I want to start this by saying I live in a state where it is illegal to sell cookies or baked goods from home unless you have a separate kitchen and do a million things to get approved! I don’t sell my cookies but, maybe someday the Tennessee Cottage Laws will change and allow me to sell. Even though I don’t sell, I might be able to help you with a few tips on taking orders. The first thing you need to do before you start selling cookies it to contact your your local health departments or the state Department of Agriculture and see what the laws in your area are.One night at Cookie Con, I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with a group of lovely ladies named Ashley, Jackie, Vickie and Penny. They asked me questions about pricing and for tips on taking orders. I asked them questions and we had a great brainstorming session. I can’t wait to share what we discussed. Before I rushed home and started typing, I called a few friends that do sell cookies and got some advice from them. Here is what we all talked about. (BTW the tutorial for this platter is here and here.)
1. Have you ever been on the phone trying to pry information out of a customer while your kids are fighting, dinner is burning, and someone will not stop ringing the doorbell? All you are trying to focus on is the date of the event to see if you are able to do the order but, you can’t hear anything.
2. Have you ever spent 40 minutes on the phone listening to every party detail only to have the customer NOT place an order with you? There is 40 minutes you will never get back or get paid for.
3. You get so excited and flustered that someone wants to order 5 dozen cookies that you spit out a price only to find out you didn’t sleep for three days, missed your kids ballgame, had to order pizza for dinner for 3 nights in a row all for a $10 profit on 5 dozen cookies. You lost $32 because you had to buy the pizza for dinner.
DON’T DO THIS ANYMORE!!! I didn’t mean to yell! You, your time, and your sanity are worth so much more then these frustrations. Here is how we are going to work together to make your life easier and your orders more efficient. We are going to break this down into 3 parts to help you get paid what you need to make a profit.
This is not part one of tips on taking orders but, do it anyway. Go to Sweet Sugar Bells Pricing Post here. Look at how she made a pricing scale for her cookies. You should do the same based on your skill level and what cookies in your area will sell for. Some areas will pay more than other. Sad but true! As your skill level grows, you should adjust your prices.
Tips on Taking Orders Part One:
Make an order form you can email your client or email them this form. I uploaded this as Word Document so you can save it or change it with specific questions you want to ask. Make it pretty with your logo and add some color! You know what they say about first impressions.
If you do take an order on the phone, you can use this form to get the info. Once your form is the way you want it, print some to have on hand and keep them close to the phone with a pen. These are the easiest tips on taking orders I can give you. A custom form for your will really help keep you focused. Even if dinner is burning.
Why is a form important:
- If you email the form you won’t be tied up on the phone for 40 minutes trying to get the information from someone while trying to cook dinner.
- When your potential client emails you the questionnaire back, you have a few minutes to think.
- You can check if you even want to do the order. It may all be logo cookies with details you don’t want to spend hour after hour trying to perfect.
- You can check your calendar to see if you are available.
- You will have time to think about the price. You can look at what the client wants and how they want it packaged and set a price according to what you need to be paid to make a profit. You can do this without them on the phone while you are feeling pressure to make them “like you” by saying some ridiculous low price!! I know you know what I am talking about! I see you shaking your head!
- I had a hard time realizing that if someone ordered from me or not, it doesn’t mean they like or dislike me or my cookies! (I have made a lot of cookies for donations.) Maybe they decided to use a cake instead of cookies. Who knows but, DON’T GIVE YOUR COOKIES AND YOUR TIME AWAY FOR FREE! I will stop yelling now;) I love ya! That is why I want you to get paid what your and your time is worth.
Tips on Taking Orders Part Two:
This is only a starting point for tips on taking orders. Please make something like this for yourself. Some platters and cookie orders will cost more because of the details and the amount of colors you use. Make a plan so you are not caught off guard when the order comes in. “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” by Winston Churchill is one of my favorite quotes.
Tips on Taking Orders Part Three:
- How much do bag cost individually? Multiply it by 12 and you will have your cost per dozen.
- How much are you going to charge for cookie bag toppers? Well, you have to design them, print them, cut them, and attach them. Figure a basic price that will cover the cost and add it the the Platter Price or Favor Price.
- How much ribbon do you use to tie a cookie bag? Measure it, multiply it by 12 and figure the cost. You have a basic price for ribbon.
- I know it is hard to calculate shipping but, you can get a good estimate on the shipping supplies. Make a dozen cookies. Wrap them like you are going to mail them and see how much packing supplies you use for a single dozen. Now you know how much you spend on packaging supplies per dozen so adjust it per order and per dozen you will be shipping.
- You can get a good idea of what the post office will charge you. Go to the post office and talk to them. They are nice. Bribe them with cookies if you have to but, don’t leave until you have some kind of idea what shipping will cost and add a few dollars as a safety net.