How Do I Say... (Vent)?!?

Business By something_sweet Updated 12 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm by cakedesigner59

something_sweet Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 8:28pm
post #1 of 17

So, it's almost the weekend, and I am busy getting a ready for a big wedding cake, along with a few other small cake orders. Last night at 9pm, a lady calls me and wants a cake for tomorrow. I was a little irritated, but figured I would call her back today. By noon, she had called me 2 more times, none of which I answered because I was very busy finishing a cake that I needed to deliver this morning. On the message she wanted this simple cake and it only needed to say "Happy Birthday!" When I called her back, she wanted this fancy Princess cake. So me, being too nice to say no, I took the order. No big deal, I can fit it in. Then, I get a email from another lady who wants a cake that is shaped like a sports car... for Saturday!?! (Of course I told this one no!)
I am busy. I work alone, so I have no help. I am not Walmart, I do not have frozen cakes waiting to be ordered! I have been getting more and more last minute cake orders lately, and it is driving me crazy! How do you guys handle this? What is your cut-off as far as time frame?
The other thing I have been getting lately is cake orders via email. They tell me what they want, but don't tell me how to get in touch with them. So we email back and forth, which takes up tons of my time. Some I never hear back from. I am getting to the point where I say, call me or I do not consider this an order. But why do people think that this is ok? Ugh... just so frustrated! Love cake decorating... customers, not so much! icon_mad.gif Thanks for listening!

16 replies
littlecake Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 8:48pm
post #2 of 17

i work alone too...

all i can say is the freezer can be your best friend...i start the week with about 20 half sheets

and 20 assorted 10 inch rounds...as well as some other sizes of round cakes to draw from...when they are gone...i tell the peeps i'm sold out.

it makes your life so much easier, plus then you don't have to hate the last minute orders.

last minute orders can make you a lot of money...but that's just me....

Mabma80 Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 8:49pm
post #3 of 17

Well, how do they found you? Do you have a website?? Word of mouth? You need to get it out there somehow that cakes need to be ordered at least three weeks (or whatever) ahead of time. Something to that effect. That should stop the last minute calls.

DeeDelightful Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 8:58pm
post #4 of 17

Right now i welcome the last minute orders, because i'm building clientele. I would let people know, you need at least 2-3 days for small orders and even longer on specialty cakes or wedding cakes. However you want to word it. If it's a sheet cake with writing on it, i'll take the order with very little notice, just long enough for me to take inventory on ingredients, boxes, etc. and have it ready by the next day, since i have family and a full-time job.

Solecito Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 8:59pm
post #5 of 17

I hear you sister!
It happens to me too, and I'm just getting tired. I've been thinking and I guess that the more last minute orders we take, the more people who will order last minute. I guess we have to stop being such a nice person and learn to say NO.

LaBellaFlor Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:00pm
post #6 of 17

I have a 30 day cut-off, but will do 2 weeks if I have time. You need to nip that e-mailing back and forth in the bud. Let them no if you are avaiable, but you can't get into any further discussions with out speaking in person. Find out exactly what they need, quote them a price end of story. They are either going to go with you or not. If they say yes, get a deposit and call it a day.

pipe-dreams Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:07pm
post #7 of 17

I went a for a few months where almost every order was last minute. I really don't mind last minute orders too much, unless they need special order items on the cake.
Anyway, I put on my website that all wedding cakes must be ordered at least 30 days in advance and all other cakes must be ordered at least 2 weeks in advance. Because of time restraints, these orders must be paid in full up front. If any order is placed after these deadlines, a minimum $75 rush fee will be charged.

Only had 1 person order late since then!

As for the email, I much prefer it. I think a lot of customers do, too, since they can get a quote and not have to feel bad about not being able to afford it or whatever reason. If you don't prefer it, you can tell them in the initial email that you are very busy, so you prefer to call them to further discuss any details, so as to not miss any important details.

Hope this helps!

edited for my terrible spelling todayicon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:19pm
post #8 of 17

This sounds like a good topic for one of my blog entries.

I've told brides, "You're not allowed to use the word "simple" when talking to a cake designer person, because unless you work on cakes, you don't know what "simple" is." icon_biggrin.gif

I also prefer to do correspondence via email, until we get right down to the actual booking part. It's faster for me. I hate the phone. Hate it. Plus with email, everything is in writing. No confusion.

Anyway .... add something to your website explaining why you're not walmart:

"We are not a walk-in bakery with cakes sitting on the shelves waiting to be purchased. Your cake is custom made just for you, when you order it. To ensure a slot on our baking and decorating schedule, we require 2 weeks notice for anything more than a sheet cake. Even sheet cakes require at least 4 days notice since we do not have these cakes sitting around waiting to be purchased. If you wait until the last minute (and 1 week before the event is "last minute"), you risk the possibility of no time left on our baking schedule. So give us a call well in advance!"

Williamus Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:19pm
post #9 of 17

I know this isn't going to help...but here goes. I hate people.

LaBellaFlor Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:21pm
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecito

I hear you sister!
It happens to me too, and I'm just getting tired. I've been thinking and I guess that the more last minute orders we take, the more people who will order last minute. I guess we have to stop being such a nice person and learn to say NO.





This is true. If it gets around that you except last minute orders, then you'll get called for them. A great way to eliminate that is to have a high rush order fee. I'm kind of luck, cause I get a lot of clients from word of mouth. They have told other people, "She's not gonna due it if you wait until the last minute." I've only had one person call the day before wanting a cake a cake day before delivery, hoping I would do it anyway. She got a no.

pipe-dreams Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:54pm
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



"We are not a walk-in bakery with cakes sitting on the shelves waiting to be purchased. Your cake is custom made just for you, when you order it. To ensure a slot on our baking and decorating schedule, we require 2 weeks notice for anything more than a sheet cake. Even sheet cakes require at least 4 days notice since we do not have these cakes sitting around waiting to be purchased. If you wait until the last minute (and 1 week before the event is "last minute"), you risk the possibility of no time left on our baking schedule. So give us a call well in advance!"




Exactly! I have something to this effect on my site. Unlike the grocery stores, I do not get pre-made cakes in bulk. Therefore I do not have cakes laying around waiting to be written on. All of my cakes are made fresh to order, which is why I require advanced notice!

Kiddiekakes Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 9:57pm
post #12 of 17

I don't do any last minute cakes.I am so booked up weeks in advance I can't do any last minutes...I may take a cake within 2 weeks but only if I am not busy.

CakeInfatuation Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 10:13pm
post #13 of 17

Yes Debi Please!!! I need that entry. I'm getting last minutes too. I hate to turn anyone away but I keep adding and adding and adding... Sleep? What's Sleep?

costumeczar Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 11:57pm
post #14 of 17

Here's how I handle it:

Them: I need a cake for this weekend.
Me: I'm sorry, I'm booked up through the end of October at this point.

Their email: How much would a wedding cake for 150 people cost? (no indication of date, location, etc.)
My response: If you let me know the date, reception site and start time I can see if I'm available for your date.

Them: I need some information about a wedding cake for October 3rd.
Me: Of THIS year? (then I try not to laugh.)

KHalstead Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 12:14am
post #15 of 17

I tell people carved cakes need to be ordered at least 4 weeks in advance and all other orders at least a week in advance..........I also charge a minimum of a $20.00 fee on all cakes with less than 48 hrs. notice........and this is a minimum....the more hassle the cake, the more they pay!!

I had a customer that was notorious for the day before ordering......well, she called to order a 6" round (which I sell for 10.00) for the next day......I told her that her total would be 30.00! She said whaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt?? i thought they were 10.00........and I said, well they are when you order with more than 2 days notice.......she said...........oh..........well, let me have the cake anyhow.....so I tripled the cost of the cake and now she calls me at least 2 weeks before any of her cakes and is a wonderful customer!

tarheelgirl Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 12:15am
post #16 of 17

I get this too.. I had someone call me at 9 pm wanting a cake for the next afternoon!! She also emailed. I emailed her back and said I don't take last minute orders and that I was fully booked for the next 2 weeks. Some people have no clue what a "simple" cake is! Cake is cake.. you still bake.. ice.. decorate!

I had a friend call me today.. now she knows I had orders to fill this week already. She said a friend of hers was going to give me a call today. She wanted just something "simple" for a Sunday party. First.. again.. nothing is "simple" with these people. 2nd I don't work on Sunday so I would literally be doing the cake in one day. I think not! And of course she would probably want some sort of discount since she was a friend of a friend. blah!

cakedesigner59 Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm
post #17 of 17

I think part of the problem is all the cake TV shows, especially the Challenges on Food Network, that make it look like these fantastic works of art are done in a hour time span (even if the cakes are pre-baked and the "challenge" is 9 hours long). The public's expectations are always out of touch with reality. I had a cake friend tell me that years ago a groom called her in the morning of the day of the wedding to change the cake flavors in the wedding cake.

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