Discount-Requesters On The Loose!

Business By dawncr Updated 29 Sep 2008 , 2:57am by strawberry0121

dawncr Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 3:28am
post #1 of 26

I'm just a hobbyist, but I've been amazed when I've read about how many customers request discounts for their cakes. I've never requested a discount in my life, for anything, and have even refused one when offered. No worries-- I'm not all that kind all the time. I have a really bitchy streak, too.

Unfortunately, I think the discount-requesters might be increasing. This past week, on Good Morning America, the consumer reporter showed how one can get a discount on anything, just by asking. They filmed her getting discounts from huge, brand name stores, and suggested that it was even easier with smaller businesses. I thought of everyone here when I heard that.

With the economy like this, the consumer reporters are talking about how to save money, rather than how to flip your house, or how to invest. Asking for discounts appears to be one of their cost-saving suggestions. (I'm wondering if they consider the impact this will have on the economy as a whole. Wouldn't it just make things worse if business people are squeezed even further?)

The worst part is that customers may feel compelled to point out some "flaw" in the product or to comment on the expense of the product. This will lead lots of cakers to feel terrible and consider a discount.

Just say "Sorry, No," and don't let it make you doubt your skill and your prices. If all else fails, imagine getting coached by a little IndyDebi sitting on your shoulder.

25 replies
lillicakes Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 11:31am
post #2 of 26

I saw a segment on Good Morning America a few months ago that was on the very same thing! They had a woman coaching on how to ask for the bargain, and the point was that you can get a discount almost anywhere just for the asking. They must be running out of ideas to have the same shtick on again so soon, or else they had a really good response to those great ideas icon_sad.gif

Unfotrunately, it is a sign of the times. It isn't personal. And there are probably vendors who are willing to haggle on the price of a cake, or anything else. If it isn't your policy, it just isn't.

Working in marketing and business consulting, I have a few ideas for dealing with the bargain shoppers.

First of all, I think most people understand that a lot of people are feeling a financial pinch (or vise-grip....) right about now. There are the "champagne taste on beer budget folks," but there are also people who would be sincerely thankful for suggestions on how to keep costs down. There is a reason why brides are reading those "save money" articles, and why they keep being written. So my suggestion is, don't feel insulted by a request for pricing adjustment. Give the inquirers the benefit of the doubt unless it is clear that they are just kicking tires.

If you can see a way to give a lower price, don't just discount the price. Offer something less. For example, suppose a bride comes in with a picture of a cake with a ton of stringwork (my personal nightmare) and gumpaste and has $X to spend. If that cake would be priced at $Y, because it is complicated, is there an $X-range cake design you can suggest that has a similar "feel" to that cake?

If the bride is looking for $Y-cake and has, say, $T to spend, it may just not be possible for you to work this. Sometimes there just isn't anything you can do. But even if you are OK, for whatever reasons, with discounting that exact cake, it is better not to do an outright "discount" and set a precedent that you roll that way. Figure out SOMETHING that you can omit or simplify to warrant that lower price, and avoid coming up with silly "discount" reasons (like, "your birthday is the same as mine" 10% or something).

So even if you are willing to work a deal, you can do that and still save face. Become known as the caker that is flexible and helps a couple achieve their "perfect" day, instead of as the discounter.

indydebi Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 2:05pm
post #3 of 26

One of theose "Bathroom Mirror" conversations ....... icon_rolleyes.gif

Bride: I'd like a discount becaues I don't have much money.

Debi: What did your power company say when you asked them if you could get a discount on your light bill?

Bride: Uh, well, they wouldn't do that.

Debi: Well, they wouldnt' do it for me either, which is why I need my full price on this cake so *I* can pay *MY* light bill, too.

Jasmine33 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 2:28pm
post #4 of 26

Great responses ladies!

MaisieBake Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 5:50pm
post #5 of 26

No one's mentioned yet that bargaining is cultural, even within the US. Get offended when someone asks you if you can do better and depending on where you live, you've cut yourself off from a good chunk of your potential market.

littlecake Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 11:33pm
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

No one's mentioned yet that bargaining is cultural, even within the US. Get offended when someone asks you if you can do better and depending on where you live, you've cut yourself off from a good chunk of your potential market.




do you do a lot of wheelin and dealin at your shop?

Aliwis000 Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 12:51am
post #7 of 26

My parents own a small print shop, we get people in like this all the time. They want a quote on business cards, we give it then the response is "so how much can i talk you down on that?" I HATE THESE people. I mean come on who do you think you are. I am already not making much on these 35 dollar business cards and you think you are going to get me to do this for less then what it costs me to do it? Come on, get real. We have a few customers that do this all the time, we simply add 20 dollars to all their quotes and let them talk us down 10, they think they are sooooo cool and we laugh at them behind their backs.

Alicia

indydebi Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 12:57am
post #8 of 26

Alicia, that is priceless! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I luv it!!!!!

melodyscakes Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 1:16am
post #9 of 26

I love it Alicia. they think they "wheeled and dealed"
good job!

YanYan Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 1:28am
post #10 of 26

@ lilicakes excellent and sound advice

copying and pasting into my cake management advice chronicles

People like you and indebyi are to cake what Yoda is to young understudies

littlecake Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 2:41am
post #11 of 26

i'm so bad, but when i first saw this topic i thought..."bargin hunters at large...shoot on site".

i don't give anyone a deal...why get this started?...then they'll tell everyone....pretty soon no one will think they have to pay the price quoted.

i will sometimes give a young couple a good deal if they look like they are struggling to pay for the wedding on their own...but i choose...i never do if they ask.

poshcakedesigns Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 6:13pm
post #12 of 26

[quote="

i don't give anyone a deal...why get this started?...then they'll tell everyone....pretty soon no one will think they have to pay the price quoted.

[/quote]

EXACTLY!!! couldn't have said it better myself. I have expenses to pay too.

loriemoms Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:23pm
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawncr

Just say "Sorry, No," and don't let it make you doubt your skill and your prices. If all else fails, imagine getting coached by a little IndyDebi sitting on your shoulder.




another wonderful marketing idea! Little IndyDebi dolls that you sit on your shoulder...with a red bra strap showing. Wear it with you I Wanna Be LIke Mike t Shirt!

Image the money we could make!

On a more serious side, I agree, these kinds of reports are going to hurt everyone...they make it sound like small businesses are ripping people off!

loriemoms Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:31pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

i'm so bad, but when i first saw this topic i thought..."bargin hunters at large...shoot on site".

i don't give anyone a deal...why get this started?...then they'll tell everyone....pretty soon no one will think they have to pay the price quoted.

i will sometimes give a young couple a good deal if they look like they are struggling to pay for the wedding on their own...but i choose...i never do if they ask.




I am the same way. I have given a discount one time This bride was doing everything herself..she even printed her own wedding invitations on her computer and bought her wedding dress on ebay. After our consultation, she looked at the price and we cut it down to a pretty but very simple cake. She said it was still 20 dollars over her budget and what else can we cut. (it was a cake and punch type wedding, we were trying to avoid making it smaller) I gave her the 20 dollars..told her it would be my wedding gift. It was so nice seeing her stress go to a smile. Those kind of people I love to help out. Its the ones who walk in with a huge rock on their hands and booked the country club who are trying to get a cake for half price. They drive me nuts!

justfrosting Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:43pm
post #15 of 26

I have a good friend who recently mortgaged her paid-off house so she could start a beauty salon.

I told her this morning when I overheard someone ask her for a "friend discount"..."Promise me you will never ever discount! This is your house on the line!!

If they were really friends, they would pay the price and then tip her extra in support of the business.

Jeesh!

tx_cupcake Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:48pm
post #16 of 26

I don't take it personally when someone asks for a discount. Maybe it's the real estate investor in me, but I completely understand searching out the "deals". I have no problem saying no or pointing them in another, less expensive direction.
I don't know about you guys, but I clip coupons with the best of 'em and try to find bargains where I can. I shop at sales and ask for discounts on things that I feel are overpriced. For instance, no one would expect you to walk into a car dealership and pay sticker, right? Well, I guarantee you that not one person outside of the cake/baking industry sees a difference between buying a car and buying a cake.
I'm not saying it's not annoying, but I am saying that 99% of the time it isn't a personal attack against you, your craft or your business.

funcakes Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:49pm
post #17 of 26

Have you seen the latest commercial for Staples. The family is told the price of what they are buying-there is one buying gas and one at the grocery store. The woman quickly whips out the red EAST button, pushes it and says with a grin, Okay, how much is it now? And is told the original price. 'cause it only works at Staples.
So, maybe you should all have the Staples EASY button. When they ask for a discount, let them push the button, then you can say-Opps! same price.
and then laugh like a hyena.

MamaBerry Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 7:56pm
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by funcakes

Have you seen the latest commercial for Staples. The family is told the price of what they are buying-there is one buying gas and one at the grocery store. The woman quickly whips out the red EAST button, pushes it and says with a grin, Okay, how much is it now? And is told the original price. 'cause it only works at Staples.
So, maybe you should all have the Staples EASY button. When they ask for a discount, let them push the button, then you can say-Opps! same price.
and then laugh like a hyena.




You are sick and twisted! I like you!

LOL!

leahk Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 8:08pm
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by justfrosting

I have a good friend who recently mortgaged her paid-off house so she could start a beauty salon.

I told her this morning when I overheard someone ask her for a "friend discount"..."Promise me you will never ever discount! This is your house on the line!!

If they were really friends, they would pay the price and then tip her extra in support of the business.

Jeesh!



my hubby feels the same way abt our business. he supports his friends and we specifically go buy in their stores even if it costs a bit more. we expect the same from them.

justfrosting Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 8:15pm
post #20 of 26

I agree. I always buy from friends first. Another friend of mine opened a pizza place about 5 years ago. I have never asked her for a free pizza or a discount, but we eat there all the time.

I am not offended with the question, I am just confused why people do not understand how business works.

Did anyone watch the "Kitchen Nightmares" on FOX last year. That chef told the owners how stupid they were for offering "percents off". Food costs money!

One guy just about went bankrupt just from giving discount coupons.

MamaBerry Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 8:39pm
post #21 of 26

I shake my head.

Some people should not be in business. Ugh!

My husband wastes money on print ads, etc. and undercharges for the classes he teaches adn I finally told him to stop b****in' at me about being broke at the end of the day.

I told him that it's nice to be a talented artist but since he has taken on the responsibilty of being in business for himself then he has to wear his big boy pants and charge accordingly because the bills sitting on his desk still need to get paid.

He's older than me and has been self-employed all his life but let's just say I'm his li'l "indydebi"... with a good tan!

LOL!

Jenn123 Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 1:10am
post #22 of 26

I had a woman ask about all kinds of prices for a sheet cake with smash cake and matching wrapped cookies... the works. quoted $123 She moans about the price and says she will get back to me.

She comes back with:
Believe me, I have seen your work, and I agree; you do great work!!! I did some calling around, and the other 2 bakeries I called both beat you on prices for the total order. I would have to make certain concessions; however, like the fact that they don't have a certain cookie cutter shape, etc. That is my only problem. I was hoping to be closer to $100. Can you get any closer to that amount?

I said:
I'm sorry, I don't compete in pricing. If you choose me, I will do a great job. I will do all or part of your order... it's up to you. I'd love to make these for you but I understand the cost issue. Just let me know what you decide.

She immediately responded:
Well, I had to try, didn't I? I understand, and I know that I often get what I pay for. I would like you to do the whole order.

You have to stick to your guns and be willing to lose the order. Some people just believe it is their duty to try for a better price. Once you start giving a discount... be prepared to give LOTS more.

Mike1394 Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 2:24am
post #23 of 26

LOLOL The dreaded discount. Now don't toast me here. I expect a discount pretty much every place I shop. I even ask for a discount at H depot, and Lowes LOLOL. If I buy anything other than a "staple" I call the manager over, and ask for a discount.

Mike

Jenn123 Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 2:33am
post #24 of 26

I don't think it is wrong to ask. I just think it is wrong to give in if you don't have a good incentive (AKA lots of other large orders from a company)

krissy_kze Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 2:40am
post #25 of 26

I just wrote this in another post. It fits here too!!

Here's what kills me. You order a large pizza that has 8 servings. You pay $16 for the pricier pizza places that are always packed because the pie is good.

Now that's $2 a serving for something that took them 10 to 15 minutes to make. No one haggles, no one complains. Families do this once a week!! But a cake than can take 8 or more hours to create should be the same price (or less) as a pizza?!?

*sigh*

strawberry0121 Posted 29 Sep 2008 , 2:57am
post #26 of 26

Oh, I love the pizza reference. I normally don't even give the total final quote until the very end of the conversation. I try to keep it at a per serving price until then.

I don't WANT to be the cheap one in town. If they want cheap, go to Walmart. If they want GOOD, call me...

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