I Keep Getting Quote Requests From Other Companies/decorators

Business By Gingerlocks Updated 22 Apr 2014 , 1:50pm by Gingerlocks

Gingerlocks Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 7:55pm
post #1 of 27

I am sure this has been posted about time and time again..but today I am just fuming. There is a woman who makes cakes in the same town as me and I just found out she has been contacting me (under different names) getting quotes from me and then going back to her customers and giving them a price. Meanwhile I've been wasting my time, giving her details and options and pricing things out..meanwhile she sits back and get all her quotes done for her..easy peasy!

 

I live in a "small-ish" custom cake market, and basically everyone knows each other..so how she thought she'd never get caught is beyond me! I'm usually a mild mannered "cake lady", but I feel like throwing a mud pie in her face right about now. 

26 replies
acakedecorator Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 8:01pm
post #2 of 27

Yikes, I'm sorry this happened to you! That's ridiculous of her; I will never understand some people.

...do you have a mud pie handy?? :twisted::-D

costumeczar Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 8:10pm
post #3 of 27

Have you called her and told her to cut it out?

Gingerlocks Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 8:18pm
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

Have you called her and told her to cut it out?

I did...I gave her a bogus quote about an hour ago. And then wrote her to tell her I was on to her, and that the quote I gave was made up; but that I wanted to give her enough time to quote her customer.

 

Soo, she writes me back saying how "unprofessional" I am for writing her that, and that I shouldn't feel threatened by competition! Basically trying to make me feel bad for the previous email I sent her; like wtf?! Has the whole world gone mad?

Gingerlocks Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 8:24pm
post #5 of 27

And I may have also thrown out that her cakes were basically crap..which I am not proud of; but I was just so shocked and mad at the whole thing. Usually I'm nice and dipolmatic but this just pushed me over the edge and made me become a person I don't want to be like :-(

leah_s Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 8:34pm
post #6 of 27

Wait.  SHE said you were unprofessional?

Has she looked in a mirror?

Gingerlocks Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 9:33pm
post #7 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 
 

Wait.  SHE said you were unprofessional?

Has she looked in a mirror?

Ya she did..she's emailed me back again, I haven't opened it yet; because this is rediculas drama that quite frankly I don't need. I would have never imagined that there would be so much catty-ness when I opened my business.

howsweet Posted 16 Apr 2014 , 11:45pm
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gingerlocks 
 

I did...I gave her a bogus quote about an hour ago. And then wrote her to tell her I was on to her, and that the quote I gave was made up; but that I wanted to give her enough time to quote her customer.

 

Soo, she writes me back saying how "unprofessional" I am for writing her that, and that I shouldn't feel threatened by competition! Basically trying to make me feel bad for the previous email I sent her; like wtf?! Has the whole world gone mad?


Well, you knew she was a nasty piece of work already. People like this never think they're wrong about anything. But that doesn't make it any less frustrating. I'm so sorry this happened to you, but at least you're on to her. Is there any way you can alert other bakers?

 

I don't know if this is so much cattiness as it just shows what people will do to get ahead in business. When you have your own business and compete with others you learn just how low many people will go.

ugcjill Posted 18 Apr 2014 , 2:29am
post #9 of 27

Wow, she got you good. I was going to say to make a fake quote, but I see you've already done that.

 

Rise above it, delete any emails, and pretend you are your own employee... Would you want someone wasting precious working time corresponding with that? Probably not. You're on to her, she may even stop (but don't count on it). 

howsweet Posted 18 Apr 2014 , 2:34am
post #10 of 27

AThat's really good advice, "pretend you are your own employee"!

cherim1000 Posted 20 Apr 2014 , 12:35am
post #11 of 27

AAgreed, rise above... Don't give her any more of your time or energy, she's not worth it. In the end, the better businesswoman will prevail. :-)

Gingerlocks Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 2:23pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherim1000 

Agreed, rise above... Don't give her any more of your time or energy, she's not worth it. In the end, the better businesswoman will prevail. icon_smile.gif

Thanks everyone! I've been talking to a few of my local "Caker" friends in my area..and basically after a little research we found out she's been doing this to a few other companies/decorators. 

 

I'm a firm believer that Wal-Mart is the competition, and not the other bakeries or home businesses; so we're just going to leave it for now. But this was definitely a bit of a wake up call!

costumeczar Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 3:59pm
post #13 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gingerlocks 
 

 

 

I'm a firm believer that Wal-Mart is the competition, and not the other bakeries or home businesses; so we're just going to leave it for now.

Okay, now I'm going to pick on this...why do you think Walmart is your competition? Do you do Walmart-quality cakes? I assume that you don't.

Shortkaik Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 4:07pm
post #14 of 27

This is slightly off topic, but it gives me a good chance to bring up a question I've been wondering:  The advice I keep getting for figuring out how to price cakes is to be comparable to your local competition.  But how do you find out your local competition's prices?  They don't generally list them online here.  The only way I can think of is to do what this lady has done - ask them for a quote so you can compare what you would charge, but I haven't done it because just like this I feel it would be dishonest and slimy.

 

How else would you find out your competitor's prices?  Would it be better to be upfront and e-mail them saying "I want to sell cakes like yours, please tell me what you charge so I can compete."?  That also feels pretty uncool.

Gingerlocks Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 4:42pm
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

Okay, now I'm going to pick on this...why do you think Walmart is your competition? Do you do Walmart-quality cakes? I assume that you don't.

I guess my feeling is that we should be trying to show customers the benefits of high quality cakes, and the benefits of buying what we are selling and not worrying about trying to squash each other (other decorators)..squash Wal-Mart's "cakes" and the idea of low-cost=better. I don't see the point to trying to beat down other professionals, and under price them. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortkaik 
 

This is slightly off topic, but it gives me a good chance to bring up a question I've been wondering:  The advice I keep getting for figuring out how to price cakes is to be comparable to your local competition.  But how do you find out your local competition's prices?  They don't generally list them on line here.  The only way I can think of is to do what this lady has done - ask them for a quote so you can compare what you would charge, but I haven't done it because just like this I feel it would be dishonest and slimy.

 

How else would you find out your competitor's prices?  Would it be better to be upfront and e-mail them saying "I want to sell cakes like yours, please tell me what you charge so I can compete."?  That also feels pretty uncool.

I will openly talk to any of my other cake decorator friends in the area about pricing, and I have done this in the past. But underhanded emails pretending to be customers; is where I take issue. 

pookashnoo Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 5:11pm
post #16 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shortkaik 
 

This is slightly off topic, but it gives me a good chance to bring up a question I've been wondering:  The advice I keep getting for figuring out how to price cakes is to be comparable to your local competition.  But how do you find out your local competition's prices?  They don't generally list them online here.  The only way I can think of is to do what this lady has done - ask them for a quote so you can compare what you would charge, but I haven't done it because just like this I feel it would be dishonest and slimy.

 

How else would you find out your competitor's prices?  Would it be better to be upfront and e-mail them saying "I want to sell cakes like yours, please tell me what you charge so I can compete."?  That also feels pretty uncool.


Funny you brought that up, it exactly what I thought the thread was about before I opened it. I too share the same feelings regarding checking what competitors would be charging. I think like the OP is saying, its sort of one thing to just put the question out there initially, its a totally different thing to not have a clue how to actually price your work and so get a quote from somebody else to use that, even worse if she undercuts the OP to try and get the business.

 

OP, that woman is so cheeky, don't let her bring you down. What a cheek!

AZCouture Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 5:16pm
post #17 of 27

AYOU may not see the benefit in undercutting and other shady behavior, but a LOT of newbues and just plain ignorant decorators believe that's the way to do it. Look at other businesses out there, like oil change places, painters, tax preparers. "We'll meet or beat any price!" Why not with cakes? That's not an endorsement of that kind of behavior, but to someone in this business strictly to move product, or with no sense of what profit is...it's completely acceptable.

And I absolutely despise the whole practice of getting quotes from others to price your own cakes. If you want to get a general feel for what Suzy down the street charges, sure, that's VITAL information, absolutely necessary. But to repeatedly do it, I'm all for giving outrageous low quotes to screw them up if I know that's what's going on.

MimiFix Posted 21 Apr 2014 , 6:22pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortkaik 

 

The advice I keep getting for figuring out how to price cakes is to be comparable to your local competition. ...The only way I can think of is to do what this lady has done - ask them for a quote so you can compare what you would charge...

Many articles about cake-pricing talk about the importance of calling local bakers to ask how much they charge. This article was posted last week on a different thread about pricing. Note the first thing the article states - Step One: Call local grocery stores, bakeries, and at home bakers. 

 

Whenever I read a thread where members complain about giving out cake quotes but the caller doesn't place an order, I always think this is the issue.  

erin2345 Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 2:10am
post #19 of 27

I had someone do that to me once.  Her email asking for a quote was incredibly detailed, so I googled her email address and found her 'cake' Facebook page.  This is what I replied:

"Hi,

 
Judging from your Facebook page, I would just suggest that you make the cake yourself.  However, if I were to sell it to you, I would ballpark it at around $400 (that includes the 2 extra 6" cakes, as well as the towers and quidditch ball), plus of course the shipping to California, which I am sure is not cheap.
 
In all seriousness, once you get busier as a cake designer, you will realize how annoying it is to have someone waste your time by emailing you, asking for a quote on a cake they have no intention of ordering.  In the future, if you have any questions on pricing a cake, please check out www.cakecentral.com - they have lots of forums for all things cake related.
 
Good luck in your cake career,"
 

She played dumb and wrote back:  "I am sorry for wasting your time. I admired your cakes and copied and pasted what someone had emailed me.  I should have been clearer in my email.  In all seriousness do you ship your cakes? I do have one question not related to cakes...how did you know I was into cake decorating myself?"

 

I did not write back, but I did "like" her Facebook page :) 

 

People who do that are ignorant and annoying and rude!

 

howsweet Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 2:13am
post #20 of 27

AThis thread is about some piece of work too lazy to quote out her own cakes. Please, let's not confuse it with appropriate checking of market prices. Any competitor with any sense at all would rather quote out a few cakes to help you get a feel for pricing than have you undercharging. . Be concise, give them all the info they need to quickly quote out a cake.

Original message sent by Shortkaik

This is slightly off topic, but it gives me a good chance to bring up a question I've been wondering:  The advice I keep getting for figuring out how to price cakes is to be comparable to your local competition.  But how do you find out your local competition's prices?  They don't generally list them online here.  The only way I can think of is to do what this lady has done - ask them for a quote so you can compare what you would charge, but I haven't done it because just like this I feel it would be dishonest and [B]slimy.[/B]

How else would you find out your competitor's prices?  Would it be better to be upfront and e-mail them saying "I want to sell cakes like yours, please tell me what you charge so I can compete."?  That also feels pretty uncool.

Do you want to know what is slimy? Not doing your due diligence to learn what to charge and not having the backbone to charge it.

Original message sent by Gingerlocks

I guess my feeling is that we should be trying to show customers the benefits of high quality cakes, and the benefits of buying what we are selling and not worrying about trying to squash each other (other decorators)..squash Wal-Mart's "cakes" and the idea of low-cost=better. I don't see the point to trying to beat down other professionals, and under price them. 

I will openly talk to any of my other cake decorator friends in the area about pricing, and I have done this in the past. But [B]underhanded emails pretending to be customers; is where I take issue. [/B]

Being in business is not about be polite and sweet. There is nothing underhanded about making inquiries in order to correctly price your product.. But it is nasty, ugly and unconscionable to undercharge and mess up the cake industry and put people out of business. And that is happening.

And beware who you get your pricing info from. I had a conversation with someone on this board who had gotten together with a group of people in her area agreeing on what prices should be and they were all undercharging. It literally turned out we were in the same town and I serve the same area as this person. Well not exactly . I [I]should [/I]serve the same area, but don't because her group of 10 or whatever ruined the market on the north side of town. Well, I live on the north side of town, but sell most of my cakes far west, central and south because they brought prices down on the north side of town.

I'm not making that up. I'm sure the thread can be found .

Original message sent by pookashnoo

Funny you brought that up, it exactly what I thought the thread was about before I opened it. I too share the same feelings regarding checking what competitors would be charging. I think like the OP is saying, its sort of one thing to just put the question out there initially, its a totally different thing to not have a clue how to actually price your work and so get a quote from somebody else to use that, even worse if she undercuts the OP to try and get the business.

OP, that woman is so cheeky, don't let her bring you down. What a cheek!

Please see my above comments.

costumeczar Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 2:24am
post #21 of 27

There's nothing wrong with finding out what other bakers in your area charge, but the issue with the woman in question seems to be that she's using other bakers to do her quotes for her. There are going to be a range of pricing options in any market, and even though you know what other people charge doesn't mean that you should use that as a basis for your pricing. You don't want to be so outrageously out of the range of "normal" for your area, but it shouldn't be what determines your prices.

 

If everyone in your area is charging $2 a serving, and your cakes cost $2 a serving to make, should you charge $2 a serving? No, obviously not. You have to look at your own costs including advertising, licensing, blah blah blah plus the time it takes to make the cake and deal with customers, and that's your price. It's an individual issue that you can't base on what other people are charging.

 

That's why I asked why you consider Walmart the competition. I think of competition as people who have similar products and pricing to you. Walmart isn't really your competition because the people who shop there are basing their purchase on price. You want the customers who don't do that so that you can charge what the cake is worth, which is what your'e saying when you mention teaching people about why they shouldn't go to Walmart. So I see what you mean, but If someone wants to go to Walmart just because they're basing their buying decision on price, they're not your customer, and Walmart isn't your competition.

 

You mentioned the idea of low price= better, and that isn't really Walmart's angle. They play the low price=saves you money card. Even if people know that something more expensive is better, it doesn't mean that they care if their priority isn't getting a better cake, and a lot of people really don't care. They're just shopping for price, that's their priority, and they'll never be your customer.

 

Your competition is the people who do cakes that are similar to the cakes that you make, and who don't try to get the Walmart customer. Identifying them as competition doesn't mean that you have to undercut them and act all shady. Personally, I find that it makes more sense to not bother with the competition and just concentrate on your own marketing. I'm a home-based baker and I do mainly custom wedding cakes, and my competition are the other bakers in town who do custom weddings, whether they're store-front or home-based. I really don't pay attention to what any of them are doing, to tell the truth. Maybe once a year I'll think about checking their pricing, so I look on their websites, but for the most part I don't look at anything they're doing or their facebook pages or websites or anything. It makes more sense to pay attention to my own business and network with venues and other vendors who will be referring me to brides.

 

Walmart is definitely not my competition, because if someone wants to save money on the cake they're not going to come to me anyway. Not everyone is your customer and that's fine.

 

I'm probably rambling at this point but I hope you see what I'm talking about!

Gingerlocks Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 2:59am
post #22 of 27

I agree with a lot of whats being said here. If she had called me up and just said "Hi! I'm (From such and such cakes), and I am just wondering about your pricing". I would have been much more open to that conversation. Every day on this site people are constantly asking about pricing and don't mind talking to her about how to properly price cakes, honestly. She's an unregistered home business and I would have talked to her about that and how to get everything legitimate. Yes, it is business but I'm confident enough in my own work to know that she isn't really my competition; she's a cheep cake lady, who probably doesn't really understand the business end. I just don't like having my time wasted providing quotes that were never going to come to anything. 

AZCouture Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 3:37am
post #23 of 27

AExactly, it's a waste of time. Because of my gigantimous fan count on my Facebook page (and don't for one second interpret that as bragging, don't get me started on the utter BS that comes with that many fans, I'd prefer to go back to my unnoticed ten thousand or so), I get multiple time wasting messages a day. Everything from people requesting cakes from other continents, to "plzzzz like my page", to spamming, to winks and flirting (?!?!), to questions about pricing, to you name it. Waste. Of. Time.Arrggh! Sorry...went off topic there. :D

Yes, it's rude, it's irresponsible, and it's lazy.

NoahP Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 4:30am
post #24 of 27

My wife and I welcome competition.  That is, real competition that can hold a candle to our quality of taste and decoration.  The biggest problem we face if people that aren't licensed and have their health department permits.  We've spent sizable sums to be 'legal'.  I'll even send folks to our 'real' competition for dates which we have booked up.  However, I'll also report folks to the Health Department that aren't willing to go through the right process.  It's not cheap, but, it's the law.  Everyone should play by the same rules.  If they're playing underhand with you, then I see no reason to 'play fair' with them.  They're the one's that are trying to be deceitful, not you.

pookashnoo Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 5:40am
post #25 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 

This thread is about some piece of work too lazy to quote out her own cakes. Please, let's not confuse it with appropriate checking of market prices. Any competitor with any sense at all would rather quote out a few cakes to help you get a feel for pricing than have you undercharging. . Be concise, give them all the info they need to quickly quote out a cake.
Do you want to know what is slimy? Not doing your due diligence to learn what to charge and not having the backbone to charge it.
Being in business is not about be polite and sweet. There is nothing underhanded about making inquiries in order to correctly price your product.

Thanks Howsweet. This was exactly the point I was trying to make but my way with words wasn't as good as yours. Sorry, I should have been more clear in my response.

costumeczar Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 10:26am
post #26 of 27

A

Original message sent by Gingerlocks

I agree with a lot of whats being said here. If she had called me up and just said "Hi! I'm (From such and such cakes), and I am just wondering about your pricing". I would have been much more open to that conversation. Every day on this site people are constantly asking about pricing and don't mind talking to her about how to properly price cakes, honestly. She's an unregistered home business and I would have talked to her about that and how to get everything legitimate. Yes, it is business but I'm confident enough in my own work to know that she isn't really my competition; she's a cheep cake lady, who probably doesn't really understand the business end. I just don't like having my time wasted providing quotes that were never going to come to anything. 

If she's unregistered why don't you just turn her in? The health department would just come out and tell her to stop selling or get legal. That would take care of the issue of her being a sneaky wench, too.

Gingerlocks Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 1:50pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 


If she's unregistered why don't you just turn her in? The health department would just come out and tell her to stop selling or get legal. That would take care of the issue of her being a sneaky wench, too.

Honestly, I just don't want to get involved anymore in this "situation" with her. I absolutely know she is unlicensed but I have reported another place before, and basically it was a lot of hassle for me, and nothing came of it.

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