I Want To Cry :( Unhappy Customer

Decorating By yvy_cano Updated 17 Oct 2008 , 6:04pm by akgirl10

yvy_cano Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 4:40pm
post #1 of 39

I sold my second cake on Saturday, the client requested a basketball cake with skateboards. She was a friend's coworker. She ordered a cake for 10 people and I charged her $60.00, I made a two tiered 9" it was the darn good chocolate cake recipe with choco chips in it. She was suppose to pick up on Saturday at 10am, by noon I was still sitting around the house waiting for her, I called her and she said she was swamped and will be another hour (I have a mon-fri 9-5 so I like to enjoy my days off and not be stuck at home) so I asked how far does she live, she said about a mile from me. I told her I would deliver it to her at no charge since she was so close and was falling behind. When I get there, she looked at the cake and loved it but then noticed his name was wrong, I took the order from my friend and I thought she said his name was Mike but they call him Mikey, but she said no its Mark and they call him Marky. I was mortified and apologetic, I ran home to get the letters A & R to correct my mistake and ran back. It took me a total of 20 minutes to run home cut letters and get back. When I get back, I fix it, she was so excited and said she loved it and called her daughter to see it. Today at work she is telling my friend that the cake was good but not worth the $60.00 and she was upset that I didnt get his name correct and she had placed an order for next week and she cancelled it. I only charged her $50.00 for next weeks cake order because of the mistake I made, so I wanted to offer her a discount. This is only my 2nd order and it got bad reviews, im so hurt cause I am so detailed and a perfectionist. I made a small 5" cake with the left over batter and shared with my friends and everyone said it was delicious. Did I overcharge her for this? Was it the darn good chocolate cake shwe didnt like? I dont know what to do to make her happy and not taint my name around the hospital she works in (thats where im getting most of my future orders from). Should I do this weekends cake for free? Im at a lost and want to cry.
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38 replies
KoryAK Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 5:07pm
post #2 of 39

No I don't think you owe her any more than you have already done. I was a simple mistake (tho I do recommend in the future getting an exact spelling regardless if its for "Bob" to avoid any snafus) and you fixed it - fixed even before the time she herself would have been able to come get it.

Deb_ Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 8:30pm
post #3 of 39

I charge $40 for that size and design and more if there are any major decorations on it.

I would advise you in the future to not take orders through another person. Speak directly to the person who is ordering and paying for the cake.

It sounds like she expected more than she got for the price. Why can't customers be honest with us when they first see the cake? I hate it when someone will decide a day later that they were disappointed in the cake they received......and than they badmouth the baker.

I agree with her, in my area $60 would be a lot for a 9" simple design cake, but you need to price accordingly to your competition.

I would definitely call her and try to smooth things over.

Katie-Bug Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 9:09pm
post #4 of 39

I know that this is almost impossible, but don't worry about her! She said she liked it, you know it tasted good, corrected a mistake- which we all make, and you delivered for free.

Last year I had a new customer call an want a sweet sixteen cake for her baby girl...when...tommorow!! I stay up all night baking this stupid 8' cake. She wants it to look like a new Rascal Flatts cd. I call an get a edible image and make something. I htink it looks stupid an horrible, but she is happy!! thumbs_up.gif

I am happy, and think I have a new customer!! She then wants to order a cake for her son, gives me like three-four days notice. She looks at my photos an wants a UT jersery, just like the photo. The photo was a home jersery and she wanted a away jersery. I go purchase one just so that I know what it looks like... icon_mad.gif She sees the cake an says where are the strips, it doesn't look like the photo.... icon_mad.giftapedshut.gif I explain no it doesn't, it looks like the away jersery YOU wanted!!!! icon_evil.gif I haven't heard from her since.... icon_rolleyes.gif

My veiw, I gave her a cake that looked like the UT away jersery, which is what she wanted. I met her in town with the cake, and done the stupid thing with virtual no notice, so she should be thankful she got cake!!! I don't need headaches like her in my life and I'm sure you don't either. Money isn't everything and there will other customers.
thumbs_up.gif

TheCakerator Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 9:11pm
post #5 of 39

For that size cake I would only charge around 40.00 as well since there was only minimal design on it, although it does look very well done thumbs_up.gif I can't say anything on the recipe because I have never made that cake before but I can say if she still orders from you next weekend just let her know you are giving her a discount because of the name mishap the week before, but I would not give her a completely free cake .. after all, you fixed the name before the birthday boy saw it so no harm done at all!

KKC Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 9:44pm
post #6 of 39

Ok so maybe she felt the price of the cake was too high...the spelling of the name was a mistake but it didn't affect the design of the cake by no means. Now if it messed up the frosting or there were visible flaws on the cake thats a different story.

indydebi Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 9:47pm
post #7 of 39

Isn't always amazing how the story is "The cake decorator got his name wrong!" instead of "the person who ordered the cake gave her the wrong name!" icon_rolleyes.gif

michellenj Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 9:51pm
post #8 of 39

The cake looked beautiful, even if you did have to correct the name. And the Darn Good recipe is good, so don't doubt that. Just learn from the experience.

yvy_cano Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 10:42pm
post #9 of 39

Thanks everyone, Im so new at this and cant help but feel like I shouldnt be selling my cakes just yet. I had 2 cake orders this weekend and they were my 1st sold cakes and one of the 2 got a bad review icon_sad.gif... Im sitting here trying to figure out if I could have charged less but here is the breakdown of what it actually cost me $41.00, cake drum/board was $7.00 the 2 skateboards were $8.00 ribbon on board was $2.00 and box it was delivered in $2.00, cake supplies came out to $24.00
($9 sugar shack hi ratio frosting
$2 full container of orange coloring used
$3 sour cream
$3 chips
$3 2 cake mixes
$2 2 pudding mixes
$2 eggs used)

that totaled $41 only left me with $19.00 for labor, gas, electric and so forth. And I delivered it at no cost... So if I charged $40.00 I would not have made a profit at all. I asked my friend if I should do Saturday's cake for free and she said not to because the lady wanted the cake for her mother (who lives out of town) and her mother wasn't coming to visit her after all so she was going to cancel it anyway. I cant help but feel I am not good enough to be selling now and Im second guessing my work.

pastryjen Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:01pm
post #10 of 39

To me, your cake (2 mixes +)should have served at least 40... 1 cake mix would have been more than enough.

Beautiful cake though!

Deb_ Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:02pm
post #11 of 39

Don't get discouraged, you did a great job on that cake it was flawless and you are good enough to sell your cakes.

Do you have any access to wholesale baker's products in your area? It's hard to keep the cost down when you're paying retail price for everything. If you plan on making this a business you probably should think about ordering some of these items in bulk, it would save you a lot of money.

For example my cake drums come out to about .89 cents a piece and my boxes about .50 cents. It's a costly investment in the beginning, but it saves you a lot of money in the long run. I'm fortunate to have a wholesaler about 15 minutes from me, although they only open M - F from 9 to 3 but it's better than having to order on-line.

It kills me when I go into my supply closet only to learn I don't have anymore of the right size box. I go into Michael's and have to pay $2 for a flimsy piece of pooh.

springlakecake Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:07pm
post #12 of 39

Did she know that it was going to cost $60? Did she ask for a cake that size? Could you have made a smaller cake? (a 9 inch cake probably feeds more than 20). If she knew all this in advance, I think it is fair.

I'd just let it go.

Jocmom Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:22pm
post #13 of 39

I made the beer bottle cake in my photo gallery (bottles in the blue bucket) for a coworker's husband and delivered it on Saturday. I told her that the bottles will get sticky after awhile, so it shouldn't sit out for a long time. She asked that I deliver the cake between noon and 1. I deliver it at noon.

Today she told me that half the cake fell off before her guests arrived. icon_eek.gif WHAT?? Then she said her party was at 7 p.m. icon_confused.gif WHAT?? She said that two of the bottles toppled over and took part of the cake with it. I was mortified. icon_redface.gif There was no way that it should have fallen apart, so I gave her a hefty refund. Later today she told me that when the bottles fell just the frosting came off - not the cake itself - and she tried to give back the refund. She went on and on about how much everyone loved the cake, how great it tasted, etc.

I'm not sure what happened to the cake after I delivered it - I'm just happy that she's happy. Call your customer and ask if she was unhappy with the design, the flavor of the cake, etc.?

We all learn from our mistakes. Today I learned that if I ever make another cake that requires special care, I'll give the customer written instructions in advance. Once it's delivered, it's their baby.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:36pm
post #14 of 39

That is one big fat beautiful basketball cake. I love your cake. It looks simple but doing those basketball-esque stripes on that shape takes more expertise than it looks. It''s iced perfectly. A+ workmanship.

A 9" cake layer I think needs about 4 1/2 cups of batter which if it's 2 layers that's 9 cups of batter which is more than one recipe or box mix. For 20 servings you could have made a smaller cake. If she said she wanted a 9" then you should have charged her for the additional servings. You decide the size of your servings. (I use the Wilton chart--some use Earlene's)

She's doing you a favor to weed herself out of your clientelle.
She is not your type of customer.

On to bigger and better. And yes as you can purchase more in quantity your costs will go down and you are already pricing well--don't tweak your prices. As you can get your costs down you will be making more profit that you clearly deserve rather than trying to raise your prices later--you go, girl!!

PS. It is a common occurance for someone to get the name wrong on a cake. It happens. It is not a terminal or nuclear event. You make the correction and go on--no refund, no groveling. Sh*t happens. It's ok.

nickshalfpint Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:41pm
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by yvy_cano

Thanks everyone, Im so new at this and cant help but feel like I shouldnt be selling my cakes just yet. I had 2 cake orders this weekend and they were my 1st sold cakes and one of the 2 got a bad review icon_sad.gif... Im sitting here trying to figure out if I could have charged less but here is the breakdown of what it actually cost me $41.00, cake drum/board was $7.00 the 2 skateboards were $8.00 ribbon on board was $2.00 and box it was delivered in $2.00, cake supplies came out to $24.00
($9 sugar shack hi ratio frosting
$2 full container of orange coloring used
$3 sour cream
$3 chips
$3 2 cake mixes
$2 2 pudding mixes
$2 eggs used)

that totaled $41 only left me with $19.00 for labor, gas, electric and so forth. And I delivered it at no cost... So if I charged $40.00 I would not have made a profit at all. I asked my friend if I should do Saturday's cake for free and she said not to because the lady wanted the cake for her mother (who lives out of town) and her mother wasn't coming to visit her after all so she was going to cancel it anyway. I cant help but feel I am not good enough to be selling now and Im second guessing my work.




I made the same size and flavor cake plus cupcakes for a friend of my cousin. I told her I would make it and decorate it, but they had to buy the ingridients. Her friend said I was ripping her off and wanted a reciept icon_mad.gif . She felt stupid when the reciept was for $51 and I only asked for $40. She said if she knew it would be that much she would've made it herself. I would love to see that icon_lol.gif .

indydebi Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:44pm
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshalfpint

I told her I would make it and decorate it, but they had to buy the ingridients.




For friends/family that you make this deal with, give them the list of things THEY have to pick up for you and let them spend THEIR gas and time doing it ON TOP OF buying all of the ingredients.

As Ron White says, "THAT'LL shut her up!" icon_biggrin.gif

mari76 Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:44pm
post #17 of 39

I think the customer was upset because of the price of the cake. For me it's too expensive to be a simple design. A 9" cake serves about 20-25 people. In addition, you paid so much for the materials. icon_surprised.gif Try to buy the cake materials @ a near bakery store. If you want to sell your cake @ that price, make them from scratch. You will save money. thumbs_up.gif

solascakes Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 11:50pm
post #18 of 39

I think that cake was beautiful.If you are confident in what you delivered to her you have nothing to worry about.I did a 10" cake for a customer for £40,the cake was buttercream in the middle of summer,when she came to pick up she put the cake in the boot and informed me she was going home to dress up first b4 going to the party.I told her the boot was too hot for a cake(she ignored me)........She called me the next day very upset that the icing melted,the cake was hard and it was too expensive.I apologised but did not offer a refund,and i prayed never to see her again.Met her at a party 3 months later,she ate the cake and said it was lovely, i informed her that i made it.Moral of the story.........SOME PPLE ARE JUST TROUBLEMAKERS. U dont need such customers.

SueW Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 12:22am
post #19 of 39

I think you are being too hard on yourself. The cake is beautiful and I think flawlessly done. You fixed the name issue immediatley and it didn't effect the party etc. In my area that price would be fine while it is a "simple" design the way you presented it is so professional. She knew the size and price from the beginning so I don't get what the issue was. You are definately ready to sell your cakes, there is always going to be one pain in the butt in the group, don't let it get you down. Oh, no way should you do this w/e cake for free! Hang in there.

Sue

fiddlesticks Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 1:58am
post #20 of 39

Your cake is beautiful and your presentation was nicely done. I think it was worth every bit of the $60 you charged her. If you gave her the price ahead of time and she agreed to it, then theres nothing to complain about. You are so ready to sell your cakes. And NO free cake. Forget about her and move on to other people that appreciate your talent.

fiddlesticks Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 1:58am
post #21 of 39

Your cake is beautiful and your presentation was nicely done. I think it was worth every bit of the $60 you charged her. If you gave her the price ahead of time and she agreed to it, then theres nothing to complain about. You are so ready to sell your cakes. And NO free cake. Forget about her and move on to other people that appreciate your talent.

indydebi Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 2:45am
post #22 of 39

Re: the pricing issue ......

According to the wilton chart, which I use for pricing:

6" 2-layer round serves 12 .... times my $3/serving = $36
8" 2-layer round serves 24 .... times my $3/serving = $60 (rounded)
9" 2-layer round serves 32 .... times my $3/serving = $90 (rounded)

Suggestion for the future: Tell the client how many the above sizes serve and let them decide how much cake they want. "I can't make a cake just for 10, so do you want cake for 12 or cake for 24? The price is ....."

Be sure to explain, "A serving is based on 1x2x4 ... about the size of a folded over peanut butter sandwich ... so if you plan to cut them bigger than that, you might want to order more cake." The ball in then in their court. What they order is what they get.

Sounds to me like she has walmart mentality when it comes to the price of a cake. And that's not unusual .... when that's all people are exposed to, then that's what they think cakes are worth. Which is why I make it crystal clear to new customers ".... I'm not priced like walmart."

What she's looking at is she paid $60 for cake for 10. But she didn't. She paid $60 for cake for 30. If you had decided to make her a 12" cake (which serves something like 50+) and if you had charged her $100 for it (which is pretty cheap for cake for 50), she STILL would have complained about the price ... because in her mind, she got cake for 10.

Easy for us to say "dont' stress it" .... you'll stress over it for a few days, just like all of us do when we get negative feedback..... especially when it's unfairly negative. But as soon as you make the next one that everyone just swoons over, you'll forget all about this one! thumbs_up.gif

yvy_cano Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 2:58pm
post #23 of 39

Thanks everyone for your input. I am so new at this so I really value all of your advice and guidance. I asked my friend yesterday to talk to her to feel her out and see what I could offer her to make her happy (partial refund, a free cake) and when my friend asked her again what she thought was wrong was it the taste?, she said no it tasted good everyone ate it, was it the design? (she saw the design prior and knew what she was going to get and the price, she wanted a 9") she said no it a was cute design. So then my friend said I dont get it what didnt you like she said well for one it didnt have enough oreos in it (I put a lot, it was a cookies and cream filling and was good!) she couldnt taste the cookies, so my friend said is that all? She told my friend "dont get offended its just how she makes cakes, I dont like it. Why do you care so much are you her silent partner or something? I didnt like the cake I prefer a walmart cake for less price and better taste. A cake should not cost $60.00 unless its a big 3d cake or something..." Soooo I decided not to call her to offer her anything because I dont think anything would have made her happy, and a free cake would not have changed her mind for future ordering. Ohhh wait maybe Ill send her a box of oreos since she wanted more cookies lol JK!!!!!

On a more serious note, yes I am stressing it and probably will for a few days more. The one thing I find hardest is pricing the cakes fairly, I see some of you thought 60.00 was too much others thought it was fair but I thought it was fair considering what it cost me, $45 (forgot to add the cost of oreo filling which prob would have been another $4.00), so in the end I only made $15.00 for labor, gas, electric and delivery. I will MOST definitely look into purchasing wholesale for certain things like cake boards/drums and boxes. I didnt realize that is how most of you get the cost down, I always wondered if you all paid less for that stuff cause I thought it was pricey. Now I know buy bulk and wholesale...

Thank you so much for your input, when I get home from work tonight I am going to put together a contract. I like to be detailed and want my customers to know exactly what they are getting and want them to sign off on it. I was sooo detailed with her so I didnt expect this, she approved the design and the price.... Well you live and learn, then you move on while you cuss at the person that gave you a hard experience lol... icon_razz.gif

marmalade1687 Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 6:33pm
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Isn't always amazing how the story is "The cake decorator got his name wrong!" instead of "the person who ordered the cake gave her the wrong name!" icon_rolleyes.gif




Isn't that always the case!!? icon_rolleyes.gif I had a dad order a cake for his daughter, and get her AGE wrong - when he came to pick it up with his girlfriend, she was the one to point it out. He didn't know how old is own daughter was! I offered to fix it (it was going to have to be a different colour icing), but they declined my offer... icon_confused.gif !

I can just imagine the party..."Happy birthday to you sweetie, sorry about the cake, I didn't how old your were turning this year, so the cake decorator got the cake wrong!" icon_confused.gif

Pookie59 Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 7:41pm
post #25 of 39

I don't think your price was unfair, but why did a 9 inch cake need two cake mixes, etc.? It must have been a very tall cake! With two cakes mixes, well that's enough cake for 1/2 sheet so $60 was not out of line if that is what she got.

Let that customer go. She wanted a special cake for a Walmart price and it's not worth your time to bake for her for nothing (unless you like working for free).

KHalstead Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 8:01pm
post #26 of 39

She sounds like "one of those customers" anyhow!!!
However, I live in an area where I'd NEVER be able to get 60.00 for a 9" round...there is no way....so instead of undercharging myself...I had to find a way to get my ingredients cheaper.
I agree with the above poster that a 9" round shouldn't take 2 whole cake mixes...which I see it didn't because you said you had some left overs for a 5" round right? But regardless.......why are you paying $2.00 for a box? Also...the frosting.......I can't afford to MAKE my own frosting it costs me close to $10.00 a batch which is about 5 cups. I buy the premade buttercream at Sam's Club (my customers rave about it) and it comes out to $.25/cup of frosting. So instead of $10.00 to ice a cake it costs me $1.25! Huge savings right there! Also, if you go look online you'll get cake drums for much less than that! Or even look into buying some foam core board and just buy the foil to cover it yourself! It might take an extra 5-10 minutes but if it saves you $5.00, it may be worth it in the end.

I don't think there was ANYTHING lacking on that cake, it was absolute perfection. sounds more like she got buyer's remorse is all.

jennifer7777 Posted 14 Oct 2008 , 8:31pm
post #27 of 39

O.K...first off, the cake was perfect. You did a really great job on it!
So far, everyone has given good advice about moving past this. I know firsthand that it is not easy, but it will happen eventually. Sometimes, you may have bouts of "post-traumatic flashbacks" and get angry, but it won't last long. icon_wink.gif I just noticed how you kept saying "what can I do to make her happy", and I just want to tell you to understand that although that is the name of the game to make our customers happy, you also have to realize that sometimes with certain people it is just impossible. The quicker you learn this, the better off you'll be.

Indy...I agree with you about everything being the decorator's fault.

Pookie59...I don't think 2 cake mixes (not doctored) is abnormal. I have found that I have to use 1 1/2 now for 8 and 9 inch pans, just so they will be full. I think they have decreased the yielded amounts in these boxes, yet have upped the price! I don't know the recipe for the cake OP used, but if it is doctored then yes probably one mix, otherwise 2.

yvy_cano (OP)...be cautious about how you figure your costs for a cake. You have to understand that even though you buy certain ingredients, you don't use ALL of them all of the time. For example, if you buy 1 dozen eggs for $1.00, but your recipe only calls for 3 eggs, then your cost to make that cake is only $.30 for the 3 eggs.
So reflecting on your list for example...you mentioned $9 for hi ratio frosting, but did you use all $9 dollars worth for this one cake? Let's say that $9 tub yields 3 cups, and you only used 1, then your actual cost for this cake is really only $3.
The ingredients that are not used either go for other cakes or are counted up as your lost, as far as true value to the particular cake is concerned.

MichelleM77 Posted 15 Oct 2008 , 12:53pm
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennifer7777



yvy_cano (OP)...be cautious about how you figure your costs for a cake. You have to understand that even though you buy certain ingredients, you don't use ALL of them all of the time. For example, if you buy 1 dozen eggs for $1.00, but your recipe only calls for 3 eggs, then your cost to make that cake is only $.30 for the 3 eggs.
So reflecting on your list for example...you mentioned $9 for hi ratio frosting, but did you use all $9 dollars worth for this one cake? Let's say that $9 tub yields 3 cups, and you only used 1, then your actual cost for this cake is really only $3.
The ingredients that are not used either go for other cakes or are counted up as your lost, as far as true value to the particular cake is concerned.




Exactly! This drives me crazy about the KFC $10 challenge commercial. Sure, you have to buy a whole bag of flour and everything else, but you aren't using the whole dang bag!

Your ingredient costs do seem a bit high, but that could just be your area and you need to adjust, but do try and find a restaurant supply store. GFS is a great resource even if you just get your chocolate chips from them! Drives me nuts when I have to run to JoAnn's or Michael's for a box at the last minute. They are junk too!

indydebi Posted 15 Oct 2008 , 1:06pm
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

Sure, you have to buy a whole bag of flour and everything else, but you aren't using the whole dang bag!




But you also have to balance cash-out-of-hand vs. "will I ever use this again?" If I buy a container of orange fondant for a Halloween cake and I'm only going to use half of it, and I will have absolutely zero use for the other half of it, then I'm incorporating the entire cost into my costs for the cake. It's called "Scrap Factor" and it's a legitimate business expense.

When I figured pricing for our factory, this was part of the cost of the product. When ordered material from Asia, and the supplier required me to order an entire ocean container, then my customer had to pay for the entire ocean container, if he was the only one using that material .... because I had no other use for it.

Balancing act....

MichelleM77 Posted 15 Oct 2008 , 1:13pm
post #30 of 39

Oh definitely, I get that. I try not to offer anything like that though I'm sure it is unavoidable at some point, especially if you have a customer who wants something not so common and you don't want to lose the sale. I buy SI and color my own as needed, but I do get your point. Yes, if it were something I would never use again, then I would have to either charge the customer for the entire product or suck up the loss.

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