"just Shopping For Price Quotes"---Vent!!!

Business By costumeczar Updated 14 Apr 2008 , 9:33pm by mmgiles

costumeczar Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 10:57pm
post #1 of 21

I just have to say that when I get an email that asks for a price quote because they're "just shopping around" it makes me so mad I want to spit! icon_mad.gif You know that they're going to end up going to the grocery store and it wastes your time having to try to figure out what the heck they're looking for. I just emailed some girl back with a list of specifics that I'd need before I could quote her anything, and darn it she actually wrote back. The most irritating part is that she said her reception is going to be in a high-end location here, so I know she's looking to do everything else on the cheap since she's probably blown the budget on the location! Oh well, Walmart is down the street...maybe they can help! icon_wink.gif

20 replies
Chef_Stef Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:08pm
post #2 of 21

I'm the other way--I always *assume* they're going to use me and give them the quote and/or take time to chat with them on the phone. I can usually tell by actually speaking with someone whether it's going to be a yes or no, and if it's a big wedding I'm happy to oblige.

Don't kill the sale before you know; give them the quote, even if it's a generic "It will be minimum $xx per serving, depending on design. You just never know...they could be serious.

cakeroach Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:08pm
post #3 of 21

That is part of any business-quoting a price, and usually people will want a quote for any service they hire out. Why would someone pay $100 or more when they can get it for cheaper? I do price quotes all the time and just expect it as it goes along with designing wedding cakes.

AmyCakes2 Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:09pm
post #4 of 21

I understand your frustration! icon_smile.gif It's very frustrating too, to hear "You are too expensive".....I've literally only heard that a handful of times over the 16 years I've been doing this - usually I hear that I don't charge enuf!
Look at it this way, if they don't order from you, it's probably better you don't do the cake! When you are good at what we do, our reputation will sell our cakes. If she wants to get it from a grocery store - let her....one less headache for you! Another, better cake order will come along! icon_smile.gif

DoniB Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:11pm
post #5 of 21

weellllll... Not necessarily. She just might be trying to find the best price on the cake she wants. She might have a much higher budget than Walmart, but doesn't want to blindly spend $5000 on a cake when she could have it for $2000. (trust me... ran into that a number of times with my own wedding!) I didn't necessarily go with the cheapest, but went with the best price for what I wanted. And once, I paid more, just because I liked the person who was offering it. icon_smile.gif

And she probably can't get what she wants from Walmart. If your work is good and prices are reasonable, she'll more than likely not have to shop around for very long before she places an order, and I don't think it's unreasonable at all for someone to do so.

I don't know a single bride who didn't shop around for just about everything for her wedding, including myself. Shopping around is the way folks do things in this country.... and it's a smart consumer that does it. If you don't want to be bothered with it, just don't answer her. icon_razz.gif

PS While I don't sell cakes yet, I DO officiate at weddings, and I can tell you for nothin' that I get 'shopped around' on all the time. It goes with the territory of selling ANYTHING... goods OR services! icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:23pm
post #6 of 21

My frustration comes from the fact that I have a very comprehensive section on my website that tells about average price per cake, so it irks me to have to go over it again. I can tell if someone came from my website because it's a different email address than my main cake address, so I just get irritated when they don't take the time to go to the page titled "pricing" before emailing me. I turn business away everyday, so I'm not complaining about people shopping around, but when people just want a price and don't seem to wonder about the quality it bugs me. I also do everything custom, so I don't want to over or underprice quotes if someone just gives me a vague description of something.

costumeczar Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:30pm
post #7 of 21

And I can never just not answer someone...I respond to every email, even if it's just to say that I'm booked or give them their quotes. Dang it!

DoniB Posted 13 Apr 2008 , 11:35pm
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

My frustration comes from the fact that I have a very comprehensive section on my website that tells about average price per cake, so it irks me to have to go over it again. I can tell if someone came from my website because it's a different email address than my main cake address, so I just get irritated when they don't take the time to go to the page titled "pricing" before emailing me. I turn business away everyday, so I'm not complaining about people shopping around, but when people just want a price and don't seem to wonder about the quality it bugs me. I also do everything custom, so I don't want to over or underprice quotes if someone just gives me a vague description of something.




okay, that part I can certainly understand! LOL good luck with it! icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 12:51am
post #9 of 21

With pricing on your website, I can understand the frustration.

My pricing is clearly posted and I dont' do add-on's that a bride can't figure out. Flat price, no matter what cake. Very simple to figure out.

When I get a "oh, I'm just price shopping right now" phone call, I first assume that I'm being price checked by the competition. Then, since it's obvious they are not actually looking to do serious shopping and comparing right now, I just ask them if they've had a chance to visit my website.

Regardless of their answer, I tell (or remind) them that "All of my pricing is right on the website and the price is $3/serving...." I invite them to visit the website (and I give the website address) and "....and when you are ready to make your cake decision, just give me a call and we'll set up a time so you can come in to discuss your wedding and what you are looking for."

I really never spend any time working up any quotes from a phone call. The actual quote is generated during the sampling. OTherwise, they can figure the price of the cake by visiting the website.

If they are calling "....just for price shopping" then they've already told me they are not looking for a "quote" .... they are looking for a "price".

And those are two different things.

chutzpah Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 6:13am
post #10 of 21

I never give a quote on the phone, I have no idea of the specifics they are looking for. I tell them I have a base price that covers alot of stuff and that there can be additional charges depending.

cakesbyamym Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:40am
post #11 of 21

I can understand your frustration, as well; however, I always answer each e-mail or each phone call in anticipation of booking THIS order. Like you mentioned, I have a very, very detailed FAQ section on my wedding cakes page, so every question that could possibly come up is right there for inquiring customers, in addition to pricing, delivery fees, you name it.

You're always going to have your folks that have paid for everything else, and feel that the cake should be the one item where they get their "deal." For example, I had a lady and her daughter to come for a tasting about two weeks ago. *NOT the daughter getting married, though.* So, she comes in 10-15 minutes late for starters. They taste my cakes and love them. We talk about the design that "her daughter wants." NO problems. We discuss all of the pertinent information that I typically go over with a potential booking customer. Then, comes the price. *She had already commented over the phone when she scheduled the consultation that my FAQ section was VERY informative.* SHE TELLS ME that another lady has quoted her (if I'm remembering correctly) $2.50. I said "$2.50 per serving?"....questioning if the meant per serving or the ENTIRE cake. She says, "for the entire cake." I replied back that my base price for butter cream is $2.75 per serving and fondant is $3.25 per serving. Keep in mind, this cake is 200 servings. I used my calculator to add the base price up for her and told her that I couldn't do the cake under $412, I think it was. That is prior to tax, equipment deposit, out of town delivery fee, flower placement, and so on. She packed her stuff up and SAID she'd be back in touch with me, but I knew (you just know when it's going nowhere) that I wouldn't hear from her again, and I haven't.

Bottom line, I'm not going to book each and every potential customer that comes my way, but I always treat them as a potential YES. It's just part of the industry that we're in. Yes, I agree...it's a very frustrating part....but again, it's just part of what we do. icon_smile.gif

Amy

Erdica Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 11:18am
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



When I get a "oh, I'm just price shopping right now" phone call, I first assume that I'm being price checked by the competition. Then, since it's obvious they are not actually looking to do serious shopping and comparing right now, I just ask them if they've had a chance to visit my website.

Regardless of their answer, I tell (or remind) them that "All of my pricing is right on the website and the price is $3/serving...." I invite them to visit the website (and I give the website address) and "....and when you are ready to make your cake decision, just give me a call and we'll set up a time so you can come in to discuss your wedding and what you are looking for."




That's funny. I assume it competition too. But sometimes it might just be someone at lunch or something not in front of a computer trying to cram in as many phone calls as they can. I also always, always direct them back to my website as well. It's an amazing marketing and informational tool.

elizw Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 11:38am
post #13 of 21

i honestly believe that if i was planning a wedding and didn't know anything about wedding cakes, i would check out the person's prices on their website and still contact them for further clarification. most only shop for a wedding cake once so there isn't a ton of opportunity to know all that is involved. i think it can be a little intimidating. just cut her some slack and let her ask some questions. if i'm planning on spending some money with someone i've never dealt with, i may come across a tad annoying in trying to get details.


think of it as buying a car. the price is on the sticker. do you pay that? does it include what you want? are there fees for things you don't know about or that you should be asking? if i get the slightest inclination that the car dealer is annoyed with me or doesn't take me seriously, i'm off to the next one.

customers can be annoying. a lot of times it is because they don't understand what we do. unless you've made a wedding cake, you won't understand. but that goes for every industry. just think of how you would want to be treated as a customer. she is stressed and working in uncharted territory. she may end up being your best customer. if you don't want to deal with it, just tell her you are booked and move on. eliminate your stress too!

Hippiemama Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 12:56pm
post #14 of 21

Instead of giving a quote I would just give general pricing guidelines. BC starts at $x.xx per serving, fondant at $x.xx. They are probably just wanting a ballpark figure so there is no reason to waste your time doing a full quote.

SugarBakerz Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 1:12pm
post #15 of 21

hippiemamma I agree with you, I do the same. Though it is listed on my website as BC starts at and Fondant starts at, I still tell them the same thing. I have changed my tiered cakes, wedding or not to a generic starting price because I am with indydebi that making a wedding cake and be just as simple or as hard as doing a tiered whimsy.... so I have that pricing section listed as tiered/wedding cakes and then broken down to BC and fondant.

aligotmatt Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 1:14pm
post #16 of 21

I had a bride email recently and say she wanted to know my pricing. It is listed on my website, but I still re-iterated the prices... $3.50 for bc and $4.50 for fondant, most cakes stay right around there, but they can go up a bit. So she wrote me back and said, well, I'm still hesitant to set up a consultation with you if you won't tell me what my cake would cost... She didn't even tell me how many servings!! How in the world do I quote that?

MichelleM77 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 1:19pm
post #17 of 21

Wow, I would never complain about customers contacting me for a price check. They are the reason we are in business. So you have never called up a business and asked for a price quote?

costumeczar Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 1:32pm
post #18 of 21

I don't call businesses and ask "how much for this or that" without giving specifics, no. What I'm saying is that I'm tired of people who contact me with requests like "how much for a three-tiered wedding cake?" My pricing isn't written in stone, and I'm going to be charging more for more elaborate cakes, so how are you supposd to respond to that? Vague requests don't make for good estimates, and you know that whenever you do a consultation with someone they always have more ideas than they told you in the first place, so the quotes change. The issue comes down to what indydebi wrote:

If they are calling "....just for price shopping" then they've already told me they are not looking for a "quote" .... they are looking for a "price".

And those are two different things
.

And yes, I know that customers are the reason that we're in business, but that doesn't mean that they don't irritate you sometimes! icon_wink.gif

chutzpah Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 2:35pm
post #19 of 21

Or the ones who come in and ask:

"How much is a wedding cake?"

Then when you ask how many servings, do they have an idea how they want it to look, delivery or pick-up, etc, they say:

"Well we don't know all that yet. We just want to know how much a wedding cake costs."

Here's your sign, ya wackaloon.

indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:50pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by chutzpah

Or the ones who come in and ask:

"How much is a wedding cake?"

Then when you ask how many servings, do they have an idea how they want it to look, delivery or pick-up, etc, they say:

"Well we don't know all that yet. We just want to know how much a wedding cake costs."

Here's your sign, ya wackaloon.




Well after I picked myself up from the floor, where I fell out of my chair laughing.......! icon_lol.gif

Maybe we should look them straight in the eye with all seriousness and say "Five Million Dollars". When they get over the shock, I can THEN explain "well, I can't really give you a price without knowing how big you need it to be, so I'm quoting worst case scenario!"

Oh yeah .... THAT would be fun!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Hippiemama put it best, I think. If they are looking for general info, I give them general info .... AND direct them back to my website.

mmgiles Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 9:33pm
post #21 of 21

Indidebi said what I was thinking. I just want to give them some crazy off the wall price. I dont think I'd go as high as $5mil, but its the same concept.

When I get an email that says How much do you charge for wedding cakes, I want to say $567.23

Now when they want to know how many people that serves, how big, what it looks like, then they'll feel our pain.

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