Can I Just Vent For A Minute? Or Two??

Decorating By mrswendel Updated 17 Mar 2009 , 7:01pm by Liniti

mrswendel Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 12:50pm
post #1 of 28

I'm feeling a little bit frazzled with customers lately. I've had 2 ladies in the past week contact me for cakes. They have been on my site (which I have my pricing posted), have both seen my work and sampled a cake that I have done for different venues.

First was a bride holding a weddng at a very upscale golf club for 220 guests in May/09. Wanted cake for about 150 - 4 tier, fondant covered with very elaborate piping decoration and gumpate flowers. Quoted her $450 including delivery. Her response "Wow...that's really expensive. I don't want to spend that much on a cake....can you do it for $300?" My response "No, not for that many servings with the design you have chosen. If you wanted to go with a smaller cake or change the design to something a little more simple, we could work with that figure" Her response "Oh....well....I really want this cake. Can I think about....and can I take my picture back?" Followed up with her and got a response back of "We still haven't made a decision and haven't visited with any other cake people. Can you hold the date for me for a few more days until we make a decision? If there is anything you can do, please let me know"

Second lady wanted a cake for 75-100 people for a 40th birthday, that incorporated hockey, snowmobiling, carpentry and firefighting. She suggested maybe a 3D hockey rink or fireman helmet with the other things somehow included....she'd leave that up to me. So, I sent her a response asking what her budget was because what she was requesting would be somewhere in the $350 range depending on what we decided on exactly. Her response back "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but my budget is only $75-$100" 3D Cake for 100 people for a $100?????

I just don't get it....my site has my base pricing listed so it's not like it is a secret. What do you do with respect to these types of customers? I'm willing to work with anyone to meet their budget...it's tough right now for everyone, but I can't do cakes for free!

Sorry for the long vent. I'm sure the rest of you have had these customers as well.

Thanks for listening (reading lol)

27 replies
cakesbycathy Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 1:17pm
post #2 of 28

For the bride, I would email her back telling her that you do not hold any date unless you have received a deposit. Do not comment on the price again. You've already told her it is what it is (good for you, btw!). I suspect she will be back (then you can decide if it is going to be worth it for you to work with her).

For the second lady, I would email her back letting her know that the price of a 3D cake reflects the amount of time and labor involved and the price cannot be lowered. Then you can let her know if there is anything you can do within her budget.

Cake muggles...they just don't get it.

chutzpah Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 1:20pm
post #3 of 28

I never hold a date without a retainer.

As for these customers, just let it go. There'll be others who are willing to pay what your cakes are worth.

melvin01 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 1:30pm
post #4 of 28

I agree. The ones who want everything for nothing usually aren't worth dealing with. I understand about having a budget and money being tight, but if you expect an Ace of Cakes cake for $100, you need to think again.

I wonder what they would say if they knew that Duff's cakes STARTED at $1K each? A lot of people just don't know what all it takes to do an elaborate cake. Don't back down on your pricing.

indydebi Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 1:42pm
post #5 of 28

"Oh I love Ace of Cakes, too! Did you know that he has a ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR minimum for his cakes? And the cakes you see on TV are no where NEAR a lousy thousand dollar cake. The good news is I'm not QUITE that expensive .... now, what were you looking for?"

"Oh, you wanted a wedding cake for only about $2 a serving? Hmmmm. THat would be a super plain cheap sheet cake, or you could place a couple of packs of Twinkies at each guest's plate." And then remind her that she's not buying a $450 cake .... she's buying enough cake to feed 150 people! (which is ALMOST everyone she expects to be there! icon_confused.gif )

Marmette Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 2:29pm
post #6 of 28

what is it with people and wanting cheap cake. If you want it cheap try making it yourself and you would see that you would spend more than that on supplies and effort.

beck30 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 3:15pm
post #7 of 28

I am not licenced yet but my cousins new wife wanted me to do there wedding cake. I said I would for $50 for materials. She said she would make one cause that was too much. Needless to say her cake looked like a giant turd.lol These brides are crazy to think that you can do it and not charge what its worth. I dont think you should bail on your prices. Your already taking less than you should.

mrswendel Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 4:19pm
post #8 of 28

Thanks everyone! I just needed to vent to other people who DO KNOW what is involved. My hubby is great at listening to me rant...his favorite reply to people who ask about my pricing and seem offended is "Well, the grocery store is 5 minutes away. They can defrost a plain white cake for you and cover it with the icing that comes in the big bucket that they keep on the floor..yummy!"

fondantgirl Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 4:44pm
post #9 of 28

I work in a bakery and WOW to some people. I do fondant cakes there (the only one that will work with the stuff lol) and people freak out when a 5 tier wedding fondant cake is 1000.00 I mean yeah i am getting pretty fast I average 2-3 hrs per tier depending on the design but still Hello the cake and icing is from scratch! I don't get it sometimes either so most of the time those people order a buttercream cake which is fine with me lol. There are some really good customers though that will pay what its worth and love it in the end. But yeah it can get frustrating. There will always be those people out there though.

mrswendel Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 1:39am
post #10 of 28

So, as a follow up to my original post....the bride contacted me again to say that they have a family member that has offered to make their wedding cake for all of their guests as a wedding gift. I'm thinking this is probably a good thing for me....I get the feeling that this would have been one of those "well...it's not exactly what I wanted...and you know...it cost me a lot of money..so what can you do??" Onto the next!

chutzpah Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:06am
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrswendel

....the bride contacted me again to say that they have a family member that has offered to make their wedding cake for all of their guests as a wedding gift.




Tell her to be sure and send you pictures.

mommyle Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:21am
post #12 of 28

In the future, if a bride wants you to "hold" the date, I would say "Well, I can promise not to book anyone else who doesn't pay a DEPOSIT"

bizatchgirl Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:22am
post #13 of 28

I sense another cake looking like a giant turd. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif

Liniti Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:26am
post #14 of 28

This is one reason why I will never do cake decorating as a business!
The very first customer that would open her mouth and try to beat me down in price would get the response......"What do you think I run....a flea market???"

kimblyd Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:27am
post #15 of 28

Thank you beck30 for making me laugh today....I would love to see a picture of that giant turd cake! Sounds like they got what they paid for.
icon_lol.gif

chutzpah Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:34am
post #16 of 28

Liniti.... I have said that!

Had a couple who had received all info via e-mail (including pricing, so they could have figured an approximate price their ownselves. Went through a consultation with samples and all and I said the final price. Then HE says... well, I'd like to talk about the price (every fiber of my being KNEW what was going to happen). I said, well, we just did. He said.... We'd like to negotiate the price with you. Me: My prices are non-negotiable. This isn't the flea market.

JaimeAnn Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:34am
post #17 of 28

So would you like your giant turd cake stacked or plated separately?

If you would like to save a little more you could just stop by and pick up the pieces and assemble them yourself . Here they are .. Still warm too... YYYUUUUMMMMMMM!


Image[/img]

juleebug Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:01am
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrswendel

So, as a follow up to my original post....the bride contacted me again to say that they have a family member that has offered to make their wedding cake for all of their guests as a wedding gift.




Because that always works out so well. icon_rolleyes.gif

I had a similar issue last summer (which I posted in another thread). Here's the story of how that worked out:

I had a MOB who wanted me to make a cheap 2 tier wedding cake (10 inch and 8 inch layers) which would not have been enough cake to serve her guests. She told me she was going to serve sheet cakes with it (she never inquired what I charge for them) and I told her I could make a cake large enough for her for what she would have paid for my cake + sheets.

She insisted she only wanted a 2 tier cake from me so I just told her I don't do 2 tier wedding cakes because it's not worth my time. (And yes, I'm a cake snob... I DID NOT want my cake served with sheet cakes from the local grocery store. They taste like greasy cardboard.)

Found out later from the florist that the cake was provided by the groom's family as a "gift" to the couple. The groom's sister made some box cakes, bought canned icing, colored it blue (not their color scheme) and slathered it on the cake. Before the ceremony even started, I'm told, the top tier started sliding off the bottom tier. At this point, the groom's sister went into the kitchen, got a BUTCHER KNIFE, jammed it through the center of the cake and said, "That'll hold it."

I'm told the MOB cried.

playingwithsugar Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:18am
post #19 of 28

Two years ago, I was contacted by a friend of a relative, who wanted a Sweet 16 cake for her daughter's party. She was ordering 200 serves.

I explained to her that I do not normally sell my cakes, but she begged and begged, and I said alright. Then she started telling me what she wanted:

A 48" oval mirror ($600 custom made - she even knew which company to order it from) to go under the 7 tier acrylic stands ($500 ordered) with matching candlesticks (another $200), both from a particular company, 7 tiers of cake or 200 serves, peach and orange flowers. And she wanted it all for $200 - expecting me to absorb the cost of the mirror and stand.

My reply - "No, sorry, I cannot accommodate you. Seek the services of someone who does cakes for a living. I cannot justify the cost of the mirror and stand, when I have no further use for them."

I heard that the entire event cost her over $20,000.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

mmelyss Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 11:42am
post #20 of 28

wow... 150 servings for 450$ is not even close to expensive....

CakeInfatuation Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 12:07pm
post #21 of 28

Thank you Thank You Thank You!


I love reading posts like this. Not because I'm glad any of you are in these situations but because I hope to be legal by Fall and I'm developing my pricing back bone without having to deal with people. ha ha It's like role playing in my head when I read these posts!

playingwithsugar Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 12:09pm
post #22 of 28

It's like drugs - just say "No." As in, "No, my prices are not negotiable."

Theresa icon_smile.gif

mandysue Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 4:58pm
post #23 of 28

I love reading these too because I have SO MUCH TO LEARN. I'm getting completely ripped off on the cake I'm doing for this weekend and it's all my fault because I didn't have the nerve to demand what the cake is worth. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I tell myself that I'm developing my skills, and gaining exposure...that helps me sleep at night...at least for the 4 hours after I put down the decorating bags!

foxymomma521 Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:16pm
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chutzpah

Liniti.... I have said that!

Had a couple who had received all info via e-mail (including pricing, so they could have figured an approximate price their ownselves. Went through a consultation with samples and all and I said the final price. Then HE says... well, I'd like to talk about the price (every fiber of my being KNEW what was going to happen). I said, well, we just did. He said.... We'd like to negotiate the price with you. Me: My prices are non-negotiable. This isn't the flea market.




I think I remember that story... Didn't they stand outside your shop and argue because they were so stunned by what you said icon_lol.gif ?

debster Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:20pm
post #25 of 28

This also irritates me beyond belief, I had a lady tell me she wanted a carved cake for 40 so I gave her the price she freaked, I'm already paying 20 per head for each 4 year old attending this party plus the decorations.

My reply is well this is the price take it or leave it, Don't you think if it's a Birthday party the first thing you should factor in was the cake? Anyway, Why don't people try to get the venue's to lower their prices or the decorating service people? I just don't get why they expect the cake decorators to negotiate and no one else.

I tell them all lately yes I'd like to buy a Cadillac but it's above what I can afford so I bought my Chevy Impala. Reliable but not what I WANTED . People have to realize they need to buy within their means, the economy mess is proving that lately.

mommyle Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:22pm
post #26 of 28

"Wow, that is really expensive for a birthday party. You must be loaded, so the cost of the cake has now doubled!!!""" :BWAHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

debster Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:36pm
post #27 of 28

Amen to that, and the kicker was when she went to pick it up she called because she was going to be late because the man coming to quote her a price on her lawn was late. COME ON NOW !!!!! Believe it or not she didn't want the carved Grave Digger I had to do her one from a formed car pan cut down for 60.00 These are the ones that make me SCREAM!!!!! She actually gasped when I told her 150 for a carved Monster Truck and believe me that was CHEAP!!!!

Liniti Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 7:01pm
post #28 of 28

I know this is a little off topic, but I see where the cake business is like the photography business. Years ago, I sold my nature pics at craft shows, all matted and ready for framing. I had an old SLR Minolta camera (with NO automatic overide either), various lenses...fisheye to macro, filters, tripod, etc. I would sometimes spend all day in the field just to get that ONE perfect nature or wild animal shot. No one appreciated the money you had spent on equipment to be able to get those shots, let alone the know how and the many, many hours it sometimes entailed. Everyone that had a camera, thought they could get the same results. Then along came the digital and the rest of my goose got cooked.....LOL. icon_cry.gif

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