How do you respond to coustomers who want you to bake and decorate tomorrow I get several calls wanting a cake tomorrow I run my business by my self and my coustomers know that . I ask them to place their orders ahead so I can do good quality work , they think that they are the only person I bake for. I get to feeling bad after I tell them that I'm booked full I want to say I'm not wal-mart so bad but I don't. I know that they can hear the frustration in my voice I feel it when they ask .
If it's possible for me to take the order, then I tack on a $15 "late" fee. They either call earlier the next time, or I make $15 more every time they order! ) If I can't take the order due to the late notice, then I don't and they still call earlier the next time. Don't let people take advantage of you, because they will!
Same here as j-pal. I charge a rush fee if they order less than one week in advance a larger one if less than 72 hours, no next day or same day cakes available.
I'd respond by saying "no." Then tell them that you'd be happy to help them in the future if they call in advance.
Thanks I had not thought about charging a late fee, I'm usally booked the week before but sometimes I have a chance take a last minute order. Coustomers are really hard to take sometimes.
I am dealing with this today as well. I have someone who called 2 weeks ago to go over the details of her Super Mario cake, which she wants this Saturday and she still hasn't paid the deposit. I know she'll show up tomorrow with it but I'd like to have the time to do it the way I see it in my head.
I can't/won't accept any orders under 1 week.I am almost always booked 2-3 weeks in advance and cannot accomodate last minute requests...
Here is my motto....
"A lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute and Emergency on mine"
I don't take last minute order. My standard requirement is a MINIMUM of 3 weeks out. I'll sometimes make exceptions up to a week less if I'm available, but less than 2 weeks and I turn the gig down (because I also plan my personal schedule around my business bookings as well)
If it's something simple, i'll charge an additional $15. Usually the request is something along the lines like, I need a cake in the shape of, ( insert whatever you can think of here ) by tomorrow. What?
I would say that half of my customers call at the last minute. I have one lady in particular who always calls on Thursday night wanting a cake on Saturday! Two weeks ago I had only one cake order on Tuesday for the weekend, so I planned to go wedding dress shopping, but I had two calls on Wednesday, which ruined my plans. UGGGH! I needed the money though! I love the idea of adding a fee! I will have to start doing that since I haven't learned how to say no yet!
If you are already full......as much as you think you can handle you simply tell them ....... "sorry I'm already booked. Next time if you call me early in the week I might be able to help you."
My husband calls me at 4pm to tell me that the Mario cake lady called our COMPUTER store about her cake. She said she drove past our house and our store and just forgot to stop and pay her deposit. He told her that I would not start the cake without a deposit.
I waited until 5:30 pm for her to show up today since she only lives 5 miles from my house. Finally gave up on her, picked my husband up at work and went out to dinner with my family.
After dinner, my husband went to get his car and decided to check the messages at the store. There were 4 from my client. She wants to change the flavor of the cake (in case I haven't started baking them yet) and she stuck the deposit UNDER OUR DOOR. This was at 7pm!
My 14 yo daughter was LIVID! (even more than I was!) She said "You're not actually going to do it, are you?" I said, "Well, I've got her money now." She said, "So, hand it back to her tomorrow when she comes for her cake!"
If there wasn't a 4 year old child who would be crushed when he didn't have a cake for his party, I WOULD!
Julebug - I like your daughter!
Me too, luvsfreebies72. (She actually gets that from me.)
Here's an update:
I spoke to Mario lady this morning to clarify the birthday boy's age. She asked if I had received the message aboutchanging the flavors. I told her I had. Then she asked when she could pick it up. I said "Originally, we agreed on 3 PM." She said "Yes, that will be fine. It may even be 4 - 4:30, so take your time."
TAKE MY TIME!!!
The Mario face I did last night had 18 individual pieces! I don't even know how many pieces I cut for the sides and she says TAKE YOUR TIME?!! I wanted to reach through the phone and rip out her vocal cords!
BTW, This is the cake I'm using as inspiration:
Im just starting out, and I was heading in that direction. Everyone now knows I make cakes...so they were calling and placing orders at the last min. I kept hearing: I know I can count on you, after all Im not a stranger, we've known each other for a while.
Well I put a stop to it real quick. I would simply say I was booked and would say, Im sorry. But this customer placed there order 2-3wks ago and the dep. is paid. I know you understand because you are my friend. Then I went and made a web page, printed my own cards, and added my web page, easier to show pics of cakes than carry a photo album. In there I added something like:
I not only do this as a hobby, but I hope to make it a small business someday. I know that my friends understand where Im coming from. under that in BOLD PRINT: All orders: Wedding cakes, Quinces, big parties must be placed 4-8weeks prior to event.
Birthday cakes, Baby shower, Anniv. Cakes: 2-3 *Depending on the amount of work on the cake, if its a Custom order cake3-4wks* ALL ORDERS MUST HAVE THE DEP. 2WKS PRIOR TO THE EVENT, IF CUSTOMER HASNT PAID, THEN I WILL CONSIDER THE ORDER CANCELLED BY THE CUSTOMER. Then I added, Thank you so much for understanding that I have a commitment not only to my cake business, but also to my daug. and family. I appreciate your business, and look forward to helping you with your orders.
Something along those lines, dont quote me but basically that is what I said on my personal web page. we live in a small town of like 20,000 outside of Houston Texas.
The Mario lady called me at 12:15 PM. Wanted to know if the cake was ready so she could pick it up. No, it's not ready!
Finished the cake at 1:45 PM. Called Mario lady to tell her the cake is done. She says, "Okay, I'll just pick it up at 4."
Did anyone else just hear a popping sound? (I'm so naming my aneurysm after her.)
Mario has left the building! Unfortunately, she was late picking him up so I didn't have time to tell her how she needs to make sure she pays the deposit on time, how much work is involved in doing a cake, etc. Probably, better I didn't get to.
Anyway, I'm glad I did the cake 'cause I know there's going to be a very happy 4 year old out there somewhere in about 20 minutes.
Need to add "Thank you to jlsheik for the inspiration for the design".
The Mario cake is super cute! The customer, however, needs to go on your "NO CAKE FOR YOU" list. She has walked all over you this time, and she will probably do it again if you let her...
First of all... fanFREAKINtastic cake! Awesome work!
It sounds like she was hoping she could pick it up on her lunch hour, perhaps? Dingus.
But I luuuuuve that cake!
I don't think she means to be that way. I think she's just one of those people who lacks organizational and time management skills. And, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS OUT THERE, she just really has NO IDEA what it takes to do a cake. I'll try to gently educate her the next time she orders from me (something I probably wouldn't have been capable of today.)
Melvira - that's SO funny! When I told my husband about this cake (which I think is probably one of the best I've ever done) I said it was "awesomely-FREAKIN-awesome" To which my husband (an associate pastor) replied, "Don't use dirty words." (I'm much more liberal than he is.)
juleebug... cursing at a man of the cloth?? Darn you to heck!!! Sheesh, some people!
OMGosh, Melvira... not DARNED TO HECK!
About last minute customers - how will they ever learn not to be last minute if we all keep doing cakes for them on such short notice? I don't know about you all, but my family seems to be the worst for that.
Some customers want you to bake their cake in the morning for them to get that afternoon...you know, the fresher the better. They think if they don't give you time to bake it a day or two ahead then it is as fresh as possible. When will they ever learn??
I don't think she means to be that way. I think she's just one of those people who lacks organizational and time management skills.
This part really irks me, and I'll tell you why. From everything you've posted about the Mario Mom, it sounds to me like she's always had someone there to make excuses for her and she's grown used to getting her way every time she wants something. She's apparently never had to be nice to anyone or show any kind of respect at all. So why are YOU making an excuse for her? She's a grown woman, lack of organizational skills is NO REASON for taking advantage of someone time and again?
You have the chance to be that one person who tells her no. Maybe she'll learn from it, and maybe she won't. If she decides she hates you for it, then you're probably better off without her business (and the stress that comes with it). I'm with your daughter on this, you should have handed the money back to her when she came to get her cake. She could have gone to WalMart like every other jerky customer who doesn't appreciate the effort you put into your creations. Chances are, her kid wouldn't even have noticed, and even if he did, maybe the look of disappointment on his face would have been a reality check.
As for future business, you need to get a contract with her that states it all has to be paid 2 week ahead of time, and you need a 50% deposit before you even take her seriously, if you decide you're brave enough to deal with her at all. And make sure there's something in there stating that any last minute changes cost extra.
If you don't stand up to her for yourself, at least do it as an example to all the other people on CC who get walked all over. You growing a spine might help them grow one too. You need to take more pride in your work.
You growing a spine might help them grow one too.
I think you have confused kindness for weakness. If you knew me personally, you'd know that.
There were other factors involved which I didn't relate because the discussion was about last minute customers & while I should have explained fully, I was really cutting it short due to the fact I was trying to get a cake out in a short time. I only relayed my direct "LAST MINUTE" dealings with her, not the entire situation.
The whole situation was that she babysits the child and she and the mother had some arrangement for Mario lady to pay for the cake. I did not ever speak with the child's mother's and do not know her name. Had I known who she was I would have contacted her this week to let her know that the deposit had not been received.
I agree that whether it is a lack of time management or manipulation, she needs to correct it (especially if I'm going to have to deal with her)and had this cake not been for a 4 year old child, I would have explained nicely (because rudeness does not equal strength) why I was unable to help her and pointed her toward W-Mart.
But, there was a 4 yo involved and I will bend over backward when it comes to a child. Now, whether that makes me appear spineless or not, isn't really significant to me. The only person I have to answer to is the one I have to face in the mirror every morning.
I'm not saying you were spineless. Ok, well, I did, but that's not how I meant it. I'm sorry. Let me try to re-word it so I don't sound like such a jerk.
I just meant that there comes a point where your customer will take your kindness as weakness and they'll capitalize on it every chance they get. Next time, you need to make sure she keeps up her end of the deal. And if she doesn't, then she can explain to the child why things aren't the way they were planned to be. Explaining crappy stuff to kids is part of being a parent. *shrug*
And I have an almost-4-y-o son, so I understand that part about bending over backwards to give them as much as you can. And if I weren't for him, I really hope you wouldn't have done it. That's all.
Last minute people are afflicted with PACOOMA disease (pull a cake out of my a**). My family is the world's worst
I also tack on a $20 last minute fee or I will give them the number of another decorator that loves last minute people...it's Wal-mart's number! I even write it down for them.
And if I weren't for him, I really hope you wouldn't have done it.
It's just that I have had alot of experiences in my life dealing with abused/neglected children and as a result of that babies are my kryptonite. (Please note: Children are "babies" to me up to about 8 yo.)
Juleebug, I'm the same way when it comes to children. My husband has often told me I'm harsh about adults, but heaven forbid anyone try to hurt a child and I turn into a lioness. I figure adults can be expected to take care of themselves for the most part, but grown-ups need to protect children.
My girls are 22 and 27 and they're still my "babies".
Wow! That is a very nice cake, you did an amazing job!!
BTW--I think the "rush charge" sounds better than "late fee". Maybe it's just me, but the words "late fee" makes me feel like I'm being scolded.