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I'm a bit miffed by a chepo bride...

post #1 of 118
Thread Starter 
Ok here's the deal. A 'friend' at church is getting married (I say friend but we don't know each other, other than church.) and she needs a cake. The wedding is Jan 6th so about 2 weeks ago she throws her arm around me and says we've got to talk about cakes because she heard I was asked to do someone else's for April. Anyway I get her them, look up some pictures, snowflakes, and do some RI samples of them, and get it all to her. I suggest a price of $1 pp. I know that's really cheap. I called around here in STL and got a min of $1.35 pp to up there. I even posted here to see what folks charged. Now granted I'm still in my 3rd Wilton Course but I think I'm pretty good (you can check my pics to judge for yourself). I'm no professional or seasoned decorator so I thought I'd give her a break and go for the $1 pp. So in talking with her today she says she just can't afford $1 per person,.. that's $200 they just don't have. I said well the ingredients alone is $65-70 and that was padded up from the $53 the cake matrix figured for me. She only wants a couple of sheet cakes and the small three tiered (no pillars) cake. I went back in and figured in the cake matrix what if she only gave me .50 cents pp and that only pays me $1.80 per hour based on 24 hours. No it won't take me 24 hours but when you add in the talking, the research, the planning, etc... well yep you're at 24+ hours. I would really like to do the cake as it would be a first opportunity. As a newbie and wanting to get my name about I'm still interested. Am I crazy ???? icon_cry.gif

- Paula
post #2 of 118
Only if you don't mind working for free for a stranger. You could just call it practice and do it for that price, though. Up to you...

Not doing cakes any more, moved on...

Now blogging about life after cake and other randomness here:  http://itsa-long-story.blogspot.com/

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Not doing cakes any more, moved on...

Now blogging about life after cake and other randomness here:  http://itsa-long-story.blogspot.com/

Reply
post #3 of 118
Dear Paula -

It sounds to me like this person is not that close a "friend". I would not compromise my position. You are giving her a very good deal, and it sounds to me like she is just trying to wrangle a deal with you, thinking that you have no guidance as to pricing. If she goes to a professional baker, she will pay $70 more than through you.

Independent bakers (which is what you strive to be) charge a minimum of $2.25 here where I live in eastern PA. That is 50 cents less than the bakeries charge, with the exception of chain supermarkets that use frozen cakes and icing from a bucket.

As an independent baker, you should not compromise your price based on your lack of professional experience. Granted, you are just starting out and would like to offer a price to people who approach you, in exchange for what could be word-of-mouth publicity, but you should not let anyone take further advantage of you by trying to tell you that your cakes are only worth 50 cents per serving.

Stand your ground.
post #4 of 118
If it were me I would call her bluff and let her price it out somewhere else and she will re think your offer. Thats a lot of cake for $200. You can also offer her a cake on the bottom for cutting and dummies on top and undecorated slabs left in the kitchen for serving makes more sense for the price she wants. Charge her per serving for the bottom tier and something like $25ea for the dummies and 2 slabs. Id say about $160 +. Gives her 2 options then she can decide. You also said she wanted no pillers but its still extra time for dowels and stacking no difference.
post #5 of 118
My other concern is that she might tell everyone there that she got the cakes for such a low price. Then they will all come to you for cake. Heck, for that price, I would have you do my baking for me, then mark the price up!

Theresa icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmriga

My other concern is that she might tell everyone there that she got the cakes for such a low price. Then they will all come to you for cake. Heck, for that price, I would have you do my baking for me, then mark the price up!

Theresa icon_smile.gif



I was thinking the same thing as Theresa
post #7 of 118
Do you want to be known for your "cheap" cakes.....the bride's going to tell everyone.

Brides can be very demanding and critical; she's already demanding a discount, but that doesn't mean she's not going to be critical of your efforts.

If you decide to go forward, please make sure that you have everything in writing with her signing off, and that she pre-pays.

For what she wants to pay: no fondant, no filling and no RI. Maybe a simple ribbon wrapped around each b/c layer.

Also, make sure to cover:

Delivery - certainly not included for $1.00 or less pp

Set-up - not included for sheet cakes and small, tiered cake

Changes - no changes after certain date, and anything different costs MORE

Cancellation - okay, but you keep all the money

That's all I can think of right now. Just don't want you to get burned!

BTW, your cakes are beautiful. The bride would be lucky to book you!!!!
post #8 of 118
Your snowflakes are really gorgeous, as is all of your work. 50c pp for cake is highway robbery; who's ever heard of a wedding cake for 50c pp??! My gut reaction is, if she can afford to have 200 people at her wedding, she can certainly afford the rock-bottom price of $200 for a cake, but then again I don't know a darned thing about her and have no right to make assumptions. It's just that, you said she came to you b/c she knows you're doing one in April, not b/c she knows you're an independent baker and she can steal a cake from you. Still she's trying to take advantage of your position as a fellow parishioner.

Regardless, if it's worth it for you as a practice cake, why not get paid for it? At least you could recoup some of your costs. But I totally agree that you must beware underpricing your professional work, as word will travel FAST. If you really want to do it, even at her price, do a contract which clearly outlines the actual price of the cake and then states something about the nature of the discount.

Oh and btw I love the dummies idea if that cuts down on your time and effort (and cost): she gets her price, you get your practice, yet she still is forced to see that you can't get a wedding cake for 50c/p without sacrificing something.

Just my humble opinion. Good luck with making your decision!
post #9 of 118
There is no way I would do a wedding cake for $1.00 a serving! Your cakes are worth way more then that. I don't care if it is your first wedding cake!

I took a look at your cakes and they are very nice. All worth more then $1.00 a serving.

You know what I love most about your cakes??? Not only do you do great work but you are proud of them and say nice things about your own work.

I wish I could be that way. I always pick my stuff apart and think each one could be so much better.

I also love the way you take color and use it well. You blend colors and add little touches that most people just starting out doesn't even think about.

Keep your head up high and tell that lady that you are sorry but your off was more then fair. In fact once you thought about it you figured out you will lose money doing her cake for that price so she better say yes asap.
Joanne "It's all about the cake!"
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Joanne "It's all about the cake!"
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post #10 of 118
I think your cakes are beautiful! If she is not going to pay $1 a serve, I won't bother, not even for the practice!
post #11 of 118
There's no way you should do this, no way. I've always charged relatively highly for my cakes and have built up a reputation as someone who makes expensive, but very different, cakes - I'm sure I get more bookings through this and I only get people coming to me who can afford it and know what kind of stuff I do. If you start like this you'll find it hard to get out of the rut as you'll have to creep your prices up over time. Please ask the woman to get quotes from elsewhere. You would get more satisfaction doing a fancy cake for free for your real friends or family. She's asking an awful lot from you and you are worth far more,
post #12 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmriga

My other concern is that she might tell everyone there that she got the cakes for such a low price. Then they will all come to you for cake. Heck, for that price, I would have you do my baking for me, then mark the price up!

Theresa icon_smile.gif



exactly, had this happen to me gave a discount to a friend of my cousin and then became stuck because everyone at her work wanted a cake for the same price and i was basicly making them at cost because i was to nice to say anything but then one of the girls asked me for a discount on top of the already low charge i said enough is enough. if you want to do it for the experience and get the word out then make her sign a paper saying she can't tell anyone exactly what she paid for it but what you were going to charge her instead that way you get the experiecne, and you don't get stuck for being known as the cheap cake maker. and one last thing if she does agree to sign the paper make sure you let her know that it is a one time thing and the next time she will pay full price. at least that is what i would have done given the second chance. icon_wink.gif
post #13 of 118
cakekrayzie --

Good points and good advice. A non-disclosure agreement would definitely be in order here.

Theresa icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 118
I was just reading another thread, and came across this in homecook's signature. I hope homecook does not mind me quoting it:

"When pricing cake, remember my Mom's rule: Try taking 150 guests in formal wedding attire to a nice restaurant for dessert, and see if you can get them all a piece of fresh, decadent, custom-designed cake for less than $3.00 a serving...!"

Thank you, homecook!

Theresa icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 118
Sounds good, but how are you going to enforce a non-disclosure agreement.

In some states, if you're not a licensed business, you're not entitled to those protections.

And anyway, getting a lawyer would be expensive...

I just don't see this as a win-win situation icon_sad.gif
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