Ok, so I need to vent for a minute. I live in the Washington DC area, and I've got a couple who are getting married in sept. who I work with at my primary job. They are planning on having 60 people at the wedding and are keeping their top tier of cake. So roughly enough cake for 70 people. We came up with an awesome design of three tiered stacked, round, fondant-covered red velvet cake with cream cheese icing as the filling, with seperator tiers in between the layers that have pink roses in them.. they're going to have scrolling on the layers. I'm delivering it 45 miles away, so 90miles round trip.
I figure out my cost of ingredients and parts, figure in 18 hrs of labor, and then figure I'm gonna use about 1/2 tank of gas delivering it.
I called around to other bakeries/home bakers to see what they would charge for such a cake and find out that mine is equal or below others.
So I'm thinking, great! I got this in the bag! WRONG! I give them a quote of about $470. He comes back to me saying that other places are quoting him at $350 for everything including set-up and delivery.. I'm thinking, "yeah, but you told me their cakes were not good and they're not making the cake flavor you wanted... and you RAVED on mine! You told me you were getting great deals by negotiating with everyone else, why do i feel like you're nickel and diming me?"
I really want to do this cake b/c of the design and it looks great and i want it in my album.
Am i really overcharging? Am i being unreasonable? I'm feeling frustrated and confused, and feeling like they are just trying to see how low i'll go for price.
Your call, really. If you work with them daily and you LOVE them, give them a deal as co-workers. If your price is competitive with locals (and DC can't be cheap), and you don't want to go lower, or you feel like he's trying to beat you down (and believe me if you do against your will, you will hate yourself and them and not be happy working on it), tell them, "Oh...gosh, I WISH I could do it for $350.00! That IS quite a deal! Well...let me know if you'd like to go ahead and book that date...bye!" *cheerful smiley voice*
Trust me; some people will ask for a discount every time to every vendor, just because they do it everywhere. There'll be other cakes to love.
Stick to your pricing. No matter how much you want to do this cake, if you undervalue yourself you'll be unhappy. Not to mention any future cakes for this couple will result in them expecting to negotiate your price down. You know what you are worth, either they will pay it or they won't.
"Oh...gosh, I WISH I could do it for $350.00! That IS quite a deal! Well...let me know if you'd like to go ahead and book that date...bye!" *cheerful smiley voice*
This is exactly what you should say! If they would rather have a cake at their wedding they do not even like the taste of, let them! It doesn't sound like a bad price to me at all...and I live in a cheaper area! I have had this problem too, I checked prices for a cake once just to make sure I was with in local pricing, and the customer straight up LIED to me saying she got a quote for half that price! (little did she know I am friends with the owner of that bakery!) Not sure why people do that, I guess to get you to do the work for free!?! Anyways, its not a bad thing they want to check prices and go with the cheapest, you would do it for a car, groceries, gas...Just try not to take it personally when someone wants to save their hard earned money!
The best way to explain may be-"My prices are affected by the fact that I don't buy things in bulk since I'm a small custom operation. I totally understand if you need to choose someone else because of this." I'd bet that they still choose you- they're just trying to get you to go lower. Honestly, if they don't choose you, keep in mind you would be seeing them every day and feeling like they took advantage of you!
My friend said it best to me when I asked her how she prices her small business.
There will always be someone out there looking for your pricing and your level of skill.
Someone else will come along and pay you $470 for that cake with a smile.
Unless of course, you want to offer them a discount. Then I'd make it clear that the price of the cake is $470 and you are going to give them a ONE TIME discount on their cake only. And sell it to them for $350.
I wouldn't budge. If in fact the quotes he received are at that price, I bet he didn't tell them everything. Custom flavors usually hike up a price.
I just had this happen with my own brother..... and I was gifting the cake as his wedding gift. He actually told me it was a cheap gift. So I told him to price wedding cake around town and get back to me. He claimed he was getting quote for $200 and less. I asked him for the quotes in writing. He couldn't produce them. In the end, I still gifted the cake to him, but I made the flavors and colors what his bride (who knew the value of the gift!) wanted and left all his requests out. Everyone knew what I was spending on this cake, also since I was traveling to a different state to deliver it.
I just had a lady call me yesterday about her wedding cake. She told me what she wanted (everything was custom) and that she heard I made awesome custom flavors from my family. I gave her a price per piece and then a total. When she balked, I told her this: I know it sounds like a lot, but when you are getting exactly everything you want, with no hassles, and everything is custom, it's actually worth a lot more. She actually agreed and we are meeting next week to make plans.
It appears that you're charging $6.71 pp, but what we don't know is how that's broken down between cake and delivery.
You said your price is equal or below others in the DC area, but we don't know their pp price or their charge for delivery. It's difficult to compare without the details.
You figure 18 hours of labor, buy ingredients and supplies at retail, and we don't know your skill level. As professionals, their cost for ingredients, supplies, and labor is far less, while having overhead that is much more than yours.
Hypothetically, if you're charging $4.50 pp x 70 = $315 plus $100 for delivery = $415 (then I think you're slightly overcharging by quoting $470).
Of course, you can charge whatever you want or what you think you're worth. If the numbers can be broken down to compare apples to apples and you discover that the main difference is labor hours (for example), your customers shouldn't need to pay more for a potentially less experienced or slower hobby decorator. (Just one of many things to consider.)
I broke it down as $5.50pp, and then $88 for the delivery. When i was price comparing on the exact cake i'm making, (which is a custom order cake) other places were quoting me at a range of $5.25-$6.95pp, and up to $8.00pp closer into DC, and extra for delivery and set up, which was roughly $100. I've been making cakes for 11 years now, granted, that may be a fledgling compared to other professionals here, but I went to pastry school and graduated with Le Cordon Bleu Certification and have been working ever since. I don't know if that helps.
I better understand your pricing structure and it makes perfect sense based on what others are charging (without considering purchasing wholesale/retail and labor/overhead).
I don't know what your primary job is (not that it matters), but it just confused me more if you're a pastry chef whose co-worker isn't making their own cake, yet has the nerve to complain about your price!
Don't budge on your pricing - you have checked with other places and your pricing is in line with your area, so I think he is just playing you to try and get you to price lower, as has already been suggested.
If they don't order from you, but you want the photo of the cake for your album, just make yourself a dummy cake and take some fabulous pictures!