In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined the conversation this little rant o’ mine caused recently. If anything, I truly expected an avalanche of negative comments, and I braced myself for that onslaught. But, it didn’t happen. It struck quite a chord with you all, and I thank you for all positivity!
So I thought to myself, I COULD write a post for you now about the nuances of ten different royal icing consistencies. But, it seems that these fine cookie makers (and many more) have that covered. You don’t need me for that right now.
You’re different. You like to dare me to talk about these forbidden subjects. And I fall for it.
That said, the next runaway circus elephant that has showed up in my living room is tattooed with the word discount.
Here’s a sample of that scenario:
A potential client phones and wants to place an order for, say, 100 cookies. That’s a tidy little order, you think to yourself. Before you can say “vanilla or chocolate cookies?”, the question is asked: ”Can I get a discount on this because I’m doing volume?” Which do you do:
- Become paralyzed from head to toe.
- Cave instantly by saying ‘of course’ and fumble over your words because you don’t want to lose this order, no way no how, even though you’re livid with rage.
- Calmly and sweetly tell the client that these cookies are being created expressly for them and the largest portion of the cookie costing formula is labor, and you can’t possibly discount labor, much as you might like to.
If you said ‘C’ unequivocally, then shut this thing down and go do something productive with your time.
WHY O WHY would you give a discount? Because you’re getting Trump wealthy on all these cookies you’re making? It doesn’t make much sense, does it? If you’re creating cookies especially for this client, then there’s no real reason to give a discount. It’s not like you have a big inventory of baked and decorated cookies that are sitting in your cookie warehouse, and you just have to make room for all the other cookies that need storage. No-siree. You’re making these cookies expressly for this client. And, as we went over in the last post that made my blood boil, you and I both know you’re not getting rich doing it.
What happens if you do give in and provide a discount? It could be a percentage, a few cents, maybe even a few dollars off each cookie because you believe this client is IMPORTANT! You begin the work. And, low and behold another person wants to order cookies. No mention of a discount. Hhmmm….take the order and give up overrated showers and sleep? Now you start to really get steamed because you’re working your decorating digits to the bone for less money than ever, AND turning away business.
Do not fall into this trap. Re-read #3 and repeat after me: my labor is what fuels these cookies. It is my work that you admired and made you come to me for my product. Without my labor, these cookies mean nothing. Chances are, if you explain honestly (like you’re letting them into your world) that the labor really is the biggest expense of the cookie, the client will understand, especially if that client is a small business owner, too.
It’s okay to say no and not feel guilty. You are the master of your cookie domain. But remember, once you give a particular client a discount, they will always ask for a discount. The precedent will have been set.
Ultimately, you have to answer this question: is it better to take a huge order at a discounted price that may or may not cover your costs, time and labor, or is it better to take smaller orders with a larger mark-up for the week? And have time to shower?
No matter what you decide, I have a feeling that you’re going to be answering these queries with a lot more confidence now. Reward yourself with a cookie. And send this elephant back to the circus.
Or this cake.