Bride Looking For Last Minute Deal -- Need Advice . . . .

Business By nhbaker Updated 13 Jul 2011 , 3:01pm by Chonte

nhbaker Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 12:42pm
post #1 of 38

Just had a bride email me the following (removed names, etc.).

"I have a dilemma, My daughter works for the (name withheld) Hotel and ordered my wedding cake with the assumption she could get the cake at a reasonable price. She was able to get a cake last year for my son which fed 225 people for $250 therefore assuming she would be able to get the same pricing for me. My count for the wedding at the time was around 150 but that has now changed to 120. They quoted me a price of $900 for the 150 count which totally caught me off guard. I will not pay $900 for a wedding cake. Which leaves me needing a cake at short notice. Would it be possible for you to do? My wedding is July 23rd. I have attached a copy of two choices that I wanted. The cake on the left (all cream colored) is my first choice; if the other cake is easier for you to do, my colors are cream and mauve. It doesn't have to be exactly as pictured but anything similiar. My wedding has a victorian theme. I had wanted a pound cake with buttercream frosting but noticed you did not list pound cake on your flavors....so a white cake would be my second choice. If it is something you can do and would like to do, would you price it out for me too. You can reach me at (XXX). Thank you."

The pictures she sent are one of a cake with the molded lace trim (I don't have any molds and would have to buy them) and one with sugar flowers and a lot of detail work that cascades from the top of each cake over the edge -- both cakes are 4 tier.

I'm only doing one cake that day that I took on a month ago. I wasn't planning on doing any as we're leaving on vacation that day, so adding in another would really put a crimp in my plans (and not impress my family too much!) but I could do it. But I've got that "feeling". Why should I bail her out of her mess when she could've just contacted me in the first place (she's local to me). Should I be petty like that or do it and charge her a last minute fee, etc. How would you all handle this?

37 replies
luddroth Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 12:54pm
post #2 of 38

You're the only person who knows the answer to this question. $900 strikes me as a very good price for the cake she wants. The only real question is how much it is worth to you to make a cake for her? You know what you are taking on, what you are giving up, and how much it is worth to you. I personally think the hotel's price is a deal.

cakesbycathy Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 12:59pm
post #3 of 38

Her emergency is not your problem. Follow your gut on this one and tell her you are not available to make her cake!

caymancake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:01pm
post #4 of 38

If you want to take the order, charge her what you would normally charge, otherwise, turn it down and enjoy your vacation!

luddroth Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:02pm
post #5 of 38

Wair a minute! I just looked at your photos -- you are a master! What did you charge for that hex-shaped cake??? Do not underprice yourself! You are a specialty decorator, not a hotel kitchen....

jenng1482 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:03pm
post #6 of 38

Dear Bride,
Thank you for your interest in ABC cakes. I currently have one opening for your selected day. My creations begin at $3 per serving. Your first choice will be $360 + $xxx for design details + $xx rush order fee. Choice #2 will be $360 + $xxx for design details + $xx rush order fee. If you would like to place an order, I will need a signed contract and payment in full to secure your place on my calendar.

KittisKakes Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:05pm
post #7 of 38

I agree with luddroth. The hotel price is a good bargain. And I can't tell you how many times I've told myself to not take too many orders right before a trip and wind up doing it anyway. Packing & cleaning is put off until the last minute and I'm stressed for the start of what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation.
If it were me, I would not take the order.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:05pm
post #8 of 38

I would quote what you normally charge and add on a rush fee to make it worth your while. From your description, they seem like time consuming cakes and $900 is not crazy.. Also tell her she needs to let you know by X date so you can order supplies. She can either take your offer (if you want to even offer) or she can head to walmart.

gatorcake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:24pm
post #9 of 38

Well given what she mentions about her son, I bet she is looking for similar pricing--I would say to pass given the"deal" she is looking for.

I will only add the story just does not seem to add up. Her daughter ordered a cake and they did not tell her how much it was going to costs. Two weeks before her wedding she suddenly gets the bill and decides she is not going to pay $900 for a cake.

Okay I am not familiar with how hotel catering services work for employees but it just does not seem like the hotel would take her daughter's order without pricing it out. I guess if her daughter did not inquire about the price . . . but this just seems dubious. I guess it is possible but given the way they have done about getting the cake it seems like you should pass.

Chonte Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:32pm
post #10 of 38

lace molding...sugar flowers? does he not realize that these things take time? and time=money. i say tell her you are sorry but you are not available for that date. go on vacay and have fun. don't put stress on yourself right before a vacation! and i agree your work is amazing!!!

TexasSugar Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:47pm
post #11 of 38

Price the cake high, what you normally would. You should not have to price a cake, especially a detailed cake that takes a lot of work, at a low price just to make someone happy.

I'd write her back with something along the lines of a "wow, both of those are very detailed cakes, I can totally see why the hotel charges what they do for them."

You can either then quote your price, making it so worth your time, or you can tell her do the complexity of the design you just can not fit either of those cakes in your schedule.

She is clearly looking for a grand cake at a cheap price. Sorry honey, we don't always get what we want. If she can't afford or doesn't want to pay the price for a grand cake, then she needs to rethink, and compare what she wants to pay vs what she wants.

jewels710 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 1:54pm
post #12 of 38

I just would not do it.
You are preparing for & leaving for vacation and besides having the time to do the cake, think of the mess you will have to clean too! Plus the other cake...and PP are right, it does sound like she is on the hunt for a "bargain".

Save yourself the headache and tell her, sorry but you unavailable.

Serena4016 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:01pm
post #13 of 38

Just my opinion..... I've come to this piont in my life where living a less stressful life is more important than money. Don't get me wrong...I work full time and get paid quite well and need the money to survive in this world but I try not to put extra burdens on myself that will only stress me out!! Which is why I'm only a hobby baker/decorator, so I can not help you with pricing, but sometimes you just have to ask yourself..."is it worth it?" I guess if you feel you can get the cake done, get paid what you deserve and not be all stressed out trying to go on vacation, then go for it...otherwise I would say "NO"!!!

Bluehue Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:10pm
post #14 of 38

I looked at your site
Looked at your Pricing
Worked out what it would cost for either a BC or Fondant covered cake to feed 150 people.
Added the *rush order* pricing to that

If i can figure out the total ammount - heaven only knows why she can't.

Ohhh hang on a minute - i know why - Slap forhead -
She wants last minute ...............cheap. icon_mad.gif


Pffftttt - tell her she is dreaming. icon_rolleyes.gif



Then...
Pack your bags and enjoy your vacation. thumbs_up.gif


You know you don't need her order
Because you don't do beautiful embelished cakes..... cheap.


Bluehue. icon_smile.gif
ps - see you when you get back from vacation.
ENJOYYYYY

SugarFiend Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:21pm
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Price the cake high, what you normally would. You should not have to price a cake, especially a detailed cake that takes a lot of work, at a low price just to make someone happy.

I'd write her back with something along the lines of a "wow, both of those are very detailed cakes, I can totally see why the hotel charges what they do for them."

You can either then quote your price, making it so worth your time, or you can tell her do the complexity of the design you just can not fit either of those cakes in your schedule.

She is clearly looking for a grand cake at a cheap price. Sorry honey, we don't always get what we want. If she can't afford or doesn't want to pay the price for a grand cake, then she needs to rethink, and compare what she wants to pay vs what she wants.




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:25pm
post #16 of 38

Let's see .... gas prices are up, everything is costing more. Yet for some reason they think they should get the same price as LAST YEAR????? icon_confused.gif I'd be curious to see if son's cake was "simple" compared to this (what sounds like a) ornately detailed decorated cake?

("But Mr. Car Dealer! I bought a Chevy Cavalier last year for $5000. Why can't I get the Cadillac Escalade for the same price? Why did the price go up?"

"Ms. Car Buyer .... because , one, it's a year later and two, you're not buying the same car!")


I like TexasSugar's wording and agree with those who lean toward "turn it down and enjoy your vacation." thumbs_up.gif

airedalian Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:27pm
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Quote:

I will not pay $900 for a wedding cake. Which leaves me needing a cake at short notice.



This is the point where I ceased to care and my only thoughts were, "Not my problem" and "Too bad".

Since she was planning on $1/serving, I can't imagine she's thinking much more now. I say don't take on the stress before your vacation and don't even waste your time/energy going round with her on a quote, because clearly anything that you charge will be too much for her.

mmdiez10 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:37pm
post #18 of 38

Is she having the wedding at the hotel where her daughter works? Would they even allow outside cakes? In my opinion, if you are going to squeeze this in before your trip, it should be worth your while. Charge her your normal pricing plus the "last minute rush" fee. Your time is money. And get the full amount in cash before you measure a cup of flour. Otherwise you will feel miserable all during your vacation if she turns out to be a flake.

terrylee Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:44pm
post #19 of 38

I don't get it....why do people think just because it is last minute they can get things cheaper...???

I peeked at your cakes,,,they are amazing.. don't under estimate yourself.. If it won't put you under too much stress to do the cake , then quote her your normal prices plus a "rush fee". Extra cash for your vacation!

neelycharmed Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 2:51pm
post #20 of 38

I would turn it down and enjoy the start of your vacay!!!
Something similar happened to me last summer, and I took the cake... Money was fine, but missed out on a lot of family stuff- so this summer? I'm only doing a few wedding cakes. And everyone is a lot happier!
icon_smile.gif Jodi

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:06pm
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhbaker

I will not pay $900 for a wedding cake.




Well then. I guess she "will not" be getting the design she wants either. icon_wink.gif

I love how she just assumes that you can do it for cheaper than the hotel. You know what happens when we assume! icon_biggrin.gif

As everypne has said, it's really up to you whether you want to take on another cake for that weekend, but you had better charge her FULL price for what she wants and then some for it being a rush order, especially if you have to purchase special materials for her cake, i.e. lace molds.

I don't get the whole "I'm ordering last minute so it should be cheaper" attitude either. I guess they are thinking it's like buying a plane ticket last minute when they are just trying to fill up the seats or something. icon_rolleyes.gif

CWR41 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:12pm
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenng1482

Dear Bride,
Thank you for your interest in ABC cakes. I currently have one opening for your selected day. My creations begin at $3 per serving. Your first choice will be $360 + $xxx for design details + $xx rush order fee. Choice #2 will be $360 + $xxx for design details + $xx rush order fee. If you would like to place an order, I will need a signed contract and payment in full to secure your place on my calendar.




thumbs_up.gif

bakerliz Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:37pm
post #23 of 38

If you really want the business right now, price it at full price, then think about all the inconvenience you and your family will have and the stress this will add to your relaxing vacation and determine your rush fee (if it were me, it would be A LOT) Otherwise, your schedule is full and you regret that you cannot fulfill her order at this late notice. Maybe she should try Wal-Mart icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 6:56pm
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrylee

I don't get it....why do people think just because it is last minute they can get things cheaper...???



Under the "Same thing but different" category for $600, Alex ...... icon_biggrin.gif

I had a bride who asked, "So since I'm not having a lot of people, I get a discount, right?" and I had to explain that since she was having a small event that she would actually be paying more .... same amount of gas to get there, whether I have food for 50 or food for 300 in the back of the van; same amount to rent the tablecloths whether I have food for 50 or food for 300 sitting on top of them. Overhead, baby! Overhead! icon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 2:19am
post #25 of 38

I have to say that I think $900 for a cake for 150 people is kind of steep. Even at $6 a serving you don't need more than 120 servings for 150 people, so the $900 is slightly padded. HOWEVER, I wouldn't be inclined to give her anything cheaper than what you usually charge.

Wedding magazines have recently been telling brides to wait until closer to the wedding to book things, since the vendors will be more eager to take on jobs to book open spots that they otherwise wouldn't be earning money for. More genius advice written by people who have never sold a wedding service in their lives.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 2:49am
post #26 of 38

I don't think $900 for 150 is steep if the photos contained lace and fondant drapes and whatever else the OP mentioned....

The hotel sounded fair to me.

I would say, OP, unless you REALLY need the money...just forget it and enjoy getting ready for your vacation!!!! Whenever I'm in doubt...and I accept the order...I almost always regret it!!!!

I agree with the above poster who said maybe just tell the lady that for the designs she sent you, the hotel's price was very reasonable for the work involved.

Sounds like she has fancy plans on buttercream-and-a-ribbon-wrap budget.

Annabakescakes Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 3:44am
post #27 of 38

Tell her you can't do the ones she wants at the last minute like this, but show her some you can. Quote her your regular price, and be happy you have some extra money for your vacation. thumbs_up.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 4:01am
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Wedding magazines have recently been telling brides to wait until closer to the wedding to book things, since the vendors will be more eager to take on jobs to book open spots that they otherwise wouldn't be earning money for. More genius advice written by people who have never sold a wedding service in their lives.




REALLY? Where? icon_surprised.gif Lemme guess, it starts with a K and ends with an not?

johnson6ofus Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 5:05am
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhbaker

My daughter works for the (name withheld) Hotel and ordered my wedding cake with the assumption she could get the cake at a reasonable price. She was able to get a cake last year for my son which fed 225 people for $250 therefore assuming she would be able to get the same pricing for me.




Gee, I wonder if that $1/ serving pricing was from a baker hoping to get an "in" with that Hotel, or promises of future business? icon_confused.gif

"...assuming she would be able to get the same pricing for me." WHAT? $$$ is contracted and agreed to early on. What gave the bride the right to assume that last's year's "favor" would apply this year?

Note: in this bride's world, "A reasonable price" was $1/ serving. icon_eek.gif That was not an "insider deal" or "promo for her in house daughter", but was only a "reasonable" price???? So anything OVER $1/ serving is, by definition, unreasonable.

Any price over $1/ serving will not fly. Don't stress, don't waste your time, and have a wonderful vacation!

Evoir Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 5:40am
post #30 of 38

Holy cheap-ass client Batman! I can't buy a fricken donut for $1 each!

If it was me, I would send my shortest email saying "No" essentially. You don't need to educate her, you don't need to cajole or convince her. Just say NO. Then tidy your house, mop the floors, pack your bags and go on your vacay.

Her emergency is NOT your problem.

NB: My cake biz is secondary income for my family, so I can say this without hesitation. But there was a time too where I would feel guilted into making a cake on some stranger's behest. I've since worked out its not worth the family disruption and my exhaustion. Just my 2 cents.

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