Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

A local trial attorney had a special award coin designed for the Civil Air Patrol, of which we are members.  There is an event planned that will unveil this new award with about 50 bigwigs in attendance.  I just finished making a free sculpted cake to feed 75 last week for my daughter's CAP squadron that got rave reviews for both taste and design.  I have just opened my own business.  The cake requested would be two seperate 14", 2-layer cakes, fondant & gumpaste that would be spot on replicas of the front and back of the coin in gleaming gold.  The design is quite intricate including 2 jets, an eagle, stars, CAP logo and lots of lettering in red, white, blue, black and gold.  The cake also needs to be delivered about 40 miles away.  I quoted him $250 for the entire job plus $25 for delivery.  I know it will take me several days to complete the work to exactly replicate these coins.  You would think I was robbing him at gunpoint!!!  Do I need a reality check?  Please tell me if I do. My husband is pressuring me to significantly reduce the price because of all the contacts I would be making by pulling off a perfect job.  Do I really want contacts that want perfect work and pay WalMart prices or just expect me to do it for free?!  Someone please talk some sense into me as I am very frustrated right now.

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Well, personally, if you undercut yourself like this......that is what will be expected by others like him.  Hey were talking a lawyer here, no offensive, but they pay like crap for a ton of work their secretaries do.  My best friend worked for several, and they were all the same.  You need to respect your work.  Several days indeed, I wouldn't charge any less than $350.00. He has absolutely no IDEA the amount of work involved.  Just slap a cake together, right?  I would type up a step by step process, print it out, including supplies, approx hrs. to complete, and email/fax it to him to show your TIME is worth something.  Lawyers can charge anywhere between $250-500 an hr., so your time per hour should  be ignored.  I think not.
Thank you, June for your reply.  I really do want to charge a fair price and I'm not wishing to take advantage of anyone because of their profession.  That said, I have done charity work for the past two years while waiting for our state to pass a Cottage Foods Bill.  Everyone is always happy to get a free cake!  I could do the Mona Lisa in gumpaste and they would squeal in delight - but God forbid I dare to charge market price. The bakeries in our market do not do the quality of work I do (I've worked briefly for one of them and was galled by what they put out the door!).  I would love to hear from others who now work from home in states that allow this and hear how they position their pricing with the commercial bakeries in their markets.  I don't want to work myself to the bone for pennies an hour.  I can slap buttercream on frozen sheet cakes with plastic characters at Walmart for more profit and benefits than that!   UGH...guteral scream followed by deep sigh...   I do good quality work and simply wish to be paid a fair price for it.

I hear you.....absolutely.  I have also done cakes for free, but I now put in a extra kick.  If they balk at the monetary terms, I ask for, what I think is a reasonable amt to cover costs, and ask the client to donate $$$ to one of my favorite charities.  AND, have the receipt in MY name.  They usually give more in their name, so it is  win win

You both get a write off.   For me to go through my local health dept., re: rules, is way too prohibitive, so I am staying strictly a home hobby baker.  As long as I make under 30 thou, I don't run into any problems. Don't think I would ever reach that amt.  I have just received my 1st "commisioned" cake, due Jan/12 since I retired this past May.  So we shall see where it goes.

Do what your gut tells you, it is always right.

June

 

I have donated cakes, reduced price for cakes for friends of friends, and even let the client by the ingriendients and donated my time,... those days are just about long gone.  Unless I really feel the need to donate, for charitys and family and closest friends, I am charging.  I found what happens is you give an inch they take a mile,, stick to your price, don't back down, I can almost guarantee that if he were to go somewhere else, he'd either pay more, or be outright refused. Best of luck to you.
Your price is definitely not to high if anything it might be too low however him being an attorney of course he will act like that to try to get it cheaper take it from me I was a paralegal for a while before becoming a nurse and cake decorator You will definitely get the contacts you want I first thought my prices on a two 8 and 10 inch tired birthday cake was too high and people were telling me they would have paid 100.00 when I charged them 60.00 and still got a 20.00 tip from the individuals  the delivery is right in range because of the gas prices I charge 20.00 for the first 15 miles then 20.00 for every 15 miles thereafter  if you start lowering your prices then they will always expect that from you keep your prices they will respect you for it. They don't expect to lower their prices right?  You are in the business to make money just like they are  People don't realize the time and effort you put into a cake and you really do Hold your head up and be proud of what you charge and what you do so you go girl                Good Luck to you many days of happy baking Tammy
I am soooo mad at that attorney...(and I work for one). Although you are going to be 'advertised' by making this case, you are not in anyway overcharging. You are actually below the standard. I totally agree with the previous girls. In the future, if someone thinks that your price is too high, is because they dont deserve to have your cakes. By the way, dont forget to ost picture if you do the cakes. Best wishes.

I OBJECT!! ...

Couldn't resist! :-)

When I started baking cakes more professionally and started to charge, I found that I was undercharging because I possibly didnt believe enough in myself. Cake decorating is a gift from God and we are insulting Him by  'working our fingers to the bone' for peanuts.

You don't need to rely on the lawyer to grow your business. Keep your poker face on and stick with the price - he is just playing you to get you to fold. Im in South Africa, so cant comment on your pricing.  You can phone other bakers and ask for their pricing to see what the going price.

Keep advertising with photos of your cakes, believe in your gift, never sell yourself short and I look forward to seeing your posts about how busy you are that you need to get help. Best wishes

Yes...that is $5 person. I think if you are just starting out you should price lower than market value. Perhaps you are making the cakes too big. 2 14" cakes will serve 120 people is served correctly. But considering all the entricate work invloved you could price competitively.  I think you should charge $3 person - maybe 10 or 12". I was recently charging $50 for delivery that was 50 miles one way.  But I am also in the same position. I am doing a cake for the Boy Scouts Court of Honor for 200 people. I said I would do it for $200 because the friend requesting it is on the board and assured me I would be able to make cakes for future banquets. I am also having the opportunity to serve about 100 parents in the area that work for Nasa and various areonautical companies. So I am pricing lower because of the huge opportunity. Good luck.I wish you well.
I would say you're not overpriced at all.  My saying is "if you want a Walmart cake, then go to Walmart".  Walmart cannot provide custom work which is what you're doing, and for people to expect you to do it free of charge is absurd.  This is your job and your business.  Would they want to work for free?  Also, I use to do a lot of "free" orders for close friends and my daughters' schools.  Word started getting out about this and everyone started wanting their cakes for free or at a Walmart price when they felt it was "for a good cause".
You are more than a baker, you are an artist. If he really wants this spot on he will pay your fair price for it. I am so over people thinking its just flour and sugar. You should ask what he charges an hour and then log your time to see who is getting the better deal. Also yours is a guaranteed win, his isn't.
I would figure up how many hours it would take.....ask him what he charges / hour.......then tell him he's getting that cake at a steal!! This isn't let's make a deal here!! I wonder how he would feel if his clients tried to make him come down on his price!!
With all the hard work you would have to put in I think you charged a little too low.  Unfortunately some people don't understand the time it takes to bake and decorate cakes.

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