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RANT!  

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Here's my rant for the day, just in case anyone doesn't have a problem of her own to worry about :)

 

I had a potential client wanting an exact cake replica of a military aircraft sitting on a runway, complete with replicas of several of the soldier's medals to serve 30 guests.  The closest thing I've ever done to this was a replica of an antique car.  I priced it way too low, completely underestimated how much time it would take and ended up making only $10/hour, not counting what it cost for ingredients and materials (frame, heavy-duty board, etc.)  

 

After spending hours researching this airplane and finding the scale blueprints, I sent the client a message quoting her $1500 for the project, noting at least 40 hours of work, plus the materials.  Her response was this:  "$150? or $1500? We were looking for something in the $100-$150 range.  See what you can do with that.  Maybe make a smaller plane, lol"  I can't even begin to explain how livid I am.  People seriously don't have a clue!  The time I've already spent on this project warrants $150 and I haven't even turned on the oven.

post #2 of 50

Tell her you can ice a sheet cake grey with a white landing strip on it and she can put toy planes on top.

post #3 of 50

Ugh, hate that! It's so frustrating to spend so much time working on a quote and get that response! "See what you can do that"?!?!? I'll tell her what she can do with her $150. icon_twisted.gif

Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #4 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

Tell her you can ice a sheet cake grey with a white landing strip on it and she can put toy planes on top.
This. Cake decorating shows have made people think that an incredibly detailed cake can be completed in 22 minutes so I'm not sure this is all the customer's fault.
post #5 of 50
Costumeczar you gave me my laugh for the day! Great response. I have only been decorating for less than a year and I am home based and Facebook has been my source of customers. It nevers ceases to amaze me the stupidity of the American public! I cannot believe the questions I get and the expectations people have for pricing. Also, the amount of time they think it takes to whip up a cake with lots of characters or decorations vs. the time it actually takes! I am almost over trying to educate them!
post #6 of 50

They see it on TV--the green candy mountain with a river of chocolate, it's big enough (if it fell over) to kill that year-old kid whose birthday is being celebrated, all put together within 15 minutes.  Customers are coming to your webpage pre-brainwashed into stupidity...

 

You learned a good lesson.  Quoting good prices is a science taught in engineering firms, not bake shops.

 

Next time, ask more questions up front BEFORE you start the estimate and the research.  Not to mention, have a firm minimum order.

 

This is why I would ONLY do business with people where I have a face-to-face or telephone conversation.

post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

Next time, ask more questions up front BEFORE you start the estimate and the research.  Not to mention, have a firm minimum order.

 

 

This is the key to keeping your sanity!

 

Personally, I find it easier to handle this aspect of the business by email. I love to get clients to email me a photo of something they have in mind........sometimes when they say simple it means complex and visa versa....you've got to qualify their thoughts right away. If I'm eye to eye with them it's harder for me to say "no". It only takes a few times going through this kind of experience before you learn to talk price before you get into details. Just find out what kind of ball park there looking to spend with-in.... and you'll know whether it's worth talking details with them or not wasting your time.

post #8 of 50

I agree with Jason, these shows are coming to France now and people are clueless as to what goes in to these types of cakes, not to mention that Buddy has an army behind him so maybe he really can finish a cake in 20 minutesicon_wink.gif

post #9 of 50

i was just reading in the ace of cakes book

 

they typically recorded 120 hours of work a week to make one show

 

plus all the staff to help out with phones, dishes & workload

 

Duff has built himself a stunner stunner bakery

 

geez i'm glad i'm not a film/tv editor!!!

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

post #10 of 50

Maybe I'll get jumped on for this, but $50 a slice is not a price that anyone would imagine regardless of TV shows.  A 9" cake with a gumpaste or RKT airplane shouldn't be anywhere near $1500.  Unless it's covered in gold.

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155 View Post

Maybe I'll get jumped on for this, but $50 a slice is not a price that anyone would imagine regardless of TV shows.  A 9" cake with a gumpaste or RKT airplane shouldn't be anywhere near $1500.  Unless it's covered in gold.

If you're looking at a scale model replica with scale model gumpaste planes and replicas of actual medals, you pretty much throw the serving count out and go with the labor involved. Something super-detailed might actually take a full week of work.

 

seriously, I'd just start asking people what their budget is upfront. I ask people "Is there a budget that you want to stay within?" that way you can tell right away if you can or can't work with them.

 

But you're right that nobody would expect it to be that much, because they have no idea how much time goes into them.

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155 View Post

Maybe I'll get jumped on for this, but $50 a slice is not a price that anyone would imagine regardless of TV shows.  A 9" cake with a gumpaste or RKT airplane shouldn't be anywhere near $1500.  Unless it's covered in gold.
If a 9" cake involves a very detailed, labor-intensive design $1500 would absolutely be an appropriate price. For example, if a design takes 80 hours of work at $15 an hour you are already up to $1200 in costs without accounting for ingredients, overhead, or markup. Whether a customer is willing to pay that much is another question.
post #13 of 50

So tell her that you can make an airplane that is based on that one (although not a painstakingly exact one where every single detail is measured), and skip the medals.  She can display the medals near the cake.  At some point the customer will not notice or care or be willing to pay for the mind-numbing processes we put ourselves through.  Finding an easier, more affordable solution makes your job easier and her wallet happier.

 

Edited to add: I'd love to know if anyone here has sold a 9" for $1500. 

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kendra_83 View Post

 

I had a potential client wanting an exact cake replica of a military aircraft sitting on a runway, complete with replicas of several of the soldier's medals to serve 30 guests. 

.....part missing.....

After spending hours researching this airplane and finding the scale blueprints

OK so you could use these images to produce a few sugar sheets and slap them onto a freshly buttercream iced cake. Add a reasonable border and you can sell the cake for $120-130 and make these people feel good.

 

Save the images you found for this project--they don't have to go to waste.  Build yourself a library of cake art for future use. I know how it feels to spend hours online looking for stuff.  I have filled 2 hard drives with folders of the results...

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155 View Post

Maybe I'll get jumped on for this, but $50 a slice is not a price that anyone would imagine regardless of TV shows.  A 9" cake with a gumpaste or RKT airplane shouldn't be anywhere near $1500.  Unless it's covered in gold.

 

Isn't Duff's minimum around $1500?

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