Just Lost My First Customer

Decorating By saberger Updated 1 May 2013 , 2:44pm by Jackie80

saberger Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 9:23pm
post #1 of 29

WAH icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif I just lost my first potential customer...who also happens to be a friend. I feel a bit bad, but at the same time, I don't. She called me yesterday and asked if I could make a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and chocolate transfers.....to celebrate her niece's 100th day.

Since it was last minute notice and I didn't have any extra in the freezer, I said I would not be able to...HOWEVER...I do have some orange dreamsicle & white choc. truffle filling nd can do that for her....since it wouldn't require too much extra time. She agreed and I said I would get back to her with the $. So I finally got the chance to sit down and do the math and realized I didn't think she was going to want to spend that much. So I called her to tell her the $.

"I wanted to check in with you about the $ before making the cake. My price is $4.50/serving for gourmet cake & filling. I have a 10" square which feeds 40 people. Since you only need it for @ 20, I will give it to you for the price of an 8" which serves 24. So instead of it being $180, I can give it to you for $108. In addition, I can do one more discount and give it to you for $3.50/serving, so it would be $84. But that is the absolute best that I can do."

She says, "oh, you don't charge by the cake size? That sees very expensive."

icon_sad.gif *sigh* What can I do?! I offered her the best I could, but no is no. However, it IS the first time I have lost a potential customer, so it feels kind of yucky. icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

Thanks for listening.

28 replies
CarrieBear Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 9:31pm
post #2 of 29

Most people have no idea what it costs to make a cake if you are not a large bakery who doesnt get things at wholesale cost. and they dont account for your time spend to bake,decorate,cleanup,ect. If you did it at a wal-mart cost you would be either loosing money or doing it for nothing. They dont get it ....

tarheelgirl Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 9:31pm
post #3 of 29

Your price is your price. And you gave her a couple discounts. Just remember your time is worth it! Its time you are taking from your daily life to bake, torte, decorate..

woodruffbn Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 9:35pm
post #4 of 29

I'm the kinda person who gets my feelings hurt easily and can get embarrased really quickly.... So that would bother me. NOT THAT YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO BE EMBARRASED OF.... But it was a friend.... And it would hurt my feelings that she didn't want to pay me for my time and expert baking!

pamela82 Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 10:38pm
post #5 of 29

I think friends and cakes dont go well lol. Well for me it dont go well.

Heres 2 storys that will help you.

1. My best friend wants a baby shower cake with matching cup cakes. All is good go ahead and order everything i need. 2 days befor i am in the kitchen doing all the little bits to put ontop of cake and cupcakes etc. The next day get up and am ready to go at this cake. Get a phone call from my best friend who tells me she changed her mind. I said to her ok well you had 2 weeks to tell me this the day befor you need the cakes you tell me. Got her to come around thinking it may of been easy but what turned into a 2 tired round cake soon was a 1 round cake with a duck ontop. I was so angry told her i needed a duck pan to make the duck ontop and i dont have one. She was so angry (i was not charging her for the cake as it was a gift to her from me) she said dont worrie about making me a cake and i said are you sure i have everything for the first one ready to go. She told me no. Then the morning of her baby shower called up to let me know she now wanted the cake. I was so angry i said to her its going to be a rush job and if i get it dont in time she will have it. Lucky i did get it all made because i already had most of the stuff already done. I have not made another cake for her and i have since told her that i dont do cakes now unless she orders on etc.

2. My sister inlaw wanted me to make her wedding cake i said to her i could do that but would need to charge her for the cost of the cake i would only charge her what it cost me to buy stuff. That was ok with this. Because it was suck a large cake and stuff and the amount of hours i took to make it. Hubby said lets not get them much for the wedding as i spend alot of time doing this cake. Befor i went ahead with it i made sure it was what she wanted we got photos of cakes he liked colours etc etc so i had it spot on. Well it all went down the drain i deliverd the cake to her house where the wedding was held and was quite shocked when the screaming started yelling at me "you F***ed me cake up, This is not what i wanted etc etc. She was going of. I was crying saying we spend so much time looking at diffrent cakes and i showed you what i was doing etc. She was not happy at all. My mum, hubby and best friend seen the cake and said how good it was. I ended up leaving the cake their and when home. Hubby went right off called her up to tell her where to stick it (this is hubbys sister) we ended up not going to the wedding and in the end all she did all night was to say how cheep was was for not getting her a nice big $$$ present. we have 2 small kids and my hubby is the only one who works. This happend about 2 years ago and we have never made contact with her and she has since moved away from the family.

After my sister inlaws little out burst i never wanted to make a cake again and my sister little girl asked me for a dora cake and i made it she was so happy the face on her when she seen it made my heart melt so now i make them for people i know who are not going to put them down or kick up a big tantrum over them.

DreamCakesOnline Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 10:59pm
post #6 of 29

Since I used to work in sales, I have to tell you that you're just not going to sell every customer and don't take it personally. It's just a law of averages. Not everyone who wants a cake is going to be happy paying your price. Do stick to your pricing though because if you try to bat a thousand you're going to end up kicking yourself for giving away your precious time and resources to people who don't fully appreciate it. Sales is a win-win situation and both sides have to come out to the good or it's not worth doing the deal. Some people's expectations are that they will get diamonds for the price of rhinestones and you're not doing anyone any good by charging them less to get the order and making them think they were right to expect such a lop-sided bargain. What you need to see in this situation was that her $84 was worth more to her than your cake/time/resources and let her make that decision for herself. I usually tell people a little bit about how much time it will take me to do something so they realize that they would be asking me to work XX number of hours for a ridiculous wage that they would never work for themselves. It builds value into what you're offering and makes the price seem more realistic. Doesn't mean they'll part with their money though.

varika Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 10:59pm
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

She says, "oh, you don't charge by the cake size? That sees very expensive."




"I do charge by the cake size. THe cake size is 40 servings. That would be $180. You're getting an amazing discount to get a 40-serving cake for less than half price."

gerripje Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 11:01pm
post #8 of 29

OMG pamela! That's terrible for you. I agree, friends and cakes don't mix well. Especially the ones that think you just throw a cake mix in a couple of pans, slap icing on and viola! You have an amazing cake that should only take a couple of hours. I recently avoided making a wedding cake for my friend's cousin. When she called asking me to send her some pictures of the cakes I've made, because her cousin was quoted around $1000.00 dollars for the cake she wanted. She kept saying well you can do really good right?? I used my brain this time and said oh sorry, I have to work that whole week. I know they were wanting something really great for nothing... no thanks!!

JCE62108 Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 11:20pm
post #9 of 29

Aw dont feel bad. I think Im going to loose a customer too. My hubby's 5th grade teacher (who are actually friends now and used to work together) wants to order a cake from me for his wifes fancy- schmancy surprise birthday party. He was asking my husband how much he thought I would charge. I was a little dissapointed that my hubby said anything at all (quoting prices is my job! lol) but he told him something like $80 and he goes, WOW I didnt think it would be THAT much. I starting thinking, well, if I made that cake at the grocery store I work at it would cost 165.00 plus the cost of gumpaste shells at $3/pc. So $80 would really be a steal. But I dont think He is going to go for it. We'll find out very soon though!

Sorry that happened with your friend. Try not to let it affect your friendship. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 11:54pm
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

She says, "oh, you don't charge by the cake size? That sees very expensive."




"Yes, I charge by the cake size. A cake this size, which feeds 24, is $108."

Semantics. It's just plain simple semantics.

saberger Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 12:11am
post #11 of 29

Thanks everyone. I know I am in the right with the prices...I won't feel bad about it. I have made my prices and I will stick by them. I know that they are reasonable and they are the average for around here (a little less on some things and a little more on others).

I did tell her that I charge basically the same price as the competition for a basic cake with a basic filling and a basic icing....but she charges extra for the designs. So...

I even mentioned to her that "Mrs. X" ordered the same kind of cake and paid $ for size x. (some of you might know which I am referring to from a previous post due to my insecurity). She knows the person - I just felt like throwing it out to her that there ARE people who pay that kind of money for cakes. And just because I had happened to bring my red velvet cake with chocolate transfers to our mom's coffee group...doesn't mean it isn't worth $. I had extra and I brought it and I wanted to get business....that's how it works.

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:00am
post #12 of 29

After many years in retail I would have to say thatl when you take your price and then tell the customer all of the discounts you are going to take off and how many they serve etc... they end up with nothing but numbers running through thier heads and would rather walk away then try to determine if they are getting a good deal or not. Next time tell them the base price and then how much with the discount you are going to give them. Then say it with conviction and dont budge. If they here that you feel like your prices are fair then they are more willing to agree to pay them. Customers are like dogs. They know when you are sweating something and they will feed on you or in your case decide not to deal with you.

indydebi Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:05am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeBoos-8599_

After many years in retail I would have to say thatl when you take your price and then tell the customer all of the discounts you are going to take off and how many they serve etc... they end up with nothing but numbers running through thier heads



I would agree with this.

On my Summary Form (adds the cake, the food, the drinks, the delivery fee, the service fee, the sales tax, etc), I have the fees already programmed in (formula driven). For D&R cakes, I'll sit there and just say, "Well, we can deduct a lot of costs for you ... no delivery fee, no service fee, no sales tax on D&R's ..... wow, that took off about $85 for you!" I don't spell it out ... just that fact that they are getting a bunch of stuff "for free" makes 'em happy!

all4cake Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:23am
post #14 of 29

When someone asks me if I charge by the serving or by the size, it leaves me PUZZLED as to how to answer...like, "HUH?". Like PPs stated, I do charge by the cake size, and that cake size serves ___.

Is that information that consultants/planners/magazine articles suggest they ask when researching decorators/bakers?

Lisaa1996 Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:27am
post #15 of 29

Wow, must be something in the air....I just lost my first customer too a few days ago! She called me up to order a cake that she had seen at my friend's graduation party for her son. I made made the cake very cheap as a favor for them...a 12x18 covered in fondant, 3D cap, fondant diploma's, etc... Well, this lady calls me and wants a quote for a 12x18 cake. I told her my buttercream base price for that size which was $60.00 and then said that if she wants fondant like my friend's cake, it will be more. She says she'll call me back in a day or so. Next day, she calls me and say's...I want to order a cake! I say ok, buttercream or fondant? She says...I want it just like the cake I saw at the other party. I say , ok...that will be $90.00 with the fondant and all the extras (which was still a deal but she is my friend's boss). She freaks out and says "You quoted me $60!!!!!" I say...NOOOOOO...I told you $60.00 for the buttercream and that the fondant would be more. After argueing and her threatening to order from another bakery, I said, fine, thank you , bye!
Too bad the other bakery doesn't do fondant at all or 3D cakes for the cap! Have fun with that ! She was so high-maintenance, I am actually glad I didn't get her order! It hurt for the rest of the night but the next day, I remembered that there is always someone willing to pay my prices and I won't do a cake for nothing!
It sucks when people turns down your work but your cakes are great and other people will come along who will appreciate them and pay what they are worth icon_smile.gif.

Mensch Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 6:40am
post #16 of 29

You are absolutely NOT obliged to give a discount to your friend's boss.

saberger Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 11:46am
post #17 of 29

I agree about the whole discount thing. I think I was trying to help HER out more than me having a customer. Does that make sense? So, I was giving her the different discounts and doing what I could on such short notice. I did tell her that I usually require a week's notice and that I was trying to help her as much as I could. Of course, in the back of my head I just kept wanting to charge her a rush fee (does anyone do that?).

I think my mistake was that I didn't give her my price asap. Since I have just recently come up with my prices I have yet to have them really memorized. If I have a moment of quiet to think, then I can tell the person what it is, but when things are crazy around me, I can't just ramble it off while on automatic pilot. icon_sad.gif Gotta work on that.

Deb_ Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 12:04pm
post #18 of 29

Pricing for friends and family is NEVER an easy comfortable thing. I baked for free for so long before I became licensed that it took me a while to get people used to paying for something they always got for free.


What really helped me after I became legal was I sent out a flyer to all of my family and friends that I had baked for.......it was an announcement of sorts letting them know that I was now a "legitimate legal" business. I thanked them for allowing me to "practice" on them for all those years but explained that now I had business expenses and needed to charge for my cakes.

I included a price list guideline and offered them a "family and friends" discount when they placed their first "real order".

I think it helped put them in the right frame of mind and it helped me avoid any awkward uncomfortable moments, like you just had.

Make up a price list and keep it by your phone. When someone calls and asks for a 10", you'll immediately be able to tell them what your base price is without any "extra" design work. If they want figures or intricate design, then you can say that quote will go up when you include the other elements.

I own 2 businesses the other is a Salon/Spa and believe me I get the same thing at my Salon too. Why do family and friends always feel that we should work for less when it's for them? I wouldn't dream of treating them like that if they owned a business. It's the part of being in business that I hate the most.

Good luck!

aligotmatt Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 12:20pm
post #19 of 29

Kelly, that is such a great idea for kicking off a business! I know we've all made free cakes as we built up to deciding if we wanted to really open a business or not, doing that would have made my transition easier!

and you know, if I had a big bakery, maybe if my family or a good friend came in, I would give them a free cupcake or cookie once in a while. Not every time, but just from time to time. I know the owner of a coffee shop and every few times I go in, he buys me whatever I'm drinking. He doesn't ring it up and pay for it, just says, 'don't worry about it' And I think if I had a lot of product, I could give away a cookie or something from time to time at my discretion.

However, it is TOTALLY different in the business I am currently running. Sometimes a single order is so big that I cannot take another. Well, I'm not going to turn down all other business for a WEEK just to do a big free cake, ya know? Or possibly turn down a paid order to do a free one...

cylstrial Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:20pm
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

I did tell her that I usually require a week's notice and that I was trying to help her as much as I could. Of course, in the back of my head I just kept wanting to charge her a rush fee (does anyone do that?).




Some people do charge rush fees for last minute cakes. It makes sense to me, if you are busy. That's just less sleep or less time with your kids...or whatever else you have going on.

cylstrial Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:21pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Pricing for friends and family is NEVER an easy comfortable thing. I baked for free for so long before I became licensed that it took me a while to get people used to paying for something they always got for free.


What really helped me after I became legal was I sent out a flyer to all of my family and friends that I had baked for.......it was an announcement of sorts letting them know that I was now a "legitimate legal" business. I thanked them for allowing me to "practice" on them for all those years but explained that now I had business expenses and needed to charge for my cakes.

I included a price list guideline and offered them a "family and friends" discount when they placed their first "real order".

I think it helped put them in the right frame of mind and it helped me avoid any awkward uncomfortable moments, like you just had.

Make up a price list and keep it by your phone. When someone calls and asks for a 10", you'll immediately be able to tell them what your base price is without any "extra" design work. If they want figures or intricate design, then you can say that quote will go up when you include the other elements.




I think that is great advise for people who are making the transition! thumbs_up.gif Thanks for sharing your method!

shelbur10 Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 5:05pm
post #22 of 29

Lost one myself this week. She wanted something to serve 50, gave me 4 days notice, acknowledged and apologized for the short notice (I work a full time day job, cakes on the side). I agreed to do it, gave her a price, she said 'great, thanks, blah blah,' then came back to me 2 days later saying they'd canceled the party. I had the gut feeling that it was the price, and she just didn't want to admit it. She later posted online pics of the party and I noticed a 9x13 cake with a few cupcakes (to serve 50??). Losing the order didn't bother me (I realize not everyone can afford a custom cake for every occasion), but it bugged the everliving crap out of me that she lied about why.

lookitskim Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 6:46pm
post #23 of 29

OMG! I know the feeling. Last year i had a friend who called me to make a cake for her son. I told her.. just pay me for supplies. Which wasn't even alot. I gave her the amount that needed for the cake. I told her 50 dollars is good and she said she dont have that kind of money to spend on a cake. So i felt bad.. i told her fine.. i'll make this cake as a gift from me to you. She said ok. the day of the bday.. i brought the cake over.. not even a thank you! i was so mad! After that day.. i swore i'll never make a cake for her again. Recently she called me to make a cake for her anniversary and her bf bday. I told her im gonna be out of town. Can't do it. I didn't care nor did i feel bad.

playingwithsugar Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 6:56pm
post #24 of 29

She got a deal. In other places, she would be charged $8+ for a serve of gourmet cake and filling, plus specialty items, like basketweave, gumpaste or fondant.

Stick to your prices. Your friend obviously doesn't understand ingredient and labor costs.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 5:17pm
post #25 of 29

I have started telling my friends and family (who do get a discounted fee) that if asked how much the cake was they are to tell them the price it would have been. This eliminates people saying "but you only charged xyz this much??!!) I just tell the reciever of the cake that this cake would have been $xyz and that is the price they tell the people who inquire. Our friends and family want us to be successfull so they have no problem with what I ask of them. AND they get a yumny incentive to boot!

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 5:17pm
post #26 of 29

I have started telling my friends and family (who do get a discounted fee) that if asked how much the cake was they are to tell them the price it would have been. This eliminates people saying "but you only charged xyz this much??!!) I just tell the reciever of the cake that this cake would have been $xyz and that is the price they tell the people who inquire. Our friends and family want us to be successfull so they have no problem with what I ask of them. AND they get a yumny incentive to boot!

dhccster Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 6:12pm
post #27 of 29

It definitely must be something in the air this week. I just had a friend who has ordered a few cakes from me cancel an order for a friend of hers. She said when she sent her my price list, her friend thought my prices were too high. Because of this site and forums like this, I replied, "that's OK. Not everyone is going to like my prices, but I feel comfortable with them and am not going to lower them!" I have learned so much from this site about this issue. I do feel like my cakes are worth my prices. It did feel really good to have confidence and not back down. Thank you all.

bafishr Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 8:30pm
post #28 of 29

I had a friend who was taking her dog to a chiropractor. She called and asked if I would do a cake for the chiropractor. She said that it would be a great way to promote my business. I told her if she would pay for the supplies I would be happy to make a cake. I had already made a cake for their church auction, free of charge. I told her I was no longer doing free cakes. Needless to say she didn't get a cake from me, I guess she bought one from Food Lion as that's where they get their b-day cakes. My pics have not been updated recently but my work has improved icon_biggrin.gif

Jackie80 Posted 1 May 2013 , 2:44pm
post #29 of 29

My sentiments exactly! especially with brides...when I know they want an extravagant/grand cake for $100 my answer is "I'm booked that week".

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