Business By aundron Updated 18 Jul 2011 , 12:57am by tracycakes

aundron Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 8:51pm
post #1 of 17

So, tired and frustrated with "cake muggles" especially the ones who try to "haggle" with me!! This particular order, they are well to do, she's being cheap, but her hubby says YES to the price!!

Okay, had a person call me about a cake for a birthday party. They wanted a cake shape like a 3D "SINGER SEWING MACHINE"(like the ones on CC, standing up, etc) to feed 50 people. I quoted her 6.00 per serving, which would make the cake 300.00. Here's how the convo went, mind you, the person called me 5 DAYS before the actual cake is due:

me: Hey, how are you

them: Just wanted to see if I could still get the cake for this weekend. i just can't get over a cake costing 6.00 a slice, just never heard of a cake costing that much.

Me: Well, you aren't getting a typical cake, you're getting a cake shaped like a sewing machine and you want to feed 50 people.

them: well, we are gonna have another birthday cake there, just can't see spending 6.00 per slice

me: well, you can call around and get price quotes from other bakeries if you liked and call me back. (in my mind, I have already refused the cake order)

them: and it's really 6.00 per slice. well, can I call you back?

me: sure, but, please know, because you waited so long to call me, others have booked with me, so, I can't do the cake you want but I can do something else.

them: okay, well, I will call you back tonight.

ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! Did I quote too much? (really don't think I did)

16 replies
jason_kraft Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:01pm
post #2 of 17
Originally Posted by aundron

Did I quote too much? (really don't think I did)

How much would that cake cost you to make, including ingredients, labor, and overhead?

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:03pm
post #3 of 17

Hell no. But please let us know if she calls you back.

aundron Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:09pm
post #4 of 17
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Originally Posted by aundron

Did I quote too much? (really don't think I did)

How much would that cake cost you to make, including ingredients, labor, and overhead?

When you say that, heck, I undercharged her!! icon_cry.gif (so glad I'm not doing this cake)

@QT, I will let you guys know if she calls back

JoanieB Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:11pm
post #5 of 17

They're trying to get you to come down on the price. Thing is, if you do it just to get the order you are going to break your back and just end up resenting the whole job and client. That sounds like a complicated order so I don't think you quoted too much.

I started reading this book called "Book Yourself Solid" by Michael Port. He talks about creating a "red velvet rope policy", basically he talks about weeding out clients that are not right for you that are a drain on you etc. These types of clients would eventually cause some issues and stress for you so it's good to not take them on or to just cut them loose. He tries to teach the small business owner to attract ideal clients.

Anyway, I had a woman contacting me about a groom's cake. She wanted it to feed 150 people, hollywood star walk of fame theme etc. I was thinking "score" She said she had been to my website and saw my prices. I worked up some designs, etc and came up with a quote. Then the cake size keeps getting smaller. She tells me that he husband said, "that's too much money for a cake" and I was only charging $2.00 a serving. She kept me hanging promising she'd get back with me with "more info to come!"

That was the point I realized I need to take the book's advice and cut her loose. I sent a very polite email explaining that I think my idea for the cake and her idea of the cake were too different and that I didn't think I was the right fit for her. I was bummed because this would have been a great project for me but I knew that if I tried to deal with her any further it was going to go down hill very quickly and probably not produce a booking in the end.

Sorry if this was long winded but the point is, you win some you lose some. Telling me my cake cost too much at $2.00 a serving was an insult to me and she obviously wouldn't have appreciated the hard work put in to it. I want to attract clients that want to be creative with me and understand the value of what they are ordering and will be thrilled to work with me.

asiancakes10 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:18pm
post #6 of 17

The question of cost is always an issue, of course the customer would like it for next to nothing no matter how much work goes into a cake. But we have to not only make the customer happy but ourselves, you are right to stick to your guns if that's the price for a quality cake of their own design. Any bespoke item is expensive and many customers know this, they just want to try to get the price down.

If this reply rambles i'm sorry but what was the outcome?

aundron Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:23pm
post #7 of 17

She's supposed to call me back tonight, but, no matter what, I will not be doing it. I have other cakes to do for people who have paid deposits.

What's said is, these people have their own business, I'm sure she would hate if her customers tried to haggle her.

asiancakes10 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:30pm
post #8 of 17

good for you and JoanieB's reply is great advice

southerncross Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:47pm
post #9 of 17

Aundron, judging from the cake photos you've posted, your work is implacable and I'm sure your attention to detain would have resulted in a fantastic sewing machine cake. Your quote is spot on considering the skill and time involved. I know how it feels to lose an opportunity to really do a challenging cake but you are better off serving the clients who really deserve your work.

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:04pm
post #10 of 17

Love, love, love your work and I'ld like to see her get the same quality for a better price. Don't let her lo ball you. And just some FYI, I like to have flat rates for 3D, cause you lose cake when you carve it down, so you kind of lose money with the per serving price on 3D's. Just MHO.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 2:14am
post #11 of 17

NO, $300 is not too much for a 3D sewing machine cake! We charged about $330 for the Alf cake in my photos, and the customer didn't even bat an eye at that price! With all of the detail work you would have to do on a sewing machine, you probably should have quoted closer to $400!

Good for you for sticking with your quote and not letting her try to talk you into lowering the price!

howsweet Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 9:13pm
post #12 of 17

I can't imagine charging less than $10 per serving or more if the cake is all in the sewing machine.

UpAt2am Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 9:40pm
post #13 of 17

yep, i'm more in the 'you way undercharged camp!' i'm glad you're not taking the order. it does amaze me when people want an elaborate cake for next to nothing. i think of it this way. if the cake is $300, and your costs are 40-50%, then right away, you're making $150. if the cake takes you 20 hours total (from shopping for ingredients all the way through the delivery of the cake), then you've only made $7.50 an hour icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

for a freakin' 3D awesome sewing machine cake!

remember your worth when quoting prices. and remember what you want to make in profit when it comes to your time.

ChilliPepper Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 9:47pm
post #14 of 17

Some customers are not worth the stress and this sounds like one of those.

My hairdresser recommended me to the girl who does her nails and this woman wanted a Butterfly Castle for which I charge £60. First she was sending me a cheque which didn't arrive. My hairdresser emailed me tonight and said that following my call to advise I had not received the cheque that the woman had sent the deposit in cash through the mail which I had also not received. My hairdresser told me that the woman had said she thought I would think she was cheeky if she called me to see if I had received it so she had booked a cake elsewhere!

WHAT A CROCK! I know she never sent the cheque or the cash (£30) and she just hadn't had the guts to tell me she didn't want to pay that much for a cake!!!!!! Would you send £30 through the post and then not check to see if it had been received - I think not!

I laughed my head off at the convuluted story as I didn't want to do another castle cake - I hate the blasted things!!!!

CP x

Adevag Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 10:04pm
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by aundron

them: well, we are gonna have another birthday cake there, just can't see spending 6.00 per slice

I think a 3D cake should at least be $6/slice, but you should also have a starting price for those cakes. Because no matter how small the cake is, you still need as many details to make a sewing machine. I know you will not make this cake either way, but for future calls: If the customer decides to get a sheet cake somewhere else and order a 3D cake from you for only 10 servings, you would lose money spending so much time and only charging $60.

aundron Posted 15 Jul 2011 , 1:35pm
post #16 of 17

Well, the lady never called back (which I knew she wouldn't) and I'm fine with that!! icon_smile.gif

I think this was the week of frustrating customers. I also had a lady call me about a 3-tiered cake, with all kinds of details, and she needed it by TODAY!! Mind you, I was contacted about the cake 2 weeks ago, but was never called back. They were supposed to pay the deposit last week, but, claimed they forgot (got the "forgot to pay deposit call this past Wednesday)!! Although she was a repeat customer, I had to turn her down!!

tracycakes Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 12:57am
post #17 of 17

I get these all of the time. People watch cake shows and think it's done in an hour.

This is my most recent phone call with a crazy customer:

Customer: Can you make a 3D "character"? (I can't remember which one exactly, maybe Dora)

Me: We can make 3D characters but Dora is copyrighted so I can't create Dora. We can create a little girl but not specifically Dora.

Customer: Well, I don't get it. I've called 4 other bakeries and 3 will do it but don't have time and 1 other said they won't due to copyright laws.

Me: It IS against copyright laws and we don't break laws.

Customer: What would a 3D girl cost?

Me: They start at $5 per serving with 30 servings. Final price depends on complexity ande size.

Customer: How much?!

Me: $150 for 30 servings.
Customer: Well that's just crazy !
Then she hung up on me. I just laugh at these people. She probably wanted it for Friday and she called on Wednesday, but we never went that far in the conversation.

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