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Do you give wedding cake estimates over the phone?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have been getting a lot of calls from people saying they want to know the price of a wedding cake they have in mind. I also get a lot of emails on this as well. I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.

Do you give our estimated wedding cake or birthday cake prices over the phone? What is your policy or procedure? A wedding cake consultation 1st? I realize a lot of these people may be competitors calling for prices because many of them could never give me their full name (Is is wrong to ask for the person's full name when they 1st call or just ask for their 1st name?) and their only focus is price and not a meet-up / consultation.
post #2 of 20
I don't know if you advertise using a website, but I post my minimum party cake and wedding cake prices online, as well as my price per serving so they can do a minimum estimate on their own; and any baked goods like cupcakes, custom cookies etc are also right on the website. This helps cut down the sticker shock reaction for a lot of people. There will always be people that don't pay attention to that, or want a more specific price and don't like the answer though, unfortunately.

I find that I can now tell with about 80% accuracy when a client emails me asking for a quote if they will or will not be booking a cake with me. You get to learn the clues after awhile.

Personally I would rather them know up front an estimated price and if they don't like the prices, then they won't be taking up any more of your time, if you beat around the bush with pricing you could be losing more time and not ending up with a booking.

I always restate my minimums, then give them the estimated quote for what they are asking for, then I mention that if that does not fit within their budget we have other options that might work for them that are better priced. That way they don't feel like it's all or nothing.

HTH!
post #3 of 20
I don't care if a competitor gets my prices, so what? Who cares? icon_rolleyes.gif

I have a flat price per cake, so if someone calls and says "how much is a wedding cake" I find out how many people will be at the reception, where it will be, and then I can give them a price based on the size fo the cake and the delivery fee. If they have an idea about the design that's good to find out in case they want something crazy, but for the most part my pricing works for most designs.

Most people who are shopping on the basis of price alone won't end up being my client. They'll call around town until they find the lowest price and go there. It sounds like it's the same with you, and that people who are interested in getting a decent cake will take the time to talk to you.
post #4 of 20
I think it's odd to ask for a full name, why would you want someone's name, many people have it show up on caller ID anyway, and they can always lie to you too. I think it's good to give out your price. Give your minimum price first. Better to weed out those that can't afford your cakes than to find someone who can't afford one, buys one anyway, becomes a nightmare and then requests a refund at the end.

If you wait for a consultation to give a price you are going to waste your own time as well as the people who can't afford it's time,
post #5 of 20
I can do basic math for them - 150 guests times X per serving to give them a starting point that I can run on a calculator, but I don't go too much farther with it. I've learned that it's a bad idea to quote anything over the phone unless I run it thru Quickbooks first, and I won't run it thru Quickbooks until they email photos, tell me a flavor, and give me their budget. Obviously the conversation ends if they say a number that I know right off the bat that I can't work with for what they want.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.



Sounds like a case of 'if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it'!

At least these people are just calling / emailing you and not wasting your time having a consultation and eating all your cake samples.
post #7 of 20
My wedding cakes all fall into the same price per serving, buttercream one price, fondant another. I give them the price immediately. If my price is not what they were looking for, then I haven't wasted any time.

I too have all of my prices on the site so my calls are usually with informed customers. I rarely, if ever, get the lower budget bride even calling because of the website.

If you do not market to your target market, then you will get all income levels inquiring. Your goal is to cut down wasting time and market to the demographic that is your customer.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyCakes84

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I have noticed that everytime a customer calls with the 1st question being "how much is..?" and I give them an estimated price I never hear from them again. Even via email. However, when a customer calls requesting to meet and sends a cake photo with cake flavours without any mention of price, I get their business and all works out well.



Sounds like a case of 'if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it'!

At least these people are just calling / emailing you and not wasting your time having a consultation and eating all your cake samples.



Now that would be annoying. I believe it's why some bakers charge a fee for the tasting and then apply it to the order. Just as a way to sort out the serious customers without wasting time and product.
post #9 of 20
We continually got calls at our retail bakery asking about cake prices. I learned that when the caller would start off with, "How much are your cakes?" price was their only concern. I got smart and for these kinds of calls I responded, "If price is your main concern you will probably be happier calling Wal-Mart." That always ended the conversation.

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post #10 of 20
Whilst we are there, if any of you gurus would look at my notes on my fb page with my price guide and tell me if there is anything that needs editing, I would appreciate. We don't price according to servings, just size. I wanted to emphasize the range part as I feel there are just too many possibilities out there to just have the same prices. I notice here that you seasoned guys talk about having the same price. What if someone wants something more complicated than the norm?
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Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. -quotebites.com

http://m.facebook.com/Edible.Elegance.cakes.Zimbabwe
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73178569@N05/
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post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosech

Whilst we are there, if any of you gurus would look at my notes on my fb page with my price guide and tell me if there is anything that needs editing, I would appreciate. We don't price according to servings, just size. I wanted to emphasize the range part as I feel there are just too many possibilities out there to just have the same prices. I notice here that you seasoned guys talk about having the same price. What if someone wants something more complicated than the norm?



The only time my pricing won't cover the design is when they want something super elaborate like a five-tier cascade of gumpaste flowers with lots of gumpaste also between each of the tiers. But nobody wants that these days, they all want a plain cake with one big peony stuck into it. icon_smile.gif
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the posts. I actually live in an island in the Caribbean so we don't have pricing per cake slice or serving which I what I have learned is the norm in the U.S. Decorators charge by the no. of tiers and cost of ingredients etc and use a multiplier. I know they use a multiplier because they are still charging way less than the equivalent to U.S wedding cake prices and servings per person even for elaborate cakes.

Perhaps I should find a way to set a standard price to work with for buttercream and fondant cake servings so that it will be easier to give someone an estimate over the phone. I have seen people charge $4.50 for a fondant wedding cake serving but I always felt because each cake was so different it would be difficult to have a standard price.
We don't have caller ID here that will show up a person's name when they call. All we see is a home or cell number which is why I would ask someone for their name.
post #13 of 20
I ask their name just because it is polite. Because my prices are posted, my competition already has them.
post #14 of 20
[quote="Pearl645"]Perhaps I should find a way to set a standard price to work with for buttercream and fondant cake servings so that it will be easier to give someone an estimate over the phone. I have seen people charge $4.50 for a fondant wedding cake serving but I always felt because each cake was so different it would be difficult to have a standard price.quote]

It is not a standard price per serving - it is a starting price. There is a big difference. The conversation goes like this:
Customer: "Hi, I would like to know how much a cake will be."
Me: "How many does the cake have to feed?"
Customer: "100 people."
Me: "My buttercream cakes start at $3/serving and fondant covered cakes start at $3.50/serving. So for a cake to feed 100 people the starting price will be $300 - $350 depending on what icing you want. Now, the design can affect the price. Depending on the level of detail, such as sugar flowers, the price may go up."

At this point you can either ask what their budget is and continue or kill the conversation or if you don't like asking about their budget just ask if they want to discuss details. If you are out of their price range they will say no or if they are okay with the price the conversation continues.

Having a starting price on your website will help weed out people that are not able to afford your product. I highly suggest you think about this option for the future.
"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much! I like your style above. I must work out a starting price. I have a website but I haven't put my prices on it cuz i really didnt have any prices with a base to work from. Thanks again. I really feel more confident about my approach to this now,
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