Need Advice About A "client"(Long)

Business By chrissysconfections Updated 8 May 2008 , 6:07pm by vdrsolo

chrissysconfections Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 9:14pm
post #1 of 34

I'm at a loss here. I have this woman who contacted me via my MySpace page about doing a cake for her. She is some sort of friend to my SIL, so I tried to get a reference from them as to whether or not she'd be good for her $. In previous conversations with my SIL she has told me several of her friends would be interested in my cakes but that some of them couldn't afford it and may stiff me for it so to be careful. Since she gave me that warning, and has a bad habit herself of not paying, I wanted to double check with her about this person. She told me she wasn't one she warned against and that she always has money so go forward with contacting her if I was available. Well I emailed to get the basics of what she wanted and gave her some prices. She said she was looking to spend $50-$75 on a baby shower cake that feeds 24. I gave her several examples and she chose the cheapest...1 $45 11x15 sheet cake ( I know this feeds more then 24 but she wanted large slices). We agreed on a day and time to meet to fill out a contract and get a deposit at which point she told me she would be paying in full that day. The day comes and my DH and I are getting ourselves and our 2 yr old ready for the hour's drive to the meeting place and something in my head says check your email before you walk out that door. Good thing I did because there was an email from her saying she wouldn't be able to meet now because she has family coming in from NYC and they planned on going shopping all day but could we reschedule. I explained to her in another email that I would not be able to make the trip again prior to her date (May 18th) because it was such a distance for us and with gas for a large SUV and personal reasons (DH has broken his arm and is out of work for 2 months) it just wouldn't be worth it. We'd waste more in gas for a second trip just for her, we were combining her meeting with a trip down to her area for supplies to save on us. She then replied that money is no object and that she would be willing to meet us up near our home if we wanted or we could work something out via email. I wanted to meet but DH said save her the $ and us the aggrevation since we'd still have to get a sitter and just do it via email. That was a BIG mistake! I typed up my contract in an email and told her to print it out, sign it,and send it with her deposit or full payment no later then the 2 wks prior as per the contract. She said no problem and that was the last I heard from her for a few days. In that time I learned that she had some personal issues she was dealing with too (DH is in Iraq and she had her 3 miscarriage in a yr) so I was willing to excuse the missed meeting. I can understand not wanting to plan your DS baby shower two days after something like that happen. So after not hearing from her for about 5-7 days I asked her if she recieved the email contract alright or did I need to send another. She said she did in fact get it and dropped it in to be mailed on Sunday the 20th so I could expect it anyday. No problem. Now with DH out of work and a 2 yr old I can't even begin to tell you how much we NEED this measely $45 right now so we waited,.... and waited. When I hadn't recieved anything by Friday I emailed her again, this time I told her that I was concerned something happen to her check and that she should contact her bank immediately.I also informed her that the cake needed to be paid in full by May 2nd or I wouldn't be able to do it. She then informed me that she didn't send a check but a money order and that she would resend the contract and a new money order on Monday because she was going away for the weekend. It is now Wednesday and if she had in fact sent it out Monday I would have it by now but alas, nothing. So my question is.....do I email her again? I don't want to seem desperate for her business but I also don't want her to go out and sue me or something saying she sent me $90 and I didn't do the cake...even though I've never recieved a dime!
I know I never should have done business this way, so please don't fry me too bad for that but we honestly thought since she was a friend of my DB and SIL that this wouldn't be a problem....lesson learned icon_redface.gif
I'm thinking sending another email about the lost payment would somewhat cover my butt if I needed it but I don't know what I would say that wouldn't sound bad or desperate.
Also I just want to add that I'm not "legal" yet but plan to be very soon. I need to be able to cover myself IF she did infact send this money and it went somewhere else. I personally don't believe she has sent it, and I've double checked the email I sent her with my addy on it and I know I relayed it correctly but I can't say IF she sent it out that she addressed it properly...it's a PO Box so it's pretty hard to mess up I'd think.
What should I do?

T.I.A

Chrissy icon_smile.gif

33 replies
indydebi Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:09pm
post #2 of 34

Send an email: "Since the payment has never been received, I am forced to consider this order canceled for lack of payment."

(P.S. When you type a really long story, could you break it up into some paragraphs, please? Some of us oldies-but-goodies have eyesight problems! Thx! thumbs_up.gif )

FromScratch Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:17pm
post #3 of 34

I completely agree with Debi.. tell her that you are sorry but due to non-compliance with your contract that you are canceling her order.

You have done MORE than enough. Move on and focus your energy on getting some new customers. ((hugs))

JanH Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:23pm
post #4 of 34

So glad that you've already received great advice thumbs_up.gif as that wall of text IS pretty daunting to my old eyeballs, too. icon_lol.gif

(Only made it about 1/4 way down when everything just blurred together....) icon_redface.gif

cocorum21 Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:25pm
post #5 of 34

Plus she can't sue you if you didn't sign a money order. She would have to keep her receipt and track the money order and if you didn't cash/deposit it then tough noogies to her.

TheButterWench Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:31pm
post #6 of 34

That's why I added pay pal to my bank account. I get paid 100% in full even if they take their cut I still get my money up front.

chrissysconfections Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:36pm
post #7 of 34

Thanks everyone. I'll give her to Friday because that's what I agreed to do and then send her an email telling her that since I didn't recieve payment I'll consider the order canceled.

I apologize to everyone for the run on text. I'm usually really good about paragraphing but I was trying to tend to my two year old and type at the same time. I found myself typing faster so I wouldn't forget my thought/point before she got into something else.
Sorry! icon_redface.gificon_cry.gificon_redface.gif

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:43pm
post #8 of 34

Oh dear! I sure hope this works out for you....I know the feeling of needing every little bitty order! When you need a loaf of bread or gallon of milk...$45 SURE comes in handy!

yummymummy Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 10:52pm
post #9 of 34

"I know the feeling of needing every little bitty order! When you need a loaf of bread or gallon of milk...$45 SURE comes in handy!"\\[quote]

You said it diamonds! I'm in the same boat...need every red cent these days...thanks to Bush screwing w/ the economy!

michellenj Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 11:18pm
post #10 of 34

Please let us know how this turns out.

littlecake Posted 1 May 2008 , 2:02am
post #11 of 34

yeah give her a few more days, you never know, esp. since you need the money so bad...been there and done that...bless your heart, thats rough.

TexasSugar Posted 1 May 2008 , 3:23am
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissysconfections

Thanks everyone. I'll give her to Friday because that's what I agreed to do and then send her an email telling her that since I didn't recieve payment I'll consider the order canceled




Go ahead and drop her an email letting her know if you do not recieve the payment, in cash or money order (NO checks) by XX time on Friday the order is cancelled. That way you don't have to deal with any whines Friday night from her. You either get the money and she gets a cake or you don't and there is no cake.

FromScratch Posted 1 May 2008 , 4:15am
post #13 of 34

I agree with TexasSugar.. e-mail her now telling her that Friday is the deadline or the order is canceled. icon_smile.gif

vdrsolo Posted 1 May 2008 , 12:58pm
post #14 of 34

I don't think she ever sent the first $45 money order in the first place....if I sent a $45 money order I would be tracking that thing down!! I think she was just delaying you....

Deadlines are deadlines, if she doesn't pay by the deadline...no cake!

bethola Posted 1 May 2008 , 1:14pm
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

I agree with TexasSugar.. e-mail her now telling her that Friday is the deadline or the order is canceled. icon_smile.gif




Me too! Keep a "hard copy" for yourself. I LOVE technology, but, I'm OLD and believe that we need "hold it in my hand" proof!

Good Luck!

Beth in KY

springlakecake Posted 1 May 2008 , 1:17pm
post #16 of 34

If it makes you feel any better, I never would have set up a meeting for a $45 cake either. If you wanted a contract/deposit etc. I also would have just done it through the mail, or had her bring it to me, whichever was easier. So I dont think that is bad business practice or anything to do this through email/mail. This isnt a wedding cake that costs hundreds of dollars.

aswartzw Posted 1 May 2008 , 1:39pm
post #17 of 34

I agree with Texassugar. Let her know now you need the money by tomorrow by such a time (allow yourself plenty of time to make the cake without being rushed) or it's cancelled.

CindiM Posted 1 May 2008 , 1:52pm
post #18 of 34

First, the amount of servings in a 11 x 15 cake.
Take 11 times 15 = 165 square inches. Now divide by 2 inches (wedding cake size) that gives you 82- 1x2 servings, or divide by (party size) 4 inches, that gives you 42- 2x2 servings. So your price was $1.07 per serving. Price by the cake slice.

You will gain lots of experience in dealing with people. She knows she didn't send it.
Only give them a second chance. We teach people how to treat us. You care more about the cake than she does (that is why we are cake people). You have to decide to not bank on customers that are not worth your time. You have done more than this customer deserves. Okay, I will get off my soapbox.

chrissysconfections Posted 1 May 2008 , 4:10pm
post #19 of 34

Thanks everyone! I did send a "reminder" this morning and this is what it said:

XXXXX,
Hello, I just wanted to remind you that payment in full is due on Friday, May 2nd. I have just checked the mail and as yet I have not recieved either the intial payment you said you mailed out on Sunday, April 20th or the replacement one you were going to mail this past Monday, April 28th. If payment has not been recieved by the agreed upon date of May 2nd this order will be considered canceled. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.



She's usually on her computer all day or nearby because she answers me rather quickly so I should have a response from her in a couple hours...if she has one.

vdrsolo Posted 1 May 2008 , 5:22pm
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by CindiM

First, the amount of servings in a 11 x 15 cake.
Take 11 times 15 = 165 square inches. Now divide by 2 inches (wedding cake size) that gives you 82- 1x2 servings, or divide by (party size) 4 inches, that gives you 42- 2x2 servings. So your price was $1.07 per serving. Price by the cake slice.

You will gain lots of experience in dealing with people. She knows she didn't send it.
Only give them a second chance. We teach people how to treat us. You care more about the cake than she does (that is why we are cake people). You have to decide to not bank on customers that are not worth your time. You have done more than this customer deserves. Okay, I will get off my soapbox.




The OP didn't mention if this was a single or double layer.

If single layer:
165/4 = 41 for wedding size 2x2
165/6 = 27 for party size 3x2

If double layer:
165/2 = 82 for wedding size 1x2
165/3 = 55 for party size 1.5x2

chrissysconfections Posted 1 May 2008 , 6:13pm
post #21 of 34

It was to be a single layer cake with "large" slices that's why I was planning the 11x15......also 24 was an estimate not a definite....there could have been more.

icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 1 May 2008 , 7:07pm
post #22 of 34

I know that we've been harping on this in other posts, but remember that it doesn't matter how big she wants to cut the pieces. you need to charge her for a standard number of servings per cake. By my estimations, using 2"x2" servings, an 11x15 would give you 35 servings, so by charging her for only 24 servings for that size cake you're shortchanging yourself. My husband could probably eat an entire cake by himself (he'd be hurting afterward, but he could do it!) but that doesn't mean it's only one serving.

And I wouldn't meet anyone for a smaller cake like that, let alone drive an hour to do it, so don't feel bad about that. It sounds like she's going to stiff you anyway, but remember about the serving thing. If someone asks for a cake that serves 24, tell them it's a 9 x13, and if they say they want bigger servings, you should tell them that you can make an 11 x 15, but that's 35 servigns so she can choose which one she wants.

vdrsolo Posted 1 May 2008 , 7:17pm
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I know that we've been harping on this in other posts, but remember that it doesn't matter how big she wants to cut the pieces. you need to charge her for a standard number of servings per cake. By my estimations, using 2"x2" servings, an 11x15 would give you 35 servings, so by charging her for only 24 servings for that size cake you're shortchanging yourself. My husband could probably eat an entire cake by himself (he'd be hurting afterward, but he could do it!) but that doesn't mean it's only one serving.

And I wouldn't meet anyone for a smaller cake like that, let alone drive an hour to do it, so don't feel bad about that. It sounds like she's going to stiff you anyway, but remember about the serving thing. If someone asks for a cake that serves 24, tell them it's a 9 x13, and if they say they want bigger servings, you should tell them that you can make an 11 x 15, but that's 35 servigns so she can choose which one she wants.




And this is exactly why on my sheet cakes "this size is $$, and it will serve x (I give them the serving range of party to wedding and let them know how large each of those slices are).

chrissysconfections Posted 1 May 2008 , 7:32pm
post #24 of 34

costumeczar~ I guess I never thought of it that way...good point. I was hoping to meet with her on the orginal date because I had templets made up to show her serving sizes to better customize her cake but I do have a bad habit of upgrading for free anyway!


I did get a response from her a few minutes ago. This is all it said:

I was in the hospital on monday .. I have been deathly ill . I have a 103.9 fever vomitting , migrain headach , back and stomach pain not to mention strep throat so havent be able to leave me bed let alone my house to get out and get stuff done ..



DH says to give her another week because "it's just a sheet cake".....he's right there but it's also a large FBCT of a complete decorated carousel so that will take about a day in itself.
Part of me wants to give her another chance (the part that needs the $45 icon_wink.gif ) and part of me just hears another excuse.

Now I'm confused!!!

cakesbycathy Posted 1 May 2008 , 8:51pm
post #25 of 34

Sounds like she making up an excuse and hoping you'll feel sorry for her. She wasn't sick when she was supposed to send the check the first time. And even if she was "deathly ill" she still just jerking you around.

On the one hand, I truly understand how badly that money could come in handy. On the other hand, as some other wise CCr's have said "you teach your customers how to treat you."

chutzpah Posted 1 May 2008 , 8:55pm
post #26 of 34

Retain your dignity and decline the cake. Sometimes, despite the need for money, it is just not worth it. Another customer will come along shortly, willing to pay cash on the spot for your good cake.

TexasSugar Posted 1 May 2008 , 10:09pm
post #27 of 34

If she was deathly ill at the first deadline then I would be more willing to work with her. But don't forget she has CLAIMED she has sent you a money order TWICE now. Maybe she was sick, but then agian maybe she figured you wouldn't except the money is in the mail for a third time. Funny how she isn't worried or freaked out that the money orders haven't reached you yet, simply that she hasn't been able to do anything this week.

Sick or not this week, you have already given her a long enough time to get the money to you. This is more hassle than it is worth in my opnion.

I'd reply back with I'm very sorry you have been sick, but I have already extented your deadline several times and have given you several times to pay for the order and if I don't get any money by xx I simply can not buy the items to do the cake.

indydebi Posted 1 May 2008 , 11:12pm
post #28 of 34

Oh go ahead decline the cake! If she's that sick, she won't be able to eat cake anyway!

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 2 May 2008 , 4:43am
post #29 of 34

i agree with indydebi. she might not be in the mood to celebrate anything anyway. just politely decline it and say something like, i hope you will think of about ordering a cake from me for future events.
thank her (for wasting your time and aggravating you) and then that's it.

JulieB Posted 2 May 2008 , 5:40am
post #30 of 34

There is no way she sent the first MONEY ORDER. You don't just "out of hand" say, oh, I sent a money order, I'll send you another one. You have to pay cash for a money order, so "sending you another one" would end up costing her $90 for the cake, and that's hard to believe she would pay that, when she ordered right off, the cheapest one offerred.

She's jerking your chain, write it off. I'd be willing to bet there's no $45.

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