I had a customer come to me to order a birthday cake for her daughter who is turning 21. She wants a beach theme which is great, but she would like a beach theme with tiki hut, surf boards, beach balls, umbrellas, some sand, water , waves. Feeding 30-40 people, but she only wants to spend $40. Is she kidding right now. Any tips on how to respond to her, without shaking her and telling her to snap out of it! Any thoughts.....
AI'd like to tell her to go to Walmart. Do you have a minimum? I'd simply explain the details that go into a custom cake. I'm not sure what she wants, a sheet cake, tiered, etc. I don't do many sheet cakes anymore. Just explain that your basic cake for that serving size is x amount of dollars and if your willing to work within a budget to make her a truly custom cake for this special event. Perhaps she can scale down her design. I am not saying work within her $40 budget! Just be upfront about your costs, give her an accurate quote for the serving and design. Custom cakes aren't for everyone.
"Thank you for your inquiry, I would be able to make a cake like you described for $X/serving. Please let me know if you are able to adjust your budget to commission one of our cakes. If not, best of luck!"
Although, I did get snarky just the other day and told a customer that I'm sure there are less expensive bakers in the area, but she will be hard-pressed to find a reputable one willing to make an art piece for less then the cost of a cup of coffee per serving. I shouldn't have sent that email. I felt great for about 10 seconds after I hit "send", then felt incredibly condescending and unprofessional ever after. So trust me, just keep it short and businesslike.
Your funny 'FromScratchSF', because I feel the same way. However, I do understand by being business like. Thank you to you both for responding so quickly.
No she's not kidding and it's possible she may be able to get her cake close to her price. And if she can, why shouldn't she? This is not the customer's problem. All you can do is wish her well on her merry way if she won't pay a fair amount.
And a tip: Some customers are talented negotiators. In this case, her price is so low that it doesn't especially sound like she's one of these. But they often start off saying they can't more than about half of your quote and somehow they wind up paying something like your full quote, but with a lot more stuff. I'm afraid I've fallen for this about 3 times. They keep saying, well what if we do this or change that.
Good luck :)
It is so often people want 100 things on a cake but they do not realize that it is time consuming to make modeling and flowers. I hope the day come son when people will understand that personal cakes are something different then say Walmart cakes. It is custom made art!
Tell them just NO! :)
Understand, I'm not a professional baker or cake decorator (nor do I play one on TV, and neither have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in recent memory), but how about something like:
I agree! I have several people who called to request a custom cake made and wanting to know the price. The price all depends on the cake itself. How many tiers, carved, fondant, buttercream, etc. When they tell me what they want and I give them a quote....I don't get a call back. Lol. What....do they want me to make it for practically free? I'm shaking my head.