*sigh* Customers!

Business By Kitagrl Updated 29 Oct 2007 , 5:53pm by Kitagrl

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 9:04pm
post #1 of 13

Ugh, I have spent SO much time with this certain customer! She first wanted a 3D cake in the shape of her son's favorite stuffed animal. Fine. I gave some ideas. No she wanted THIS idea... She wanted a sketch. I start working out sketches. Come up with a cute idea. Oh my, they have more guests coming and hubby is upset with the price of the cake. Here I found some buttercream tiered designs instead, could I have one of these. Um ok here are some prices.

I want this and this and this and can you do this?

I can do THIS and THIS for XX price.

Well can you add this?

Yes for XX more price.

Ok well can you put this on it and this and I think this would look good don't you? And this and this please. And please stack the tiers this way.

(Lady why don't YOU just make this thing?!)

I ought to charge her an extra fifty bucks just for all the time I've spent on her emails and the sketches she decided she couldn't afford. *sigh*

12 replies
spring55 Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 9:46pm
post #2 of 13

You absolutely should charge for your time! We call it a PIA add on.

Serioulsy, be carful about giving away your time.

acookieobsession Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 10:10pm
post #3 of 13

I have a customer like that! She always takes so much of my time to design and then she is NEVER happy. Happily though we were at a lumch together and I noticed that she was not ahppy about ANYTHING! Hummus to thivk, coke too flat, lunch to spicy, blah, blah...

You should charge the PIA addon mentioned for sure.....

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 11:51pm
post #4 of 13

Yeah but how does one go about doing that? I mean I can't just say "Lady I'm tired of this, I'm upping your price now."

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MimiFord Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 1:25am
post #5 of 13

Consultation fee = $X and includes (whatever you decide); but I consider one consultation the initial phone call with scheduling of meeting, initial meeting and exchange of ideas with initial sketch/design/concept, contract, and down payment - once the down payment is collected, customer is told their order is in the "design phase" - which to me means I am spending my extra time in planning the theme/concept, finalizing details and specifics of what I will need to complete the order. Customer is told that anything changed/added/subtracted constitutes an additional consultation fee of $X and depending upon when this is wanted, a rush fee may also be added.

If everything is changed, then we start over and add a rush fee.

Rush fee = PIA factor.

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 1:36am
post #6 of 13

Ohhhh. Ok. I usually don't take a deposit until we are sure we know what the design and final cost is.

So you are saying I actually should be taking a small deposit right away to hold the date and then save the lengthy discussion for afterwards?

Of course I don't always know who is going to be fast and who is not. Generally my customers either know what they want immediately (and that they can afford it) or they tell me to do whatever would look best and they trust me. I guess its not super often I get somebody totally obsessed with the cake and then ends up not even wanting what they originally wanted but it sure is a pain when it does happen.

MimiFord Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 2:09am
post #7 of 13

You can usually pick up pretty quickly either in person or on the phone how someone is going to be (firm in what they want and can pay/money no object; somewhat undecided, but money still no object; somewhat undecided, but money is an object; flaky (firm or undecided/can't afford what they want, but don't know what to do - want you to decide it for them)).

I always have a contract and deposit, even with people I know - because I'm new and don't have a lot of supplies on hand, so I need some money up front in case they want something I don't have - can be a pan or fondant, etc.

The rest comes in if anyone falls into the last two categories I mentioned above - has worked for me so far.

I've learned a lot from other CC posts. I always meet customers in person - they can see the pans (or pictures of them), see the charts of the servings, etc. I have it all in a binder that I use along with sketches my brother did on graph paper of what completed cakes that size would look like; then I use the cake matrix to give them some idea of the complete cost, and that's how I come up with the deposit. My consultation fee is set - they pay for one hour of my time no matter what. It's nominal, but takes into account some of the PIA factor and the extra time I spend on finalizing the details.

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 2:18am
post #8 of 13

I always take a deposit but usually only after I know what they want.

I can't really meet in person most of the time b/c I have four kids and just do this, so far, on the side. To do the occasional wedding tasting means to make sure the house is spotless and send dh off with the kids so I only even allow appointments for large cake orders or weddings.

Anyway I guess at least the lady is ordering cake.....she could just say "never mind" after all this!

karensjustdessert Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 4:10pm
post #9 of 13

This past year, I've started requesting deposits if contact goes beyond 2 emails or phone calls. When a sketch is requested, I state that I'll be happy to start working on the design when you hold the date with a deposit.
That way, there is assurance that you'll actually be doing the cake that you've spent done so much work on already (and I'm not even talking about baking it yet!).

LisaMS Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 4:39pm
post #10 of 13

I've had a handful of customers like that. What irritates me is when they have a $30 budget and Charm City Cakes taste. *That* is when I think "This is not worth my time." Very frustrating.

I find I give my best and often more than what is expected when I have a customer who gives me a general idea of what he/she wants and then says "I trust you..."

When I'm charging Charm City Cake prices *then* maybe I'll start feeling like the customer deserves hours of consultation. But a party cake for $30? Uh uh.

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Oh, and I'm learning that if a customer says they want "small and simple" it's just code for "I don't want to pay very much." lol

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 5:42pm
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMS

I've had a handful of customers like that. What irritates me is when they have a $30 budget and Charm City Cakes taste. *That* is when I think "This is not worth my time." Very frustrating.

I find I give my best and often more than what is expected when I have a customer who gives me a general idea of what he/she wants and then says "I trust you..."

When I'm charging Charm City Cake prices *then* maybe I'll start feeling like the customer deserves hours of consultation. But a party cake for $30? Uh uh.

icon_smile.gif


Oh, and I'm learning that if a customer says they want "small and simple" it's just code for "I don't want to pay very much." lol




Yes I hate that "Charm City Cakes on a Walmart budget" type!

I agree, when someone tells me they trust me to make it look good, I think they get a better cake than someone who tells me every little tiny detail. Especially because sometimes the details the person is demanding don't always look great together.

I think part of what happened here is that she didn't have her guest list finished...she had grand ideas (even admitted to "obsessing" about the cake) but then after we almost had our ideas down pat her guest list grew to where my per/serving cost was no longer affordable. So we had to start again.

Oh well. And we are STILL ironing out the final details.... she better hurry up with my deposit!

indydebi Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 5:49pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMS

Oh, and I'm learning that if a customer says they want "small and simple" it's just code for "I don't want to pay very much." lol




You are SO right!

"I'd like a cake. Nothing elaborate. Just simple. 3 tiers. 4 flavors of cake. With a volcano at the top. And a monkey band climbing up the side. All edible. And you don't have to make all the monkey band instruments .... just the drums will be ok....that will save me some money, right ? BUt no pillars or anything. Just a simple little cake. Here's my twenty bucks....that should cover everything, right?"

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 5:53pm
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMS

Oh, and I'm learning that if a customer says they want "small and simple" it's just code for "I don't want to pay very much." lol



You are SO right!

"I'd like a cake. Nothing elaborate. Just simple. 3 tiers. 4 flavors of cake. With a volcano at the top. And a monkey band climbing up the side. All edible. And you don't have to make all the monkey band instruments .... just the drums will be ok....that will save me some money, right ? BUt no pillars or anything. Just a simple little cake. Here's my twenty bucks....that should cover everything, right?"




Haha you are SO hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!

You almost forgot... "Can I have a 3D sculpted cake for only 8 people please?" (Sure but you'll get 25 servings and you'll pay $100-$150 depending on design.) haha.

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