kazita Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 4:48pm
post #1 of

Ok here we go again, i've been trying to write this post on my nook and it keeps messing up and going clear when im just about done with the post Grr! anyways heres my problem i have another post on here from the other day if you read it you will see that i was having a problem getting the shape of a cake right, i ended up having to carve the cake anyways i have a order to make a 3 tier cake plus 30 cupcakes and delivery and i just found out that delivery is 30 miles away! and she had told me it wasn't that far away, well 30 miles one way for a delivery is far away for me i think. well the lady i'm making the cake for is a cousin of my neighbors, my neighbor told her that i have to die for cakes and frosting that melts wonderfully in your mouth. well this lady calls me begging for me to make a cake for her daughters 16th birthday, i went to her house and we agreed on a 3 tier cake and 30 cupcakes, ok great than she actually started crying saying that she had called around alot of stores trying to get the cake she wanted and she couldn't afford any of them not even walmarts prices. so i was at a loss and felt guilty for even charging her for the cake and cupcakes so i gave her a dirt cheap price just enough to maybe cover the cost of making the cake, so she was thrilled with that price and than said "oh i thought you would charge me at least double that price and i was ready to pay that" i was upset with that statement but didn't say anything .Shes been calling me making sure that i am getting the order done and the place and time of delivery and the such, she than told me she had a friend who wants a cake done and was thrilled at my low prices! yikes!!! my neighbor has also been telling people of my great cakes at low prices. my husband is way upset with me for quoteing such a low price . i added up all the cost of everything and im losing money on the deal, especially using high ratio shorting for the frosting, i cant afford to lose money on making cakes and cupcakes and delivery. what do i do when all these people that these woman say that they are gonna be telling that my wonderful cakes are great and that i have dirt cheap prices??? icon_surprised.gif

65 replies
Lynne3 Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:13pm
post #2 of

I'm sure you have kicked yourself enough for giving her such a low price. Okay - enough of that - stop kicking yourself.

Your motivation was clear. You said

Quote:
Quote:

this lady calls me begging for me to make a cake for her daughters 16th birthday,. . . . than she actually started crying saying that she had called around alot of stores trying to get the cake she wanted and she couldnt afford any of them not even walmarts prices.




You are permitted to open your heart and do charitable or lower cost work at your discretion. I think the lady sounds like a moocher, but you didn't know that at the time. Again - do not kick yourself. Next time you speak to her it's good to make the situation clear. If any of her friends call, its fine to be clear about your prices.

It takes time in business to get a "business heart". That's not being mean. It's just learning what you can and cannot afford as a business woman. It's also realizing that you are not a charitable institution. Take it from me - who has been in your shoes many times. It's a learning curve that somehow I think you have now mastered.

EvMarie Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:14pm
post #3 of

Just tell them that was a special price specifically meant for that original client. The price on that cake should have been....X dollars.

If you still want to appear competitive, double check others' prices. Once they rave about how delicious your cake is and how your real prices are super reasonable....you'll get the right kinds of clients.

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. Just learn the lesson and move on. If she was that broken hearted about how she couldn't afford anything...she could have learned to make the cake herself!

I once heard a lady on here say...work smart, not hard. To me, that means, charge the right price and you won't have to scramble making 18 little cakes for little dollars. Make one big fabulous cake for big fabulous dollars.

I would for sure set your neighbor and the "guilt trip" client lady straight about your prices. Perhaps have a little chat with the neighbor about it. And, maybe send a receipt to the guilt trip client lady with discount clearly marked.

lovinspoonfull Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:17pm
post #4 of

Increase your prices according to your costs, labor, etc and stick to it! No matter what. If you feel like you have to explain, tell them you have reviewed your pricing versus cost and you were not making any money. There is good reason for the seemingly high expense of custom cakes. They are expensive to make, and take a lot of time and thought. Don't feel sorry for people who cry poverty over cake. If they are that hard up, they should make it themselves!

SoFloGuy Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:20pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazita

what do i do when all these people that these woman say that they are gonna be telling that my wonderful cakes are great and that i have dirt cheap prices??? icon_surprised.gif




Tell them you did it one time as a favor to a person who sounded desperate. If someone can't afford a Walmart cake they should just buy box mix and make it themselves. You will either be known as a really sweet lady or a sucker.

I would call her and tell her that you can't deliver for that price, or she can pay you the double amount that she was willing to pay you to have it delivered.

Or tell her you are having car problems (check engine light on or AC problems) and don't know if you will be able to deliver it that day and it's best she pick it up.

In the end sounds like you made a bad deal for yourself. As long as the ingredients are paid for you are just doing a favor for the rest of it.

You live and you learn.

You will only be known as cheap cake lady if another shyster takes you for a rube.

Basically you only have yourself to blame. Not that far is not an acceptable answer. You ask how many miles, or ask for the address and Google map it yourself.

jason_kraft Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:20pm
post #6 of

I assume the original agreement with this person was for a cake delivered to their nearby home. Since the delivery address is actually much further away, tell her that you can honor the original price if you deliver to your house, or you can deliver to the new address with your standard delivery fee (we use $1/mile round trip).

FromScratchSF Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:50pm
post #7 of

You tell them, "You are mistaken, my prices start at $XXX."

Them: "But so-and-so said you are $XX"

You: "You are mistaken, my prices are clearly posted on _____________, stating they are $XXX."

Them: "But I can't afford that!"

You: "That's a shame, I'd love to be able to help you out so if your budget falls more in line with my pricing structure please let me know."

You also pulled a massive rookie move: NEVER discount your price as a starting point. NEVER. Always quote your full price then if you feel like discounting then go from there.

You also need to start valuing your work and time, otherwise you'd never be that quick to offer to make a 3 tiered cake for less then Wal Mart charges. That's complete insanity.

Learning lesson! Better luck next time!

jason_kraft Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:54pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

You tell them, "You are mistaken, my prices start at $XXX."

Them: "But so-and-so said you are $XX"

You: "You are mistaken, my prices are clearly posted on _____________, stating they are $XXX."



It's still important to offer an explanation of why that particular order was priced so low, even just saying it was a one-time discount or limited promotion should be enough. If you don't give any explanation, when they go back to the original customer and see an invoice with the discounted price things could get awkward.

SoFloGuy Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 5:58pm
post #9 of

Also next time ask the person how much they can afford if you can afford to give your work away for basically free or have tome to do someone a huge favor. She was willing to pay twice what you quoted. If he comes back with a ridiculously low number you have an out for yourself. People will only take advantage of you if you let them.

FromScratchSF Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 6:24pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

You tell them, "You are mistaken, my prices start at $XXX."

Them: "But so-and-so said you are $XX"

You: "You are mistaken, my prices are clearly posted on _____________, stating they are $XXX."


It's still important to offer an explanation of why that particular order was priced so low, even just saying it was a one-time discount or limited promotion should be enough. If you don't give any explanation, when they go back to the original customer and see an invoice with the discounted price things could get awkward.




Disagree - no salesmen manual or handboook would say to offer any reason why your business practices are your business practices. In fact, they all say to direct the conversation to your desired outcome giving as little info as possible to close the door to any questions from your potential customer. The goal is to say "no" without actually having said the word "no". "No" is a negative word and sets people off.

The more you try to justify why the person that got the special rate was "special", you make the new person wonder why they aren't special too. It allows the new person to put you on the spot asking if they can also be special -- because they *will* ask. Then the conversation gets even more uncomfortable because you are put on the spot and have to either tell someone a firm "NO" - or cave and give them the special price because you feel bad that the old customer felt special and want the new person to feel special too and you are uncomfortable and don't want to say "no".

In sales, NO is a bad word.

jason_kraft Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 6:29pm

You tell them, "You are mistaken, my prices start at $XXX."

Them: "But so-and-so said you are $XX"

You: "So-and-so ordered during a sales promotion that is now expired. My current prices are clearly posted on _____________, stating they are $XXX."

KoryAK Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 6:45pm

Along the lines of what Jason said, anytime you give any sort of freebie or discount, make sure that person KNOWS they are getting it! "The regular price for the this cake is $$$, but because you _________, I will do it for you this one time for $$". This way the customer feels special for getting a discount (and not just lucky that she finally found the cheapest cake lady on the block) and hopefully when she passes your info on to her friends she will tell them the original price.

chaka1 Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 7:23pm

Maybe on the receipt put the price of what the cake should have been (so she will know) and then subtract however much and mark it as "special promo". I agree, you need to let her see what it should have cost her. Also, I would try to get her to at least pick the cake up. Tell her that for that special pricing, she would need to pick it up. Good luck. You live and you learn.

sweetflowers Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 7:31pm

I think having someone repeat to me that 'I was mistaken' when I clearly knew what my friend paid would make me angry. I know the 'promo, one time, or discount' wording might be better .

Cakery2012 Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 7:34pm

You live and you learn . I dont sell cakes .But one thing Ive learned from this form .First question should be What is your budget and second question how many servings do you need ? .
As far as explanation you could reply those prices are no .longer in effect . As far as the delivery to that customer . you tell them how much your delivery charges would be because you didnt realize you would be delivering out of town . Sorry but this woman is trying to.scam you IMO. Make sure you are paid upfront.I also wouldnt be surprised if this is one of those people who will find fault and want a refund .I know I could be wrong . Please let us know the outcome . Good luck and stand your ground .

EvMarie Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 7:36pm

I've fallen victim to the explaining yourself too much thing. Try to remain confident in what you are selling.

To be a little bendable...I do like the idea of quoting full price and THEN...talking budget. If they come back and say...wow, I can't afford that. I love being able to say...what can you afford? At that time, it's a great thing to be able to educate them on what they are able to get for that particular dollar amount.

It seems some bakers suffer from some kind of phobia when it comes to valuing their work. I myself forget what it costs to get one slice of dessert at a restaurant. Or, how people drop a twenty dollar bill like it's nothing at a bar. If you research your own costs to come up with a fair price...you will be totally equipped to talk dollars with confidence.

You'll work it out. Don't lie. Just call it a one time discount or a favor for a friend...or perhaps special circumstances is good enough. And, be done with it. Don't fret.

gatorcake Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 8:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

You tell them, "You are mistaken, my prices start at $XXX."

Them: "But so-and-so said you are $XX"

You: "So-and-so ordered during a sales promotion that is now expired. My current prices are clearly posted on _____________, stating they are $XXX."




Bad advice that is likely to result in more harm than good. In this situation the person then returns to their friend/relative who was quoted the lower price (likely annoyed and irritated for not getting the price they were told they should get).

Referring Client "Oh did you get your cake with X? Did you get a good deal?"

Referred Friend/Neighbor "Well the decorator does not have low prices like you said she did. In fact she told me you got that price because of sales promotion."

Referring Client "There was no promotion. She said nothing about a special promotion."

Referred Friend/Neighbor "Really?!?! Well that is what she is saying now. She he is either lied to me or your mistaken.

Referring Client "I am not mistaken, I told her what I wanted, this is the price she quoted me and I was even surprised it was so low. I even told her I was expecting to pay more. She never mentioned the price was low because of a promotion."

Referred Friend/Neighbor "I can't believe she lied to me. I am going to tell everyone I not to buy from her because she is not honest."

So now you have a person who is irritated because the OP is not the cheap cake lady and rightly believes she has been lied to. This is not an unlikely situation. In fact given that it is friends, family and neighbors of the client that are being referred, those individuals are likely to go back to the person who referred them and discuss their inability to get a similar price. Every time I get referred I always talk with people who referred me to a particular business about my experiences with that business.

Lying to potential customers who can easily discover the lie is a bad idea. SF is right on this one, no explanation. Any explanation that is a fabrication has a good chance of producing individuals with more of a reason to provide bad word of mouth. They are already going to be disappointed, if not angry, at not receiving the same treatment as their friend/neighbor/relative. You really want to risk them discovering they have been lied to as well?

SoFloGuy Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 8:18pm

Tell the lady to not tell people that this is your price, or how much she paid.

If someone comes and asks for that same price tell them sorry, that was done as a favor to me at a loss and I can't afford to do that again.

You have the right to sell for profit, for cost of ingredients, or give your items away for free.

Don't worry about being known as the cheap cake lady. But stop being such a softy that people will look to use your kindness as a weakness.

You don't owe anyone an explanation other than letting them know what your prices are. Anyone who is gonna harass you and demand the same rate is only going to be trouble.

jason_kraft Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 8:26pm

Saying that the low price was because of an expired promotion is not a lie. Ideally the invoice would have included the regular price minus the discount, but even if the invoice didn't separate this out (or if OP did not mention the promotion at all) that does not mean there was no promotional pricing structure in place at the time of the order.

The new customer will be annoyed in any case. If they missed the chance to get promotional pricing that's at least understandable, I just can't see how offering no explanation other than "you're wrong" is the better solution.

Another alternative tactic would be to simply say that your prices have changed since then, but if the difference was significant you don't want the customer to infer that you regularly institute large permanent price increases.

Cakery2012 Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 8:47pm

How about ,I 'm sorry those prices are no longer in effect .This is my price guide .
What I was saying in my earlier post .I would make it clear you charge for delivery .That you didnt know it was a 60 mile RT .

gatorcake Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 9:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Saying that the low price was because of an expired promotion is not a lie. Ideally the invoice would have included the regular price minus the discount, but even if the invoice didn't separate this out (or if OP did not mention the promotion at all) that does not mean there was no promotional pricing structure in place at the time of the order.

The new customer will be annoyed in any case. If they missed the chance to get promotional pricing that's at least understandable, I just can't see how offering no explanation other than "you're wrong" is the better solution.




Look if you think retroactively claiming a sales promotion that did not exist is not a lie well then you have a curious idea of lying. First you are assuming the existence of an invoice that includes an "original price" minus the discount. No evidence as far as we know exists reflects that the price was quoted based on the concept of a sales promotion.

Second in fact there was no promotional pricing structure per the explanation of the OP. The OP felt sorry for the individual and quoted a price that was not based on any existing promotional pricing structure. Any such claim is merely a retroactive recasting of events to cover over a bad business decision.

Third nothing about the situation reflects promotional pricing. I am sure I don't have to explain the concept to you. The decision was not made to promote her business it was made because she felt bad for the person that laid the guilt trip on her. In fact the pricing did exactly what she does not want her pricing to do--cast her as the cheap cake lady. It was not designed to promote business (the OP's words not mine) and again characterizing the transaction that way is an outright fabrication of what went down.

jason_kraft Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 9:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorcake

First you are assuming the existence of an invoice that includes an "original price" minus the discount.



Nope, my reply (which you quoted) says "but even if the invoice didn't separate this out (or if OP did not mention the promotion at all) that does not mean there was no promotional pricing structure in place at the time of the order."

Quote:
Quote:

Second in fact there was no promotional pricing structure per the explanation of the OP. The OP felt sorry for the individual and quoted a price that was not based on any existing promotional pricing structure. Any such claim is merely a retroactive recasting of events to cover over a bad business decision.



As FromScratchSF said, "direct the conversation to your desired outcome giving as little info as possible to close the door to any questions from your potential customer." You don't need to go into details on when the promotion started or ended. In this case, OP did feel sorry for an individual and quoted a discounted (or "promotional") price in order to close the sale.

Whether the customer knew or did not know that the price was promotional does not impact whether or not the price was in fact promotional. Nor does the fact that no existing promotional structure existed at the time have any bearing on the situation, since as a business owner you reserve the right to create ad hoc promotions.

If you prefer the wording "one-time discount" you can use that instead, but that opens the door to further questions...e.g. why was the discount only offered to this one person, and what can I do to get the same discount? The "expired promotion" wording helps get the conversation off the discount and back to the order.

Trying to deny the existence of the lower price by repeatedly telling the customer they are wrong is even worse, since they will generally trust the statement of the friend that referred them over yours.

Quote:
Quote:

Third nothing about the situation reflects promotional pricing. I am sure I don't have to explain the concept to you.



I think you might have to explain your interpretation on promotional pricing then, because from my understanding promotional pricing is when you reduce the price of a product in order to make sales you wouldn't have otherwise made. I agree that it was not a sound business decision in this case, but the fact is reducing the price made a sale the OP otherwise wouldn't have made. The fact that it was a one-time only promotion is irrelevant. Q.E.D.

kazita Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 10:26pm

I at first did not offer to deliver the cake, than i found out her plan to put the cake in the back of her truck on friday and leave it there over night and serve it the next day YIKES! All i could think of was how badly that cake would travel and really leaveing a cake with buttercream frosting and and speical fillings in the middle in a Hot truck over night GROSS. Yes i told her it had to be refrigerated she said that she would put it into there camper frig well we put the pans into the frig and it didnt even come close to fitting, so thats when i offered to deliver the cake. As far as looking it up on my gps it kept saying no match found even under campgrounds, well come to find out the campground is so small it doesnt show up on gps or google map had my husband been home at the time he would of told me its way out in the middle of the county 30 freaking miles away! Than i would of charged for delivery fee. Yep im kicking myself in the butt for this whole thing. Ive been doing cakes for 13 years but mostly just for family and friends. Never again yep if you cant afford a walmart cake you sure the heck cant afford me. I havent even started on the cakes and im not in the mood to due them. Ahhhh what was i thinking.























icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

cake4mygirls Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 10:52pm

hummm...well she seemed very good at laying on the guilt, how are you at that game?

Tell her how much time and effort you had to put into the cake to make it just perfect for her daughters special day. The fact that you had to make x number of practice cakes because she didn't want fondant and you wanted to make sure you could make it perfect in BC. How you probably took a loss but since it was the agreed price you are okay with that, but you've learned your lesson...blah blah blah

Make her feel super special about the treatment and understand how it should have cost a lot more.

SoFloGuy Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 10:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazita

I at first did not offer to deliver the cake, than i found out her plan to put the cake in the back of her truck on friday and leave it there over night and serve it the next day YIKES! All i could think of was how badly that cake would travel and really leaveing a cake with buttercream frosting and and speical fillings in the middle in a Hot truck over night GROSS. Yes i told her it had to be refrigerated she said that she would put it into there camper frig well we put the pans into the frig and it didnt even come close to fitting, so thats when i offered to deliver the cake. As far as looking it up on my gps it kept saying no match found even under campgrounds, well come to find out the campground is so small it doesnt show up on gps or google map had my husband been home at the time he would of told me its way out in the middle of the county 30 freaking miles away! Than i would of charged for delivery fee. Yep im kicking myself in the butt for this whole thing. Ive been doing cakes for 13 years but mostly just for family and friends. Never again yep if you cant afford a walmart cake you sure the heck cant afford me. I havent even started on the cakes and im not in the mood to due them. Ahhhh what was i thinking.

icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif




MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down...
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

Baker_Rose Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:16pm

If it's your neighbor that is spreading the word of your "reasonable" prices then you need to nip that in the bud. If ANYONE tells you in the future about how they heard about your reasonable prices then you need to politely tell the person that you have re-evaluated your pricing structure and with all this new business you didn't realize that you were losing money on EVERY SINGLE CAKE, and you have an updated price list.

And make sure you have the list printed out and pass it out to people, that way they have your price in front of them in black and white. Be sure your guidelines for cake storage and delivery are on that sheet as well.

Don't let ANYONE tell YOU what your prices are. I had this happen to me recently when an old work collegue found my new number and called me to gush that she was passing out my name/number because she JUST KNEW that I WOULD NEVER "rip anyone off" with "obscene-high" prices. The girl that called me was expecting "free" to be my answer, and she was quite shocked to find out the gum paste flowers would cost DOUBLE the cost of the cake itself.

You can't do anything about what has happened, but if you are told about your prices again, from anyone, you need to smile and let them know that you lost a LOT of money on that cake order, and you have finally found the time to sit down and properly cost your cake/time. I would never try to tell someone "they are mistaken" and make them look or feel stupid.

Keep it light, keep it firm, and keep it professional.

icon_smile.gif

kazita Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:28pm

icon_surprised.gif oh no i didnt mean to start any disagreements on here! Please dont be angry with each other over my dumb mistake. I agree with alot of the post that you all have posted. I really like the idea of whats is your budget instead of me quoteing a price to them. I did ask her how many she needed to serve and got the reply " im really not sure, some people have R.S.V.P. and some have not so im really have no idea for sure how many im am feeding" i believe she will be having alot of cake left over. Heres another kick in the butt and maybe a question i have left over strawberry filling from a cake that i just

kazita Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:44pm

Sorry nook acting up again Grrr! Ok the question is of course she called me today talking about the cake, well they want raspberry filling in the cake really come on thats mors money that i would have to put out, do you all think that if i put strawberry in there instead of raspberry that they would really know the differance? And get this she asked if i had a cupcake stand to display the cupcakes on and if i didnt could i go buy one Omg! The nerve now i want a cupcake stand but right now do not have the funds for it i have senior pictures for my daughter to pay for school fees and two birthdays in august to pay for i just dont have a money tree out back to shake for this woman. I told her No on the cupcake stand. I am going to inform this woman that she got a way under priced cake and if any of her friends would like cakes the price will be alot higher and as for my neighbor i will be setting here straight too. AHHH LIVE AND LEARN. Again what do you all think about the filling thing? icon_rolleyes.gif

kelleym Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:52pm

1) This lady has no boundaries. It's up to you to make them.

2) Yes, I think she would notice if you used strawberry instead of raspberry. It would be very unprofessional to use one instead of the other, no matter how badly you're undercharging. The correct response is, "I'm sorry, the price I quoted you did not include filling. The price to add filling is "XX.XX".

cake4mygirls Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazita

do you all think that if i put strawberry in there instead of raspberry that they would really know the differance?




Yes! for sure 100%
They taste very different and that would upset them. Tell her you cannot do raspberry without adding to the cost.

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