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How much to charge friends?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I don't have a cake decorating business....yet. Maybe someday when my kids are older. haha I just make them for family and friends for fun. Lately I've had many friend requests and they insist on paying me. I have no idea how much to charge. The ingredients and materials are expensive and it's time consuming, but because they are friends and I enjoy it, I feel bad charging them. Any suggestions on how much or how to calculate what a cake is worth?
post #2 of 37
If you do not plan on making this a business right now, and they insist on paying, I would simply calculate the cost of the ingredients and materials (to include electricity/gas, paper towels, cake boards etc..). If they want to give you more, that's their call. But if you don't plan to make money, breaking even at least would be nice icon_wink.gif

Or just insist that the cake is a gift and forgo purchasing a seperate gift. Most people are more than okay with that arrangement!
post #3 of 37
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post #4 of 37
I only charge for product if the really good friends.
post #5 of 37
Do you think you want to cake as a business one day though? Because if they just pay the value of ingredients then after a while your friends will get the idea that that's what a cake is worth...it'll make it hard if one day you need to charge commercial prices. And if you let them have cakes cheap now, then word will get around to more than just them that you're the lady who 'does cheap cakes'...your friends' friends start asking for cakes - and they'll want the same great deal. I say start out charging as you plan to continue should you ever go into commercial production. And if you can't/don't want to do that, then give them free of charge instead of buying your friends gifts IF and only when YOU choose to...at least that way you're not establishing unrealistic prices.
post #6 of 37
If I was running a business, then I would charge like everyone else, it is after all my livelihood. As I am just a mom who likes to bake, product for now works for me... however, if they start to take advantage, I will charge them full price, time, product, profit the lot!
post #7 of 37
My rule of thumb is if you ask me to do a cake, you pay. Simple as that. I don't give friends and family discounts, since those are the people that I do cakes for.

If I offer you a cake, then it's free.

The points made above about being the cheap cake lady is very valid. Isn't it funny how many 'really good' friends appear wanting you to make a cake for them, oh so you can practice this of that. You end up spending hours of your time making them an awesome cake, and they get to pay a very low price for it. How fair is that to you?
My Weight Loss Support Group is The Chunky Monkeys!
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post #8 of 37
I am recently getting into cake decorating as well. Usually I offer to make the cake as my gift for the birthday/wedding/ect. If they ask me to make the cake, I make sure they know that I am still very amateur, and not licensed, so I won't "sell" my cakes because I do plan to do this professionally someday. For now, I am doing this for practice, a picture of the cake to build my portfolio, and reimbursement for the groceris + $5 to cover the things I used out of my pantry, salt/baking powder/flavors/colors. Some of my friends & family will give me some extra as a tip, which is appreciated, but not mandatory.
post #9 of 37
Hello I was in this situation a few times, What I have started doing is charging as I would normally do then deduct the expenses and give the money back to them in a card. Either birthday, or wedding or anniversary or what ever the occasion is. I agree with the CHEAP CAKE LAdy You don't want to get that started. You never know when you will want or need this talent to make you some cash. That is just my idea, but it seems to work. I stick a note in and say, the cake was on me..... Hope that helps icon_smile.gif
Praising God always for the good things he has given me, Kids, home, job, health and a hubby free from cancer 12/09
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Praising God always for the good things he has given me, Kids, home, job, health and a hubby free from cancer 12/09
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post #10 of 37
Treat your cakes the same as stores treat their merchandise..everyone pays, however, just as stores offer friends and family discounts, you adopt the same. That way you are receiving some return on the time you invest and you are massaging your conscious at the same time..

Good Luck
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

My rule of thumb is if you ask me to do a cake, you pay. Simple as that. I don't give friends and family discounts, since those are the people that I do cakes for.

If I offer you a cake, then it's free.

The points made above about being the cheap cake lady is very valid. Isn't it funny how many 'really good' friends appear wanting you to make a cake for them, oh so you can practice this of that. You end up spending hours of your time making them an awesome cake, and they get to pay a very low price for it. How fair is that to you?



My policy also. If I offer a cake, it's free. If you ask, you pay.

My husband even pays full price when he gets a cake for his office. Offering cheap cake only opens the door to friends of friends who say, "So-and-so got cake for $XX and I want to order one too." Soon you would be Cheap Cake Lady to everyone.
Anna (105 lbs lost since June 1, 2009)
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Anna (105 lbs lost since June 1, 2009)
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post #12 of 37
I like the approach likefrogs has on the situation icon_smile.gif And TexasSugar is right on about if they ask, they pay...if you offer, it's a gift.
post #13 of 37
I did all friends and family free. Just last weekend a friends Grand-daughter had a BD party. They bought the cake at the market. Excuse me but all the free cakes I made for that family she couldn't offer me the money to do the cake.

I even did Wedding cakes free, can you imagine. I thought it would be great practice. Now I don't need the practice and I'm still doing free cakes. Wished I never started the freebees.
legal, not legal, I don't care
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legal, not legal, I don't care
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post #14 of 37
I quote family and friends the full price and then say, "This time I'm going to give you 30% off" This way they know what it would normally cost so if people ask what the cake or cupcakes is worth they can say the full price.

I also try and preface it with "This time" even if it turns out I do it all the time because it gives me an out at a later date if I need to rescind the "standing family discount".

Good luck!
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kila5459

I am recently getting into cake decorating as well. Usually I offer to make the cake as my gift for the birthday/wedding/ect. If they ask me to make the cake, I make sure they know that I am still very amateur, and not licensed, so I won't "sell" my cakes because I do plan to do this professionally someday. For now, I am doing this for practice, a picture of the cake to build my portfolio, and reimbursement for the groceris + $5 to cover the things I used out of my pantry, salt/baking powder/flavors/colors. Some of my friends & family will give me some extra as a tip, which is appreciated, but not mandatory.



I'm also a newbie and sometimes things turn out well and sometimes...well they bite the big one. So I never charge anyone, tell them upfront what I hope they're going to get, and see each cake as an opportunity to learn, take pictures, and practice. I don't even let them cover groceries. I'm also super freaked out by the local health department so I've become even more firm about not taking payment. I also tell them I'm not licensed and that's the reason I won't risk taking any form of payment from them. They usually get it at that point.

I have had a few friends balk about this (especially co-workers) but I just tell them they can either have it for free or not at all. That said, it's not unusual to have a gift card to the local coffee shop show up randomly on my desk though. I couldn't tell you who dropped it off and they wouldn't dare tell me they did it either. icon_smile.gif
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