Let’s Split The Check


A number of people have written me recently because they or their cake club are interested in hosting a teacher. They want to know who pays for what. Just as the taste of every cake recipe differs, each instructor will present a unique situation. They will each have their own financial expectations. It would be easier for me to tell you what is the norm in various situations.

For Days of Sharing or local cake club sponsored events, a demonstrator will often be given some type of financial assistance. In many cases this is a gratuity of $150-200 or the offer of paying for the hotel night(s) for the demonstrator. The clubs normally draw a larger attendance when a “name” comes in, so the clubs can make up for the expense. Some clubs use their dues to help underwrite the cost of a class or demo for its members. Some groups will take the demonstrator to dinner. None of this required, it is simply what I have commonly seen in this situation.

If a group wants to bring an instructor in to teach, sometimes the group will pay for the hotel room, to help the instructor keep costs lower and to not take a loss on the trip. Rarely have I seen a group pay all travel expenses for this situation. Cake Love and the Alberta Cake Decorators Club have covered the hotel expense.

Some cake supply shops want to negotiate a flat fee with the instructor. The teacher is paid $x, regardless of the number of students. These shops also pay the travel and accommodation expenses for the teacher. Once they have reached their break even point on the class, the shop might actually make a smidgen of money for all of their work and expense.

At local cake shows that hold mini classes before, during or after the show, the teachers normally pay all costs themselves. They do, however, get to set the price they want for their class, and can use that to ensure that their expenses are covered.

I have been contacted by numerous individuals, shops and clubs that want to bring in people, but are frightened of the expense. My advice is always for them to contact the person they want to bring in. The teacher will let you know what it takes to bring them in. The bigger the name ( I.e., you have seen them on tv and you often know them by first names), the more you should expect to pay. They are more likely to require a fixed fee for the class, airfare, hotel, car and meals. By the same token, most lesser known instructors will pay their own way, just for the opportunity to teach. If you never ask the instructor, you will never know what it takes to bring them to your event!

The shop, club or person will commonly add a fee on top of the class fee to cover their part of the expenses. For example, if the teacher says this class costs $50 per student, the host may add $5-50 to that price so that they do not lose money bringing the teacher in. Some events, such as mini class events, may also add a registration fee. This portion is used to cover the rental of the large number of classrooms and hotel services involved in a major scale teaching event.

The hardest item to price is bringing in someone from another country. The expense of coming from England or Australia is usually so high that these teachers likely cannot pay all their travel expenses. If you host someone from another nation, you should expect to pay their airfare and possibly more, meaning that you will need to recoup those costs in your charge to attend the class.

I am going to end with the simplest of statements. When in doubt, ask. Every teacher will be happy to let you know how to get them to your location.

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