Am I Crazy??

Business By camomama5 Updated 20 Apr 2012 , 3:56am by howsweet

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camomama5 Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 1:37pm
post #1 of 20

Contacted for a baby shower cake......another baby butt on top of the cake design....been done hundreds of times. she said it would be only 20 people. I can't put a big baby's butt on top of a little 8" cake. So I told her I would have to figure out the exact price and I will let her know but she wanted a ball park figure and I said around $150, maybe less. I was thinking I'd probably have to put the baby on top of a 12". So apparently they thought $150 or less was too much for a baby shower cake cause now she has "simpler designs" she will show me. Please tell me people are not always this cheap all the time. I am not even open yet (will be this summer). I do cakes for friends, etc. I put alot of time and attention into my cakes and I do not want to keep losing money or not getting compensated for my time. Was $150 too much for a 12" cake with that 3D baby on top? What is your minimum for 3D figures?

19 replies
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VanillaSky Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 1:45pm
post #2 of 20

This is just my opinion, but I think $150 for a cake that serves 20 is a lot to spend if I was throwing a baby shower. I actually applaud the customer for not expecting the moon for $10 bucks, but coming back on her own with the question as to what simpler designs will fit in her budget.

Just to be clear, I don't think $150 for a carved cake of that size is unreasonable at all. I just don't think the customer is unreasonable or cheap (maybe frugal) for not wanting to pay that much for a baby shower cake. I'd rather get a simpler' smaller cake for $75 to $100, and use the savings on baby gifts.

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camomama5 Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 1:57pm
post #3 of 20

In my original post I said it was not a cake for 20. That 3D figure could not fit on a cake that size. The cake had to be bigger if she wanted that design to fit on the cake. Therefore, more servings. I did not pick the design for her. Anyway.....thanks for your response. I see why other cakers have minimums set for their 3D cakes.

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MsGF Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 2:11pm
post #4 of 20

I don't think your quote was unreasonable at all. But from my experience people are odd. They want this gorgeous elaborate cake for the Wal-Mart price. When it comes to cake prices people are really uninformed. They are clueless of the time involved in making a beautiful cake. That is why Wal-Mart and others only sell sheet and round cakes. My teacher used to work for a grocery store and she had to decorate 10 cakes an hour! That is why the price is low and all the ingredients come pre-made in large containers, they just put them together. Were as the baby bum cake could take you 10 hours to make between planning, baking & decorating. Also I find all the caking shows on TV give people the idea of these large over the top cakes. I love the shows too, but I wish they would quote a price for the cake, then people would be more informed.

Sorry for the long post. Don't get discouraged, there are people who pay for and appreciate beautiful cakes. But you need to weed through the whack-a-doodles to find them. Good Luck, I wish you great success. HTH

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camomama5 Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 3:03pm
post #5 of 20

Thank you MsGF (did i get that right?). Makes me think sometimes I should just ask people outright right at the beginning what their budget is. It would save a lot of hassle and going back and forth. Thanks for your time.

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ReneeFLL Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 3:26pm
post #6 of 20

Camomama5 it is a good idea to ask what their budget is first. That gives you a starting point from where to begin. Also, setting a minimum gives people an idea of what things might cost, weeds out the people who only want to pay Walmart prices and you don't have to make small cakes for not much money.

Were you going to carve the baby bump out of cake? Rice krispie treats is another option.

I also don't think your price was unreasonable. Did she know that it was for a 12" cake?

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VanillaSky Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 4:27pm
post #7 of 20

Camomama, I did read your original post and I did understand that the cake you are proposing is more than a cake that serves 20. You were also very clear about the reasons why you feel you need to go up on size to give your customer the design she originally requested. As I said, your price is reasonable.

That said, and as I also said in my post, your customer needs a cake for a party that 20 people are attending. $150 is a lot of money for a cake for a party of that size. I don't think it's unreasonable of her to balk at the price. Even if people had double wedding sized portions, she'd be left with a lot of cake.

You asked a few things in your posts and one of them was to be told that customers aren't always this cheap. I was responding to that portion of your post as well as responding to the question about pricing. I don't think she was being cheap and you will find customers who are truly cheap, more demanding and more unreasonable as you progress with your new business, so be prepared. Good luck with your new business!!! Your cakes are very nice!

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Apti Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 4:46pm
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by camomama5

..... Please tell me people are not always this cheap all the time. I am not even open yet (will be this summer). I do cakes for friends, etc. I put alot of time and attention into my cakes and I do not want to keep losing money or not getting compensated for my time.

Camomama5~~You've received some excellent, thoughtful responses to your questions. Your approach to the customer was absolutely correct--you educated her that the design she originally wanted could only be accommodated on a larger cake. Her response was also correct, she was willing to compromise on design ideas for a less expensive cake.

However, the gist of your post is whether or not "people are this cheap all the time". In my opinion, it's not that "people are cheap", it is that the target customers who WILL pay custom decorating prices are not yet aware of your decorating skills.

Many, many new decorators have family and friends gush about their creations and eventually have people asking to purchase those lovely baked goods. However, that is not a business approach. Family and friends are NOT your target customer base. Between now and next summer, you have the opportunity to do some serious business and marketing research and find out where those paying customers are and how to present your services to them.

There is a wealth of information available online, at local colleges, and via the Small Business Administration. Perhaps you could start by preparing a business plan:

Good luck in your endeavor!

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nicunurse Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 5:15pm
post #9 of 20

I agree... most people are misinformed. They want the awesome cake at the walmart price. The first question I ask is "What is your budget for this cake." Usually this is after I have been given a description of what it is they want. Many, many, times, I have to say I'm sorry, I can't make that size cake for your budget... it will be X-dollars, then, I offer an alternative to try to fit their needs. Frustrating at times because most have no idea what goes into the making of these cakes. I read on here once "There are people that can afford your cakes, and those who can't." I'm not lowering my prices to get the "cant's" icon_smile.gif

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indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 5:50pm
post #10 of 20

I didn't want to do carved cakes (no real time to practice doing them well, so the couple I did were VERY simplistic!) so to discourage them, when I was asked "how much for a cake that looks like ..... (pick any design you want)?", I'd tell them, "Carved cakes START at $150 and that's before I even pick up a pencil to figure out what it is you are needing," I'd usually get a "Oh ..... well, maybe we can do something different."

If you were going to put a butt on a 12" round double layer, that's 50+ serving without counting the butt. (wow, that sentence sounds funny! icon_lol.gif ). So $150 avg's out to only $3/serving.

She may have been only serving 20 but she would have been GETTING cake for over 50.

Assuming my assumption is correct (2-layer 12"), your pricing was a good deal. thumbs_up.gif

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camomama5 Posted 15 Apr 2012 , 3:46am
post #11 of 20

Thank you to all who took the time and were kind enough to respond. I truly appreciate your input. Apti....I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "Family and friends are NOT your target customer base" and I know that but keep forgetting that since that is all I have right now. And I have done many free cakes as well as "cheap" cakes but was just venting because I JUST started trying to charge what I should be and it was a problem like I charge too much.(it takes a lot of time away from my family of 7 as well as the cost of all the ingredients) . I think my immediate area around here is "not my target customer base" either. You are right about finding out my target area. Also any ideas for pricing please let me know. I keep trying to download pricing matrixes from here and never can for some reason. Thank you to all of you!

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SheliaRenee Posted 15 Apr 2012 , 4:19am
post #12 of 20

Can I just start by saying that I love this website!! You all have the same frame of mind as I do in the pricing department! People expect way too much for very little price! I for one am tired of people wanting custom or elaborate cakes and expecting to pay $20-$30!! These are made from scratch, by hand! And it can take hours to do this!! Stick to your prices! People will pay! Its just getting the right customers!

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mcaballero2 Posted 15 Apr 2012 , 4:56am
post #13 of 20

I use the cakeboss software for a pricing guide although for my area, I had to up my price a little bit. I have a set starting price I charge for buttercream, fondant, whimsical, and sculptured cakes, each one having it's own starting price. I find this works better for me.

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Apti Posted 15 Apr 2012 , 5:19am
post #14 of 20

You are welcome. When you do a formal business plan, part of the process IS identifying your targeted customer base AND pricing. It's not easy, and it takes a serious time and effort commitment, but you can do it.

Very, very few people who express frustration here on the forum have a business plan. They expect business to "just show up" because they can do cakes now. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way.

You may find that your geographic area will not support the prices that custom cakes demand. Good luck.

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camomama5 Posted 17 Apr 2012 , 2:04pm
post #15 of 20

Oh for heaven;'s sake.....I asked her what her budget was and she said $50. She had sent me 2 more "simpler" designs....both with fondant and in the same email told me they did not want to spend more than $50. I told her I didn't think I could help her.

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jgifford Posted 17 Apr 2012 , 2:46pm
post #16 of 20

I realize I'm coming in late on this, but I just wanted to say that I've done a baby butt on an 8" - it was for my new grandson last year. You just have to consider proportions.

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christeena Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 4:14pm
post #17 of 20

I agree with jgifford - I have done numerous baby butt cakes on smaller cakes such as a 9" or 8". Most times I use a 4" cake for the butt or a cupcake! Proportion is key and can easily be adjusted. The effect is the same!

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camomama5 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 5:42pm
post #18 of 20

Thank you but not for $50. She does not want to spend anymore than that. No thanks. Go buy a sheet cake from Walmart.

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kakeladi Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 11:30pm
post #19 of 20

I'm way out of knowledge for currant pricing of cakes- having been out of business for some 5 yrs now- but I wanted to let you know that a small sized butt cake could be done. You mentioned in your 1st post an 8" cake not being big enough for a b butt but why could one not use a mini 1/2 ball cupcake for the butt - which would fit nicely on an 8 or 9" round. That would bring the size of the cake more into \\line....... just a thought.

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howsweet Posted 20 Apr 2012 , 3:56am
post #20 of 20

When I first started I had tons of people try to negotiate price and many who would express shock over my prices which were much lower then. Eventually the people who appreciate this kind of work and who can afford it will find you (or you find them) and you will have less of this.

I rarely hear this anymore. One thing that helps is for you to be very solid and confident in your price. If someone does ask nicely why the heck so much for a cake, I simply explain that it's not the cost of flour and eggs but time spent on the artwork. Don't be afraid to say yes that's the price and wait for them to fill the silence.

I do bend over backwards to give them lower priced options, but I don't back down or feel guilty for any prices I set.

Btw, your price sounds a little low to me.

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