Event Planner Dilemma

Business By DeliciousCreations Updated 27 Jun 2013 , 12:12pm by DeliciousCreations

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 9:46pm
post #1 of 19


I have read quite a few threads on this but mine is a bit different because I know the event planner from when we were kids.  


She recently is starting an event planning business and has no customer base yet.  She asked me for a price list, I gave it to her and she asks "this is a price list for your customers but where are my prices?"


I explained that i have a method to pricing my cakes and its fair.  She says that if her costs are too high that she will lose clients to other event planners. I explained that I cannot lose so she can gain customers.  


From all the advice and research ive done on cake costing I know that if a customer does not like my price I need to let that customer go, i cannot give away my work.  Her mind set is that she needs to lose in the beginning to build up her clientele. 


I really don't know how to tell her or explain it without hurting her feelings or the friendship.  We already got into an argument because I quoted her $18/dozen chocolate covered strawberries and she said "damn girl you're expensive"  So i suggested she could do them herself to cut costs and she said I was being rude.


So IDK am I being rude ? Am I wrong? should I give her a discount to help her out? So confused! 


Thanks for letting me rant! 

18 replies
IAmPamCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
IAmPamCakes Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 9:53pm
post #2 of 19

AI don't know about anybody else's opinion/insight on the matter, but if you are running a business, it's your business. Not hers, or anyone else's to decide what your prices 'should' be, and to whom you give discounts. I don't have any useful advice because I don't know your histories & personalities, but she probably needs to be set straight about what sacrifices she thinks tiers need to make for her business to succeed.

IAmPamCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
IAmPamCakes Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 9:56pm
post #3 of 19

A...sacrifices she thinks *others* need to make...

liz at sugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
liz at sugar Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 9:58pm
post #4 of 19

No, no, no.  You aren't being rude, you aren't wrong, and you shouldn't give her a discount.  Are the photographers and florists losing money so she can gain?  She needs to learn that the business model for the profession she has chosen is a "cost plus" model.  It is like an interior designer.  She helps coordinate and corral everything so it works efficiently together, and she has to add on a fee to make her money.


It sounds like she is uncomfortable with telegraphing her "worth" to others, and wants to hide her fee within other vendor's prices.  That really won't work well, because other vendors will respond the same way you did - what will she do then?


Potential customers have to know she isn't doing this for free, and if she were smart, she would realize that her percentage is higher when the vendors prices are higher.  Tell her to think like a waitress at a restaurant: 18% of two ham and cheese sandwiches isn't as much as 18% of two filets, plus appetizers, plus drinks and desserts.  Unless she is a flat fee planner, that is how she will make her living.



slapsappyhappy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
slapsappyhappy Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 10:00pm
post #5 of 19

A$18 dozen chocolate covered strawberries is cheap! I went to order them online and it was $29.99 plus delivery for 6! I am sure your prices are not out of line. If you already have enough business then don't worry about her. Also I have read on many other threads that once you start making cheap cakes you can never raise your prices. Tell her your terms and wish her luck. Lol

Annabakescakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Annabakescakes Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 10:01pm
post #6 of 19

I don't know...Does anyone else give wedding planners a discount? I don't work with any myself, but I am interesting in trying to, so I will keep watch!

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 10:15pm
post #7 of 19

Thanks everyone! This is making me feel better. My cakes are priced according to my costs, materials and I did endless research with the local bakeries so I wouldn't be undercutting them by a lot. I also looked up the strawberries online so I thought it was reasonable.  


I've tried telling her not to be the "cheap event planner" or she will never get out of that! I've given her a lot advice since I'm also just really trying to make this full time thing. I really Appreciate all your advice and comments! Thanks again!

cakesbycathy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakesbycathy Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 11:20pm
post #8 of 19

No reputable planner should tell you to lower your prices so that it can benefit her. 

Are you two close friends?  You may want to either tell her that your prices are firm and that you will NOT be adjusting them so she can either choose to work with you or not  OR tell her that for the sake of the friendship you keep business out of it and not work together at all.

cakesbycathy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakesbycathy Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 11:22pm
post #9 of 19

Also, you  may want to stop offering advice. If she's already complaining about your prices even after you've tried explaining then she doesn't really want to hear what you have to say.

CWR41 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
CWR41 Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 11:27pm
post #10 of 19

Let her know that she doesn't want to be known as the event planner that only refers vendors because she gets a discount/kickback from her recommended vendors, but rather recommends them because they are actually good/the best!

LKing12 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
LKing12 Posted 23 Jun 2013 , 11:42pm
post #11 of 19

If I worked with a wedding planner, I would ask them to send the bride to me for the consultation.  Each cake is different and I'm really sure that I don't want someone else representing the details of my work.  She is not your partner in the business and you should not be offering a package price for her customers.  To build her business she needs to recommend vendors that offer good work and are reliable in putting out what they promise.  Not the cheapest gets the job!

TheSugarLab Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
TheSugarLab Posted 24 Jun 2013 , 9:26pm
post #12 of 19

I haven't worked directly with any planners until the bride has booked with me. Most of the time, I'm just relaying information to the planner and confirming the delivery time. Some planners in the area know about me and, more importantly, know my pricing. If they have a bride who would love to work with me, they send them my information and then the bride contacts me. If a planner ever called me, I would ask her to have the bride contact me. In my contract, only the bride (or actually one case the groom who was in charge of the cake and cupcakes) can make changes. If your friend thinks that most of her clients will not be able to afford you, then that's fine. I agree with everyone else, don't change your prices to benefit her! 

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 11:36am
post #13 of 19

Thanks everyone! She's not that close a friend and I know she has no Idea what she's doing on the business end of things as she told me that her bride never meets the vendors, that all goes through her but you ladies are right, wedding cake is too important to risk there being a lack of communication.



She is going about this the wrong way.  I will have a serious talk with her and if she can't accept my prices then she needs to look for another vendor.  thanks again for all the advice! 

costumeczar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
costumeczar Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 2:13pm
post #14 of 19

There are three methods to charge brides that planners use. One is the one that all the reputable planners who I work with use, which is to charge the bride a fee for her services. That's HER services, not YOUR services. This doesn't involve kickbacks or discounts from vendors at all, so you'd charge the bride your price and the planner isn't involved in that financial transaction. The benefit that the planner gets is to be able to tell her clients that she has a relationship with you, and that you will make an effort to help her clients by taking their business before other people, or by fitting you in on a date that you might otherwise turn business away.


The second method does charge the bride a fee for YOUR services, in that it involves adding a fee onto the charges from other vendors and passing it along to the bride. This is usually what planners who don't have a lot of experience do, and those are the ones who want to handle all of the contracts and payments themselves. They charge the bride your fee plus a surcharge, then pay you directly and keep the rest. This is the type of "planner" to run from and not deal with.


The third is the planner who wants YOU to pay her a kickback fee for sending business to you. It might be a flat fee, or it might be a percentage of the total cost. How you choose to deal with that is up to you, but I don't deal with anyone who wants a kickback. Some people look at it as a referral fee, but if it's too high the cost might exceed what you'd normally pay to find a client in advertising by yourself, so it probably isn't worth it.


What I've found is that the people who are brand new to the market, have no experience, don't know what they're doing, and have watched too many wedding shows on tv as their "qualification" to be a planner, are the ones who want to do methods 2 or 3. The people who know what to do and how to actually plan an event just charge the bride for services rendered and let her deal with her own bills.

louanne Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
louanne Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 4:00pm
post #15 of 19

ACostumerczar is right on the nose. I worked for many many years as a planner, still do a little bit. I went thought the cost and trouble of becoming a certified bridal consultant and being registered with the ABC, any reputable planner should not be getting discounts or kickbacks from vendors that their clients are unaware of. I charged fees depending on what services clients wanted, some just needed someone for the rehearsal and say of to coordinate everything some wanted the full take care of everything, set all vendors appointments. Now I had a couple of vendors I worked very closely with and brought lots of clients to, these vendors would give the client a courtesy discount of about 10% but that discount went straight to the client, not me.

indydebi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
indydebi Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 4:35am
post #16 of 19

Ditto what costumeczar said.  I became BFF with a wedding planner.  She closed her biz when she had her baby and we have remained coffee-every-week friends.  She and my other planner-friends do NOT expect lower pricing for their brides.  What they DO expect is the best quality and SERVICE for their brides from the vendors the planner chooses to work with.  Professional planners don't want to steer brides toward twits who might mess up the cake, the flowers or the photography for one of their brides.  


THAT is the benefit of a planner ..... each side working with true professionals for a smooth transition for all parties involved!!

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 12:08pm
post #17 of 19

ACostumeczar thanks! You really broke it down. She's the first one I work with so I don't have any prior experience to go by but I also know she has no clue about the business. She wants to be affordable so she wants everything cheap. But I'm firm on my prices because I know they are fair. Thanks ladies!

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 12:10pm
post #18 of 19

AIndydebbie I agree I think as a planner you should want the best for your client, the best fit and not shop by who's giving you the biggest discount.

DeliciousCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
DeliciousCreations Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 12:12pm
post #19 of 19

AIndydebi I agree I think as a planner you should want the best for your client, the best fit and not shop by who's giving you the biggest discount.

Quote by @%username% on %date%