How To Address This Customer?

Decorating By ylescu Updated 25 May 2010 , 1:03pm by moralna

ylescu Posted 3 May 2010 , 9:25am
post #1 of 43

Ok, so this customer asked for a quote as to how much a cake and cupcakes from me would be. Now, with regards to the cupcakes, she sends me a picture of a cupcake iced with american buttercream then topped with a cardboard cut out of hello kitty.

She then goes on to say that she found these cupcakes from another baker whose prices were, I found, cheaper than what I would charge (like, BY HALF) . I wasn't that surprised since the toppers were only cardboard and american buttercream can be made relatively economically where I live. Then she tells me if I can match that baker's price then she would get more cupcakes from me.

So I tell her that I simply cannot match the other baker's price, and I go on to explain to her why. She then emails me back that "I'm fine with the cardboard toppers since its just a giveaway for the adults, and the party is in july, so the weather is cooler by then"

I feel like I'm being low balled into the price that she wants!!!!

The thing is, I pride myself in making all parts of my cupcakes edible, and I just don't feel right giving in to using the cardboard toppers.Plus I just don't feel comfortable risking the state of the icing, not to mention I generally don't recommend it because of the taste of american BC. I don't want this to blow up in my face in the end!

How do I go about telling her this?

42 replies
cakegrandma Posted 3 May 2010 , 9:56am
post #2 of 43

Are the cardboard toppers going to be inserted or laid on top of the cupcakes? If so I would not like to send product out with cardboard sitting on top as the icing would tend to alter the composition of the cardboard. Is it possible to get little plastic inserts for the cupcakes instead? As far as American buttercream, if that is what she wants then I would make it for her. She is the customer and although you do not care for the taste, again she is the customer.
evelyn

pattycakesnj Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:43am
post #3 of 43

The response is "that is my price, take it or leave it" (of course maybe not in those words). Your first mistake was explaining your price, you don't owe anyone an explanation on how you price things. If she walks away, so be it.

Occther Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:45am
post #4 of 43

How much is it worth to have this customer? Do what you feel best represents your quality of work and price accordingly. Don't lower your quality for one customer. Sounds like she is playing a "pricing" game.

miss_sweetstory Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:52am
post #5 of 43

"To clarify, I do not make cupcakes with inedible components. Fully edible cupcakes of this design are **** each. If you would like to purchase plain cupcakes (to which you can add your own topper), they are **** each."

You do not need to explain yourself any further.

PattyT Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:56am
post #6 of 43

I don't sell (New Jersey) but after reading many, many similar threads on CC, I think you're going to hear some of the following things...the cardboard topper (I agree with you) and type of buttercream (I agree with cakegrandma) are MINOR issues here.

What will blow up in your face is that this person will never, ever pay your real price again if you drop to half. They will always find someone cheaper. It doesn't matter what buttercream or what topper, they will always want you to cut your prices.

Are you combining your cake with someone elses cupcakes? This is a pretty big NO in my opinion. What if the other cupcakes are crap? Everyone will think you made them too and not just the cake. I vote all or nothing.

Are you comparing the other quality with yours? Not just topper?

Finally, the client comment that the cupcakes are "just a giveaway for the adults"...Hello Kitty for adults? She just wants something that looks like the theme, cardboard or not..and doesn't care what they taste like.

ylescu Posted 3 May 2010 , 11:15am
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Occther

How much is it worth to have this customer? Do what you feel best represents your quality of work and price accordingly. Don't lower your quality for one customer. Sounds like she is playing a "pricing" game.




I totally think so! If she already found someone who could offer her the price she wants, then stick with them!

ylescu Posted 3 May 2010 , 11:29am
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by PattyT

I don't sell (New Jersey) but after reading many, many similar threads on CC, I think you're going to hear some of the following things...the cardboard topper (I agree with you) and type of buttercream (I agree with cakegrandma) are MINOR issues here.

What will blow up in your face is that this person will never, ever pay your real price again if you drop to half. They will always find someone cheaper. It doesn't matter what buttercream or what topper, they will always want you to cut your prices.

Are you combining your cake with someone elses cupcakes? This is a pretty big NO in my opinion. What if the other cupcakes are crap? Everyone will think you made them too and not just the cake. I vote all or nothing.

Are you comparing the other quality with yours? Not just topper?

Finally, the client comment that the cupcakes are "just a giveaway for the adults"...Hello Kitty for adults? She just wants something that looks like the theme, cardboard or not..and doesn't care what they taste like.




I totally have no intention of playing "match the price" with her, that'll just bite me back in the a** in the long run. What I don't want blowing up in my face is me giving in to all her wants and then when they get the product she'll be like "that's it?"

The comments here have helped bolster my resolve...so I just bit the bullet and told her that those are my prices & I cannot make concessions on the cardboard topper, I only make edible ones. For the BC I just gave her a choice of either the american BC that she wants, IMBC, or Marshmallow Icing.....but of course I built up the last two icings for good measure, hehe icon_smile.gif

icon_biggrin.gif

dalis4joe Posted 3 May 2010 , 11:29am
post #9 of 43

you let her know in your nicest, friendliest voice, writing, etc... I understand your point in being satisfied with the cardboard decorations, we at ______ (your bakery) however pride ourselves in making our cakes/cupcakes with all edible materials and it's something that we are not willing to compromise on. As stated before, the price we quoted is for an order of cupcakes done to our standards, if you are still interested, we will be more than happy to fill your order.

PS... Sylvia WInestock WILL NOT make a cake with fondant.... FOR NO ONE.... she will not change that or make any exceptions (she will only do a fondant cake if it's for a magazine, like Brides, etc, because she knows it's a dummy cake)

Ron Ben Israel WILL NOT make a cake to be used with fresh flowers.... no matter who asks for it....

You have your standards and you should never sacrifice them for anyone... if it's something that you just don't feel ok doing.... then say bye bye.... but keep in mind to say it with professionalism and with a smile on your face/letter.message....

Good Luck

cakemom42 Posted 3 May 2010 , 11:32am
post #10 of 43

Integrity is so important, your instincts are right on :0)
Keep to your values and don't compromise one bit, you will regret it later.

Don't reply back is one solutions... just leave it.. you said your piece..
Another is to simply & nicely state that you are sorry but cannot accomodate her & wish her well.
Then theres a way I love but a bit cowardly :0)
"I'm sorry something has come up & I am booked for that weekend"

Don't stress over this, it is not worth the energy or your time :0)

kjskid Posted 3 May 2010 , 12:36pm
post #11 of 43

If she has found a bakery that is willing to do what she wants (American Buttercream and cardboard toppers), then why is she asking you? Most likely because you have a better product. You can't go into a nice restaurant and ask for a Jr. McCheeseburger for 99 cents just because there's another store in the world that will give it to you for that price. No, you pay over $5 to get a better hamburger. You have better cupcakes? Charge away!

cakesdivine Posted 3 May 2010 , 2:36pm
post #12 of 43

Exactly kjskid! Can you see someone going into Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and ordering a Big Mac style burger and only wanting to pay what Micky D's charges...LOL!

People just do not think! The minute someone starts trying to haggle prices, I let them know right away, my prices are non-negotiable. I had a bride want me to just ice a cake for her and she was going to decorate it with fake plastic birds & silk flowers and branches from Hobby Lobby. I of course passed. She called and emailed me so much because she really wanted my cake because a friend of hers had one of my cakes at her wedding and she loved the taste of my cake and icing. I told her I would be happy to make the cake with me doing gumpaste versions of the items she was wanting to put on the cake, but she didn't want to spend the money. So I just had to stand firm and say sorry, but no.

Moondance Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:06pm
post #13 of 43

Hi Ylescu - this lady seems to want a quality service at a knock down price. Point her in the direction of the door and tell her that you don't want YOUR products getting an inferior product review because she wants CARDBOARD decorations! (Cardboard? I ask you!)

One thing for sure, I bet she wouldn't confess to her guests that it was she who wanted cardboard.

Don't let her bully you into doing what she wants...if the baker does it cheaper...let her go argue with the baker!! I wouldn't let her drag me into the debate!

bobwonderbuns Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:26pm
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylescu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Occther

How much is it worth to have this customer? Do what you feel best represents your quality of work and price accordingly. Don't lower your quality for one customer. Sounds like she is playing a "pricing" game.



I totally think so! If she already found someone who could offer her the price she wants, then stick with them!




Exactly. I tell customers like this "That's my price and I don't argue with those whose price is cheaper, THEY know what their stuff is worth." icon_twisted.gif If they persist I hit them with "Cheap cakes ain't quality and quality cakes ain't cheap. That's my price, take it or leave it." icon_razz.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 3 May 2010 , 10:28pm
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe



PS... Sylvia WInestock WILL NOT make a cake with fondant.... FOR NO ONE.... she will not change that or make any exceptions (she will only do a fondant cake if it's for a magazine, like Brides, etc, because she knows it's a dummy cake)

Ron Ben Israel WILL NOT make a cake to be used with fresh flowers.... no matter who asks for it....





I knew about Sylvia and the fondant but I didn't know RBI's policy on fresh flowers -- very interesting!! Thank you for sharing! icon_biggrin.gif

krcm Posted 4 May 2010 , 9:21am
post #16 of 43

The thing is, I pride myself in making all parts of my cupcakes edible, and I just don't feel right giving in to using the cardboard toppers.Plus I just don't feel comfortable risking the state of the icing, not to mention I generally don't recommend it because of the taste of american BC I don't want this to blow up in my face in the end!

**I think you have it right there. "I take pride in making all parts of my cupcakes edible. I'm sorry but if it's a cheaper price you're looking for than it's my competitor you'll want to go with.**

There is nothing wrong with turning down a customer who's trying to lowball you. If they don't want YOUR product they don't want to be YOUR customer.

indydebi Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:51am
post #17 of 43

Taking an order that puts you in the red is NOT better than turning the order down.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:16pm
post #18 of 43

If she wants Hello Kitty cupcakes with american bc for cheap, send her off to Sam's Club. A box of 30 Hello Kitty cupcakes is $12.34. I don't think ANYONE can beat that price. And the Hello Kitty decorations are legal, being from DecoPac and they are actually little plastic rings. Much nicer than some cardboard cutout.

She wants to pay Walmart prices, send her off to Walmart.

mamawrobin Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:10pm
post #19 of 43

I'm confused. icon_confused.gif If she's already found a baker that offered them for such a great price then why is she even trying to order from you? I just don't understad that. Is it just me? icon_lol.gif

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:22pm
post #20 of 43

Two reasons she's asking:

1. she's trying to get the OP to lower the price. Maybe she just likes the OP's cakes better than the "cheaper baker" but likes the cheaper price.

2. There is no other baker. But she's over budget for her party already so she needs to cut corners.

pinky73 Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:44pm
post #21 of 43

I agree with rose n crantz, there is a distinct possibility that there is no other baker. Sort of off topic, but in my line of work, I very often get complaints that are almost always backed up with a convenient or "fantom" story because people think this will bolster or lend credability to an otherwise irrational demand. She figures she can claim that "another un-named baker" will do these for half of what you charge and how would you "know" she's just fibbing to try to get you to do the order. That being said, she probablly loves your product but just simply doesn't want to pay for it. Either way, send her packing, your intergrity is worth more than a cupcake order.

pinky73 Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:49pm
post #22 of 43

by the way ylescu, your work is gorgeous!

Chef_Stef Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:03pm
post #23 of 43

After many years of dealing with pricing and customers and self employment where we set our own pricing in two different businesses, my dh and I have learned to call this behavior: "Yanking".

They are trying to "yank" on you to get you to give them half off (or whatever price they want to pay). I NEVER let them. ever. Because they'll do it every time. WE establish our pricing, and it's non-negotiable. Ever see anyone haggling in Home Depot?

Instead we 'yank' back and tell them exactly this: "*snort* (this is a laugh you must perfect...it is a combination of condescention and snooty hilarity that tells them I am taking time out of my busy day to be amused that they would even SUGGEST such a thing..)--"You found that product for $xx.xx???! Wow, that IS a deal. Our same product is $xx.xx, and we're not having any sales right now that I know of, so...if you found it for THAT cheap, I'd call them back. Thanks for calling." *click*

Works every time. I've found that anyone who starts a sale transaction with this kind of haggling will usually be back for some complaint after the fact, as well, almost without fail. I think people are wrong who believe the "squeaky wheel gets the oil." Around here, the squeaky wheel gets...removed. icon_twisted.gif

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:08pm
post #24 of 43

My husband has a poster with a large triangle on it hanging in his construction service truck.

The triangle has one word at each corner: CHEAP FAST GOOD

He shows it to the "negotiators" and says You may pick 2 of them for your job LOL

If it's cheap and good it won't be fast
If it's cheap and fast it won't be good
If it's fast and good it won't be cheap!

mamawrobin Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:31pm
post #25 of 43

Rose that makes sense. I just couldn't understand that if she's found a baker to do the cupcakes for such a good price why she wouldn't use them. icon_lol.gif Guess I'm a little too trusting as to think that she was not telling the truth about there actually being another baker. icon_surprised.gif

Should the reason be that she likes the op's cakes better then it shouldn't matter that they're more expensive. thumbs_up.gif

moralna Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:39pm
post #26 of 43

There is no other baker. She just said that to try to get you to charge her the price she wants to pay. Good for you that you did not compromise.

cas17 Posted 4 May 2010 , 5:18pm
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladiesofthehouse

My husband has a poster with a large triangle on it hanging in his construction service truck.

The triangle has one word at each corner: CHEAP FAST GOOD

He shows it to the "negotiators" and says You may pick 2 of them for your job LOL

If it's cheap and good it won't be fast
If it's cheap and fast it won't be good
If it's fast and good it won't be cheap!




awesome! i will have to make one of these up for my carpenter hubby
thumbs_up.gif

auntmandys Posted 4 May 2010 , 5:29pm
post #28 of 43

That's your price stick with it. Also, don't change your icing for her. Even though it's something she wants, people at the party may come to you for the same thing. If your not happy with this order and recipe, don't do it. Your starting a road you don't want to go down. Explain to her that's your price and that you will understand if she goes with the bakery.

cathyscakes Posted 4 May 2010 , 5:50pm
post #29 of 43

I really don't understand her problem. She could buy those cupcakes anywhere. She already said she doesn't care how they taste or look, they were just favors. So why would she want you to make them, because she wants them for a cheap price. So i'm thinking she does care how they taste, or this wouldn't even be an option for you to make them.

indydebi Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:04am
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef_Stef

Around here, the squeaky wheel gets...removed. icon_twisted.gif


oh I just LUV this! icon_lol.gif

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