Tired Of People Wanting Me To Do Cakes For Nothing! Vent

Business By mom2spunkynbug Updated 13 May 2008 , 7:06pm by michellenj

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mom2spunkynbug Posted 12 May 2008 , 8:14pm
post #1 of 21

I'm so sick of people wanting me to do cakes for nothing! icon_mad.gif

A lady I know emailed me last week asking how much for 50 cupcakes with some sort of Hannah Montana theme tied in. I told her I could do pink or purple (or both, or whatever colors she wanted) frosting with a pink guitar (chocolate transfer) on top of each one (or she could have alternating pink/purple guitars to go along with the frosting colors). Or that I could do the "HM" logo on top of each one (choc transfer). I will deliver to her house & set up - all for $100 (and that's with a discount).

I do all the work myself. I buy the best ingredients I can and make everything from scratch. She has a lot of flavors to choose from as well.

I never heard back from her.

So I ended up emailing her this morning asking if she had decided (because it's for Saturday & I didn't want her to wait 'til the last minute if she did want them). She emailed me back saying that she's all set. She's going with something cheaper.

Ok, I just looked up the "competition"....unless you are doing them yourself or know a friend who will, you are basically buying from the grocery store - they charge $0.92/cupcake, and I would be charging her $2/cupcake.

Now another story - my neighbor asked me about a graduation cake for his daughter (she's graduating from high school). I gave him my card & he & his wife went on my website. They said they really liked the graduation cakes I did & to give them a price. I told them I start at $3.50/serving, but I would give them a break. The next day I see the guy neighbor and he says "well, dw has a friend that bakes, so I don't know if she's going to be doing something - but just give us a price anyway, and we'll see - it's all up to dw."

Ok, so if DW has a friend that's going to do it then just have her do it!! I'm going to tell him $150 (for a stacked book cake - like in my photos - to serve 50 people). I'm still giving him a break - although they probably won't see it that way.

Ok, I don't know what my point is here...guess I'm just venting.

Thanks for listening

20 replies
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mkolmar Posted 12 May 2008 , 8:59pm
post #2 of 21

I think we've all had this happen at some point and time. It's frustrating but stay strong in your pricing.

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becky27 Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:07pm
post #3 of 21

don't get discouraged....i am completely booked for this month and next...and it just seems i am giving everyone breaks and deals...for someone so busy(me) i am still in the poor house with a broken back and pain in my butt still!!!!! so no more mr. nice guy....i started quoting prices to people with no discount....and i do get a lot of no's but now...i don't feel bad because its just more time with my kids.....if people want it they will pay....if not....no biggie....good luck and vent away...it does help!!!!

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tippyad Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:15pm
post #4 of 21

Nip it in the bud!!!

Don't give discounts. Your time is valuable.

I never give discounts even to my family members. Never have, never will. My prices are set in stone and yours should be too. I don't mean to sound harse, but when you go to a restaurant you don't get to negotiate the price of what's on there menu so your menu/services should be negotiable either.

I believe most people don't understand all the time that is put into decorating. Don't sell yourself short. If your cakes are delicious and pretty you'll have no trouble getting customers. Those who appreciate the taste and look of a good cake are willing to pay the price as opposed to a store bought greasy iced cake.

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springlakecake Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:17pm
post #5 of 21

I was talking about this same senario with my Dad the other day.

He said his former boss always said:
Quality first
Profit second
sales third

You may get less orders, but hey, you'll charge more for the orders you do get. You don't have to do it for less. And they don't have to get it from you. I mean we've all shopped around from time to time. Sometimes you want the best and sometimes you don't want to spend the money.

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tatetart Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:19pm
post #6 of 21

If you get a reputation for doing good work for a cheap price, you can never break away from it.

Charge what you are worth, Dai. In time, the right clientale will find you.

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geri4292adams Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:21pm
post #7 of 21

I know how you feel. I live in a small town and it's not likely that many people will pay the price I want to charge, so I give discounts left and right. I almost feel bad about quoting prices. I need to learn how to stick to my guns more I guess. But then on the other hand, I make alot of cakes for family and friends for free, because it's their birthdays and all. I figure, if someone else sees the cakes that I make for them, then I may get business from someone else.

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pjmw Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:32pm
post #8 of 21

I know where you're coming from. I always felt like I was apologizing to friends when I told them the price. Not anymore. If they want me to do the cake, here is the price. Hang in there...and know you can vent to usicon_smile.gif


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nefcook21 Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:33pm
post #9 of 21

I too live in a small town and I feel bad charging what they are worth. People want good quality cakes but don't want to pay the price. Just today a lady called me and wanted a full sheet cake for graduation with two different college logos, half choc and half white and I quoted her a price od 80.00 and after I hung up I started feeling bad. icon_confused.gif WHat's up with that? I've not ever had anyone complain about my prices, at least not to my face!

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Momkiksbutt Posted 12 May 2008 , 9:56pm
post #10 of 21

Hey I totally hear ya on this one. I think I've ruined my business doing "favors" this last year. I am in the "activities" commitee in my churches ladies group(Relief Society for those of you that are fellow LDS members) and they all know that I do cakes. So... for every event the last 2 years they have "recruited" me to make the cakes or other desserts for them. They have never paid me, or even offered to rememburse me for the ingredients or other materials I have used for them, and barely even gave me a thank you or an acknowledgement that I have helped them in any way. Except for one person(the other lady on the commitee with me). Word gets around that you are willing to do stuff for free, even by people that know better.

The only paid business I have had for the last 8 months was at Christmas, and that was a "pity" order, by a husband for his family, just to give me some bit of "real business", that I was never thanked for and for which I also gave them a very deep discount just to make them happy. I don't even know if they thought they were good or not. That was in part the peppermint cupcakes I have posted on my photos, and a couple of fruit pies. At least my kids, and my two close friends and their kids thought the "leftovers" cupcakes were yummy.....

So the lesson here I guess is that you should never do a "favor" cake unless it's for a someone that you choose, and you know will really appreciate it and also give you some sort of "plug" to go with it. Favors are fine, but ones of this type come at a very high cost and aren't worth it in the end.

I'm helping a friend this thursday with a class she teaches at the local YMCA, and she's going to pay me to do it, decorating cupcakes to look like farm animals, so I feel ok donating some things for that. Besides it's for kids...I go out of my way for them. thumbs_up.gif

But no more "favors" for church or any other event from now on. Nothing without being paid for my efforts, time and materials. You know what they say, once someone knows they can get you to give it away, why pay for it? How true that is.......... icon_sad.gifthumbsdown.gif

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deanwithana Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:02pm
post #11 of 21

I don't sell cakes but after reading a ton on here I can see most of the time where the problem is.........get past the inner friends and family circle!!! I can see where people who do not understand what it takes to get those things decorated!!!

I was actually talking with my parents and was talking about wanting to go in business and getting licensed, etc. My mother then said to me...............$3.00 for a 2 x 2 slice......YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME????? Don't count on any business from me as I will serve FILET MIGNON for dessert at my events for those kinds of prices!!!! If it were a wedding or a sweet 16 it would be one thing.....but for a birthday or holiday.....NO WAY!!!!! I'll still get my cakes from Wal-Mart and be thrilled to serve them!!!!! Sad thing is.....she has the same mentality that most do...................

Get past the friends and family inner circle so that people are not bitter for what you charge and you are not bitter for doing it for practically nothing!!!! So for now, I have what I would say is a fairly expensive hobby where I have not received a penny for any cake I have made.......ever!!!!!

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NanaFixIt Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:30pm
post #12 of 21

My daughter is a custom photographer and the first thing she had to come to terms with was that our circle of family & friends is NOT her target market! We simply cannot afford her, but we do respect her value. When she started portfolio building, she offered free sessions and discounted print prices (still not cheap) and built a decent customer base. Once she completed her portfolio, she started charging for the session and removed the discounts. Her business slowed down, but she stayed firm and patient and eventually the "right" market found her.

I think the biggest thing she learned was that no matter what happened, she had to continue to value her art and talent - even when it felt like no one else did. Hard lesson for any of us, but necessary for success.

Don't give in, even if it feels like you are the only who gets it at times! Your talent will ultimately sell itself to the right people!

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Blazer Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:35pm
post #13 of 21

I know what you mean about "doing favors" I finally had to tell them a my church NO, can't do it. the final straw was our pastors son is getting married in June and they wanted me to do 400 custom cupcakes for the shower at no charge. Well now I am on the "B" list I quess and I am glad. All the ladies that said they would help with the wedding, that currently has 400 RSVP'd will miss the wedding because they will be in the kitchen. I don't know who is doing the wedding cake, but I do know it is not ME.

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tcakes65 Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:56pm
post #14 of 21

I hear ya, deanwithana!! I too had to get away from the friends circle. Some friends hosted an event about a month ago...a combined wedding reception and b-day party. They wanted two 2-tiered cakes, one a wedding cake and the other a birthday cake. I had creative freedom and tried to keep it within reason out of respect for them. I provided them with great looking cakes at the friends and family discounted price. When it came time to pay, the so called "friend" wanted to pay me $40 for both cakes. icon_eek.gif She and her entourage could not understand why $40 was unacceptable and thought I should be excited to receive $40 for the cakes ($20 each) icon_surprised.gif Lesson learned that I will not do cakes for friends or family in the near future. If I go against my better judgment and do it, they will pay full price like everyone else. The deep discounts only cause heartache and unnecessary grief. I don't see a problem with doing the occasional cake for church or an event, but making a habit of it only causes people to expect something for nothing. My husband and I will only make a specific number of pro bono cakes a year, and determine at the beginning of the year how many and the type of events we will support.

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countrycakes Posted 12 May 2008 , 11:31pm
post #15 of 21

tapedshut.gifthumbs_up.gificon_confused.gif Take it from me.......your 'friends and family' will be the LAST ONES to want to order from you....mine hardly ever do. I am in the business....legal, pay taxes quarterly....and what cakes I do, I charge them accordingly. icon_smile.gif

I too am sick of people wanting something for nothing......not to slam WM or Sam's or Foodlion bakeries....if you want cheap, go to them. I DO NOT Have cakes frozen waiting to be decorated........Next? thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

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indydebi Posted 12 May 2008 , 11:33pm
post #16 of 21

Family and friends are too close to you to understand your expertise.

Ever heard the old saying about "What makes him an expert? 50 miles and a briefcase" ..... translated, it means the locals never really take a local seriously. But if you're from 50 miles away, then wow, you must be an expert! Quick! Sign him up to be our keynote speaker!

Hubby came up with a great response to the "gosh, we don't have much money.....!" He says, "Neither do we so that's why we dont' discount!"

(sometimes he does come up with a good one!)

deanwithana .... your mom sounds like mine. A little psycho and a whole lot "out of it"! With those kind of people, you just calmly say, "OK!"

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mom2spunkynbug Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:50am
post #17 of 21

Thanks everyone - you're all great here icon_biggrin.gif

I feel better reading everyone's posts. And Indydebi...you are so right! Wow. I have a tracker on my website & do you know I hardly EVER see someone from my city looking at my website?!?!!! icon_confused.gificon_surprised.gif

I have ONE wedding cake booked in August & she actually lives here! All of my other tasting appointments have been with out-of-towners!

Well, I am going to tell him that I'll do it for $150. I just know they won't get it. NORMALLY I'd charge him $175 for buttercream cake, or $225 for a fondant cake (which that is a whole OTHER subject - they have no idea what fondant is, yet they chose the cake that is fondant covered...and yes, it does say that right underneath it on my website).

He said I could drop a note off in his mailbox (we don't always see each other all the time) with the price info. We'll see what happens! icon_rolleyes.gif

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geri4292adams Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:10am
post #18 of 21

One thing I have started doing since I live in a small town and people don't want to spend that much on a cake is this. Instead of setting a price on the individual pieces of cake like $1.50 a slice etc.. I ask the customer what he/she is wanting and then give them a overall price quote. It seems to make things easier for everyone.

I don't think of myself as a professional cake decorator, I don't think I am perfect at it yet, just look at my photo's, so I think that's why I have A hard time thinking I can ask someone to pay per slice. I hope this is all making sense to you all. LOL

Maybe one day I'll be able to charge per slice. Trying to get away from doing free cakes for people.

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HerBoudoir Posted 13 May 2008 , 10:50am
post #19 of 21

When I'm asked to price somethign I've made for someone, I don't figure by slice either - it's a rough estimate of the cost of ingredients, plus a fee per hour of my time. I'm not a business, and I rarely make things for family/friends unless I've volunteered to do so. But I'm not giving up my free time for nada icon_smile.gif

It's always amusing, because I frequently take practice cakes into work to be demolished, which is a double edged sword. On one hand, I enjoy sharing it with them, plus I hate stuff going to waste and having to be thrown out which is what would happen if I left it at home (we like sweets, just not large quanities).....but then it starts getting "expected" that I'll bring in free cakes all the time for bdays and whatnot. I've had to make very clear that will not be the case.

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indydebi Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:26pm
post #20 of 21
Originally Posted by HerBoudoir

...but then it starts getting "expected" that I'll bring in free cakes all the time for bdays and whatnot. I've had to make very clear that will not be the case.

Been there! My standard reply was "If I volunteer, it's free. If you ask for it, then it's an order and I'll get you a price."

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michellenj Posted 13 May 2008 , 7:06pm
post #21 of 21
Originally Posted by Blazer

I know what you mean about "doing favors" I finally had to tell them a my church NO, can't do it. the final straw was our pastors son is getting married in June and they wanted me to do 400 custom cupcakes for the shower at no charge. Well now I am on the "B" list I quess and I am glad. All the ladies that said they would help with the wedding, that currently has 400 RSVP'd will miss the wedding because they will be in the kitchen. I don't know who is doing the wedding cake, but I do know it is not ME.

Oh. My. God.

I can't believe that someone had the guts to ask you to do that! Obviously, it wasn't someone who has ever made/decorated 400 cuppies. Sheesh!

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