Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Frustrated
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Frustrated - Page 2

post #16 of 54

I have the same problems, but when I read everyone comment it make me think twice.  I rather make 1 cake for $300 then make 3 cake for $100 (if I even charge that much). I live in a small town and everyone want a $30 cake, I try it for a while just want to take more pictures of my creations, but just cant do it any more. Some time I'll be up all night making a $60 cake and I think to myself "what the hack I'm doing right now, why I always in myself in this situation".   

post #17 of 54

Once I get someone to actually taste one of my cakes (be it at someone's birthday or one of the MANY cakes I take to work as a test of new recipes)  they suddenly see the difference between my cakes and a grocery store cake.  Not just the cake itself (fresh, never frozen, quality ingredients) but the icing I use (Collette Peters' Meringue Buttercream is my basic), fillings and even the fondant (Satin Ice usually)-- then they start to understand why it's worth more to pay for custom baking.  After I clear that hurdle, the idea of paying more for the decorating is pretty easy.  The taste is what sells them and that's how I market myself.  If someone isn't willing to pay what my baking is worth, I don't want them as a customer. 

If all is not lost, where is it?
Reply
If all is not lost, where is it?
Reply
post #18 of 54

I too, have been approached to make cakes for people who get my name from various friends of mine. I have made shower, birthday and wedding cakes occassionally for a few friends over the years, purely as gifts for the party, I am not compensated in any way. With that said, these same well meaning friends give my name out to party attendees who love the cake and want me to make one for their gathering. I CRINGE when I occassionally get those calls, because #1, I made a cool cake for my galpal as a gift, not as advertisement. #2, the friends of friends are very often looking for dirt cheap cake that looks amazing, thinking that since I'm just some girl who decorated a cake in her kitchen, whatever I may charge will surely be less than a commercial establishment. #3, I recently got a call from a friend who wanted to know what I would charge for a copywrited character themed cake, I declined and was expecially glad I did after she went on to tell me that they had called a home caker in my area and that person wanted a whole 60 bucks. I thought that price was MORE than reasonable when they described what sort of cake they wanted, but these gals were still in sticker shock..and called me with the assumption that I'd be even cheaper than that. I used to feel guilty to say no all the time, but I don't now. I'd much prefer to spend my time practicing sugar flowers or getting buttercream smooth and just be proud that I improve everytime I practice. Saying no to people is so difficult for me, I'm sure it is for most people, but I can imagine that if you get burned by underpricing your own talents one too many times, you won't have a problem saying no for much longer. Best of luck to you!!!

post #19 of 54

The sad truth is most people have no idea what it takes to actually cook and in general food is not something they see themselves shelling out money for.  When I first started cooking for people (family & friends) I took it personal tried to adjust my prices to be "fair" to me and them usually with me being short changed and it still not being good enough out of frustration I quit.

 

Now I realize people will pay for what they value, the same people who won't pay over $40 for a "special" cake will pay $300-$500 for a purse, or pair of shoes because they've been told its worth it. 

 

Set your own value and never deviate from that, because that is what your product is worth. You may not get as many orders at first, but they will come and when they do it'll be from people who value what you do and are willing to pay for it.  

post #20 of 54
People genuinely have no idea how much a custom cake costs. Your pricing has to be your pricing, but for the OP you're definitely pricing too low. I wrote a blog post about this that went up yesterday...don't take it personally, not every one can afford a custom cake the same way that not everyone can afford a Porsche. I don't see Porsche dealerships lowering their prices to "be fair" to people...
post #21 of 54
Thread Starter 

My oldest daughter recently called me asking for cake making tips. She was in the kitchen thinking she could help a friend save some money and "do what mom does". This coming from the one daughter who has never stayed in the kitchen long enough to watch me do any cake decorating. I never got to see their end product, but my daughter did comment a day later that she had spent 9 hours in the kitchen and had done most of the fondant work and then exclaimed that it was a pain in the rear! lol  All I say was welcome to my world. Now she knows ca little more of what goes into making a custom cake.

 

People really have no idea what goes into these edible works of art. When I first started I would post pictures from start to finish on my Facebook page for people to see the development of a cake. They found it fascinating and would love the end result but many of them still want grocery store prices. lol I am learning to not take it personally. No, not everyone can afford custom cake prices. I tell people that they would only purchase a cake from me for something they wanted to make extra special; these cakes are not average everyday cakes.

 

It's nice to talk to others who have gone through or are going through the same frustrations that I am. I don't want to get to where I'm producing 20 cakes per week every week. But I do want to make more than one every couple of months. lol And I would love to practice more, but can't afford to make something to throw away either. However, I had just commented to my husband the other day that there are cake flavors I want to try and experiment with, and that I would take them out to share with our friends to see how they like the different flavors. And hopefully drum up some business while I'm at it.
 

EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
post #22 of 54

I'm a hobbyist, so I don't have customers to deal with, but I still found this post (by CC member jenmat) to be a great read: http://cakecentral.com/t/714674/why-im-happier-now-a-lesson-in-reality

 

In it she writes..."I knew I had underpriced myself and been incredibly lazy in the process. Not only is it lazy to not do your homework with pricing, it is lazy to undervalue yourself. We say its because of confidence issues or people just don't want to pay our prices, but it is also soo much easier to not have to sell yourself. When you underprice, you will get every customer, and you don't have to "do" much to get those people. They know they're getting a good deal, you don't have to sell them on your product".

 

(Click the link to read her entire post)

post #23 of 54

Thanks for posting that link. I enjoyed reading it! I need to vent for a minutes (hope it's o.k.).

 

I have a current customer who approached me because they wanted something "special" for a bridal shower they're having at the country club. She kept insisting we have a meeting to talk cake. I finally got the nerve up to tell her it wasn't necessary (she wasn't happy about that). Then she wanted me to give her a million different ideas including an umbrella theme for the cake. Again, I got tough and directed her to where SHE could spend hours searching (and leave me out of wasting time) for ideas. Then she asked for quotes on 4 cakes she picked out. I priced out the additional costs of sugar flowers as 'in addition to the cake'. I was thinking I'd educate her on what it takes to make those sugar flowers and let her price out real flowers if she wanted to. Then she came back to me with 2 more cake photos asking what those cost (I knew she was searching for cheaper because the cakes looked just like other ones she picked out). I did the same thing, pricing out the flowers as extras.....and this time I priced everything exactly where the other cakes prices were, not one penny different.

 

 Next email from her was she was deciding between the two cheapest cakes............OF COURSE! I want to ask her what about that "special" cake? How about there's 4 women paying for this $135.00 cake! (The cake is for 30 people, which we all know here, is still a dirt cheap price!! But these darn people don't want to pay for cake!)

 

Now she wants to meet with me to give me a color sample and wants me to offer her suggestions of what colors would look good with her color. I blew that off too and told her to go to The Perfect Palate and let me know which colors she wants.

 

I finally lead the end of the conversation and asked her if she wanted a chocolate or vanilla cake or if she wanted a Premium cake flavor. HA! Nipped that in the bud......... Then I mentioned if she paid me in advance I'd give her free delivery. If not, there's a fee for delivery and I'd only accept cash when I delivered the cake.

 

Now it's the great silence.............I'm waiting for her next reaction.

 

SOOOOOOO the point to posting this is..............is this what you all do? Just tell them the facts and let it be a take it or leave it thing. Whew........It's hard to be tough..............kind of fun.........but hard

post #24 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourPots View Post

I'm a hobbyist, so I don't have customers to deal with, but I still found this post (by CC member jenmat) to be a great read: http://cakecentral.com/t/714674/why-im-happier-now-a-lesson-in-reality

 

In it she writes..."I knew I had underpriced myself and been incredibly lazy in the process. Not only is it lazy to not do your homework with pricing, it is lazy to undervalue yourself. We say its because of confidence issues or people just don't want to pay our prices, but it is also soo much easier to not have to sell yourself. When you underprice, you will get every customer, and you don't have to "do" much to get those people. They know they're getting a good deal, you don't have to sell them on your product".

 

(Click the link to read her entire post)


I loved this post by jenmat!!! Very helpful. Very informative. I don't have a problem learning by someone elses experience. When looking at her website I found the following quote which I plan on keeping handy for future use:

 

Its just flour, sugar, and eggs

Although some of the cost for your cake does go to ingredients, the majority is dedicated to the time, talent and resources it takes to make your cake special. From licensing, insurance, taxes and utilities, to research, sketching and creative implementation, your price reflects not only the cost of eggs, flour and sugar, but also the cost of skillfully turning those ingredients into a work of edible art.It's

 

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing.

EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
post #25 of 54
Thread Starter 

To Stitches:

LOL I have to tell you that I had customer nit pick me like this a couple of years ago. She wanted something extra special for her son's birthday but didn't want to "pay" for it. I finally got really ticked off at her nit picking and penny pinching and laid out EXACTLY what all went into making the cake she was asking for. Needless to say I lost a customer that day with the comment "...that was totally unnecessary...". But losing that one customer lost me a major pain in my backside and so worth it.Not to mention he sons birthday fell the same time as my grand daughter's birthday taking time away from the cakes I wanted to make her.  I know that the same customer attempted to make her own specialty cake after that, thinking she could save herself money. She found out why I charge what I do for that specialty cake. No great loss.

 

Since we are here and discussing this. Do you all find it better to price by the slice or by the job?? Which benefits you more? I recently calculated and broke down the cost of a cupcake and found that with just the cake and frosting, that I can not make cupcakes for less than $2.50 each not counting fondant work or special wrappers even. I haven't calculated the cost of slice for a basic cake yet.

EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
EvArt's Cake Adventures
Where every cake is an adventure!!
Reply
post #26 of 54
How you price depends on the product. For wedding cakes (usually multi-tier) customers are used to a per-serving price, so that's how we price wedding cakes. For single-tier birthday cakes a flat price for the cake is more common, so each size of round cake has its own flat starting price.

From there, the quote/invoice will break down the price of each component of the cake: the starting price of the cake itself, adding fondant, a custom design, etc.

If I am approached by a customer about placing an order, I will hand them a business card and tell them to fill out the order form on our web site, which guides the customer to provide as much relevant info as possible. Sometimes the email thread will still go back and forth a few times, that's a standard cost of doing business (which can be built into your prices).
post #27 of 54
Stitches we live in the same neck of the woods so I know I don't need to tell you what it costs to be a member at these country clubs, and yet they're trying to save $5 on cake. Cheapskates.
elsewhere.
Reply
elsewhere.
Reply
post #28 of 54
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

Stitches we live in the same neck of the woods so I know I don't need to tell you what it costs to be a member at these country clubs, and yet they're trying to save $5 on cake. Cheapskates.

I sell my dessert cakes and wedding cakes wholesale to that country club and I know for a fact they charge MORE then double the cost of all the products I sell them. The members have no problem paying the club those larger price tags on the same exact product produced by me! Honestly! But when they buy from me direct they won't consider paying an equal amount to what the club charges. I'm done with that!

post #30 of 54

Oops sorry, back to the question at hand. I used to price by the cake and people would always take advantage of that and feed 100 people out of a 50 person cake. Making my product look skimpy. Now I charge by the person for every single cake. Then I add on the decorations as extras. I'm fine selling a naked cake....I don't care if I decorate it or they do.

 

Here's the things I'm focusing on FINALLY. I shopped yesterday at my locally privately owned grocery store and they are pricing cakes at $2.00 pp whether it's a baby cake or a wedding cake (and it's the worst of the worst stuff you can imagine). Heck, I start my prices on my scratch baked cakes with real butter cream frosting at $3.00 p.p. If clients can't understand the dollar more I ask for I sooooo don't want them!

 

Plus I've realizing the beauty of cupcakes. I can get $2.50 all day from everyone with no decorations, no consults, no custom work. If I can't get over $3.00 per serving I'd so much rather sell them cupcakes! Anyone not familiar with cupcake costs need to evaluate them...they are so easy and profitable they make decorating cakes really hard to want to do.

 

In the past, I did shop out all the higher end cake options people have all around Chicago and I was pricing based on competition with them, with-out a retail location (so I priced a little lower then them). It was the SHOCK of seeing how much the worst places charge that woke me up! It makes me completely understand how I'm still way too low....and I'm working on how to deal with that.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Frustrated