Need Help To Put Together Nice Reply For Pricing Issue

Business By dreamcakesmom Updated 10 Feb 2011 , 4:14pm by EpicureanMaiden

dreamcakesmom Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 12:47am
post #1 of 28

Long story short. I originally sent my pricing guide to an inquiring customer looking for a cake to serve 75. My prices are broken down into groups- basic level 1 and level 2 with descriptions of what decor would fall into each. Customer wanted a cake similiar to one I already did with the following changes. Bottom tier is square, middle tier is round, decorated with colors to match her paper goods and topper to be a 3-d fondant elephant to match theme of party. I quoted $3.25 per serving and received an instantaneous reply of "my husband was not impressed with the price of the cake. We will have to shop around for options or cut back the # of servings and serve a bj's sheet cake along with your cake. Please let me know if you have any other options to cut back the cost so we can still use your company.

I can certainly offer an all buttercream (no fondant) detail option but how do I tactfully reply the price is because you are getting a custom cake, not a bj's design??

27 replies
dreamcakesmom Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 12:51am
post #2 of 28

Added a photo of the cake customer was using as the basis for her design. It is the Elmo with presents

Jennifer1970 Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 12:52am
post #3 of 28

I wouldn't bother trying to explain, she obviously has no idea what a custom designed cake costs, and maybe she really wants it but the hubby is holding the money.

Jennifer1970 Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 12:53am
post #4 of 28

Oh, and "hi!" from snowy Rhode Island!

artscallion Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 12:59am
post #5 of 28

You can give her options. Doing so will help her come to terms with what she needs to get from you or BJs. But I never fall into the trap of defending my prices because
1. You will never get someone who is "not impressed" with your prices to become impressed with your prices.

2. You can't teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work and it annoys the pig and yourself in the process.

HaydenSC Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 1:18am
post #6 of 28

I am tempted to tell you to say nothing. What she said to you was pretty snarky! I am sure you were not impressed with her attitude!

If you would like to actually answer her question, find out how much she would like to spend and then explain what she should choose to fit into her budget. You could tell her a price, but if you don't know her budget, you are wasting your time. She may only have a budget of $50, you never know what people expect to pay for a custom cake. She could just have to get one from BJ's because that is what she can afford for this party.

I wouldn't defend my prices because she wants more than she can afford. That isn't your problem.

dreamcakesmom Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 1:21am
post #7 of 28

Thanks all- My first instict is to say, " what is your budget and I will let you know what I can do within your budget" You are right a $50 budget for a 75 person cake will never happen in my world. THanks for your feedback

Jennifer_ So sick of this snow!!

indydebi Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 1:38am
post #8 of 28

what I would tell her ..... oh wait, you wanted a NICE reply!! icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

A simple response is to offer the buttercream version at the BC price, being sure to point out that while many fondant designs can be done in BC, there is a definite difference in the final look of the ccake.

A snarky P.S. would be to add that "once you decide if you want a custom designed cake like the photo you sent, just let me know so we can get started on the planning process of your order. Otherwise I'll assume you've changed your mind on the special design and are going with the run-of-the-mill regular look of a BJ's cake for your party. Thanks for thinking of us for your event and I look forward to hearing from you!" icon_twisted.gif

cownsj Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 1:53am
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamcakesmom

I quoted $3.25 per serving and received an instantaneous reply of "my husband was not impressed with the price of the cake. We will have to shop around for options or cut back the # of servings and serve a bj's sheet cake along with your cake. Please let me know if you have any other options to cut back the cost so we can still use your company.




That sounds like a stock reply she had planned for you no matter what price you sent her. And how easy to put the blame on someone else.

Definitely ask for what her budget is, then decide if you can even consider a cake in that price range. If so, tell her what you can do for that budget, period.

You might also want to consider whether you want to allow her to bring another cake to be served alongside yours. There may be people there who get the BJ's cake and think you made it.

aligotmatt Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 1:59am
post #10 of 28

I personally would reply something like, "thank you so much for considering me as cake designer for your party. I bake each cake per order and custom design and sculpt each cake for each individual customer.

I pride myself in my work by providing a superior product in both flavor and design and because of this it is my policy that I do not sell my cakes to clients who will be serving a 'kitchen cake' to their guests in order to save on costs as it does reflect poorly on my business.

As stated, I would be happy to create the full cake we discussed. I can also offer you this .... as a slight cost saving alternative. I look forward to hearing back from you"

indydebi Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 2:21am
post #11 of 28

Love the above post.

While this may or may not be applicable to this topic, I am sharing something I saw on my new favorite hamburger place's website, "Five Guys Burgers and Fries" and their response to the discount question. I thought it was pretty good....

http://www.fiveguys.com/faq.aspx

Q: Does Five Guys offer coupons or discounts?

A: Five Guys does not offer any coupons or discounts. Heck, employees at the Five Guys can only get free burgers if they are working in the store! Why? We strive to serve the highest quality product possible, at a reasonable price, everyday! We do not discount the price of our product because we refuse to discount the quality of our product.

jenmat Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 2:44am
post #12 of 28

"while I understand that your husband was surprised at the cost of a custom tiered 3D cake, I am sure he would also be shocked by the amount of time that goes into each project I do. From the planning stage to the baking, carving and implementing, the custom cake is simply a different animal than a cake from a store.

While I can offer you a buttercream option at $X.XX per serving, or reduce your vision a bit to fit into your budget, it would be impossible for me to offer you a cake at the price of a store bought cake.

I would love to be able to create this fabulous cake design for you, but I do understand if you and your husband need to look elsewhere for a more cost-effective option."

Was that too snarky? I tried to be nice, but sometimes you just have to pee in someone's cheerios...

Shalan Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 2:46am
post #13 of 28

I love the Five Guys answer to a discount. One should never discount their quality. icon_smile.gif We should sell value/quality, not price.

mommachris Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 2:53am
post #14 of 28

Wait...we are over looking something here.
The customer plans to serve your specialty cake side by side with a Bj's sheet cake.
Any one want to lay a bet on which cake will be still sitting on the table at the end of the party?
And just HOW does she plan to decide who gets the designer cake and who get the cheap one anyway....will there be a lottery or a mad scramble to form a line when they cut the nice cake?

A good hostess makes sure that everyone is treated the same. Some at this party are going to get slighted and that's not nice.

Her idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth. icon_wink.gif
mommachris

Evoir Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 2:57am
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

"while I understand that your husband was surprised at the cost of a custom tiered 3D cake, I am sure he would also be shocked by the amount of time that goes into each project I do. From the planning stage to the baking, carving and implementing, the custom cake is simply a different animal than a cake from a store.

While I can offer you a buttercream option at $X.XX per serving, or reduce your vision a bit to fit into your budget, it would be impossible for me to offer you a cake at the price of a store bought cake.

I would love to be able to create this fabulous cake design for you, but I do understand if you and your husband need to look elsewhere for a more cost-effective option."

Was that too snarky? I tried to be nice, but sometimes you just have to pee in someone's cheerios...




I am sitting in a quiet hospital room atm, and your post made me snort out loud! Love it!

thin4life Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:04am
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Love the above post.

While this may or may not be applicable to this topic, I am sharing something I saw on my new favorite hamburger place's website, "Five Guys Burgers and Fries" and their response to the discount question. I thought it was pretty good....

http://www.fiveguys.com/faq.aspx

Q: Does Five Guys offer coupons or discounts?

A: Five Guys does not offer any coupons or discounts. Heck, employees at the Five Guys can only get free burgers if they are working in the store! Why? We strive to serve the highest quality product possible, at a reasonable price, everyday! We do not discount the price of our product because we refuse to discount the quality of our product.




I LOVE this!

costumeczar Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:17am
post #17 of 28

Lots of love going around... I love Evoir's signature, haha!

I'd have to agree with finding out the cheapo's budget before you bother trying to deal further with her. It's going to be a waste of time otherwise.

indydebi Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:30am
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

"while I understand that your husband was surprised at the cost of a custom tiered 3D cake, I am sure he would also be shocked by the amount of time that goes into each project I do. From the planning stage to the baking, carving and implementing, the custom cake is simply a different animal than a cake from a store.

While I can offer you a buttercream option at $X.XX per serving, or reduce your vision a bit to fit into your budget, it would be impossible for me to offer you a cake at the price of a store bought cake.

I would love to be able to create this fabulous cake design for you, but I do understand if you and your husband need to look elsewhere for a more cost-effective option."

Was that too snarky? I tried to be nice, but sometimes you just have to pee in someone's cheerios...



snarky? I thought this was classic!!!!! thumbs_up.gif

Evoir Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:37am
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Lots of love going around... I love Evoir's signature, haha!

I'd have to agree with finding out the cheapo's budget before you bother trying to deal further with her. It's going to be a waste of time otherwise.





LOL, I thought it was about time I added some colour to my posts icon_biggrin.gif

Truly though - just looking at all those cake pops does my head in. I have a lot of trouble doing lots of fiddly but boring work. I'd much rather be working on a creative design icon_smile.gif

Wouldn't it be nice if we could really say what we mean to some would-be clients?

aligotmatt Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:41am
post #20 of 28

Just as a random encouragement. I gave a bride a quote, and she wrote me back and was like, well that all sounds good, but can you lower your price per serving to $3.50 per serving? I think I may have posted about it. I sat and read it over and over and over. really? lower my price?

I really did write her back something quite snarky about my pricing and awesomeness and that my price was what it was for a reason. She wrote back and said, okay, sounds good, send a contract. As a follow up, her fiance called and left a message, so I called him back and he was like, "hey can we just send the whole payment at once?"

So snarky can be good for your soul, and will not necessarily cause a customer to not book with you.

tryingcake Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 6:05am
post #21 of 28

When I owned a bar years ago - I never put the good beer on special.. why? Why should I sell something for less when that's what people want to buy anyway?

They are going to buy it no matter what the price. Only the beer or alcohol I was trying to get rid of went on the happy hour list. This never kept people from coming to my bar and spending money on the good stuff. Yes, I'd have those people that ordered the rot gut just because, but for the most part, people bought the good stuff at the higher price.

Things cost what they cost. If she wants a BJs cake, by all means - go to BJs. I have nothing against BJs bakery. You just won't be able to buy my cake there. If you want my cake, here is the price list - and you won't be able to by a BJs cake at my shop.

Pretty simple math.

You owe her no explanation. I have the same policy as above - I don't sell my cake to go along with someone elses cake. I'm sure people have done it and not told me. But it's not going to happen with my knowledge.

cownsj Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 3:03pm
post #22 of 28

Just a side thought/observation here. It seems that so many people who try to put cakers up against the likes of BJ's, Costco, etc., seem to want fondant covered cakes. Do ANY of the stores off cakes in fondant? I can't recall any, but I'm not always looking either.

tryingcake Posted 28 Jan 2011 , 5:38pm
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

Just a side thought/observation here. It seems that so many people who try to put cakers up against the likes of BJ's, Costco, etc., seem to want fondant covered cakes. Do ANY of the stores off cakes in fondant? I can't recall any, but I'm not always looking either.




Great point - I don't think so. I have told clients, you will never find this cake (pointing at her picture) at Costco. If you want a Costco cake, I can slap that together for you.

dreamcakesmom Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 7:24pm
post #24 of 28

Just wanted to update you. I first went back and asked for their budget. I found out it was $2 per serving which is my basic buttercream pricing for a 1 tier cake so I nicely responded with an alternative that maybe we could scale back her vision to a smaller custom cake but subsidize the remaining servings with simple decorated cupcakes which would be perfect for the large amount of children they were trying to serve ( essentially 40 kids and 35 adults. I also pulled some quotes from all your responses such as not being able to provide a custom cake at a grocery store price tag, etc. Also mentioned that I didn;t recommend mixing my cake with a grocery store cake as it puts the hostess in the uncomfortable position of choosing who gets served a homemade 3 layer cake and who gets a single layer sheet cake slice. All in all I felt my response was professional, tactful and I was fully satisfied with what I offered within her budget. I didn't hear back for several days but got an email this am saying/ We are looking for a cheaper cake. I have no regrets. I will not spend hours designing, baking a scratch cake and decorating a custom cake to not make any money off of it. If they only want to pay for a grocery store cake then that's where they will have to go. Thanks for everyone's help and support

silverdragon997 Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 8:08pm
post #25 of 28

Good for you! I've been having trouble booking lately because for some reason all of the cheapo's are calling me right now, but I'm not gonna pay to rent the commercial kitchen for a cake I'm going to make $5 on. No way. I'll sit at home making dummy cakes until the right customer comes along. icon_smile.gif

raneishaw Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 2:18am
post #26 of 28

"I really did write her back something quite snarky about my pricing and awesomeness and that my price was what it was for a reason."


When I read this, I had to give thumbs up to this artist for sticking up for their art and awesomeness. See customers still want the awesomeness but they dont want to pay for it. That is what I am struggling with right now with some of my customers.

kathydvorski Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 3:25pm
post #27 of 28

In my experience there is no need to get into explanations - decide who you wish to serve and the price that you charge for your product and stick to it. Know that frugal customers have their options elsewhere and their need will be met by cake makers that tend to such niche. There is nothing wrong with trying to save money - but if you wish to do so don't go to the BMW dealership if you can only afford Yugo. Simply answer that your prices are such and that you would be very happy to create a cake for them should they be interested in the future.

EpicureanMaiden Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 4:14pm
post #28 of 28

Great advice! We often undersell ourselves. When your cake is deliciously edible art...it just needs to be priced accordingly. You're not a retail giant! know what your talent and time is worth and those that appreciate it will benefit!

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