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My first complaint... I feel sick to my stomach :(

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
I just received a message from a long-time customer telling me how disappointed she is in the cake I made for her today:

"I just came home and saw the cake. We are not happy with it. It is too simple and we wanted it to be 3D like the Lightning Mcqueen you made for us. They have a similar cake to this at Fortino's. (local grocery store)"

The Lightning Mcqueen cake she is referring to was the first one I had made. I hadn't done a carved car cake before and had no way of knowing how much to charge so I charged $80. It fed 20 plus.

On Wednesday, she messaged me about making a cake for today. Normally I don't take order that late but because she is a good customer I fit her in. All she asked for was a "Mario Bros" cake and that she wanted it for $80. This is what I made:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/69828053@N07/7033381963/in/photostream

It's not the most elaborate cake, but it did take a fair amount of time to create and I thought I was giving her a deal @ $80.

How do I answer this message? Any suggestions? Am I way overcharging on it?

Oh and by the way, yes I am fully licensed and inspected and insured... icon_smile.gif
post #2 of 52
I don't really have an answer to your questions but I want you to know that your cake was awesome icon_biggrin.gif
I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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post #3 of 52
I'm sorry you are having to deal with a complaint! It's no fun to hear that someone was not pleased with your work.

First of all, that cake is adorable and very well done! I HIGHLY doubt she could get a cake like that at the grocery store, unless your local grocery does a lot nicer cakes than ours does!

Secondly, the price you charged is very reasonable. It sounds like the problem here is what she expected to get for $80, which I know you realize. In the future, I would definitely always fill out a order form for the cake with a full description of exactly what the cake will look like and have the customer sign off on it so that there is no confusion about what they are getting. Even if it is a last minute order, do it.

As far as responding to her, I would tell you that you are sorry to hear she was not thrilled with the cake, and explain to her that although you charged her $80 for a carved cake before, you have since raised your prices to accommodate rising costs (or whatever you want to tell her about the increase in your pricing). Since you were not clear with her about what the cake was going to be, you might want to offer some kind of money back or discount on a future order.

Good luck, and don't sweat it!
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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post #4 of 52
I looked at your cake and you did a very neat job. Well thought out and I can see how much time you put into making sure it was correct. Very fair price for this cake, in my opinion.
post #5 of 52
I am so sorry you are upset. It seems as if the customer is at fault here.You didn't mention, but it sounds like, she was not specific in her design request. Therefore, you made an ADORABLE, as well as flawless cake, for a very reasonable price. If she didn't specify her design, she should not complain. Chin up!! icon_smile.gif You are not a mind reader to know what exactly she wanted. icon_biggrin.gif
post #6 of 52
Her expectations were completely out of line with her budget. She got a deal at $80 for that cake. Last minute order with those decorations...I would have charged no less than $100. I don't know what your conversation with her was like but if you gave her an idea of what she would get for her last minute order and budget, then her expectations are her issue, not yours. I generally tell my customers what the cake type options are: ex. Tier(s), 2D, 3D and then the prices. I don't deal with their budgets. The cakes cost what they cost. Then they get to decide what they can afford. And what an insult to compare your cake with a grocery store cake. I think I'd be booked the next time she calls!
post #7 of 52
Hugs you did an excellent job and $80 IMO. is not over priced .
post #8 of 52
I don`t sell cakes, I just make them for family and friends,But I just wanted to tell you that you did a wonderful job, The cake looks beautiful and I don`t think $80. was at all to much.
post #9 of 52
You cake is fantastic. The detail is 2nd to none that I've seen, and I recently researched a Mario Brothers cake for someone.

Your price is certainly not too high and if she wants to compare your cake with a grocery store then I'm guessing she will want more and more in the future and continue to want to pay the same amount.

My only question is whether it was clear on either side what the cake would be, other than Mario Brothers. She had expectations based on the cake she had just gotten from you, but didn't express what she wanted, and you probably needed to be sure she was aware of what she would be getting. I understand that the time was very short and you went way above and beyond. So the only thing I think I can add is to just be clear with a customer as to what is expected and what you are charging for that. She certainly got her money's worth for the cake. Great job!
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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post #10 of 52
Just an idea. If this were a repeat customer of mine, I may do something like this:

Dear Customer,

I was disappointed to hear the cake was not to your expectations. Due to rising costs of operating my business, the minimum price for a carved cake is $xxx. This price is well in line with local competitors that design and decorate custom cakes, not with local supermarkets. The cake I designed for you was based on your stated budget and the time allotted. It is my goal to provide you with a clean, well executed cake, that tastes delicious. I hope that is what you received.

Because you were disappointed and there may have been some miscommunication, I would like to extend to you a 15% discount on your next cake.

I hope to be able to work with you again in the future.
Piece_acake

There are times when I think I can help. Other times I think, given an already shallow gene pool, I am doing more for humanity by just letting go...

 

www.brendabakes.com

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There are times when I think I can help. Other times I think, given an already shallow gene pool, I am doing more for humanity by just letting go...

 

www.brendabakes.com

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post #11 of 52
This is a very detailed fondant cake. Our price would have been twice as much for the cake.
You may want to explain to her that when you made the car cake, you underestimated the labor that went into the cake, she got the prototype, you charge more for design like that.
If you gave her an 8" cake for the Mario, that is $3.33/slice for a fondant cake, which is a very great deal.
post #12 of 52
I think that the other posters have offered a good response to her along the lines of costs being what they are for 3D cakes (and that she didn't specify a 3D cake) and that you provided a cake that fit in her $80 budget. The problem here is not your quality of work or the price, it is what she expected from you based on her previous cake which was sold at a discount. I also think that the offer of a discount on her next order is a nice gesture considering that there was a miscommunication and she was not happy (and a mistake that you won't make in the future, i'm sure!)
post #13 of 52
The quality of your work is certainly worth $80. (She would have had to pay me $100 for the exact cake).

She didn't request a carved cake this time, and she needs to know, somehow, the bargain you gave her for the Cars cake. We have to bake extra cake to carve it away. That extra cake is costly.

The work you do is flawless, she would NOT find a comparable price for that cake. I hope you are able to shrug this one off, because you WILL get the clientele you deserve.

You cannot get a Mercedes for the price of a Kia.

icon_smile.gif
No pressure... no diamonds.

WASC Gourmet Flavors
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df4f9hbq_46cs9f28fs
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No pressure... no diamonds.

WASC Gourmet Flavors
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df4f9hbq_46cs9f28fs
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post #14 of 52
OMG is that woman nuts...I read all these posts prior to looking at your cake. Not sure what I was expecting but my eyes popped open in disbelief....that is one hell of a terrific, fabulous cake. The problem may be you did such a great job and super terrific price on the last cake that her tiny brain thinks that is the norm.
Keep your head held high and be proud to have produced such a fabulous cake for the client, especially at short notice.
post #15 of 52
PS...I adore your kitchen.
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