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How can I NOT sound like a B**CH to this woman? Need

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I usually ask for full balance on all my cakes to be paid 2 weeks before event (usually on large cakes), and seldom accommodate last minute orders. My base price is also $5 per serving and I have a $100 minimum on all my orders. Also, ALL of my rules and info are CLEARLY on my website.

Ok, so this woman in particular has ordered ONCE from me in the past and asked me yesterday if I can make a cake for Saturday to feed 60. Seeing as how Christmas is around the corner, I thought "what the heck, I could use the mula". I respond to her with "Sure! The price would begin at $300 and I would need all info and full payment by Monday (today)." SHE replies with "OH, well this is a cake for a friend, and they only have $100 in their budget...)"

Now, lately I have been getting LOTS of people dishing out the same old crap:
"I don't want to spend a lot of money"
"I just want something 'simple'"
"It's just for (insert meaningless event HERE)"
"I need it for THIS WEEKEND"


Short of stapling my rules to their foreheads, what is a polite way to get these points across?:
"Big cakes cost BIG $$$"
"SIMPLE" is not worth my time"
"Your lack of planning is NOT my emergency"

Sorry if this sounds so catty. I just get really peeved when people don't bother to do their homework and think I just do this as a hobby and need a little help saying it firmly, but sweetly. Thanks to all! icon_smile.gif
A bad day in the kitchen is better than ANY good day at work!
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A bad day in the kitchen is better than ANY good day at work!
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post #2 of 20
I would tell her very nicely that if her friends only have $100 in their budget for a cake and they're leaving it until this late at this time of year to order it, then they need to go to Wal Mart. Your rules are posted and very clear and as a business owner, you must stick to them.

If you'll bend the rules once, you'll bend them twice and soon noone will pay any attention. This is your BUSINESS - - not a hobby and yes, you'll probably have to emphasize that to several customers a week. Everyone wants to think they're special and rules don't necessarily apply to them. We have to continually educate the customer, unfortunately. But this is what we do. icon_smile.gif
post #3 of 20
Dear Customer:

Thanks for letting me know your budget. My base price is $5 per serving, so your budget will accommodate a cake that serves 20. Please let me know by today if you would like to proceed with this order, as time is of the essence due to the event being this weekend.

Thanks!
Happy, Non-Bitchy Caker
icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 20
Exactly as Kelly wrote...Basically $100.00 will get you this..Take it or leave it!!

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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post #5 of 20
I get this too, I sometimes will ask what their budget is upfront. Sometimes this helps. Your rules are your rules, you chose whether to bend them, I am with Kelly, great response, that way you leave it on a good note because our business is based on referrals! You need to just let this kinda stuff roll of your back!icon_smile.gif There is always someone who will try to take advantageicon_sad.gif
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Dear Customer:

Thanks for letting me know your budget. My base price is $5 per serving, so your budget will accommodate a cake that serves 20. Please let me know by today if you would like to proceed with this order, as time is of the essence due to the event being this weekend.

Thanks!
Happy, Non-Bitchy Caker
icon_smile.gif




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif I wish you could speak for me sometimes. icon_biggrin.gif
post #7 of 20
I agree with Kelly. The Walmart comment is belittling to the customer and will bite you. Being condescending to a customer will get you badmouthed by people who haven't even tasted your products. I also don't discuss the short notice if I am willing to take the order. If I am booked, I politely tell them. Likewise if the cake requires more time than is available.

I address number of guests and budget first. With the clear prices on my site with all cakes totally priced with number of servings, I usually don't get the confusion that most bakers get.

In all cases, I apologize for not being able to accomodate their request and thank them for considering our bakery. I have a small network of bakers and we refer to each other. If I think that the budget falls close to another baker, I will always refer. This is goodwill for the future when I may be able to work with that customer. The goodwill may get me a referral also.
post #8 of 20
Excellent reply from Kelley. Until I started caking I was just like those ignorant people - no idea of the ingredient cost and, more importantly, the level of effort required. I still have to remind 'myself' of this, usually after I have volunteered to take a creation to a party (like this weekend and I haven't started it yet, as usual, doh). No matter how perfect, would a $100 of simple cake get you a bad rap or promote referrals?
post #9 of 20
Another BIG cheer for KellyM......her reply suggestion is perfect.
post #10 of 20
I also agree with Kelly. And truthfully, I didn't see anything wrong with the customer's email. All she said was that her friend only had $100 in the budget. So this means that you reply and say, well for $100, you can get xyz cake. If the customer complains, then refer her to another baker. I understand your frustration but I can also see where the customer is coming from. Some people don't want elaborate cakes. Some people just want a simple cake for their event. I know in some peoples' minds simple may equal cheaper, and sometimes it does. But we are still in a bad economy and it is reasonable for people to watch their spending. But at the same time you need to be compensated for your work and supplies, etc. I personally would never spend what I would charge someone for one of my cakes, if I sold them.

I had a similar situation happen to me several weeks ago. We went to a new butcher shop in town and put our name on the list for a Thanksgiving turkey. They didn't know yet how much the turkeys would be, but they called me two weeks before Thanksgiving. $5 a pound. Her.."well these are organic free range turkeys (which I didn't know)." Me..."well I'm sorry, but we can't afford two 15 pound turkeys at $5 a pound. Thanks anyway." She gave me an attitude on the phone and then hung up. Now I am not privy to what goes on in the turkey business, but I do know what is in my wallet and what I am willing to spend for a bird. I also know I have other options. I wasn't expecting her to change her prices, but her attitude suggested that I was stupid and that I should have known they were going to be expensive. She was condescending, and for that she lost a potential customer.
post #11 of 20
A few years ago I needed a floral topper for a cake. I went to a local florist who I had occasionally used in the past. While I was waiting in line to speak to the sales lady, I also found a cute nicknack I was going to buy. When I got up to the front of the line, I told her, "I need to order a floral topper for a cake, and my budget is $30." She snorted and said, "good luck with that." I put down the nicknack and left and have never returned.

People aren't bad because they have budgets. Part of being in business (OP, I know you said this is just a hobby, but you have some pretty businesslike "rules" for your hobby) is responding to customer inquiries and educating them about what you can provide for their budget.

So, what happened? icon_biggrin.gif
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I ended up responding to her with:
"I'm sorry _____, but my base price is $5 per serving. A budget of $100 would only accommodate about 20 people and, seeing how it is very last minute, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to work with that budget. Once again, I'm very sorry, but we'd appreciate your consideration for future events. Thank you."

@ AnnieCahill
It wasn't an email per say, more like a text message.....at 11pm at night. Lol. icon_smile.gif Anyhow, I can see your point of view. That being said, I do not have anything against people having a budget. Trust me, sometimes I feel even I couldn't afford my cakes. And I do understand that sometimes, all people want are simple cakes.
BUT.....
Simple or extravagant, my price is my still price. My financial responsibilities will not change. If people are more concerned about saving a few bucks, then the should NOT be ordering overly embellished cakes for a large party. That's my opinion.
I DO have a problem when my minimum price and policies are clearly listed on my website (AND I have discussed this with this client in the past) and people STILL play the stupid card. I know that if I wanted to order something that was going to cost me a pretty penny, I would do some homework first. But no, most people expect you to bend over backwards more often than not, and that's just silly. I saw this posted on CC once, and I am considering getting it tattoed, seeing how truer words have never been spoken:

If you undervalue yourself, you will be undervalued.
If you don't have boundaries, people will not know to respect them.
[b]You train your customers, so if they are making you angry, blame numero uno.

Work smarter, not harder.
You CAN'T do everything, so pick what will make you more money and still keep you happy!
Leave the little cakes and little $$$ to the grocery stores, that's what they are there for.
[/b]

Anyhow, thanks to all for the stories and words of wisdom. I guess fine-tuning your filter takes practice. =D
A bad day in the kitchen is better than ANY good day at work!
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A bad day in the kitchen is better than ANY good day at work!
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post #13 of 20
A very important thing to remember for anyone who is in business (if you want to stay in business): Never assume anything. Most customers do not read through an entire website, store policy, etc. Most dont even glance through it, its just a simple fact. Even if you've told them on a previous occasion, time passes, life happens, people forget... Its a business owers (or employees) responsibility to make sure the customer is informed even if you have to do it each time.

There was nothing wrong with the clients request or budget constraints and no need to get frustrated by it.You should be thankful that she contacted you. In any city there are multiple options, she came to you first because shes ordered from you in the past and apparently she came back because you impressed her the first time. Your repeat customers are your bread and butter, they will refer you to new people and continue to give you repeat business, thats free advertisement and testimonial....you cant get better than that.

One of the best things you'll ever do for your business is never tell a customer what you cant do for them but what you can. "I understand your budget and have included the options we have to help you stay on track: and offer her some options, sheet cake? cupcakes? etc. offer an option or two around $100-$120 (if your base price starts at $100 you would be able to offer something). Its ok if you offer something that serves less than what they need or that is a little over budget, let them decide if they can work with it or not. The point is you are showing the customer that you appreciate their business and are willing to work within their budget, you may not be able to offer them what they want but its important to offer some alternative, it shows you are willing to work with them.

Think about it like this, even in offering options you may "know" they wont go for any of them and maybe they wont (and I can guarantee you sometimes they will suprise you), BUT, they will be back in the future when they have more money to work with and they will continue to refer you because you provided great customer service. Im afraid with your response you wont be hearing from her again, nor will she be sending anyone new your way... but she probably will share her experience (that at $300 you had the time for her last minute request but with only $100 to spend you told her, "seeing how it is very last minute, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to work with that budget").

Best of luck!
post #14 of 20
did everyone else miss something or am I silly? The OP posted this response to the woman "Sure! The price would begin at $300 and I would need all info and full payment by Monday (today)." NOT $100.

I think your response to her was fine. I'm surprised you even said yes...THROUGH TEXT!? I've never had an order come through text...that's just odd to me. maybe asking some questions or details about something simple, but that's just not for me. I guess we all do business differently icon_smile.gif

I'm curious to know what area you're in SweetAsLemmons? I wish I could start my base price at $300! icon_surprised.gif
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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post #15 of 20
Actually, her base price is $100. I believe she meant the starting price for that particular cake would be $300 ($5 per serving/60 servings).
He's still got the whole world in His hands.
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He's still got the whole world in His hands.
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