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Working with Wedding Planners...do they normally upcharge?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I did some searching through the forums and found a piece here and there about this but was looking for anyone who had any more recent advice.

I was contacted by a wedding planner who eventually set up a tasting for the bride and groom. In the 3rd email she alerts me to the fact that they do a slight upcharge on vendor pricing...okay fine. She has already given me a budget and that's MY budget...whatever the REAL budget is I don't know.

I get an email from her yesterday asking me not to discuss pricing with the bride...okay way to tie up my hands. Half of the consultation revolves around price...price dictates design...DUH!

Now I haven't written back yet but I'm planning to tell her, that she's essentially giving me no leeway during the tasting. What am I suppose to do if the bride starts all this planning about what she wants and it's over her budget. It's a waste of EVERYONES time...

I wanted to find out if anyone else had any similar expierences and what possible advice they can provide.

Thanks!
post #2 of 39
RUN FROM THIS PLANNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A good planner does not upcharge her vendors. The bride pays the planner separately for their services. This planner is basically "double-dipping"

Now, I have planners that I work with that I might offer a slight discount, or a little something extra because of the business they bring my way, but that is totally my discretion and NOT something the planner tells the bride to expect.

At this point, politely explain that this is not a practice that you will partake in as it is unethical to the bride to not know the price of items she is paying for (sorry for the poor grammar! icon_redface.gif ). Then thank your lucky stars when she goes elsewhere.
Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

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Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.

www.IndyCakes.com
http://indycakes.blogspot.com/
www.FaceBook.com/IndyCakes
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post #3 of 39
Does sound a bit suspect to me! I know some work on a percentage - so if they spend 20,000 on wedding, planner gets say 2000 (no clue if that realistic or not!), and some (most? In the uk anyway) work for a flat fee. Not heard of any who add on to the price - although that maybe works the same way as the percentage fee, the fact she told you no money talk is just suspicious!

Id simply reply that you can not hold a consult or create a design without discussing the price with the couple, so perhaps she should book else where.
Or if you don't mind totally burning your bridge, say sure whatever, and make the first question you ask 'so what's the budget?'!
xx
post #4 of 39
Remember when you were a kid...."Liar, liar, pants on fire!" I think that applies here icon_smile.gif perhaps you should discreetly warn the bride?
post #5 of 39
I've been a planner for 18 years now and...NO we do not upcharge clients! We secure the best products and services we can within the limits of their budgets and are paid a percentage of the budget or a fee from the bride,not the vendors! Do not do business with this planner. Now the damage it can do you is that if the bride loves your wedding cake and wants an anniversary cake, or a baby shower cake, or a baby's 1st b'day cake, etc. she may think you are out of her price range because of the planner upcharging! I get TONS of extra business from my brides (whther I'm their planner or just their cake lady) after they are married for other events. YOu want your brides to recommend and reuse your services, not be scared away by the planner!

Cat
post #6 of 39
Agree wholeheartedly with jillmakescakes...RUN from this planner. If she's getting a percentage or fee for every service she organizes, the bride should be told that up front, not a hidden charge. That would make me wonder what else she's hiding. I would let her know that you can't work with her because pricing is always a topic of conversation because of design, etc. and you don't want to be put in a position of trying to come up with a reason why you can't accommodate a bride's design when the real reason is cost.
post #7 of 39
Ridiculous. I would warn the bride if there is any way to without ruining your rep in your area. Brides should know where their money is going. I wonder if this is the same planner that writes those wonderful articles about how you can have a cheap wedding by screwing over the cake maker. Looks like she's already doing that FOR the bride.
Melvira: Mistress of the dark... chocolate!

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Melvira: Mistress of the dark... chocolate!

Well that's just great. Peanut butter in my crack.
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post #8 of 39
It is your business. Do not let other people dictate your prices, designs, etc.

Do not work with people that try to control or restrict you. They need you, but you don't need them!
post #9 of 39
I would so totally narc out that planner! I would just ask them what the planner said the cake would cost, and then tell them your actual price. That is very unethical. I wonder how many cakes and flowers and such she "up-charged" and how much money she has pocketed?
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #10 of 39
I wouldn't waste my time. Tell that planner to go find another cake decorator to play games with. She can't tell you what to charge. She has lost her mind!
post #11 of 39
I don't have a lot to add. I offer finder's fees to planners who use me or discounts to the bride, if that's what the planner wants me to do (the latter is typically what happens). The bride always pays the vendors separately.

Now, I do have an all-in-one service. The bride gets all services thru me, I pay all vendors. The bride writes one check to me. But everything is still above board. I am working with 2 brides like that right now. One has a budget of $4,000 to buy the flowers, cake and DJ. She doesn't want to deal with interviewing vendors - she just wants to show up and get married. She showed me flower pics of what she wants, I showed them to my favorite florist, asked her how much - it fit in the budget and I hired her. I hired a very good DJ, I am obviously making the cake (she did a have a cake tasting). It all fit in the $4,000 I had to spend. I have my normal cake profit and a teeny tiny bit left over for the referrals of others... not even 10%. I really don't care about those commissions. I do very little work - send an email, make a phone call.

But as we go along the bride gets a break down of what each vendor is charging and all vendor info - an honest breakdown. And she is free to go directly to the vendor if she wishes.

I don't get many brides like this, but they do exist. My favorite was the time I was handed $10,000, told which venue she picked out and had already paid and told to spend the rest and make a pretty wedding. That rocked! She was very happy on her wedding day and i made an honest living.

But the situation described by the OP just sounds plain funky.
post #12 of 39
A reputible planner with provide the client with reciepts for each and every purchase at the end of the process. We present ours in a small plastic pocketed folder that has the items itemized on one spreadsheet and then on the other side is a packet with all the reciepts. This is as much for our own integrity as it is for the client. They know where all the money went as well as have all the contact information should they ever wish to refer or contact that vendor again.

Cat
post #13 of 39
I don't have much to add here, with the exception to say when I read the part of "don't discuss your pricing with the bride" I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and felt like yelling at her myself. EXXXXCUSE me??

We're a business here, no one comes into my business and tells me what I can and cannot discuss with a potential client! I would most definatly be telling the bride my fees at the tasting, what this planner does not want is to be busted for padding the bill!
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me". Erma Bombeck
~~~
If God is for us, who can be against us?
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When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me". Erma Bombeck
~~~
If God is for us, who can be against us?
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post #14 of 39
I've actually been in that situation. worse Life Lesson of my LIFE!!!!! icon_evil.gif It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to talk to a bride about design and menu and NOT talk about pricing with her. Double-Ditto to everthing jill said. GOOD planners do not operate this way. icon_evil.gif

I have had a conversation with one planner who upcharged but she was very upfront with her client about it. She covered, with the client, the fees she's charged for everything she touched and handled. The client knew the cake was $400 and that planner added a $50 fee for coordinating the whole thing with the baker on behalf of the bride. I have less of a problem with this kind of honesty than with the kind of planner discussed here.
post #15 of 39
I bet the bride doesn't even know this person is upcharging. The planner doesn't want you to mention the price of the cake so that her cover is not blown. She will just tell the bride the cake is X amount and keep the change. Very unethical indeed.
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