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Itemized charges for cake?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all, 

I had a lady come in and request a quote for a first birthday cake. I took down all of the info and told her I would send her a quote. It was for the cake in the picture I have attached, only she just wanted an 8 inch round iced in buttercream with the daisies and ladybugs on the side, and the ladybug on top as the smash cake. 

 

I sent her the quote last night, and she responded this morning that it was more than they wanted to spend, and that she was expecting less because she had been told we charge $2.50 per serving. 

 

Well, that is our starting price for buttercream cakes, but things like gum paste flowers, fondant ladybugs, and a shaped, fondant covered smash cake add to the cost. We usually just include the smash cake with a first birthday cake, but it's usually a 6 inch round iced in buttercream and really simple decor. 

 

So she asked if I could send her a breakdown of the cost. I emailed her back and just explained what I said above, that $2.50 per serving is our starting price and that gum paste and fondant work adds to the price. I'm not sure if that's good enough for her, or if she is going to want an itemized list of what we charge for each element of the cake. 

 

My question is, is that something you are willing to do for your customers if they ask? We usually just tell them the total price, and the most we will "itemize" is delivery or cake stand charges. I'm not sure how I feel about listing it all out for her. Not because we charge unfairly or have anything to hide, but I'm just concerned that she would either try to question me on each and every charge, or that she may even show the list to a competitor. Thoughts? 

 

P.S. Every time someone sends me a pic of a Pink Cake Box cake I cringe, because inevitably they don't want to pay for it! thumbsdown.gif

 

 

 

cake1297.jpg 54k .jpg file
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 #2 of 19

No, just because she wants a breakdown, you don't have to give it to her.  Just tell her your price, explain the difference between all the decor work she wants and a basic cake.  Either she can afford it or she can't.  She will take up too much of your time if you price out each element, because she will have you price out every combination of plain cake + decor items until she has reached her goal (what she wants for less).

 

Stand firm, ask her budget, and tell her what she can get for that.  Period.

 

:)

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #3 of 19

I agree.  You gave her an explanation that should be enough.  Be firm and do not reduce your price. Let her go on down the road.  Sounds like a real pain in the _ _ tt.  Can you imagine how she would be if it were a large cake for 75+ people.  You don't need her business.  Sounds like she needs yours but wants it cheap!
 

Linda
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Linda
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post #4 of 19
I don't see the harm in itemizing the charges to an extent. For example, the quote could include something like the following (all numbers are made up):

- Base price for 8" cake: $75 (30 servings x $2.50/serving)
- Gumpaste flowers: $15 (5 flowers x $3 each)
- Fondant ladybugs: $20 (4 ladybugs x $5 each)
- Additional 6" smash cake: $40
Total: $150

This list shouldn't take you more than a couple minutes to put together.

If she wants to lower the price, she can request fewer flowers or ladybugs. I also don't think it's a big deal if a competitor sees this, since this is your price and not your cost.

Asking for an itemization is not that unusual, nor is it necessarily a hallmark of a PITA customer. Most smart consumers will do this if there is a discrepancy between the price quoted and their budget. This tactic is preferable to the customer simply demanding more for less.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone. I haven't heard back from her after I sent her the explanation of why this particular cake costs more than the basic price. 

 

I'm wondering if I should email her again and offer a less expensive design (decrease the amount of flowers and ladybugs, etc.), or if I should just move on. 

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 #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 View Post

Thanks everyone. I haven't heard back from her after I sent her the explanation of why this particular cake costs more than the basic price. 

I'm wondering if I should email her again and offer a less expensive design (decrease the amount of flowers and ladybugs, etc.), or if I should just move on. 
If you need the business I would probably wait another day or so then send a followup email with the less expensive alternative.
post #7 of 19

I always itemize and so they can see where all the costs come from.    Then, if needed, THEY can remove the items they want to fit into their budget.   This way I usually always get the order...it's just adjusted to fit their budget.........by them.   Makes them feel powerful.

Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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post #8 of 19

Just my opinion.. but I hope you just moved on.... :)

post #9 of 19

And I hope you sent a break down, or sorts.

 

I did the same (request a breakdown) with my granite counters--- luxury item, but once I knew my fancy edge was $10 per foot extra, I dropped that in a heartbeat! I too was hit hard with "extras" that I just didn't understand the work and expense..... maybe the same for your customer?

 

Benefit of the doubt, I'd say....
 

post #10 of 19

I do what Jason said, a basic breakdown. I don't tell them how much I spend on the butter for it, but the price for each element.

post #11 of 19

I would not do it.. 

you don't really want the customer questions on every single price...

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus View Post

I did the same (request a breakdown) with my granite counters--- luxury item, but once I knew my fancy edge was $10 per foot extra, I dropped that in a heartbeat! I too was hit hard with "extras" that I just didn't understand the work and expense..... maybe the same for your customer?
We did exactly the same thing when we bought our current house last year. It was a foreclosure that needed a lot of work, so we hired a contractor to give us a quote. The initial quote was a single number for the entire job that was over our budget, so we requested a breakdown by project to see the biggest expenses, and then a further breakdown on the most expensive projects to see what was a higher priority and what could be done later.

If the contractor had refused to give us an itemized quote, we would have found another contractor. A professional working on any kind of custom project should have no problem presenting a breakdown to a customer, unless the professional has something to hide.
post #13 of 19

Getting a breakdown on granite countertops or a house remodel are a little bit different than a breakdown on a cake that costs a couple hundred bucks.  I completely agree that a breakdown is warranted when the profit on a job will run in the thousands, but on a birthday cake where her actual profit will be under $40 or $50 . . . that is like comparing apples and oranges.

 

And providing a breakdown has nothing to do with the level of professionalism involved, especially when it comes to a purchase in this price range.  Either people can afford you or they can't, it is really pretty simple.  Our job is to make beautiful and delicious cake - not save the customer money.

 

Liz
 

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Getting a breakdown on granite countertops or a house remodel are a little bit different than a breakdown on a cake that costs a couple hundred bucks.  I completely agree that a breakdown is warranted when the profit on a job will run in the thousands, but on a birthday cake where her actual profit will be under $40 or $50 . . . that is like comparing apples and oranges.

I'm not sure I see how the size of the custom project makes a difference. It would be different if we are talking about a basic BC cake with no premium elements (in which case the itemized list would consist of a single line item), but whenever you have a product with multiple optional components you should be prepared to list what those optional components are.

For example, we charge extra for fondant and custom decorations. So if a customer orders an 8" cake covered in fondant with a relatively simple custom design, the invoice would show something like this:

8" cake: $44
Fondant cover: $30
Custom design: $15
Total: $89

If the customer only had a budget of $60, they would easily be able to see that they could still afford the cake if they didn't include the fondant. Adding a zero or two to the end of these prices wouldn't really change the fact that itemization can and should be presented to the customer.
Quote:
Either people can afford you or they can't, it is really pretty simple. Our job is to make beautiful and delicious cake - not save the customer money.
Our job is to make beautiful and delicious cake that fits within the customer's budget. If you can save a customer money by simplifying the order, your profit margin will be the same (plus you have a better chance of keeping the order) and the customer will be more satisfied. It's a win-win.
post #15 of 19

The original poster has already told her customer that a basic buttercream cake costs $XXX.  Gumpaste decorations add $XXX to the price.  There is no additional price breakdown required.

 

It is great that we can each structure our business as we see fit.  I personally don't see the value in breaking down costs for something that costs so little.  To me, it just invites those customers who see the breakdown and say "Bakery ABC down the street only adds $20 for fondant, why do you add $30?  Their basic cake is only $36, why do you charge $44?"  I just don't have the patience for that, but I'm glad that there are people who do. :)

 

Liz
 

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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