How Do You Handle Being Asked To Bid For Wedding Cake Job.

Business By phennig Updated 29 Aug 2015 , 9:36pm by gwertheim

phennig Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 12:53am
post #1 of 36

This was a first for me and I'm not sure how to handle it: A few months ago I got a call from a mother of the bride asking me about doing the cake for her daughters wedding. They had seen and eaten a cake of mine at another wedding and really liked the cake. She stopped by for a cake tasting and asked me for a price but didn't know what style of cake or even for sure what flavors. Just wanted a ballpark number for a cake serving 300 people. I gave her a median price based on 300 people.  I never heard anything back so just forgot about it. Yesterday I got a FB message saying that they've narrowed down their top three bakers for the cake and will choose whichever one has the best price. She asked me to put in a bid for the job and for my "best price"  I had told her my lowest price per person during the cake tasting. Just frustrated and wondered if anyone else bid for cake jobs or just stuck to their guns. I felt like writing back and telling her I really didn't want to be the cheapest!! Oh and by the way the wedding is in two weeks!

35 replies
cupcakemama3 Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 1:52am
post #2 of 36

First of all, I wouldn't waiver on the price. Your prices are your prices and that's it. You have to cover the materials and overhead and your time is precious! Secondly, I can't believe they have let it come down to two weeks before the wedding. If I was the bride I would be freaking out about who is doing my cake or in this cake will anyone be able to my cake because odds are most bakers are probably booked up. Sounds like they might have done that thinking they would get a lower price that way. "Who ever is left and is not booked will give us s cheap price just to have a job to do!" Also, I don't like to waiver prices or bid because I feel like if I do for one I need to do for all-unless it's my family. 

Jeff_Arnett Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 2:32am
post #3 of 36

Oh, that's an easy one.  I will tell you really quickly....if I am not your FIRST CHOICE I am NOT A CHOICE AT ALL!  Period!  I don't play second fiddle to anyone, nor am I your backup plan when another falls through. 

*Last edited by Jeff_Arnett on 23 Aug 2015 , 2:32am
maybenot Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 2:43am
post #4 of 36

2 weeks out from a 300 person wedding and they're just getting around to ordering the cake NOW????   And they want you to bid on it?


Run, run, run.  No way this can turn out well.


I agree with Jeff and mama3--my price is my price.  I gave it to  you before, remember?  And now, IF I have the date open and IF I don't need to get any specialty supplies rush ordered, you'll have to pay a rush fee of $xxx.00, cash up front, paid in full, and absolutely NO changes--not design, not serving size, not delivery time, not venue.


Sheesh, people...............

Gingerlocks Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 2:50am
post #5 of 36

I can't believe she would ask for "bids"..I guess giving a quote is kind of a bit; but that's just the price not the absolute lowest you can do it for before you risk not making any money. 


As this wedding is 2 weeks away; if it were me I would get rid of this woman and not quote her. She will be a PITA customer; not only have they left this to the last min they are also doing this 'bidding' crap..I would tell her I am booked and leave it at that. This is the type of customer that will complain after the wedding that something was wrong and will want a discount. 

Johelie Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 3:10am
post #6 of 36

Some people just seem to think they are doing Cake decoraters/ bakers a favor. I would not do it and tell her I Already gave her a quote and that I'm booked.  With two weeks left and that many guests she should be charged extra!  People should not have the power to dictate your prices. If anything, last minute orders are stressful and turn out to be more work.  I had someone order from me one week before their event because  someone bailed on them. I had to rush order supplies.  I charged a pretty Penney and demanded payment in full up front.  I made their baby shower cake and he should have come to me to begin with!  Someone must have given him a cheaper price and then could not come through! He apologized and thanked me when I got there with the cake. 

I'm sorry  but this stroke a nerve. I had another upsetting situation this week as well. A Bride wanted me to tell her how much a cake would cost based on a photo she pulled off the internet but that she just needed it to be "a bit smaller." I had no info, so how could I price it? I  requested the number of guests/flavors etc. and explained I needed the info to give her an idea of the price and would be more than happy to give her a consultation. I really don't like to copy cakes and I usually make something custom; but told her that if she really wanted that cake I could do something similar but couldn't promise that it would be 100 % the same since it is made by hand.  She never responded! Ughhhh!

I thought I was honest, I don't over promise or make up numbers just to hook soemone. She has seen my work and given good referrals from friends that had my cakes.  Pricing takes time and work, we just don't pull it out of a hat. Our work is more valuable than that.  Some people just want numbers and don't know or even care about the skill and time required. 

Gingerlocks Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 3:41am
post #7 of 36

@Johelie you're completely right some people think they are doing us a big favor by making a order with us. I mean we should be so grateful to: "get our name out there", "you'll get some professional photo's out of it, so it works out great for you!", and "it's just cake after all, it's easy right!"..(all things I've heard as reason's to give discounts). 

Apti Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 4:30am
post #8 of 36

If you have the date open and wish to accept this order, I would treat this exactly like any other quote extended during a cake tasting.  If you would normally add a rush fee for less than 2 weeks notice, add it.  Other than the following stipulations * below, treat it exactly as you would any other customer inquiry.  

*Due to the "rush" nature of the required date (2 weeks out),  design elements and flavors must be agreed upon in writing, no later than 24 hours from receipt of the quote. 

*Once design elements and flavors have been agreed upon, 100% of the amount due must be paid that day. 

*No refunds or changes to contract.

@Johelie, I know it sounds as if the customer is demeaning the work and skill required for a custom cake, but the truth of business is that the "customers DO just want numbers (prices), and the customers DON'T know or care about the skill and time required".   

Example:  I don't care how  a mechanic fixes my car, I just want it fixed as quickly as possible for the least expensive price.   If I take the time and get quotes from 10 different mechanics then go back and ask my top three mechanics to give me the best price to get it fixed by September 1, I will hear one of the following: 
"Sorry.  I am booked solid until September 3."
"No.  I will not negotiate pricing.  I am (or am not) booked solid until September 1."
"Yes, I may be able to reduce my price by "$xxx".  I am (or am not) booked solid until September 1."

*Last edited by Apti on 23 Aug 2015 , 4:38am
julia1812 Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 5:34am
post #9 of 36

@Apti: I know it sounds as if the customer is demeaning the work and skill required for a custom cake, but the truth of business is that the "customers DO just want numbers (prices), and the customers DON'T know or care about the skill and time required". 

You've got a point there if I think about it that way. ...

Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 5:34am
post #10 of 36

My first thought was "Heck NO!"  I would just ignore her, but we need to be professional so...

If you don't want to do it which most here would recommend, send her an e-mail telling her "I sent you a quote on x/xx. I require payment in full x weeks in advance of the wedding date.  As that day has passed I am no longer available.  I wish you well with your event."

(If you are free and need the money) "I sent you a quote on x/xx.  If you would like me to make your cake I require payment in full today by x:xx.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Please let us know how you handled this and what happened!

Johelie Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 1:29pm
post #11 of 36

@apti.  i'm just referring to my situation, there are people that may give a price just based on a picture but I will not give a price if I don't know what size cake I have to make. It was a simple and  fair question. It was a very detailed cake with a Winter landscape of trees and mountains all around in every tier. If it was a plain buttercream cake with a ribbon is one thing but not when it comes to a cake that would take hours of decorating time. It's not just a "quick" cheap fix. I was just venting on here, lol, but I would never complain to someone else. 

Jinkies Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 1:45pm
post #12 of 36

A 300 serving cake is a lot of money to just say no.  I agree with others-keep it professional.  If you have time and would like to do the cake-give her your price and simply let her know that you need to have everything squared up and paid by xxx date otherwise you will be unable to do it as you have other cake orders.

That's it- stick to your guns.  Even if your price is higher, she may go with you as you seem more professional and have your act together.

Of course, if you don't want to do it, simply tell her you're sorry and you are booked and wish her well with the wedding.  Even if you don't get the order, she will have nothing bad to say about you.

I would be annoyed too but don't be offended.  People simply don't know the time and effort that goes into such a huge cake and I'm sure they are just trying to keep the cost of the wedding down.  You can sympathize, just don't make it your problem.

Hope it works out for you :)

julia1812 Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 2:30pm
post #13 of 36

Just a thought. ...but maybe you are her only horse left in the race as others dropped out or were anyway mor expensive or...whatever. I'm saying, maybe she doesn't want to sound desperate by saying "I messed it up. If you don't do it there will be no cake. I pay whatever price you ask." So she pretends there are others pitching for the deal too.  Just stick to a price YOU are happy with! 

-K8memphis Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 4:42pm
post #14 of 36

"but I will not give a price if I don't know what size cake I have to make. It was a simple and  fair question. It was a very detailed cake with a Winter landscape of trees and mountains all around in every tier. If it was a plain buttercream cake with a ribbon is one thing but not when it comes to a cake that would take hours of decorating time. It's not just a "quick" cheap fix. I was just venting on here, lol, but I would never complain to someone else."

give a per serving quote and then do the math for a 100 serving cake -- that'd be $8.00 per serving -- for example if you need 100 servings it would be $800 -- 200 servings $1,600 plus delivery and tax

maybe something like that -- of course you should mention your minimum too -- like if she came back with well we need seventeen and a half servings but three of those people are on a diet so just really under 15 closer to 13 -- then you say sure i can do that for $250 because i have a $250 minimum 

-K8memphis Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 5:04pm
post #15 of 36

like if she came back with well we need seventeen and a half servings but three of those people are on a diet so just really under 15 closer to 13 -- then you say sure i can do that for $250 because i have a $250 minimum 

oh but then she'd add, 'actually most of those are couples who will probably share a slice so we could get by with a 9 serving three tier cake'

if she keeps going any farther she'll be coming up with negative servings, 'we need 'c' minus 3 servings...and counting'

geez buy a couple moon pies and get on with it

smile.png


costumeczar Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 6:01pm
post #16 of 36

Oh hell no. There's a show on this evening that I'm waiting to see because someone told me how horrible it was, and it sounds just like this situation. It's a couple who's looking for a wedding cake a few days before the wedding and they have three bakers make mini-cakes of their designs, then they choose one and the "winner" gets to make the cake. Someone sent me the link and asked me if this was a normal thing to do, and we were saying that if people start bidding for cakes a short time before the wedding, oh forget it. (If anyone wants to be horrified it's on the Cooking Channel tonight at 7pm EST.)

Anyway, anyone who's waited this long to book a wedding cake for 300 people is going to be difficult. I personally wouldn't even bother answering because if it's taken this long to book it my psycho detector would be going off, and I'd be expecting trouble. She's basically said that she's shopping based on price, but those are the people who also complain the most after the fact when they're trying to get refunds for imaginary problems. Some work isn't worth doing, and this whole situation stinks. I'd want no part of it.

Jinkies Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 6:11pm
post #17 of 36

Ooooh, I'm setting my DVR for that one!!

Apti Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 7:38pm
post #18 of 36

I'm with Jinkies--setting my dvr and making the popcorn.  I love horror movies. 

mccantsbakes Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 7:46pm
post #19 of 36

That show is actually kind of cool......only because I can faun over beautiful cake art.   I saw an episode two weeks ago.....the customers were a little nutso over silly things.   

The show feels basically like a smash up of "cake wars" and "house hunters" and "chopped" sort of......


jgifford Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 8:13pm
post #20 of 36

"Dear Really Confused Bride,

I am not a contractor and am not building you a house.  I do not submit bids.  I gave you a quote when you requested it, and that price still stands.  However, you may now add a PITA fee, the amount of which will be determined upon delivery."

No matter what her reasoning is, this is insulting to a professional baker.

Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 8:13pm
post #21 of 36

Cake Hunters - and they make them sample cakes with the proposed design!  You know people are going to expect that now too...

costumeczar Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 11:12pm
post #22 of 36

I'm watching the show now and no, just no.


edited to add: this show is totally set up and fake, like every other "reality" show, of course. But if people start thinking that they can wait until the last minute and have people compete for their business there are going to be a lot of brides getting last-minute cakes from walmart because they can't find anyone to do their custom cake.

*Last edited by costumeczar on 23 Aug 2015 , 11:32pm
Jinkies Posted 23 Aug 2015 , 11:42pm
post #23 of 36

Just watched it.  Those two were a total nightmare!  That is why I like party cakes.

Johelie Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 12:53am
post #24 of 36

This thread ended on a Hilarious note!!  We get a bit frustrated but have a good laugh at the end of the day. Good luck! Thank you k8memphis!!!

indydebi Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 11:19am
post #25 of 36

I used to start a lot of conversations with "Contrary to what you see on cake tv shows......."

I feel sorry for those who shop by price only.  If they compare price per servings ONLY they may not get the best price.  There are lots of factors into pricing a cake and price-per-serving isn't always the best way to get "the best" price.

 http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/2009/10/lowest-price-isnt-always-cheapest.html 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 11:33am
post #26 of 36

Simple...politely tell them to poke off. :-)

Natka81 Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 11:51am
post #27 of 36

My husband works in costruction field. A bid doesn't mean the  lowest price.  It  is simply a quote. Of course customers will go with lowest bid. But it does not meat that cake maker have to beat their prices to the lowest. OP already submitted your bid at tasting appointment.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 3:51pm
post #28 of 36

natka -- just wanted to say hey, nice to see you around

johelie -- you're welcome  facepunch.png

Natka81 Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 3:58pm
post #29 of 36

K8memphis, Thanks. I am busy working  as a secretary/ bookeper for my husbands business, plus kids and a little bit of cakes orders.

Claire138 Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 4:03pm
post #30 of 36

I know I'm late to this party but the idea of bidding is madness. End.

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