I'm just starting my business out and every time someone wants a quote or to place an order I hate feeling like I'm scrambling trying to remember where to start and figure out what comes next and in what order. So I have a few questions about what steps you usually take until the order is finalized.
Should I have a different price for each cake recipe? For example basic cakes compared to cakes with fancier ingredients
How do you agree on designs with your client? Now that most people prefer emailing and texting instead of face to face meetings, I've already run into a few undesirable situations that could have been avoided otherwise. Like the time I agreed to make a cake ordered through a friend for her sister and I came to realize too late the design was a total copy exactly like a billion others all over the internet. NOT something I want to repeat for my reputation. I'd like to set up consultations where I can even go to them and IMO provide better service, but I understand this isn't doable for everyone. What are some alternatives you've tried?
Do you ever allow yourself some time to look up logistics for making certain designs? Another issue I've found on occasion is that I have to experiment or research how to make a certain design. Because a few times when I didn't, it turned out being a lot more expensive or time consuming than planned and therefore was undercharged. I mean, would it be unprofessional to give an initial price quote, hash out a design, look into logistics and possibly have to change the price quote afterwards? Should I instead ask for their decoration ideas first? Though they'd probably feel like I was stalling and taking forever just to give them a quote lol!
When is it time to pull out the contract and details?
Thanks in advance for your help! Having a better idea of a step by step plan for taking orders efficiently would definitely take away the headache! ;-)
Not all orders will require a consultation. When it's a small cake, I'm comfortable by email. I don't suggest texting or facebook unless the information is included in the contract or by followed by an email.
I ALWAYS look up techniques and how long it will take before I quote. Once you send your quote (if the client didn't make changes) I don't change my price even if in the end I underestimated my time and cost of supplies...that's my problem! I try to send my quote within 24 hours of getting the request.
There are several pricing tools available here on CC to price your cakes according to the ingredients (fancy or basic), time and required supplies. Having used these tools in the past and looking at competitive pricing in my area, I know how to price my cakes before decorations. I "pay" myself $20 per hour for decorating cakes. For supplies, I have a preferred vendor I usually go to.
Hope this helps.
I just started my business earlier this year and I haven't done any wedding cakes yet (not sure I want to yet either) so, my input is not based on those. They are another whole ball of wax.
I do not do face to face, at this point, because it's just not cost effective and I work from home. Some people like to speak on the phone and I have no issue with that but I do tell them that I like to confirm everything via email so I have it in writing and there is no confusion or errors on design, etc.
I priced out all my cakes, fillings, fondant, etc to see what I was really looking at as far as my cost. I came up with a base price per serving that would cover any cake, the cake board, and basic decoration. That is my price per serving. If you don't want fondant- same price. You don't want a filling- same price. I don't want clients talking my price down. You get the works or you get the basics, either way, Imma gettin paid :)
Anything extra like tiered cakes, sculpted toppers, sugar flowers, etc cost extra based on the cost/time it takes me to make them.
I have my base price on my website and all it includes. I don't get a crazy number of calls, but all the calls/emails I do get book with me and are not one bit taken back when I quote them the price because they already know pretty much what the starting price is gonna be. I never quote a price over the phone or right away. I get all the info, hash it out and email them a quote. I would never change the price unless the client changed the design.
The last two orders I've taken were accompanied by pics. They want the same cake, same colors, etc. I didn't like it at first but then I realized, hey, I don't have to design this one, just make it. The only cake I've turn down is a toilet cake. Ew, I do not want my name on fondant poo. So far, I've been lucky in that the rest of my clients have pretty much given me artistic license with maybe a few things they want.
The best advice I can give you is to spend as much time as you can reading these forums because people post about their cake disasters/triumphs and you can learn SO MUCH from them. Also, watch every tutorial you can on youtube and you'll be more prepared when you get orders for things you haven't done.
Thank you so much for your tips and advice! I'm making note of all of these! :D