How Do You Politely Tell Someone They Can't Afford You?

Business By Dreme Updated 3 Mar 2010 , 7:20am by CeeTee

Dreme Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 4:36pm
post #1 of 38

Or that what they want is not the level of work you do? I dont want to be uppity but somethings are not what I want representing myself or my business. Whats a polite way of turning down these situations? Is there a way to minimize those who aren't your target audience and increase ones that are? TIA

37 replies
Polarcakes Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 4:47pm
post #2 of 38

I`m sorry but I cannot do your cakes. I have many other cakes booked for that day/weekend that have to be completed?

3GCakes Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 4:49pm
post #3 of 38

I wouldn't necessarily want to tell someone they can't afford me, but I would offer a non-negotiable quote. It never hurts to give a quote. They'll find out then if they can afford you.

Having a set minimum for your pricing helps too. If your minimum is, say, 100.00...and all they want is a 1/2 sheet cake one layer with balloons on it....they will probably see that they need to go elsewhere.

You can always take their idea and interpret it for them, give them a sketch of ways you can make their idea better. They are paying for your design expertise as well. Let them take it or leave it.

tab_stout Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 4:55pm
post #4 of 38

I would think you just right out your requirements for cakes and post them on your website or something, and then simply read your requirements and tell them if their cake does not meet these requirements you have a some you can refer them too who does a wonderful job with cake, just does not have the same requirements for their cakes. (of course you'll need someone you can refer them too), but this should keep them from coming back to you with a cake similar to the one their requesting and you once again having to make up an excuse and them posibly getting upset that you may be blowing them off. Like if you look on Charm City Cakes website it states very clearly all of there cakes start at $1,000.

cakesbycathy Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 4:59pm
post #5 of 38

I don't outright say "You can't afford me." I ask how many guests they are expecting and then tell them "I charge $xx per serving. So x number of guests x $xx equals $XX plus delivery. Is that within your budget?"

There is also nothing wrong with saying "I don't think I'm the best decorator for what you are looking for. Let me recommend you to so and so."

TexasSugar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:00pm
post #6 of 38

I don't think the "sorry I'm booked" should be used for all cakes we don't want to do.

This just means that there is a possibilty this person will come back again.

I'd say go for the up front approach. "My cakes start at $a.bc per serving and my minimum order is $xyz." Then if they can't spend $xyz they will know they should go somewhere else.

What type of cakes do you not want to do?

Dreme Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:27pm
post #7 of 38

Thank you everyone for your opinions!

Yeah I realized using the "sorry im booked" method only returns the same customer later. I like the idea of telling them what thier starting price will be upfront.

TexasSugar the cakes im trying to avoid are sheet cakes, grocery store level designs, and "white bread" designs. Basically nothing basic. When someone views my portfolio it needs to show designs that differ from one another.

Im sorry but right now I just cant take another white cake with the ribbon around the bases and a few flowers. Done way too many of those. Trying to avoid the "I just want something simple" brides. To me simple looks like what everyone else had. Im looking for the bride that wants diamonds, feathers, gumpaste flowers, just ornate pretty things. Getting fustrated with limited brides, especially when I show them the type of work that I do. Sorry had to vent on that one.

costumeczar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:29pm
post #8 of 38

I just had a call like this. She said she wanted a fountain cake and 4 tiers for $300. I told her that I don't do fountain cakes, and that for what she was looking for she was probably going to have to spend a little more than she was hoping, then I sent her to a lady who does fountain cakes. No big deal.

Polarcakes Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:34pm
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

I don't think the "sorry I'm booked" should be used for all cakes we don't want to do.

This just means that there is a possibilty this person will come back again.




Never thought of that. icon_smile.gif

ccr03 Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:37pm
post #10 of 38

I have never liked the "I'm booked" excuse. It seems lame and show a lack of courage to a certain point.

I always tell people my price - here it is, for better or worse.

PinkLisa Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:38pm
post #11 of 38

Dreme - you do beautiful work!

I think to let people decide for themselves if they can afford the cake. So just give the quote that you would be happy to do the cake for. Or do you not want to do the simple cakes for any price?

KHalstead Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:47pm
post #12 of 38

you could always enlist a per serving price across the board.......so that a tiered cake and a sheetcake are literally the same price per serving (I believe inydebi does that)........then if they WANT a sheetcake still, even at the cost of a tiered cake......at least you'll be paid well enough to endure the drudgery of having to decorate a SHEET CAKE! lol

Dreme Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 5:56pm
post #13 of 38

Thank you PinkLisa! Im just starting out on my own. Eventually I want to phase out the simple cakes.

Some of my clients, (I like clients cause it makes people feel special. Sounds professional), understand what they can afford to get. A whole lot of people try to bargain with you. This is who im trying to avoid and turn away.

TexasSugar Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 6:20pm
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreme


TexasSugar the cakes im trying to avoid are sheet cakes, grocery store level designs, and "white bread" designs. Basically nothing basic. When someone views my portfolio it needs to show designs that differ from one another.




I figured it was the sheet cakes or the cookie cutter cakes.

Start sell yourself as a custom one of a kind cake baker.

When they ask for sheet cakes you can say, "I'm sorry I don't do those. This is what I can offer you in what I do do, or you may try LMO Bakery for your needs."

You will still get orders you may not like, and at that point you have to decide if you want the money, even if the design is simple and has been done before.

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2010 , 6:21pm
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreme

Im sorry but right now I just cant take another white cake with the ribbon around the bases and a few flowers. Done way too many of those. Trying to avoid the "I just want something simple" brides. To me simple looks like what everyone else had. Im looking for the bride that wants diamonds, feathers, gumpaste flowers, just ornate pretty things.




And the advantage I had in being a flat-priced baker was that the plain cake with ribbon earned me the same money as the very ornate with 2-3 dozen BC roses cascading down the sides! thumbs_up.gif

I was in a wedding network meeting, once, and the speaker was a very successful marketer, who asked, "How many are looking to book that $100,000 wedding?" After more than half the room raised their hand, he said, "And after you do both of those, THEN what are you going to do?" icon_lol.gif

His point was that while we'd all LOVE to have the big money wedding, the honest truth is that the majority of weddings are NOT "big money", and we need to set a marketing plan that would genearte the moneies to meet theoverhead and pay the bills.

Whether that's doing one $10,000 wedding cake a year or doing 50 $200 wedding cakes a year is part of the marketing plan.

If you prefer to be a super specialty cake maker, you just need to figure out how to market to those brides; let them know that you are the baker who does the cakes you CAN'T get somewhere else! thumbs_up.gif

happigolucki35 Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 10:28pm
post #16 of 38

No comment other than good luck with that.

jammjenks Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 10:46pm
post #17 of 38

To answer the question of what you can do about all these simple cake orders...send them to me! I'll take every last one of them. Heck, I don't mind sheet cakes either. icon_lol.gif

jhuntl01 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 1:06pm
post #18 of 38

I don't know how busy you are, but if you are just avoiding the pictures in your portfolio, why not do the cakes and take the pictures (or not) and leave them out of your books and off your website. Maybe I'm silly, but as long as your overhead is covered and you are making a profit money is money. I know you want to build on your pics of special cakes, but if you aren't doing anything with the time, why not make some money? Like I said I don't know how many cakes you do, or your situation in whole.

Dreme Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 8:38pm
post #19 of 38

I still take the simple orders. I just never post them. I have a separate portfolio for them.

I don't have a problem taking the order for the money. Its more that simple orders are becoming repetitious and boring to me. Its not enough of a challenge.

I have decided, (when I get the time), to make a few small dummy cakes to use for advertising. I figured when i'm done I could rent them out, do a show, or save them for my storefront, etc.

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 10:53pm
post #20 of 38

Well, if financially you're in a position where you don't have to take the orders you'll be bored by then it is up to you whether or not you want to do them. Many decorators don't have that luxury.

cylstrial Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 4:38am
post #21 of 38

Just say, "I want to be up front with you. I have a minimum order of $200" or whatever it is.

Ruth0209 Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 5:07am
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccr03

I have never liked the "I'm booked" excuse. It seems lame and show a lack of courage to a certain point.

I always tell people my price - here it is, for better or worse.




I completely agree. I think it's unprofessional and disrespectful to your customer. Nobody likes to be lied to. Just give them your prices and let them decide. For all you know, their rich granny is paying for it.

I also like the straightforward approach of either "I don't do that type of cake" or "I don't have any experience with that kind of cake" and "Here is a recommendation for a baker you can trust who does those." That's what I do with requests for fountain cakes. I have no intention of buying equipment for those ugly a$$ things, so I just direct them to the baker in town who still does them. It's not a personal thing. It's just business.

costumeczar Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 12:07pm
post #23 of 38

I just had a girl call me a couple of days ago who I had done a groom's cake for 5 years ago. She told me that she really wanted to use me for a birthday cake because the groom's cake was so good, and then told me that she had a budget of $50 for 40 people.

I told her that budget was way too low, and that if she wanted a custom cake it was going to be a lot more than that, regardless of whether she got ti from me or someone else. There's nothing wrong with telling people the truth, they might actually adjust their expectations of what they need to pay and be more realistic in the future. You don't have to say it in a nasty way, just tell them that your prices are more than their budget allows.

CAKELADYFL Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 1:14pm
post #24 of 38

The best way is to keep it honest. I always think of how I would want the answer to sound if I was the one requesting the cake from another baker with a small budget. Just say as much as we would love to assist that particular design takes around 6-8 hours (for example) and we are unable to do for less than X amount but there are more simpler designs that can be done within your budget. That is when I say...if you do not mind I have a list of bakers that work whip cream or buttercream (which are less expensive than fondant)and can do a great job too. And I hand them the numbers and thank them for considering us. Just be honest and polite and that will work icon_smile.gif. Happy Baking!!!

TheDomesticDiva Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 2:48pm
post #25 of 38

I had someone call me about doing a sheet cake and she was angry because the grocery stores wouldn't order the little character kit she wanted. Since I don't do those kinds of cakes, but wanted to be nice, I told her to tell me what she wanted and I looked up online how much she could get the kit for, so she could just order it herself. Well, I told her it was $10 online....her response was "Yeah, but by the time I get that, and order the cake too, I'd have $30 invested in this cake." Ummmm.... "Thank you, good luck and goodbye." I so don't understand people calling a custom bakery wanting something cheaper than a grocery store would do.

tannersmom Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 3:11pm
post #26 of 38

I have to agree with Jammjenks (April),
Everyone would love to have the "BIG SPENDERS" order from them. But not everyone is a big spender. I try to make all my customers happy. Even the ones that can't spend mega bucks on a cake. I do sheet cakes all the time, thats what a customer wants. Customers keep me in business. When the customers happy, I'm happy. I guess, to each their own.

Cakeonista Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 3:34pm
post #27 of 38

The problem is you never know who can afford what. You may meet a person and think they can't afford you and they turn around and can more than afford you lol. Never burn your bridges and my motto is all cakes bring money so why discriminate?

foxymomma521 Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 3:39pm
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDomesticDiva

I had someone call me about doing a sheet cake and she was angry because the grocery stores wouldn't order the little character kit she wanted. Since I don't do those kinds of cakes, but wanted to be nice, I told her to tell me what she wanted and I looked up online how much she could get the kit for, so she could just order it herself. Well, I told her it was $10 online....her response was "Yeah, but by the time I get that, and order the cake too, I'd have $30 invested in this cake." Ummmm.... "Thank you, good luck and goodbye." I so don't understand people calling a custom bakery wanting something cheaper than a grocery store would do.



that's absurd icon_evil.gif I don't charge for my cakes, but I probably spend AT LEAST that on most of them! Some people really have no clue! thumbsdown.gif

4realLaLa Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 3:42pm
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDomesticDiva

I had someone call me about doing a sheet cake and she was angry because the grocery stores wouldn't order the little character kit she wanted. Since I don't do those kinds of cakes, but wanted to be nice, I told her to tell me what she wanted and I looked up online how much she could get the kit for, so she could just order it herself. Well, I told her it was $10 online....her response was "Yeah, but by the time I get that, and order the cake too, I'd have $30 invested in this cake." Ummmm.... "Thank you, good luck and goodbye." I so don't understand people calling a custom bakery wanting something cheaper than a grocery store would do.




I really don't understand that either. I feel like, why should a cake I make from scratch be cheaper than what a person can get from a grocery/superstore that may or may not be shipped in from a factory/warehouse somewhere. But for some reason people actually think that. People try to bargain a price with me sometimes and I want to ask them "Do you try to bargain with the grocery store?" My guess is...no, they don't"

DebBTX Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 4:03pm
post #30 of 38

Dreme, you do wonderful work. I love the attention to detail that you are using on your cakes and cookies.

-Debbie B.

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