Dealing With Customers Budgets

Business By Jackie80 Updated 15 Jul 2014 , 12:44pm by LoveMeSomeCake615

Jackie80 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 6:57pm
post #1 of 48

Ok, this is just for s*#ts and giggles. I'm sure it's been stated in previous pricing threads but I'm curious as to how others handle when a customer walks in your shop, or calls you for pricing regarding specialty cakes and their guest list is 100/100+. You give them your base price and they continue to give you details regarding their order (meaning to me, they're fine with pricing). Then you ask their budget and they say $200<..... Do you attempt to figure something out on that budget/guest list, refer them to someone else or kindly give them a cupcake/cookie and thank them for stopping by???

47 replies
as you wish Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 7:04pm
post #2 of 48

A$200 to serve 100 guests? No, we are done here. Bu-bye. Actually, I have to edit this to say that it might depend on the customer. Perhaps they just don't understand what the cost of custom cake really is, in which case I would take a minute to politely educate them. But if they are firm that they expect to provide dessert for their party at $2/serving, I am not interested.

Jackie80 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 7:19pm
post #3 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by as you wish 

$200 to serve 100 guests? No, we are done here. Bu-bye.
Actually, I have to edit this to say that it might depend on the customer. Perhaps they just don't understand what the cost of custom cake really is, in which case I would take a minute to politely educate them. But if they are firm that they expect to provide dessert for their party at $2/serving, I am not interested.

LOL...I hear you. I remember a few years back I got a call for a 3D piano cake to feed 100+ people for a 50th birthday celebration. When I quoted them a price at *wait for it*...over $100 they went ballistic! lolol

leah_s Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:09pm
post #4 of 48

AI cut 'em loose. Thanks for thinking of me. Id like to be able to refer you to someone but I don't know any professionals who can work with your budget. Have you called WalMart?

And don't think I haven't said it. I do not suffer fools easily.

Jackie80 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:23pm
post #5 of 48

LOL good stuff leah_s!! I've said the same a few occasions. Hilarious

costumeczar Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:29pm
post #6 of 48

I just say "I'm sorry, I can't do it for that. If you got the cake from me it would be around X amount" They're allowed to have a budget and I'm allowed to not make their cake for their budget, ha haha!

Jackie80 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:44pm
post #7 of 48

...This is true! I have people still try and have me come up with item combinations or cake options afterwards. I appreciate you wanting me to create something for you but I don't know what tell you. My prices won't magically change because we're quoting less cake but adding on cupcakes. lol

Jackie80 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:47pm
post #8 of 48

I just had another LOL moment. I think of when you get the customers who after all that give you the "I'm open for whatever ideas you have"...my suggestion is usually Walmart.

embersmom Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 11:29pm
post #9 of 48

And then they go to Walmart or the local supermarket and ask for the same exact kind of cake.

 

And we tell them we're sorry, but what you're looking for is completely out of scope of what we're able to do, and perhaps you should revisit your budget in order to get what you want because NOBODY is going to make your 3-D multi-tier cake for the price you're quoting.  Not even us.

 

ETA:  If I sound a bristly, it's because I've been running into these type of customers all week.  Yesterday we had a woman who wanted to know, in detail, what we offered for a baby shower cake.  Showed her the Deco Pac kits, told her we could make booties and/or blocks out of icing, her choice of colors, etc.  She wasn't happy, so I asked her what design or such she was thinking of.  Turned out she was expecting some kind of multi-tier fondant WOW factor.  When I told her that 1) we don't do neither fondant nor tiers, and 2) if we did the price would be minimum twice what she was willing to spend, she replied, "Well, you're a supermarket.  You're supposed to be cheap."

 

And I replied sweetly, "And what you want isn't cheap by any means.  I suggest you go to [name of 3 retail bakeries in the area]."

 

She said, "I went to all three.  That's why I'm here."

 

I muffled a snort as she stomped off.

Jackie80 Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 12:39am
post #10 of 48

WooooooooW! lolol That's bananas! After visiting 3 bakeries they come to the supermarket still expecting fondant tiered "cheap cakes"?! I mean c'mon people, sheesh! Thanks for sharing -embersmom

costumeczar Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 12:44am
post #11 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by embersmom 
 

And then they go to Walmart or the local supermarket and ask for the same exact kind of cake.

 

And we tell them we're sorry, but what you're looking for is completely out of scope of what we're able to do, and perhaps you should revisit your budget in order to get what you want because NOBODY is going to make your 3-D multi-tier cake for the price you're quoting.  Not even us.

 

ETA:  If I sound a bristly, it's because I've been running into these type of customers all week.  Yesterday we had a woman who wanted to know, in detail, what we offered for a baby shower cake.  Showed her the Deco Pac kits, told her we could make booties and/or blocks out of icing, her choice of colors, etc.  She wasn't happy, so I asked her what design or such she was thinking of.  Turned out she was expecting some kind of multi-tier fondant WOW factor.  When I told her that 1) we don't do neither fondant nor tiers, and 2) if we did the price would be minimum twice what she was willing to spend, she replied, "Well, you're a supermarket.  You're supposed to be cheap."

 

And I replied sweetly, "And what you want isn't cheap by any means.  I suggest you go to [name of 3 retail bakeries in the area]."

 

She said, "I went to all three.  That's why I'm here."

 

I muffled a snort as she stomped off.

hahahahaha! "That's why I'm here..." Good lord.

Jackie80 Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 12:47am
post #12 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by embersmom 
 

And then they go to Walmart or the local supermarket and ask for the same exact kind of cake.

 

And we tell them we're sorry, but what you're looking for is completely out of scope of what we're able to do, and perhaps you should revisit your budget in order to get what you want because NOBODY is going to make your 3-D multi-tier cake for the price you're quoting.  Not even us.

 

And I replied sweetly, "And what you want isn't cheap by any means.  I suggest you go to [name of 3 retail bakeries in the area]."

 

And they'll swear you're being rude...I'm almost too quick at times to tell people to make it themselves and let me know how that works out.

TheItalianBaker Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 5:04pm
post #13 of 48

AI had a person calling last Friday at 3.30pm for a 3tiers graduation cake, buttercream and fondant, around 118 servings. Her budget was $300.. Not even mentioning she needed the cake for the next day at 9am. Cheap AND rush?! Too much for me, no thanks..

I nicely told her I couldn't help her with her budget, my price would be XXX and she said she called 3other bakeries in town, "you are all so expensive.."

embersmom Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 10:40pm
post #14 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackie80 
 

WooooooooW! lolol That's bananas! After visiting 3 bakeries they come to the supermarket still expecting fondant tiered "cheap cakes"?! I mean c'mon people, sheesh! Thanks for sharing -embersmom


Customers never cease to amaze me :shock: 
 

embersmom Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 10:44pm
post #15 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackie80 
 

And they'll swear you're being rude...I'm almost too quick at times to tell people to make it themselves and let me know how that works out.


You know, I was tempted to say something like that.  Really tempted.  That's when I pulled out the big grin with the sweet voice :D

embersmom Posted 8 Jun 2014 , 10:53pm
post #16 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheItalianBaker 

I had a person calling last Friday at 3.30pm for a 3tiers graduation cake, buttercream and fondant, around 118 servings. Her budget was $300..
Not even mentioning she needed the cake for the next day at 9am.
Cheap AND rush?! Too much for me, no thanks..

I nicely told her I couldn't help her with her budget, my price would be XXX and she said she called 3other bakeries in town, "you are all so expensive.."


I get that "expensive" line too a lot, even with our cakes.  Our prices went up a dollar for each size cake about a month ago, and good lord, you'd think it was the end of the world with some of these people.  We had one customer who literally wept upon realizing that our nearest competitor's prices also went up and she literally didn't know what to do for whatever celebration was involved because she didn't have enough money on her.

 

For all the snark I think and occasionally voice, though, I do feel badly for many of these people.  My store borders a very wealthy area, but just across the way is one of the larger working class towns in our area.  We get both customers.  The ones from the wealthy area don't want to part with their money.  The ones from the working class area don't have the money.  We're kind of stuck in the middle, you know?

liz at sugar Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 12:17am
post #17 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by embersmom 
 

For all the snark I think and occasionally voice, though, I do feel badly for many of these people.  My store borders a very wealthy area, but just across the way is one of the larger working class towns in our area.  We get both customers.  The ones from the wealthy area don't want to part with their money.  The ones from the working class area don't have the money.  We're kind of stuck in the middle, you know?

 

If you don't have the money for a cake, but have somehow made having a cell phone, cable/satellite tv, and cigarettes a priority, that is when you need to learn how to mix up a box cake mix in a foil pan and top it with a can of frosting.  Voila, a $5 cake.

 

Sorry to sound snarky, because I realize some people truly don't have any money.  But for every 1 person that doesn't have any money, there are 5 more who just make poor choices.

 

You can't have everything.

 

Liz

johnson6ofus Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 12:40am
post #18 of 48

The customer budget question is always met with, "you may not be able to afford me" and THAT'S OK!

 

Choices are-

1, Awesome custom cake

2. Walmart/ super market cake

3. Box mix, canned frosting homemade,

 

Or any point in between. It's the customer's choice where/ how they spend their $$$. No event requires a custom cake at great expense. Some great loving, happy, memorable events happen over a $5 cake, you know?

 

We, as cake artists, of varying skill and talent, need to appreciate that cake is the most important part to us, but not everyone. :) 

Jackie80 Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 12:56am
post #19 of 48

You know, I never thought about customers in turn going to the supermarket giving the employees a hard time to create extravagant cakes... thanx -embersmom!:D Not that I ever thought it's beyond them to do that but generally when you go to the supermarket they advertise sheet cakes, ice cream cakes, cupcakes...so I'm thinking the average customer wouldn't expect anything more than just that. Guess they're not so average.

costumeczar Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 2:46am
post #20 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 

 

If you don't have the money for a cake, but have somehow made having a cell phone, cable/satellite tv, and cigarettes a priority, that is when you need to learn how to mix up a box cake mix in a foil pan and top it with a can of frosting.  Voila, a $5 cake.

 

Sorry to sound snarky, because I realize some people truly don't have any money.  But for every 1 person that doesn't have any money, there are 5 more who just make poor choices.

 

You can't have everything.

 

Liz

It IS about priorities...If your priority is to have cigarettes I don't know how you can afford anything, they're so expensive. But even the people who do have money go into shock when they hear prices sometimes when they're spending a lot overall. I just had a friend who's not doing too badly income-wise balk at $150 for an iphone cake for her son's birthday for 30 people. She said that was more than she had been planning to spend because she also had to buy food for all of these teenagers, etc etc. So I told her that honestly, teenagers won't care, and that if she wanted to put the money into the food then she should just go get a gocery store cake and they would be happy with that. If she was prioritizing the food over the cake that's fine, but I think people just don't stop to consider that prices won't drop in one area just because you have to spend more money in another.

Jackie80 Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 2:54am
post #21 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

...but I think people just don't stop to consider that prices won't drop in one area just because you have to spend more money in another.

I agree. The thing that always come to mind is the fact that people are willing to pay the DJ, the Photographer, the Greeter, lol and it's no big deal to them. But when it comes to their custom cake they think it's ridiculous because I mean after all "it's just cake"...

SunshineCarbs Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 4:04am
post #22 of 48

 

These cookies are $4 each (they're about 4.5" tall and 3" wide). After the first time I put them out anywhere, I marked them, clearly, as being $4, with a minimum of a dozen cookies needing to be ordered, and requiring that the # of characters be of no more than half the number of cookies ordered (so you order 12 cookies, you get 6 characters. This was an order of 16 cookies and 2 dozen speech bubbles). 
 

They take 2 days to do, though it's about 2 hours of decorating work; however because of the royal icing technique I use, and the time to make royal icing transfers, they need to be protected throughout that time, but not sealed, because it's royal icing, and I like to let them sit for about 45 minutes between sections)

They are only a *little* profitable when there's one order in. I decided on the price because I can actually do up to 96 of these cookies in that same 2 day period, which is actually very profitable, with matters of scale, and it's unfair to charge one person more just because they order when no one else has. That's a sign to me to hustle more.

 

But the fact is when there's only one order in, it's pretty close on costs. Despite this, and the fact I don't post it *anywhere* without mentioning the cost and the minimum orders, about once a week I get, "That much???" For *cookies*???"

I think they really *do* believe the Keebler elves exist.

annabananana Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 7:24am
post #23 of 48

Priorities, for real! I had a lady balk at paying $3.50 for a buttercream cake for her daughter's sweet 16, for 50 people, acted like she was destitute and such. I saw on her facebook, when I was going to send her a message that I would give her 15% off, that she had checked in a Disney World. So no, I didn't sent the message. I want to go to Disney World some day, too! 

costumeczar Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 10:46am
post #24 of 48

A

Original message sent by Jackie80

I agree. The thing that always come to mind is the fact that people are willing to pay the DJ, the Photographer, the Greeter, lol and it's no big deal to them. But when it comes to their custom cake they think it's ridiculous because I mean after all "it's just cake"...

I know some DJs who would argue about people being willing to pay them, hahaha! "Why should I get someoneto do that when I can just use an ipod?"

Anyway, i once had a client whose first priority was the cake. She didn't care what it cost, how many people it served, she just wanted a huge cake. She got it and was super excited. I later found out that she had never finished paying the venue their balance, and the photographer hadn't gotten paid either. I guess those things didn't matter,so why should she actually pay for them?

Jackie80 Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 11:22am
post #25 of 48

A[quote I was going to send her a message that I would give her 15% off, that she had checked in a Disney World. So no, I didn't sent the message. I want to go to Disney World some day, too!  [/quote] [B][/B]Lolol that would probably make me uptight for a min.because I don't understand people at times.[B][/B]

Original message sent by costumeczar

I know some DJs who would argue about people being willing to pay them, hahaha! "Why should I get someoneto do that when I can just use an ipod?" [B]this[/B] is [B]true[/B]

Anyway, i once had a client whose first priority was the cake. She didn't care what it cost, how many people it served, she just wanted a huge cake. She got it and was super excited. I later found out that she had never finished paying the venue their balance, and the photographer hadn't gotten paid either. I guess those things didn't ,so why should she actually pay for them?

[B] wow! Like how do you do that?!...I guess my question is not how, again, I just don't understand people at times. And not trying to really, that's crazy.[/B]

costumeczar Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 2:15pm
post #26 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackie80 


wow! Like how do you do that?!...I guess my question is not how, again, I just don't understand people at times. And not trying to really, that's crazy.

no kidding...But it's a good story of how not to get paid. If you don't get paid up front before making whatever custom service you're doing, you run the risk of not getting paid at all.

cupadeecakes Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 3:29pm
post #27 of 48

A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders the day I realized that not everyone can afford my cakes and that's OK.  I can simplify or scale down my design to fit into a clients budget, but sometimes that's not enough.  Ferrari doesn't sit around worried and coming up with thousands of ideas on how to get their car in my driveway!

AZCouture Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 3:33pm
post #28 of 48

AI have one that mysteriously wrote the check for HALF the amount that's due for something at the end of the month.

lcubed83 Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 4:20pm
post #29 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I have one that mysteriously wrote the check for HALF the amount that's due for something at the end of the month.

So does she get half the cake?!!!

MimiFix Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 4:25pm
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I have one that mysteriously wrote the check for HALF the amount that's due for something at the end of the month.

 

Which half does she want? :wink:

 

LL 

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