Please Learn From My Mistake

Business By Lenette Updated 22 Dec 2008 , 1:20am by jackmo

Lenette Posted 11 Dec 2008 , 9:53pm
post #1 of 25

Without going into all the details, I am pleading with all of you business owners:

Get your money or at least a deposit up front!!!

I did a catering job for a local business last month and I am still trying to get paid for it. it is a long story and there is no need to post all of that here but they owe me a substantial amount of money and I am getting the run around. I have spent my entire day trying to get something done and I am no better off than this morning.

PLEASE, PLEASE do not do larger orders without a deposit and balance being paid in advance. Sometimes we have to be tough but no one is looking out for you except YOU!!!!

I don't care who you think you know, what the situation is, if they can't do it on your terms you may not need them as a client. Make your rules and stick to them. Unfortunately, what I thought was an opportunity is now a situation where I don't know if I will ever see a dime.

I feel terrible, I feel stupid and mostly I feel bad because this was in part for my kids Christmas. Now, I am broke and some bills are past due. I only post this in hopes it will help someone else.

PLEASE PLEASE LEARN FROM ME!!

24 replies
sari66 Posted 11 Dec 2008 , 10:26pm
post #2 of 25

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've never done a cake without taking a deposit or the payment for it first even for friends.
If you had a contract there should be legal recourse for you look into that if you can.
Good luck

DebBTX Posted 11 Dec 2008 , 11:58pm
post #3 of 25

Lenette,
Since this is a local business, would you feel comfortable physically walking into the building, straight up to the person who made the order, look them in the eyes and ask once again for the money. If they have a chair at their desk, perhaps have a seat until the cash is forthcoming.

Did you have a written contract with them?

I'm so sorry you are going through this.
-Debbie B.

Mike1394 Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 12:03am
post #4 of 25

Sorry your having to go through this. Thank You for posting. This is great advice. Take solice in the fact that your pain will help someone.

Hugs,

Mike

FullHouse Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 12:11am
post #5 of 25

I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. I know how it is to really trust someone and not even think you are taking a chance and then realize you're left losing money. It is so kind of you to post your experience and try to help others during your own stressful time. Thank you.

Kitagrl Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 12:19am
post #6 of 25

I'm so sorry...I hope things look up for you soon.

I got stood up on a birthday cake order several years ago and since then have taken deposits....and prepayment if I'm delivering. I was lucky that the order I learned on was relatively small.


Chin up....

gerripje Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 6:32pm
post #7 of 25

That's terrible, you have to hate to ask for money that should have been paid already! That's makes me scared to go ahead and try to start a business. I am very new at the idea (and very capital challenged) and would be afraid a situation like this might break the business bank.

Amifsud Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 6:55pm
post #8 of 25

This is sad to be taken advantage of. I would go down to the local courthouse and file a small claims suit against them. Sometimes once they get the notice of summons they pay up cause they don't want to take the time to go to court. And I think it is less than $20 to file the claim.

mixinvixen Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 7:26pm
post #9 of 25

i think i would take my child/children and go to the place of business and deal with them directly. tell them that you expect them to explain to your child why it's more important for the child to be without presents and them not pay their bills than it is for you to get paid for a job you can prove you did for them?

ShopGrl1128 Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 8:28pm
post #10 of 25

(((hugs))) what a terrible situation, I hope in God they pay you soon.

Monkess Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 10:54pm
post #11 of 25

So sorry...why dont you write them a letter and threaten to sue in small claims...anything over $100 I would take the trouble of doing that. Good luck!

taygetta Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 11:11pm
post #12 of 25

Or you could (depending on how much it costs) put a lein on their business until they pay you.

cavette Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 11:26pm
post #13 of 25

That's awful that people are they way they are.....I think that you should 1st type a letter up and have it delivered to the company certified mailed that way you have proof that you did try to make contact with the company....put something in the letter that states your agreement and that you are giving them so many days to pay or make arangements which will be agreed on your terms and then get it in writng and notarized. If there is no reply within the said amount of days....Then I would take the legal way! It doesnt matter if you have a agreement on paper it does help but a verbal agreement is still the same!

" Hard to be nice in a mean World!!! "

I've Been there Before and I said I'm not going back...Trusting a person to do right and they burned me! It's all good now cause I got my money(it happen 3years ago)! I Hope everything works out for you....I'm sure it will!

loriemoms Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 1:41pm
post #14 of 25

I know it feels awful, but we have all done it ONCE. You think you know the persons involved and you can trust them, and they take advandage of you.

Even after I had a deposit policy in place, I had a girl beg me to make a cake and told me she didn't have a cc so could she PLEASE PLEASE just pay at pickup. She canceled the cake two hours before pickup. It was a sculpted cake and I was pissed. She canceled through email and I could never get her on the phone..finally gave up. (my DH's office loved the cake) It feels awful when they beg, but I have had to learn to be a hard a$$ about it now. It is business.

Did you have a contract with these people? I wonder if small claims can help you get your money?

alidpayne Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 2:05pm
post #15 of 25

I would use the fact that it is a business to my advantage. I would go down there, and politely ask for my money. If they refused me I would just sit right down, as another poster suggested, and I would continue to sit there until they found my money. If it meant I had to sit there all day I would. Maybe in the middle of the floor in the lobby and when customers and vendors came in and gave me funny looks I would just explain to them that I was waiting for them to pay me. I don't think it would take long to get my money that way. lol

Small claims is a great idea also, or even just a certified letter telling them that you expect payment in full within ten days or you will be forced to take legal action. If you could get a lawyer to send it it would be even better. Most situations like this are cases of people hoping you will just give up and go away. Every time we DO give up and go away we are just encouraging these people to do the same thing to someone else. So think about your kid's Christmas, and think about the poor sucker that isn't going to be able to buy their kid's Christmas presents NEXT year, because if you let them get away with it they will do it again.

Good Luck!

littlecake Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 8:59pm
post #16 of 25

i been stiffed once too...it only takes the one time.

small claims court is a joke, it just ends up costing you more money and time....we sued someone and won...the court doesn't force them to pay you...they just agree that they owe you money...never got a dime....someone else might have a different experiance than i did, maybe the courts just suck around here.

in biz you learn by experiance...these awful people seem to be our teachers....i've learned alot of valuable lessons the hard way, i guess we all have.

sorry it happened to you.

TheCornerBakery Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 9:21pm
post #17 of 25

That actually bounced her check to me in August and I had to turn her a$$ into the state of Florida's attorney's office.

Like others have posted it only takes one person in the crowd to bring a hard earned lesson that we all can learn from.

In my situation it was a short notice wedding of two weeks and I normally in that short of notice demand full payment. I was to nice and bills had to be paid so I let her slide telling her to pay half $250 and the other half after she got paid in a few days.

Well she comes into the studio with $100 not the $250 she promised in an envelope that I didn't want to be rude and open (me being to nice again) so she stalls me for the rest of the money she was bringing saying things like I couldn't get to the bank to cash my check blah blah

So the night before the wedding I called her and told her she needs to bring me $400 or this cake isn't being made.. again she scams me and says " my husband has the cash and he is picking up his tux" she then says I will be right over with a check.......... icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif you guessed it RUBBER AS ALL the @##$$%% check bounces and I called the bank and even though their not supposed to tell me they told me that they never had the money to cover the check in the account...

So after numerous calls I had to turn her info into the bad check program in the state of Florida..

Lesson in all this is many of us are to nice because we are in a service industry where our name and reputation is everything.

I have learned alot in my first year of opening my cake studio and soon I willl write another long post about my first year in the business.

Take care and I hope you see your money also..

Michael Anthony

tinygoose Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 9:47pm
post #18 of 25

How big was the business? I worked in the accounting dept of a large company, and it wasn't uncommon for things to take a couple of months to be paid, depending on how long they "sat" on someones desk before they were taken to accounting. Once it got to accounting it still took a few weeks, unless someone VP or higher was helling, then you could get it in less than an hour. Just keep after them..the squeaky wheel, you know.

JaLa90016 Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 9:50pm
post #19 of 25

It is sad when a business feels like they can get out of paying their bills. And sueing them doesn't gurantee that you will get your money. However, if you do sue and a judgement is awarded, you can place a lien against their business and get your monay that way. I am sad that this has happened to you. Hopefully, they will give you the money that is owed to you so that you can get your kids their stuff for Christmas.

RobzC8kz Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 10:26pm
post #20 of 25

Luckily I've learned from everyone else's misfortunes and have not found myself in this predicament. I did have one lady call me on a Thursday and request a cake for Saturday. I told her that normally I don't take cakes on such short notice and that I already had a few orders in line ahead of her and that although I could probably get it done, I didn't want to take the chance by over booking myself.

She begged and pleaded and offered to pay double (yeah...right...that NEVER happens). So I ask her to email me a picture of the cake she wants and if it's easy enough, I'd do it for her.

I get the picture and it's one from Pinkcakebox. I love Pinkcakebox's designs and it was realitively easy enough, so I call her back and tell that I'll do it, but I'll have to charge $25.00 for delivery because I won't be able to drive it myself and I pay the girl I use for emergency deliveries $25.00.

She agrees and things are going well until I tell her that I need the entire amount of the cake $200.00 plus $25.00 paid that day or else I can't do it.

She begs and pleads for me to let her pay me when it gets delivered, but I tell her, "I'm not delivering it, my assistant is, and I don't want my $200 bucks going to anyone else but me." Not like I don't trust my assistant, but still. I also told her that since it's a rush, I'm not even starting it until I get paid.

I even offered to meet her halfway at a Starbucks we both knew so she wouldn't have to drive all the way to meet me. She said okay, let her get the money from her Husband, and she'll meet me there. I told her to call me before she leaves so I don't go there for nothing. She said she'd call me before she left, blah blah blah.

Well...no call. I don't go meet her. She doesn't even call later to see what's up with me not going there at our agreed upon time.

She calls me the next day, Friday and offers up some song and dance about running late, having too many errands for her party (yeah...the cake isn't one of them I guess), and can she meet me to bring me the money. I tell her yes, but I can't drive out to her now because I'm working on my other cakes. I give her my address, but caution her that I'm not even going to put flour in a bowl until she pays me.

No problem she says. Be right over she says.

Morning goes by, afternoon goes by, finally she calls me in the early evening saying that she's on her way over with the money.

I told her, "I'm sorry, but I don't have the time to bake and decorate a cake for you anymore. I told you I can't start until I get paid and you never showed up to pay me."

"Well, dont' you have cakes already made that you can decorate? What kind of a bakery are you that you don't already have some cakes made up for emergencies?!"

I laughed and told her that I don't have emergencies, people who don't order a cake until the last minute have the emergencies and that their lack of planning does not consitute an emergency for me.

She fires back with, "You're the worst bakery I've ever heard of!! I'm cancelling my order and I'll never order anything from you ever again! And I'll tell all my friends not to order cakes from you either!!"

To which I replied, "You can't cancel an order that was never paid for. And if this is what I can expect from you every time you call me, I'd rather not have you order anything from me ever again! And if you're friends are just as unrealistic as you are, I'll be glad never to hear from them either!"

I don't know if she ever got a cake, but it wasn't what she wanted! And I don't think Costco makes cakes like Pinkcakebox!!

Thanks everyone for your posts that taught me how to deal with "customers" like this!!

Shelle_75 Posted 13 Dec 2008 , 11:06pm
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobzC8kz

I laughed and told her that I don't have emergencies, people who don't order a cake until the last minute have the emergencies and that their lack of planning does not consitute an emergency for me.




thumbs_up.gif That is my new favorite saying!

cakesdivine Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 12:45am
post #22 of 25

Leynette, give us an update...did you ever collect?

Lenette Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 12:55am
post #23 of 25

hey all

Thank you for your replies and support! I forgot to check back to this thread. Sorry!

As of today, no payment. I did finally track down the management company who claim it was mailed out so I am praying that it arrives this week. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I try to get this resolved.

I have made up my mind that even though the final claim was that it was a mix up with the invoices, I will not work with this company again. I can understand a mix up but blowing me off for weeks and not being pro-active to get information/resolution was too frustrating. I have spent the equivalent of DAYS trying to collect this money. And the manager flat out lied to me too.

That is a deal breaker for me.

Thanks again, I'll let you know when I get paid. Hard lesson to learn but boy have I learned it! icon_rolleyes.gif

jackmo Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 1:08am
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenette

Without going into all the details, I am pleading with all of you business owners:

Get your money or at least a deposit up front!!!

I did a catering job for a local business last month and I am still trying to get paid for it. it is a long story and there is no need to post all of that here but they owe me a substantial amount of money and I am getting the run around. I have spent my entire day trying to get something done and I am no better off than this morning.

PLEASE, PLEASE do not do larger orders without a deposit and balance being paid in advance. Sometimes we have to be tough but no one is looking out for you except YOU!!!!

I am so sorry that happened to you. It is a shame that some folks are so dishonest! Maybe next time, ask for a deposit enough to cover the cost of your materials plus some extra. Maybe that would help. I hate chasing down people for my money.

I don't care who you think you know, what the situation is, if they can't do it on your terms you may not need them as a client. Make your rules and stick to them. Unfortunately, what I thought was an opportunity is now a situation where I don't know if I will ever see a dime.

I feel terrible, I feel stupid and mostly I feel bad because this was in part for my kids Christmas. Now, I am broke and some bills are past due. I only post this in hopes it will help someone else.

PLEASE PLEASE LEARN FROM ME!!


jackmo Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 1:20am
post #25 of 25

oh my quote did not post. I am so sorry that this happened to you. some People are so dishonest these days. If they can get away with it, they would. I would nag them till they give me my money. And can't you report them to the BBB for this, since this is a bussiness?

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