I know there was a previous post on this but I couldn't find it.
Right now I offer a free 6" cake in flavor of their choice, but I think some of them just contact me for the free cake. I was thinking of charging a small fee and if they sign with me it gets applied to their order.
I do free consultations... but considering the times I have been stood up... I am considering a nominal charge to be applied to their order... I work from home so getting the house ready and all takes extra time... I don't know what is the best policy. Anyone else have ideas???
I think consultations take a lot of time and I believe charging a nominal fee, like $25, that can be applied to their order (should they decide to go with you) will weed out the free loaders
Regardless of whether you have a B & M bakery or are a homebaker, you need to provide the samples in addition to the time and energy meeting with them, designing and discussing, etc. Perhaps if there are 2 or 3 really good local decorators competing for business on a constant basis, then a free consult is a great draw and then they can be wowed by your expertise but more often then not, all I hear about is people wanting free friggin' cake!
If they ask for a sample of cake, i usually tell them that it take time and effort for just a sample slice, but i would be willing to make a 6' cake of their choice for a small fee. Usually, works and have had no problems.
I charge a fee for a consultation. It's $25 for a consult with a tasting and if you book it gets applied to your order.. if not.. it's mine. It takes time and ingredients for me to make a sample cake.. I am not doing it for nothing.
I have been going back and forth about this for quite sometime now. I currently offer free tasting consults. They can taste 2-3 different flavors, fillings and frostings. I make up cupcakes from my leftover batter and freeze them for future tastings. I get like 75% of the consults I do...or sometimes they say they are still shopping around and end up calling me like a month later and then book. I do have some people that think I have nothing better to do with my time and ask to come in for a second consult and taste more, and waste more of my time! I too am a home based business and it takes a lot to get my house ready for a consult! I am just too nice...My hubby says that I need to stop. I just dont want to be a meany!
The above link is how I do consults .... there are add'l links inside the above thread.
basically, I dont' charge for a sampling. Mine are a little more than just 'a taste of cake' .... so I don't understand how dropping off a sample cake to someone is a "consultation". As another CC'er put it, it's a sales call. Would you pay a car salesman to take a test drive? I doubt it.
It's part of the cost of doing business. I've never run into the "let's call Debi and get a free lunch" person. There's too much time involved for both parties to mess with doing that.
My consults are 30-90 minutes long, depending on what they are ordering and how many questions they have.