Do I Ask For The Fountain And Other Structures Back?

Business By luvcakez Updated 30 Apr 2008 , 4:01am by TheCakeLadie

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luvcakez Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 3:41am
post #1 of 21

Hi, I'm doing my first debutante cake and I think I underpriced. The structures alone cost me 240 with shipping and handling. They want a fountain and 4 stairs. I'm charging 400 with 2 layers each of 14", 12", and 2 - 10". I was going to use fondant but decided buttercream would be cheaper. Would it be okay if I ask for the structures back, including the pillars and plates? Would it be okay to reuse them?

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20 replies
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Momof4luvscakes Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 3:46am
post #2 of 21

I always charge a deposit for that stuff. I charge a deposit of what it would cost me to replace it, and then if they return it in a timely matter, they get their deposit back!

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servingzero Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 3:47am
post #3 of 21

Well I've never done that kind of cake, but I would say YES! Get back whatever you can, and pillars etc can be used (unless allergies are a factor) ESPECIALLY any fountains and stairs!

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miny Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 3:58am
post #4 of 21

YES!!!!, get a deposit on everything! and when you get them back give 80% back because you need to charge for the use of your props, someday you'll need to replace them after all. icon_wink.gif

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kelleym Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 4:16am
post #5 of 21

It would also not be out of line to charge a rental fee for some equipment such as the fountain. I wouldn't charge for things like pillars and other supports, but the fountain is an added element that is out of the ordinary. I would charge a rental fee + a security deposit to ensure its safe return.

Also, you didn't mention if you have a contract with these people, but if you told them the cake would be fondant, I would not switch to buttercream to save money after they have already paid for fondant.

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TheCakeLadie Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 4:36am
post #6 of 21

I have been baking only 5 years but I always get a deposit for my supplies and of course you can use them again and you have definitely underpriced yourself. I do it all the time. I have found out that if I'am $5-$10 cheaper it's okay or maybe $50 on larger cakes it always comes back to me. I did a $100 cake 3 weeks ago and I have had 1 person that was at that party that has already ordered 3 cakes so that's how I look at.
Good Luck on your cake I would love to see it

Many Blessing's,
The Cake Ladie

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cakesbyamym Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 10:42am
post #7 of 21

Absolutely ask for your equipment back; however, if it's not already set into a signed contract, you might just not ever see your items again.

I charge equipment deposits for my MDF covered cake boards for all of my three and up tiered cakes. The deposit covers my expense at having to purchase additional wood to have DH cut out more boards. I charge $35 for each, and if returned in the same condition as delivered in, within 3 business days, I give them their $35 deposit back. This insures that you'll either get your property back or have more than enough compensation to re-buy the items. For fountain deposits, etc., I make sure that I have enough in the deposit to cover replacement, plus a little extra. After all, these items are out of your possession for these events, and that would be costing you should another person need them for that date/time. You need to get paid for this, as well.


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TheButterWench Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 10:58am
post #8 of 21

OMG, what are you thinking? of course you ask for your plastics back, you paid for them and they are yours!

You also ask for a nice deposit back. At least 1/2 of what it would cost you to replace them if not 100% of the cost!

and for the poster that prices her cakes at least $50.00 less because "it comes back" in other orders, let me know when you are booked with 10 cakes for one weekend and aren't making enough money to make it worth your while.

WHY ARE SOOOOO MANY DESIGNERS HERE UNDERPRICING THEMSELVES? do you not think you are worth it? if you feel bad about pricing your work you need to work on that BIG time, if not then just call it a hobby and give them away.

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vickymacd Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 11:23am
post #9 of 21

I only putz with cakes for fun, but I agree with you about telling others NOT to undercharge!! Why do we all do that??
I did that with craft shows (other medium) and always felt like I was so happy people bought my stuff and had it in their homes. Bullspit!! Others were making CRAP and still getting the money! It wasn't until I gave up doing the shows and looked at photos that I realized how good I really was!

People come to you for a reason, everyone!!! They like your stuff!!!
Don't go bazerk, but don't undercharge!! Give yourself a little credit!!

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TheCakeLadie Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:00pm
post #10 of 21

Just to let you know last month I had 15 cakes for Friday & Saturday!
The cake that should have been $100 dollars, I charged $75.00. The cakes that I was referring to was wedding cakes and larger birthday party cakes for instance. I made a wedding cake where I probably would have charged $300 to a stranger I only charged $270. And most of the people that I cut prices for are people I know or that order regularly. I make a good profit.

Good thing's come to those who wait.


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HerBoudoir Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 1:16pm
post #11 of 21

If you're having to go around and lay out a large amount of money to buy specialty equipment, there's a couple things you should consider:

What percentage of that is the customer going to pay ON TOP of what you get paid for the cakes?

What percentage of that are YOU willing to pay? This assumes that you can not only use the equipment again but that you are also going to charge the people who use the equipment in the future a percentage to use it and thus recoup your costs.

And finally - if it's equipment that you have no forseeable use for in the future, are you willing to either tell the customer they need to provide it or tell them you can't accomodate their wishes?

Smaller scale. Woman at work asked if I would consider making an "adult" cake for someone's bachlorette party. I told her if she purchased the pan AND paid me for making the cake, fine. I had no forseeable future use for said pan, and I wasn't interested in paying for it or even splitting the cost. Granted, I'm not a business so I can play hardball like that icon_smile.gif She declined because it would make it "too expensive" if she had to do both (apparently the pan that I didn't want and didn't need was supposed to replace any profit on making a cake).

If you're buying a bunch of equipment that either they keep or you have no future use for - where's your profit?

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Mandica12182 Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 5:38pm
post #12 of 21

I met a lady the other day...who was just starting out and not knowing the right thing to do charged a lady 15.00 deposit on a fountian, stairs, the whole set-up!! Well, needless to say the Caterer saw the MOB throwing the stuff away and decided to steal it!! Then this lady has to fight like He** to get HER stuff back from the caterer!!! Make sure that anything you rent out has a deposit large enough to replace the item!!

I charge a $35 deposti for my SPS system..regarless how many plates are used...I know it's actually MORE money than it would cost to replace them but, not when you include the shipping and handling and the hassle of ordering them again too!!

Make sure you do not give anyone those things without a deposit paid first!!

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luvcakez Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 7:53pm
post #13 of 21

Thanks to everyone who replied to this post. Like I said this is my first "big" decorating job. I wasn't prepared when I met with the client. I think it was her first big cake order too.

I'm glad i read some posts last night about the biz, such as the agreement to be signed at the site on delivery and set up day. I called the client today and mentioned that someone has to be there to verify that the cake was delivered in good condition and also mentioned that I need the fountain and stairs back. She didn't sound happy. She said we'll have to talk about it when I deliver the cake. We didn't sign any agreement beforehand. I gave her a receipt for the downpayment on the cake which states the balance owed upon delivery. She left to my discretion the flavor of the cake and the frosting. She just wants the fountain and the stairs. It's only after I ordered the fountain and other structures and spend time planning and making flowers that I see my profit dwindling so I figured if I get the fountain, etc. back it wouldn't be too bad coz maybe, hopefully, I would get another order like that or use it for my daughter's wedding...someday!

Anyway, with everyone's help I'm learning how to do this biz. Thanks again.

"Ask and you shall receive."

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HerBoudoir Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 8:21pm
post #14 of 21

I would get her to clarify now who "gets" the fountain and such, because from that response, I would say you will have a fight on your hands.

Never give someone a quote until you're certain how much it's going to cost YOU in the first place.

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grama_j Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 8:45pm
post #15 of 21

" She didn't sound happy. She said we'll have to talk about it when I deliver the cake. "
No, no, no !!! You "talk" about it NOW, or you will NEVER see that stuff again..... it is YOUR materials..... it is not part of the cake.......

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aswartzw Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 8:59pm
post #16 of 21
Originally Posted by grama_j

" She didn't sound happy. She said we'll have to talk about it when I deliver the cake. "
No, no, no !!! You "talk" about it NOW, or you will NEVER see that stuff again..... it is YOUR materials..... it is not part of the cake.......

I agree! Settle it now. She was probably expecting the price included EVERYTHING, including the fountain for her to keep. This is probably why she settled on you because your price was so much more within her price range than others. This is not to say your cakes aren't great but because people are always looking for the cheapest way out. It's the fountain that could ruin this deal for you and personally, I would rather not do the cake than lose all this money.

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HerBoudoir Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 9:04pm
post #17 of 21


If I would be willing to do cakes for what the folks who keep asking me to make them for them were willing to pay me, I'd be making a half a dozen cakes a week.

Better to tell the customer that you can't accomodate them than to basically do all the work for FREE or at a loss.

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mommycakediva Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 9:28pm
post #18 of 21

Okay ya if she want sto pay for them she can keep them, if not she is paying for the cake and isgetting a cake the rest is yours, she is only using it to make her cake look better! Definatly get it back, and if she has a problem no cake. You can't afford to do this for free.

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julzs71 Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 9:32pm
post #19 of 21

Well, You need to tell her no she can't have the fountain and the stairs now. If she wants all of those things, she may buy it and then give you the money for just the cake. Which is 400 plus the 230 for the fountain and stairs. If she doesn't like that, she can have one other option. Take her happy @$$ somewhere else.
If you wait to long you will be out of the 230 for the stairs and fountain.
Good Luck and don't back down.

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indydebi Posted 29 Apr 2008 , 11:37pm
post #20 of 21

What in the world would someone who doesn't do cakes, want with a fountain and stairs anyway???? icon_confused.gif I would get a big giant look of "You've got to be kidding, right?" look on my face if they even hinted at the idea they were "supposed" to keep the fountain/stairs. (Then of course, I'd be verbalizing the "You've got to be kidding!" icon_lol.gif )

Originally Posted by TheCakeLadie

JGood thing's come to those who wait.

And the rest of that quote is ......

"Good things come to those who wait .... but only the things left by those who hustle." ----Abraham Lincoln

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TheCakeLadie Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:01am
post #21 of 21

I can't understand why she would want to keep the fountain. I suppose that this is just the regular cake fountain by "Wilton". I hope she knows that you can't put beverages in it. It is just for decorations, you may want to tell her.

The Cake Ladie


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