I Need Advice On Two Subjects Please--Long

Business By Lenette Updated 3 Sep 2009 , 12:19pm by Loucinda

Lenette Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 2:34pm
post #1 of 17

First, accommodating client schedules.

Generally I hold consults at my home. I do have a family and so the latest I am okay with people coming is 5:30. It usually takes an hour and we need to eat and get the kids to bed. I have someone inquiring about a meeting but they both work 'til 6.

The bottom line is a 7PM meeting is really late for me. I offered to meet her out at a cafe right after work but she doesn't want to meet before 7. I still need to get my kids to bed and such. It is just late and I am trying to get all of us in a routine.

How do ya'll handle these situations?

I can understand accommodating but I get tired of re-arranging my life all the time. I want to tell her the latest I can meet any night is 6:30, period. Is that rude?



Second, thing.

I am kind of annoyed with a bride. Her payment was due Saturday. I had to send her a revised invoice last week so I called to make sure she got it. So, she leaves me a message last night that she was out of town for her bachelorette party and hasn't even looked at it yet.

That irritates me so much. Lately, I have had a couple of brides who don't seem to think making a payment according to schedule is a priority. It is really frustrating to me that some (not most but some) seem to think they can get to it on their schedule. In the meantime, I have to get most all supplies shipped in because there is no supply shop less that 2 hours away from here.

Any suggestions on this too?

I am having a week when I am tired of people I think. And it's only Tuesday.

I thank you in advance for your advice. icon_smile.gif

16 replies
bakery_chick Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 2:53pm
post #2 of 17

your latest appointment time is 5:30 but you are extending that until 6:30, and she still won't compromise. Seems a little difficult to work with. I am not usually that accommodating without really, really good reason. I don't think you are rude or unreasonable, but you may lose the client. What is more important to you, getting your family on a schedule or keeping the client? There is a shop next to me that only offers tastings on Wednesdays.
I don't have any suggestions for the second part as that is something that I struggle with as well.

sweet-thing Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 2:57pm
post #3 of 17

It is totally up to you if you want to make exceptions for people who need to meet later now and then however, do they ask their doctor to stay open late to see them? Do they call the grocery store and demand that they stay open after hours to accommodate their schedule? How about the bank? Do they bang on the door of a restaurant that is closed and demand to eat? You are running a business. Your business is closed after 6:30 pm. Just because you work from home doesn't change anything or give people a reason to take advantage of you.


I have told people that I cannot order supplies to do a specialty cake until I have payment from them because they are things I cannot just run to the grocery for. I am not buying their cake for them! If they are late with payment they will then run the risk of not having the cake they want or when they want it. I tell them I will have to charge a late fee to cover the cost of express shipping.

I am in a mood today, I think! icon_mad.gif Good luck and I hope things get better! icon_smile.gif

MrCake01 Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:15pm
post #4 of 17

Lenette,
1st
Have you tried asking if she would mind communicating via e-mail or video
conferencing?
2nd
Cake decorating is a service business. I worked at a grocery store bakery/deli and more times than not the customer didn't care what I had to do or what problem they caused me by changing orders or not picking stuff up on time. Anyway the customer is only concerned about them especially a bride who is about to get married. When a bride places an order with you is there a form they sign with a clause saying about payment. I will tell you this; Iâm a big believer in doing unto others as you would have them do to you. If you are patient with them they will be patient with you.
Good luck
Mrcake01

leah_s Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:26pm
post #5 of 17

Similar . . . but I will not do a consultation on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Says so right on my website. A few will actually call and beg for a Sat consult. I tell them I'm working every Saturday, and only large bakeries will have extra staff to meet with them. If they want a cake designer, well I work every Saturday delivering cake. I do not bend. But since I don't have kiddos at home, I will take a consult until to 8 pm.

It just depends on your home situation and YOUR CHOICE. If you're a single mom, then yes, you need to get your kids ready for bed, etc. If you have a SO who will jump in every so often to support your business life, then every once in a while, a later consult won't hurt. But I'd make veerrry sure that the client understands that the only way you're able to accommodate their very unusual request is by inconveniencing your children and rearranging the schedule of another adult.

You DO NOT have to take every bit of biz that shows up at your door. I cut people loose sometimes on the phone if they're already being a PITA. That's the benefit of working in a biz you own.

Nchanted1 Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:27pm
post #6 of 17

The whole point of being self employed is to have control over your schedule. If she cannot meet with you within the hours you are available, kiss her goodbye.

As for late payments from Brides, I find that an Email indicating that per contract, their cake is now cancelled due to late payment usually gets pretty quick action! I will always let them pay up to a week late, BUT IN CASH ONLY. Getting it to me is their problem.

HTH

LKing12 Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:32pm
post #7 of 17

Set a time, if it is for a tasting and they want to come by and pick up the samples, then go with that. What about early Saturday morning?
My contract states if the payment isn't received in full and on time the deposit if forfeited and the order is cancelled. PERIOD. I am like the CC company, no slack here. I am not understanding, I am in business.

LaBellaFlor Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm
post #8 of 17

DON"T EVER let anyone dictate your schedule. Sweet-thing is so right. Do they ask these other businesses to work aroung their schedule. And come to think of it, if they can't work with you just on a meeting time, what type of problmes may come later on? I don't know what your contract looks like, but mine says very clearly that if they don't pay the balance by a certain date, the order is cancelled, and the depsot is non-refundable. And don't get me wrong, I'm not a hard a@@, but strict policies help reduce potential problems. Run your business! Don't let your clients run it for you.

cakesweetiecake Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:39pm
post #9 of 17

There are various businesses that I contact for different appointments. Some have evening appointments and some dont. I remember scheduling someone to come out to the home for a quote. They told me their latest appointment was 4:00pm. Well, I get off work at 5:00pm. Although I would've appreciated it (lol), I didnt expect them to change their policy to accomodate me. If I wanted to use their business, then it was my responsiblity to make it work out my schedule for the appointment.

What if you change it to 7pm and then they end up running late. Your entire schedule is going to be pushed back!

ccr03 Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:47pm
post #10 of 17

Ditto with everyone on the scheduling.

on the second issue, return her call and let her know that you can not order the necessary supplies until you receive her payment. And if she waits any longer, you'll have to overnight the supplies and you'll be passing that charge on to her.

indydebi Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 3:51pm
post #11 of 17

You are not Walmart in more ways than one ... you don't operate on a 24/7 schedule. (Heck, even my walmart's bakery "closes" after a certain time of day!).

I dont' do samplings on Monday. I try to designate that as my day off. I don't do samplings before 11:00 a.m. I try to keep appts on even-hours ("I have openings on Thursday at 2, 4 or 6 ... which works best for you?") ... this enables me to easily schedule multiple samplings on one day when I control the schedule.

When someone "asks" (and I'm using the term loosely) for a 7:30 p.m. appt, you can always reply with, "I'm sorry ... I don't have any open time slots after 6:00 p.m." As it's already been mentioned .... doctors, dentists, attorneys, hair salons won't stay open longer for them (and I'll bet they darn well figure out how to get to their HAIR appt! icon_lol.gif )

Late Payment: I have a clause in my contract that states "Any payments not made as scheduled will constitute a cancellation on the part of the client and CIS will NOT show up at the event." When this bride replied very lackasdaisically with "oh gosh darn gee I haven't even LOOKED at it!", I'd send her a copy of this part of the contract and remind her "Well, I hope you looked at this clause in the contract because as of this moment, your order is considered canceled. I am able to reinstate the contract if payment is in my hand in the next 24 hours."

costumeczar Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 4:43pm
post #12 of 17

I want to add that being home-based can sometimes make you feel like you're not a "real" business, but you need to get over that fast! I'm home-based, and when I first started out I felt like I had to take every order that came my way, and I think that I scheduled tastings far more often than I do them now. Whether it's being older, more experienced, or just crankier icon_rolleyes.gif , I don't let customers dictate any of that anymore. I'll try to accomodate people who are in from out of town by meeting with them at odd times, but NEVER in the evenings. My kids are older now, but by the end of the day it's just not good to mess with the evening routine!

I suggest that you decide for yourself what times would work for you for tastings, then write the available times down for the month. When people call, you will have the list of available times in front of you. If someone whines and says they can't come any of the times that you have, tell them that you'll have to take their name and call back when you get your schedule for the following month together, or if you have a cancellation.

Mike1394 Posted 1 Sep 2009 , 5:00pm
post #13 of 17

Is doing the consult in the morning an option?

Mike

DakotaDesigns Posted 2 Sep 2009 , 11:35pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

You are not Walmart in more ways than one ... you don't operate on a 24/7 schedule. (Heck, even my walmart's bakery "closes" after a certain time of day!).

I dont' do samplings on Monday. I try to designate that as my day off. I don't do samplings before 11:00 a.m. I try to keep appts on even-hours ("I have openings on Thursday at 2, 4 or 6 ... which works best for you?") ... this enables me to easily schedule multiple samplings on one day when I control the schedule.

When someone "asks" (and I'm using the term loosely) for a 7:30 p.m. appt, you can always reply with, "I'm sorry ... I don't have any open time slots after 6:00 p.m." As it's already been mentioned .... doctors, dentists, attorneys, hair salons won't stay open longer for them (and I'll bet they darn well figure out how to get to their HAIR appt! icon_lol.gif )

Late Payment: I have a clause in my contract that states "Any payments not made as scheduled will constitute a cancellation on the part of the client and CIS will NOT show up at the event." When this bride replied very lackasdaisically with "oh gosh darn gee I haven't even LOOKED at it!", I'd send her a copy of this part of the contract and remind her "Well, I hope you looked at this clause in the contract because as of this moment, your order is considered canceled. I am able to reinstate the contract if payment is in my hand in the next 24 hours."



Heck yeah! This is awesome advice, from all of you! I've been needing to hear this as well icon_wink.gif

tilly41 Posted 3 Sep 2009 , 12:08am
post #15 of 17

I found and used the following language from the extremely helpful Indydebi and got immediate results!

Quote:
Quote:

"....per your email attached, you booked your wedding cake with us but our records do not show that your deposit has been paid. Per our Terms of Agreement, your wedding is not scheduled on our calendar until a deposit is rec'd. Please confirm the deposit is on it's way .... otherwise, we will assume you have made other plans for your wedding cake and will consider this order canceled."

That tells them they have one more chance to get it here and it tells them that as of today, I am not planning on being at their wedding with a cake in tow.


jenmat Posted 3 Sep 2009 , 3:52am
post #16 of 17

I have a clause in the contract that states that late payment will accrue a 10% charge per week late, and since then I don't have anyone paying late. 10% on a large wedding cake is a lot of money. I think that was advice from someone on here, and I am so glad to have it.
As far as appointments, I do mine after the kids are in bed, when I can actually think straight. Most brides really like this because they fit in the age group that 8pm is early for them.
I also used to explain "why" I couldn't do an appointment or make a cake. Indydebi is right (as usual), its in the wording. The customer does not need to know why you can't do an appointment time. You just say "I'm booked." Its not like they are going to feel sorry for you if you tell them your life story anyway, and its less professional.
You make the decisions when you offer appointments. They can take off of work early if they need to. They would if it was for the florist, dressmaker, or reception hall, I bet.

Loucinda Posted 3 Sep 2009 , 12:19pm
post #17 of 17

I schedule all my tastings on Sundays. I have never had a problem with anyone - I do as the PP's - I have ___ and ___ open, which time would you prefer?

As far as payment - again, if you stick with your contract, there is usually not a problem. Send out the reminder the day it is due saying if it is not received in 24 hours, your cake is CANCELLED. Deposit forfeited. I have the brides initial that part of the contract and I have never had a problem with payment.

I work from my home and you HAVE to run it as a business.

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