Difficult Customers! Please Help!

Baking By BGchef Updated 24 May 2011 , 10:11pm by sugarxosugar143

BGchef Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:13am
post #1 of 24

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I was hoping someone could give me some advice on a problematic customer.

I have received an order for 100 cupcakes to make on very short notice. They want 3 different types: tiramisu (filled), strawberry cheesecake (filled), and chocolate with fondant race car toppers. I make everything from scratch so it is going to be a very time consuming job, and the ingredients involved are adding up (I.e. Mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, etc.) i figured everything out in terms of my cost and labor and came to a total of $245, upon which I gave her a 10% discount because she's a good friend, so her total is 220.

The customer thinks I am charging too much and wants to keep their budget at 175. So I said I can do it for that price but will have to cut certain things out then, like the car toppers or the fillings. But she wants to keep everything as is and pay me 175. I don't feel that's a fair price considering the amount of work I'm doing at such short notice, and the fact that extravagant cupcakes like these are usually double the amount of money if purchased at bakeries.

So my question is, am I charging too much? If yes, please explain why. If not, please advise me on how to deal with the customer. I don't really want to decline the order because she is a close friend, but I don't want to lower my price more than I already have. Help????

23 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:39am
post #2 of 24

icon_eek.gif

If your friend thinks you are charging too much then encourage her to go someplace else.

I can't tell you if your pricing is spot on or not, you left out too much info like weather you are legal, bake from home or rent commercial space, buy in bulk or wholesale, how long you think it will take you to complete and it's helpful if you put in your profile your location. But that's really not the point. The point is, if you don't value yourself and your work... nobody else will, friend or not. You set a price, she either pays it to you or she can go someplace else. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but if you don't have it you will allow yourself to be taken advantage of again in the future.

Good luck,

Jen

myslady Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:40am
post #3 of 24

No, if she wants it for 175 she either needs to cut down her order or change it. She can take your price or find someone else to do it. You said it yourself she would be paying double that at another bakery, let her find that out.

StacyN Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:48am
post #4 of 24

I think that $220 is too little. In my area it would be anyway. That is going to be a lot of work!
I went to a cupcake store in my area (they had won cupcake wars so I wanted to see what they tasted like!) and I got a regular cupcake and it cost $3.50 plus tax, it had no filling and no fondant topper.
I would explain to your friend how much it would cost her elsewhere? Maybe that would change her tune! Its not fair for her to think that you should lower your price so much just because its not in her budget! That doesnt make sense! She set the budget now you must stay in it no matter what she wants?!
She wants you to lower it to LESS than $2.00 a cupcake! I think if she is going to be too problematic you should tell her to find someone else. She doesn't sound like a very good friend, but I don't sell my cakes so I don't know maybe this is how friends become once you do?!

BlakesCakes Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:48am
post #5 of 24

I'm sorry, but it's really that simple----to get exactly what she wants, she pays what you charge OR SHE IS THE ONE WHO COMPROMISES BY ELIMINATING SOMETHING UNTIL SHE GETS THE ORDER DOWN TO HER BUDGET NUMBER..........

If I go to WalMart & I want to spend $100 and I get to the register and the order comes to $150, I can't tell the cashier, "Well, I still want it all, but I only want to spend $100." and expect her to accept my $100 and let me go merrily on my way! I HAVE TO PUT BACK $50 WORTH OF MERCHANDISE OR I HAVE TO LEAVE IT ALL AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE WHERE I KNOW I CAN GET THE STUFF FOR $100.

You don't need to feel badly for her. She's the one who came to YOU.

Rae

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 10 May 2011 , 3:57am
post #6 of 24

100 customized cupcakes for $175? You've got to be kidding me... that's only $1.75 a cupcake. It totally depends on what your overhead is, and what you need to charge to make a profit, but my regular buttercream cupcakes cost $2.00. Filled cupcakes are $2.50 and cupcakes with toppers are $3.00. And I think that's cheap...

So, let's say at MY cost, 2/3 of her order are filled cupcakes (lets round up to 67 cupcakes for calculations).. 67 x $2.50 = $167.50, plus another 33 cupcakes with toppers at $3.00 each = $99.00.

$99.00 + $167.50 = $266.50 if I was charging her. With a 10% discount because you're such a nice gal, that brings her to $239.85

I'd tell her I can't do them for less than $39.85 (or in your case $220) and she's more than welcome to get a quote from another bakery...

BGchef Posted 10 May 2011 , 4:23am
post #7 of 24

Thanks everyone. I don't know why I'm such a wimp and let myself get taken advantage of. I explained to her that I'm making 3 diff batters, 3 diff fillings, 3 diff frostings, and 3 diff decorations. I told her my price is way lower than anywhere else she could buy these, and that I'm giving a very honest estimate, not ripping her off. I told her she can think about it and/or shop around and let me know.

Thanks again!

Mom_of_one Posted 10 May 2011 , 4:50am
post #8 of 24

Good luck. Btw, I'm charging my sister-in-law $200 for 200 margarita cupcakes with a candied lime. icon_wink.gif

Ursula40 Posted 10 May 2011 , 5:51am
post #9 of 24

Story of my life. Living in China, lots of people think they can bargain me down in price, up to the point, where I pay them essentially to buy my products. This year no more. If they want a bargain price (reserved for CLOSE friends) they can let me know the theme and number of people attending, but have absolutely NO SAY at all in what they get. Either way I get ingredients, try something new and still come out in the green, ( a tiny bit) but for strangers,...not worth my while. I will not make cakes just to cover the ingredients, electricity and the such, but want to be compensated for my time as well. Most orders are on weekends, cause the kids are in school, really long days here, and just try and get a worker to fix something in your house on weekends, they charge double. I don't, but you get my drift. When it comes to cake, they want to save but have no qualms renting an absurdly high priced venue, instead of holding the party at home (mind you, most have helpers here, so I don't understand that at all), take home gifts the kids get are ridiculous, I mean, who is the birthday child? The guests? Food is often catered, so they don't want to spend a lot on cake, which in my opinion, is the main attraction of any party, beside from the kid himself AAAAAaaaaaaaargggggggggghh

Just had a manager/director (yes I do check Linkedin, when I get people who sound iffy) want to order a cake for his WIFE's 35th and trying to barter me down. Would've lost money with all the extras he wanted. I mean, come on, it's his wife for god's sake.

TexasSugar Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:14pm
post #10 of 24

Your reply, "My price for 100 custom made and decorated cupcakes is $245. I totally understand if that is more than you were wanting to pay, but because of expenses and my time involved, I can not go any lower than that."

Plain and simple and leave it there. As a person I can under stand that $245 sounds like a lot for a food item. As a caker I can totally understand where the price comes from.

She doesn't have to like your price. She doesn't have to agree with your price. She doesn't have to have your cupcakes.

DO NOT lower your price to $175 with out her dropping something. The example of Walmart above is spot on. If she doesn't want to spend $245, then you get to take a break that week.

Some people feel because they know you they deserve something for nothing, or that they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake for you. I'm to the point now where I value my time, and no longer feel the need to give up oodles of my free time to make them an expensive cake for cheap. I've got better uses of my time. If I'm going to give up time to make a cake for nothing, I'd rather it be a cake that I want to make, something I want to try or play with and to give it to someone that will truly appreciate it.

Tell your friend good luck buying dessert for 100 people with just $175. icon_smile.gif

Ursula40 Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:23pm
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Your reply, "My price for 100 custom made and decorated cupcakes is $245. I totally understand if that is more than you were wanting to pay, but because of expenses and my time involved, I can not go any lower than that."

Plan and simple and leave it there. As a person I can under stand that $245 sounds like a lot for a food item. As a caker I can totally understand where the price comes from.

She doesn't have to like your price. She doesn't have to agree with your price. She doesn't have to have your cupcakes.

DO NOT lower your price to $175 with out her dropping something. The example of Walmart above is spot on. If she doesn't want to spend $245, then you get to take a break that week.

Some people feel because they know you they deserve something for nothing, or that they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake for you. I'm to the point now where I value my time, and no longer feel the need to give up oodles of my free time to make them an expensive cake for cheap. I've got better uses of my time. If I'm going to give up time to make a cake for nothing, I'd rather it be a cake that I want to make, something I want to try or play with and to give it to someone that will truly appreciate it.

Tell your friend good luck buying dessert for 100 people with just $175. icon_smile.gif




BRAVO!!!

bakencake Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:49pm
post #12 of 24

she has no problem telling you no, the price is not doable for her, friend or not. you on the other hand is sitting here wondering how to tell her no the price is not doable. do you see what im trying to say?

Ursula40 Posted 10 May 2011 , 2:57pm
post #13 of 24

Good point also, this is business, treat it as such, if you feel like it, give her a discount (which you already have) and leave it at that. No way, will she get it anywhere cheaper than your quote anyway, just let her know, she can feel free to check other options, BUT you have a time limit she has to consider, Walmart might be the only place, which could fill her order at such short notice, BUT THAT IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM, (they'll probably be more expensive too and not as nice) Again, not your problem!!!

hrnewbie Posted 11 May 2011 , 2:22am
post #14 of 24

I think your original price of $220 for 100 cupcakes with fondant toppers was way too low and certainly nowhere near too high. In my area, a basic cupcake can easily be $3. I'm talking a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing. Adding a custom topper would put you at $5+ each easily.

I'd politely tell your friend that your price is X. Period. Don't let her strongarm you into underpricing your materials and your time.

mplaidgirl2 Posted 11 May 2011 , 2:45am
post #15 of 24

Anything with fondant toppers start at $3 from me. with the fillings your doing I'd say easily $4

jlsheik Posted 11 May 2011 , 3:11am
post #16 of 24

Just say NO!!

caymancake Posted 11 May 2011 , 3:21am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Your reply, "My price for 100 custom made and decorated cupcakes is $245. I totally understand if that is more than you were wanting to pay, but because of expenses and my time involved, I can not go any lower than that."

Plain and simple and leave it there. As a person I can under stand that $245 sounds like a lot for a food item. As a caker I can totally understand where the price comes from.

She doesn't have to like your price. She doesn't have to agree with your price. She doesn't have to have your cupcakes.

DO NOT lower your price to $175 with out her dropping something. The example of Walmart above is spot on. If she doesn't want to spend $245, then you get to take a break that week.

Well said Texas sugar! I agree 100%

Some people feel because they know you they deserve something for nothing, or that they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake for you. I'm to the point now where I value my time, and no longer feel the need to give up oodles of my free time to make them an expensive cake for cheap. I've got better uses of my time. If I'm going to give up time to make a cake for nothing, I'd rather it be a cake that I want to make, something I want to try or play with and to give it to someone that will truly appreciate it.

Tell your friend good luck buying dessert for 100 people with just $175. icon_smile.gif


m_willford Posted 11 May 2011 , 3:54am
post #18 of 24

Definitely give her a time limit, so she doesn't decide to go with you 2 days before. "I HAVE to know no later than xx date, or I can't do them. Period."

indydebi Posted 11 May 2011 , 12:08pm
post #19 of 24

A $4 cup of coffee (or in this case, a $2.20 cupcake) isn't a lot of money ..... unless you're buying 100 of them.

It never ceases to amaze me how all of these "oh I'm so poor and so broke!" people consistently plan a party for 100 or more. how do you do that with no money? icon_confused.gif

bethyscake Posted 12 May 2011 , 11:26pm
post #20 of 24

I had something very similar happen to me. I just now am able to sell cakes legally and a friend asked for a birthday cake for her son. She wanted a Mario cake and I priced the supplies at 30 and was only going to charge her 30 for labor, I know the cake would of been worth over 100 for sure however she is a friend and I am still so new to charging for cakes. She came back and said "Well, I can only pay 30-40 for the cake" She wanted me to work something out for that price however that would cover the supplies and maybe a small tip, if you can call that a tip. So I had to tell her nicely, I cant make it for that low, I'm sorry, I cant make your cake. I was kind of sad, I love making cakes but I need to be able to make a profit however small. And if a friend cant value the time and effort I put into my cakes then they can go elsewhere. People expect things to be free when you are friends. They forget your time isn't free and your work is just as valuable as any one else. I love the comment about going to wal-mart, wanting to spend around 100 and getting to the cash register and the total being 150. They don't care about your budget the total is what the total is. But i personally feel you are charging a bit low for those cupcakes. Those amazing flavors, with them being filled and fondant on top of that. The added 50 or so that they would have to spend to be at the total you gave them isn't that much and if they want your business they should respect your work.

indydebi Posted 12 May 2011 , 11:37pm
post #21 of 24

Probably the thing that got to me about pricing reactions was the "Oh, I can get that at walmart for $30-$40" comment.

Uh .... no, they CAN'T!!!!

walmart doesn't do carved cakes or custom made mario cakes. And how these people think they can transfer a $30 price tag from a run-of-the-mill, looks-like-every-other-cake-in-the-store cake to a specialty cake like they are asking a CCer to make just floors me. Do they think they can walk into any four star restaurant, order a ground steak for $29 and then tell the waiter, "Oh I can get that at McDonald's for $1.29!"

Uh ... no, you can't.

Blows my mind ..... every time. (Hey! I rhymed!) icon_lol.gif

mommachris Posted 24 May 2011 , 3:31pm
post #22 of 24

Original post said "They want.... and they only want to pay....
Well, sometimes we get told 'no' in life.
It's her turn.

She needs to change one of her 'wants' to match one of yours ( price or amount of work involved).
That's the bottom line.

Wasn't it Debi who said that the customer gets to tell you:
a) what they want to have OR
b) what they are willing to pay.

They don't get to set both factors of the situation.

mommachris

cownsj Posted 24 May 2011 , 9:37pm
post #23 of 24

She is trying to make you feel like a bad friend because "you are charging more than she wants to pay", but you are beating yourself up and not realizing that is being a bad friend by expecting you to work for her for free (or close to it). SHE is devaluing you, don't let her or that is where your value will not be set and you will resent her and others for how you allow her to make you feel. (did that make sense?)

If she agrees and you take the order, make sure you get paid up front or I have no doubt there will be some excuse as to why she doesn't have the full payment to give you, but she'll get you the rest..........

Tell her to call a few places who will give her exactly what she wants, not just a plain cupcake, or a bc filled one, but one exactly how she wants them and get their prices.

I totally agree, she gets a choice of 1; price or what she wants the cupcake to be. And sometimes, you don't even get a choice of one.

sugarxosugar143 Posted 24 May 2011 , 10:11pm
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursula40

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Your reply, "My price for 100 custom made and decorated cupcakes is $245. I totally understand if that is more than you were wanting to pay, but because of expenses and my time involved, I can not go any lower than that."

Plan and simple and leave it there. As a person I can under stand that $245 sounds like a lot for a food item. As a caker I can totally understand where the price comes from.

She doesn't have to like your price. She doesn't have to agree with your price. She doesn't have to have your cupcakes.

DO NOT lower your price to $175 with out her dropping something. The example of Walmart above is spot on. If she doesn't want to spend $245, then you get to take a break that week.

Some people feel because they know you they deserve something for nothing, or that they are doing you a favor by ordering a cake for you. I'm to the point now where I value my time, and no longer feel the need to give up oodles of my free time to make them an expensive cake for cheap. I've got better uses of my time. If I'm going to give up time to make a cake for nothing, I'd rather it be a cake that I want to make, something I want to try or play with and to give it to someone that will truly appreciate it.

Tell your friend good luck buying dessert for 100 people with just $175. icon_smile.gif



BRAVO!!!




AGREE!!

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