Under Paid...again

Decorating By cathyscakes Updated 9 Jun 2008 , 2:57am by chellebell70

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cathyscakes Posted 23 May 2008 , 10:13pm
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My sister-in-law hired me to make a cake for a baby shower she is hosting. I tell her I will do the cake for the cost of ingredients, I'm at least proud of myself for saying that. The ingredients for the cake came to 35.00. She hands me a 20, and doesn't even ask me how much the ingredients cost. I'm sure in her mind that she thinks that it was a fair price. Don't people realize that fondant is expensive, butter, eggs, even the flavorings, I use wedding bouquet, that isn't cheap, well you all know how expensive everthing is. Its like they have never been in a store. Sorry for my rant, but i'm getting so tired of this, everyone wants a freebie, friends and family coming in all directions, I'm really temped to call it quits, or develope a backbone. It was just hard this week, I had to do this cake with a bad case of the flu. It is the first cake in my pictures, if anyone wants to check it out.

57 replies
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indydebi Posted 23 May 2008 , 10:37pm
post #2 of 58

No, she has no idea, because in her mind a cake is 1 cake mix, 3 eggs and some oil. She probably thinks she gave you a tip.

Put together your receipts in invoice form and give it to her, saying "Here's the accounting of the cake ... when will I get the other $15?"

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just_desserts Posted 23 May 2008 , 10:41pm
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$20 for THAT cake? You got to be kidding! Looks like you need to make an invoice itemizing every single thing you put in that cake & then "get that backbone" icon_rolleyes.gif That was a lot of work for that cake & BTW it is beautiful thumbs_up.gif You do beautiful work so don't give up.

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Juds2323 Posted 23 May 2008 , 11:01pm
post #4 of 58

First I would put together an invoice for the just in case factor. Include what your labor costs were then discount it the labor. In this case itemize the ingredients. Then maybe approach her "____, I know you were probably in a hurry, and I never got a chance to get you the total cost for all the ingredients. It was $35. I still need another 15 to cover the costs of the cake ingredients." Then if she balks give her the invoice - that way she can see the bargin she got.


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levinea Posted 24 May 2008 , 1:15am
post #5 of 58

I am schocked you were able to do that for $35, that is beautiful!

Definitely give her an itemized receipt, even if you are unwilling to ask for the other $15. It will be worth it for the NEXT time someone wants you to do a cake. I really believe nobody knows what quality ingredients costs, because I didn't know myself until I started baking and decorating. Just keep handing out those itemized receipts with every cake you do, and eventually people will get the hint.

I don't sell cakes, but I do bake and decorate them for only the cost of ingredients - my labor is always free. Anyway, when I deliver a cake I give an invoice with the cost of ingredients, and then an item for labor (like $40...then I write $40 discount and zero it out). I've found that co-workers are now REALLY good about paying for ingredients without a second thought.

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diane Posted 24 May 2008 , 3:02am
post #6 of 58

i wish everyone would read this post.

icon_eek.gif DO NOT DO A CAKE WITHOUT A SUFFICIENT DEPOSIT OR THE TOTAL AMOUNT!!!...especially for family and friends. those are the ones that will take advantage of you.

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chutzpah Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:00am
post #7 of 58

Geez, why didn't you say something right then and there? No one can take advantage of you without your permission, you know.

*slapping cathyscakes upside the head*


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sweetxallure Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:42am
post #8 of 58

That's unbelievable. Not only does she expect you to do cakes for HER for this cost, but also cakes for people she knows?! You need to develop a backbone, and stop going into the hole making cakes for people you do not even know.

Most importantly though, if making and decorating cakes is something that you enjoy doing, don't let someone else have power over whether or not you continue. Your cakes are beautiful, and you take pride in making them so; you're bound to be disappointed and left feeling terrible when the price paid for said cake didn't even cover the ingredients! They are definitely worth more. You need to set that woman straight, and next time charge labor! It's not your responsibility to provide discounted cakes to her acquaintances.

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cathyscakes Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:45am
post #9 of 58

Its funny how just talking to you all helps so much. Even though I feel taken advantaged of, I can't seem to say anything. Its just the type of person I am. I would dwell on it, worry that they were talking about me or mad at me, I know i'm being silly. So thanks for letting me get it off my chest with my cc friends, and really you do all give me strength with your comments, and I know I am going to have to grow a backbone someday, so thanks everyone.

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diane Posted 24 May 2008 , 7:14am
post #10 of 58

cathyscakes...we got you're back! thumbs_up.gif thumbs_up.gif

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Texas_Rose Posted 24 May 2008 , 7:43am
post #11 of 58

I thought I had replied to this already, but I don't see it so I guess I didn't...

Anyhow, I have a lot of moochers who ask me for cakes. I give them a list of what I will need, a very specific list down to the brands of everything, and tell them how many days before cake they need to bring it to me. I have had a couple of them tell me, "I can get a cake from Walmart for less than all this stuff will cost," and I say, "What a great idea!" Groceries have gone up a lot lately, and my grocery budget hasn't increased...I'm not taking food out of my kids mouths to make a cake for anyone.

But I bet you have a lot more friends than I do icon_biggrin.gif I've lost some lately.

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cathyscakes Posted 25 May 2008 , 5:23am
post #12 of 58

I don't understand when people ask for a specific cake with fondant and such and then don't want to pay for it. If they want a budget cake, then just go to walmart and buy one. I'm learning my lesson, I feel like people will be fair and then when they aren't it does deflate you a bit. So I am slowly getting a tougher skin, I know I need to be upfront about the costs, I just felt like she would ask me how much she owed, and then when she handed me the 20 dollars, I was kind of caught off guard, there were alot of people around, so I just let it go.

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CakeDiva73 Posted 25 May 2008 , 5:30am
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** Sweet merciful Mother of GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! **

That cake is stunning...... you deserve 4 times what you were paid.

I am actually angry for you. Unbelievable.........

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Chef_Stef Posted 25 May 2008 , 6:01am
post #14 of 58

I have two kinds of customer.

The first kind is a total stranger and/or NON-family/close friend, (or: "Real" customer). The other type is a family member or close friend.

My "Real" Customers get a Per Serving Price quoted and contracted with signatures, which is due TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE EVENT. I have never made a cake for free OR been messed over by one of these, ever. If they order a cake as a customer, they pay for it like a customer.

The family/friends I do cakes for--and they are few and far between--I do them for free IF I'm bored and I feel like making a cake that weekend. If I'm not bored and don't want to do a freebie, I say I'm busy. Usually when I say I'm bored and I'd love to make their cake for free, they say, "Oh, I couldn't have you do that--let me pay you something." So I say, "Flip me a $20 and we'll call it good", and it's fine, because I WANT to make their cake. I also never tell them that their $20 never even covers the ingredients, but it makes them feel better that they "paid" for their cake. This way I never get bent out of shape by working for peanuts for my friends n fam, because I'd have done it free in the first place.

HowEVER: These two customer types never (ever) cross over.

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tonimarie Posted 26 May 2008 , 2:26am
post #15 of 58

I think Juds2323 reply is just perfect, then she knows that she has WAY underpaid you. If you want to seriously do cakes for money then you have to get tough! I just made a graduation cake for 3 nieces and a cousin and I told one of the moms' that if she bought and brought me the ingredients that I would decorate for free. I gave her a list of what I needed and she dropped it off. I knew that was the only way I would ever get "paid" By the way, that cake was beautiful; I know it took ALOT of work. Be tough icon_wink.gif

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BREN28 Posted 27 May 2008 , 4:02pm
post #16 of 58

totally agree with texas_rose, what a great idea to give them the list of items you will need and and let them buy it and bring it to you. that way they know how much you spend on ingredients and supplies. thumbs_up.gif

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Ragdikacie Posted 27 May 2008 , 5:23pm
post #17 of 58

That cake is goregous and worth waaay more than $35! I would def give her an itemized list of the cost of ingredients and politely ask when you are getting the remaining $15. That's the least she could give you!!!

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Karema Posted 27 May 2008 , 5:42pm
post #18 of 58

You did a wonderfl job. First off I started out like you and make cakes for family and friends. I began going in the hole and all of a sudden it wasnt fun any more. Ok here's what I did I did up a brochure with my cake prices and how much I charge for my items. Then I give family and friends a 10% discount. So this way I am sure to make back the money I put in plus money for gas and electricity to bake the cake. This helps because they see how much everyone else pays and is greatful they get a discount. Just an idea. Set a price then give them a discount!

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ANicole Posted 27 May 2008 , 5:56pm
post #19 of 58

Cathyscakes - don't quit!!! You're so talented! You just need to tell her so she understands. You don't have to be rude about it. Just explain to her. I'm sure she would have no problem paying you what she originally agreed to, which is only costs anyway. She got a great deal! Don't be afraid to speak up!!


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fiddlesticks Posted 27 May 2008 , 6:04pm
post #20 of 58

If you dont let her know that the $20 wasent enough to cover ingredients, She might think she was being real nice and giving you extra as a tip ! I dont see why she wouldnt do the same thing over and over just thinking that she paid you plenty! You need to talk with her about the REAL cost ,Even if you let the rest of the money go this time !

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bambuf Posted 27 May 2008 , 6:06pm
post #21 of 58


First of all BIG HUGS to you! I know how hard it is to confront people with this sort of thing. I am the same way. I realize that for me it is a character flaw, but I will not apologize for being who I am...nor should you. Please don't let this affect your joy for cake decorating, though.

I think the invoice idea is a great idea and it helps you to inform without the confrontation. Or perhaps next time you can give her a shopping list of ingredients that you will need to complete the cake...telling her where she can look for fondant, etc. She will realize very quickly how much it costs to buy these things...especially when she has to purchase an entire bottle of wedding bouquet and an entire bucket of fondant to complete her cake.

Your cakes are lovely, by the way! icon_smile.gif

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Kaiah723 Posted 27 May 2008 , 6:08pm
post #22 of 58

First I want to start by saying that you're cakes are absolutely beautiful! Do not give up! I can sympathize with you as I can be the same way. I feel bad telling certain people certain things and I don't want anyone to be mad at me or talking about me or thinking that I am being mean. But she should really know how lucky she is that she got a gorgeous cake like that for only $20! That is crazy! I agree with everyone else and I think you should show her an itemized receipt just so she could see what it cost you and she would know for next time. Hopefully one day you'll get that backbone, as will I. icon_rolleyes.gif

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twistedsplinters Posted 27 May 2008 , 6:10pm
post #23 of 58

HEY SORRY TO SAY my family is the same way too. but mine would call up say i need this cake on this day and hang up. Thinking im going to do it for free bc they are family but i try and be nice and give it to them for cost. I have to call them back and they are what okayyy. Then they started ordering cakes for friends and telling me that they were for them so they can get it for their friend for cost. I found this out and now they have to pay the full price like everyone else.

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keconnell08 Posted 27 May 2008 , 6:27pm
post #24 of 58

My sister-in-law hired me to make a cake for a baby shower she is hosting. I tell her I will do the cake for the cost of ingredients

What is so hard about asking for what you want? She owes you one for that. You did her a HUGE favor by making this cake. Its not only cost but your time and effort that counts.

I just dont get it. Its not the end of the world if someone gets mad at you. If you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, then you have nothing to complain about.

My friends and family know better and they get upset if they think i'm not charging them enough.

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CNCS Posted 27 May 2008 , 7:46pm
post #25 of 58

It's the walmart mentality...I tell you
walmart/grocer stores have ruined the public to cheap cakes.

Just last evening I was in kroger buying eggs and sausage for breakfast and 2 ladies were looking over the cakes there and the conversation was

lady 1. you cant beat the prices they have on cakes here.

lady 2 I know arent they just so pretty.

lady 1 and walmart has the most talented ladies at their bakery. How they get away with selling them so cheap I'll never guess.

Lady 2. It doesnt hurt to have your own bakery on the premises. I bet their ovens are going night and day.

lady 1 well with the billions they make every year they can afford to sell cheap.

I wanted to laugh so bad.

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indydebi Posted 27 May 2008 , 8:59pm
post #26 of 58
Originally Posted by CNCS

Lady 2. It doesnt hurt to have your own bakery on the premises. I bet their ovens are going night and day.

I think I saw this on another thread but it so applies here.....!

Walmart has ovens? icon_confused.gif

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chassidyg Posted 27 May 2008 , 9:11pm
post #27 of 58
Originally Posted by indydebi

Originally Posted by CNCS

Lady 2. It doesnt hurt to have your own bakery on the premises. I bet their ovens are going night and day.

I think I saw this on another thread but it so applies here.....!

Walmart has ovens? icon_confused.gif

I was thinking the same thing! At least when you walk into a bakery, you smell something, cookies, brownies, cakes, whatever, but it's something. When at wal-mart standing at their cake counter you smell nothing!

Heck, my kids can smell my baking from the sidewalk outside, they'll run in the house going "where's the cookies (or brownies, or whatever it is I'm baking).

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jmt1714 Posted 27 May 2008 , 9:17pm
post #28 of 58

not trying to jump on you here, but . . . why didn't you just TELL her at the time she handed you a $20 that it wasn't going to cover the cost? This is not that big a deal - you're the cake person, she isn't. she has no idea. She thinks it is eggs and sugar and flour, and thinks that it is cheap to do.

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yelle66 Posted 27 May 2008 , 9:23pm
post #29 of 58

I have the same problem. It is tough. It really isn't about growing a backbone, so don't let anyone tell you that. Its just that you are a sensitive person and a pleaser. What is wrong with that?? Well, besides the fact that you get walked all over icon_wink.gif I am working on my ability to charge people what my cakes are worth and you are absolutely right, they have no idea what they actually cost. When I first started my sister was like, "Well, just figure out your costs and then what your time is worth. The ingredients are probably, what 2...3 dollars?" I almost peed my pants! Don't I wish! I wish I didn't have to charge people what I do, but you just can't do it for less. Even for friends and family. If you do, you will get burnt out and quit.

A little tip that helps me. I do email really well. I can tell people whatever I need to about price and everything over email. If you have the opportunity to do it that way, try it. If nothing else, its good for practice.

I have to raise my prices again and its going to hurt telling people. One of my first cakes I actually said "Its $30. Is that okay?" Idiot, of course its okay, b/c that is what the price is. I can't believe I said that.

You're not alone. Keep it up, you are really good!


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yelle66 Posted 27 May 2008 , 9:35pm
post #30 of 58

Also, a good thing to keep in mind regarding the Wal-Mart mentality is that people don't expect to go to Cheesecake Factory and get McDonald's prices, but for some reason, they think they will get gourmet, beautiful cakes that way. Remind them that you are not, in fact, McDonald's.

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