My first complaint... I feel sick to my stomach :(

Business By Piece_acake Updated 5 Apr 2012 , 3:07pm by khewston

momma28 Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 6:27pm
post #31 of 52

just a note in reference to my post. My father was an incredible artist and I can only hope one day to be 1/3 as good as he was. I was only making reference to my envy of how easy clay was to work with in comparison to edible materials.

gatorcake Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 7:24pm
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma28

I think anyone walking into a walmart and seeing the cakes you can get for the pricing offered would know that a carved cake car was worth more than $80 and that you (the client) would be "playing dumb" to say differently. I think if you read between the lines what this woman thought was that she had found a dirt cheap way to get impressive works of edible art. While I agree the design should have been set in writing (which is why I always have a contract), the expectation of getting a sculpted cake on short notice for $80 is unreasonable even if you are not a cake artist.




We have no idea what this client was thinking. There are few lines to read between. The claim that it is unreasonable for a client who does not know the business to assume they could get a sculpted cake for $80 dollars is bellied by the fact the professional in this case claimed they had no idea how to price sculpted cakes so picked $80 as a price point. This is not my interpretation, this is the statement in the original post.

The original post makes no claim about believing they were giving the client a deal--making that claim would require you to have some sense of how to value sculpted cakes. So we can buy that the professional thought their price was reasonable, but then expect the client whose experience in pricing should be dwarfed by the professional is likely to be aware that their expectation is unreasonable?

Even if it is unreasonable in principle, the price (which somehow everyone except the person responsible for setting the price knows is unreasonable) in practice was quoted as if it was a reasonable price for the product. The product was not discounted. That assumes there was a set price (a price set by the seller) and the seller decided to lower the price. You might now look back and say that it was unreasonable but that claim is being made in hindsight. At the point of sale the price was seen as reasonable given what was known by the seller.

It is irrelevant what someone else charges for a similar product. A carved cake is not discounted simply because someone would charge more. It is not discounted because you should have charged more. So whether the client "knows" or not is frankly irrelevant. If your pricing decisions place X value on the product and then give them less value for the same dollar amount in a subsequent transaction, then yea folks are going to be disappointed and are probably going to let you here about it. The original pricing decision plays an important factor in the review that was returned.

Frankly it is telling that none of the suggestions to the o.p. have included explaining to the client that the original price was set because the seller was unaware of how to price carved cakes. This is the reason for the original price and yet no one is suggesting to explain that to the client and instead creating a story about cost increases. I am not saying that there is not a good reason not to explain how the seller arrived at the original price. What they highlight is the role that decision played in the subsequent encounter and why you would not want to disclose that to a client. As I said before the lesson is not that clients are nuts or crazy.

momma28 Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 8:15pm
post #33 of 52

Yep....now I remember why I stopped posting on cc. Agree to disagree

Piece_acake Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 8:24pm
post #34 of 52

Again, thank you all for the invaluable advice... I will never make this mistake again!

Just a small comment: Gatorcake, you are correct on most points, it was a beginner's mistake.

If your pricing decisions place X value on the product and then give them less value for the same dollar amount in a subsequent transaction, then yea folks are going to be disappointed and are probably going to let you here about it.

I'm not sure that I would consider the Mario cake of less value. It took roughly as much time to make the round as it did to make the 3D Mcqueen. The round also fed more people. I think the problem was that she didn't specify 3D and I obviously didn't get enough information. I sent her a message quickly summarizing the order saying "it will feed 25 plus people, one tier, Mario Bros theme, Vanilla with Custard filling - $80"
She agreed to that, but I should have known that she may not know the difference between a one tier and a carved 3D cake.

SavandCatMom Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 8:59pm
post #35 of 52

It sounds like your customer is used to a certain level of service from you and she was disappointed at what she received. On one hand, this is a buyer beware situation where you stated what work you were going to do and she agreed to it so it's essentially on her to accept the cake as it is. However, she's relying on your work from the original cake you made and has it established it in her mind that the first cake you made for her is your signature work. For this reason, she's come back to you and will probably be your advocate for referring you to other customers. It's up to you to decide whether or not 3-D cakes is your "thing" or trademark design. If it is, then you should re-make the cake according to her specifications. If not, then just be honest with her and tell her why your product has changed compared to your first cake. The chances are, you will lose this customer if your answer is the latter but if it's not commercially viable for you to do 3-D cakes for $80 then it won't matter. Good luck!

ncsmorris Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 9:14pm
post #36 of 52

Hi Piece_acake! We have all been there - underpricing because of beginners mistake. That is until we find Cake Boss or CC icon_wink.gif
While I agree that the first cake wasn't given at a "discount" because OP didn't know what to charge, I have to say that I would not necessarily go back to a client and say "hey, that first cake was a steal because I didn't know how to price it!"....but, I may go back and say "I'm sorry for the miscommunication. The price you received previously was an introductory price. My prices have since gone up and I regret that I didn't effectively communicate that to you. For that, I am going to refund you xx% or xx$ off of your Mario cake." or something similar.

This has *nothing* to do with quality of the cake - the Mario cake was very well executed and very clean! This is only an admission of miscommunication and a token to show you care....

Others may disagree and I'm ok with that - this is just my 2 cents. It may or may not be worth a hill of beans icon_biggrin.gif

lorieleann Posted 3 Apr 2012 , 1:12am
post #37 of 52

FWIW, I don't think you have any obligation (business, moral or otherwise) to explain to the customer why your prices for a carved cake have changed--or to admit a rookie mistake. You sold the lightening cake at a lower price than you should have and you re-examined your pricing structure, or you want to charge more to fund a vacation to Hawaii...all the customer needs to know is that your prices have changed/increased. Sometimes when in uncomfortable situations I tend to over-explain or talk to much. It gets me in trouble every time. Sometimes "just the facts" is the best way to go. thumbs_up.gif

step0nmi Posted 3 Apr 2012 , 2:00am
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piece_acake

Again, thank you all for the invaluable advice... I will never make this mistake again!

Just a small comment: Gatorcake, you are correct on most points, it was a beginner's mistake.

If your pricing decisions place X value on the product and then give them less value for the same dollar amount in a subsequent transaction, then yea folks are going to be disappointed and are probably going to let you here about it.

I'm not sure that I would consider the Mario cake of less value. It took roughly as much time to make the round as it did to make the 3D Mcqueen. The round also fed more people. I think the problem was that she didn't specify 3D and I obviously didn't get enough information. I sent her a message quickly summarizing the order saying "it will feed 25 plus people, one tier, Mario Bros theme, Vanilla with Custard filling - $80"
She agreed to that, but I should have known that she may not know the difference between a one tier and a carved 3D cake.




if you stated this is what the cake was going to be then this is the customer's fault. it's the lack of reading that has drove me insane with customers and not selling anymore. you did the right thing...I sure hope you didn't offer a discount on a future cake because your cake was at a higher standard than $80 in my opinion! icon_wink.gif

costumeczar Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 1:23am
post #39 of 52

If you sent the email that said "one tier" with the rest of that description, she just wasn't paying attention or didn't understand. I would just apologize for the miscommunication and tell her that although you did detail it for her this time, in the future you will make sure to detail exactly what she wanted as fas as shape went and clarify it with her. No offer of a refund, no apology for raising your prices. You described what she was going to get and that's what she got, and I will say that it was still underpriced for what she got! I would have charged about $150 for that cake if it was a 10" round.

Anyway, just make sure to have a detailed contract with her in the future, and don't take any rush orders because that's when people start to not listen. She'll protest that your prices are higher, and that's when you just tell her that your pricing had to change when you saw how much time went into a carved cake. Don't even bring it up unless she raises the question in the future.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 2:13am
post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SavandCatMom

... It's up to you to decide whether or not 3-D cakes is your "thing" or trademark design. If it is, then you should re-make the cake according to her specifications. If not, then just be honest with her and tell her why your product has changed compared to your first cake. The chances are, you will lose this customer if your answer is the latter but if it's not commercially viable for you to do 3-D cakes for $80 then it won't matter. Good luck!




WTH?

This makes no sense at all. Lots of cakers make both tiered and carved cakes (myself included). It doesn't have to be one or the other. The truth is that there was fault on both sides. The client never stated she wanted a carved cake, and just because she got one once before doesn not mean that she should get a carved cake everytime she orders a cake. The OP wrote it out for the client and the client probably didn't read it and assumed the OP knew what she meant. Lesson learned, both the OP and the client should have been more specific.

Oh and that was a great cake... at 10" I would have charged $220.00 for it.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 3:34am
post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmissbakesalot

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavandCatMom

... It's up to you to decide whether or not 3-D cakes is your "thing" or trademark design. If it is, then you should re-make the cake according to her specifications. If not, then just be honest with her and tell her why your product has changed compared to your first cake. The chances are, you will lose this customer if your answer is the latter but if it's not commercially viable for you to do 3-D cakes for $80 then it won't matter. Good luck!



WTH?

This makes no sense at all. Lots of cakers make both tiered and carved cakes (myself included). It doesn't have to be one or the other.




Yeah, I gotta say, I was thoroughly confused by this post as well. icon_confused.gif

DeeDelightful Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 4:52am
post #42 of 52

It's an excellent cake! Beautiful kitchen. She wasn't specific about what she wanted and there is nothing wrong with that cake. I wouldn't refund a penny, nor would I feel badly about it.
I would respond by saying, "This is the cake I envisioned based on our conversation. In the future I will require specific details to be written out. I am sorry you are not happy with the design, but unfortunately we did not discuss a particular design. Thank you."

MarizeteNogueira Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 5:52am
post #43 of 52

Is she crazy?? Does she know how much time consuming it is to bake and decorate a cake? Your cake was beautiful..
I don't sell cakes, I bake just for fun, for friends and family, and for that cake she would have to pay me no less than a hundred, my friends really love my cakes, and they are always bragging about it, and one of the reasons I don't sell it's because people don't realize how much work it takes to make a beautiful cake, every time they ask me for a cake I make them come over to help with the decorations, they all know now that you don't make a flower out of fondant in 5 minutes..lol...
Tell her to call Buddy from cake boss next time...then she'll know what expensive is..

ncsmorris Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 12:26pm
post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDelightful

It's an excellent cake! Beautiful kitchen. She wasn't specific about what she wanted and there is nothing wrong with that cake. I wouldn't refund a penny, nor would I feel badly about it.
I would respond by saying, "This is the cake I envisioned based on our conversation. In the future I will require specific details to be written out. I am sorry you are not happy with the design, but unfortunately we did not discuss a particular design. Thank you."




This actually changed my opinion. I would use this icon_biggrin.gif

step0nmi Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 2:19pm
post #45 of 52

*waits with popcorn* to find out what happened icon_biggrin.gif

Tails Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 2:25pm
post #46 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmissbakesalot

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavandCatMom

... It's up to you to decide whether or not 3-D cakes is your "thing" or trademark design. If it is, then you should re-make the cake according to her specifications. If not, then just be honest with her and tell her why your product has changed compared to your first cake. The chances are, you will lose this customer if your answer is the latter but if it's not commercially viable for you to do 3-D cakes for $80 then it won't matter. Good luck!



WTH?

This makes no sense at all. Lots of cakers make both tiered and carved cakes (myself included). It doesn't have to be one or the other.



Yeah, I gotta say, I was thoroughly confused by this post as well. icon_confused.gif




Perhaps they meant that if 3D cakes were her "thing" then no one need specify they want 3D since that would be the default cake people would come to her for. If not her "thing" then they would need to specify a special order for a 3D cake.

I dunno, I was confused too, but this was all I could come up with?

cfao Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 3:25pm
post #47 of 52

You gave her exactly what was outlined in your message to her - period. It was a last minute cake and she ended up with a beautiful cake for her party. No explanations needed to justify your prices, if she in the future would like another 3D cake, the price will be $xyz. Beginner pricing mistake or not, prices in general go up all the time, we are all paying more for our ingredients, utilities, gas for our car...and I haven't seen the grocery store or the gas station post an explanation of why today's price is higher than the last time we purchased their products.

momma28 Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 3:35pm
post #48 of 52

cfao - I haven't seen the grocery store or the gas station post an explanation of why today's price is higher than the last time we purchased their products.

Well said and I totally agree

QTCakes1 Posted 5 Apr 2012 , 12:44am
post #49 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma28

cfao - I haven't seen the grocery store or the gas station post an explanation of why today's price is higher than the last time we purchased their products.

Well said and I totally agree




I know that is right! Prices go up all the time. I am meeting with a bride Friday, who I gave a general quote for an 80 serving cake a couple of weeks ago. Guess what? I have had a price increase since then, cause a product I use cost more. What can I do about that?

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 5 Apr 2012 , 1:44am
post #50 of 52

Heck, based on gas prices alone we should raise our prices every week! icon_wink.gif

JaniceBest Posted 5 Apr 2012 , 12:30pm
post #51 of 52

Customers need to be told what and why. Sorry this happened but it's part of the business.

khewston Posted 5 Apr 2012 , 3:07pm
post #52 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma28

Yep....now I remember why I stopped posting on cc. Agree to disagree




I can totally agree with that! thumbs_up.gif

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