Just A Vent ........

Decorating By eatdessert1st Updated 18 Apr 2008 , 12:33am by maryjsgirl

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eatdessert1st Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:15pm
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I know my fellow cake buddies will understand this. I'll make cakes occasionally for special occasions at work and charge very small prices (mostly just to help cover expenses). I charged $30 for this baby shower cake (11" round vanilla butter cake w/ white choc. strawberry mousse filling; 6" choc. round w/ tiramisu filling; fondant icing; hand modeled baby and accessories). I barely covered expenses. I'm called yesterday for a bridal shower cake and told her I have to charge $40 and I could actually hear her *gulp*!!!!! I'm trying to help provide something nice for my co-workers, hence the HUGE cut in pricing. I do tell them what I would actually charge a real customer so they know what a big savings I'm giving. The ONLY reason I'll still do this is that the person of honor is always so appreciative of the cake. I already took the order for May but I think I'll be *booked* for other occasions.
I just get really irritated at the attitude and weary of having to explain pricing.

P.S. I made the topper too large but no one seemed to notice it wasn't supposed to be that way LOL

29 replies
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vdrsolo Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:20pm
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It took me a while to get out of the mode of charging less for friends and coworkers, but I finally did it, the growing resentment just burned me up.

There are people out there that will pay the prices, when you mold your coworkers into expecting those lower prices, that is what they will expect. Confidently say what your price is, there is absolutely no need to explain yourself, and if if you get the order, you do...if not, oh well!! You can easily burn yourself out making almost free cakes!

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kakeladi Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:30pm
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You are *MUCH* too talented to be giving away your work! How can you possibly think you are covering your costs?? You work full time, then go home and work again, then just give it away icon_sad.gif
What if your boss asked you to work a 2nd shift for free.....over and over again?
Stop being such a sucker!!
Next person wanting a cake pays **FULL POP**!

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foxymomma521 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:30pm
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Your cake is lovely, and I'm sorry they don't appreciate your hard work icon_sad.gif
I know how you feel, I got a call last week about a baptism cake. I quoted $1 serving, $1.25 for premium filling or fondant, the cake needed to serve 35. So I quote $36 (gasp) for a double layer 9x13. Well, long story short, it's my best friends aunt, and I hear from my friend she thought it was too much, and she didn't have the decency to call me back!
I will be *busy* next time too icon_wink.gif

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lionladydi Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:32pm
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You set yourself up for this. People will treat you only as badly as you let them. That's just human nature, I think. Being the "nice guy" will have you working night and day for nothing. I'd just nicely tell them that I can no longer do these cakes so cheaply. JMO Good luck!


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yummymummy Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:33pm
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Yup, I had a similar experience the other day w/ a friend. She asked me to make a cake for her daughter's party in a cowgirl theme. Okay, great! She asked me what it would cost for about 25 people. I told her anywhere from $40 and up depending on how detailed she wanted it. but then I told her not to worry too much, I always put extra into a cake if I can...(I'm a sucker for a great looking cake, even if they don't pay for it icon_rolleyes.gif ). So she gets back to me a few hours later and says not to bother doing any research for ideas cause she just found a cowboy hat cake that she thinks even she can do. Fine...less work for me. But people have to realize that the grocery store doesn't give me huge discount on my supplies, so why should I make thier cake for next to nothing?

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jack109 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:43pm
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First let me say that it is a beautiful cake, and although I do the same thing about pricing, I am going to try to get what I deserve for my time and you should to. Second, would you send me the recipe for your tiramsu filling. I am having trouble finding the recipe just for a filling and not the whole cake.

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AJsGirl Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:48pm
post #8 of 30

Beautiful cake. Sorry they were such tightwads about the price. I struggle with price, too, I think a lot of us do. I would be "booked" next time too. Good luck.

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foxymomma521 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 1:59pm
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jack109, congrats on the weight loss!!

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jack109 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 2:08pm
post #10 of 30

Thanks! I'm off to the nutritionist this morning to see if I kept it off!

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DebraJ Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 2:10pm
post #11 of 30

I have that same problem here at work. I don't know what they're thinking considering prices for everything are going through the roof. It always amazes me that people will ask if you can do a cake for $15 because that's what I would pay at Costco, Sam's Club, etc. I remind them that those companies can do that because they buy supplies in huge quantities, and I don't. There's a big difference when you walk into a room and see a custom cake vs. a regular cake purchased from the store, and for that, you need to pay a premium.

Keep up the great work!

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CarolAnn Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 2:18pm
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Are you kidding?? I know you're not! I'm just incredulous that you only charged $30 for that wonderful cake. You should get $50 just for that bottom. tier. I know it's hard to charge friends your full price, but hey, you can't keep giving away work like this. You don't deserve it and they sure don't. I don't care how appreciative they seem they need to start paying what the cake is worth TO YOU.

I understand you've committed yourself to the one in May so why don't you raise your prices after that one. If people want your great quality of work they ought to pay for it. Otherwise be booked.

I understand what everyone is saying about their pricing. I haven't been selling cakes for about a year but I'm back now and I'm raising my prices. If they'll pay what it's worth fine, if not I don't care.

You do wonderful work, so stop selling yourself short!

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smab109 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 2:24pm
post #13 of 30

From now on, no discounts! I give my family free delivery, thats it. I dont ask my brother, who is a landscaper to come over and landscape my yard for free for petes sake!

I am with one of the other posters... I will put more into the cake than I charged for sometimes (fondant accents, etc without charging them for it) but I never go down from my base price.

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SugarBakerz Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 2:32pm
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what a beautiful cake... i wouldn't have thought twice about the topper either... but in light of it and with it being as is it is still just LOVELY..... I have a RICH sister, and I mean RICH (married a much older man who is loaded).... I did 4 cakes for her 2 years ago all within 6 months and she NEVER even paid or offered to pay me.... even though she knew money at my house then was tight..... The next time she asked me to do a shower for her cousin (I mean she is a step sister but we raised together so she is a sister) on her deceased mom's side, I said ok but it is going to be like $20, knowing full well it costs way more than that to anyone else....she begrudgingly paid it and I have NEVER been asked to do another cake for her... and I know it is because I actually had the audacity to ask for payment.... oh and mind you still bring a gift to the party.... NO MORE FOR ME...... No one makes my kids or DH cakes and gives them to me and then still brings a gift.... so why should I? As for work, I have never had to deal with that, but I can imagine it is much the same as family... your work is worthy of payment.... don't let them bring you down. If they want a cheap frozen cake or something like that let them get it... eventually they will realize what they are getting now compared to what they used to get.... give yourself credit, you are VERY talented!

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BREN28 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 3:07pm
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would it be tacky to pull out receipts to show these people who think you charge to much,so that they can see how much you paid for supplies.I know as a newbie, I didnt now how much supplies were until I had to start paying for them. THEY CAN BE EXPENSIVE! then let them know how long it acually takes you to do the cake start to finish, your price is not even including the labor and time you put into it. icon_confused.gif

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eatdessert1st Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 4:56pm
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Hey, guys:
1st off... thanks for all of the replies! I so appreciate the positive feedback on the baby shower cake... as well as the stern reprimands! icon_lol.gif I need a reminder every now and then to stop being a doormat. I'll look at the bridal shower cake as a chance to try a new design.
I've been doing cakes for several yrs now and work is the only place I give a discount. They're such tightwads I know they won't chip in for a nice celebration cake so I haven't begrudged doing it until that baby shower cake. Most of my coworkers know what I charge and how much work actually goes into the cakes as they ask me questions about them, etc. I must say that they are always appreciated by the honoree and everyone "raves" about how wonderful they taste. That said... I've learned just to nod thank you and not take the "I have to have your card for our next party..." thing seriously as the majority of people seem to think that they'll get a nice cake at a killer price. I quoted $75-$90 when people asked me how much the baby shower cake would normally cost a customer.
BTW... here's the tiramisu filling recipe I used for the top layer of the baby shower cake. I actually combined a few recipes and tweaked it; I dissolved 1 pack of gelatin in the liqueur to firm it up; also just brushed the cake layers w/ the coffee dip liqueur so they wouldn't be too wet. I really think this would be awesome on a vanilla butter cake!! Don't forget to sprinkle coarsely grated chocolate on top of the filling! mmmmm (I think I actually used most of 2 containers of Mascarpone cheese... man that stuff is expensive tapedshut.gif)

Thanks for letting me vent, btw. Sometimes it just helps to talk to people who understand icon_smile.gif

Mel Mc.

Mascarpone/tiramisu filling

6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur or dark rum
1 tbsp instant espresso powder or instant coffee
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the filling, in the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, coffee liqueur (in which I dissolved 1 pack of gelatin) , and espresso powder. Set over barely simmering water and beat with the mixer set on medium speed until very thick, about 6 minutes. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in a bowl, using the mixer on medium high speed, beat the cream until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted. When the yolk mixture is cooled to room temperature, add the mascarpone and vanilla. Beat until smooth and well blended. Using the rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream.

Sprinkle coarsely grated chocolate on top of cheese layers

for the coffee dip
1 cups (240 cc) Italian espresso coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup (60 cc) coffee liquor (i.e. Kalua)

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msauer Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 5:24pm
post #17 of 30

Hey Mel-

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I feel your pain. My hubby and I just finished our taxes the other day and since I am an LLC now I keep very good records. Well, when it was all said and done and I saw what PROFIT I actually made for 2007 I literally broke down and CRIED!!!!! I started thinking about all of those sleepless nights and like others have mentioned, got BITTER!!!

I am in the process of building up my backbone. When I hear them gasp, I'll just have to keep in mind that I would rather sleep for an extra 5 hours that night in lieu of getting ripped off. If I'm not doing as many cakes, well then...so be it. But the ones I do will be WORTH it! I feel like I am building on my skills every day and I am finding those people who appreciate and are willing to pay for what I do. It's hard, because I think like you do..."the person who gets the cake will be so tickled"- but instead of a really kick butt cake, I need to think of it in terms of "dang, her friends and family don't think enough of her to buy anything better than a sheet cake they picked up on the way to the party!"

I'm tired of being tired and not being compensated. I think we all get there eventually...wise up and acknowledge what we're worth.



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pinkbox Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 5:30pm
post #18 of 30
Originally Posted by BREN28

would it be tacky to pull out receipts to show these people who think you charge to much,so that they can see how much you paid for supplies.I know as a newbie, I didnt now how much supplies were until I had to start paying for them. THEY CAN BE EXPENSIVE! then let them know how long it acually takes you to do the cake start to finish, your price is not even including the labor and time you put into it. icon_confused.gif

Its funny I am actually working on a page on my website that shows what is all entaled with a "custom and unique confection of art"

All the supplies and ingredients... just so people might (big might) get an inkling as to what is involved. I have had one person ask me why I cost so much..($2 per serving and $2.25 for premium filling and $10 per tier extra for Specialty flavors (Italian cream etc)... so I explained it with cost attached (tacky huh) I was having a bad day.

But the nerve of people sometimes.

BUT I find as my skills improve so does my back bone.... and time with my kids and the love of my life is much more important than being unappreciated (wink)

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melvin01 Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 5:31pm
post #19 of 30

I think we have all been there. It's hard to quote what we would charge a stranger to our friends but sometimes you have to do it.

I work full time and would bring in cake projects when I was taking the courses, now I don't even bring in my cake scraps from torting the cakes! (I know, I'm evil. I either take them to friends in college or end up tossing them.)

I actually did a 3D firetruck cake for a guy at work, charged him $30 since I worked with him, worked my booty off doing it since I wanted it to look good (we all know what a PITA it is to do 3D cakes!), had to finish and deliver it on a weekend when I had a tennis tournament going on, lost earlier that morning in the finals, and when I brought the cake to the party, he asked if I had won. When I told him I didn't he called me a "Loser", which rubbed me the wrong way --needless to say-- so I was so mad the rest of the day about it. The next day at work I told him that I would NEVER make him a cake again!

Sorry, started my own vent there!

I am really bad at quoting the price I should get for my cakes, but I'm starting to learn that if people are that cheap, they can get it from somewhere else. My time is very limited and it's valuable. If they want me to do a cake, they are going to pay for my time. (I need to keep repeating that to myself so I quite underpricing myself!)

We are all worth it!!

Keep baking and instead of discounting for the people you work with, try branching out and maybe doing cakes for other people in the building you work in or for other businesses around you (even security in your building is a good contact to have). If your coworkers won't pay full price for a cake, there are definitely other places that will. That way you will be busy making money next time they want a "discount cake".

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indydebi Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 4:05am
post #20 of 30
Originally Posted by msauer

Well, when it was all said and done and I saw what PROFIT I actually made for 2007 I literally broke down and CRIED!!!!! e

I think we all do that this time of year! I was talking to a caterer friend of mine and she said she always looks at the bottom figure and thinks "why do I bother?"

Because we luv it, that's why, is what I told her.

But it also grew me another vertebrae ... I went in the day after I got the info back from the account and put a "Notice of Upcoming Price Increase" on the front page of my website.

I dont' feel bad about it ONE bit!

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lionladydi Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 10:23am
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This reminds me of my mom. She used to raise hogs on the farm. Every year at this time, I would listen to her moan and groan about not making any money. I would ask why she did it year after year and her answer was, "Well, when you're a farmer, you just pray that things will be better next year." I guess that's all cake decorators and caterers can do, too. icon_lol.gif

I wouldn't be in the food business these days! Just going to the grocery store to feed myself puts me into cardiac arrest. I don't know how you do it, Indydebi. Can't blame you for raising your prices. I got out of the restaurant business in 1994 and have never regretted doing it other than missing my customers.


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Colliegirl Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:00am
post #22 of 30

I love ironladydi's response "can't afford to do cakes cheaply". Love it. I am going to ay this from now on. thumbs_up.gif

So far I have not charged anything for my cakes and all I ask is that they take a good pic of it so I can put it on my website. Even then it is so tough to get them to do this, its like getting blood out of a stone. I am ready to give up. My fault for this though. You give your cakes away and people will always expect it. Charge them cheap rates and they will always expect it.

Respect yourself and let them respect you too, by charging the correct price. People will always try to get a reduction, we just have to be wise in this. icon_lol.gif

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eatdessert1st Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 1:32pm
post #23 of 30

Awww, Michelle icon_cry.gif I feel your pain!
The reason we keep doing it is that it's our passion, fellow cake decorators!
With the rising cost of groceries it's difficult to keep abreast of the cost of things. I love the idea a previous poster proposed of having a cost sheet on our websites. I'm going to work on that. I'm still operating on a cost sheet that is a few yrs old.
I cannot imagine what the ones who do this for a living are going through. Ya'll in the food business must be pretty stressed out. Since I'm a cake hobbyist ( I use the majority of my cake $ for my DH's Christmas present ea. yr) I can pick and choose customers and turn down orders by being "booked already." Most people do not have that option. My primary job (after being a mom and wife icon_lol.gif ) is a RN on an intensive care unit.
Like I said, caking is a passion and wonderful creative outlet but I couldn't make a living from it. Interesting how a patient cussing and spitting at me doesn't p*ss me off as much as a client who complains about my cake pricing icon_lol.gif (maybe because we have the option of using 4 point restraints on a combative patient but not on a berserk customer....hmmmm)
The appreciative customers are the ones that keep us in the cake biz. I have a few of them and I LOVE to work w/ them.
I'm so appreciative of this board and the wonderful people on it. Ya'll really picked me up!

Mel Mc.

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msumissa Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 2:02pm
post #24 of 30

I think the biggest thing for me is that I have a price sheet and I stick to it. It takes the guilt of charging 'friends' off. Here are my prices, if you don't like them, fine... I have no problem parking my butt in front of the TV instead of the kitchen table! icon_smile.gif

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Jayde Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 10:30pm
post #25 of 30

I have a major problem pricing to friends too. I think that they are getting used to it, because they dont even ask me how much, they tell me that they will drop off a check for $30 or $40, when they get time. I am a doormat. I really am. I dont like confrontation, and I hate it when people get angry about my prices. Its a little easier with people who arent friends, but not much. IndyDeb, has been helping me with my problem, she should really start a support group.

I think part of my problem is that I want everyone to be able to afford a beautiful cake. I want them to be able to get exactly what they want, and darn the price. Just because someone doesnt have a lot of money, shouldnt mean that they cant buy beautiful things, including beautiful cakes. I think I am a lost cause, just tattoo SUCKER across my forehead.

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pinkbox Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:36pm
post #26 of 30

Jayde.... I understand how you feel... and who's to say we cant do a case by case basis.

I have actually gotten better on the doormat part... (all the indydebi advice I see out there... .all hail indydebi haha)

Sometimes I will start with.... "what is your budget?" Then they get a cake in their budget. If its $30... then they get a $30 cake... its my descretion to give them more or less. Not made to feel like I am getting taken advantage of.

"My name is Kim and I am firm beliver of the indydebi backbone support group"

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vdrsolo Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 12:04pm
post #27 of 30

Something that has really helped me lately is that when someone asks for "just a little cake,nothing fancy" (you all know that comment), I tell them I have a minimum cake order of $40. That has really helped me weed out the cheapos who want a quarter sheet cake for less than $15!! Anything less than $40 is not worth my time!

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Jayde Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 11:15pm
post #28 of 30

My name is Kim also and I am also a "firm believer in the Indydebi backbone support group."

She has helped me in more ways than she will ever know. I just got turned down for my first ever wedding cake, because my price was too 'high'. After I had quoted her, and she turned me down, I was a wreck! I cried, and then I almost emailed her again with a lower quote, and then I talked to IndyDebi. After that I made a spreadsheet that calculated all of my costs (in just supplies) to make this wedding cake. Ingredients, supports, a new pan, etc. My profit after everything, even including gas and utilities was $80. This was not after my hourly wage had been deducted. This was my take home pay. $80 to make a cake.
I think she was insane to turn me down!

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indydebi Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 11:48pm
post #29 of 30
Originally Posted by Jayde

I think she was insane to turn me down!

You look taller already! thumbs_up.gif

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maryjsgirl Posted 18 Apr 2008 , 12:33am
post #30 of 30

My stepdad and his wife babysit a ton of kids and know everyone in town. So I asked them to get the word out that I am doing cakes. His wife was all supportive telling me to send her photos so she can email people, etc. I was a little excited at the chances of getting more practice and opportunity to make cakes. Then she said, "Yeah I mean why should they go to the grocery when they can come to you for a cheaper price?" My heart sank. She will never know how insulting that was. Not to mention FRUSTRATING. I didn't even know what to say in reply.

I already price my cakes very low due to living in a low cost of living area. The one bakery in my town charges like $1.35 a serving!

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