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Oh no, I didn't...or...Was that outloud? Or...is there an unsend button somewhere? *sigh* - Page 3  

post #31 of 79

I would never send anyone an email like that, but if people say that they told me that they found someone cheaper I don't care. The "husband subsidized" thing is s phrase that seems to be floating around here recently, but I vote that it be retired. Considering that most families need more than one income, regardless of whether it's well-paid, minimum wage, or used for a tax writeoff, everyone has the potential to have a spouse-subsidized job if you want to look at it that way. I'm no fan of undercutters, but who knows why they need the money, that isn't for me to judge or write letters to clients about.

 

You do realize that it wasn't the best idea to send it, so just don't do it again, the world will keep spinning and people will keep buying cheap cakes from other people, just let it roll off your back next time.

post #32 of 79

icon_biggrin.gif
 

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 #33 of 79
Yikes... I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm very new to cake baking/decorating and previously had no idea how much time and effort go into these beautiful cakes. It is an art. This site has taught me so much about pricing, I don't own or run a business so there's a lot I never considered. That being said, if I were your customer, I would have asked "why can so-in-so baker do this same design for half the cost." I don't think anyone should have to justify their prices, but explaining a little to someone who has absolutly no clue of the time and cost could help the problem of them going to someone else who won't give them the same quality.
Im very guilty of sending texts and emails out of anger/frustration. Maybe take ten next time before hitting send... But in all reality, if they pay half price, they probably get half quality as well.
post #34 of 79
Thread Starter 

Looks like my responses to everyone ended up at the end of page 2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

I would never send anyone an email like that, but if people say that they told me that they found someone cheaper I don't care. The "husband subsidized" thing is s phrase that seems to be floating around here recently, but I vote that it be retired. Considering that most families need more than one income, regardless of whether it's well-paid, minimum wage, or used for a tax writeoff, everyone has the potential to have a spouse-subsidized job if you want to look at it that way. I'm no fan of undercutters, but who knows why they need the money, that isn't for me to judge or write letters to clients about.

 

You do realize that it wasn't the best idea to send it, so just don't do it again, the world will keep spinning and people will keep buying cheap cakes from other people, just let it roll off your back next time.

I couldn't disagree more about the husband subsidized (or spouse) term. It's a short phrase that sums it up pretty well. If you have a better one, I'd like that even better.  So you're actually saying that undercutting is ok if the person needs the money?  Undercutting is, at best, unkind and in my opinion unconscionable. The end doesn't justify the means. If it did, then I guess we'd be ok with them selling drugs, too, right?

post #35 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbe86 View Post

Yikes... I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm very new to cake baking/decorating and previously had no idea how much time and effort go into these beautiful cakes. It is an art. This site has taught me so much about pricing, I don't own or run a business so there's a lot I never considered. That being said, if I were your customer, I would have asked "why can so-in-so baker do this same design for half the cost." I don't think anyone should have to justify their prices, but explaining a little to someone who has absolutly no clue of the time and cost could help the problem of them going to someone else who won't give them the same quality.
Im very guilty of sending texts and emails out of anger/frustration. Maybe take ten next time before hitting send... But in all reality, if they pay half price, they probably get half quality as well.


Haha - i don't know how much of thread you read, but I just had a crazy moment from lack of sleep and sort of snapped. That's not how I do business. I don't think the customer was in error for her assumption that I was drastically overcharging.  The person selling her the cake probably doesn't even understand it

post #36 of 79

This may have been said, but certainly another way of protecting yourself a little bit is to refuse to give sketches, pics, or detailed specifications until after a contract has been signed and a non-refundable deposit made.

 

Yes, of course, the client can always go to another baker and try to describe the cake (and if it's a client provided pic, the point may be moot), but non-cakers are notoriously bad at getting the details right.  If all they have to go on is $X/slice, it becomes more difficult to understand if they're actually comparing apples to apples.

post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet View Post

Looks like my responses to everyone ended up at the end of page 2.

I couldn't disagree more about the husband subsidized (or spouse) term. It's a short phrase that sums it up pretty well. If you have a better one, I'd like that even better.  So you're actually saying that undercutting is ok if the person needs the money?  Undercutting is, at best, unkind and in my opinion unconscionable. The end doesn't justify the means. If it did, then I guess we'd be ok with them selling drugs, too, right?

Undercutting sucks, and I've written that many times here and on my blog, but there are laws against price fixing. If someone is happy making $4 an hour I would be the first to tell them they need to adjust their pricing, but since there's no laws about how much someone has to charge for anything, people can charge whatever they want. I hardly think that comparing pricing a cake too low is anywhere near the equivalent of selling drugs (unless you heard the research abotu sugar affecting the addiction centers of the brain the same way that drugs do.) Most people who are pricing too low probably aren't even aware that they're not making decent money.. The "husband subsidized" phrase is just a little too cute for me.

post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

<<snip>>

everyone has the potential to have a spouse-subsidized job.

I'm not sure what you meant by that statement. I don't have the potential to have a spouse-subsidized job.

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

post #39 of 79


 

Just to be clear, you think my email was a "A long, angry speech of criticism or accusation"?

 

No, I would go more with the second definition:

a long, vehement speech.

 

:)

I love someone with Autism.
I love someone with Autism.
post #40 of 79

I'm with costumeczar on the "husband subsidized" phrase.  I find it demeaning  and ***ist.  "Spouse subsidized" is only slightly better.

 

To me, if you are making cakes as a hobby and your spouse's income allows you to do so, that's great for you and enjoy your hobby.  If you are making cakes as a business, you should have a profit motive.  If a spouse's income pays the household bills while you grow your business, that's a sign of a great relationship--not a man taking care of his wife but a partner supporting a partner.  Again, note the ***ist undertone that the man is the breadwinner, which has RARELY been the case in my home.

 

I don't keep score.  What's mine is his and what's his is mine.  The higher earner isn't subsidizing the other.  We're supporting each other with our combined incomes.

post #41 of 79
To me husband subsidized cake business means you are selling cake at such a low price that you're not making a cent, and in some cases the baker's household income is actually paying for part of it, or at least at the most extreme end of things. Living off other income until you have enough volume to make a living from your cakes is one thing, working on cakes for 60-80 hours a week and still not making any money is a different story.
elsewhere.
elsewhere.
post #42 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter View Post

I'm not sure what you meant by that statement. I don't have the potential to have a spouse-subsidized job.

Or a partner subsidized job, or whatever, if you're living with someone and relying on each other's income. One earns more, one earns less, so one "subsidizes" the other if both are needed to run the household. My point is just that saying that one person earning less means that they're being subsidized is demeaning, to use PumpkinTart's term. If you're single that's an entirely different issue and comes with its own set of income issues.

I think that people are also confusing the terms "undercutting" and "undercharging." If you're not charging enough we all refer to undercutters, but the more people who get into the cake business, as the result of taking one wilton class or the cottage food laws or for whatever reason, the more people who are just undercharging. I think of someone who's undercutting as someone who has done research and who knows what the average selling prices are, but who chooses to charge substantially less. Or someone who takes the price that you've quoted someone and says that they'll charge less just to get the job. Whereas someone who's undercharging is just ignorant of the true costs that it takes to make the cake and doesn't charge enough. Undercutting is deliberate and undercharging is accidental. Both result in damage to the marketplace because it makes people expect a lower price overall, but undercharging isn't malicious.

I just think that writing a letter to a client basically accomplishes nothing other than probably pissing the client off. You'd be better served to write to the person who's charging way less and telling them that they should raise their prices because they're ripping themselves off. The number of "what should I charge for this cake" threads on here tells me that there are a lot of people who are operating out of total ignorance about how to price their cakes, and they're probably underchargers, not undercutters, know what I mean? I doesn't mean that undercharging is good, but expecting everyone to charge what we would consider a fair price is never going to happen.
post #43 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

To me husband subsidized cake business means you are selling cake at such a low price that you're not making a cent, and in some cases the baker's household income is actually paying for part of it, or at least at the most extreme end of things. Living off other income until you have enough volume to make a living from your cakes is one thing, working on cakes for 60-80 hours a week and still not making any money is a different story.

That's not a business, that's a hobby. You could look at that as a business run at a loss as a tax deduction, too. I worked at a job once that was set up that way, it was pathetic.
post #44 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

<<snip>>If you're single that's an entirely different issue and comes with its own set of income issues. <<snip>>

 

Yes.

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

There. Their. They're not the same.

 

I hope I die before "your" becomes the official contraction of "you are."

post #45 of 79

The problem with the approach of the O.P. is that it was reactive rather than proactive and as such played a role in the client opting for a lower priced option.  Folks need to accept the fact that undercutting is part of a competitive marketplace--low cost alternatives exist in almost every, if not all, industries.  Cottage laws which create the possibility of lower overhead and lower barriers to entry, among other factors, means the specialty cake market will have its share of low cost alternatives and thus undercutting will happen.  Note costumerczar is right--undercharging and undercuttering are not the same thing--the effect of undercharging will mean your prices are undercut, but undercutting as a competitive strategy stems from knowledge of competitor's prices.

 

Returning to the point--given this situation it is incumbent on businesses that cannot afford to slash their prices to nonetheless develop strategies that account for low-cost alternatives.  Undercutting is going to happen--the specialty cake market is not immune to competitive forces and taking the moral high ground (especially if your business has benefited from low-cost alternatives like buying supplies from an internet store that has no corresponding brick and mortar shop) is simply wishing for something that is not going to happen -- being immune to low-cost alternatives.

 

At least part of the problem in this situation is that the client was not made to feel like they were getting enough value (quality relative price).  The OP highlights this fact by stating that she felt motivated to "educate" the client as she felt the client might have thought she was being price gouged.  And indeed explanation of the client's response seems to confirm this.  

 

The problem is the O.P. should have educated the client before-hand.  This is a common recommendation for how to compete against low-cost alternatives.  Given what is described here, the client did not have a sense of the quality provided by the O.P. and frankly the email does not provide much either resting the justification for prices on the fact that she is trying to make a living from her business.  

 

Given all of the discussion of common assumptions held by the general public (it's just flour and water) and the impact of cake shows, it is poor business practice to assume that potential clients are knowledgeable about the industry generally and what sets you apart from other non-low cost specialty bakers.  If you are not educating the client as a way of building value (and along with it trust) you are facilitating conditions where customers will make decisions solely on price.  

 

Finally, the O.P. should have discussed her brand and not engaged in a sweeping generalized smear campaign (this is why there was little educational value to the email and why it thus unprofessional).  Now maybe this was done at the initial meeting, if so, it was not effective as the O.P. states she felt the client assumed she was being gouged.  But the "information" provided is not based on the particularities of the unknown competitors and seems to be predicated on the idea that the only legitimate business is one where which enables the owner to make a living.  Not much educational value here.  Rather than besmirching the competition with generalizations and assumptions that may not account for the low-cost competitor, the O.P. should have been focused on developing trust with the client by emphasizing what sets her apart and how she generates provides value to her clients.

 

Would this have made a difference?  In this case it seems not as it seems the client's financial situation influenced her decision.  Then again she make have been more willing to make other sacrifices.  Point is it is poor business practice to act as if the specialty cake business should be immune to the pressures of low-cost alternatives.    And if you only become interested in educating clients after they have opted for low-cost alternatives, you will continue to lose clients to low-cost alternatives.

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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*