Explaing To Customers The Reasoning Behind Certain Charges

Business By wgoat5 Updated 24 Jun 2008 , 2:32pm by cheeseball

wgoat5 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 1:04pm
post #1 of 32

I got a email from a family member this morning... She had inquired for a "friend" about a cake...

She wanted 2 tiered cake... stacked ... 2 flavors... a bow for the top and one of my side bows...

I quoted her the price for the cake... then added the additional charge for my bows.

When I received the email I was shocked and kind of insulted by the reaction of the "friend" and my family member.

The price of the cake was fine.. (120.00) but the price on my sugar bows were "a bit pricey"

I really don't think I charge a arm and a leg... She wanted a loopy bow for the top.... I charge 25.00 for those... and the little side loops I charged 10.00 ... still work still loops.. just not formed into a loopy bow icon_sad.gif ... am I wrong in charging seperate for these little "treats" ?

I sent her a email stating that it takes time to make them.. taking up space to dry them.. forming them.. coloring them.. and then putting them all together.

I stuck to my guns... I won't sit down and spend a lot of time on anything for nothing. Been there done that..

Am I wrong?

Should I not charge seperate charges for these embellishments? If not then how do you get your money for all of these touches?

Thanks for your input

31 replies
DianeLM Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 1:43pm
post #2 of 32

I do not give my customers an itemized accounting of all the doodads I charge extra for. If someone wants a cake with a bow, it's $150.00. If that's too rich for their blood, I'll make other suggestions, such as, cake without a bow, etc.. Fortunately, I don't have to do this often and when I do, it's usually a bargain hunter, so I find myself subtley discouraging the order. icon_surprised.gif

Here's the big point, tho. So what if she thinks your bows are pricey? She's entitled to her opinion. Either she wants it and will pay for it or she'll pick something else or go somewhere else.

Just because someone complains about the price, you are not obligated to justify or negotiate. It's THEIR problem. You can certainly point out that all your doodads are handmade and time-consuming, but you needn't go into excrutiating detail.

Stand behind your prices and your art. If this classless boob of a 'friend' doesn't want to pay, good riddance to her. I'm sure she'll be very happy with her WalMart cake - after she complains about the price, of course. icon_biggrin.gif

wgoat5 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 1:50pm
post #3 of 32

LOL I love your posts Diane LOL

I think what I should of done was add the price into the cake and not told her the prices of the bows...

But some people want to know why the price is what it is... I tend to say... it's cake.. it's time consuming... it takes time from my family ... it's a job ..

Mac Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 1:56pm
post #4 of 32

No need to go into detail of why the cake costs so much--As I have stated before, Neiman-Marcus doesn't explain why they are higher than Wal-Mart.

I have had the same reaction when I priced bows separately. Now I just include them in the price. If it's too much, I offer suggestions (such as: getting a fabric bow from Michael's). Now, if someone wants just a bow, then I charge $25.00 for the loopy ones and $10 for the 2-loop bow.

terrylee Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:06pm
post #5 of 32

I agree with Mac "Neiman-Marcus doesn't explain they are highter the Wal-Mart"

Your cakes are beautiful and quality work. Quote a total price.

southerncake Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:20pm
post #6 of 32

I do itemize things like bows, monograms, etc. - just like you did it! If questioned, I would just explain that the bows/loops are very time consuming and require a lot of work, hence the price.

If they don't want to pay for the bow...no bow for them!!

indydebi Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:24pm
post #7 of 32

A phrase I use that seems to get the message across:

"Do you know how many DAYS it takes to make (whatever)?"

That tends to shut 'em up.

Someone wanted cookies ... very last minute. When I told them it couldn't be done, they go into the same 'ole "but it's just some cookies!" I tell them, "Yes, but you want multiple colors and that icing has to sit 12 hours before I can add layers of colored icings on top of each other ... unless you want a big mess on your cookies."

At my frat catering last May, one of the leaders had a birthday so they asked me at about 1:00 if I could make a cake for 100 for dinner. I laughed out loud and said, "Even if I had all of the supplies here in my hand ... do you know how long it takes to make a cake that big? I would suggest you run down the road to Sam's ..... I"m sure they have something in their freezer for you." icon_biggrin.gif

apetricek Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:29pm
post #8 of 32

I agree with the others, I don't customize the price for them because then I think they can tend to want to bargain with me. I basically give them a base price, the quote them the price for the cake. I have also had the cheap-os come back, and then I will gladly alter a cake/design to fit their budget. I think people think when something is hand done (rather than going to store) they can hagle with you. I think your prices are right on...so I would tell her it is what it is I will be glad to make the cake for you, and hope we can book your order...if not her loss I am sure!! icon_wink.gif

loriemoms Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:30pm
post #9 of 32

Send them this link and tell them to buy the bows (with shipping and handling, they are more expensive then yours and I am sure not as pretty because they are machine made) and tell them to place them on the cake after you deliver it. They will then come back to you and say you aren't charging enough for your bows! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif


bartar01 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 2:43pm
post #10 of 32

I don't think it's wrong at all to charge separately for additional work and supplies. And judging by your pictures, your work is well worth it!

Mike1394 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 3:20pm
post #11 of 32

I don't think so. How much would the Sistine Chapel cost to paint if it was just a single coat of blue? The more detail you want the more it costs.


jamalyn1 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 3:38pm
post #12 of 32

My boyfriend and I run a pool service business. He has learned over the years that making 1 base price is the best. When we start pricing everything separate people complain to the moon, but when we just label all the parts going to the repair and put 1 price we have a lot less complaining. I have yet to start selling cakes so I will also keep this in mind when I someday do.

fiddlesticks Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 3:48pm
post #13 of 32

I just figure everything into the cake price to . Then if it is to high I can say well... what if we dont do this or this ?? and we always come up with a cake to please them ! And to fit their budget ! Christi ..Your work is beautiful dont sell anything for less then you want ! I always say I would rather give away a cake to whoever I want to before I sell one for less then I think its worth ! Stick to your price !

CarolAnn Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 3:54pm
post #14 of 32

Of course yu should charge well for your bows! They get what they pay for and if they aren't willing to pay they just don't get the extras, period! I've seen the Wilton bows and they're UGLY.

Jocmom Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 4:44pm
post #15 of 32

I always give them the choice - "My price for the cake you want is $___. If that seems high, you can buy the same size cake at SAMS or Walmart for $___."

The response is always, "But SAMS and Walmart can't make a cake like the ones you make. They're so plain."

Hey, I can make it "plain" for $___.

End of discussion. icon_biggrin.gif

dragonflydreams Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:08pm
post #16 of 32

. . . I wouldn't bother breaking down the pricing for a customer . . . yes, the price of the bows would all factor into my final quote, but the customer wouldn't see the breakdown . . . if they complained about the final price . . . I might be inclined to tell them they could save $25 if they didn't want the bow, and let them decide if they want the pinto or the cadillac . . .

playingwithsugar Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:08pm
post #17 of 32

Christi -

You know me, I say what's on my mind.

This sounds to me like your cousin is trying to finagle a lower price for her friend. And it sounds like your cousin is using family guilt to do it.

From now on, tell your cousin, and all your other relatives and friends, that you thank them for referring you, and that you appreciate their support, and that they can give them your telephone number or e-mail address, and you will speak with them directly.

I mean really, who are they kidding? Do they have someone in the are who they can compare price with? NO - they are just trying to work you, girlfriend!

And yes, you should charge extra for those embellishments. You're not volunteering to do this cake, you are selling it.

Remember the ladybug cake I told you about - I told the decorator who referred me the same thing - give them my telephone number and have them call me directly.

I do not volunteer any cakes, unless it is my gift or a practice piece that I don't want to eat myself.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:12pm
post #18 of 32

Add this to my last statement -

Nor will I discount a cake which is referred by another decorator. But I will give the referring decorator 10% of the gross, so if I would charge $50 for a cake job which was referred by another decorator, I would give them $5 for the referral.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

wgoat5 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:13pm
post #19 of 32

I appreciate your posts...

I HATE to explain the reasoning of my costs.. they should already know.. everything doesn't stay 1970's prices... Things go up.. meaning our labor charges also!!


I did tell her to tell the friend to call me .. yet to receive a call .. so who knows. I don't wait for orders nor do I go looking for them so... with that said she can take it or leave it.. fine by me LOL

Theresa I am hiring you as my cake mafia lady icon_smile.gif ... someone pi&&es me off I'll pay you to take care of it icon_biggrin.gif .. (In CAKE of course LOL) icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:16pm
post #20 of 32

We call ourselves Agents now. I would be your agent, and you would pay me 10% of Your gross.

And I'm better at breaking noses than I am thumbs. icon_lol.gif

Although I have been known to kick a few boards apart in Tai Kwon Do class...hummm.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:19pm
post #21 of 32

I don't like the idea of breaking down the prices but I think the OP was saying she gave a total quote and then they wanted to add gumpaste bows on, so the price went up and the people thought it was too much....(or did I misunderstand?).

I am so flippin' sick and tired of people wanting fresh, awesomely decorated cake that tastes like a dream and looks like perfection for $25. I am beginning to get really pi$$ed off, to be honest with you.

My Mom's friend inquired about a wedding cake in August (in Central CA, so it is hotter then heck). I made a 6" french vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and cream filling and a combo whipped icing AND added some gumpaste flowers as an example........for FREE!!!! I gave them a quote of $150 for a 2 tiered cake to serve 50, including free delivery and a bunch of gumpaste roses......that is $3 per serving.

Well they saw the quote and were quiet. They tasted the cake (which we had too since I made more than one, and not to toot my own horn but it was very moist and good) and pronounced the icing far too sweet. They wanted whipped icing....whipped cream.....IN AUGUST!

ok, sorry to hijack thread but people really tick me off sometimes. I think they didn't think I would charge that much and were making an excuse because that icing was way lighter then the one I normally make........pfft!

Good for Christi for not baking down!!!!

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:22pm
post #22 of 32

Nice typo huh.....'baking' down instead of 'backing' down. icon_lol.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:24pm
post #23 of 32

S'OK, it tells us where your mind is. icon_lol.gif

Theresa icon_smile.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:33pm
post #24 of 32

Nice typo huh.....'baking' down instead of 'backing' down. icon_lol.gif

arosstx Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:34pm
post #25 of 32

I agree w/ everyone - just give the final price, not the breakdown. Then if they mention or act like it's too much, OR if you want to give them an option, offer a ribbon bow. I do it all the time and actually prefer whipping up one of those babies to the hassle of a fondant/gumpaste one.

Ribbon is cheap, and you can add $5 to your cake - more than enough to cover the ribbon and the two minutes it takes to make a bow.

mommyle Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:55pm
post #26 of 32

I tell them the base price is $3. Plain ol' cake with plain ol' buttercream. No fancy decorations. Then it goes up from there. Actually, if the person is a PITA I stick with it, but most of my cakes are totally done, 3-D pieces and $3 a serving. But for the PITA I then say "Any fondant work, or fondant covering, brings it to $4 a serving" When they complain about the $4, I tell them the $3 is available for them. Then I tell them I'm too busy. Then I open a bottle of wine.

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:56pm
post #27 of 32
Originally Posted by arosstx

Ribbon is cheap, and you can add $5 to your cake - more than enough to cover the ribbon and the two minutes it takes to make a bow.

True...but with everyone watching Ace of Cakes and all the cake challenges, I think they like the idea of everything made from sugar....they just don't like the idea of paying for it! icon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 6:52pm
post #28 of 32
Originally Posted by Jocmom

I always give them the choice - "My price for the cake you want is $___. If that seems high, you can buy the same size cake at SAMS or Walmart for $___."

The response is always, "But SAMS and Walmart can't make a cake like the ones you make. They're so plain."

Hey, I can make it "plain" for $___.

End of discussion. icon_biggrin.gif

Oh I am SO going to use this!!! icon_twisted.gif

JulieB Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 9:54pm
post #29 of 32

Family, to me, is the worst people to deal with. "Don't you think you can come down on that?" One reason I don't fiddle with family. At all. If I'm baking a cake for family, it's free, and it's what I wanna bake, not what they wanna get. They go elsewhere if they wanna be specific, and they never wanna be specific. They just see me arrive with my cake and smile.

Chef_Stef Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 4:57am
post #30 of 32

I also don't itemize...it gives them too many things to pick apart...

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