Design Consultations

Business By JeniC Updated 27 Aug 2015 , 11:45pm by costumeczar

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JeniC Posted 25 Aug 2015 , 11:32pm
post #1 of 11

I have seen that a lot of you don't give your clients designs until they have paid a deposit or a consultation fee...

I have been in business from home for almost 2 years but, lately it seems people want me to give them a days worth of ideas then spit in my eye about the price. Then I'm sure take my design elsewhere to be created at a lesser price...

What is the best advice to avoid this??  If the fee/deposit is your practice, how do you do it?  If you don't, how do you avoid waisting a whole lot of time and designing cakes for other bakeries??

Most people assume that since I do this from home that I'm going to make them a $300 cake for $50 and that they can just order a cake via messenger on FB.. I'm getting a bit frustrated.

Thanks for your help!

10 replies
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costumeczar Posted 26 Aug 2015 , 2:38am
post #2 of 11

First of all, get rid of facebook messages. You can turn them off on your business page settings so that people have to go to your website and use the contact form. If you don't have a website and contact form, go make one with Wordpress and use it. Facebook is unreliable as a messaging service and every business should have a website.

Next, never do a sketch and hand it to a client who hasn't hired you by giving you a deposit. Having people say "I'll send the check tomorrow" is NOT hiring you. No deposit=Not a customer yet. You should qualify the sale before you go to any effort to do any work.

I posted this conversation on another thread but here it is again...This is how EVERY phone call or email inquiry should go:

Cake Inquirer: I need a cake for a birthday/wedding/food fight

You: I'd be glad to help you with that. When would you need the cake?

CI: (Random date)

You: Great, I'm available for that date. Do you have an idea of how many people it would need to serve, and what budget range you'd like to stay in?

CI: It needs to serve 150 and I can go as high as $100.

You: I'm sorry, I can't do it for that. My base price is $$$ per serving, so a cake for 150 would start at $$$ and the final price would depend on the design of the cake. 

CI: Whaaaaat? But it's just a cake, that's ridiculous!

You: I'm sorry that I can't help you. Please let me know if your budget changes and you'd like more information. In the meantime, you could check with (insert name of person you don't like or serviceable cheap bakery depending on the inquirer's attitude.)


CI: It needs to serve 150 and I want to keep it under $900.

You: That should be fine. Would you like to set up an appointment for a tasting? The next time I'm doing tastings will be on (date), and I have a $$$ consult fee that I'll send you an invoice for the week before to confirm the appointment. If I can get your email and phone number I can set you up for a time that day if it works for you.

So basically you need to 1. Check that the date is open on your schedule, 2. Qualify their budget, and 3. Set up an appointment if their budget works with your pricing.

*Last edited by costumeczar on 26 Aug 2015 , 2:40am
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dkltll Posted 26 Aug 2015 , 4:48pm
post #3 of 11

In another life (as a kitchen cabinet designer) we would let the customer know up front that I will be happy to do a design and review the design at my shop with you; however, until a contract is signed and a deposit made the design belongs to us. If they get pissy then spell it out for them- I spent 6 hours designing your cake and I have had customers in the past take my hard work to a competitor and get a lower price. If they insist then we would charge them 10% of the quote and then the design belongs to them to do whatever they want with it.

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johnson6ofus Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 4:54am
post #4 of 11

PRE-qualify is the name of the game in all sales. Can't sell a Ferrari if they have a Volkswagon budget. Don't talk about cascades of hand made sugar flowers if they budget $1/ serving. 

You should not waste your time on an appointment/ tasting or sketch if you have not determined they they are not pricing cakes at Costco.

Costumeczar laid it out perfectly!

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JeniC Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 5:01am
post #5 of 11

Thank you guys for all your help! 

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mccantsbakes Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 6:06am
post #6 of 11

Whoa wait a get to actually DESIGN cakes?    Not just receive a photo off pintrest that they expect you to replicate like a copy machine to serve 300 on a 50 dollar budget....    Whoa!  Mind blown.  

Kara nailed it above with the format of contact with clients....

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JeniC Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 1:56pm
post #7 of 11

mccantsbakes,  that is the best response ever! 

That is SO true. That is what so many people want me to do. It drives me crazy! Especially the $50 budget lol :) 

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Snowflakebunny23 Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 2:33pm
post #8 of 11

Question for all then.  When you send them an order form to confirm the design, do you not include the sketch in there for them to confirm (with deposit info on it?  And if that's the case, you're giving them the design and they haven't signed for it...

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mccantsbakes Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 3:37pm
post #9 of 11


Right now I am working on a cake that I have free reign on.  I was given a broad theme and was told to do what my heart desires to represent that theme.  Oh the ideas!  Oh the new techniques I get to play with.  What a different process it is to sit and sketch out ideas, dream of cake, be SO inspired.....It is so much cooler than copy cakes.    With this cake, I feel like my voice is emerging.  I love it.  

In my fantasy world of cake.....I get paid BIG bucks to design whatever I want and everyone loves it and keeps coming back for more :)

is that so much to ask for?  Lol

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JeniC Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 7:31pm
post #10 of 11

I have one due in a couple weeks like that. Isn't it awesome to actually be able to create your own vision?! 

If more people would let us actually design and create instead of copy we could actually make that fantasy a reality :) 

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costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2015 , 11:45pm
post #11 of 11

@Snowflakebunny23  when I give them the contract to sign it has a written description of the cake on it but no sketch. I keep any sketches for my own information until I get a deposit, and to tell the truth, I usually don't send a sketch anyway. If you have to deviate from the sketch when you're putting the cake together, I want to have the leeway to do that and not have to worry about having someone complain that this flower was 2" off from the position in the sketch, or whatever.

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