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Feeling frustrated

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi guys
This is my first time posting on here.
So I run a small cake business I'm only new to cake decorating starting about 6 months ago, I know I have room for inprovement and am always learning but I think I do ok for someone who has done no training and is totally self taught.

I am a mother of 2 and my cake business is my only source of income. I'm in australia where ingredients etc cost much more than in the states but the minimum wage is much higher (around $17 an hour minimum wage). For these reason cake prices are obviously higher here. Most cake artists (running a business not just hobbyists) for example charge minimum $800 for a 4 tier decorated wedding cake with the average price around the $1200 mark and ranging anywhere upto and over the $2000 mark (not comparing my quality of work to people on the higher end of the scale, obviously they are amazing and have been at this much longer than I have and have been professionally trained, but I feel I reflect this in my prices.)

Lately I've been feeling very defeated by constantly being told my prices are too high and having many many many enquiries but after quoting for work not hearing back from people again. Its basically like "oh really, thy much? But it's just a cake?" I work extremely hard for quite a small profit margin, it is especially stressful seeing as I have a 8 month old at home who requires constant attention at the same time as trying to for example get a 5 tier intricately detailed wedding cake done!

I want to know from you guys if you think my pricing is reasonable. So for example for a 4 tier cake fully decorated with everything excluding stenciling or sugar roses I charge $500 (6"8"10"12" x 4" high minimum) I say this excludes sugar roses and stenciling but alot of the time if a customer is arguing about pricing I end up just doing them at no extra cost anyway, because I need all the work I can get. Now of this $500 around $250 goes straight away on fondant and ingredients and that's not even factoring in boards ,boxes, dowels, ribbon or the cost of power/ fuel to make and deliver the cake. I spend about 5 days straight making 4 tier cakes working usually at least 10 hour days (some days I've even worked for over 18 hours straight to get a cake finished!) so let's just say on average 40 hours of work goes into it) so that's $250 divided by 40 hours of work means I'm working for around $6.25 an hour which is VERY far below the $17/ hour minimum wage here.

Yet people hear my prices and run for the hills, I try to explain the costs and hours involved and even urge my customers to get quotes of others as I know they will struggle to find anyone cheaper. I just feel like I'm beating my head against a wall and I don't know what to do. Should I just drop my prices to get more work or keep them at what I think is reasonable even if it means much less work and less income

Thanks guys
post #2 of 12

Pricing-wise, that seems okay. I think that your problem isn't your pricing, it's more a marketing issue of reaching the customers who will pay your prices without complaining. There are plenty of cheap people, you need to figure out how to reach the people who aren't cheap.

 

Where do you advertise now? You should look at advertising options that reach the right people, but I don't know what options you have in Sydney.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply. I currently advertise on google, Facebook and wedding website I-do.com.au, I've also added my business to google places and am on classified sites like gumtree
I think any profit I do make goes right back into advertising costs icon_sad.gif
post #4 of 12

I know nothing about your area, but something that you could do would be to get some higher-end wedding magazines that are local to you (wedding guides, etc), not national magazines. See where the higher-end businesses are advertising. If none of them are advertising on XYZ website then you probably shouldn't waste your time with that one.

 

I took a quick look at gumtree, and that's probably where your problem is. Any classified site like that attracts people who are looking for a bargain. When they tell you that you're too expensive that's because they're probably used to getting cheap cakes for super low prices on there. I would take my ad off of there and stay away from it since it devalues you.

 

The best way to get wedding business is to get to know other wedding professionals. If there are networking groups in your area try to go to a few meetings and introduce yourself to people. It's going to be harder now when your kids are really little, but it will get easier after you make some connections. I get most of my business through word of mouth referrals, not through cold calls and advertising.

 

if you don't have a website get one and make sure it has a lot of text on it somewhere. Google is working differently these days, so it looks for on-page content and not just keywords.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I do already have a beautiful website
Www.petalsandpearlscakes.com.au
But the monthly advertising costs for google optimization through the company that runs my site is $2500 upfront and $600 a month after that which is clearly WAY out of my budget.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
That last msg was responding to a post by someone that I got an email notification about but it's nitshowing up here in the thread? Strange
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petals_and_Pearls_cakes View Post

I do already have a beautiful website
Www.petalsandpearlscakes.com.au
But the monthly advertising costs for google optimization through the company that runs my site is $2500 upfront and $600 a month after that which is clearly WAY out of my budget.

O_O that much for optimization? I run the site for my job (not cake related) and we are top in most search keywords. We revamped our website and started from scratch because our old site was awful. We don't pay anything aside from our hosting and domain fees. Are there a lot of bakeries in your area? Do you update often? I update our site frequently and run a blog on it as well.

post #8 of 12

I just looked at your website, Petals. You make beautiful cakes!

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmPamCakes View Post

I just looked at your website, Petals. You make beautiful cakes!

Nawww thankyou
I still am very new to it all, that 3 tier blue and white cake on my homepage was the first cake I ever decorated, before that I'd never really even baked before, well only out of a packet, I make all my cakes from scratch now icon_smile.gif
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibeeflower View Post

O_O that much for optimization? I run the site for my job (not cake related) and we are top in most search keywords. We revamped our website and started from scratch because our old site was awful. We don't pay anything aside from our hosting and domain fees. Are there a lot of bakeries in your area? Do you update often? I update our site frequently and run a blog on it as well.

Yep are you in the sates? Everything in Australia is sooooo much more expensive! It's ridiculous, like here petrol is over $1.50 a ltr for petrol which is about $6.40 a galon !
I paid almost $800 for my website through a friend of mine (usually would of been $2000) but that doesn't include the ability to be able to update or ad photos to the website myself. That would of cost me $4000! So if I want photos added or anything changed I just email them and they do it for me.
I have started doing google adwords advertising which is pay per click but it's been running for weeks now and ive only gotten 2 enquiries out of it either of which resulted in an order so undone think I'm going to bother with it again. Just stick to Facebook advertising
In my exact area there aren't many good custom cake designers but I'm still competing against the big bakeries and cake designers in the city for work, I live about an hour out but most weddings are closer to the city. I service and deliver to the entire sydney metro area
post #11 of 12

beautiful work!

post #12 of 12
Wowser ur cakes are absolutely gorgeous!!!! I dont understand why ur prices are being questioned at all. Can you look at refucing your costs through the suppliers you use?
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