Scoping Out The Competition

Business By alexj9988 Updated 14 Oct 2009 , 3:20am by classiccake

alexj9988 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:58am
post #1 of 8

I am currently working on a business plan (hoping to get a SBA Loan, I hear some people still get them!), and I am wondering how to get pricing information from the local bakeries. Do you just call and ask? Sneak into their store in dark glasses and a trench coat? I will not pretend to be a customer (I think that is just wrong), but will they volunteer the information and the time it takes to tell me, if the know I am future competition? I would like to think that they would be willing, but I am more than a little nervous about it. Does anyone have any experience to relate on this? I wish it was as easy as checking the websites, but none of them put pricing info on there, and at least 1/3 of them don't have web sites.

7 replies
korensmommy Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 6:04am
post #2 of 8

Where are you in Louisiana, maybe I can help you.

alexj9988 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 6:32am
post #3 of 8

Hello neighboricon_smile.gif I am in Lafayette as well, and toying with the idea of opening a specialty cake studio...am I completely nuts?

korensmommy Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 1:05pm
post #4 of 8

Nope! Sent you a PM!

cakesdivine Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 1:19pm
post #5 of 8

Personally I wouldn't bother with what others are doing/charging...your price should be what you want to charge/need to charge to make a profit, you just need to decide how much of a profit you want. If your prices are too high it will be reflected in the lack of orders you get over the competition. If they are too low then you will be shortchanging yourself.

If you really want to know, go and purchase a cake from your competitors, be a customer, see what their customer service is like, how their product tastes...that is the only way to know for sure and be able to compare apples to apples. Being up front with who you are and what you are wanting to do may not give you accurate information. And in order to compare apples to apples and you insist on comparing yourself, then make sure those you are comparing your product with offer the same type of business you will be offering..ie:bakery that has stock available for pick up and works in mass quantities, or a custom cake design shop that is only open by appointment. They operate totally differently and have very different overheads, and generally the mass bakery can order ingredients at a much lower rate than a custom only shop.

jillmakescakes Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 1:29pm
post #6 of 8

There is nothing wrong with calling to get basic pricing info. Also, I actually went to the shops because I wanted to see how they had things laid out, what their lobby looked like, how they greeted their customers, what their displays looked like etc. Its very different when looking at it from a business owner view rather than a customer view.

I actually went to many shops more than once and in a few, on the second or third trip, told them that I was thinking about opening my own shop, and would they be willing to answer a few questions for me. Some didn't have time (or the inclination), but another (love ya Ilene!) took the time to talk to me, gave me a tour of her kitchen, lots of tips, tricks and hints. Now this particular shop is on the complete opposite side of town from me, so it's not like I'm down the road, but her information was a BIG help to me and we still have a good business relationship. She sends me customers and I send her some.

It's just so much easier to be friends with your competition than you might think. Look at your local statistics office. See how many weddings there are each weekend in your city. Then look at how many places do wedding cakes. Chances are, there is MORE than enough to go around.

jlynnw Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 1:38pm
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillmakescakes

There is nothing wrong with calling to get basic pricing info. Also, I actually went to the shops because I wanted to see how they had things laid out, what their lobby looked like, how they greeted their customers, what their displays looked like etc. Its very different when looking at it from a business owner view rather than a customer view.

I actually went to many shops more than once and in a few, on the second or third trip, told them that I was thinking about opening my own shop, and would they be willing to answer a few questions for me. Some didn't have time (or the inclination), but another (love ya Ilene!) took the time to talk to me, gave me a tour of her kitchen, lots of tips, tricks and hints. Now this particular shop is on the complete opposite side of town from me, so it's not like I'm down the road, but her information was a BIG help to me and we still have a good business relationship. She sends me customers and I send her some.

It's just so much easier to be friends with your competition than you might think. Look at your local statistics office. See how many weddings there are each weekend in your city. Then look at how many places do wedding cakes. Chances are, there is MORE than enough to go around.




I agree. This is how I am working on things right now. Some will look at you like you are crazy. Others will bend over backwards and help you like they have all the time in the world to give you their years of experience. I can only hope that I can be this helpful to those who come to me. Just remember the busy days they may have and be respectful and you will get the same back.

classiccake Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 3:20am
post #8 of 8

My philosphy...what goes around comes around........be helpful.

Go get em Jill!

Ilene

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