CharmingChelsea Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 2:47pm
post #1 of

So I've created a little bit of a buzz about my cookies at work and with my friends and on facebook. In the beginning I priced (to only a few, like 3) co-workers way, way, way, to little for my time involved with the cookies. Of course since then I have enhanced my skills and become more efficient, but it was definitely a slave labor wage.

I increased my prices and made a presentable, professional looking website, have business cards, and made a price sheet. I have been doing cookie bouquets and was quite busy around Easter, so all in all I have done well with business even after changing my prices.

So every few days or so I will get an inquiry about my cookies going on and on about how beautiful they are and how so-and-so said they were so good etc. and would you please let me know the info for getting X amount of cookies for such-and-such event. So I email them the info (don't have my prices listed on my website--working out the kinks of getting time in a commercial kitchen here in Texas) and then I hear the crickets start to chirp. No reply. No, that's okay, but thank you for your time. Nothing. Ugh, why do I feel so bad when this happens?

Part of me wants to contact them again and offer a lower price, but I never do it because I don't want to be bitter about working hard for crumbs. I have a full time job and 3 kiddos, so when I make the cookies it is during what would be my leisure/unwinding time after they go to bed or before they wake up.

Anybody else have this problem?

51 replies
MacsMom Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 2:55pm
post #2 of

It's happened a couple of times, but DON'T offer a lower price!!

You will develop a customer base that is fine with your prices and word-of-mouth will begin to grow like wildfire. Those "nevermind"'s will slow down down to a near halt and you will always make the money you desire.

Edit Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:01pm
post #3 of

You may want to add a starting price for your cookies to avoid most of the situations like that.

makeminepink Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:05pm
post #4 of

I don't know what you charge, but don't go down! I have had that happen-- several times. "Oh, ok. Thanks." Then I feel the way you do, then I do some more cookies and think, "NO WAY! I'm not going down-- these are alot of work!" I don't even charge as much as most people on cakecentral and still I get that. (I live in a small town). Like you said, it's just too much work to not make money at it. And take it from me and everyone else on here, you'll get burned out if you aren't making a profit.

KHalstead Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:05pm
post #5 of

it does happen (especially with my cookies.....and I have my prices posted!)......I think people figure they're small so they're cheap!


Anyhow, instead of re-emailing and offering a lower price..............re-email and something like " I'm following up on your inquiry as my calendar is filling quickly and given the time-consuming nature of cookies, I wanted to be sure I would be able to fill your order" This way they'll have to respond with a "never mind" or.........."hold the date for 100 cookies and I'll get back to you on decorations"

Sometimes people are so consumed with planning they forget things!

robin3845 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:05pm
post #6 of

WOW!! I hear EXACTLY what you're saying. So often my husband and friends have said that i'm charging way too little for my cakes. I feel bad sometimes charging what I charge. How can I charge more?? Then when I make the cake and realize how much time and effort it takes..it sort of ticks me off that I DID charge so little. BUT....as time has gone on, my usual customers are fine with my prices and I am getting more and more cake orders through word of mouth. So..don't charge less. Your time is worth what ever you charge. Just remember that. Eventually you'll have enough clients who know that what you charge is worth it!!

terrylee Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:06pm
post #7 of

You know there are people out there that just don't understand the home bakers.....they think you can product a product for nothing (because you work out of your home and have no "overhead"). Word got out there for your Easter bouquets....and it will spread. and as your skills enhance hopefully so will your business.... If your prices are fair and within range of other cookie decorators, (you can check here on CC with other cookie decorators as to what they charge) don't lower your prices...

PTBUGZY1 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:25pm
post #8 of

Charming Chelsea........what are you going to do if the orders start coming in but you don't have a commercial kitchen to work in?? I to am in Texas and would be interested in any info you have regarding commercial kitchens. Good luck

3LittleBeesCookies Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:28pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharmingChelsea

So I email them the info (don't have my prices listed on my website--working out the kinks of getting time in a commercial kitchen here in Texas) and then I hear the crickets start to chirp. No reply. No, that's okay, but thank you for your time. Nothing. Ugh, why do I feel so bad when this happens?

Anybody else have this problem?




I, too, have had this problem. I also think it's rude not to say, "Thanks, but no thanks" when a person takes his or her time to respond to you. But, that's just me. A woman contacted me twice in one day about cookies and when I followed up with her regarding the price (which was low), she didn't call back. AND this was a woman who works in catering and I'm sure would have been annoyed had this been done to her by a potential client AND I'm sure she understands pricing.

Last week, a former co-worker insisted that I follow up with him for a price on a three layer carrot cake. I contacted him twice and never heard back. I was really annoyed by that because I know this guy personally. I think some people just want something for next to nothing. But don't worry, there are people out there willing to pay a fair price. In fact, on an Easter cookie order I had a customer insist on paying me more than I quoted once she saw the finished product. So, try not to be too bothered by the no responders b/c those folks would have probably been PITA customers anyway. lol

online_annie Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:56pm

Don't lower your prices! If they were so cheap and easy to crank out nobody would pay others to do it, they would do it themselves. Cookies take time, skill and patience! I would suggest purchasing the CC Cake Boss Software. This will help you realize what you need to be charging and feel good about it. Your time and skill is valuable and there are plenty of customers more than willing to pay for good, quality cookies. Besides, if you don't feel your cookies are worth it, then how can you expect clients to? Lowering prices reeks of desperation, and that is soooo not you! Love your cookies, love your new site!

cindy58 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 3:57pm

Stay strong and be a tough cookie! I doubt that you are setting your prices too high. I think we worry about the cost more than some prospective customers would. So I figure that some will pass on it when they hear your price, and others who appreciate your talent will be happy to order from you.

indydebi Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 4:19pm

I had a friend who ordered a cookie bouquet for a meeting that came in at over $100. her friends loved the cookies but said they'd never pay that much for cookies. I told her, "Then I hope they don't shop at C by D because my prices are about 25% cheaper than theirs." her mouth dropped open in shocked surprise!

It's a good idea to get (for example) C by D's pricing so you can even start out a conversation (and I've done this) with, "A 7 cookie bouquet from C by D is $xx.xx PLUS they charge $xx.xx delivery PLUS they charge $x.xx for the container. The good news for you is that that same bouquet from me is only $yy.yy!"

Know your competition! thumbs_up.gif

MacsMom Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 4:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I had a friend who ordered a cookie bouquet for a meeting that came in at over $100. her friends loved the cookies but said they'd never pay that much for cookies. I told her, "Then I hope they don't shop at C by D because my prices are about 25% cheaper than theirs." her mouth dropped open in shocked surprise!

It's a good idea to get (for example) C by D's pricing so you can even start out a conversation (and I've done this) with, "A 7 cookie bouquet from C by D is $xx.xx PLUS they charge $xx.xx delivery PLUS they charge $x.xx for the container. The good news for you is that that same bouquet from me is only $yy.yy!"

Know your competition! thumbs_up.gif




Absolutely!! I don't charge a delivery and set-up fee, and as of yet I've been doing fine without even a deposit for wedding cakes icon_eek.gif . One bride called to cancel, in tears, because she couldn't afford the cake of her dreams and I told her "Pay me after the wedding!" She was thrilled, and she did. (I knew that they would likely be getting cash gifts icon_wink.gif ).

I know, indydebi probably wants to slap me for that...

Tracy7953 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 5:02pm

I just did a wedding consult from a bride who wanted a very intricate 5 tier cake for 60 people. They thought that if most of the cake were decorated dummies it would save them a ton of money. Surprise! I never heard from them again. Maybe they went to Costco!

nesweetcake Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 5:51pm

Ditto, don't lower! Here's a good one, did a consult....yes a consult for graduation cakes yesterday, working out all the details, photos etc. Priced the cake, saw her swallow then I added, it's it nice to know you got a delicious personalized cake that reflects the personality of your graduate. It's so much more memorable then walking into the grocery store saying I need a graduation cake and they respond and the name is, come Friday and pick it up. Then she seemed to have been happy with her investment. Realized what she was paying for. If I'm going to work like a slave, it's going to be for my own kids, not someone else.

GeminiRJ Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 5:55pm

LOTS of people have no clue the time that goes into a well-decorated cookie! My MIL keeps saying how she'll put up the money for me to open my own shop....yet she wouldn't dream of spending over $1 for a cookie. She even asked me last week if I had any cookies "laying around" that I wanted to get rid of so she could take them to a luncheon. In other words, she wants to impress her friends with some unique cookies, but only if they're free! Sheesh.

SugarLand Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:13pm

Hi Chelsea,

i have been looking for a commercial kitchen as well. Seems like there aren't that many in the area. Have you had any luck?

l80bug79 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:16pm

People really don't get how much time goes into everything to deliver a finished product. to the OP, your cookies are beautiful...don't change your pricing.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:17pm

As long as you are in line with your competition (and I don't mean Wal-Mart!), don't lower your price. If you're charging what you need to in order to make a profit, then you literally can't afford to lower your price. Stick to your guns and you will build a clientele that will pay your price....and one that will probably order frequently.

BUT...I do agree with the person who said to send a follow-up email. One thing I learned from years of sales...don't assume no response means no interest. Sometimes people DO forget, get side-tracked, etc, and they'll be calling you frantic the day before they need the cookies. So I'd send one reminder and then move on if they still don't respond.

GGFan Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:22pm

I was guilty of lowering the price icon_sad.gif When I first start out, I wanted to practice so I said lower the price. That lady come back and bargain even more so I told her that I cant' do it. So lowering the price doesn't always get your customer back. But I understand. I still feel bad when the don't reply back. None of them ever reply back if they are not interested. So you need to ignore them. Good Luck!!

KHalstead Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:34pm

I had a bride recently balk at paying $1.00 each for 3" round and 3" square monogram cookies for a wedding favor and then I thought she'd die of shock when I told her it was an additional $.25/cookie for a bag and another $.25/cookie for a paper tag w/ message for a grand total of $1.50/cookie!!

I told her, that's my price and that's as LOW as I can go.

She called me back 2 months later and said "I'll take 200!" I'm sure she must have searched high and low online for cheaper cookies and came back telling me how "fair" my pricing was! lol

NerdyGirl Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 6:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

it does happen (especially with my cookies.....and I have my prices posted!)......I think people figure they're small so they're cheap!


Anyhow, instead of re-emailing and offering a lower price..............re-email and something like " I'm following up on your inquiry as my calendar is filling quickly and given the time-consuming nature of cookies, I wanted to be sure I would be able to fill your order" This way they'll have to respond with a "never mind" or.........."hold the date for 100 cookies and I'll get back to you on decorations"

Sometimes people are so consumed with planning they forget things!




An excellent idea!

Unfortunately, this happens a lot in other business (freelance and otherwise) - even with prices posted on the websites! It's happened to me recently when I quoted my rate for grant proposal writing/consulting. Some of the people who don't respond may actually think, "If I don't respond to them, they'll come to me and offer what I want at a lower price because they're desperate for my business!"

When they get sticker shock, or see that cheap doesn't always equal GOOD, they may (hopefully) figure it out.

snocilla Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 8:18pm

Last night, someone emailed me about a cake. I quoted her a price. She emailed me back and said, "I am also getting a quote from a XXXXXX. She sent me a link to her website so I have an idea of what the cake will look like. Do you have pictures of your work? She is offering the same cake for $XXX (less) with free delivery, but I am wondering if your work is better. If so I do not mind coming to get it and paying the extra $$$$$. "

At first I kind of freaked out and thought I needed to match the other baker's price. But then I decided, No, I set my prices where they are for a reason, and if she can find it cheaper, then good for her. So, I just sent her a link to my website. I then searched on craigslist (because that's where she saw my ad) for the other baker and realized her work was not that great.

Sure enough, a half hour later she emailed back claiming that I did beautiful work and booked a cake. I was so proud of myself for sticking to my price, because otherwise, I just would have lost money.

I guess my point is that the good customers realize that your work is well worth it, and are willing to pay the higher price, and will come back, even if they do shop around a bit first

CharmingChelsea Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 8:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I had a friend who ordered a cookie bouquet for a meeting that came in at over $100. her friends loved the cookies but said they'd never pay that much for cookies. I told her, "Then I hope they don't shop at C by D because my prices are about 25% cheaper than theirs." her mouth dropped open in shocked surprise!

It's a good idea to get (for example) C by D's pricing so you can even start out a conversation (and I've done this) with, "A 7 cookie bouquet from C by D is $xx.xx PLUS they charge $xx.xx delivery PLUS they charge $x.xx for the container. The good news for you is that that same bouquet from me is only $yy.yy!"

Know your competition! thumbs_up.gif




Thanks for the advice. I had a customer order a birthday bouquet and when she came to pick it up she had a Cookies by Design catalog with her that a co-worker gave her. She gave it to me for reference on pricing and design inspiration. She definitely knew I gave her a good price compared to them, but still fair to me.

luv2bake6 Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 10:56pm

I am guilty of lowering my prices in the past in order to get the customers; especially the ones who swore that i was going to get tons of orders through them. I can tell you that i've not gotten one repeat order or from these people, nor have i ever gotten a referrel from them. I've even done freebies for different venues and, again, never got orders through them.

I know that another cookie decorator in my area charges the same price as i do per cookie. BUT, her designs are very very simplistic, and she charges more to personalize and to bag individually. I include personalizations (name, logo, etc) in the price as well as bagging. So i am now more comfortable with my prices.

CharmingChelsea Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 2:07am

Thanks for all the supportive words. I know I shouldn't back down. It's almost as if I have to stop myself from saying, "What do you expect? 50c a cookie? Go ahead and try to go home and make a batch yourself. You don't have all the supplies, it took me months to get where I am with the decorating skills, you don't have my awesome cookie recipe and rolling out some recipes can be a PITA, so when it's all said and done, tell me if you attempt and outcome are better than paying me a fair price for 2 dozen decorated cookies." Not that I actually would say that, lol.

For those asking me about a commercial kitchen in Texas-
I contacted my local Farmer's Market to try to have a table and she told me about a couple of kitchens in my area who rent out time slots for you to bake, then I can sell them at the Farmer's market. I met someone who makes cakeballs who is doing really well and in the process of leasing a commercial kitchen space. She told me I could use the space for a really reasonable rate when she is not using it.

I just have to try to not feel rejected when this happens. I'm sticking to my prices, and that is that!

luv2bake6 Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 2:44am

I just had a call tonight from someone asking about prices and i confidently told her mine. She immediately said she'll have to let me know because she's not sure what she's planning yet. I literally bit my tongue so as not to offer a lower price!!

Do you find it more convenient to put pricing into your advertising, or is it better for people to have to call? What are the pros and cons?

nesweetcake Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 1:21pm

If you avoid printing the prices, it gives you an opportunity to "sell" why your prices are what they are. Quality of ingredients, quality of decorating, packging etc. If you do publish your prices you weed out all the "cheapies" from the get go. There......those are my pros and cons. I posted the following comment some time back on the cake side. I used to feel bad about my prices, when people swallowed. Until one day, I picked up my 5 year old from pre-k tutoring to work on her handwriting.....Paid $25 hour and the class was held at the teachers home. She was sent home with a $1.00 prize from the prize box that day.....What did she have invested but one hour. Then the same night I took my kids to get hair cuts. Two boys, one hour 15 minutes and it was $32.00. Yes the hair dresser had lights not much for utilities (didn't even wash their hair) and replace an occasional comb....but really, this is one person who did moan at the price of one of my cakes once. REALLY! Put this into perspective. We should be charging a lot more since we actually have INGREDIENTS involved, not to mention our time. Both of the above examples have training involved like us......points to ponder. Sorry long, hope this helps.

CharmingChelsea Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 1:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by nesweetcake

I used to feel bad about my prices, when people swallowed. Until one day, I picked up my 5 year old from pre-k tutoring to work on her handwriting.....Paid $25 hour and the class was held at the teachers home. She was sent home with a $1.00 prize from the prize box that day.....What did she have invested but one hour.




See, I would like to be able to tutor, as I am a teacher as well. But I have three small children and scheduling tutoring sessions is just impossible right now. I think she still invested something, with her education and time researching methods, etc. but all that was invested on the front end and now she can earn some $$ more easily by during the 1 hour tutoring sessions.

Now, I know all of us here (most of yall way more than me too) have invested MANY hours learning the craft of sugar art. Plus, the time it takes to put them in action to create the cake/cookies, etc. So this was a great example of why I need to stick to my prices and so do others.

I'm putting my prices on my site for people who register with an email address to login to the site. When I email them my price sheet, I also include a small blurb about what an impact the cookies will have at their event . I also say that if they have a specific budget they need to stick to, to let me know and I can figure something out that works for them and is still fair for me. For example, if they wanted 24 fancy princess cookies, but are shocked at the price, if they let me know, I could suggest to them that we do maybe 5 fancy ones for the platter and the rest more simple (not flooded, just accent decorations, etc) and then I can get their price down and not have to work just as hard as I would doing them all fancy. Sometimes this works out.

luv2bake6 Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 2:41pm

I think i would like to advertise with the prices in order to weed out those who are looking for a bargain, and to catch the ones who don't bother calling because they assume it'll be expensive.

The only thing i'm concerned about is when i would need to veer off the general price and charge more. I don't want people saying "but you are advertising this price, why are you charging me more?" I guess things have to be layed out pretty clearly without it getting confusing or being too long.

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