I hope that I don't sound like a complete moron here, but I've only been doing this for about 4 months. How do you talk to clients/potential clients about what they want when they may not even know. I guess what I mean is, do you first ask what they want to spend? Or do you ask what they want?
How much of a difference do you charge for fondant as opposed to BC and how do I ask people to pay that difference when the majority of people around here don't even know what fondant is (let alone gumpaste, etc).
I'm sure I am undercutting myself as far as pricing goes, but some of this stuff I want to do just to kind of get on my resume and this area isn't known for its amazing bakeries (well, actually we may have some good bakeries, but it seems like all people do is order the same old thing from them) It seems like everyone in my circle mostly orders just a regular sheet cake for parties. So I guess what I'm trying to do is open up people's minds to the amazing things that can be done and at the same time show future clients what I can do. But how do you do this and ask people to pay more for it too? Or do you just make them sheet cakes? I guess I think once I get better and people see what I can do, I can raise my prices then.
I hope all of this makes sense and someone can help me out here.
First, welcome!! And trust me - you will get addicted!!!
Now on to your question.
If someone is just calling for pricing, this is how my conversation goes.
"Servings start at $xx. I also offer fondant, and that is a little more. It starts at $xx, and it's kind-of like a rolled frosting."
I had one bride specifically wanting to taste fondant, and I gave her a sample of it.
I had another customer that given the nature of her cake design, I recommended fondant because it would give a better, finished look - which is what she wanted.
As for having people order something different. I am so grateful my sister has 5 kids, my other sister 2 and I have 4 siblings!! There were some hits and some misses, but I got to create some cool cake to build my portfolio, aka introduce people to something new!
Any cake that you do as a freebie (for family etc.) take full creative freedom and make something to add to your portfolio. Have that book of picutres there to show clients what you can do. Tell them that you can create a cake that matches their theme. Use the wording "custom designed". Use styrofoam dummies to make cake designs to display. Most people here don't know what fondant is either and have generally been used to shortening based buttercreams. Having the dummies shows them what fondant looks like on a cake. Also, to taste fondant properly I often put some buttercream on a cupcake and place a piece of fondant on top. Not fussy about looks but I feel like the client gets a better idea of taste if it is tasted as it would normally be served - on cake. Some people will just hate fondant because they have heard things about it but haven't tried it -- some people will dislike it because it is chewier. Some people will love it.