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AIBU to not work for free?!

(244 Posts)
PinkyPie80 Thu 17-Nov-16 09:12:03

Fucking awkward situation I've got myself in. I've name changed as fear this might out me.

I do cakes on the side, not professionally but if it's anyone's birthday etc I will be the one that makes the cakes and I charge for my time to make the cake but not at a professional rate.

We have a family friend that we have known for years. She owns a restaurant and struggled when she first started out so all of our family supported her and brought custom to her restaurant in the form of friends and we recommended her on Facebook etc. She is now successful and doing well.

She asked my mother if she knew anyone that would make her sisters wedding cake. My mum suggested me, the family friend said "money no object" She is foreign and sometimes the language is a barrier so I'm wondering whether my mother misheard her.

Last night my mother and I went to the restaurant to talk about what she wanted. She had cooked us a meal for free so we could sit down and discuss it. Quite an elaborate 2 tier cake with 80 cupcakes. I took the details and at the end she said "don't charge me for the labour, just charge me for the ingredients" I laughed thinking it was a joke but her face was deadpan and she said "I will take you out for a meal afterwards to say Thankyou"

Now because I had just eaten a 3 course meal for free and she is a family friend, I didn't say anything at the time. Came back home and my DH has gone off his tits, saying I can't do all those hours of work for free/a meal.

The wedding is 17th December so she hasn't given me a lot of notice

I have no bloody idea what to do now, what to say!!! Help mumsnet!!

SortAllTheThings Thu 17-Nov-16 09:16:46

Follow up phone call today, just to absolutely clarify what they want. Go over costs of materials, and add in that obviously you'll have to charge x amount for your time as it's quite a lot of work. Emphasise that this is mates rates. She's trying her luck.

Archedbrowse Thu 17-Nov-16 09:18:21

Could you text or email her saying you've got home and have been planning the cake/doing some sums and have worked out that it will take xxx hours, which I normally charge £x/hour (plus £x for ingredients). You can't afford to give up that many hours for free, as you're sure she understands, herself running a business, and would that be ok? Look forward to hearing if you'd like me to ahead at that rate, kind regards etc etc

Fauchelevent Thu 17-Nov-16 09:19:25

She is obviously being unreasonable. Explain that you've considered the project and because of its scale you will charge for labour at X cost. If this fee doesnt work for her, you recommend xyz who also pays more.

She's taking the piss, as people usually do with mates rates.

Graceflorrick Thu 17-Nov-16 09:19:39

I would say by text; I'm really pleased that you've asked me to contribute to the wedding and I'm happy to help as we're friends. However, because this isn't a paid job, I have to prioritise my other orders as I need to buy Christmas presents this month. Having looked at my workload, I think I can achieve a small cake for the wedding and just charge for ingredients. However, you might want to employ someone else to complete the larger cake and cup cakes. Hope that's ok.'

People are so rude OP, aren't they. Sorry you're in this position.

mumblechum0 Thu 17-Nov-16 09:20:01

what Arched Eyebrows said.

Shiningexample Thu 17-Nov-16 09:24:40

I agree, politely spell it out over email or text, that way she can't put you on the spot and you can take time to consider your response

00100001 Thu 17-Nov-16 09:27:25

Just don't make the cakes?

ViewBasket Thu 17-Nov-16 09:27:32

She's taking the piss, as people usually do with mates rates.


You set your own prices, your customers do not tell you what they are.

Shiningexample Thu 17-Nov-16 09:28:44

I had just eaten a 3 course meal for free
You know that saying 'there's no such thing as a free lunch'....
The meal was given to you so that you would feel in her debt

PinkyPie80 Thu 17-Nov-16 09:29:20

I would normall charge about £150 for that sort of thing. Ingredients will come to about £30/£40 so the thought of doing £110 worth of work for free makes me cringe!! My dad says that because we had a free meal last night and we are invited to the wedding that I should do it for free on this occasion sad

PinkyPie80 Thu 17-Nov-16 09:30:16

Shining - you are so bloody right there!!!

ViewBasket Thu 17-Nov-16 09:31:00

we had a free meal last night and we are invited to the wedding that I should do it for free on this occasion

Are all the other guests giving up £110 of their wage in addition to the other costs of attending a wedding? If not, why should you?

blueskyinmarch Thu 17-Nov-16 09:32:10

Why don't you do it as a gift if you are going to the wedding anyway? My SIL has her own cake making business and often gives us birthday cakes as gifts rather than buying presents.

londonrach Thu 17-Nov-16 09:32:42

Very sneaky of her with that meal last night. You need to text this morning to say no to free. Lots of good suggestions so far

MuseumOfCurry Thu 17-Nov-16 09:33:18

I see a lot of issues with cake bakers in particular on MN. I suspect you need to take a hard line on this and, as above, send an email or text laying out the costs & 'friend' discount (if any) and be done with it.

Start as you mean to go on.

228agreenend Thu 17-Nov-16 09:33:31

I think she presumes that two free meals would even out the cost of the labour.

Imthinkmyou need to her up and explain the situation.

IminaPickle Thu 17-Nov-16 09:35:48

Do it as her wedding gift.

DinosaursRoar Thu 17-Nov-16 09:39:05

Go with texting her that you've had paid clients come in and can't afford to turn them down to prioritise working for free, that you can't do both as her cake request will take x hours. Tell her you can give her details of other cake makers and she should be looking to pay around £150/160 for her request.

MuseumOfCurry Thu 17-Nov-16 09:40:42

I think she presumes that two free meals would even out the cost of the labour.

You'd have to be pretty crass to include the cost of the wedding into that calculation.

TobleroneBoo Thu 17-Nov-16 09:40:51

Do the ingredients really cost £30/40 or do they cost nearer to £80? wink

BluePancakes Thu 17-Nov-16 09:46:10

Could you choose the restaurant and go for a tasting menu at a Michelin starred place? Or at least make the suggestion beforehand to make the point about how much money you're giving up for a meal - might make her reconsider?

Shiningexample Thu 17-Nov-16 09:46:25

My dad says that because we had a free meal last night and we are invited to the wedding that I should do it for free on this occasion
No, she was sneaky
Had she approached you and said ' will you make this cake for me in exchange for 2 free meals' then you could have considered her offer and accepted it or not according to whether it felt fair.

She didn't, she manipulated you into feeling as if you owe her a favour, your dad wants you to go along with it because he will lose face if you don't....he'll feel embarrassed that his daughter didn't repay a favour.

Weigh up the consequences
if you go along with it then these people will see you as an easy target for manipulation.
What will happen if you don't? What will it cost you? I don't just mean money how much influence do these people have over you?

wednesdaynewdaytoday Thu 17-Nov-16 09:46:31

How much would that meal have cost?

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Thu 17-Nov-16 09:46:42

£150 is already very cheap! Stick to your guns, you must be paid for this. She's taking advantage.

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