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Oh no, I didn't...or...Was that outloud? Or...is there an unsend button somewhere? *sigh*  

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 

Oh my gosh, I just shot this email off to someone who emailed me to let me know she'd found someone to do my design for half the price:

 

Hi xxxx,
 
That's not a problem for us and I hope you have a wonderful party. I'm including some information below that is not intended for the purpose of anything other than to educate you because it's the natural response to assume that since our price was so very much higher that you think we are price gouging. We just want you to know our prices are fair and don't want to leave you with the wrong impression.
 
In no way do we blame you, even a little, for going with a lower price.
 
The person you ordered the cake from does not make his/her living from making cakes. Period. This is the only way anyone can afford to work this cheaply. Often it's a stay at home mom who doesn't have the slightest clue that she's running what could be looked at as a "husband subsidized cake program".  If he/she were to figure up her costs and time spent on the project, she might discover she's working for as little as $4 an hour.
 
Because Houston is so large, my business is barely affected by this. Unfortunately, in smaller towns these bakers are creating a situation  where no one can make a living in the cake business anymore.
 

I hope I don't sound bitter or angry - the point is just to educate. The sole source of income for my household is my cake business - I don't have the luxury of undercharging, so I do admit the situation annoys me.  Customers generally have no clue the amount of work that goes into these cakes and don't understand why they are so expensive. Anyway, if you read this far, thanks.

post #2 of 79
I don't think you have to worry, that email needed to be sent.

Of course it could have been slightly less blunt, so you may want to work on a revised version to bring up if a customer has unrealistic pricing expectations. I doubt you really offended her though.
post #3 of 79

Or, potentially they could do it for half the price.  There is a bakery in my town that charges half of what I do, but they deal in volume, and they don't make sculpted fondant decorations and gumpaste flowers.

 

It's okay that you sent that email, I don't think the customer was offended, especially since she's the one who brought price into the equation by mentioning that someone did it at half the price.

 

As for "husband subsidized," my husband is my venture capitalist.  He'll get the return on his investment.

post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet View Post

Oh my gosh, I just shot this email off to someone who emailed me to let me know she'd found someone to do my design for half the price:

 

Hi xxxx,
 
That's not a problem for us and I hope you have a wonderful party. I'm including some information below that is not intended for the purpose of anything other than to educate you because it's the natural response to assume that since our price was so very much higher that you think we are price gouging. We just want you to know our prices are fair and don't want to leave you with the wrong impression.
 
In no way do we blame you, even a little, for going with a lower price.
 
The person you ordered the cake from does not make his/her living from making cakes. Period. This is the only way anyone can afford to work this cheaply. Often it's a stay at home mom who doesn't have the slightest clue that she's running what could be looked at as a "husband subsidized cake program".  If he/she were to figure up her costs and time spent on the project, she might discover she's working for as little as $4 an hour.
 
Because Houston is so large, my business is barely affected by this. Unfortunately, in smaller towns these bakers are creating a situation  where no one can make a living in the cake business anymore.
 

I hope I don't sound bitter or angry - the point is just to educate. The sole source of income for my household is my cake business - I don't have the luxury of undercharging, so I do admit the situation annoys me.  Customers generally have no clue the amount of work that goes into these cakes and don't understand why they are so expensive. Anyway, if you read this far, thanks.

This. is. Awesome. I don't think it was rude or offensive either, just honest. People NEED to understand these things! 

Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
post #5 of 79
I also would have let her know that the half price bakery also didn't have to spend any valuable time coming up with a design for them, and that you won't be charging them or the baker for the right to use your work.

I think the client will ultimately say that they don't care how the baker pays the bills, they're saving money. Those are not the clients to worry about.
elsewhere.
elsewhere.
post #6 of 79
Quote:
I'm including some information below that is not intended for the purpose of anything other than to educate you
 
Customers generally have no clue the amount of work that goes into these cakes and don't understand why they are so expensive.

 

If I got this, you would never receive business from me again. Even if what you are saying is true and accurate and as been debated around here a lot. Some might say someone like this wouldn't be your customer in the first place or someone you don't want as a customer. But if we stay to the email bit, my first statement stands true, for me anyway.

post #7 of 79

I think that it is very rude to tell a cake decorator that you can get something a lot cheaper, inferring that they are trying to rip you off. Just say that the cake does not fall into your budget and the decorator will understand. I recently had one of those type of emails and I simply sent back a picture of one of my wedding cakes with the "Good Cake isn't cheap and cheap cake isn't good" poster beside it, and wished her the best.

Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
post #8 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarpixy View Post

I think that it is very rude to tell a cake decorator that you can get something a lot cheaper, inferring that they are trying to rip you off.

I think it was more a factual statement than an inference...if I was the seller, I would want to know that the customer found a cheaper vendor.
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom View Post

Or, potentially they could do it for half the price.  There is a bakery in my town that charges half of what I do, but they deal in volume, and they don't make sculpted fondant decorations and gumpaste flowers.

If another local vendor can execute the same design for half the price, the most likely scenario is that the undercutting vendor does not have the skills to execute the design and/or set prices based on realistic costs.
Quote:
As for "husband subsidized," my husband is my venture capitalist. He'll get the return on his investment.

A subsidy is financial assistance given to a business in order to keep prices below market value with no expectation of a return. This is very different from an investment.
post #10 of 79
It will most likely fall on deaf ears, or be interpreted as snarky and condescending. Good news is though, if their friends shop on price alone, they won't bother wasting your time contacting you. And they will hear about it. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong though, believe me.
post #11 of 79
I am in no way singling you out or even inferring that I'm referring to you, this is just an observation I've made in general from being around here for so long, and other forums. I think that the line between how we complain and commiserate in rooms like this, and the written correspondence with customers is really starting to grey. I will cuss up a storm and vent and even be insulting, I'm sure when colorful customer situations occur, but that's onky with other decorators. With the actual customers, I am Emily Freaking Post. And long gone are the days when I justify my pricing. I will explain why a certain method or decoration style may be costlier, and offer alternatives, but talking about why others may be cheaper, or why "good cake ain't cheap, and cheap cake ain't good"...no.
post #12 of 79
Another way to approach this would be to work out how many hours the customer's design will take to execute, then compare that with the competing quote. You can either imply or explicitly say that either the competing bakery will earn less than minimum wage on their order (in which case you can expect the quality level to match that level of compensation) or they will rush through their order to ensure they earn a decent wage (which would also negatively impact the quality of the cake).

Numbers specific to the customer's order will help drive home the point that you get what you pay for.

In any case, the customer should already have at least a general idea of how much time will be required for their design, this information should always be coupled with the initial price quote.
post #13 of 79

Your phrasing could have been a little more perfected before hitting the send button. I fully understand how you were feeling when you wrote it. I've hit the send button too quickly many times.

 

I don't think that client would have come back to you for another cake quote in the future. Your letter didn't burn a bridge (your quote did). In fact, I'd guess that at some time or another they'd have told all their friends about the great deal they got from this other cake decorator and how you were a rip off, bad mouthing you. Your writing that person and explaining things as you did, there's now a chance that they might understand why your prices and the other decorators were so different. I think most people would have read your entire letter. Their first reaction might have been anger, but I think a logical person would think about what you wrote. That's a good thing I think. Your trying to educate and in the long run help others too.

 

It's possible that your letter started a conversation that lead to several people discussing this issue and learning from it.

post #14 of 79
EDIT: Never mind. I feel like I'm piling it on, and I can tell from your post that you feel some remorse. What's been done's been done, and you're now better prepared to handle something like this if it happens again. (((HUGS))).
Edited by vgcea - 6/28/13 at 10:22pm
post #15 of 79
Personally I thought it was okay. The "husband subsidized" thing was maybe a lil snarky but i think it's fine. Not like you cursed her out lol. By the way..I live in Houston too!! Hey neighbor! *waves*
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Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Oh no, I didn't...or...Was that outloud? Or...is there an unsend button somewhere? *sigh*