How Much Nagging?

Business By Kitagrl Updated 28 Apr 2008 , 9:25pm by CelebrationsbyLori

Kitagrl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 4:38am
post #1 of 22

I have had problems lately with people who say they want a cake...I send all info through the email (or even phone) and explain about the deposit. They say basically that yes they for sure want the cake. But then its like they disappear for awhile, no deposit. And then the week before the cake would be due, they are like "ok I'm ready to pay now". This last week I had two people who suddenly wanted a 3D cake they had asked me about three weeks prior, but then were like "Sorry I am just now getting back with you." I had to tell them that I was sorry but it was too late for a 3D cake but that I could cut out a flat shaped cake for them (even that was slightly annoying as I had already planned out my week).

I have other people in process right now, they sent me several emails, one with photos, and I've sent email and I'm not sure if they are getting them, or forgetting to pay a deposit, or what.

My question is how much nagging do you do? I hate nagging, I'd rather just let them procrastinate and then say "No sorry you are too late" and be done with it. However I will usually send someone an email to double check if they still want the cake. But how many emails? Or phone calls (usually voicemails *sigh*). I hate it when someone really wants a cake but then comes back and confirms after I've already planned out my "cake week" and bought my stuff. How much babysitting do you do for your customers?

21 replies
Carson Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 4:49am
post #2 of 22

I have the exact same problem - and one right now with a wedding cake I am suppose to be doing this weekend!!! I really don't have an answer for you but am anticipating all the other expert opinions!

jkjmoore79 Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 4:51am
post #3 of 22

If this is what you are doing for a living and you need the work then I would nag away. Most people do not understand how much goes into a cake. I make sure they do. I have a family memeber doing the same thing right now. But I do this for fun. When they miss out and have to run to store and buy one maybe they will plan ahead next time. Good luck!

AZCakeGirl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 5:26am
post #4 of 22

This is what I do....if they ask about a cake, I straight out tell them that I book up very quickly & I would be happy to do the cake for them, but nothing is guaranteed until they put a deposit down to hold the date (50% or whatever you're comfortable with asking for). I make it very clear that it is a first come, first serve basis & just because I am available today, does not mean that I'll be available tomorrow. If people know that they may lose the opportunity if someone else asks for a cake on that day, they are more willing to commit. If they do not put the deposit down at that time, then I wait & see if anything else comes up. If nothing else does, then I contact them & say something like.... "you spoke with me about your cake for May 15th, I just wanted to make sure you had found someone to do it. If not, I am still available but would need a deposit by next Friday.

Or, you can say "I have one opening left for the date you inquired about, would you like to put a deposit down to hold the spot?".Regardless of whether you only had one spot for that weekend to start with or if you do five cakes per weekend, wording it that way lets them know they need to take care of it if they want you to do the cake.

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 5:37am
post #5 of 22

Okay, I'm not selling cakes (not legal), but I have worked in retail in other industries and what AZCakeGirl said is correct. Sometimes you have to sort of give an ultimatum or else people think that just because they spoke to you once, you'll take them on as a client later (even w/o the required deposit).

I'm sure there are those that actually just do forget (usually people are getting a cake for an occasion and I'm sure they are making other plans, too and can become frazzled and distracted), so giving them a 'this is your last chance' call is probably helpful.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 6:24am
post #6 of 22

I used to sell phones so yeah the last two tips are good. you have to let them know that the window of opportunity to get the cake is closing and they need to act fast or else they'll lose out on it. how can they do that? by paying the deposit icon_biggrin.gif

LeanneW Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 7:02am
post #7 of 22

Don't consider it nagging. You are offering a service to them by reminding them they haven't placed thier cake order yet. Most likely they will be grateful that you have helped them get something crossed of thier to do list.

You could say someting that sounds like you are helping them while not sounding annoyed that they are ordering late.

"Hi customer, in looking through my bookings I noticed that you haven't finalized your cake order for next month yet. If you would like to continue with your booking please (fill in the blank with what the next step is, ex: send in a deposit)"

Kitagrl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 12:33pm
post #8 of 22

Thanks all!

Okay so say that I do that and the customer doesn't respond (esp via email)....then its in their ballpark if they call me five days before the cake is due and I don't feel like rushing around doing their cake...I just say "no" right?

I don't mind so much with new customers but once in awhile my old faithfuls do it...and I don't tell them no, but sheesh! haha.

indydebi Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 12:51pm
post #9 of 22

I *do* do this for a living and I don't chase down customers. they have the info ... if they dont' book, then they lose out. Even weddings worth $3000 ..... I send them the proposals after the tasting and I'm done.

I have had 192 inquiries for 2008 .... I've booked 42 of them. I do NOT have time to chase down and follow up with 150 brides. If the remaining 150 brides want to call to schedule a sampling, they will.

They call 5 days prior? "Sorry, you waited too long. My baking schedule is full."

Saying "no" shows them that you are in high demand, that your work is valuable, and if they want you, then they better plan ahead.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 12:57pm
post #10 of 22

So Indy, I know all your weekends are full but say you did it from home and that sometimes your weekends were full but you had a weekend that only had one cake.

Would you still deny a last minute cake just to make a point?

indydebi Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:01pm
post #11 of 22

The original post mentioned not having sufficient notice to do a 3D carved cake .... if there's not enough time, then "the baking schedule is full". And it is ... if your schedule is so full that you dont' have time to make a cake like, then it's not a lie.

I have done last minute cakes if I can fit them in the schedule, but I've no problem telling me "nope.... no can do!"

Kitagrl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:06pm
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

The original post mentioned not having sufficient notice to do a 3D carved cake .... if there's not enough time, then "the baking schedule is full". And it is ... if your schedule is so full that you dont' have time to make a cake like, then it's not a lie.

I have done last minute cakes if I can fit them in the schedule, but I've no problem telling me "nope.... no can do!"




Thanks! I have said no to a few recently...also took on a few this last weekend kind of last minute which really made my weekend rough (including a baby with a possible ear infection who won't sleep!)

I guess if I really need the cash I'll allow it but these people...gracious...whats with all the last minute stuff? My friend who is just getting into cookies has some lady jerking her chain this week too, waiting til the last minute, trying to talk down her prices. Wow. You'd think we were all car salesmen. (My husband just dealt with one of those this past weekend and MAN its rough... but seems like some decorators get treated the same way! Especially working from home.)

As a ramble...just had a lady want a cake...sent me the photo...said she couldn't find anyone else to do it...BUT told me "This is my budget" (about $75 less than the cake was worth). I just told her my prices and left it at that, and have not heard back. That's ok too!

indydebi Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:15pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

...whats with all the last minute stuff?




I hear ya! Got a call last month.....it was at noon.....

caller: do you do birthday cakes?
debi: yes
caller: good. I need to pick it up today and i need it to say ....
debi: whoa whoa whoa! it doesnt' work that way! I dont' have cakes piled up in my freezer so I can pull one out and slap some icing on it.
caller: so you couldn't have one ready by 4:30?
debi: even if I didnt' have a 3-tier wedding cake, 300 cookies, 150 mints and have to hand paint some candy shells on the schedule today, no it coldn't be done.
caller: really?
debi: Yeah I know ... it's the perils of only doing fresh cakes made to order!
caller: can you suggest someplace besides walmart or kroger?
debi: No, if you need a last minute cake, that's what walmart and kroger do. They have PLENTY of cakes piled up in their freezer that they can slap some icing on for ya.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:25pm
post #14 of 22

LOL nice!

The worst one I got like that was somebody who wanted something overnighted to California. icon_confused.gif

I do get people who call on Tuesday and expect a 3D cake by Friday or Saturday. Hmmmm nope sorry, I don't have time to measure, bake, build a support, make pieces to dry...by that time.

arosstx Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:29pm
post #15 of 22

Oh, haha indydebi, I am loving that conversation! icon_smile.gif She probably hung up thinking, "the nerve of that cake lady, not giving me my cake! harumph!" Boohoohoo, that's all I can say.

As for the last minute stuff, I'll only do it if it's for someone I've already done a cake for in the past. And I tell them that I get to design it, that it will be simple, NOT custom, AND I charge a few bucks extra for it. They always still want the cake, so it works out for both of us.

Most of the 'regulars' are trained and know to call/email me enough in advance. First-timers HAVE to send half up front or no cake, I don't care who they are!

Like Dr. Phil says, "you teach people how to treat you."

leahk Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:30pm
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl


I don't mind so much with new customers but once in awhile my old faithfuls do it...and I don't tell them no, but sheesh! haha.



By never saying no to them, you are perpetuating this vicious cycle. I would give them a warning and then say no once if necessary. This way they will (hopefully) learn.

CelebrationCakery Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 1:55pm
post #17 of 22

You know in a way it is almost as if many people these days just really forget that others matter too.

I know we are all busy, we all have minds that are running a million miles an hour and that is really not an excuse for them to put you out either.
But if what they are doing makes you feel crappy then do not allow it.
Just say you are sorry but you are booked or offer what is possible(unless of course you do really want to do it) If you don't mind them calling and can enjoy the cash and the joy in your work then more power to you. No sense in allowing yourself to be irritated, you would end up not enjoying what you are doing. We can all only do our best to be sure we are happy while making other happy too...it is just not always possible.

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 5:48pm
post #18 of 22

[quote="Kitagrl]Thanks! I have said no to a few recently...also took on a few this last weekend kind of last minute which really made my weekend rough (including a baby with a possible ear infection who won't sleep!)

I guess if I really need the cash I'll allow it but these people...gracious...whats with all the last minute stuff? My friend who is just getting into cookies has some lady jerking her chain this week too, waiting til the last minute, trying to talk down her prices. Wow. You'd think we were all car salesmen. (My husband just dealt with one of those this past weekend and MAN its rough... but seems like some decorators get treated the same way! Especially working from home.)

As a ramble...just had a lady want a cake...sent me the photo...said she couldn't find anyone else to do it...BUT told me "This is my budget" (about $75 less than the cake was worth). I just told her my prices and left it at that, and have not heard back. That's ok too![/quote]

Firstly, hope your baby is feeling better soon. My kids never got ear infections often, but when they happened, the infections were usually "raging" to quote the pediatrician. So I can sympathize with you there.

Secondly, if you decided you wanted to do a last minute cake (or wanted to do it for the needed money or whatever reason actually) you can always say, "Oh you're in luck. I just had a cancellation and I can do this cake, but this doesn't usually happen"; just to keep them from trying it again consistently.

poshcakedesigns Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 6:33pm
post #19 of 22

I would send them 1 additional email but that's it. Your a busy person and you don't get paid extra for chasing them down.

I'd also be sure to include on each email that the deposit/payment has to be received by a certain deadline 7-14 days but make it clear how long the deadline is so there is no misunderstanding. If they complain you can remind them - that information was disclosed in the 2 emails that I sent to you.

indydebi Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 6:36pm
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl


I don't mind so much with new customers but once in awhile my old faithfuls do it...and I don't tell them no, but sheesh! haha.


By never saying no to them, you are perpetuating this vicious cycle. I would give them a warning and then say no once if necessary. This way they will (hopefully) learn.




Agree. What you are teaching them is "Oh she SAYS she needs 2 weeks notice, but she doesn't! I call her all the time at the last minute and she's always able to do it for me!"

FromScratch Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 8:00pm
post #21 of 22

Completely agree with Debi.. you cannot babysit people. I send one reminder and then that's the end of my trying. It's up to them after that. And if they call back the day before asking about their cake I nicely tell them that they have no cake because they failed to officially book with me and pay for their cake. Not my problem.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 28 Apr 2008 , 9:25pm
post #22 of 22

Along with everyone else, I say you cannot chase people around for orders. I have a lot of people call that are shopping around. I tell then right up front that it's first come, first served as far as orders go and that they have to give me a minimum of 2 days notice, but more is suggested. If they wait until 2 days before and I'm already booked up, that's their fault, not mine. Once in a while, it's good to be booked up, it makes you seem more in demand and makes people want you more. Kind of playing "hard to get" icon_wink.gif . Don't let customers tell you how you are going to do business, you have to set some guidelines and then STICK TO THEM!! For everyone!!
Good luck!
-Lori

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