I just got a message from a bride on facebook and she was asking me about my wedding cake prices. So I asked her if she had any pictures or ideas of cakes that she likes. She said, and I quote, "I havent really looked at cakes. I saw the white cake on ur page. How much is one like that but 3 tiers?" I have a lot of wedding cakes on my facebook page and most of them are white. When after a few more messages back and forth I finally figured out which one she was talking about and guess what...that one was three tiers anyways! So, after a few more messages back and forth (about how many people she needed it to serve) I priced it out and then she asked, "And how much does a groom's cake cost?" Oh some people make me so tired. You would think after 10 messages about a wedding cake she would understand that it's a little more complicated than "how much does a cake cost?" Lol..I just thought some of you would appreciate that!
But it doesn't matter how big it is - every cake only needs one packet of mix, and they cost about $1.50, don't they?
You can take control of the conversation. In the first email, ask the number of guests for both cakes. You can give her a starting rate for your cakes and an average rate, both per serving and total. Now you have established the price. Next she can let you know if that is within her budget. Yes or no, end of converstaion or the start of a plan.
Everyone can quote a ballpark up front.
Plus all bakers eventually get the client who calls you first. She will have many more questions than when she calls or emails the third baker. You have to be helpful enough that after she shops, and she will, she will remember your help and offer you the opportunity to bid on her cake after she gets closer to the plan of the cake she wants.
This industry is one of the few that still disguise the price and keep needed information out of the public eye. Until the industry changes, there will be a lack of knowledge.
I, personally, price out my cakes completely on my site. Serving#, cost per serving, size, and total price. It makes no sense to hide the information. I think the practice of vague pricing comes from many people in the industry with little marketing and PR knowledge. We all hate what I call the "price dance", similar to a used car deal. The car industry has completely gotten out of that habit that everyone dreaded, but the cake industry took it up.
So instead of complaining about it, make your site more user-friendly to laymen and be clear about pricing and the steps used to compute the price. OP, I'm not directing this at you, but the industry. I didn't even look to see if you had a site.