Why do people seem to not be able to either A) read or B) multiply? I have very detailed information on my website about pricing. I give the price per serving for fondant, buttercream, and topsy turvey/carved cakes. I also give a pricing example for a fondant cake to serve 100 and a buttercream cake to serve 100. You times the price per serving by 100. Of course, everyone here knows that, but it seems most other people don't.
I have a form that customers can fill out and request more information. I would say at least half of the submitted forms I get asking for a quote have absurd budgets for what they want. The one that put me over the edge yesterday was a bride wanting 500 servings in a fondant cake for.........$400.00 (that was her budget).
How do I politely advise customers on my website to look at the price per serving and do simple multiplication? It's getting annoying. I'd say 8/10 requests for more information or for a quote are people with absolutely ridiculously cheap budgets for what they are wanting, and I'm tired of it. I don't know how much more I can nicely explain pricing without putting something really snarky and unprofessional on my pricing page, but of course I don't want to do that for real......just in my fantasy land.
on your website: "To help estimate the cost of your cake, simply multiply the per serving cost listed below for the type of cake you'd like, then multiply it times the number of guests you expect to serve."
I am with you tootie0809. I think that people think that the prices are for other people and since they contacted you it will be cheaper. I get the same thing a lot too.
They can read and multiply just fine. They are wanting a cake for less than your normal price and hoping you will do it if they ask. You could put prices are "non negotiable", "firm" or "fixed" and that may slow some of them down.
Also I don't believe people read and almost every cake website I've seen says cake prices vary base on design and flavor selection. So that said maybe they think a simple design will be cheaper. Maybe you should be clear and say that it is your minimum price.
Also on the form they fill out, at the top maybe you could have a section that says to help you plan your budget please complete the following:
Number of servings:
Frosting type : (have check boxes for Fondant with price next to it) and check box for buttercream with price
then on the following line have something like "Multiply the number of servings by the frosting type you've selected and this will be the base price of your cake. Any additions of flowers, complex designs carving etc will be subject to additional charges"
It may seem pushy to put that up front but if you're trying to weed out the lower budgets then you need to be upfront about.
Thanks for the great suggestions. I feel like the pricing is clear. I state that cakes start at XX per serving and that more complicated designs will be an additional cost. I guess I just assume that most people would realize the "start at" means the base pricing, so even a simple design will start at this price, not be less. I like a lot of the wording you've all suggested, and I'm definitely going to incorporate some sort of statement like these in my contact form as well as on the actual pricing page.
I have no problem giving people quotes, but when it's an absurd budget, for some reason it really chaps my hide. I'm cranky right now though. It's been an incredibly busy summer. I still have the whole month of September to get through before it starts to ease up. While I'm very happy and grateful business this summer has been way above expectations, I'm tired and a little burned out right now and I guess I'm just getting snippy about a lot of things lately.....so as my husband sweetly pointed out to me several times this week. I'm looking forward to my scheduled break in October!
The unfortunate side of doing good business is some people have to be helped to the till and some (500 servings for 400.00) need to be asked to leave tiffany's.... theres a wal mart down the road...sheet cake prices are pretty good there!
For those kind of ridiculous budgets (500 servings for $400) I would send back a one line response:
"We are unable to meet your budget as a fondant covered cake for 500 is going to be a MINIMUM of $xxx."
Here's another thread on this topic, which also includes a link to a 2nd thread on this topic: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-693591-frustrated.html
People go Math-Dumb when it comes to weddings. It's not that they can't do the math. They just think "I have (gasp!) FIVE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS! to spend on a cake! Wow! What a lot of money!"
The fact that they have to feed 600 people with it never crosses their mind.
Which is why I always did the math for them (as stated in the above links). "$3.50/serving ($350 per 100 guests)".
If you have a "Basic pricing starts at $3.00/serving and final price depends on design", then perhaps add a paragraph with
"For example, a cake for 100 guests will start at $300. Fruit filling adds $0.25/person (add $25); fondant instead of BC will add $1.00/serving (add $100) for a total cost of $425."
Here's my blog where I run some numbers on the add-ons to show a bride what her final price may look like: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/search/label/pricing
Another idea is to have an excel worksheet available online (that they can download) or that you send to them so they can figure their cost. I had one of these for my catering. A couple could figure the cost of their recption right down to the dime with this, which meant if they called me after using this worksheet, then I didn't even HAVE to talk money with thm. It was a dun-deal.
This worksheet would allow them to enter the number of servings and mark the add-ons they wanted. The formulas in the worksheet would automatically compute their cost.
500 servings for $400 wouldn't even get thru the calculations!
I have discovered that some people just DO NOT READ and some of those who do have very poor reading comprehension. I am the treasurer for an organization with about 60 families. When I send out an email, I try to include all the information the other person needs. I always get questions back about things that are in the email already. I have realized this year that some people just WILL NOT read anything more than a sentence or 2. Also, it is almost impossible to make something clear enough that NO ONE will misundertand it. Honestly, there are people who read something, get the idea that it applies to them, and then the last phrase the read is the only thing they remember. So if I write a paragraph about how members will not have to pay for a clinic we are hosting and then add one sentence at the end about fees for non members who take the clinic, I WILL get asked whether or why members have to pay. ARGH! I love the president of our organization, but she does not read long emails. Apparently she will answer if you put each question in a seperate one or two sentence email, but if you put them all in one, she gets overwhelmed. So now if I email her about several matters, I bullet/number/highlight so that she can quickly see the key point of each thing. At least she knows she does it and can laugh at herself!
No matter how much information you put on your website, people will still email stupid questions. I have things right next to my contact form, and people ignore them completely. I think that I assume that people are as thorough as I am in researching things before making a call or sending an email, but that just isn't the case.
When you get an email for a cake with a ridiculous budget- just don't reply to the email. You have already wasted enough time reading the email, why waste your time responding to it as well. It's not like you are going to change their budget by doing the math for them. I think that they did do the math, but they think if they contact you, then you will make the cake they want for the price they want to pay. Sorry about their luck.