Cottage Food Law questions and concerns.

Business By cakelady2266 Updated 29 Apr 2012 , 7:39pm by cakelady2266

jason_kraft Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 8:16pm
post #91 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

If you say something like this to a customer " the cake pictured will serve 30 people and will cost $75 but if you add something it will be __, or it will be __less if you take off the whatever. And if you want that to be a non basic flavor that will be __ and if you want a non basic icing that will be ___. But if you want a basic flavor with a non basic icing it will be __." Hell by this time, my eyes have glazed over.



You can do something like this:

30 servings, $75 ($2.50/serving) <picture of basic cake>
30 servings: $150 ($5/serving) <picture of more elaborate cake>
30 servings, $300 ($10/serving) <picture of very elaborate cake>

You don't need to outline every single specific detail, general examples are enough for your first contact with the customer.

costumeczar Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 8:18pm
post #92 of 116

Jason, I think that you assume that people are logical and follow intsructions, when in reality everyone is too important to follow rules that are there obviously for other people but not for them. I only get about 5% of my inquiries from the contact form on my website, while the rest are either phoners or they use the email address on the other pages. Regardless of where they come from, they have the same questions. I could leave the contact page completely blank and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference, they'd still have the same questions. I could write a step by step form to fill out and they'd still have the same questions. As long as people aren't robots they're going to do whatever they want regardless of how stylish and well-designed using the most scientific web design methods the instructions are.

jason_kraft Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 9:54pm
post #93 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Jason, I think that you assume that people are logical and follow intsructions, when in reality everyone is too important to follow rules that are there obviously for other people but not for them. I only get about 5% of my inquiries from the contact form on my website, while the rest are either phoners or they use the email address on the other pages. Regardless of where they come from, they have the same questions. I could leave the contact page completely blank and it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference, they'd still have the same questions. I could write a step by step form to fill out and they'd still have the same questions. As long as people aren't robots they're going to do whatever they want regardless of how stylish and well-designed using the most scientific web design methods the instructions are.



You have a lot more control than you think. During our first year most of our inquiries were by phone, and I spent a lot of time talking with potential customers about their orders.

So I decided to stop answering the phone.

I redirected all incoming calls on our Google Voice number to voice mail, and removed our email address entirely from the site. The voice mail message had the same instructions as the contact form, so the only two ways of placing an order gave potential customers the information they needed. After we made this change, the vast majority of customer contact was by email, and I spent much less time holding customers' hands.

QTCakes1 Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 10:19pm
post #94 of 116

The only thing I can say about this is how many custom cakes and wedding cakes do you do versus your predone cakes? I can't see doing someone's wedding cake or 30th birthday cake just through e-mail. I think you fail to realize that some of us are strictly custom and do not have a standard cake that people can just order on line. It is one thing to say "I want your 8" cake with pink roses that says Happy Birthday whoever" in an e-mail as opposed to "My 30th birthday is coming and I want a Diva theme". We all have a different thought on what Diva means.

jason_kraft Posted 23 Apr 2012 , 10:41pm
post #95 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

The only thing I can say about this is how many custom cakes and wedding cakes do you do versus your predone cakes? I can't see doing someone's wedding cake or 30th birthday cake just through e-mail. I think you fail to realize that some of us are strictly custom and do not have a standard cake that people can just order on line. It is one thing to say "I want your 8" cake with pink roses that says Happy Birthday whoever" in an e-mail as opposed to "My 30th birthday is coming and I want a Diva theme". We all have a different thought on what Diva means.



For us at least email conversations have worked better than in-person or phone consults (even for our more elaborate cakes, which were about 10% of our business), because the customer can send pictures and we have time to process, create mockups if necessary, and send thoughtful replies. Plus everything is in writing, and if you use an email tool with conversation threading (like Gmail) it is quite scalable.

There have been some customers that have preferred talking things out on the phone, but most are just fine with email. Being located in Silicon Valley may have something to do with this, or it may just be a generational thing. I'm not saying everything has to be done exclusively over email, just that we find email is preferable for the initial contact, especially if you getting a high volume of inquiries.

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 12:11am
post #96 of 116

Although its tempting to just stop answering the phone, it's a really bad idea for a custom wedding cake business. If I don't return phone calls within a day brides get mad. Not answering the phone at all would be less than excellent.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 12:24am
post #97 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Although its tempting to just stop answering the phone, it's a really bad idea for a custom wedding cake business. If I don't return phone calls within a day brides get mad. Not answering the phone at all would be less than excellent.



We would always get back to customers who left messages right away (during business hours at least), either by email or by phone. Google Voice automatically sends you email when you have a new message, and it even transcribes it for you.

kelleym Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 12:33am
post #98 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Although its tempting to just stop answering the phone, it's a really bad idea for a custom wedding cake business. If I don't return phone calls within a day brides get mad. Not answering the phone at all would be less than excellent.


We would always get back to customers who left messages right away (during business hours at least), either by email or by phone. Google Voice automatically sends you email when you have a new message, and it even transcribes it for you.




Yes, here's an actual transcript of one of my Google Voice calls:

Hi, My name is Arun and I'm looking for bills, the cake from a bill the reselling sorry you're having a party on Sunday and we have a little monkey seem. Can you please give me a call back and let me know if that's something that you can sit in your skill. My number is 936. False False 6361. Thank you.

icon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 12:51am
post #99 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Although its tempting to just stop answering the phone, it's a really bad idea for a custom wedding cake business. If I don't return phone calls within a day brides get mad. Not answering the phone at all would be less than excellent.


We would always get back to customers who left messages right away (during business hours at least), either by email or by phone. Google Voice automatically sends you email when you have a new message, and it even transcribes it for you.




Yeah, I don't use google voice, which is a pity seeing that excellent translation they provided! I have a newfangled dee-vice called an answering machine that I use.

kelleym Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 12:59am
post #100 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Although its tempting to just stop answering the phone, it's a really bad idea for a custom wedding cake business. If I don't return phone calls within a day brides get mad. Not answering the phone at all would be less than excellent.


We would always get back to customers who left messages right away (during business hours at least), either by email or by phone. Google Voice automatically sends you email when you have a new message, and it even transcribes it for you.



Yeah, I don't use google voice, which is a pity seeing that excellent translation they provided! I have a newfangled dee-vice called an answering machine that I use.



Don't get me wrong, Google Voice has some good features. I like the ability to essentially create a business phone number for free. But its translation feature is not what I'd call its strongest selling point.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 1:38am
post #101 of 116

The GV transcription feature can be hit or miss, but we got the gist of the message roughly a third of the time (unless the caller had an accent, then forget about it). Luckily it's super-easy to play the message, a play button is embedded if you use Gmail.

The big draw for us was a separate business number, since I ran the business side of the bakery out of our home. We first tried using our home number with multiple mailboxes on our answering machine, but people would call late at night asking if we were still open (we don't have a storefront). When we got a GV number I set calls to go right to voice mail after 5pm (this was before I switched it to permanent voice mail).

The other great feature is that you can easily access your messages from anywhere, so when I was out of town on business or visiting family I could still follow up with customers. You can also set GV to ring multiple numbers and have different contacts or groups of contacts handled in different ways.

When we sold our business last year it took 5 minutes to transfer the GV number to the new owner and set it up to ring her phone.

cakelady2266 Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 2:09am
post #102 of 116

Custom cakes really means custom. QTCakes1 is completely on the money. There is no #8 and change the colors, in my world. A seemingly simply cake turns into something else when they want this cakes border, that cakes shape combination, this other cakes dots, another cakes stripes with the fondant animals to match the invitations.

Now in theory picture examples with prices would be fine except most folks brains don't work that way. Their brains seem to overload easily. They don't know pan sizes and how many servings the industry standard say that size should feed. Why can't they have a 4 tier cake to serve 10 for $25? They can have a 4 tier cake to serve 10, but it will be priced by the number of servings it actually feeds which is 140.

My website is a template from Bludomain. And I don't find it hard to navigate. But I try to use what little of my brain that does work. The problem with customers understanding pricing, sizes and what not isn't just because they can't navigate my website.

I don't mean to place blame on anybody but this has only been an PITA issue for me since Ace of Cakes and Buddy the Cake Boss came on T.V. There are cakes with everything but the kitchen sink on them and not an actual price for those cakes to be seen anywhere. The customers that come to us for similar cakes don't know that those cakes cost thousands of dollars, but they want them replicated for Wal-Mart prices. Plus there seems to be a whole new group of folks that want what they want and want it given to them because they want it, they have people to impress.

Brides seem to do some research and have an rough idea of what a wedding cake would cost. Bigger cake, more ingredients and for the most part not a ton of extravagant designs and colors. Weddings are my target market and I don't plan on giving that up.

I've paid my dues more than once and I don't plan on taking a step backward with these elaborate birthday cakes that yield more headaches than income. I don't want to be the baker who gets passed around like a joint at a frat party, by these birthday mama's and their friends. I really don't care if they become another decorators problem.

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 10:49am
post #103 of 116

Hahahahaha, cakelady! I didn't sleep all night, im exhausted, but that comment about being passed around like a joint at a frat party made my morning, ahhahahahahaha!

QTCakes1 Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 1:09pm
post #104 of 116

[quote="cakelady2266"]

I don't mean to place blame on anybody but this has only been an PITA issue for me since Ace of Cakes and Buddy the came on T.V. There are cakes with everything but the kitchen sink on them and not an actual price for those cakes to be seen anywhere.

I don't want to be the baker who gets passed around like a joint at a frat party, by these birthday mama's and their friends.


I agreee with the first statement. I WISH they would show their cake prices!

And as for the second, all I can say is that one is even better then "swinging the dead cake"! icon_lol.gif

vgcea Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 5:56pm
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Wouldn't it be nice if cake decorators could send in a signed petition to each of these shows asking them to include pricing information on the super cakes they make in order to FULLY inform customers.

jgifford Posted 24 Apr 2012 , 7:27pm
post #106 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

Wouldn't it be nice if cake decorators could send in a signed petition to each of these shows asking them to include pricing information on the super cakes they make in order to FULLY inform customers.




I don't believe their top priority is going to be making anyone else's life easier. icon_rolleyes.gif

vgcea Posted 25 Apr 2012 , 3:06am
post #107 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

Wouldn't it be nice if cake decorators could send in a signed petition to each of these shows asking them to include pricing information on the super cakes they make in order to FULLY inform customers.



I don't believe their top priority is going to be making anyone else's life easier. icon_rolleyes.gif



icon_lol.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 25 Apr 2012 , 5:05am
post #108 of 116

Costumeczar....glad I could brighten your day.

QTCakes1....I got a million of them, remember I'm from the South.

I love storage wars and I think it's great that they put a price on the stuff they sell. I don't see it happening for the cake show though. I hardly watch anymore but are they still really popular?

But I promise one more email from "birthday mama" with a picture from Pink Cake Box or some of you ultra talented decorators on here, wanting a masterpiece for $25, I'm gonna lose what is left of my mind.

costumeczar Posted 25 Apr 2012 , 10:51am
post #109 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266



I love storage wars and I think it's great that they put a price on the stuff they sell. I don't see it happening for the cake show though. I hardly watch anymore but are they still really popular?

.




I think cake shows are on the way out, thank God. The new wave is the garbage picker shows. I see a new one of the auction/pickers/flippers shows practically every day.

cakelady2266 Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 2:37am
post #110 of 116

I watched one the other day that was "baggage wars" not real sure I'd want somebodies dirty clothes that had been stuck in a suitcase for awhile. Nasty.

costumeczar Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 10:49am
post #111 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

I watched one the other day that was "baggage wars" not real sure I'd want somebodies dirty clothes that had been stuck in a suitcase for awhile. Nasty.




Eeew, I saw that one too and I said the same thing! My kids were watching it and they were grossed out by the concept too. There was one guy who bought a suitcase that ended up having little kids' bathing suits and other random junk in it. He made some comment about "do I get a tetanus shot now?" after he opened it. Nasty is right!

QTCakes1 Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 1:36pm
post #112 of 116

But you know what I read some where that people have gotten money, and I mean several thousands. Of course why someone had 10K cash in their suitcase is a little questionable to me. Anyway, another person found a 3 carat engagement ring, someone found a rare painting, things like that. I am sure that is few and far between, but it can happen. And when did that become a show!?! I've never heard of it.

I will still watch my cake shows "Amazing Cakes" and the other one, what's it called "Fabulous Cakes", but that's it. I wish ALL of the shows showed the prices.

costumeczar Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 1:44pm
post #113 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

But you know what I read some where that people have gotten money, and I mean several thousands. Of course why someone had 10K cash in their suitcase is a little questionable to me. Anyway, another person found a 3 carat engagement ring, someone found a rare painting, things like that. I am sure that is few and far between, but it can happen. And when did that become a show!?! I've never heard of it.

.




It's new...I also saw that they have a new one about people who excavate places to dig up historical treasures etc, we were watching that one last night. One of those guys who buys the storage lockers said that 90% of what they find is total junk, but the 10% is what they show on tv, of course. I did see one article about how metal detectors are starting to sell out, so maybe people are moving on to thinking that they can make a fortune by doing that, instead of making cakes.

Annabakescakes Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 2:02pm
post #114 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

But you know what I read some where that people have gotten money, and I mean several thousands. Of course why someone had 10K cash in their suitcase is a little questionable to me. Anyway, another person found a 3 carat engagement ring, someone found a rare painting, things like that. I am sure that is few and far between, but it can happen. And when did that become a show!?! I've never heard of it.

.



It's new...I also saw that they have a new one about people who excavate places to dig up historical treasures etc, we were watching that one last night. One of those guys who buys the storage lockers said that 90% of what they find is total junk, but the 10% is what they show on tv, of course. I did see one article about how metal detectors are starting to sell out, so maybe people are moving on to thinking that they can make a fortune by doing that, instead of making cakes.




Personally, as a newly licensed legal baker, who spent $17,000 getting started, I would love to buy every illegal and cottage food baker in my tri state area a metal detector if they would stop undercutting me and go make their fortune out in the woods or on the beach with the thing.

cakelady2266 Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 4:32pm
post #115 of 116

Someone was saying the producers of the storage shows plant some of that stuff in the units. I do know that after those shows came on I noticed a big turn out when local storage units went up for sale. I actually wanted to start bidding on them myself. I sure what folks are storing around here would be the same junk I've got in my attic.

Annabakescakes....that's a thought.

I watched the cake shows for a while, but they drove me crazy. All the "stuff" that they put on the cakes and did to them sort of took the actual cake part out of the picture for me. I would be a wreck watching them transport them too.

cakelady2266 Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 7:39pm
post #116 of 116

I have a favor to ask....I have started another post in the cake decorating business forum and I really need some good input. It's the post "how do you buy supplies" I'm sorry but I don't know how to link it to this.

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