Be Forewarned ...

Business By JillK Updated 24 Oct 2008 , 11:04am by Eisskween

JillK Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 5:21pm
post #1 of 26

Just a word of warning for those of you who routinely deal with brides ...

I work at a newspaper ... and what should come across the AP wire today but a story on cutting wedding costs.

A worthy goal, no doubt. Much to my relief, they didn't mention the old "get a dummy cake & sheet cakes" line â although foregoing a wedding cake altogether was mentioned as an option. One couple went with grocery store cookies and brownies. icon_confused.gif But, really, many people will do that?

In the accompanying "tips" file, however, was this line: "Ask wedding vendors youâre dealing with for discounts. The worst thing they can say is 'no.' "

So if you see an upsurge in the number of would-be haggling brides, you can blame the Associated Press. icon_rolleyes.gif Do they think cake decorators get discounts on their ingredients? Where do I sign up for THAT?

25 replies
Mike1394 Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 6:27pm
post #2 of 26

Toast away ladies. icon_biggrin.gif What is so really wrong with a bride asking for a discount? I have to admit I'm a cheap sob. I ask for a discount, try to haggle with almost everything I buy LOLOL. It never hurts to ask.

Mike

Petit-four Posted 12 Sep 2008 , 7:06pm
post #3 of 26

Maybe pre-empting haggling by suggesting ways to economize is the way to go, especially in this economy?

I have added "prices depend on the complexity of the design," and "we are happy to give you a range of price options" as two ways to indicate to brides ways they can save money. I got the idea from Ron Ben-Israel's site, of all places. icon_rolleyes.gif

He has: "When meeting with you, we like to present several possible, available variations and propose a few price tiers from which to select."

www.weddingcakes.com

Interestingly, brides have chosen the "upper end" quotes in 90% of my cases. I also mention to them something I am happy to "include" in the price (that is no big deal for me). Of course, each business is different.

Thanks for the heads-up! thumbs_up.gif

Deb_ Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 1:49am
post #4 of 26

With the price of gasoline, heating oil, food and utilities, who can blame people for looking for discounts.
Unfortunately, wedding cakes are not a necessity, you can definitely have a successful marriage without one. WE would notice the absence of a cake, but I doubt the average person would. So I think we all need to be prepared to offer slight discounts, it's better than not selling anything at all.

indydebi Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 8:30pm
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petit-four

Interestingly, brides have chosen the "upper end" quotes in 90% of my cases. I also mention to them something I am happy to "include" in the price (that is no big deal for me). Of course, each business is different.




I'm not surprised. In any of my past-life-sales-positions, I always presented the client with 3 options ... 8 out of 10, I sold the middle one, which was my target anyway. I offer 3 buffets .... $15, $18 and $20 ..... brides who are buying buffet only, pick the middle one 99% of the time, which is what I'm targeting anyway. Brides who are not buying buffet only, pick my $37/person package.

I have a photographer friend who had package A, B, C. Brides bought package B most of the time. So he dropped A, added "D and now offered B, C, D. Brides are NOW buying his "C" package.

I LUV the psychology of buying habits! Fascinating!!

cakesbyamym Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 9:21pm
post #6 of 26

LOL....I just had a bride to ask me if they paid early, would I take the tax off of the balance? icon_eek.gif Sure, and I'll ask them at Sam's to take the tax off of my order when I buy the supplies for your cake, too. icon_lol.gif Astounding! LOL.

Cyndi1207 Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 9:31pm
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I have a photographer friend who had package A, B, C. Brides bought package B most of the time. So he dropped A, added "D and now offered B, C, D. Brides are NOW buying his "C" package.

I LUV the psychology of buying habits! Fascinating!!




This is so funny because I have to admit whenever my Dh and I are buying something specific---we don't want to buy the "cheap" one but we really can't afford the expensive one. We always shoot for the middle priced item.

darcat Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 9:32pm
post #8 of 26

Nothing wrong with asking. Any one that has ever battered will tell you anything is fair game. Heck even when people buy big ticket items like houses they ask if the appliances come with. Some car dealers will throw in something if they think they'll make the sale. What do they have to lose by asking? lol The most you can say is no.

bettinashoe Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 9:47pm
post #9 of 26

It all part of the economic times right now. I imagine it will get worse before it gets better. People will probably start having relatives bake their wedding cakes in order to cut costs. Once the economy recovers we'll see less haggling over prices as people return to the feeling of "going all out" for their special day. Until then, I'm all for plan A, B, C. Let them choose what they want to add to their cake.

Mac Posted 13 Sep 2008 , 9:47pm
post #10 of 26

Funny story--
DH and I went to Puerto Vallarta for our honeymoon. DH was approached on the beach by a "vendor" and bought a T-shirt for "full price" of $20. I told him that you never pay the first price asked. So he got in the swing of things the enitre trip...haggling with vendors.

Came home and went to Wal-mart...cashier gave us the total. DH said "That's too much. We will give you XX". You should have seen the look on her face. I told her he was still in "Mexico-mode".

chutzpah Posted 14 Sep 2008 , 6:04am
post #11 of 26

I haggle. I would never go to the grocery store and haggle with the cashier... it's not his fault/responsibility, but certain things are haggleable.

I recently bought a mixer, with both 10-liter and 20-liter bowls, brand new. I haggled. He asked six thou and I haggled him down to five thou PLUS an extra 10-liter bowl.

Bought a used commercial dishwasher last week.. same company... he asked 2½ thou... I haggled him down to two PLUS installation.

I can haggle and I'm darned good at it, but I hate it when people try to haggle my cakes!

Petit-four Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 1:42pm
post #12 of 26

Yeah -- I know what you mean, it stings when people ask for a break on all of our hard work.

After I did a one-quote only cake, and had a customer haggle on it (and I was feeling taken advantage of), I began doing 2 or three options. For some reason, having myself "in charge" of the haggling makes me feel better. icon_rolleyes.gif

Also, while I meeting with them, I can say things like "the chocolate fudge is very popular" (a premium flavor), and if I see they are looking for ways to save a bit "but you know, people tell me they love the chocolate too" (a regular flavor).

On the inevitable question of how much cake to order, I give them the honest statistics for me, that X% of the brides go over the rest are comfortable with a closer margin. That also helps them feel responsible for the decision, so I have never had a problem with someone saying "we got [too much/too little] cake 'cause SHE was pushing us..."

Cake Psychology 101...starts this fall. thumbs_up.gif

JillK Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 3:31pm
post #13 of 26

It doesn't matter so much to me -- I'm just a hobbyist -- just thought everyone might like to know what could be coming your way. icon_biggrin.gif I know some people get frustrated when people don't appreciate the work that goes into a quality cake and want a deal ...

On the other hand, if you don't mind haggling, go for it!

tracycakes Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 9:23pm
post #14 of 26

I hate to haggle and I hate for people to haggle with me. You ask a price, I pay or not. I set a price - you pay it or not.

It's one of the reasons that I despise buying a new car. Just give me the price and if I'm willing to pay it, we have a deal, otherwise I walk.

Lenette Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 10:19pm
post #15 of 26

I am not a haggler but I do think that in some situations it is acceptable. I think there is a big difference between haggling over the price of a car or appliance vs. something you want custom made just for you. That is what I take issue with.

It is one thing to want suggestions on how to stay within your budget but I would not appreciate someone coming to me asking for a deal on something I am customizing just for them. They won't go into Macy's and do that for something off the rack why do I deserve any less respect? I for one would rather not "make the sale" than to kick myself later. What about when they tell their family/friends how they talked me down? Then everyone and their cousin is going for the same deal. It will devalue my reputation and business.

If I don't respect my business no one else will. This is not a flea market!

Thanks for the heads up, we need to keep each other informed about these things!

thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 10:25pm
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenette

It will devalue my reputation and business.....This is not a flea market!



Amen!

MaisieBake Posted 15 Sep 2008 , 10:31pm
post #17 of 26

Did all those of you who are offended by haggling pay asking price for your houses? If you've sold a house, were you offended by offers that were below your asking price?

Denise Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 4:28am
post #18 of 26

I have never had anyone try to haggle with me ie can you throw in the gp flowers or out of town delivery?

LOL The answer would be a very sweet no.

alvarezmom Posted 16 Sep 2008 , 5:03pm
post #19 of 26

I'm with Lenette....if you are having something/anything made specific to your needsm wants, and desires then be expected to pay a pretty penny.

SugaredUp Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 7:19pm
post #20 of 26

I never just offer one option. I always offer at least 2, with two different prices along the theme they specify. Usually, they will pick and choose what they like about the two options and we come up with a mixture of the two. So it's kind of what Indydebi said, they go with the middle ground.

tracycakes Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 7:33pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

Did all those of you who are offended by haggling pay asking price for your houses? If you've sold a house, were you offended by offers that were below your asking price?




When someone tried to lowball us, my DH countered by raising the price. icon_surprised.gif Yep, our house wasn't even officially on the market yet and they tried to get it cheap. Well, they didn't get away with it. We got a fair deal on the house when all was said and done.

I don't haggle, period. The only times I do is buying a house and buying a car and it's the reason I completely despise buying a car. icon_mad.gif Give me your best deal at the beginning or I'm done. When my dad buys a car, he writes the price he's willing to pay on a piece of paper and lays it facedown on the table. He tells the dealer to meet or beat his price with the FIRST deal or he's walks out - and he does.

snarkybaker Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 8:20pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracycakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

Did all those of you who are offended by haggling pay asking price for your houses? If you've sold a house, were you offended by offers that were below your asking price?



When someone tried to lowball us, my DH countered by raising the price. icon_surprised.gif Yep, our house wasn't even officially on the market yet and they tried to get it cheap. Well, they didn't get away with it. We got a fair deal on the house when all was said and done.

I don't haggle, period. The only times I do is buying a house and buying a car and it's the reason I completely despise buying a car. icon_mad.gif Give me your best deal at the beginning or I'm done. When my dad buys a car, he writes the price he's willing to pay on a piece of paper and lays it facedown on the table. He tells the dealer to meet or beat his price with the FIRST deal or he's walks out - and he does.




As someone who's family owns car dealerships, that is just dumb! The truth of the matter is that there are certain times it makes sense to sell a car really cheaply, and times when it doesn't based on bank and manufacturer incentives.

Likewise, for me, there are times it makes sense to make a deal on a cake. If somebody wants a cake for 50 on a Tuedsday, I have no problem discounting it, because I have staff that needs full time hours, and Monday and Tuesday are the slowest days of the week.

I will cut a deal on a wedding cake that I'm delivering 5 minutes away, since it makes for a short day, and I can usually do one more cake if I don't have to spend 11/2 hours on a delivery.

I'll cut a deal on a cake if I am anxious to try out a new recipe or technique ( I'd rather have them pay for it than me) .

You just have to be able to say, I'm sorry, I really can't discount this cake. I am a small business and do't have a large margin to work with.

ziggytarheel Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 8:31pm
post #23 of 26

I don't have a haggling personality. I find it terribly unpleasant. I'm not exactly a soft spoken or shy person either. I have a very soft spoken friend who although in a good financial position, is often haggling in a gentle and quiet way. She simply asks a question and I'm amazed at the number of times she gets 10%, 20% or more off. Just by a quiet, simple question. I just can't bring myself to do it.

It really isn't a flea market thing so much. This is at all major department stores, grocery stores, restaurants. If she sees a reason to just ask the question about a discount, she does and more times than not, she gets a discount. It makes me feel stupid that I can't bring myself to follow suit, because she saves so much money. And let me just say, she is a very generous and thoughtful person as well.

All of this is to help to make my point. Someone asking the question really shouldn't be offensive to anyone. How they ask it, of course, can be. I think people are going to be doing this more and more and we all need to be prepared in every line of business.

Rannadanna Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 10:17am
post #24 of 26

I completely agree with IndyDebi (who doesn't?) -- I have no problem with haggling, either being the haggler or the haggl-ee. I have given clients different options and ideas for designs but have known to say something like: I can do option A at $x per serving, option B at $x per serving, or option C for (less than A or B) because it's the design I think you'll be most happy with, it's the design I'm most excited to do (and usually, it's something that I want in my portfolio or a new technique or style that I'd like to try and I think that it's WAY better for someone else to pick up the tab when I feel like playing.) I have no problem with anyone asking for a lower price on a cake (and often respect them for it!). Sometimes I'll give them a discount, sometimes not. I have enough of a profit margin that I can afford to take a little off here and there without feeling any significant pinch.

People say all the time that you can't expect to go into Nordstrom and haggle or expect lower prices. This is not at all true! When I shopped a lot (trust me, it was a lot), and had my own personal shopper at Nordstrom, in addition to pulling out and holding items for me and letting me know about all of the sales and discounts and things coming up, she would customarily give me a 10% discount on ALL my purchases as a courtesy. She would also give me discounts for things that were going to go on sale in the future: for instance, she would show me items that were going to be on sale in a week or two, then I could shop and try things on, and she would put them on hold for me. When they went on sale a week or two later, she would just charge my card and ship them to me (free shipping). That way, I would get first pick of all the clothes before the sale would start and still get the best prices. Salespeople work on commission -- I gave her a ton of business over the years. She very happily extended me the 10% off.

When my husband bought me a couple handbags last year, I MADE HIM ask for a discount. No problem, got 10% off immediately, plus, they offered to ship them for free so we wouldn't have to pay sales. 10% may not seem like a lot, but they were designer bags and they retailed at close to $3000 each, so 10% was actually quite a bit. It never hurts to ask. Nor does it hurt to be asked!

bettinashoe Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 10:53am
post #25 of 26

Maybe I'm just "out there" but I don't understand the haggling in prices. Do the bride and groom have to negotiate every payday over how much their company is going to pay them? I just personally don't understand it. I will always offer options and try to give the person as many options as possible for their budget, but when I'm baking, my price includes my salary. The expenses are somewhat fixed and my profit is my salary, just as their salary (in most professions) is set. Of course, I'm new to this and may hit some pretty big rocks along the road.

Eisskween Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 11:04am
post #26 of 26

Dirty Trick #692: What to do when "haggling" with a potential bride. Always increase your price by X amount. When they say it's too high, drop it by X amount and you still get the original price you wanted in the first place, and they think they are getting a deal.

They do this in the auto industry and in real estate, etc. And yes, kitchen appliances too Chutzpah! LOL They allow for the "haggling."

Have a great day everyone!
Karen

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