Pearl645 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 10:57pm
post #1 of

I have been getting a lot of calls from people saying they want to know the price of a wedding cake they have in mind. I also get a lot of emails on this as well. I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.

Do you give our estimated wedding cake or birthday cake prices over the phone? What is your policy or procedure? A wedding cake consultation 1st? I realize a lot of these people may be competitors calling for prices because many of them could never give me their full name (Is is wrong to ask for the person's full name when they 1st call or just ask for their 1st name?) and their only focus is price and not a meet-up / consultation.

19 replies
petiterouge42 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 12:26am
post #2 of

I don't know if you advertise using a website, but I post my minimum party cake and wedding cake prices online, as well as my price per serving so they can do a minimum estimate on their own; and any baked goods like cupcakes, custom cookies etc are also right on the website. This helps cut down the sticker shock reaction for a lot of people. There will always be people that don't pay attention to that, or want a more specific price and don't like the answer though, unfortunately.

I find that I can now tell with about 80% accuracy when a client emails me asking for a quote if they will or will not be booking a cake with me. You get to learn the clues after awhile.

Personally I would rather them know up front an estimated price and if they don't like the prices, then they won't be taking up any more of your time, if you beat around the bush with pricing you could be losing more time and not ending up with a booking.

I always restate my minimums, then give them the estimated quote for what they are asking for, then I mention that if that does not fit within their budget we have other options that might work for them that are better priced. That way they don't feel like it's all or nothing.

HTH!

costumeczar Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 12:29am
post #3 of

I don't care if a competitor gets my prices, so what? Who cares? icon_rolleyes.gif

I have a flat price per cake, so if someone calls and says "how much is a wedding cake" I find out how many people will be at the reception, where it will be, and then I can give them a price based on the size fo the cake and the delivery fee. If they have an idea about the design that's good to find out in case they want something crazy, but for the most part my pricing works for most designs.

Most people who are shopping on the basis of price alone won't end up being my client. They'll call around town until they find the lowest price and go there. It sounds like it's the same with you, and that people who are interested in getting a decent cake will take the time to talk to you.

SoFloGuy Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 12:42am
post #4 of

I think it's odd to ask for a full name, why would you want someone's name, many people have it show up on caller ID anyway, and they can always lie to you too. I think it's good to give out your price. Give your minimum price first. Better to weed out those that can't afford your cakes than to find someone who can't afford one, buys one anyway, becomes a nightmare and then requests a refund at the end.

If you wait for a consultation to give a price you are going to waste your own time as well as the people who can't afford it's time,

FromScratchSF Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 1:12am
post #5 of

I can do basic math for them - 150 guests times X per serving to give them a starting point that I can run on a calculator, but I don't go too much farther with it. I've learned that it's a bad idea to quote anything over the phone unless I run it thru Quickbooks first, and I won't run it thru Quickbooks until they email photos, tell me a flavor, and give me their budget. Obviously the conversation ends if they say a number that I know right off the bat that I can't work with for what they want.

AmyCakes84 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 5:47am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.




Sounds like a case of 'if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it'!

At least these people are just calling / emailing you and not wasting your time having a consultation and eating all your cake samples.

scp1127 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 6:00am
post #7 of

My wedding cakes all fall into the same price per serving, buttercream one price, fondant another. I give them the price immediately. If my price is not what they were looking for, then I haven't wasted any time.

I too have all of my prices on the site so my calls are usually with informed customers. I rarely, if ever, get the lower budget bride even calling because of the website.

If you do not market to your target market, then you will get all income levels inquiring. Your goal is to cut down wasting time and market to the demographic that is your customer.

vgcea Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 7:00am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyCakes84

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.



Sounds like a case of 'if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it'!

At least these people are just calling / emailing you and not wasting your time having a consultation and eating all your cake samples.




Now that would be annoying. I believe it's why some bakers charge a fee for the tasting and then apply it to the order. Just as a way to sort out the serious customers without wasting time and product.

MimiFix Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 12:03pm
post #9 of

We continually got calls at our retail bakery asking about cake prices. I learned that when the caller would start off with, "How much are your cakes?" price was their only concern. I got smart and for these kinds of calls I responded, "If price is your main concern you will probably be happier calling Wal-Mart." That always ended the conversation.

rosech Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 12:33pm

Whilst we are there, if any of you gurus would look at my notes on my fb page with my price guide and tell me if there is anything that needs editing, I would appreciate. We don't price according to servings, just size. I wanted to emphasize the range part as I feel there are just too many possibilities out there to just have the same prices. I notice here that you seasoned guys talk about having the same price. What if someone wants something more complicated than the norm?

costumeczar Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 1:30pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosech

Whilst we are there, if any of you gurus would look at my notes on my fb page with my price guide and tell me if there is anything that needs editing, I would appreciate. We don't price according to servings, just size. I wanted to emphasize the range part as I feel there are just too many possibilities out there to just have the same prices. I notice here that you seasoned guys talk about having the same price. What if someone wants something more complicated than the norm?




The only time my pricing won't cover the design is when they want something super elaborate like a five-tier cascade of gumpaste flowers with lots of gumpaste also between each of the tiers. But nobody wants that these days, they all want a plain cake with one big peony stuck into it. icon_smile.gif

Pearl645 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 2:29pm

Thanks for all the posts. I actually live in an island in the Caribbean so we don't have pricing per cake slice or serving which I what I have learned is the norm in the U.S. Decorators charge by the no. of tiers and cost of ingredients etc and use a multiplier. I know they use a multiplier because they are still charging way less than the equivalent to U.S wedding cake prices and servings per person even for elaborate cakes.

Perhaps I should find a way to set a standard price to work with for buttercream and fondant cake servings so that it will be easier to give someone an estimate over the phone. I have seen people charge $4.50 for a fondant wedding cake serving but I always felt because each cake was so different it would be difficult to have a standard price.
We don't have caller ID here that will show up a person's name when they call. All we see is a home or cell number which is why I would ask someone for their name.

scp1127 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 2:42pm

I ask their name just because it is polite. Because my prices are posted, my competition already has them.

cai0311 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 3:20pm

[quote="Pearl645"]Perhaps I should find a way to set a standard price to work with for buttercream and fondant cake servings so that it will be easier to give someone an estimate over the phone. I have seen people charge $4.50 for a fondant wedding cake serving but I always felt because each cake was so different it would be difficult to have a standard price.quote]

It is not a standard price per serving - it is a starting price. There is a big difference. The conversation goes like this:
Customer: "Hi, I would like to know how much a cake will be."
Me: "How many does the cake have to feed?"
Customer: "100 people."
Me: "My buttercream cakes start at $3/serving and fondant covered cakes start at $3.50/serving. So for a cake to feed 100 people the starting price will be $300 - $350 depending on what icing you want. Now, the design can affect the price. Depending on the level of detail, such as sugar flowers, the price may go up."

At this point you can either ask what their budget is and continue or kill the conversation or if you don't like asking about their budget just ask if they want to discuss details. If you are out of their price range they will say no or if they are okay with the price the conversation continues.

Having a starting price on your website will help weed out people that are not able to afford your product. I highly suggest you think about this option for the future.

Pearl645 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 3:42pm

Thank you so much! I like your style above. I must work out a starting price. I have a website but I haven't put my prices on it cuz i really didnt have any prices with a base to work from. Thanks again. I really feel more confident about my approach to this now,

AZCouture Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 4:12pm

Before I get together with anyone (remember, your labor time starts the minute you start discussing their cake!), I make sure there is a clear understanding of price. How uncomfortable for everyone to get all the way to a sit down consult, and find out the price is not something they can work? Wastes everyone's time.

EvMarie Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 4:41pm

Great information. If I sold cakes regularly...I suppose I'd post the basic pricing info on my site or facebook page (or both).

I think it's a personal philosophy if you price per cake/size versus per serving. It seems, at least in my family and circle of friends that the size of a "serving" is not realistic. We EAT cake! So...if I chose to post prices...I'd probably opt for sizes.

I hope you figure it out. I think once you get your pricing down - you'll feel really great about communicating it and you'll have a weed out of people who'd prefer a grocery store price.

icon_wink.gif

Pearl645 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 4:44pm

Yes thanks. Of course it seems so much easier to have a price per serving versus a price for size. I mean I will need to have so many different prices per cake size whereas I can have 2 basic starting prices. Right now I'm working out what I believe will be a good starting price per serving per buttercream and fondant cake serving.

cai0311 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 5:53pm
Quote:
Quote:

I think it's a personal philosophy if you price per cake/size versus per serving. It seems, at least in my family and circle of friends that the size of a "serving" is not realistic. We EAT cake! So...if I chose to post prices...I'd probably opt for sizes.




Basically pricing for size or serving is the same thing. For example...according to the Wilton chart (which is the chart I go off of) a 6" round cake feeds 12 people. You can either tell someone "the cake feeds 12 and at $3/serving the total is $36" or you can say "all my 6" cakes start at $36". It really doesn't matter if they want the cake to feed 1 person or 12 - the cost is still $36. But this is where educating the customer comes into play. They are going to call you and think "I can eat a 6" cake all by myself which means a 6" cake serves 1 - so it should cost $3". If you base your pricing off sizes I would put a little pice of text next to the size saying "feeds 10 - 12" or "20-24" or whatever the servings would be so they order accordingly.

I mostly do wedding cakes or other larger orders, so people don't call me saying "I need a 10" cake"; they call saying "I need a cake to feed 150 people" and I direct them to the size of cake tiers and number of tiers they will get.

I guess it depends on the type of orders you get and type of events you go after.

EvMarie Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 5:16am

When you look at how people order....that makes sense to figure on the standard price per serving. I guess what always made me uneasy is knowing what size a serving actually was. I always did include the measurements of the piece. That way, the person could decide for themselves.

Truly - I just never worked it all out. If I ever get to where I want to be skill-wise, I'll do all that pricing junk FIRST!!!

Good info here...thanks!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%