I've gotten a few orders under my belt, one major disaster and a few more already in the works. One thing that I've noticed is that no one likes to talk about money, and people are real touchy when the subject is brought up. It's almost as if it's a dirty diaper and no one wants to take responsibility for it, much less touch it. Some people even loose their ability to speak or think clearly. I get a grunt and a check or cash shoved in my hand as if we were a couple of cavemen. So, I'm going to try to lay it all out there.
The first big question people want to know is how much is it going to cost me? Well the answer depends on what you want and what you are willing to accept. Can I do a 3 tiered wedding cake with cupcakes and cookies for under $200?? Sure but it's not going to be some elaborate design with a lot of intricate detail work. It'll be a plain white cake, simply iced cupcakes and a simple cookie design. As uncomfortable as it is, money should be the first thing discussed. Whether it's with me, or another bakery or any other service specialist, we need to know your budget. An actual number, don't just say "as cheap as possible" because "cheap" to me may not be as "cheap" to you. Don't be ashamed to say that your wedding budget for cake and/or confections is $200 or for a kids party all you can spend on the cake is $50. I, and any other bakery will more then likely be happy to work within your budget.
The next thing that goes through most people's mind is why are you more expensive then the grocery stores? I know that you can go to Publix or your local grocery store and pick up a 1/4 sheet cake for $20 but is it custom made for your event? Even if you ordered a 1/4 sheet cake out of their catalog and have it decorated in a specific theme, the quality of their cakes just aren't as good as a specialized bakery can do. They also have several people to work on one cake, there is someone that all they do is bake the cakes, there is someone else who ices the cake and another person who decorates it. (As a side note, most of the grocery store cakes are loaded up with white icing and then airbrushed rather then using different colored icing to put the details on the cake). I am just one person, I bake the cakes, I ice them and I decorate them and I do it all based on what I've discussed with each individual client. I have never made the same cake twice. So, yes, I'm going to charge a little bit more then the grocery store is going to charge.
Lastly, and here's smelly part of the dirty diaper we discussed earlier... Should I tip?? I mean we agreed on a price and gosh it's just more expensive then if I had gone to the grocery store, Right? Wrong! The answer is yes, in this country, you should tip anyone who has performed a service (even more since I don't charge a delivery fee and the price of gas these days...), whether it's a florist, a caterer, a DJ or a cake baker... you should always tip. The tip should absolutely be based on how well their job was done. Don't write the check until after the job is done. If the cake is everything you imagined and more, then tip well. If the cake is just ok and you aren't very happy with it, first of all don't be shy and bring it up to me or the bakery, I'm sure something can be done to make you satisfied and then tip accordingly.
Don't be afraid to talk about money, it'll save a lot of stress for both parties involved if it's just all out there.