I had a customer call me and ask me to do this http://www.wilton.com/recipes/recipesandprojects/wedding/gki_wedcake.cfm?section=wedding&subsection=cakeinfo&tertiary=designhome She wanted that exact cake and stand. The cake itself is nothing but the stand well, I dont own that stand and its pretty pricey. I told her I would have to add the cost of the stand into the price of the cake which would just about double the price. She didnt like that idea. She had her heart set on that exact cake and did not want to make any changes. The cake design really revolves around the stand so I understand her not wanting to go with a different kind of assembly. I passed her onto a decorator here in town who has her own shop and Im sure has that stand.
My question is if the cake the customer asks for requires the use of equipment you dont already own and dont have the option of renting do you add the cost of said equipment into the price of their cake? Ive bumped into this problem before when someone asked for a specific size of cake that I didnt have the pan for. I bought the pan and added the cost to their price but a $10 pan is nothing compared to an almost $200 cake stand.
It just seems wrong to have customer A buy the stand but all subsequent customers would only have to pay a rental fee to use it. Is this how its done?
Check out Ebay. You may be able to find some of the stands and things you could rent to customers at a decent price and build your supply of such things slowly.
You could try your local cake supply store sometimes they rent out stands. I know my local store does, also check with other bakeries maybe they would rent it if not in use.
do you have places nearby that you could hire stands and pans from.... we do
Myself, I would buy it at Michael's or Joann's using one of their famous 40% off coupons and just charge the bride a rental fee. But I have a full time job where I can afford the investment. I understand not everyone is in my same situation. At least with the coupon you could get it for cheaper and then just make up the difference in rental fees. Who knows, you may be able to use it again sooner or later...
Really, IMO, unless you're going to let her keep the stand after the wedding, you shouldn't charge her the retail price for it. Buying special cake stands is a cost of doing business that becomes an investment in your business. What usually ends up happening is you have an order that needs something you don't have, so you purchase it, which eats up your profit for that order. In the future, though, you recoup that expense through rental fees. You should charge her a rental fee for that stand, but not the full purchase price of it. Personally, I don't buy specialty types of stands unless I think there will be enough demand for it in the future to at least break even on it. I usually try to persuade the customer to use a stand I have or to let me alter the design before I go buy another stand.
There is only one cake supply store in our city and she does not rent out her stands. I even contacted a couple of the catering places here and they don't rent them out either. I'm kind of stuck either buying them myself and hoping someone will someday ask for a cake using that stand or passing the cost onto the customer.
If you have the customer purchase the stand (in full) I'd call it theirs to keep. : ) So, if she had agreed to that arrangement I would have told her the stand was hers and she could maybe sell it on Ebay or in the paper after her wedding.
Another option would be to split the cost with her and then you keep the stand. She's essentially paying a fee for using the stand, but then it's still yours to keep. At that time you could either hang on to it or turn around and sell it.
Anything Wilton I've ever put up for sale on Ebay has sold very well... so if the stand were in good shape and you kept the box, you could probably do well selling it this way as a slightly used product.
I haven't run into this yet, but have given it a lot of thought, because like you I don't have a lot of inventory! It does make things more challenging!
I would not charge her for the stand unless she is going to keep it. You can charge her for a rental of the stand. I usually charge a 1/3 of the cost to rent it and I also make sure i get a refundable deposit for the whole amoutn of the stand inlcuding shipping costs.
I would try for a different stand, or charge her a little more than my usuall rental fee. I have charged upto 50% on an item I needed to buy for a customer. Then if you get it at one of the craft stores at 40% off you are doing well.
One thing I meant to add, but forgot:
I wouldn't recommend renting a stand for your customer as your name will be on that rental contract. If your customer fails to return it to you or damages it you'll be responsible for replacing or repairing it. Just seems like something else to worry about. I guess the customer could rent the stand directly, but I wouldn't recommend that you do it yourself. : )
I have bought several Sunday papers and have yet to locate the famous 40% cupon. Where the heck is it?
I usually find the 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby on their website. Go to www.hobbylobby.com and click on specials or whatever it is up in the top right corner and then on the next page it'll have an internet coupon that you can click on and print. It seems like it rotates every other week. Last week there was a 40% off an regular priced item but this week it's a coupon for doll houses or something like that. So check next week. Also, just FYI, Michaels will match Hobby Lobby's coupons!
Oh, and I used to live in Springfield so we have something in common!
Hope this helps!
Here is a cheaper alternative you might offer. I have used this stand and thought it was neat.
IF Michaels puts one in, it will be in a special glossy insert...front page, usually lower right corner. Sometimes on special holiday weekends they will add a second 1 or 2 day only or even time limted coupon for as much as 50% off. They seem to do inserts every other week or so.
A. C. Moore (at least in my area) puts in coupons in on Wednesday. Sometime it's a glossy insert w/ coupon in lower right corner. Other times it just a regular ad buried in the paper (usually lifestyle section) and then the coupon is usually a little tiny affair in upper right corner. A.C. Morre honors both Michaels and Hobby Lobby coupons as well. (and at my store, their prices beat the other two by about 10-20%)
Michaels only puts their ad in the Sunday paper EVERY OTHER week. It is not in there every week. They will accept a JoAnn's coupon too, but it has to be out of the JoAnn's flyer NOT printed from the intenet site.