Hi everyone! Just wondering if anyone has tips or thoughts as to speeding up the cake quoting/contract process? I feel like by the time I'm done answering emails/calls, designing, quoting, emailing contracts.... it eats up so much of my time I don't even feel like going downstairs to bake, which is what I love to do the most! :) I use Cake Boss and I individually analyze the cost of each cake. It just is so heartbreaking to spend all that time and then they can't afford you... Just venting, but any tips or thoughts are appreciated!
Do you have a general starting per serving price? Like the price you won't go under, no matter the design? Perhaps if you can say to someone up front, "Well, your final cost will vary depending on the design and composition of the cake, but my starting price is $X per serving". That way they can know right away if you are beyond their budget, and you've not wasted any time at all in the process. Another thing that may help is to post pictures on your website with prices, so people can get an idea of what you'd charge for certain things. I have prices on all the cakes in my gallery so that it's pretty clear what I charge. And finally, I have a minimum order amount, which will often weed out those who have champagne tastes with a beer budget.
AAdvertising different price levels on your web site with examples (e.g. a few pictures of cakes that cost $5/serving, a few pictures of cakes that cost $7/serving, etc.) and creating an online contact form with required fields for the most important information (like the customer's budget and # of servings required) should help.
If a customer contacts you without using the online contact form, one of your first questions should be about their budget, if it is not realistic tell them your starting price and most common price. If they don't adjust their budget wish them luck with their event and move on.
I usually set up appointments by email, sometimes phone, then I do all of my tasting appointments on one day back to back. That's a lot easier than trying to piece them out. I write up the contract during the appointment based on the design the bride wants, send her home with the contract, and if she wants to hire me she sends it back. I don't do sketches until I have a deposit, and I try not to waste a lot of time going back and forth with design details before the appointment. I do try to give them a rough price estimate based on their guest count before they book the appointment so that they know what they're dealing with price-wise.
You should definitely set a minimum price that you can tell people is your starting price, you don't need to analyze the individual ingredients for every single cake if you know the general cost of the ingredients overall. I know that my food costs are about 15% of the total price of the cake (it's gone up from 10% a couple of years ago) so I know what the basic starting cost should be for a cake. If you try to do every cake individually you'll drive yourself nuts. I shop for multiple cakes' ingredients at one time, so I don't bother costing everything out individually, it all averages out overall.