MissMona Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 10:22pm

I just have to vent quickly.....I just had a former client contact me to do a two tier cake complete with sculpted figures, airbrushing, and a detailed sculpted topper.....and I quoted a price....$150 which included a smash cake and delivery over 30 miles away. It was $50 over her budget. I waived the delivery fee and told her $125 was the best I could do. She continued to try to find a way to come down to $100, including doing the design in buttercream. It bothers me that I would do the same work for half the price and still no delivery fee. I guess my price structure is at fault there and it's my fault for waiving the delivery. But others in the area are undercutting my prices almost by half. I have not changed my prices in five years....which means they haven't went up either. Now others are telling me I should lower mine.
Some days I'm just ready to quit. I'm not getting much business these days anyway. Would I be like some famous artist? If I quit, could I become famous? LOL icon_cry.gif Ugh.......fun, fun, fun.....

19 replies
spring Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:13pm

I know it's frustrating. Rather than lowering my price I would offer another design option that would meet her budget. Otherwise, I would let her walk....

Minette

spring Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:16pm

I know it's frustrating. Rather than lowering my price I would offer another design option that would meet her budget. Otherwise, I would let her walk....

Minette

MissMona Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:22pm

Thank you for responding Minette, I considered that option....I charge half the price for a buttercream cake vs. fondant. I didn't want to go there for many reasons, cheapening the design of the cake, air brush on bc is so fragile, stability, but mainly it broke my heart to think that people have absolutely no problem asking you to do the SAME amount of work for HALF the price! I pointed out that I wasn't charging her extra for the figurines, simply charging based on the number of servings....my mistake. But I couldn't help but think that I am being generous here, and people don't care. I don't think she thought about it that way, but really, what happened to the customers that thought your product tastes great, your work is artistic and they can see that you put hours and your heart into your work and recognize that it's worth every penny???? I don't know where they went, but I miss them...... thumbs_up.gif

karateka Posted 13 Aug 2012 , 11:57pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMona


Would I be like some famous artist? If I quit, could I become famous? LOL icon_cry.gif Ugh.......fun, fun, fun.....




I think you have to die first. icon_lol.gif

SoFloGuy Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 12:17am

My former boss did, which is why he is former.

jason_kraft Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 12:28am

Sounds like you need to revisit your marketing strategy. If anything, you can probably raise your prices, depending on the size $150 for a 2 tier with that level of detail is pretty low, especially with delivery.

MissMona Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 12:36am

Thank you Jason! I'm serious when I say I think it's pretty low! I've been fairly upset over this pricing issue. There are plenty of ladies around here charging $2-3 per serving.....I've been charging $4 for fondant for five years. I recently lost a wedding to a bakery 40+ miles away because they were charging $3.25 per serving. The venue is only 6 miles from me.....so I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how they undercut me with delivery. Not only that, but the bride told me she expected them to do a fondant groom's cake to feed 50 for $50!!!!
Lately, this is all I am getting, price shopping....I am not the cheapest....and I don't WANT to be the cheapest! I want to have an opportunity to be creative and artistic and make people proud of their cake and visions....I refuse to do this.....
Is Walmart hiring? icon_eek.gif

costumeczar Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 1:27am

I just had this conversation with a couple of people yesterday, and have a blog post coming up about it. When you start negotiating your pricing you're putting yourself into the commodity category, which is basically price-driven. When you do that you totally negate the value of your product and place yourself squarely into the market for people who are just shopping for price. Stand firm on your pricing and don't let yourself fall into that trap!

Pearl645 Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 2:31am

Looks like you got some really great advice here. I agree on re-visiting your marketing strategy and looking at your brand. I know how hard it is when people undercut in the market but the advice here is true and will set you on the right path.

I have lost a couple of jobs to cheap cakers and the customer came back and told me she was not satisfied with her "cheap" cake. Of course, she wasn't. She paid $50 for a carved and sculpted fancy fondant hat cake with lots of bling when the better cake artists told her it was up to $400 for it.

Brands have worth.

scp1127 Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 10:40am

What she said... costumeczar.

Crazy-Gray Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 2:14pm

Your cakes are worth a lot more than you are asking, it may be a case of being stuck between two markets; you're slightly too pricy for the rock bottom people but those willing to pay a premium might be suspicous of and thus put off by the relatively low price, I was in this position last year (2 years into baking) and since making a big price jump and marketing to some select housing estates I suspect there is some cake competition (and maybe cost bragging!) going on lol

I do get less work to be fair but I enjoy it so much more as it's more challenging and their requests can be totally nuts! Best of luck and don't give up!

MissMona Posted 14 Aug 2012 , 8:22pm

Thanks ya'll! It's really putting things into perspective for me. I know you are right and I appreciate it. I'm going to our first cake club meeting in a couple of hours....hoping that will lift my spirits.....but after, I'm spending some time thinking on your advice....I think it's dead on. icon_smile.gif Thank you so much for your support and wisdom!

MissMona Posted 15 Aug 2012 , 3:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I just had this conversation with a couple of people yesterday, and have a blog post coming up about it. When you start negotiating your pricing you're putting yourself into the commodity category, which is basically price-driven. When you do that you totally negate the value of your product and place yourself squarely into the market for people who are just shopping for price. Stand firm on your pricing and don't let yourself fall into that trap!




Is there anyway that I could be notified of this blog post? I cannot tell you how interested I would be in reading this. Not only am I struggling with this issue, but have decided to do research and speak about it at our cake club meeting in October.

costumeczar Posted 15 Aug 2012 , 12:34pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMona

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I just had this conversation with a couple of people yesterday, and have a blog post coming up about it. When you start negotiating your pricing you're putting yourself into the commodity category, which is basically price-driven. When you do that you totally negate the value of your product and place yourself squarely into the market for people who are just shopping for price. Stand firm on your pricing and don't let yourself fall into that trap!



Is there anyway that I could be notified of this blog post? I cannot tell you how interested I would be in reading this. Not only am I struggling with this issue, but have decided to do research and speak about it at our cake club meeting in October.




Sure, I'll let you know.

Stitches Posted 16 Aug 2012 , 4:02am

I've been venting the last couple weeks over a similar customer situation. Everything was all picked out, I had spent hours finding just the right design for her budget, etc... Then when she asked me for an advanced total she flipped out over the fact that I had sales tax. She knew I was a real business, she'd purchased from me previously. It blows my mind to this day! She's a teacher driving a BMW............ I wish everytime she needed a pay check her boss would give her the same grief she gave me.

Costumeczars word of wisdom are really comforting and so right. I have to remember that isn't the kind of customer I want. I'm counting my blessings for the lady whom keeps re-ordering dozens of cupcakes from me at $3.79 each! Everytime she buys from me, I give her a couple extra.

pbuder Posted 20 Aug 2012 , 2:42pm

I am a hobby baker and do it for my friends and family so I have never negotiated the price for a cake but in my professional life I did spend a number of years as a consultant and yes every new job was a haggle over price. It is not something specific to baking.

You have to know your own worth and hold firm because everyone will always try to pay the lowest that they can. Its not that they think you are worth less but everyone loves a good deal. You can't take it personal. Just know your minimum before you start negotiations and be prepared to walk away. The next job will come along if this one doesn't work out.

howsweet Posted 20 Aug 2012 , 5:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMona

I don't think she thought about it that way, but really, what happened to the customers that thought your product tastes great, your work is artistic and they can see that you put hours and your heart into your work and recognize that it's worth every penny???? I don't know where they went, but I miss them...... thumbs_up.gif


There's the economy, but mainly there's that everyone and their brothers are starting up cake "businesses" and they are undercutting and undervaluing their work.

What needed to happen was for you to walk away and then have her find another baker who also stood her ground and refused to work for nothing.

Even if she finds someone to do it for the low price, at least you held a spot open in case a real customer came along. And at least you didn't feel bitter and used.

sophie008 Posted 3 Nov 2012 , 7:36am
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 


There's the economy, but mainly there's that everyone and their brothers are starting up cake "businesses" and they are undercutting and undervaluing their work.

What needed to happen was for you to walk away and then have her find another baker who also stood her ground and refused to work for nothing.

Even if she finds someone to do it for the low price, at least you held a spot open in case a real customer came along. And at least you didn't feel bitter and used.

I agree, I'm sure sooner or later there will be someone who'll walk through your door and ask you to bake a cake for her/him at a fair price.:) On the other hand, bargaining or haggling is a respected tradition than many individuals just do not engage in. In this era of corporate monoliths, it seems almost a waste of time, but don't be intimidated. Knowing where and when to haggle is a great skill to have. You can also visit this site here for additional info: Why in no way undertake a prefer and also have a glance on the website?
 

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