10:24pm
post #5 of 13

It's the wal mart clientel ...they are everywhere.

i have many people walk out every week because of price....i actually send them to wal mart.

i get multiple phone calls every week, people checking prices who don't order because they can't afford it...(and i'm not that expensive).

most of my customers have disposable income...(i can tell by the purses they carry...LOL)....

there are more discriminating customers out's kind of a numbers gotta get your name out there to the better customers...are you guys legal?....can you take some sample cakes around?

if only 20 people know about you, and they all shop at wal mart....not good!

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TheButterWench Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 10:54pm
post #6 of 13

lil cake, not if they are desiger knock offs, lol

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marmalade1687 Posted 15 Mar 2008 , 11:12pm
post #7 of 13

Just a suggestion to get your business started - would you consider doing two kinds of cakes? You could do a basic "out-of-the-box" cake to compete with the woman who does sheet cakes, but you would be able to do the bigger tiered cakes that she isn't doing.

Then, you could have an upgraded menu of scratch cakes - once you get a clientele base that loves your work, people won't balk at the price as much - they just have to get to know how good your product is! icon_biggrin.gif

Know your clientele, and give them what they want. It sounds as if they want your designs, but are not used to the price of the scratch cakes that goes with them - give them the cheaper box cake to start for now. Advertise yourself as a person that can do custom, one-of-a-kind designs...once people get to know what you can do, the orders will come!

Good luck! thumbs_up.gif

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indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 2:34am
post #8 of 13

I'm always wanting to know just what these people really expect to pay for an adoption cake to feed ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!! Surely she didn't expect to get this for a lousy fifty bucks?

Perhaps you can ask them up front "how much are you budgeting for this cake?"

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schildwaster Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 12:49pm
post #9 of 13

i had a lady from mil church call for a big celebration they were having. she wanted a 2 layer sheet cake for 150. Big PIA factor so I charged her for 4 12x18 sheet cakes so $240 which comes out to $1.60 a serving. My mil said she said I was charging her like it was a wedding cake. My mil says well cake for 150 is cake for 150. Its not like she has cheap cake mix and wedding cake mix. Its the same amount of cake... She went to walmart and everyone was walking around with blue mouths.

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indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 1:31pm
post #10 of 13

schildwaster, that story reminds me of a post I read not too long ago (and I wish I had saved it ... it was brilliant!).

"Back in the day" when wedding cakes were tiered and birthday cakes were sheets, there was a distinct difference in the styles and the prices. But since birthday cakes "have come a long way, baby!" then the distinct difference has faded into the background ... but people are still in the "birthday cakes are twenty bucks" habit ... without factoring that birthday cakes are bigger and more ornate (read "higher labor cost") now.

It's a continuing effort to educate them.

I've recently coined a term: Twinkie-Budget-Bride. The bride who thinks she should pay for a custom designed wedding cake made just for her at a price that will barely cover a Twinkie for each of her guests. I guess it applies to non-bridal customers, too!

And good for your MIL for standing up for you! thumbs_up.gif

The woman accused you of pricing it "like a wedding cake". So to me, she thinks wedding cakes are SUPPOSE to cost more than "regular" cake. Wanna bet that she's the first one to complain about how wedding cake makers are "gouging" her poor daughter just because it's a "wedding" cake? Hmmmmmm??????? icon_rolleyes.gif

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Jenna217 Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 6:50pm
post #11 of 13

Thanks for the encouragement. I had to giggle at the Twinkie-Budget-Bride comment. I think it's for all customers, really! Twinke-Budget-Customers. Heehee!

Now - I live in a farming town of less than 3,000 people and I've had no orders at I think a 'reputation' has been started about my prices (however they always, always overlook the quality and creativity somehow icon_rolleyes.gif ). do I advertise the quality of my product without orders for other people to experience what I can do and what I produce?

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indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 8:48pm
post #12 of 13

Jenna, take the "well of course!" attitude!

"Of course my prices are higher!", she said with shock and surprise in her voice. "You don't think I make those cheap nasty cakes like you find a GROCERY store, do you?" as she laughs at the very thought of it!

A slight comment along the lines of "I can't believe how some people want the best of everything for their wedding and then try to go Twinkie Budget on the centerpiece of their reception. Don't you find that really weird?"

But then .... I tend to take the smart-a$$ approach to things! icon_rolleyes.gif

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mkolmar Posted 16 Mar 2008 , 9:23pm
post #13 of 13

I was just asked about making a cake for 100 people for $50. Is it bad that I laughed right there to her. icon_lol.gif I told her I will work with her to figure out something that will fit her budget better. She asked if my prices were comparable to grocery store cake pricing. I was honest and said no. My cakes are not manufactured in bulk and frozen until use and I make all my buttercream fresh to order. She understood and said to tell her the price and she will save up the money for it. Once she realized that I'm a bakery not a grocery store the conversation went smoothly.

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