How Do You Deal With This?

Business By Tacy09 Updated 19 Sep 2010 , 4:56pm by scp1127

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Tacy09 Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 3:41am
post #1 of 16

Ok, so I live in small town Iowa, the closest professional bakery is 45 min away, I have been working at a bakery in a larger town and working out of my home as well, but around here it seems like everyone is interested in my cakes until I them the price....its $2.00 per serving the only thing I charge extra for is if there is a lot of modeling or sugar work, plus a delevry fee if its over 20 miles away.

I think this sounds reasonable but people freak out and say its way too much, I have gotten some people to try my cakes and it seems like once they do they understnad, I have also been trying to educate people on the fact that its not just a $.99 cake mix I whipped up, this took me a week to make!

I also hate when a bride calls and says there will be 400 people so I say fine but it will be $800 and she has a cow, she doesnt understand why for a white cake with pearls it would cost that much, oh and she only wants for teirs! No Way!
Just so annoyed!

15 replies
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jason_kraft Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 3:59am
post #2 of 16

Perhaps you should book potential customers for free tastings before you talk about price. While you discuss designs, you can casually bring up the number of hours it takes to make a typical cake design.

You may also want to consider raising your prices, $2/serving is very low for a professionally decorated cake. It may seem counter-intuitive, but at that price point you are probably only attracting customers with very low budgets who would consider a homemade or grocery store cake as a viable option.

Of course, depending on the local economy in your area, there may not be enough customers at the higher price point to support your business, in which case you would want to increase the scope of your advertising.

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MacsMom Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 4:32am
post #3 of 16

Patience. You have to wait out the customers who don't mind paying for art!

Those who say they won't pay the price will shop around and realize that they simply can't afford a custom cake and will return to Costco.

Seriously, though, never lower your prices. You know what you are worth and eventually you will build a customer base who also knows your worth.

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indydebi Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 4:36am
post #4 of 16

It's not a $800 cake .... it's enough cake to feed FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE!

A $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks may not seem like a lot of money ..... unless you need to buy 200 of them.

A birthday card .... mass produced to look like a thousand other birthday cards ..... can cost $2.50 or up to $5.00 each. That's not a lot of money ..... unless you need to buy 200 of them.

But they want a cake that is designed and decorated just for them and doesn't look like everyone else's and they think it should cost less than a mass produced birthday card?

When planning a wedding, people go Math-Dumb. They just somehow forget how to run a calculator.

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bmoser24 Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 5:04am
post #5 of 16

I have the same type problem and ppl just dont understand, I heard someone type "that not your customer anyways"...the customer who wants less than a dollar a serv. They need to go to WalMart. I'm glad they have options, actually.
BTW, I noticed in your pics that your fondant is very shiney...just you crisco it when your done? OR is it your recipe? Your cakes are worth the price you ask, wait for YOUR customers.

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Tacy09 Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 12:55pm
post #6 of 16

Thanks, it helps to hear that others have the same problem! even though its a pain! lol Most of the time I take the picture as soon as I finished decorating completly, and by that time the fondant just gets shiney on me, so I rush it to the fridge, then it goes back to normal lol

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leily Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 1:03pm
post #7 of 16
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

You may also want to consider raising your prices, $2/serving is very low for a professionally decorated cake.

In CA, yes that's low, in other parts of the country that is right on target. Cost of living and supplies varies greatly.

To the OP. I'm over in eastern IA and run into the same issues. Everyone loves my designs etc... but then they get sticker shock at the price. But hang in there. You'll get quite a few of those just because they aren't used to that pricing for that type of cake. But you have to remember that they can't go just anywhere for the type of cake they want (usually)
Even with the economy like it is and more people getting laid off in my area I'm starting to get more orders. People want something different and they realize that they can't get it everywhere a cake is sold. Plus when they find out I offer more than 3 flavors (like every other bakery , and even people with home businesses) they love the options! It's just one more thing that sets me apart from everyone else in this area.

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Malakin Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 1:12pm
post #8 of 16

It kills me because everyone in this area watches these cake tv shows/ompetitions which shows them tag teaming a cake and getting it done in what appears to be 1 hour to 8 hours max and they think that this is all the time you have to spend on it. They also don't check the prices of these tv show cake decorators either or they would find out that their lowest min. price is usually $1,000.00. $2.00 is way more than reasonable. I'd give them Walmart's/Kroger's phone number seeing as how I usually have to buy some supplies from them and could never beat their price.

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tracycakes Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 1:28pm
post #9 of 16

It seems that lately, I've had rash of calls of people wanting these special cakes to serve 5- 7 people. Seriously, a woman called on a Tuesday, wanting a cake to look like a motorcycle, yes carved and detailed, on Friday for 7 people. It took all I had not to just start laughing.

One lady called last Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon wanting a naughty cake for a bachelorette party for next day for 5 people. I told her that I didn't do those types of cakes and I was completely booked for the weekend, besides I need a minimum of 2 days notice. She proceeds to argue with me and tell me "it's only a small cake!".

I was so close to saying, cake for 5, head to Wal-Mart, but I refrained. Her arguing with me was what got to me, but I stayed professional and just stated that we couldn't do it.

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eatCakes Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 1:39pm
post #10 of 16

[quote="MacsMom"]Patience. You have to wait out the customers who don't mind paying for art! [quote]

THIS!! I also live in Iowa and sometimes it's hard to exchange 10+ e-mails with someone to never hear back from them after they get a final price, but it happens. Try not to take it personally, because it's really not personal. I also charge $2/serving and that's raised from what I used to charge. I'll tell you what, I get more business now than I did at a lower price.

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LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 8:34pm
post #11 of 16

We're having the same issue! At least the people we have talked to so far are nice about it, and they seem to at least somewhat understand why we have to charge what we do, but they still seem shocked at the price. One bride told me she didn't realize wedding cakes were so pricey. (And she wants a tiered cake with a bunch of sugar frangipani all over it) I guess people really just have no idea!

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hsmomma Posted 16 Sep 2010 , 8:48pm
post #12 of 16

When I was starting out...I started out low and was told by many of my customers that they almost didn't go with me because it made them "why was I so cheap"? Until they met with me...then they felt confident. I raised my price (to what I deserveicon_smile.gif and saw an INCREASE in inquiries and bookings. It's almost like I was too high of a price for Walmart customers but too low for those who were seriously looking for a professional cake decorator. Problem solved....

P.s. Keep practicing...the more you have to show in your portfolio, the better. That gives them the confidence to spend the money. They have to see what you've done to feel comfortable that you can do what they want you to do.

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sweetonyouzz Posted 19 Sep 2010 , 7:32am
post #13 of 16

That's right. The more pics I have on my website, the more business I get. I had a gal call me up who wanted a carved cake for 12 to 15 people. I explained to her that the cake would not look good on such a small cake and I could do her a cake that would serve 30 people, but she would be happy for the leftovers. She e-mailed me back and ordered. Hold true to what you want to charge. Orders will many in fact that you will probably be pulling your hair out this time next year. (I often wish for the good ol times when I used to get a weekend off once in a while)
Once the brides phone around and get prices they will notice that you are quite reasonable in your pricing...good luckicon_smile.gif

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Kaylani Posted 19 Sep 2010 , 11:10am
post #14 of 16

This "cake for ONLY 10" people comes up alot. We changed how we discuss price with a customer.

Customer " I only need a SMALL cake, maybe 8 or 10 people"

Me " Terrific! What did you have in mind? Have you seen one on our website you liked the style of?"

Customer "Yes! I love the 3 tier flower cake!!"

Me "That is a gorgeous cake & is definitely the centerpiece of any party! It sells for $xxx.xx & feed 75

Customer "Oh, wow that is TOO much cake, I only need a SMALL one."

Me "not a problem. We can make a similar design & scale it down, but we will make sure it is a 'showstopping' cake for your party. You definitely want that custom WOW factor when the cake is in the center of your table. "

Customer "oh yes! Of course, that is why I called you."

Me "In order to keep the same level of detail we will need to do 2 layers and you will have lots of cake left over to share with lucky family & friends the next day.
The same design in 2 layers will only be $xxx.xx" We have some dates still available in October. What date is your celebration, so we can get it on the schedule"

We think customers are getting educated by shows on TV and now it is up to us to gently help them undertsand that although they think they want a cake for 8 people, what they REALLY are asking for is a WOW cake & that is gonna leave you with some leftovers. icon_wink.gif

If they say, oh no, that is just WAY too expensive but I like your style. We ask for the dollar budget and stop if it is below our minimum.

If it is above the minimum they are getting sold a cupcake tower in most cases. They love it and we get tons of referrals from those parties . icon_lol.gif

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CakeDiva101 Posted 19 Sep 2010 , 11:53am
post #15 of 16

Hey there...someone suggested a tasting for pottential customers so they can see the difference on your cakes. I think it is a great idea. I have a friend that owns a salon beauty salon in my area. Everytime she has a party for her clients I donate a cake. After they taste it and see how different from anyones else my cakes are, they know why I charge more than the grocery store. I have been getting a lot of bussiness that way. Also, I donate a 6' tall Eiffel Tower cake for a local school fund raiser. It cost me a lot on money and time to make it but there was 500 people there that got to see my creation and taste it. And it was front page of the locak newspaper. Great advertising. I had to do some free cakes but I got my name out there icon_smile.gif I hope this help! BTW,,,your cakes are lovely icon_biggrin.gif

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scp1127 Posted 19 Sep 2010 , 4:56pm
post #16 of 16

This has nothing to do with cake, but advertising in general. It is a fact that customers appreciate price in an ad (website). Do you call about a used car with no price or a house for sale with no price? Not as likely as one with a price. Look at the major used car sites online. Every one lists a price. Yes there are 10 similar cars with a price variance of $2000.00. They don't have a problem selling because as an industry, they have educated the buyer and MADE IT EASY FOR THE CUSTOMER TO BUY! Those sites that have cakes with prices are so informative... not per serving, final price under a picture. Maybe they see the $600.00 price tag and go tho the next baker. But after those 10 emails, they find baker #2 is the same price. Now they will go back to you and that beautiful picture that they can visualize at their wedding and give you a chance. Customers are embarassed when they ask about something and it is out of their price range. Just having a gallery of various cakes in different sizes and levels of difficulty as a place to start. If you have been doing this long enough, you know where you stand in the market and your prices have already been proven successful. We all love those sites with the wedding cake prices, don't we?

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