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Need advice on this customer, please, and my price!

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I really need some feedback from professionals here. I just got my first order for decorated cookies (they are the crayon cookies my photos) and prior to pricing them I read some forum posts here about decorated cookies and what people charge. Well, it looked to me like most people charged $1.00 per inch so I figured that I would do 20% less than that for my first customer. These were large cookies, 4 1/2 to 5 inches, and I charged her $3.75 per cookie, which included bag and ribbon, and I met her in the grocery store parking lot where she was shopping to deliver them to her there since that was most convenient for her. So the total was $57.60 for 16 cookies, and I gave her three free for her family, too. She wrote me a check for $60.00 with no complaints (I had told her the price on the phone previously) and she raved about them, but then today she sent me this message:

Hi there!! The cookies were beautiful and taste great! A big hit!!! However, I just wanted to give you some feedback on the prices.....I REALLY APPRECIATE the discount but wanted you to know that all of the places I order from are substantially less money including your discount and even after a 12$ shipping charge. I just wanted you to know so that maybe you would be more competitive in the cookie dept. I would prefer to order from you first! I always try to purchase from friends/locals first. Just wanted you to know and take a look around Etsy at different shops.
I hope this doesnt upset you as it is not meant that way at all! And maybe you just cant do them for any less b/c of your costs involved. Again just wanted you to know in a very friendly way smile Thanks again for your absolute perfection on the cookie order!!!
Sweetly, Jenn

THE TALENTED COOKIE by thetalentedcookie on Etsy
www.etsy.com

I looked at this link she sent me, and yes, the cookies are cheaper, but they are also smaller and being shipped, so they are not as fresh. Is she right that I should lower my prices? Or is she just being a bi*ch?

TIA for any feedback on this. I feel really upset that she said anything at all about the price after the fact.
Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
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Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
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post #2 of 57
What are your costs for the cookies, including ingredients, labor, and allocated overhead? This will give you a better idea of how much you can charge and still make a decent wage and profit.

Your prices are actually pretty similar to the etsy shop you mentioned, including shipping 3-4" decorated cookies are around the $3.50 range. Mini cookies are of course a lot less, you can bring this up (along with the freshness issue) when you write a response to the customer.

I really don't think the customer was being a bitch either, she just isn't comparing similar products. It's actually great to get this kind of detailed feedback from customers instead of "you're too expensive".
post #3 of 57
I concur. I think the customer tried to make it clear she just really wanted to help you out because she likes you. I would just reply back with something along the lines of thank you for your feedback and concern, I did look into those other products and because of my high quality ingredient costs and larger size blah blah blah reflects the local market situation blah blah blah our prices are what they are. Nicely, of course icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 57
I agree with jason_kraft. I too looked at the other products on etsy. The mini's are less, but the ones that are about the size of yours are around $2.50 to $3.00. Plus your customers are getting fresher product with not having to wait for them to be shipped.
post #5 of 57
Really Id explain that your prices are your prices .Being shipped not only means that they arent as fresh but they are coming from a different area where cost of ingredients may differ.
Bottom line she loved your cookies she wants to pay less for them .
I'm so over people thinking that they can dicate to bakers /decoraters what they want to pay.Or their stories of how the cake was bad and they want a refund .Where else would people do that on a regular basis .
Ya'll stick to your guns and prices .If you deliver a great product they will pay the price .icon_wink.gif
post #6 of 57
A little off topic... But did anybody else notice the statement "They are my own original design please do not copy in any way, these cookies are copyrighted and belong to The Talented Cookie!" at the bottom of each cookie design? I am so surprised to learn a baker on etsy holds the copyrights for Hello Kitty, Lego, red & yellow apples, strawberries, etc. icon_biggrin.gif
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakery2012

Really Id explain that your prices are your prices .


In this case the feedback from the customer is especially valuable, since it sounds like OP doesn't really have a pricing strategy. Once she does more research on her costs and the local market she may discover that she does have room to lower her prices.
post #8 of 57
When I look at the Etsy vendor, I see--generally--smaller cookies, an upcharge for bags & bows that doesn't specify if it's per order or per cookie, and a hefty shipping charge. So, I don't really think it's a completely fair comparison.

I think the e-mail from the customer was pretty "nice", but in my equally nice reply, I'd mention the things that I pointed out in the above paragraph. I'd reinforce that my cookies MUST be fresher too because there is no shipping time and no danger of damage or loss possibly due to shipping.

I'll pay a little extra for personal service & peace of mind icon_wink.gif

JMHO
Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #9 of 57
I'd just thank her for the information, but that since your costs are what they are that determines the price of your cookies.

Did Florida pass a cottage food law recently? If not, I have no doubt that's an illegal business and violates Etsy's terms of service. The claim that she owns a copyright on someone else's characters is also a violation of Etsy's TOS, but that's a different issue than what you're dealing with.

I don't know about shipping food across state lines, but I bet the FDA is interested in that. I have an Etsy shop and the issue of illegal shops is a hot topic on there since they drain sales from legitimate businesses.
post #10 of 57
FL passed a cottage food law last year, but it does not allow sales over the internet or mail order, so if the Etsy shops in FL are running out of home-based kitchens they are in danger of being shut down.

If underpricing from mail order Etsy shops does become an issue, contacting the health dept in the relevant county is one potential tactic to level the playing field.
post #11 of 57
I think that you can easily say that your customer received 25% more cookie for the money! If you add up ALL the charges (assuming the "bow" price is NOT per cookie, but per order) then yes, she is technically cheaper by roughly $ .25 per cookie. BUT, and a really big BUT, your cookies are bigger, I don't know the math to figure out the % difference between a 3-inch circle and a 4 1/2-inch circle, but that isn't something to scoff at.

I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

icon_confused.gif
Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose



I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

icon_confused.gif



that's exactly what she's doing...
post #13 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker_Rose

I think that you can easily say that your customer received 25% more cookie for the money! If you add up ALL the charges (assuming the "bow" price is NOT per cookie, but per order) then yes, she is technically cheaper by roughly $ .25 per cookie. BUT, and a really big BUT, your cookies are bigger, I don't know the math to figure out the % difference between a 3-inch circle and a 4 1/2-inch circle, but that isn't something to scoff at.

I think the customer is just doing what many do, putting a cheaper product in front of your face and saying "I'll just have to go here, even though I really don't want to, because YOU just won't BUDGE on your prices......I mean you could EASILY keep me and give me a bigger discount than you already did, but.........deep sigh........I'll just be forced to go elsewhere. If you really wanted customers you would give it to me cheaper......just to keep me........"

Come ON, it's the same game, just with a guilt trip, some old fashioned bullying and a big SMILE because in the end, she's really HELPING you.

icon_confused.gif



Thank you!!! I totally agree. This woman is not actually a friend but just someone who is in a moms group I'm in and is well known for her condescending comments. I didn't mention it because I didn't want that to color the responses, but you read her totally right on, Baker Rose, and she is just trying to jerk me around with a big smile on her face. She is the type who would be my best customer because she always has the biggest, most expensive parties for her 3 year old son and loves to show off the goodie bags and party favors she gives out on Facebook.

Anyway, I was just going by the $1.00 per inch rule that most people on Cake Central seem to go by, so that's how I arrived at $4.50 each for 4 1/2 to 5 inch cookies and then I gave her a 20% discount from that. Our town is pretty small and I don't think there's another place or person in town doing cookies like this so I don't really have anywhere to call around and ask about pricing and I guess that's why she's using Etsy. Plus, I had to make the crayon cookie cutter because I didn't have one and couldn't find one within a 100 mile radius, and I did five different colors of crayons for her, red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, and each crayon also had white and black icing on it, so really three colors per cookie if that counts at all when pricing cookies. I think I'm just going to explain the pricing to her and then tell her I won't be offended if she wants to use the Etsy person because her cookies really are beautiful and then leave it at that.
Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
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Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
Reply
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakey

[ I think I'm just going to explain the pricing to her and then tell her I won't be offended if she wants to use the Etsy person because her cookies really are beautiful and then leave it at that.



Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.
post #15 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


Hahaha! Just tell her that you understand if she can't afford your asking price and needs to go somewhere cheaper, that will chap her. Say it with a big, super sincere sympathetic smile, too.



Oh, that's perfect! Her son's birthday is coming up in October and I bet she purposely will not call me for a cake.
Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
Reply
Don't forget to look in your local thrift stores for cake supplies. Please check out my national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.Com for your shopping convenience.
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