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Quick Rant on Budgets and Price Quotes

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mia1181

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Okay I have sort of grounded myself from PS lately because I have so much stuff to do and I know that I use PS as a way to procrastinate. But I just had to complain a little about the whole Price Quote situation.

I hate it when you ask someone for a price quote on something and they ask you your budget and miraculously the thing you wanted was *exactly* the same cost as your budget. How does this happen? It drives me bananas! Makes me think the thing I wanted was actually much cheaper than my budget, but they thought "well hey if we can get THAT much out of her..."
This deserves 3 eyerolls!

The actual *thing* I am talking about here is a cake. I asked for a price on a cake I want for my sister''s shower that I am throwing. The cake is one of those "topsy turvy" cakes. I have no idea what they cost but I was praying it was under $200. I showed the vendor the cake I wanted and asked how much it was. Of course their response was "what is your budget?" To which my response was "I was hoping for around 2 hundred, is that realistic?" And they replied with a quote of $200. Does anyone know if that is reasonable for a 25 serving sculpted fondant cake?

I think it probably is, but I am just bothered by the exact price quote. I mean if they would have came back with $195, I would have thought ,"wow! and five dollars under budget!" Hell, if they would have came back with $210, I would have been like "wow they must have worked hard to get it close to my budget!"
 

emeraldlover1

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I''d say for $25 people that is about the price I would expect however they type of cake you are describing is more extensive. Most places in the nyc area that specialize in this type of cake start at $500. However I''m sure you can find ones for less. Most of the time they charge per person but this cake may feed more than that.
 

mia1181

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Oh yeah I should have posted the cake before.

I showed them this, but asked for less intricate decorations to save money. I suggested polka dots on the top and stripes on the bottom. But now I am wondering if I set myself up for something really plain, but maybe they would have done something better for the same price.

cakeymia.jpg
 

Blair138

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Mia where are you located? I actually think $200 isn''t bad for a cake like that because it takes a little bit of time and design work. In Chicago, it would probably be a little more for something like that.

I am way too honest and have a hard time ''lying'' even if it would help me. Maybe you should start low-balling and see if the offers still match up? Or call back and say another bakery quoted you lower and ask if they could do it for $175? It never hurts to ask.
 

brendaman

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I just attended one of these Bridal shows in the DC area. The consensus on cakes is that it''s a good deal if you can get it for $10-$15 per person. Well known places like Charm City Cakes in Baltimore (they do the Food Network show, "Ace of Cakes"), I''ve been told, start out at $34 per person, but I haven''t really asked them for a price quote and don''t know someone who has.

So $8 per person seems like a good deal for a "topsy turvy" cake. Do they have a lot of experience in making them? Did they have pics of such cakes they''ve made before?
 

FrekeChild

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It just depends on where you're at. Is this in SF or somewhere else?

And only Charm City Cakes can charge that--people see it on tv and that's the reason why. They never talk about flavor or taste on there, it's all in the decorations and artistry. Really though, I think that's highway robbery. But that's because I know too much about the topic...

ETA: For NM that's pretty freaking high. Our cakes start at around $2 per person, but we have a lower overhead cost.
 

Gypsy

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Mia, just as a general negotiation guideline... when they say "what's your budget" just reply with, "I'm not sure yet, I'm looking for quotes to help me determine what a reasonable budget is for what I'm looking for." THEN when they tell you what it costs, come back and say "I was really hoping to spend no less than (low ball them). " Either they will meet it, or you'll meet somewhere in the middle. Don't give them your budget. I think that sounds like a very high price for that cake.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 2/3/2009 7:10:20 PM
Author: Gypsy
Mia, just as a general negotiation guideline... when they say ''what''s your budget'' just reply with, ''I''m not sure yet, I''m looking for quotes to help me determine what a reasonable budget is for what I''m looking for.'' THEN when they tell you what it costs, come back and say ''I was really hoping to spend no less than (low ball them). '' Either they will meet it, or you''ll meet somewhere in the middle. Don''t give them your budget. I think that sounds like a very high price for that cake.
Great advice Gypsy! I don''t think $200 for that cake is so bad though, those cakes take a lot of work.
 

elrohwen

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If it makes you feel any better, my employer did this to me when they hired me out of college. They asked what I thought I should make and I quoted a salary I had heard (which was apparently a few years old). Miraculously, my salary was exactly that number!

I learned a year later that it was actually $500 below the minimum for my grade level. I only found this out because I worked up the nerve to ask for a raise and that got my boss (not the same boss who hired me) looking into my pay grade.


So I get your frustration!! I have no idea how much a cake like that should cost ... so I''m not being very helpful. I just wanted to commiserate.
Vendors should figure out this whole selling thing and be less obvious with their quotes.
 

PilsnPinkysMom

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I second Gypsy!

But concerning the cake... $200 seems fair.

You know what I hate about wedding vendors? When you give them a budget range (I want to spend between 500 & 850 but IDEALLY want to keep it on the lower end) And yet the vendor REFUSES to even recognize a budget other than the high-end $850. LAME. I mean, I guess I''m asking for it... But I had a florist the other day call me and say, "Oh, so, you budget is $2000?" And i nearly choked... Because 2000 is NOT my budget for flowers-- it''s just the ABSOLUTE MAX I can go for ALL/ANY decorations... and that''s only if they absolutely blow me away.

Money grubbers.

Another one: Salon price list: Formal Stye: 55 Up-do: 55 Bridal Style: 75 ....Wait.... what? You mean to tell me that 5 extra bobby pins and a few additional sprays of hairspray cost $20. WTF. Get real, people.
 

whitetulips

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Date: 2/3/2009 7:10:20 PM
Author: Gypsy
Mia, just as a general negotiation guideline... when they say ''what''s your budget'' just reply with, ''I''m not sure yet, I''m looking for quotes to help me determine what a reasonable budget is for what I''m looking for.'' THEN when they tell you what it costs, come back and say ''I was really hoping to spend no less than (low ball them). '' Either they will meet it, or you''ll meet somewhere in the middle. Don''t give them your budget. I think that sounds like a very high price for that cake.
Big ditto to this. I never tell anybody what my budget is- one thing I learned in sales: the first person to name a price usually loses. I would shop around because maybe somebody will quote you less and you can come back to this place and negotiate a lower price.
 

mia1181

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Ugh Gypsy you are so right! Do you want to handle my negotiations from now on? No? Oh, okay, I'll put on my big girl pants and start paying attention to what I say to vendors. I guess in my head I was thinking it was going to cost waaay more than I could afford, so I was almost embarrassed to throw out the $200 figure. Then I started cutting corners by telling her that it doesn't need to be as elaborate as this cake. But I really want a nice cake too, not a cheap substitute. BTW, How are you feeling sweetie? I am always thinking about you and hoping you are feeling better. But I have been trying to stay off PS so I can get a few things done.

Oh and for those of you were wondering, I am not buying this cake in the SF Bay Area, but rather my hometown of Buffalo, NY. It should be a little cheaper there. Either way I just feel right now that I can't trust the price they gave me, so I am going to ask another bakery for a quote. But there aren't many bakeries in the area that make cake like this, so we'll see!

Elrohwen- Aw, sorry to hear you sold yourself short with the job. I'm definitely the same way, I try so hard not to look greedy or cheap and end up shooting myself in the foot.

PilsnPinkysMom- You are soooo right! The vendors use the the high end of your budget as a starting point! And the bridal updo is hilarious! When I had my hair done for my elopement, I tried for a while to just say it was for an "event," but I was so excited I wanted to share what it was for. As I was leaving the receptionist charged me whatever the price was and my stylist came running over saying "oh no! It's for her wedding charge her for the bridal updo!" and instantly the price for my updo went up!
I have had my hair done an a really elaborate updo for an event, and I can tell you they put just as much effort and hairspray into it for the cheaper price!

ETA- Whitetulips that's exactly what I will do. I sort of have to now.
 

choro72

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Eeesh, I feel your pain! It''s like buying a car.
"How much are you willing to pay?"
"$13000"
"Up to...?"
"Well, I was hoping no more than $13500"
"Okay, so your budget is $13500".
*beat my own head*

Two weeks ago we had the civil ceremony. My dear sister surprised me with a bouquet. She went to the florist and asked for a bridal bouquet. "$70". WHAT!?
She said "Um...It''s just a civil ceremony, we don''t need anything fancy...". "Oh, okay, then $30" And the bouquet was GORGEOUS! I don''t understand what more they could have added to warrent the 2x+ price increace!
 

Gypsy

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Mia honey, I'm okay, thank you so much for asking. I'm still at home recovering so if you need help this week with negotiating, actually I'd enjoy helping as I'm bored silly so give me a shout out if you need help.
 

mia1181

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Sorry you are bored Gypsy! I''ll let you know if I need anything.

One other thing that isn''t sitting right with me.... Is this cake going to be tiny for $200? I asked for it to be 25 servings, but with two layes is that going to be a teensy cake? Anyone have any idea how big it will be? The cake above looks like it could easily be 50 servings.
 

FrekeChild

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It just depends mia. Did you send them a picture of what you wanted? I was thinking the same thing that you are...
 

mia1181

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Yep, I sent them this picture above. I was expecting a little back and forth about how it would be too small and we''d have to make it X number of servings in order to acheive the look I want. But they just agreed to it. I''m kind of stuck here because I don''t really like any other bakeries in the area (at least going by their websites). It''s a small city. Here is their website if you want to check them out: http://www.zillycakes.com/
 

FrekeChild

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Hmmm...I don''t know Mia. I think they might be overcharging you a bit, but I don''t know what you can do about it at this point....
 

mia1181

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Freke what do you think about 10" on the bottom and 8" on the top? I assume each layer will be somewhat thick. They assured me it wouldn''t be too small.
 

swimmer

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Mia, this cake is sooo cute! What colors?

Gypsy is dead on with the negotiations, I''ve encountered the same thing when recently going around to country clubs with a friend who is too "shy" to negotiate. The same places where I have thrown proms for years want to charge 33% more for a wedding. What I don''t get is why they would do this when they make so much more money off of a wedding with the bar being open? The prices that I know I can get for a friday night in June for a prom are way cheaper than for a wedding at exactly the same time, duration, and place for a wedding. It makes me wonder if people should even mention that they are booking for a wedding...site mgrs seem to see $$$ in their eyes when the word wedding comes up.
 

Haven

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Adorable cake, first of all.

As for your original question--this just happened to a friend of mine. I went with her to look at flowers with a vendor, and after they discussed all of her needs and preferences, the florist said "Okay, what is your budget?" She gave her a range of 1K to 2K, and then the florist went in the back to do calculations, came back and said "It comes to $2,600" total, BUT since [this and that and this and that] we can do it all for the great price for you of $2,000. How does that sound?

I was all
.

They hadn''t even discussed the details of the attendants'' bouquets, yet. It was very frustrating. What if she had said her top was $1,500? Or $3,000?
 

diamondseeker2006

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Wow, cute cake! But $200 for a cake to serve 25 at a SHOWER??? Gosh, I live in another reality! I bought a cake from a bakery last year for a shower and it was about $30!!!!
 
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