My First, "oh You're Much Too Expensive..."

Business By pish Updated 5 Jan 2009 , 9:02pm by pish

pish Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:22pm
post #1 of 61

I knew this day was coming I just didn't expect it to hurt quite so much. Up until now, I've never had anyone have any trouble paying me what I've quoted. Now, granted, I don't do very large cakes, but I've never undersold myself. Then today happened...

A lady asked for a quote for a graduation cake for 50-75 people. Quote her 65 for 11x15, 85 for 12x18. Double layer, custom decorations, etc. She e-mails me back with "Thanks, but that is waaaay beyond our budget."

Now, I know I should be okay with this. I know that I don't want to compete with the Wal-Mart and Costco of the world but it still stung a little that I wasn't wanted icon_cry.gif . Oh well, what is it indydebi says..."Next!" Thanks for listening!

PS HATE Costco...okay, maybe just the bakery icon_biggrin.gif

60 replies
MichelleM77 Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:52pm
post #2 of 61

Either way you were giving her a custom cake for less than $1 per person (if I did my math right; I hate math!). No way can she get a custom cake at the grocery store, other than airbrushing and maybe an edible image, at least the ones near me. I've had a few cookie orders go that route and I'm the cheap one in my area! I'm learning to thicken my skin. Can't take it personally, though I'm the type to do just that with everything. I checked out your gallery and you shouldn't want to compete with Costco! Your cakes are beautiful and deserve a higher price.

mkolmar Posted 12 May 2008 , 11:00pm
post #3 of 61

I've heard that a lot, I'm one of Wal-marts and Krogers biggest supporters for baked good. Just brush it off the best you can and move on. Your time is worth the money they need to pay.

tcakes65 Posted 12 May 2008 , 11:32pm
post #4 of 61

I agree that it does sting the first time. I actually had the same thing happen last week for the first time. The bride wanted a 5-tier wedding cake for 150 people with lots of fondant decorations. We provide a military discount...hubby is retired Navy...and with the discount she was going to pay approximately $3.20/serving. She said she would contact me, and I received an email from her last week. She said that she loved our cakes, but that we were way too expensive. icon_eek.gif I just started laughing because she had no idea what a deal she was getting for that many guests and all the fondant detail work. She indicated that she was getting much better deals elsewhere. I had to let it go and congratulate her for finding someone to do such an elaborate cake for $1 to $2 per serving because it won't be me. The reaction from all of my other brides has been quite the opposite, and they are ecstatic with the quality and cost of our cakes. There will always be one in the bunch that just doesn't get it. I'm located right next to Walmart so the next time I get the "you're prices are too high" response, I'll be sure to direct them right on over to Walmart. icon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 13 May 2008 , 12:02am
post #5 of 61

Don't take it personally, it doesn't mean that your cakes aren't good. It just means that they didn't allocate that much for a cake in their budget! When someone says "Your price is too high" you should add "For what I'm willing to pay" to the end of that sentence. There are plenty of people who are willing to pay what something's worth if they want it, and different people just have different budgets, that's all. That's why there are KMart, Neiman Marcus and all the stores in between. Just don't feel like you have to lower your Neiman cakes to a KMart price!

CoutureCake Posted 13 May 2008 , 6:06am
post #6 of 61

Yep, it does sting the first couple times.... and usually they clump together, so just be prepared for that to be the case... HOWEVER, after you sweetly weed them out icon_biggrin.gif , it does start building a reputation for you. The key is as annoyingly icon_mad.gif as those people are, they still may send referrals your way, so maintain the positive icon_biggrin.gif as you shut the door behind them icon_twisted.gificon_wink.gif ..

I had several of those when I was starting out, made me doubt what I was charging, then I realized that I'm NOT WALMART (or pick your big box), I don't have billions of dollars in product inventory across the country with a buying power to match. I'm a small town baker who provides a product and service that the talented decorators at Walmart and other big box stores aren't allowed to provide. Just like these people who haven't ever purchased a custom cake before do, I also get paid a fair wage for my work.

Let it roll off you like water from a duck's back... Next!

HerBoudoir Posted 13 May 2008 , 10:41am
post #7 of 61

I'm a hobby baker, but I'll still get folks who see what I can do and ask me to make them something...and the mostly run along once I throw out a ballpark figure of what they'd have to pay.

The irony is that I probably couldn't afford what I'd have to charge to make it worth my while to do - I'm a full time college student and I have to count the pennies.

But the way I look at it, I'd rather have that Saturday morning off than lose it for all of $10 profit. So if it's not enough to make it worth my while...then it's not enough.

Tona Posted 13 May 2008 , 10:48am
post #8 of 61

People just don't understand the cost and time factor involved in cake decorating. If they don't have the budget then they go to Walmart and get what they pay for.

woodthi32 Posted 13 May 2008 , 11:33am
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tona

People just don't understand the cost and time factor involved in cake decorating. If they don't have the budget then they go to Walmart and get what they pay for.


Here's what I figure. When the idea to have a party comes up, there are many things on a list to think about. As an "on the side" baker, I bake for people who put the cake towards the top of that list. If the cake is a priority, I'm your woman. For some, it is almost an afterthought, and that's fine. The people who put it at the top are willing to sacrifice little things if it doesn't fall into their budget. The others, the cake is already one of the little things, and if they go to walmart, and they should, they will be perfectly happy. They aren't likely to have appreciated the custom touch, inside and out, of our cakes anywayicon_smile.gif

pish Posted 13 May 2008 , 12:42pm
post #10 of 61

Thanks everyone! I'm fine with someone going somewhere else, I just didn't expect to tke it so hard icon_lol.gif . In fact, I don't want EVERYONE to be able to afford me I'd never have any free time!

Thanks again, you've helped put everything in perspective. It is after all, one order among many icon_wink.gif

KASCARLETT Posted 13 May 2008 , 12:58pm
post #11 of 61

Oh my goodness, your cakes are awesome! I say that lady is missing out big time! Has she even SEEN your work? If she doesn't want a cake that you make for those prices, I say that she isn't the customer that you want anyway! So to quote indydebi....NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FromScratch Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:06pm
post #12 of 61

It that 65$ for an 11x15 and 85$ for a 12x18? Or were you quoting servings? Because an 11x15 will serve 75 and a 12x18 will serve 100. If those were your prices.. they have NO idea what a good deal they passed up. That's $0.86/serving!! With custom decoration?? No way Jose! icon_smile.gif

You can tell them that I would have charged them $300 for the 11x15 and $400 for the 12x18.. see if that makes them feel any better about your price. If I am reading right and you really do only charge $0.86/serving.. up those prices!! You have some REALLY cute cakes on your website. You do nice work and you deserve to make more from it. icon_biggrin.gif

michellesArt Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:17pm
post #13 of 61

i just had someone cancel a wedding cake on me icon_cry.gif they decided to move the date up (2-3 weeks from now) and it's very small, family and dinner at a restaurant after-i was giving her a major deal anyway but managed to turn it around and do a small "wedding" style cake i was still crushed and i feel like it's a reflection on me but it's not (only now i feel like this will be cancelled too...ever feel like that?) anyway, people who want the unique quality cakes that you and us other CCers make will be paid accordingly icon_wink.gif just be prepared...it comes in 3's doesn't it?

tracycakes Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:30pm
post #14 of 61

I made a sculptured clown cake last week in a class with Bronwen Weber and really happy with outcome (it's in my pics). I showed the picture to someone at work and she asked what I would charge to make this cake for her. Now, Bronwen sells this cake for $800 and I couldn't get that much but it would still be several hundred dollars, probably around $500. I didn't want to tell her so I just said that I would have to think about it. She said, oh, if its too much, I'll just go to Wal-mart. The cakesnob in me came out icon_redface.gif and I just frowned at her and said that mine would be much better. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

This is someone whose husband is doing very well, they live in a huge house and definitely could afford the $500. I just didn't want to hear that it was so expensive. I'm such a chicken.

CakeMommyTX Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:41pm
post #15 of 61

Yep it does hurt , and not just the first time either. But don't do what I have done in the past and lower your prices!!!!
I have lowered my prices before for individual customers and it came back to bite me in the you know what.
Just stick to your prices and try not to let the few who don't know quality when they see it bother you.

Now when someone says its too expensive I just move on to the next order, somewhat relieved.

Narie Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 61

Custom cakes are expensive, and not everyone can actually afford them. If you have never ordered one, or haven't ordered one in years, sticker shock isn't surprising. People see the price of party cakes at the grocery or Sam's and don't realize that custom cakes aren't in the same category. It's not that they wouldn't prefer the custom cake, but at least they are honest enough to accept the price as fair- just out of their comfort zone.
That is much better than dealing with a cheat who tries to get their cake for half price by not paying. Or someone who gripes about the price and tries to get you to lower your price.

SarahsSweets2006 Posted 13 May 2008 , 1:52pm
post #17 of 61

I agree with everyone else. It does hurt when people pass on your cakes because of price. It has happened PLENTY of times to me. For instance, when asked to do a Hannah Montana cake, I quoted the lady $120. She said that was way more than she planned on paying for a cake. So I emailed her the picture of the Hannah cake I already did and she said they wanted the cake. So, my suggestion, if you don't do this already, have potential customers view your portfolio. icon_smile.gif

Image

A picture's worth a thousand wordsicon_smile.gif



P.S. I hate supermarket sheet cakes. $30 for a huge cake distorts people's view of how much a cake should be. Though, the frozen cake, half-assed design and cookie cutter appearence should set those apart from ours but people don't understand. UUUGH.

Mac Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:09pm
post #18 of 61

Wow--Nice Hannah cake!!!

It amazes me that people will go out to a restaurant and think nothing of ordering a dessert that costs $6.00 and then balk at $3.00 a serving for a wedding cake. We have a restaurant here that makes those cute "little" elegant desserts (maybe the size of a lady's palm), they are wonderful and run around the $6.00 mark. On special occasions, my DH and I order one each. Is a wedding not a special occasion?

HerBoudoir Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:15pm
post #19 of 61

I work in an upscale restaurant and our desserts (which are not very artsy) are $8 - $10.

CakeMommyTX Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:19pm
post #20 of 61

I've paid as much as 10$ for a slice of chocolate cake at a restaurant before!!!
I wish I could charge 10 bucks a serving!!!!

smoore Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:33pm
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracycakes

I made a sculptured clown cake last week in a class with Bronwen Weber and really happy with outcome (it's in my pics). I showed the picture to someone at work and she asked what I would charge to make this cake for her. Now, Bronwen sells this cake for $800 and I couldn't get that much but it would still be several hundred dollars, probably around $500. I didn't want to tell her so I just said that I would have to think about it. She said, oh, if its too much, I'll just go to Wal-mart. The cakesnob in me came out icon_redface.gif and I just frowned at her and said that mine would be much better. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

This is someone whose husband is doing very well, they live in a huge house and definitely could afford the $500. I just didn't want to hear that it was so expensive. I'm such a chicken.




I'm sorry, but where is this Walmart that does sculptured cakes? I might actually buy one and save me a headache! icon_lol.gif There's no comparison between what Walmart can provide vs. a 3-D Sculpted cake!!!!!

MacsMom Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:36pm
post #22 of 61

It's not a reflection on you whatsoever - it's a compliment, in fact! Your work is so great that someone can't afford it icon_smile.gif

It's simply a case of sticker shock. I really want a good eye cream but I can't justify paying $30 for a jar of cream with my income when I can get a different brand at Wal Mart for $12.

I felt hurt, too, the first time it happened to me. But I want my cakes to reach the community that CAN afford me, so those feelings rolled right off of my shoulder.

RoseCitySugarcraft Posted 13 May 2008 , 2:56pm
post #23 of 61

I must admit that I've been really lucky about only having had one potential client tell me I was out of their budget at that time. I knew their situation financially, and had given them a quote with a bit of a discount (as one of my long-time coworkers and super supporter of my work thus far). But I didn't cave in on my prices. That sting only lasted a short while.

The lasting regret from that one experience was that I was going to get to do some new designs and techniques, and was really looking foward to the project.

At least I have the benefit of knowing that they WILL be ordering in the future. They made sure to let me know that they'll budget accordingly to feature my cakes at their gatherings from now on!

That makes the few rejections easier to take, doesn't it?

indydebi Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:13pm
post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsMom

It's not a reflection on you whatsoever - it's a compliment, in fact! Your work is so great that someone can't afford it icon_smile.gif



You know..... I've never looked at it this way before, but that is a great way to put it!

I'm now looking FORWARD to being able to tell stories about all the people who can't afford me! Yeah, baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

thems_my_kids Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:15pm
post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac

Wow--Nice Hannah cake!!!

It amazes me that people will go out to a restaurant and think nothing of ordering a dessert that costs $6.00 and then balk at $3.00 a serving for a wedding cake.




That's a very good point! I never thought of it like that!

cakemommy Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:18pm
post #26 of 61

Then she can go pay a cheaper price for less!!! I charge $65 for a filled single layer 12x18 with edible image and basic decor. THAT'S cheap!!!!!!!!!!!! This woman has no idea what she is missing. Her expectations are just too low!!!! You can't mess with someone who expects you to make a phenomenal cake at such a low cost.

Amy

ssunshine564 Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:35pm
post #27 of 61

I hear it all the time, " That much for Cake! " I look at it this way, they are paying for artistic talent. If they want "Just Cake" they can go to Walmart.

Tallulah Posted 13 May 2008 , 3:59pm
post #28 of 61

It does sting the first few times, but you always get over it and can always find a way around it if you will want to get your name out there.

I had a co-worker ask for a baby shower cake not too long ago. It was going to be three tiers, two different types of cake, three different fillings, covered in fondant with fondant daisies, edible image butterflies and three fairies.

I quoted her a price via email. Then asked to confirm if she received my quote. She said yes and all was ok until about two weeks prior to the shower. Mind you, all this time I had been purchasing supplies for this cake. Supplies she saw by the way.

She then claimed she never read the email. Well, after a supposed frantic check this person finally found the email with my original price and said my price was way too expensive ($4.75 per serving for 120 people) but she still wanted me to bake the cake.

The old me would have wimped out and said ok and would have made the original one anyway (which is what this person what expecting) but I am no longer the wimp of yore.

I said I would do it, but she would only get one custom fairy, two smaller tiers than the ones originally agreed upon which would not feed 120 people, more like 60. One type of cake, one filling and covered in buttercream. That justified the ball park price this person wanted to pay me. These were also well off people that could afford my price and more.

I got three orders from that one cake.

They can't see the deal they are getting for your cake. You can do as I did and offer them something smaller, but do NOT lower your price! And if they say no, move on. Customers will come along that will appreciate your work and pay you what you know you are worth!

indydebi Posted 13 May 2008 , 5:21pm
post #29 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssunshine564

I hear it all the time, " That much for Cake! " I look at it this way, they are paying for artistic talent. If they want "Just Cake" they can go to Walmart.




I made this poster and it's hanging in my shop:

rosiecakes Posted 13 May 2008 , 5:47pm
post #30 of 61

I know that I can't afford custom cakes, but I wanted my children to have them...That's how I became a decorator (and seamstress for that matter). When you have Champagne taste on a beer budget, you make due. For those who can't do AND can't afford, there is Walmart. That's just life, not everyone can afford luxuries and custom cake is a luxury, that is no reflection on the decorator, just a fact of life.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%