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The unrealistic client - Page 8

post #106 of 157

the thousand dollars sounds like possibly going for a zoning variance

 

local jurisdictions have a ton of regulations that the state does not supercede just 'cause they enact a cottage food or farmer's market law

 

both/all have to be obeyed/complied with

 

when someone says, "oh your state allows such and such so you'll be fine" i just cringe

 

yeah no there's many other hoops to jump through too, your hoa, your apt complex, the city and the county multiplied by several different agencies

 

it'a all according to your local regulations

 

it's not about not learning the new laws it's about satisfying the ones that are already there

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!

 

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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!

 

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post #107 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


If you've done market research to get this information then you should already have a good start on your business plan. You may need to dig a little deeper to find target markets that are willing to pay reasonable prices though. Unfortunately it may be the case that some of your local market is not viable because so many people have been undercutting prices for so long.
If you compare yourself to Walmart and local grocery stores you have already lost, since they compete primarily on price and small businesses can't match those economies of scale. Walmart customers are not your customers.

And that's another big problem with starting out pricing too low -- you will attract the wrong kind of customers, so when you increase your prices to realistic levels you essentially have to start from scratch and find customers who are looking for more than just a low price.

Your primary focus should be on your competitive advantages -- that is, what you can provide that other people can't. This can be a focus on superior flavors and taste, quality ingredients, presentation (decorating, sculpting, etc.), flexible delivery options, partnerships with venues, niche markets (like vegan or gluten-free customers), or some combination of these.

The way Jason used the term "market research" may sound like a huge endeavor, and while it can be, you're just selling a few cakes and it doesn't take all that much work to find out what cakes cost in your area. If grocery stores are literally all there is, then you may be pleasantly surprised to find a niche you didn't know existed.

 

We can agree to disagree, but this isn't grey area where both of us can be right. Your 2-3 cakes per month count. They are your "vote". If you are the only person in the whole world who undercharges, then maybe your "vote" doesn't matter.  But you're not the only person.  How about this -- think of your small contribution to market prices comparing it to littering.  Each person knows his one plastic cup isn't going to create a giant mess, but we use a trash can and handle our trash responsibly because we know what will happen if everyone litters.  And we know how we feel when people think that it doesn't apply to them and litter anyway. 

 

When I first started, to make a portfolio, I made some dummy cakes, nine very fancy birthday cakes for family members and sold three cakes for well under what they were worth. Being a naturally lazy person, I was like, "There's no way in hell I'm going to work that hard for nothing ever again!".  Picture Scarlet O'Hara with the radish in her hand screaming at the sky about never going hungry again. :)  So, I had eleven really nice cakes, that are still on page one of my gallery,  and that was enough to show most people what I could do.

 

Most of us have under priced our work accidentally, since the nature of this so often involves doing stuff you've never done before. And I can tell you from experience, Jason is exactly right, when these customers come back to you and find out they can't get cake as cheap as they thought, the vast majority (like 90%) drop off. You can't interest them in something lesser priced, because they want a grand cake for cheap, and this is important, THEY KNOW THEY CAN FIND SOMEONE TO DO IT. And that's a sad state of affairs and also a little annoying.

post #108 of 157
Very well said howsweet!
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #109 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparklekat6 View Post

Cake central needs to have a section for their bakers where they post a "Photo of the Day" and we all clock in with how much we would charge for that cake.  That would hopefully educate SOMEONE!  Maybe I'll start a blog!
Yes! Please do! I retired as a master electrician and didn't deal with the "Oh, I can do that cheap, stuff!" In the bakery world as I seen earlier, craigslist $35 cakes leave people unrealistic! Anybody in business has a bundle of other expenses...as we know and someone needs to have a show that actually prices each dessert, cake, or service. That was done on one about remodeling houses and it really helped the contractors deal with the Harry homeowners who wanted all stainless appliances, new tile, (only Italian will do) and new flooring...for less than what you can pay for linoleum !!!
post #110 of 157
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

You're welcome! Please try to avoid personal attacks though, and try to keep the thread on-topic. Thanks!

BTW since you mentioned you are in GA you may want to take a look at the recent GA cottage food law, it makes it pretty easy to get licensed and sell cakes legally from home.
http://agr.georgia.gov/cottage-foods.aspx

Ok, speaking of off topic WOW my thread sure got hijacked. LOL! But Jason is right about what constitutes a professional and an amateur. By dictionary definition an amateur does not accept payment for their work, and a professional does. I am a professional cake artist and a professional dancer. When I was an armature dancer I was still an advanced dancer, but was not collecting payment for performances I was cast in. Once I received that first paid job I was a professional, but I was still an advanced dancer. Amateur does not always equate with ability/skill level. A beginner decorator can be a professional if they are getting paid for their work and an expert decorator can be an amateur if they don't get paid for their work. So I think what you are truly saying about yourself is that you are not an expert cake artist yet, so you do not feel you should charge the same as an expert, and yes I agree with that. So maybe we should allow in this new whatever it is platform, have each caker classified as either a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or master/expert ability. This would let the potential client know that if their budget is low then they can go with a less experienced cake artist and pay a price accordingly. But if a client wants perfection then they are going to have to pay for it. Make sense?
post #111 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine View Post

 So maybe we should allow in this new whatever it is platform, have each caker classified as either a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or master/expert ability. This would let the potential client know that if their budget is low then they can go with a less experienced cake artist and pay a price accordingly. But if a client wants perfection then they are going to have to pay for it. Make sense?

That makes so much sense!  I know it's not realistic for everyone to do this, but wouldn't it be nice??  My hair salon has like 3 different levels of mastery and I can choose if I want a newbie or a master.  I know going in that I'm going to get what I pay for - good or bad! 

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

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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post #112 of 157
For what it's worth...levels are ok in theory. But with art you can not judge overall who is "master" ...vs beginner quality. Bottom line is ...if you get PAID follow the LAW and be licensed and certified, insured and everything a bakery has to have. (Including your taxes, as a real bakery does.) if not ...GIVE them away! ...while at the same time have the client buy, pay for and deliver all the material. I'm sure if they only show up with eggs, flour and butter the cake would be much different! So many are barely charging to cover the cost to be able to play Betty Crocker. But in reality it is AGAINST THE LAW to do that in some professions..food..healthcare...lol how would you like a wanna be doctor undercutting.
post #113 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tresor View Post

For what it's worth...levels are ok in theory. But with art you can not judge overall who is "master" ...vs beginner quality. Bottom line is ...if you get PAID follow the LAW and be licensed and certified, insured and everything a bakery has to have. (Including your taxes, as a real bakery does.) if not ...GIVE them away! ...while at the same time have the client buy, pay for and deliver all the material. I'm sure if they only show up with eggs, flour and butter the cake would be much different! So many are barely charging to cover the cost to be able to play Betty Crocker. But in reality it is AGAINST THE LAW to do that in some professions..food..healthcare...lol how would you like a wanna be doctor undercutting.

Hey,you live down the street from me!

 

do you remember that story in the news last year about some guy who was arrested for doing dentistry out of his home without a license? That happens a lot around here for some reason. I think he was yanking people's teeth out, for cut rates. Then there was that lady who got the "plastic surgery" from some person who injected household caulk into her butt. Those were some seriously deformed hips she ended up with.

post #114 of 157
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tresor View Post

For what it's worth...levels are ok in theory. But with art you can not judge overall who is "master" ...vs beginner quality. Bottom line is ...if you get PAID follow the LAW and be licensed and certified, insured and everything a bakery has to have. (Including your taxes, as a real bakery does.) if not ...GIVE them away! ...while at the same time have the client buy, pay for and deliver all the material. I'm sure if they only show up with eggs, flour and butter the cake would be much different! So many are barely charging to cover the cost to be able to play Betty Crocker. But in reality it is AGAINST THE LAW to do that in some professions..food..healthcare...lol how would you like a wanna be doctor undercutting.

You are so off base here.  Yes you can determine skill level, dance is an art form, gymnastics is an art form, ice skating is an art form, singing is an art form  ALL have skill level designations of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite/expert/master.  Those who say you can't designate ability because it is art is usually someone who has little or no talent in it, but has a heart for it.  It is a Montessori attitude to have.  Same reasoning that gave way to not scoring young kids sports "oh let's all get a trophy just for showing up". thumbsdown.gif  But I digress.  This thread is NOT about whether someone is legal or illegal, that is on them personally and what their conscience tells them.  So back on the thread please!  "stepping off soap box now".

post #115 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine View Post

Yes you can determine skill level, dance is an art form, gymnastics is an art form, ice skating is an art form, singing is an art form  ALL have skill level designations of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite/expert/master. 

Art is subjective. Generally it is easy to distinguish beginners from experts, but different people will have different opinions on the finer distinctions between levels.

Objective criteria like location and the amount of labor required for a design are better judges of expected price.

Quote:
This thread is NOT about whether someone is legal or illegal

Actually it plays a pretty big role in establishing unrealistic expectations among potential clients, since illegal bakers have an artificially low cost structure and tend to not account correctly for even those costs. It's a financial issue, not a moral issue.
Edited by jason_kraft - 2/6/13 at 8:22am
post #116 of 157
Art may be subjective, the law is not.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #117 of 157

I had a bride wanting a replica of the Royal Wedding cake , only for 200 people, and with a $150.00 budget.  icon_eek.gif 

Many of our customers really just don't understand what goes into cakes like this.  I blame the TV shows that make it all look so easy, and promoting these cakes without promoting how much they charge for them.

 

Also , to chime in with the somewhat off topic conversation here:

 

A huge source of my 'Unrealistic Clients " are due to the fact we have another decorator in my area operating illegally.

In my county, to operate legally, I have to pay rent for a space at our farm market. I pay for insurance to CMA. 

3 miles away from me there is a decorator, with little experience, operating illegally, advertising herself as a business through a facebook page that she actively promotes and charging somewhere around $1.00 - $1.50 per serving.

She is considered my ' competition' . Weekly I have someone request a quote from me who feels I am unreasonable seeing as she quotes out similar cakes on her facebook at 1/4 - 1/2 of the price. 

I have potential clients come to me with photos of 3 tiered cakes, but they only need 30 servings but want the EXACT cake, and if they have already priced my  ' competition ' they are expecting me to make the 3 tier cake and only charge for the 30 servings they need as she does. ( Who does that?!? ) 

 

Even though I do not 'cake' as my main source of income, I do have overhead expenses to legally pursue my hobby that need to be covered. It's not right , in my opinion, for another hobby baker to operate illegally. It would be an easier pill to swallow if she was marketing only to friends and family members. It wouldn't matter what she charged, or what her expertise is as they wouldn't have been my clients anyways.

post #118 of 157

Turn her in! You can do it anonymously. Take a screen dump of her FB page and send it to the HD.

post #119 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post

Turn her in! You can do it anonymously. Take a screen dump of her FB page and send it to the HD.
Yep, that's the best option. Most health depts don't have the resources to be proactive, so they often rely on consumer complaints and other citizens reporting illegal businesses.

The alternative is waiting for them to burn out, which may take years if it happens at all.
post #120 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post

Turn her in! You can do it anonymously. Take a screen dump of her FB page and send it to the HD.

That's a great idea. 

I didn't know I could do that under the radar. detective.gif

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