How Do You Respond To Price Shock?

Business By Amymnn Updated 22 Jun 2009 , 5:19pm by ziggytarheel

Amymnn Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:36am
post #1 of 39

I've been in "practice" for awhile now and started charging for my cakes. Most people who ask me are shocked when I tell them my prices (they are comparable to the only other custom cake shop in my area) I'm sticking to my prices no matter what, but I find myself fumbling over what to say when they tell me it's to expensive, not in the budget or "a lot more than the grocery store" Do you have something you tell people when they respond this way? I definitely don't want to be rude, but don't want to sound unprofessional or like I would be willing to negotiate my price. How do you find that balance when responding to someone? Your advice would be really appreciated icon_smile.gif

38 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:58am
post #2 of 39

Smile sweetly and say "I can probably do something less expensive for you, but we need to take this out of the design" or something to that effect if there really is something I can do. I only have patience for one of the statements you gave above. The outta my budget one, that is the only acceptable statement for this girl!

FromScratch Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 5:05am
post #3 of 39

I'm with Jamie... I just tell them that I completely understand that a custom cake might not be in their budget and thank them for thinking of me. I'm not going to come down in price, and I'm not worried that I'm out of some people's price range. I think people sometimes feel bad that the price is prohibitive of them ordering. I just make sure they know that it's not skin off my back. icon_smile.gif

Mensch Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 6:28am
post #4 of 39

*yes, I understand, I hope I can help you out with cake at a future event.*

Or some such mush.

apetricek Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 6:51am
post #5 of 39

I have found that it is easier to start right up front with their budget. I price all my cakes according to the servings, design, flavor, filling, fondant, custom work etc...I don't have a set price chart, and most people are aware of this....so before I waste any unnecessary time, I ask them right up front what or how much do you plan to spend. I am willing to work within a reasonable budget...as well. If after they feel that I am too "pricey" I tell them that thank you for contacting me, and I hope that I may be some help in the future. Not everyone is willing to pay a certain cost for a product, and that is fine with me....whatever you do don't budge on the price, it is very hard to increase once you have a steady customer base. Also if you do it one time, the word will spread like wild fire. I would rather have some one turn me down, than haggle over a price.I do hate however they tell you that there is no budget, you go through a whole consultation with them, give them the quote, and then you get the....."Oh, I have to talk to my husband, and I will get back to you tomorrow" I always know that is a dead give-away that they won't be back in touch. I used to be upset when people said I was too expensive, but I offer a service in my area that no one else does...so for specialty, custom work, you are going to pay specialty/custom prices...

Deb_ Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 12:28pm
post #6 of 39

I completely agree with apetricek.

The first question out of my mouth is always "what is your budget for this cake?"

When you know upfront what they're able to afford, you can immediately plan a design around that budget or tell them they need to simplify their design in order to stay in that budget.

Amymnn Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 12:40pm
post #7 of 39

Thank you all so much for the replies. It took me forever to figure out my costs and that is a big reason why I won't budge on my price. I'm one of very few that do this in my area and am lucky enough to have a licensed kitchen to work from. All of this work though to get here - there's no way I'm working for free or below minimum wage icon_smile.gif I appreciate your advice. It gives me the confidence I need to be consistent. icon_smile.gif

courtney1009 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 12:48pm
post #8 of 39

I find that when I ask people their budget, they never want to tell it. They act like they are dealing with a used car salesman or something. I tend to prep them first, by letting them know that my prices are more expensive, and if the price is out of their budget that is perfectly okay. I try to explain to them all of the time and effort that goes into a cake so that they realize I'm not just trying to charge them some obscene amount. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. I think this is a very good topic. I think we could all use some advice on this.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 12:49pm
post #9 of 39

I think we're going to see a lot of this. If people haven't purchased a cake in while, prices are skyrocketing. Also, The quality of ingredients that I use is wayyy superior to any supermarket cake, which is why people prefer them.

That said, never apologize for your price! Simply tell them that they are paying for quality. I tell people they can shop around and I'll keep their info for later.

Remember, every time you quote your price think about who you want to be. If you want to be a Walmart bakery, give that price. If you want to be a boutique bakery, give that price. Then do really good work.

Amymnn Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 12:55pm
post #10 of 39

I love the walmart vs. boutique bakery comparison. I'll definitely keep that in mind next time I'm asked. icon_smile.gif
courtney1009: When you explain all the time and effort that goes into a cake, what type of things do you say? I recently did that and by the time I was done talking I felt like I had made a bunch of excuses for my prices. I'd love to hear how you articulately explain this to your clients. Thanks in advance! icon_smile.gif

bettinashoe Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 1:00pm
post #11 of 39

Great topic! I've honestly thought about having some "cute" sign made up explaining I am not a discount bakery, my products are full-calorie, full-flavor, baked from scratch on site using the highest quality ingredients ( etc, etc, etc) and I would be glad to refer them to a discount bakery if that is what they are looking for.

I just need some cheeky wording for the sign that doesn't sound too offensive. After explaining this to people so often I sound like a 45 record that has been played too many times.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 1:11pm
post #12 of 39

I think if someone asks for budget first, the next question should be, well if money were no object what is your dream cake? I mean I wanna hear their dream and I want to monetarily quantify it--some customers go for the gold--I don't wanna inhibit them.

marmalade1687 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 1:15pm
post #13 of 39

Many of the quote requests that I get are through email, so I am able to break down the cost for them (ie. fondant figures vs. no fondant figures), so that really helps them make the decision. I try to give a couple of options so that they can choose what they want to go with - some of them go with the higher priced one, and some of them go with the lower, but they all appreciate that I have gone to the trouble of providing the info.

leah_s Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:02pm
post #14 of 39

I'm way less diplomatic than you guys.

To the MOB who suggested that I should match WalMart's prices, I responded, "Then go to WalMart."

To the bride last week who wanted a wedding cake for 100 for $350-$400 dollars, "I'm sorry, but there is no cake I can create for you in that budget. Nothing at all."

To the mother who thought she should be able to get wedding cake for $1.50-$2 per serving or less, "I'm sorry but I don't think that even the local Walmart is at that price."

Next!

Doug Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:39pm
post #15 of 39

This is NOT a car dealership. No Haggling.
Fixed price -- just like at the grocery store / dentist / doctor / etc.

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:53pm
post #16 of 39

And for people who act dismayed or shocked or whatever once you give them a price:
"Well, if you want a high-quality cake you have to pay high-quality prices"

or something along those lines.

BTW - agree with Doug and Leah and others. This is not a garage sale. This is not Priceline. The price is what it is.

CanadianCakin Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:09pm
post #17 of 39

Greta info! Thanks! icon_wink.gif

costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:10pm
post #18 of 39

"That's too much for my budget!"
Well, let's talk about what we can change to get the design into your budget range. What about this design do you think you'd be willing to change?

"That's more expensive than the grocery store."
Yes. custom cakes are more expensive than grocery store cakes. They do theirs in bulk and usually ship them in pre-baked and/or frozen. I make mine fresh and the taste reflects that. The decorating is also something that you can't get at a grocery store. Have you seen cakewrecks.com? icon_twisted.gif

"That's so expensive!"
Oh, this is nothing compared to what you'd have to pay if you lived in New York or Los Angeles! Did you know that some bakers there charge up to $15 a serving for their cakes? Isn't that amazing? Wow, aren't you lucky that you can get a custom cake for this low price that I'm charging you? icon_lol.gif

Kitagrl Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:12pm
post #19 of 39

I just say "No problem I understand, thanks."

Once in awhile if the person seems to want an explanation I will explain that they are paying for the artwork, not just the cake. Because usually sticker shock is involved with people watching Ace of Cakes and then calling me up for a birthday cake they think will be $50 and then I ask for $300. haha.

Kitagrl Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:14pm
post #20 of 39

Oh...and I actually don't ask for budget first.....I want to hear what they want first. If they really want it, alot of times they will go over budget. If they really have to stick with the budget, then they will tell me and we can start knocking off design elements or redo our idea from there.

Theresa50 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:35pm
post #21 of 39

Hi all.. I agree with everything you all are saying but I have a question about pricing.. I am a beginner and I don't know what to ask for the cakes that I do.. With all of you, your cakes are beautiful and very much works of art. With me just starting and my cakes you can tell aren't all that great.. please if you get a chance to look at them so you will get a better idea of what I do to what I should charge.. I'm much slower at my cakes cause of health problems so I would never put a price on the extra time it takes me to do one.. I have only been making cakes what about a yr, yr and a half.. haven't sold many cause of not knowing the price range.. I live in small town so price is a problem for everyone.. If you do get a chance would you all let me know where about I should be with prices.. I didn't mean to come in on your conversation like this..I don't post much so I don't know if I should of made a new post or if it is ok to post here.. please forgive me if I stepped out of bounds..
thank you all so much and if I did wrong please let me know..

Kitagrl Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:38pm
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa50

Hi all.. I agree with everything you all are saying but I have a question about pricing.. I am a beginner and I don't know what to ask for the cakes that I do.. With all of you, your cakes are beautiful and very much works of art. With me just starting and my cakes you can tell aren't all that great.. please if you get a chance to look at them so you will get a better idea of what I do to what I should charge.. I'm much slower at my cakes cause of health problems so I would never put a price on the extra time it takes me to do one.. I have only been making cakes what about a yr, yr and a half.. haven't sold many cause of not knowing the price range.. I live in small town so price is a problem for everyone.. If you do get a chance would you all let me know where about I should be with prices.. I didn't mean to come in on your conversation like this..I don't post much so I don't know if I should of made a new post or if it is ok to post here.. please forgive me if I stepped out of bounds..
thank you all so much and if I did wrong please let me know..




Hey your work is great! I was expecting to see junk by how you described yourself but your cakes are adorable!

Up here I'd probably charge around $4/serving for the most recent one in your pic...maybe in Georgia like $3/serving. Just use the Wilton party chart or the Earlene's chart and multiply that times however large the cake is.

Theresa50 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:44pm
post #23 of 39

thank you so much kitagrl I really appreciate that..I will look up Earlenes price list.. thank you again..

Amymnn Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:55pm
post #24 of 39

Theresa: Your cakes are wonderful! You need to charge full price for them. I seriously don't think you can consider yourself a "beginner" anymore. Your photos don't represent the work of someone just beginning. You are way underestimating yourself. icon_smile.gif

Chef_Stef Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:58pm
post #25 of 39

Honestly, if they are on the phone and they ask that favorite question I hear all the time..."How much do you charge for a 3-tiered cake?" I tell them my prices start at $4.00/serving, so it depends on how many servings you need, design, delivery, etc., but basically a cake for 100 would be $400.00, minimum.

If they say, "Oh dear, I wasn't planning to spend that much", I then offer them my Bake Me A Cake option, which is no-choice white cake, white icing and filling, one color accent in one of 4 design choices, and a limit of 50 or 74 servings for $99 or $149.

If they STILL say that won't work for them, I'm done at that point, and I say..."Well, thanks for calling. You might try shopping around a bit, and give me a call if you decide you want to order."

I don't have time to explain anything to them. I don't ask the Nordstrom gals to explain why they are charging $157.00 for that blouse, either...You can either afford it, or you can't, and most people understand that you get what you pay for.

LovelyCreations Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:13pm
post #26 of 39

ChefStef - I love your approach! But is this a multiple tiered cake or sheet cake that you offer for the "Bake Me a Cake Option"?

indydebi Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:23pm
post #27 of 39

I have lots of answers to this one:

- I phrase it as "What kind of dollar figure do you want to keep this UNDER?"
- See the attached Van Gogh comparison that I have hanging in my shop.
- See the attached "yes, there is a difference" comparison, made by a CC'er and sent to me, that I have hanging in my shop.
- "I don't DO kroger cakes!"
- You might run down the road to walmart .... I'm sure they can help you out.
- (in response to "I need a cake for 10") The smallest sheet cake I do serves 35 and it's fifty dollars (at which point they usually place their order).
- Ohhhhhh! You wanted "just a cake"! Walmart .... aisle 9 ... knock yourself out.

And I never, EVER try to explain or justify WHY i charge what I do. The car salesman never tries to sell me on his price by explaining all the overhead the mfr'ing plant has or how much they have to pay the guy on the assembly line or how health benefits have shot up. The waitress in the pizza place never explains how much training they've put into the guy who hand tosses the dough into the air.

It is what it is. If it's not in your budget, then thanks for stopping by and let me know how I can help in the future.

Theresa50 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:24pm
post #28 of 39

thanks amymnn that was very sweet of you.. I love it here on CC.. everyone is awesome..caring , loving, always ready to help .. I am so proud to be apart of CC.. thank you all so much

Kitagrl Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:32pm
post #29 of 39

Oh man I hate that "I just need a cake for 8 people" especially when they want something 3D, some kind of Ace of Cakes concoction.

I just tell them its just as much work for 8 as it is for 35 so I have to charge accordingly. I'll give them 8 servings for the price of 35 if they want. haha.

littlejewel Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 8:12pm
post #30 of 39

Theresa50

I have been decorting for about a year, my cakes look no where near as good as yours. your cakes are good. I think you should charge full price

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%