Meeting With Venue To Be Preferred Vendor

Business By brea1026 Updated 15 Jun 2010 , 12:54am by costumeczar

brea1026 Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 6:28am
post #1 of 13

Hi!

So, I have been in business about 2 months now and I am finally able to start meeting with wedding venues to work with them as a preferred vendor.

Friday I have a meeting and they are asking me to bring a portfolio (which I have), marketing information (not sure about that), and my vendor price list.

If you have any advice on any of these areas I would be so appreciative. I am really unsure about the marketing info- I am starting off very small by renting licensed kitchen space and I do not have much of a marketing budget. I don't want to create a bad impression, but I am not sure how to explain that most of my marketing is word of mouth right now.

As far as prices- right now I have wedding slices starting at $4.50/serving. That is very reasonable for the quality of work and design I do in my area. I know of several of my competitors who charge at least $1-$2 more. I know the amount I need to make it worth my while, and I want to make sure that I don't undersell my product. Do you think that $4 per slice is a decent discount?

I appreiate any help you have to offer!

Thanks!
Breanna

12 replies
janeoxo Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 7:05am
post #2 of 13

Marketing - do you have a website that you can offer to put link to their website, that is something that won't cost you anything more to promote that you work alongside them.

Also be honest, don't promise what you can't provide. If it's meant to be, it will be.

momma28 Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 8:55am
post #3 of 13

I think .50 a slice is a big discount. I don't offer a per slice discount to any venue or customer. I do offer a reduced delivery and setup fee for some venues at which I am a preffered vendor.

costumeczar Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 12:38pm
post #4 of 13

There are a few different ways that people deal with preferred vendors. The most legitimate one is that they refer to you as a preferred vendor because they like your work and trust the quality of your services. They don't get paid by you and they send the clients to deal with you directly.

Another way is slightly more skeevy, where they put you on a preferred vendor list because you pay them for an ad in their brochure, or becasue you give them a kickback. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work, and everything to do with making money for them. The brides aren't told that you pay to be on their list, so it's more deceptive to the customer. One thing to watch out about this is that a lot of places have official lists that are their preferred vendor lists of people who have paid them, but then they still refer out verbally to the people they really like. One catering manager told me that he had a list that corporate made him give out, but he also had a personal list that he told brides to call.

You could also be asked to be a part of a package that the venue sells to brides, where you do that cake and are paid by the venue. If you do that, just make sure that what they're planning on paying you is comparable to what you'd be charging otherwise. If you're charging $4.50 a serving and they want to pay you $2 a serving it isn't going to be worth your time, even if you're guaranteed the client.

Marketing materials can be as simple as business cards. If you don't have good-quality business cards go to Staples and get some.

cheatize Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 2:11pm
post #5 of 13

Business cards (a must, IMO), website, blog, brochures are all good marketing materials. You can design your own brochure and have a few printed somewhere locally to take with you. If the brochure turns out to be a "must have" piece of marketing for the venue, you can have more printed later so you don't spend a lot of money getting ready. If the venue has space, you could also offer to make a couple of dummies for them to keep on display. If they can set aside a table for you, you can keep a dummy and a stack of business cards and brochures on it for potential customers.

BeanCountingBaker Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 2:31pm
post #6 of 13

In your position I would be hesitant to offer a per slice discount. I would consider removing your delivery charge, or waiving the deposit on your cake stands or support systems. If you have a basic price per slice and a bride orders a certain cake flavor and filling that have higher ingredient costs you'll be dipping into your margin quite a bit.

leah_s Posted 9 Jun 2010 , 2:42pm
post #7 of 13

I agree about no discount, but waiving the delivery fee. That's a reasonable set-up..

I'm a preferred vendor at two venues and their websites link to mine. And yes, I had to buy advertising in their book.

brea1026 Posted 10 Jun 2010 , 4:38am
post #8 of 13

Thank you all so much for your responses. I really appreciate them!

I hadn't even considered the delivery fee. The venue is about 20 miles from my shop, so I agree that waiving the delivery fee would be a good choice. I have such a hard time when it comes to asking for money for my cakes. I am hoping that it will get easier in time...

I am working on a brouchure to bring along, and I already have my website, cards, etc.

If you have any other words of wisdom I would love to hear them.

thanks!
Breanna

melmar02 Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 9:45pm
post #9 of 13

The business that made my wedding cake was referred to us by the venue. From the client/bride perspective, it worked like this - as part of our package at the venue, we received $1000 toward a cake at bakery X. We went to the bakery for the tasting and consult. The baker worked up the price and a sketch. We left. The baker then contacted the venue to let them know how much our bill was. We never paid the baker anything directly. Our overage showed up on our venue bill. Is this the standard?

If this is how it works for you, I wouldn't offer a discount either. Maybe the delivery as suggested prevously.

costumeczar Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 11:07pm
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by melmar02

The business that made my wedding cake was referred to us by the venue. From the client/bride perspective, it worked like this - as part of our package at the venue, we received $1000 toward a cake at bakery X. We went to the bakery for the tasting and consult. The baker worked up the price and a sketch. We left. The baker then contacted the venue to let them know how much our bill was. We never paid the baker anything directly. Our overage showed up on our venue bill. Is this the standard?

If this is how it works for you, I wouldn't offer a discount either. Maybe the delivery as suggested prevously.




Tha's how it works with one venue I work with, but they don't budget $1000 for it! I'd go for that price!

mom2spunkynbug Posted 14 Jun 2010 , 11:52pm
post #11 of 13

Wow! I must be lucky...I am on several local venues' preferred lists and I don't pay them a penny!! That's kind of....wow icon_eek.gif

I wouldn't offer a discount OR free delivery! Are you going to be the ONLY cake maker on their list? And will you get each bride, guaranteed, 100% of the time??

KHalstead Posted 15 Jun 2010 , 12:07am
post #12 of 13

Free Delivery maybe, if you feel like it.......but definitely don't discount your cakes!! You're already cheaper than other bakeries right?? No need to go down any further then!

What does this venue want in return?? Do they want you to refer business? If so, I see no reason why they need a discount, for all you know they could be planning on having the brides pay THEM for the cake (at a higher cost) and then just give you what you're charging as it is...don't give them anymore of your money.

costumeczar Posted 15 Jun 2010 , 12:54am
post #13 of 13

I'll also add that the one venue that refers clients to me then pays me directly is the only one like that that I work with. The other ones who have me on their preferred vendor list just refer people to me, and there's no money of any kind exchanged between me and the venue. No discounts, kickbacks, free delivery, or any kind of financial dealings with the venue, only with the bride.

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