There are many things to take into consideration when you look for a cake designer.
First thing to look for it the location in which the cake is done. In my opinion a business that is licensed by the health dept. is the better option. Different areas of KC have different rules regarding who can bake where. If in doubt, ask.
Consults: In my opinion, consultations should be free. It’s part of owning a business. Yes, there is cost involved. No, I don’t like it when someone no shows. In the end, it’s all part of the deal.
Experience: this can be hard to figure out. I’ve been doing cakes for 26 years and spent most of that time in the retail field. I broke out on my own 6 years ago and it is totally different than working retail. I can say that my work has changed greatly over the years. When you look at cake web site, look for the details. Is the work smooth? Is there a wide variety of styles? Are the current trends featured there? Different degrees of skills? Some of this you may not be able to recognize but you can sort out most of it.
Pricing: I can’t speak for others but I like to keep my pricing simple. I don’t upcharge for all the little parts of a cake. I use a flat rate pricing. Yes I do have a range of prices to work from, but it is a all in one price. I also use a more realistic serving guide. (you can see that on my web site)The only thing I charge separately for are the sugar flowers and fruit based filling just because fruit is expensive. Some decorator “start with” a low base price and then add more for each detail. So get the whole story when you compare prices.
Designing the cake: It’s YOUR cake. Don’t let someone talk you into a design that you don’t care for. A good decorator will ask lots of questions to narrow down the 10 different images you brought to the consult.