Here's how every initial conversation should go...
-I want a cake for X date
-I'm available for that date, how many people will it need to serve?
-Do you have ideas about the design?
-I want a Cowboys theme
-And what's your budget for the cake?
-I'm sorry, I can't do it for that. For 90 people it would be a starting price of X
Basically, ask the budget before you do a design, before you set an appointment, before you talk to them for more than two minutes. It saves you a lot of time that way.
I like this idea, but I think I am afraid to put people off by asking their budget...
Something like "My cakes start at $3-4/serving for basic flavors/fillings/design. Does that suit your budget, considering the design you have in mind will also affect the final price?"
Does that sound snarky?
I guess that asking is better than wasting both of our time, though....I guess I will try it. I write up so many quotes and different variations of the quote to try to be nice and offer options.