Ugh! How Do I Put This Nicely?

Decorating By thamp Updated 1 Apr 2009 , 7:26pm by msmeg

thamp Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:05pm
post #1 of 37

OK. This is a bit of a rant, but I need some advice. The teachers at my sons' school order cakes from me. I typically charge $60-65 for a two layer 12". When I add up the ingredients alone, it comes to about $33. Plus, I bring the cake to the school! Normally, no one complains about the cost, and they all love how the cakes taste and look. However, I just received an email regarding a possible order, and they only want to pay $35-40!!! How do I respond nicely (remember-my kids go to school there!) that I can't do the cake when I feel like telling them to go get a crap cake from WalMart?

36 replies
DyMakesCake Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:25pm
post #2 of 37

Could you tell them that you'd love to do their cake but for that price range, "Here is what I can offer". Maybe a smaller cake without any bells or whistles.......More Cake=More Money

mkolmar Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:25pm
post #3 of 37

I'm so sorry, I'm already booked for that entire week. My schedule is very busy that month.

That way you are not saying it's not enough $$, just that you are too busy.

brincess_b Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:29pm
post #4 of 37

what kind of cake could you do within that budget? if it would be too small, so its not even worth it, just say 'unfortunately, as my prices start at $x, i am not be able to take your order' maybe something about hoping they still enjoy their celebration, but that might sound a bit funny?
if you can do something within that budget, say what it would get them, X inches, simply decorated. then if they say they want more than that, you can tell them what 'more' costs.
hope that helps you to get going a little bit!
xx

costumeczar Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:47pm
post #5 of 37

Just be direct and tell them that you can't do the same sized cake for that amount due to the cost of ingredients and time that goes into the cake. If there's something smaller that you'd be willing to do for that price offer that to them, but I personally think that you're undercharging them anyway. By the time you pay form ingredients and gas. electricity and your itme, you're probably only making about $5 an hour.

Maybe you can explain that due to expenses involved, you have a minimum charge for custom cakes (make sure you say "custom", since that's what it is!)

cakes22 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:54pm
post #6 of 37

Oh could be a sticky situation. I like mkolmar's answer.
Here is an even stickier situation: I look after 4 teachers kids at my son's school (i do home daycare). My son's teacher from last year just ordered 2 cakes for her kids b-days coming up. She tells me what she wants and I figure out my prices. Nothing too over-the-top when it comes to the cake designs, pretty simple. I am about to hit the send button on my email to her and my DH is reading over my shoulder (which i hate) and says "You should be doing her cakes for free or at least at half since she pays you xxx amount in childcare". Ugh! MEN!!!

cakes47 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:56pm
post #7 of 37

I agree with saying a smaller & simpler cake is available in that price range or if you feel you really can't or don't want to, say you're busy or that starting price for custom cakes is $x.
Good luck!!!

solascakes Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:05pm
post #8 of 37

Hoookay here we go again.First of all business is business and i don't see a problem at all at all,its all gravy baby.If they want a cake for $40 dollars they get a smaller cake just say oh right that's ok its a 10" cake then, smaller than the one's you normally order,if they are difficult let them know you are already undercharging them,if it still does not work,"oh my" what date did you say you wanted it again..........i'm so sorry i'm fully booked.

solascakes Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:05pm
post #9 of 37

Hoookay here we go again.First of all business is business and i don't see a problem at all at all,its all gravy baby.If they want a cake for $40 dollars they get a smaller cake just say oh right that's ok its a 10" cake then, smaller than the one's you normally order,if they are difficult let them know you are already undercharging them,if it still does not work,"oh my" what date did you say you wanted it again..........i'm so sorry i'm fully booked.

revel Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:06pm
post #10 of 37

I say just be honest with her and tell that due to the high cost of your ingredients you are unable to do a cake at that price. I'm sure she'll understand. Most people that don't bake have no clue as to the cost.

newmansmom2004 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:15pm
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DyMakesCake

Could you tell them that you'd love to do their cake but for that price range, "Here is what I can offer". Maybe a smaller cake without any bells or whistles.......More Cake=More Money




^ What she said. Nip it in the bud at the first opportunity. By telling them you're booked already and don't have time for this particular order, you're only putting off the inevitable, which is telling them straight up that at the price they can afford, this is what you can offer. Maybe a sheet cake (one layer - no filling) with buttercream and a pretty border. No writing, no flowers, no frills. Or 20 cupcakes - no filling, simple swirled icing on top in whatever color they want the icing to be, etc.

If you don't address it now, you'll only have to address it later. icon_lol.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:24pm
post #12 of 37

First of all, Cakes22, your husband is wrong. You provide a service to her that she pays for. Your husband's statement is like saying that the care you provide to the children isn't worth anything, and since you charge for it you should also give her a free cake. Maybe he should stay home all day with all those kids and see what he thinks it's worth monitarily!!

Secondly, I think telling someone that you're booked because you don't want to tell the truth is just plain wrong. I see this advice all the time here and it drives me insane.

You do not need to make excuses for why you are not willing to sell your cakes for less than they're worth. You need to tell her that for $35 - $40 you can make a 6" cake with a very simple design because that's just what it costs to make your cakes. End of story. Besides, if you tell her you won't do it because you're booked, then you haven't educated her and she's likely to call back again wanting the same price that you're never going to give her. Are you going to tell her you're booked forever? Please just be honest and professionally explain what you can give her for that price.

__Jamie__ Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:36pm
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

Secondly, I think telling someone that you're booked because you don't want to tell the truth is just plain wrong. I see this advice all the time here and it drives me insane.




You and me both. What, are you going to be booked everytime someone asks for a cake for too little $$? They are then missing the point and will continue to ask when you aren't booked so they can get that cheap cake. How many times can the "I'm booked" possibly work?? icon_confused.gif

solascakes Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:40pm
post #14 of 37

cakes22 please why should you do cakes for free.As a one off, yes. Since your son's teacher pay you for child care why not for the cake,you are providing a service taking care of their children they are not giving you the money for free.So is the cake meant for gratitude,seng that email please,you can give a discount but not for free.

cakesbycathy Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:54pm
post #15 of 37

"For $40 I can provide a cake that will feed xx amount of people. If you would like a really elaborate design there will be an extra charge."

If that's not enough then she needs to order more cake. End of story. Do NOT get into a conversation explaining why it costs what it costs.

Deb_ Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 7:57pm
post #16 of 37

I actually like when someone gives me their budget amount right up front, it's the perfect opportunity to tell them what size cake they can get for that amount of money.

Like some others have said be honest it's business. "OK for $40 it will be an 8" cake. What flavor do you want?"

Short and sweet is the way to go. Telling them that ingredients, gas etc., are all expensive is not professional.

solascakes Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 8:10pm
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

I actually like when someone gives me their budget amount right up front, it's the perfect opportunity to tell them what size cake they can get for that amount of money.

Like some others have said be honest it's business. "OK for $40 it will be an 8" cake. What flavor do you want?"

Short and sweet is the way to go. Telling them that ingredients, gas etc., are all expensive is not professional.


Exactly , short and sweet

AuntEm Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 8:16pm
post #18 of 37

If it was me I would explain the costs of making the cake. Also have the tone of the email presume that they were not aware of the cost and time it takes make a cake and now that they know you're sure they understand and wouldn't expect you to make it for that price. If you have a standard price list that would help too. That's just my 2 cents.

Also I would agree with some of the others that saying you're booked doesn't address the issue and they may come back again asking for cakes at that price.

FromScratch Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 8:23pm
post #19 of 37

Don't get into sematics with them. Going through your costs is unprofessional and many see it as though you were talking down to them. They have no business knowing how much it costs you to make your cakes. Simply say "Great... for $40 you can have a X" cake and it will serve XX people." If that's not enough they will tell you and then you can suggest a different option should they ask. Simple as that.

Ruth0209 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 9:52pm
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Don't get into sematics with them. Going through your costs is unprofessional and many see it as though you were talking down to them. They have no business knowing how much it costs you to make your cakes. Simply say "Great... for $40 you can have a X" cake and it will serve XX people." If that's not enough they will tell you and then you can suggest a different option should they ask. Simple as that.


Jeanne, I absolutely agree.

MaMaCreates3 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 10:48pm
post #21 of 37

I am so happy to hear that I am not the only one that goes through this! I had a lady leave me a message saying that her daughter just had surgery and the only thing she wants for her birthday is one of my cakes. The message also stated that all she needed was a small cake to feed 8-10 people. I am already overbooked for the weekend but decided I would make a small cake for her. When I called her back I told her I would do it for her, she said "OK I would like a round cake to look like a Henri Bendel hat box with a chanel purse on top of it and a polk-a dot bow on the side with elaborate Henri Bendel bangles on it." I didn't know what to say, I already agreed to do the cake for her. She then asked me how much it would cost and I told her it would be $100, which I feel is a deal. She was soo shocked and rude at the price I quoted her for a cake that would only feed 8-10. I explained to her that it would take me hours to make this cake. She said that there was no way she would pay that much for a cake and couldn't believe that anyone would. Why is it that people go into a salon to get their hair done for an hour or two and have no problem paying a $100 or more but cringe at the thought of paying that much for a custom cake that is very time consuming and costly to make. Is our time not as valuable? I just needed to vent-thanks for listening.

Deb_ Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:17pm
post #22 of 37

icon_biggrin.gif Hey, hey, leave us hairstylists out of it! icon_lol.gif

Anyway, your response to this woman should have been.............

"You requested a cake to feed 8 to 10 people, however the cake you just described feeds a lot more then 8 to 10 people, not to mention carved cakes are considered "specialty cakes", therefore the cost is higher." icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:20pm
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Do NOT get into a conversation explaining why it costs what it costs.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Don't get into sematics with them. Going through your costs is unprofessional .....



What they said. You'll never buy a car and have the salesman explain how factory costs have gone up and the union just voted in a raise for the employees, and the dealership owner had a big property tax increase. They just tell you, "I'm sorry, we can't go that low."

On the issue of "gee, I'm booked", I also disagree with using this tactic. To me, it's another issue of women being nice and not wanting to "hurt people's feeeeeeeeeelinnnnnnnnnngs". There is nothing wrong with saying, "I'm sorry, I can't make a cake for that kind of money. You might check the local grocery store for a cake in that price range."

And cakes22, your husband is a bona fide bonehead! My husband wanted to give a friend a free chocolate fountain for their wedding. I'd already discounted them my "friend discount" and couldn't do a freebie. Hubby offered to pay for it. Yes, I DID make him write me the check for $750. He stopped making those suggestions after that.

MaMaCreates3 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:24pm
post #24 of 37

Sorry, no offense to the hairstylists out there. I am completely happy paying $100 for a great cut & color!

You are very right, I should have said that!

__Jamie__ Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:28pm
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaMaCreates3

"OK I would like a round cake to look like a Henri Bendel hat box with a chanel purse on top of it and a polk-a dot bow on the side with elaborate Henri Bendel bangles on it."





Criminy! Does the woman own those fancy a$$ purses and box and bangles she wants replicated in CAKE?? What did the real ones cost her? I mean really...don't people who want cakes in the fashion of designer bags and makeup and whatever generally own this stuff in the first place? And they balk at the price??? What the?? icon_confused.gif

mw902 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:29pm
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


And cakes22, your husband is a bona fide bonehead! My husband wanted to give a friend a free chocolate fountain for their wedding. I'd already discounted them my "friend discount" and couldn't do a freebie. Hubby offered to pay for it. Yes, I DID make him write me the check for $750. He stopped making those suggestions after that.




I love this story Debi! I bet he never did that again did he?????

indydebi Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:31pm
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mw902

I love this story Debi! I bet he never did that again did he?????



It was funny when I told him how much it was. He swallowed his face and said he thought it would be about fifty bucks. (what a mar-ROON!). Then he said, "You're not REALLY gonna make me pay it, are you?" I said, "Get your checkbooks, babycakes, and I also take credit cards!"

No, he never offers discounts anymore.

aquamom Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:41pm
post #28 of 37

Indydebi--
I really appreciate your comments- and your stories. They are so usefu icon_smile.gif

josumiko Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:59pm
post #29 of 37

Indydebi...that is hilarious! I am lucky that my husband actually wants me to get paid for my cakes! (I am only doing cakes for friends and family at the moment)

Deb_ Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 12:00am
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaMaCreates3

"OK I would like a round cake to look like a Henri Bendel hat box with a chanel purse on top of it and a polk-a dot bow on the side with elaborate Henri Bendel bangles on it."




Criminy! Does the woman own those fancy a$$ purses and box and bangles she wants replicated in CAKE?? What did the real ones cost her? I mean really...don't people who want cakes in the fashion of designer bags and makeup and whatever generally own this stuff in the first place? And they balk at the price??? What the?? icon_confused.gif




I'm definitely not one to shop "designer" names but I can honestly say I have never heard of Henri Bendel icon_confused.gif Is his stuff really popular?

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