Do You Offer Gift Certificates On Custom Work?

Business By Dreme Updated 14 Sep 2011 , 11:41am by costumeczar

Dreme Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 3:42pm
post #1 of 10

Just curious as to if anyone else offer certificates.

I'm a small home based business that does custom work. This month must be lower your price in some way month. Lately I have been asked about donating gift certificates to different events. I also have been asked about groupon and things like that. I may be looking at this wrong, but if I had a storefront with everyday regular occurring items, I would be more willing to offer certificates or do some type of special maybe for seasonal items or something. (No groupon through....I shut that down when they called. So not cool with offering any type of discount on wedding cakes, which they suggested). I just feel like custom work is not something gift certificate are used for. It got me wondering do the big timers offer certificates? Does Ron or Sylvia do that? Does someone who does all the design work for weddings have certificates? I don't picture Preston doing that. Something is just odd about it. I know I cant touch the work that they do. I'm no where near there yet and don't mean to sound snobbish, but I don't know, i'm not sure if I want to offer them for custom work.

9 replies
jason_kraft Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 3:53pm
post #2 of 10

I don't see it as a big deal, as long as you have terms and conditions on the GC that indicate redeeming it is subject to your availability. We've donated GCs before to charitable events when providing free product was not feasible.

BizCoCos Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 4:07pm
post #3 of 10

Hello, for a small home based business, I would not do this on a regular basis, perhaps in order to drum up business you might try it once to see how it goes for a limited time

KoryAK Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 4:50pm
post #4 of 10

We do offer certificates. We have an open shop, but there is usually no limit to what they could buy with it, so yeah they may order custom work. Stick to a dollar amount that you are comfortable with and only donate them in the quantity and to the organizations that you would like. No one will think less of your business (as in oh that's a discount place) for donating to charitable events.

BizCoCos Posted 13 Sep 2011 , 11:26pm
post #5 of 10

I reread thread, yes, I would donate a GC for a charitable event, in an amount that is doable for you with a set time limit.

QTCakes1 Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 12:16am
post #6 of 10

I wouldn't. What you may interpet as a $100 worth of work, they may not. Too much possible miscommunication for me and headache. To avoid all that it would have to be "this" cake with "this flavor" and "this" size. And I hardly hear people getting a lot of customers from donations. In fact, in all the years on C.C., I've only heard of one person getting sales from donations. And no to coupons. And can you really see the big timers giving out coupons? Donate, sure, more then likely, but coupons, no. And no, that doe snot make you or me a snob.

BlakesCakes Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 12:31am
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I don't see it as a big deal, as long as you have terms and conditions on the GC that indicate redeeming it is subject to your availability. We've donated GCs before to charitable events when providing free product was not feasible.

This is how I handle my GCs, too. All of my work is "custom".

I specify a number of servings, a minimum 2 week lead time contingent on my availability, delivery info, and clarification of my policy on "special needs" cakes (i.e. food allergies and sensitivities).

If someone wants a carved/very elaborate cake, then I use the serving number to define the size cake that I START with (not the size I end up with after carving) and/or count fondant figures, gum paste flowers, etc. AGAINST the servings (so a 20 serving cake w/ 5 gum paste people on it equals 40 servings). I explain this fully when discussing what type/style of cake they want.

It works well for me.

Only problem I've ever had was someone who completely ignored the food allergies section and tried to force me to provide a nut-free cake--something I simply cannot do. I resolved it by telling them to create a waiver and if my attorney approved it, I'd do it. Guy was a lawyer and realized that if there was problem and he'd created the waiver, HE'D be the one on the hook in court. Never heard from him again.........


costumeczar Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 1:09am
post #8 of 10

I do occasionally, but not often.

Remember that when you're a business of any type you're going to get hit up by people asking for donations all the time. Just tell people that you've exhausted your donation budget for the year, and just give things to groups that you'd be donating to anyway. Groupon is definitely not something that you want to get involved in unless you have a high-volume situation!

cakecoachonline Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 9:48am
post #9 of 10

Is a USA version of a coupon the same as a UK version of a loyalty scheme? Having a little card printed with say ten little squares on it and your logo on the front for people to keep - and signing off a square each time someone bought to a certain level (only talking individually designed large cakes - not cup cakes) and then offering them a slight discount on completion of the ten squares on the little card - is this classed as a coupon? I would say that encouraging people to return to your service time and time again could only be seen as a good thing - not a negative bargain basement idea? What do you all think? If I was making a coupon (a discount for one purchase) I would ensure that it had a deadline to be used by on it - by the way.

costumeczar Posted 14 Sep 2011 , 11:41am
post #10 of 10

They have customer loyalty cards here too...Usually that's somehting that a shop where people would be making a lot of repeat purchases use, though, rather than a custom cake shop. Maybe a coffee shop where people go every morning, that kind of thing. I've seen some bakers offer that, too, that if you buy X number of cakes, or refer x number of new clients to you, they get a discount or a free cake or whatever.

Personally, I'd think that a gift certificate would make a better impression than a percentage-off coupon. Coupons have a "get it cheap" connotation, whereas a gift certificate just replaces part of the payment, know what I mean? If people gave you gifts, and one was a gift certificate for $10, and one was a coupon for $10, the gift certificate still seems fancier. It's totally semantics, but unless you want to have your business associated with bargains, don't use the word "coupon."

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