I am soooo tired of giving people ball park figures, sketching designs and working on an idea for a few days, then calling them to let them know the real price only to get turned down. Arhhh...it's really annoying me! I feel like saying, "My cakes start at 75", so then they will know all my work, sweat and making a nice cake is not cheap! I like to do alot of detail, I don't just throw one together. Does anyone here do that?...tell people this is what they START at? I think to many people think I am going to make a 3 dimensional cake for 50 bucks...NOT!
Sorry had to vent. lol
I'm not in business, but I've read a lot of other people expressing the same frustration. I think telling them a starting price is a great idea to weed out the "wine on a beer budget" people. I say go for it! I don't sell my cakes, but I still know how much work goes into figuring out a design and how much the cake costs. Time is money, so save some of both by informing your customers before you go through all that!
I am with you! I get this all the time. These people see the TV shows and have no comprehension on what a cake costs. They think we can trow them together in a half a hour.
I love when they call ask for a extreme design and then say I only need it to feed 10 people.???? Then say I don't want a lot of cake.We are not big cake eaters.???
As soon as they say I want a 3-D Design. I say its going to cost more do to labor and supplies involved in design. Let them know its not cheap or simple.
Lots of decorators have a minimum $ amout. You could say you have to charge so much to make up for all the people that waste your time getting quotes on custom cakes when they are oblivious to the time and talent required to make such cakes.
I know it's frustrating.
In my world there is this 3 tier wedding cake price. I don't like it at all but people are used to it. Cakers have catalogues and brides choose a cake from there. I prefer coming up with a different design for every bride according to each bride's desires. I have a minimum but now that people are used to the 3 tier pricing system, they don't come back. Talk of 3d cakes! I am one of very few people who sculpt cakes. Most people just do what they can get from shaped pans. Funny how customers expect cake prices to be only about how big a cake is! One bride was surprised when I said total price was going to be determined by decorations desired.
Im in a bit of a dilema myself as I want to break thru to wedding cakes without having to do cakes that have been done zillion times. So frustrating.
Well I don't own my own business, this is just family, friends, and their friends..friends...lol, if you know what I mean. I mean some of these people I don't know at all, they have just seen my cakes or someone I know have told them. But still! It takes alot of time, and I am dedicated to making good cakes. I tell people at least a two week notice. I like to make my MMF and gumpaste at least 4 or 5 days ahead of time, to let it rest. That's not including making all the little gumpaste decorations a few days ahead...baking cakes all day, going to the store, buying cake boards,making sketches, etc. WHEW! I think you are right when you say some people think you can throw a cake together in 30 minutes! They want a great cake that is personalized at walmart or sams club price. Well sorry to bust your bubble, but I am not walmart, my prices don't drop. lol. Sometimes I feel like saying, ok then, make it yourself..LOL..then come tell me if it's worth it or not. haha.
Wow! I won't do ANY work on a cake until I have a deposit and in most cases, that includes a sketch!
I can look at the photos and give them a price (based on the information provided) and then if they pay a deposit and still need a sketch, we can work with that. But otherwise, if they want sketch and have NOT placed a deposit, I charge for it. Most people are like "oh, that's okay, I don't really need it". They just want it cause they think they are supposed to have it based on what they see on TV.
I think I've done a TOTAL of 10 sketches in the past 3 years.
I always give a starting price, and then let them know it could go up from there depending on the amount of work needed. I do sketches all the time, but only with customers that I get a serious feeling from and that I have emailed or spoken with more than once. I have had only one sketch skip out.
It has helped that my price per serving covers decorations that I can take care of in a certain amount of time. So unless they ask for something outrageous, the starting price is pretty close to the final price.
I don't sketch, but I do discuss back and forth. Living in a country, where everything is supposed to be cheap, does not help, because all of the ingredients I use are imported and they have hefty taxes on them. Ch*inese do not bake cakes, most of them have no ovens and my customers are mostly foreign who do use butter (to put on bread, gripe about the price) and are STILL shocked, when they hear the price of my cakes, yeah DOH!!, I also need to use imported butter, sugar (local ones are too soft and wet or too coarse) and fondant, colours all imported. I seriously had one, who thought she was clever, sent me the price of butter (250 gr), a bit of flour, price of local sugar and asked me, why I was so expensive. I needed tripple amount of the ingredients (3 tiered cake) and she did not think of frosting, fondant, eggs etc. The rest of the cost was for 1 weeks labour and I am not a local and I refuse to earn less than what I pay my housekeeper on an hourly basis
We all know the ballpark price of a cake as they are describing it. Instead if a minimum, why not just say that the cake will be in the $300 to $400 range, etc? If you don't give them a budget idea, they really aren't wasting your time. For example, if your fondant are usually $5.00/serving and the guest list is 200, the cake is around $1000. From here, you both can decide if there is a reason to persue the order.
Every experienced business person does this. They are just waiting for your ball park because you didn't provide it immediately. Others did. I would be working myself to death with busy work if I didn't field inquiries. I don't even make an appointment until the budget is in line with what I know the order will be.
I am thinking of trying this price range system. Will adjust my price guide accordingly. Thank you.
You will save yourself a lot of time and aggravation if you take control of the conversation from the start.
The first words out of your mouth need to be "What is your budget?' followed by "How many servings do you need?"
Then you can give them a ball park price immediately: "Our cakes start at $3.50 per serving so a cake for 50 people will be at least $175 depending on how much decorating is involved. Our 3D cakes start at $200 and go up from there."
You and the client figure out real quick whether they can even afford you or you don't waste your time doing work for an order you're not going to get. Also, I never give out a sketch until I get a deposit.
I always give my starting price in my first email to weed out those with a low budget. I also would never sketch a cake unless I'm pretty sure they are interested and then I do so quickly. You must limit the time you invest in inquiries.
When I get a call or email I always give them the "starting at price". So they know at that point whether it is in their budget. I also have a basic price list on my website.
I only schedule meetings/tastings for weddings or anniversary cakes. Birthday cake meetings/consultations/tastings are completely out of the question.
Maybe you could get some ideas of what they are wanting by phone or email, sketch up a few ideas and email it to them with prices. It would cut down on long, awkward meetings.