Monday, February 28, 2011

Pricing Bait And Switch

To all the brides who are booking wedding cake bakers, I just have one thing to say (for today.)

When you look at someone's prices, look at the whole picture. The price per serving isn't always the final price. Add in delivery, additional fees, upgrades, whatever they want to call it, and THAT'S your final price per guest.

I see people on wedding sites quoting the wrong prices to each other all the time. "I got my cake from so-and-so, and they were only $2.50 a serving."

Well, I know so-and-so's bakery. I also know that they lure brides in by advertising a low starting price, but then charge extra if you want decorations on the cake, and they add $100 to deliver it, so your price just went up a tad. By the time you're done they'll have you paying $4.50 a serving for a plain white cake with their signature monkey-icing on it.

I've seen many bakers online freely admitting that they use a "bargain" cake price to get people in the door, then they upsell them. Many of them say that they've never actually sold any of the bargain cakes that they advertise, but they just use them to get clients in the door.

The pricing bait and switch is pretty common. There are legitimate upgrades that most bakers charge, but many people use an unusually low starting price to draw customers in, then nickel-and-dime you until the price is actually in line with, or higher than, the average price in the area.

It's one thing if a baker charges you more for adding a massive cascade of gumpaste flowers to your cake. it's another if they're charging you $10 for each buttercream rose.

So just pay attention, and when you're comparison shopping, keep the FINAL price in mind, not the starting price. Once all the details are added up that bargain baker with the low starting price might not be such a bargain after all.


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com